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Catrionna MacInnes has been struggling to keep her wild instincts in check for years. But when she meets Bastian, a Morgaine with a soul-devouring curse that plagues him, her long-repressed wild instincts are reawakened. Without his help, Catrionna knows that she will be unable to battle the evils that threaten them both. Bound together by an unbreakable connection, Catrionna and Bastian must fight against the wicked forces that seek to extinguish their very souls. From the haunted forests of Scotland to the dark depths of their own hearts, they must battle the darkness that threatens to consume them both. With courage, strength, and forbidden magic, Catrionna and Bastian must face the ultimate test of their bond and discover the truth that lies hidden within them.

Chapter 1


The dungeons have a deathly odor.

As he moved through the dark passageways down below the Blighted Realm, Bastian, a Morgaine, stooped low. The small circles of light cast by the torches that lined the walls were far beyond where faint cries could be heard. Cries and whip cracks that are quite acute

The sound just strengthened his resolve to find what he was looking for and leave as soon as possible. And it appeared like luck was on his side. There wasn’t a single warped person in sight, despite the distant noise. If he had a little more good fortune, it would stay that way all the way to his destination. Intruders did not get along well with the demon.

Daemon. The mere mention of the phrase caused his mouth to twist. Similar to the dark companion he had been plagued with for so many years, the miserable animals that lived in the Blighted Kingdom’s desert dozed off in the light. But among them were the zealots, whose fervor for suffering and death kept them going long after everyone else had retired for the night. And he wasn’t naive enough to believe that the person he was looking for would be unprotected.

Bastian moved silently between the light and dark, his pale blonde hair shimmering in the firelight as his feet fell gently to the dusty floor. And

Of course, the painful voice that had so frequently filled his mind for many months now was silent, though at one time it may have been helpful. He continued to smell incense and smoke. He was nearby.

Better not be dead, the bastard.

A massive, arched cell set into the wall was just ahead, and a low groan could be heard coming from its shadowy interior. Thick metal bars running from top to bottom stopped the tenant from escaping. Bastian, whose heart was thudding low in his chest as he prepared to act, understood that such cages had no locks on them. In his opinion, there was no obvious entrance or exitad, and a low groan could be heard coming from its shadowy interior. Thick metal bars running from top to bottom stopped the tenant from escaping. Bastian, whose heart was thudding low in his chest as he prepared to act, understood that such cages had no locks on them. In his opinion, there was no obvious entrance or exit. And it was evident that touching the bars would cause them to bleed.

The demon loved nothing more than blood.

Bastian took a long breath, letting the bitter air fill his lungs as he tried to extract what little strength he could from it. He silently prayed to the Goddess Morgaine, the mother of his people, that it would be sufficient as he reached deep for the icy power that was pulsing at the core of his existence. He had never before attempted to reverse a daemon spell.

Merely a curse And his success with that has been less than stellar thus far.

As he considered the harm done to his father’s people and later to himself by the creatures whose kingdom he was currently sneaking through, Bastian clinched his jaw. The shadow that walked was the narial. Living only a half existence for all these years, he had looked far and wide for an oracle who could aid him. Everyone he loved went about their lives without him, not comprehending that as long as death was present, so was he.

Then, beside the icy waters of the Rythian Sea, he discovered Aleuthra, the old. And everything was different now.

He merely wished that her directions had been simpler to follow. Or, at the very least, that they needed someone whose company was more enjoyable.

Even still, he found it impossible to believe that Lucien would reject him after a year of indescribable suffering. He merely prayed that Lucien’s recent silence wasn’t a sign that his mental stability had finally crumbled. Bastian understood that this year would probably be his last if it had been, or if the man himself was dreadfully close to death. And it had already departed in half.

When the groan recurred, this time there was an angry hiss in answer coming from the darkness outside the cell.

“Keep quiet, dragon! Trying to get some rest! I’ve never heard such whining, let alone from a monster that was supposed to be so powerful. Since you were bleeding, days have passed. For the love of Narr, keep quiet!

While observing from a pit of pitch-blackness, Bastian paused. After a little period of silence from the cell, there came a lengthy, hacking cough. Bastian half anticipated hearing a death rattle at the end of it. Instead, a voice that was so weak and thin that it was almost recognizeable drifted to his ears once the coughing stopped.

Then, you son of a whore, just kill me and leave. I’ll stop talking if I’m gone.

Darkly amused by the prisoner’s belligerent tone, Bastian grinned. Even though Lucien Andrakkar was near death, he was still the son of a bitch. From the shape-shifting sorcerer who had pursued Rowan and him through realms before being captured by the daemon on the battlefield, he should have expected nothing less. The funnier it was now, the less humorous it would be when they left.

If only they had left.

A person stalked slowly into view and let out a deep growl that sounded more animal than human. Bastian naturally showed his teeth. Like others of his type, the demon was tall and lean, with a deceptively willowy physique. Bastian was aware that if the creature turned, he would see the red eyes and pointed teeth that distinguished the daemon tribe despite the fact that his skin was white and hairless. But when he turned his back, the daemon looked almost human in just a gray tunic and leggings. Almost.

This one wasn’t now attempting to pass for anyone; he was angry and only partially awake. Bastian could only hope that he declined Lucien’s invitation.

The dragon growled, "Damn you!" Avoid tempting me. It is incomprehensible that you keep spewing garbage out of that disgusting mouth when all it has ever gotten you is punishment.

Perhaps I get tired of your punishment,” Lucien retorted, his once-rich and full voice taking on a jaded quality that did nothing to hide the steely undertone. “My body has already been wrecked, Dorgin. Even the name “dragon” is no longer appropriate for me. Shifting is long gone for me. Simply murder me and dispose of my worthless remains however you choose. It’s not only you who is worn out.

Just enough for Dorgin to turn for Bastian to notice the obscene speculation on his face. He suppressed a groan. Lucien Andrakkar has a way of ruining even his own rescue.

Dorgin looked at his prisoner while licking his blood-red lips with a long, pointed tongue that snaked from between his lips. Bastian reasoned that she must be hungry. He was following orders, yet he was still hungry.

The demons were constantly peckish.

Andrakkar, I’m following orders. You must avoid dying at all costs. Yet, perhaps I can inflict on you sufficient suffering to render you unconscious and grant you temporary relief from this location. Will you be harmed, dragon? Should I force you to scream until darkness surrounds you?

Chapter 2

Bastian was done listening. Now was the only option. And fortunately, surprise worked in his favor.

Even though it was likely to exhaust him dangerously in his already frail state, he dredged out all of his force in a ripping surge. He would only get one chance to defeat the demon, so he had no choice. While having weaker bodies than any other Drakkyn tribe, they had a command of dark magic that no other Drakkyn tribe could match.

The key was surprise. He only had one opportunity left.

As the power began to build, Dorgin’s head swung around. His wild red eyes briefly locked with Bastian’s cool blue ones before a bolt of pure white energy shot from each of Bastian’s fingers and crashed into the daemon. When the icy jet of energy struck Dorgin directly, the creature was lifted off the ground and hurled against the far wall like a rag doll. He screamed in agony as this happened. When his skull struck a hard stone, the shriek quickly came to an end, and the dead body f


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