Embrace the Dark: The Realm Collection- A First in Series Set
Embrace the Dark: The Realm Collection- A First in Series Set
- Dark Fantasy with a Dose of Steamy Romance
- Fated Mates
- Witches & Bear Shifters
A universe of curses, witches, shifters, vampires, and an immortal human tribe that’ll keep you entranced until the stunning conclusion.
Welcome to The Realm Collection -where power and destiny collide, and love takes root in the most unexpected places.
Embrace the Dark is a steamy fated mates fantasy containing the first in series books,The Darke King- Book One of The Broken Immortals Series and Claimed- Book One of the Stories from the Realm Series.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
The Darke King:
The tingle in his sweaty palms should have been a warning to the young Commander as he passed through the throne room threshold. But when the Emperor calls for you, there is no refusing his command. “Did you believe there was any secret I wouldn’t know about, Daniel?”
While he stood before his Master, Daniel’s black hair fell over his eyes as he closed them and tried to silence his mind. But there was little use. The sneer curling on the decrepit old sorcerer’s face revealed he had learned of Daniel’s treachery. “I can gaze through your mind, young witch.”
With his rotting, wrinkled fingers bending to summon him, the old man motioned for his guards to bring the prisoner forward. The falling sensation in his hands and feet warned Daniel his mother had entered the room, and he lifted his eyes to find her hands bound as she kneeled before the ancient one.
From beneath the shadow of his gray hood, the tyrant glared at his protégé. “What shall I do with a traitorous witch?” The old wizard raised his brow as a smile crossed his evil lips, and his finger tapped at his forehead. “I know.”
A glint of the knife he took from his belt sent a shiver of icy pain through Daniel’s chest. The old monster snatched the wide-eyed woman by her hair and sliced through her neck without hesitation.
Her delicate white dress was soon drenched in crimson as blood poured down over her body and the spark of life left her dark eyes. The entire world collapsed on Daniel’s shoulders and crushed the once cruel man into nothing.
Her lifeless body slammed to the cold floor, and her life force splashed across the room and sprayed over the young man’s face.
The wicked giggle wiggled its way into the cloud of Daniel’s devastation, and his eyes rose to meet the old man’s. “Did you actually believe I wouldn’t find her? Stupid, arrogant fool. Well, you were wrong, and now you will suffer for your egoism. Young one, you will bow to me and declare your undying allegiance, or you will endure the same fate as this garbage at my feet.”
“I’ll fucking destroy you.” Shiny black boots beat against the slick marble floor until the Emperor raised his hand and froze Daniel in place with his invisible grip.
The halted clicks and chokes of amusement gurgled in the villain’s nose. With a flick of his wrist, he flung Daniel to the other side of the room and sprung down from his throne. Pushing his cloak off his shoulders as he rushed to his apprentice, the sovereign held out his hand and stole the breath from Daniel’s lungs.
Without even enough air to curse his murderer, Daniel clenched his teeth and stared him in the eyes until he crashed to the floor, with the laughs of his Master echoing around the sterile room.
The ageless monster circled him and clasped his hands behind his back as he laid out his plan. “Now, I will reign down an era of torture upon you like this world has never seen before. By the time I am through, nothing will remain. You will disappear, and no one will remember you ever existed. You were nothing when you came to me, and you will leave me as nothing.”
Trembling hands pushed against the cold floor as Daniel came to stand in defiance of the Emperor’s desire to listen to him grovel. “You can kill me. I don’t care anymore, but I won’t die on my knees.”
The thin, wrinkly cheek under his eyes lifted as a smirk came to the old man’s lips while he imagined all the pain he would inflict on the boy. “As you wish.”
While the leader supreme decided on his next move, a whiff of something beautiful swept across Daniel’s face, and his heart raced with a shot of life. A glowing form stepped from behind the monster and glided toward the doomed witch.
Scarlet hair fell over her shoulder, and her icy blue eyes pierced through her brilliantly illuminated aura. Pausing as she came to Daniel’s side, the light drifted away, revealing her angelic face. With her fingers wove together in front of her chest, she pleaded with him to come to her. “Please save us, Daniel.”
Slightly protruding ears thumped with the pulsing blood through his veins as he reached out for her, only to slip through the illusion. When the last faint notes of her sweet voice left his mind, goosebumps rose on his arms, and his eyes snapped up to the wicked one. “I’m coming, my love.”
With a new purpose filling the young man’s heart, Daniel felt a spark of ancient magic rising within him.
