Image courtesy of Tiberius Viris
Night blanketed Aleria as Jacoby strode out of the warriors’ quarters. As one of the highest ranking warriors of his race, he was responsible for ensuring that all males were accounted for. Frowning, he stopped for a moment to look at his mentor’s quarters. Jacoby leaned in the doorway of the area the older man had called home for more than forty years. He marveled at the fact that the narrow bed was made and everything was in place. He found it hard to believe that his mentor and friend, Rehobeth, had been missing for nearly two years. Looking at this room, anyone would think Rehobeth was to return the next day. His whereabouts were no mystery – he had defected to live among the humans.
Zion clapped him on the shoulder. “I know you miss the old one, but you best put him from your mind. You know the Seekers have decommissioned him.” He gave Jacoby a pointed look.
“I do not believe that. Ree is smart, strong, and agile. He even served five years as a Seeker. He would never allow his interest in the humans to get him caught.”
“Jacoby, Rehobeth was fascinated with the humans. Serving as a Seeker and living among them are two very different things. His mind would have quickly gone to mush without the constant reality of Alerian laws. I think…”
“Zion.” Jacoby’s voice had a hard edge as he interrupted Zion. He sighed, pulling away from the other man. “I must confirm something.”
Jacoby left the quarters, a thin golden line visible on the horizon. He felt Zion staring at his back. Rehobeth had often regaled him with tales of his years as a Seeker – tales of the humans and their easy ways, where it was no less common to see a female moving freely about business as it was to see a male. Lifting his head, he caught a light breeze and allowed his wings to take root.
The youngest son of a line of renowned warriors, in two years Jacoby had quickly risen through the ranks, passing fighters who had been training for more than ten years. His skills were unrivaled, his senses impeccable, and tonight, he was on a mission. He arched his spine, freeing his wings so that the wind carried the impact of his steps. No one would hear him coming.
He had heard something hidden along the sidelines of the training field that disturbed him – footsteps. Continuing as if he was oblivious to the intruder, Jacoby moved stealthily along the embankment until he heard a soft gasp.
Jacoby stood completely still, his wings flaring to their full size against his will and alerting his prey to his presence.
The unknown female turned, facing him, an expression of pure terror etched on her features.
Jacoby reached for her, wondering if something about him frightened her, or if she simply feared being caught. Could it be his wings? He dismissed the thought as he lowered his arms. Surely she had seen wings before. Wanting to look at her as long as possible, he had no intention of alerting the other males, but her appearance was so foreign to him, he couldn’t speak. He found that he was riveted to the spot as she backed away from him.
Jacoby allowed her to go, but something inside him twisted as he watched her, highlighting his need for something that he could not name until that moment. This was the closest he had ever come to a female.
He was Alerian, descended from an ancient son-worshiping race believed to be the disinherited children of angels. Due to a genetic anomaly, the Alerians consisted of very few females. In fact, five-hundred males were born for every female, and only the leaders of his race were guaranteed lifemates.
Born into a family of warriors, Jacoby had been expected to fight with no aspirations of love or family, and he had rarely even been allowed to catch a glimpse of a female, as those males with lifemates were extremely protective of them. Born without wings, females were rarely allowed out of doors, and never without the company of their lifemates or sires. Continuing to watch her as she moved farther and farther away, Jacoby wanted nothing more than to touch her. He thought he was beginning to understand just how very precious females were, and more than anything, he wanted one meant for him alone.