As if his clanmate had read his mind, Clajak spoke up. “My father, do you know anything about that High Commander? The one named Bevau?”
Yuder regarded his son with an emotionless gaze. Seeing the Nobek emperor like that gave Egilka more pause than when Yuder got mad and yelled. Something of a hothead, it was never a surprise to see the man explode, particularly in the Royal Council chamber during a debate. However, everyone knew it was when Yuder was quiet and seemingly detached that he was his most dangerous. He was easily the most daunting of the Imperial Clan, a trained killer who did not suffer fools or their nonsense. His tongue was as sharp as his blade. To be rebuked by Yuder was to have bits of one’s soul sliced off.
Clajak knew that better than anyone. The temperamental son often didn’t see eye to eye with his equally volatile father. It didn’t keep the prince from respecting and idolizing Yuder, however.
After giving Clajak that dispassionate look that gave no hint of his feelings, the corner of Yuder’s mouth twitched. “My son, why am I not surprised you would find one like him interesting?”
The turn of phrase caught Egilka’s attention. He inquired, “One like him?”
One steel-colored brow lifted at him. “Surely you noticed, Egilka. Bevau is a dual breed. He’s classified Nobek, but he’s also half Imdiko.”
So that was the elusive quality Egilka hadn’t been able to name. Dual breeds were not often diagnosed when a male child was categorized, but they were almost always either Dramok-Imdiko or Dramok-Nobek. The nurturing Imdiko nature was seen as opposed to the warrior Nobek mentality.
Egilka marveled, “That’s quite the rarity.”
“Yes, it is.” Yuder considered for a moment before saying in a musing tone, “Most of my kind would see such a person as a joke to our breed – and an unfunny one at that. I’m sure more than one in a fit of rage has tried to kill Bevau for daring to be named one of us. However, Urb is impressed with him. He says Bevau uses his quieter instincts to his advantage. He does not act hastily, working to come to peaceful solutions before crippling or maiming his foes. He has earned his rank as a high commander many times over.”
Clajak was as thoughtful as his sire. “I’m surprised he wasn’t classified an Imdiko, as there are so many fewer than Nobeks.”
“Nobek Bevau has a capacity for violence that offsets the nurturer aspect when he’s angry.” Rueful appreciation tinged Yuder’s voice.
Egilka pointed out, “He tossed those recruits around quite handily.”
“Yes, he did. That tendency to lightheartedness while he was doing it is not a Nobek trait however.” The emperor shook his head, as if put off by such a display. “It’s no wonder he’s not clanned, even with his rank and outstanding history of service.”
Clajak asked, “What about his parent clan? He had plenty to say about his fierce mother.”
“Urb says they are at the forefront of conservation of our planet’s natural resources. Bevau’s mother heads the lobby for that and is a vocal proponent of taking care of Kalquor’s environment. The high commander wasn’t kidding when he threatened his soldiers with her. She’s taken a swing or two at opponents when she’s felt insulted.”
“Feisty Matara,” Egilka said with admiration.
“Urb says rumor has it she put the lawyer for a logging interest in the hospital once.” Yuder chuckled at the thought, his lean face delighted to talk of such clashes. He added, “Bevau’s Nobek father is a head officer with this continent’s Wildlife and Natural Resource Protection Enforcement. They are a highly-ranked family.”
Egilka glanced at Clajak. His Dramok had gone quiet. That meant he was thinking, which usually led to trouble of some sort. Clajak did appear to be deep in thought, a half-smile playing on his lips. Yes, the prince was plotting. Egilka knew that look all too well.
In most cases, the expression on his clanmate’s face would have elicited a groan from the Imdiko. However he thought that this time Clajak was likely planning on how he could get his hands and other body parts on Bevau. Instead of a groan, Egilka was forced to smother a grin. He was not averse to finding out what a dual breed was like in the sack.
Which way would Nobek Bevau turn when aroused? Forceful? Caring? Maybe a little of both? The potential someone like the high commander presented was too enticing to not be considered.
Releasing September 2015