As the side of his mouth curled and his hair lifted from his shoulders, he looked over at the old witch before him. Out of the palms of his hands, a blue glow rushed over his body, inch by inch.
The hundred wicked whispers in his ears took control, and his arm flinched from his side and drifted upwards. The Emperor tried to break through the inferno encompassing Daniel’s body. Still, not even the old warlock could stop the unworldly ancient creatures favoring the younger man at that moment.
When his finger came to his lips, a blackness crossed Daniel’s eyes as he wagged his head, and the evil command fell from his tongue. “Shh.”
The fiery spirits flowed from Daniel’s mouth and engulfed the old wizard in their scalding embrace. He stood over the burning flesh and bone pile until it smoldered down to ashes and spat on the sad remains as his pointy teeth peeked through his smile. “I’m the Master of the Flames, and I don’t bow to any fucking body.”
When he shook off the beast inside him, he turned to look at his mother and blinked around at his destruction. The dream-like recollection of the past few moments passed before his eyes, and he raised his palms to his face as the long-forgotten feeling of amusement huffed from his belly. “What the fuck is happening to me?”
Though she was the only person who ever gave him a second thought, he couldn’t shed a tear for the woman who gave birth to him. The rarely used emotion of guilt gnawed at his throat and made him swallow down the regret of every wrong he’d ever done.
He crouched down, slid his hands beneath her body, and tugged her into his chest with a grit of his teeth. Not a soul dared question the man as the awestruck soldiers parted, and he carried his mother out the fortress gates.
He entered the dead forest and dodged the brittle thorny branches slapping and ripping at him. When the old remnants of life thinned into a clearing, he laid his mother on the rocky ground and kneeled beside her.
His fingers grazed her icy hand, and he swallowed down all his regret. “You were a wonderful mother. I wish I had been a better son.” His hand closed around hers, and he pressed his lips to her palm before placing it across her chest. “Goodbye, Mother.”
When the prickly tickle rose from his skin and the tiny bumps spread through his body, Daniel brought his palms before his eyes. The blue flame ignited as the soft crunches of feet against the lifeless forest floor came to his ears.
With a shudder through his whole body, he glanced to his right to see the vision’s fingers drag through the charred bushes on her way to him.
The once black stems sprouted new buds, and the ugly darkness that once covered them was lush with green life again.
Like lightning flashing in the midnight sky, her light rushed his nerves when her fingertips grazed his arm, and the blackness retook his eyes. The hushed voices in his mind gave their directives, and as Daniel looked over his mother, he put his finger to his mouth. “Shh.”
A brilliant flash of light swept across the woods. When it cleared, the only thing remaining was the man dressed in black and the reignited army of demons dwelling inside him.
The thunderous pounding of our horses’ hooves echoed through the forest as we raced against the dying evening sun.
Tall with the last of summer’s sharp blades of grass, the scorching plains on the other side of the treeline opened up for us at last to run full measure.
Far too many years passed since His Majesty summoned my men and me back from the outland post he banished us to so long ago, and our hearts longed to be with our families again.
So, when my father’s courier arrived four days prior, we made off at once for the Westland palace.
Yet, if this cursed gift of mine only warned me that my own pitiful destruction awaited my return, I would have ignored the call and remained blissfully unaware that true love existed on the warm beaches of my homeland instead.
The last of the sun’s warmth left the sky, alerting us the city’s curtain wall would close until the following morning, and we crossed the stone bridge just as the chains engaged, lowering the gate.
Not once did we stop for rest or food on our journey, and the scent of tonight’s feast ripped my guts out when we rode through its cloud.
Another scent brought a flood of saliva, though.
Beyond the roast boar and the sweet, warm aroma of butter-brushed bread straight from the baker’s oven, something so familiar and frightening hung in the air. Though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, every long-neglected nerve in my body tingled with the ancient spark of magic again when I inhaled the cloud.
Waiting at the smithy’s shop, the brother I’d not seen since father stationed me in the most Southern post waved off the young maidens he entertained himself with while the stable boy lowered his head to me and said, “Welcome home, Your Highness.”
Peeling myself from my saddle, I uncurled my leg from my steed while the boy firmed up his grip on the harness to keep the old war horse steady. “I thought you’d never return.”
Now a head taller than me, the child from my memory, hidden behind his hair-lined face, smiled as I pinched his cheek. “Have I been gone so long that this boy is now a man?”
Two hands and a scruffy blonde beard came to his shoulders from behind as my brother rescued him from my hold on his face when he shook him. “You’ve been gone so long that the boy sired his own boy last winter.”
