Born of Legend - Sherrilyn Kenyon

CHAPTER 1

This looked like a damn good place to die. And at least it wasn’t blistering hot.

Grimacing in pain, Dagger Ixur pressed his hand against the wound that was slowly killing him and stepped inside the dive hole where some of the worst vermin of the Nine Worlds had crawled to find refuge from the blistering binary suns of Steradore.

His breathing labored, he hid his agony behind a mask of steeled boredom and made his way to a back table where he sat down, making sure to keep his wound concealed. Like rabid animals, the creatures here would attack en masse should they suspect for even the hair of a nanosecond he was incapable of defending himself.

Especially given the massive bounty on his head.

Hell, if he had a brain, he’d turn himself in for that amount of cred. At least it would get him a good meal for the first time in four years.

But then, he couldn’t spend it if he was dead.

“There’s a thirty crona minimum to occupy this space. You got thirty cronas, slag?”

Dagger sneered at the smug purple-skinned humanoid waitress. She had no idea that she was talking to a former prince who’d once been heir to two of the largest fortunes in the universe.

But that was years ago.

Today, he was heir of shit and shit’s second cousin. And if he wasn’t on the brink of death, he wouldn’t have thirty cronas to waste on the watered-down, fifth-rate, synthetic hooch they no doubt served here.

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the coins and tossed them on the table. “Tondarion Fire.”

She swept the creds into her palm and examined them to make sure they weren’t counterfeit. Then without a word, she went to fetch his drink.

Adjusting his dark red-tinted glasses to make sure they kept his betraying eyes concealed, Dagger expelled an exhausted breath, hoping he lived long enough to taste the knock-off garbage he’d just ordered. At the rate he was bleeding …

It won’t hurt much longer.

Sadly, he didn’t know what burned his blackened soul more. The poisoned knife wound or the raw fact that as he sat here bleeding out, he had no one to call and say a final goodbye to. No one who would give a single shit that he would be dead in less than half an hour.

A scuffle to his right drew his attention.

Immediately on alert, he reached with his left hand for his blaster, expecting it to be more enforcers or assassins after him.

He relaxed as he saw nothing more than two filthy humans and an alien hauling a scraggly boy in chains. From the looks of it, the kid was probably a crew member being punished or a prisoner being transferred.

No more than fifteen or sixteen, the boy with white-blond hair jerked away from a much larger and older male. Hissing, he exposed a set of fangs in a specific, insulting manner that was known as fanging someone. Dagger frowned at that particular defiant and aggressive gesture.

The boy was Andarion with that hair color?

For a full minute, Dagger thought he was hallucinating from blood loss as he saw in his mind not the child in front of him, but his own fraternal twin brother, Nykyrian. Though there were legends of other blond Andarions who had existed at one time, Nykyrian was the only white-haired Andarion Dagger had ever seen in the flesh. The rest of that breed had been brutally put to death long before he and his brother had been born. Hunted down and exterminated for that trait and any other ability or skill their grandmother had deemed an