Taulan (Dragons of Preor Book 2)(2)By: Celia Kyle & Erin Tate
He split his attention between the two, his focus remaining on the fight before him as he blocked out all else. This new traitor—Kazor, the Primary Training Warrior—was just as dangerous as the Training Master.
Yes, both of these men were responsible for ensuring the ship’s warriors remained battle ready, but they were only as good as their own trainers.
And they did not have War Master Jarek for a teacher as Taulan had.
The metal sparked each time the honed edges collided, sending glitters of yellow light through the air. They sliced into the darkness, revealing the identities of more traitors.
Malin, Yuzin, Rawet.
Malin fell beneath an honorable warrior, but Yuzin defeated his opponent, the warrior now lying dead on the floor.
Rage gave Taulan more strength, allowing him to dispose of Kazor with the next blow. His focus became centered on Prasho, their battle continuing.
He spread his wings, using the thin membranes and strong bones to retain his balance. He moved with fluid grace, in tune with every shift of muscle. A twitch of one wing helped him push left to meet Prasho’s attack. A flutter of the other allowed him to jump higher, avoiding the sweep of the other male’s leg. He used every part of himself, fighting for his life as others within the hall did the same. A cacophony of grunts and shouts, groans and moans as well as growls filled the air. They echoed off the metal walls and hard thuds told him of yet another falling beneath a blade.
His men. His warriors. Warriors trained to run a ship’s engines, not fight on his behalf.
The traitors would perish for this even if he had to destroy each one himself.
That was when a new scent singed his nose, the aroma immediately followed by an agonized shout and a resounding thump and rustle of wings.
Prasho’s grin widened, evil making his eyes glow amidst the encroaching darkness.
The putrid stench of burning flesh and sour death consumed his nose—further proof of the crazed nature of these males. Fire could not hurt a Preor, but there were chemicals that could. Chemicals that destroyed muscle. That ate through bone as if it didn’t exist.
His opponent stepped close, moving into the arcing path of Taulan’s strike and quickly taking the blow. Through the pain, Prasho’s grin never wavered. No, it remained steady even as he stepped closer and hissed once again.
He should have extracted his sword, should have kicked the Primary Training Warrior away and freed his blade.
Because that was when Prasho yanked at his belt, reached over Taulan’s shoulder and smashed a small vial between this wings. Lightning fast, it was done before he’d been able to even see the movement, the attack delivered before he could defend himself.
Now his screams joined the others, filling the air along with the scent of his flesh and bone being eaten away. Pain overwhelmed him, the agony stronger than any other feeling he’d experienced in his life. He’d endured much over the years, suffered countless injuries as he fought to become one of the greatest warriors.
The past was nothing compared to the present. His thoughts were torn from the battle and he was forced to focus on the agony sinking into his blood. His grip faltered, hand sliding from the blade still embedded in Prasho’s chest while the other clattered to the ground from his boneless fingers.
Taulan first dropped to his knees, the vapor of his consumed flesh surrounding him like a macabre cloud, and he became deaf to the surrounding battle. His body teetered forward and with that move came another sensation, one that hurt him even more than the agony of Prasho’s attack. A sudden weight lifted from his back, the new freedom odd and unnatural. His wings peeled away. All that made a Preor warrior fell to the ground beside him.
He would die. Die there on the floor of his ship with his body torn apart by these males.
Before him, Prasho fell as well, his pain-glazed gaze colliding with Taulan’s. Blood coated the male’s lips, droplets dribbling from his mouth. The traitor gave him a blood-stained grin, a crazed dedication to his cause filling his gaze.
No sound came from Prasho’s mouth, but his intent was clear. “For purity.”
Taulan did not have much strength left, the poison eating at his flesh and assaulting him with unending pain. But he had enough to find vengeance—to find solace in one final act. He reached for his side, trembling fingers finding the handle of his short blade. He clenched it tightly, gripping as hard as he could, and slipped the metal from its sheath. He panted with the exertion, swallowing the bile that threatened to rise, and lifted his arm. Gathering what power he could, he took one last honor, one last action to help his fellow warriors and the Preor.