Sporting the leather armor I commissioned for him before he left on his last adventure, Eason lifted his chin as he crossed his arms over himself. “Didn’t you, Silas?”
From ear to ear, this white-haired stable boy who tended to my horse since the day he found out he was strong enough to wield a shoe hammer grinned at me. “Aye.”
A dirty hand missing half a pointer finger came to his knee. “He’s this tall now. Just took his first steps not even a day ago.”
I yanked my riding gloves away and slapped them at Silas’ chest when Eason laid his hand on my back to urge me to the castle. “Well, come find me at dinner so I can see this lad. I cannot wait to meet him and the missus.”
Placing a kiss on my temple, Eason wrinkled his nose at the stench of me after half a week on horseback. “I have your handmaids waiting at the baths for you.”
Though our father meant to shame me with his punishment, each time these warrior children returned home again, we became a bit more legendary.
The awestruck faces of the townspeople parted for us as they whispered and clutched their chests, and I met each one with a bow of my head as I passed them. “Thank you for that.”
Born with a wandering spirit, the rambling prince spent less time in our ancestral lands than I did, and I nudged him with my elbow as we came up the staircase. “Have you any clue why we’ve been called back, though?”
Sweeping his arm aside for me to go through the front doors first, Eason smirked at me as his sun-bleached hair blew away with the wind. “The king was desperate to be reunited with his favorite children, of course.”
When I laughed at him, he spun out to walk before me and tossed up his shoulder. “Also, the bear king’s diplomats are here to negotiate a treaty, and His Majesty wishes to show the true strength of the West’s armies lest the treaty fail.”
In the foyer, he brought his hand across his heart and bowed to me as he backed toward the map room. “So, put on your prettiest frock, dear sister, for we have dancing and ass-kissing awaiting us tonight.”
Red carpet squished under my boots while I rushed to untangle my sword from my back, and the pleasing, musky essence that seduced me when I entered the city grew stronger.
Little by little, my feet slowed until I peeked up to find the stranger also coming to a wide-eyed standstill.
That rush of sorcery in my blood that abandoned me in childhood rekindled, stealing my breath. Frozen in place by his heavy foreign tongue and icy blue stare when he tipped his head. “Good evening, my lady.”
In my scuffed-up leathers and chainmail, with my officer’s shield and sword affixed to my back, it was reasonably clear to anyone with a working set of eyes I was not one of the kingdom’s fair maidens.
Looking down over my filthy uniform, I had a good chuckle as I tossed up my hands and answered him with a nod. “And to you, my lord.”
Both his hands twisted behind his back, and his eyes narrowed at my chest emblem when he stepped closer. “You’re an officer?”
I lifted my finger to him, leaning away to tilt my chin at the matron, motioning for me at the bath’s door. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll be right with you.”
I returned my gaze to him to find him studying my face, and I shoved my hand between us to stop him. “I am Moya. High Commander of His Majesty’s Southern forces.”
Women soldiers were unheard of outside my father’s lands, and his mouth hung open for a moment before he bent down to kiss my knuckle. “Meeting you is a tremendous honor.”
Twisting my fingers out of his, I tilted my head to check out the fine silken blue tunic he wore.
Among my people, such displays of vulgar luxury would get a man hung by his neck, and I nodded as I flicked my fingertip at the gold tassel hanging from his shoulder. “And you must be one of King Volodar’s envoys?”
The corners of his lips ticked up as he smoothed the bit of curly, pale blond hair back from his eye. “I am the Mighty’s loyal servant, yes.”
Covering his heart with his palm, he doubled his eyes at me. “And yours, of course. But it would please me if you called me Joey.”
Flailing hands down the hall waved for me again, and I gave him a nod as I stepped away. “I will do that. Thank you. I hope you enjoy your stay,” — making an L with my thumb and finger, I pointed at him and winked — “Joey.”
One leather boot dug into the crimson runner lining the hallway, and one bare foot traipsed through the chilly forest in my mind while the world around the right side of me warbled.
It seemed Joey steeped in his own old magic, and his voice in my head commanded my gifts to end the slumber they had hibernated in for too long.
In the smoky mist that closed in around the edges of my vision, the animal’s roar that haunted my childhood nightmares made me flinch.
Always the same massive white bear sitting on his throne of light when I opened the cabin door.
As if he were walking beside me through the illusion, I heard Joey’s most private thoughts as he tested our connection. “Your kingdom awaits you, Moya sestra.”
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