Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(3) read online by Kresley Cole
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Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(3)
Author: Kresley Cole

relaxed, though he still seemed preoccupied. She took the opportunity to study him up close.

His towering frame was even more imposing, his height at least six and a half feet. His white tunic

was of a fine weave, fitted over those wide shoulders. Black trews of soft leather outlined his

powerful legs. When a breeze blew up from the valley below, carrying the scent of summer wheat and

stirring the blond hair around his face, she had the urge to sigh.

The midnight sun had finally set, and as they walked, he gazed up at the stars, as if for some kind of

guidance. For the last week, as she’d searched for Lucia in this strange world of mortals, she’d often

done the same. “Whatever is your question, warlord, the stars will not answer you.”

He peered down at her with those intense gray eyes, rekindling her ridiculous urge to sigh.

“Mayhap they already have.”

Before she could question his words, he stopped before the largest longhouse in the camp, opening

the door for her. The interior was rich, with woven rugs on the packed dirt floor. A gleaming table

with two chairs sat at one end and a thick pallet of furs covered the opposite end. A fire burned in a

center pit.

He took a pair of candles from a generous supply of them and lit the wicks in the fire, then placed

them in holders flanking a polished bear skull.

“Are you wealthy?” she asked. “For a mortal?”

“I’ve won spoils enough. But what do you know of coin? You are the daughter of gods.”

“I know I have none, and I need it for food.”

He strode to the doorway, ordering some servant outside to bring their dinner, then sat at the table.

He waved her to the other chair.

When she removed her gloves and cloak, her boy’s clothes beneath—trews and a tunic—earned

another disapproving frown. She shrugged and joined him, feeling like an adult to be sharing a lord’s

table. Even if he was only a warlord.

“This world is a dangerous place for a girl, Reginleit. And you are not invulnerable to harm.”

She shook her head. No, she’d not reached her immortality yet. She could still be injured, grow

sickened, even die. Though she wouldn’t need food as an adult Valkyrie, now she required it to grow.

“Then what possessed you to leave the safety of your home, child?”

“I am no child! And I’ve been safe enough.” Except for the bloodthirsty foes I had to face to

reach this side of the conflict. “I’ve slain vampires.” But it’d been close. I lost my sword early in

that skirmish, too.

He waved away her words as if they were mere fables. “Reginleit, answer me.”

Though she suspected she should be secretive and cautious with a stranger like this, she’d never

learned to be either. And she needed his help. Out spilled the truth: “I followed my favorite sister

when she followed a man. He promised to wed Lucia, yet I am uneasy. She is everything to me, and I

believe she is in danger.” Regin couldn’t explain how she knew, but she felt as if time was running

out for her sister.

“You left heaven for her? Though you can never go back?”

“’Tis forbidden for a Valkyrie to return.”

“Then I applaud your loyalty.”

“She would do the same for me.” As exasperated as Regin made her—indeed, all her sisters—she

knew Lucia loved her.

“You sought me this night,” he said. “What would you have me do?”

“I need assistance to find Lucia.”

“Done,” he said with a shrug. “I will do everything possible to reunite her with you.”

Regin blinked up at him. “Because you serve Wóden?”

“Nay.” He rose to pace, running his hand over his mouth. “I do this because we will serve each

other.”

“I do not take your meaning.”

“There is no easy way to say this. Reginleit, when you are grown, you will become my wife.”

“Are you mad, mortal?” she cried, her skin glowing brighter. “Like my sister Nïx?”

“Nïx the Ever-Knowing, the soothsayer?”

“She’s touched with visions. What is your explanation?”

He looked to stifle a grin. “You are direct, a good trait. But I’m not mad. I’m a berserker. Do you

understand what the men of my people are?”

“I’ve heard tales of your kind. You’re stronger than other mortals, faster. And you’re all possessed

by the spirit of a beast. The snarling, the fighting, the possessiveness—all the traits of a lean bear in

winter.”

“’Tis true. And the beast in me sensed its mate, rousing inside me from your very first words. I

thought you would be older when we met, but I feel fortunate just to have found you.”

He said this as if it was an understatement. She was speechless. A rarity.

“In the morn, I will take you to my family’s holdings in the north,” he continued. “My parents will

complete your upbringing and keep you safe until I return for you. I will bring your sister there to join

you.”

An actual madman stood before her! This situation grew interesting. Regin found she might like to

play with mad mortals. Feigning an earnest tone, she asked, “And how long would it be until you

returned for me?”

“Mayhap in five or six years. When you are grown, and I have warred enough to earn my own

immortality. Then we would wed.”

Ah, she remembered now. Berserkers could earn ohalla, deathlessness, from Wóden once they’d

won two hundred battles in his name. They tattooed his mark—dual ravens in flight—upon their

chests.

She wondered if the battles had come before the rule, or if the rule had spurred the battles. “I’m to

sit there and wait for you? What if another mortal decides I’m to be his chattel instead?”

His hands clenched. “You are meant for me alone,” he said in a strange tone. “Do you understand

what I am saying?”

“I’m not ignorant of such things.” She was almost completely ignorant of such things—of men, of

coupling. She couldn’t comprehend why her sister would ever voluntarily leave the paradise of

Valhalla to follow a man.

One I do not trust.

“Reginleit, you will not know another male.” His gaze held hers. “I consider us wed from this

moment on.”

What a crazed mortal; how touched in the head. Her father would turn this berserker to ash if he

dared kidnap her and force her to wed him. Perhaps she oughtn’t toy with Aidan anymore?

“Reconsider. You’re far too old for me. One foot in the grave and the other doddering at the edge.”

He glowered. “I am not that old! I’ve only thirty winters.”

She began to fear that he wouldn’t be dissuaded, so she said, “I might look upon your suit, but only

if you help me save Lucia first.”

He shook his head firmly. “You will tell me where to find her. And I will do so only once I’ve

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