Home > Heat (Dark Kings #12)

Heat (Dark Kings #12)
Author: Donna Grant



Long, long ago …

The smell of death permeated the air, sinking into everything. Nikolai stood next to his deceased mother. He nudged her as he attempted to flap his small wings. His stomach rumbled with hunger as fear took root. He looked around and saw the body of his father not far off, but he didn’t go to him.

It was the horror of it all that sent Nikolai burrowing beneath his mother’s wing. He didn’t know where to go or what to do. The last thing his parents told him was to remain close.

He had no idea how long he stayed, starving, scared, and alone before something large blocked the sun. He peeked around his mother’s wing and saw the giant shadow that flew over him. It passed thrice more before he felt the ground shudder when the dragon landed.

Had they returned to kill him?

Suddenly, his mother’s wing was lifted, and he found himself staring into the obsidian eyes of a silver dragon. Nikolai warily watched the large dragon. He felt the push against his mind and hesitantly opened the link.

“Hello, lad,” the dragon said.

Nikolai lifted his head and released a growl of warning, hoping it would send the Silver away. Nikolai was the son of a great dragon. He wouldn’t cower, no matter how frightened he was.

The Silver glanced behind him before he returned his solemn gaze to Nikolai. The black orbs were filled with sadness. So was his voice when he asked, “What happened?”

Once more, Nikolai growled.

The Silver stared at him, admiration flickering in his dark depths. “I’m no’ here to hurt you. I’ve come to help. Now, tell me what happened.”

Nikolai paused, unsure what to do. He wanted to trust the Silver, but fear held him in check. He rubbed up against his mother for comfort—and guidance—but her scales were now cold.

He was alone. Save for this one dragon, who claimed to want to help. There really wasn’t a choice for him. Nikolai had to take a chance. He drew in a breath, his chest puffing out as wisps of smoke drifted from his nostrils. “Ivories came and fought my da. Then they killed mum while she hid me.”

“They would’ve likely killed you, as well.” The Silver released a long sigh. “Do you have anyone I can take you to?”

Nikolai shook his head. If he had other family, he didn’t know of them.

“Then I’ll care for you.”

At this, hope filled Nikolai. “You’ll help me?”

“I willna allow you to starve, lad, or leave you to the dragons who did this. Because they will return. I must talk to your King, however. He needs to know what happened.”

“Who are you?”

The Silver smiled. “Ulrik. King of Silvers.”

King? Nikolai was shocked to find he was speaking to a Dragon King.

“And you are?” Ulrik asked.


“Well, Nikolai, can you fly yet?”

He shook his head as he walked from beneath his mother’s wing. “Mum and Da have been helping me.”

“Then we need to get you in the air.”

Nikolai stretched out his wings and flapped them quickly as he jumped into the air, but he promptly fell to the ground, awkwardly tripping so that he landed on his face. He shook his head and got back up, repeating the process again and again while Ulrik gave words of encouragement and praise, as well as pointers.

Growing tired, Nikolai tried once more. He set his jaw and jumped as high as he could, his wings beating frantically. The wind glided over him a heartbeat before his wings caught a current.

And this time, he didn’t fall.

With each beat of his wings, he flew higher.

A large shape came beneath him. Ulrik smiled up at him. “Your parents would be proud.”

At the mention of his family, Nikolai dipped a wing and made a wobbly turn to fly over their bodies. Ulrik remained with him the entire time.

After several passes, Nikolai said, “I doona want to leave them.”

“I know, lad, but you can no’ stay either. We’ll return with some of my Silvers to give them a proper burial.”

Nikolai’s stomach rumbled then, reminding him that it had been hours since he’d eaten. “I’ll hold you to your word.”

Ulrik’s response was a nod of approval. They didn’t speak again as they approached the land of the Silvers. It bordered the Ivories’, and though the two clans weren’t enemies, they weren’t exactly allies either. That was something Nikolai’s parents had felt relevant enough to teach him as soon as he hatched.

Nikolai’s wings grew tired, but he refused to say anything to Ulrik. He still wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that the King of the Silvers was taking him in.

No sooner had Ulrik begun to descend from the sky than he suddenly swung around. The King’s wing nudged him, and Nikolai obeyed the silent command. It wasn’t long until he saw the reason—Avgust, the King of the Ivories, was flying toward them.

The three landed. The fact that Nikolai didn’t trip over his feet made him puff out his chest as he stood next to Ulrik—even if his wings did tremble from the exertion. The two Kings shifted to their human forms. Word quickly spread, and soon, both silver and ivory dragons gathered around them.

“What are you doing with one of my dragons?” Avgust demanded.

Ulrik glanced at Nikolai. “Helping him.”

“He should’ve come to me.”

“He just learned to fly,” Ulrik stated. “He was orphaned and alone, his parents killed by other Ivories.”

Avgust’s gaze swung to Nikolai. “Is that true, lad? Did Ivories kill your parents?”

Nikolai nodded, his gaze locked on Avgust.

Avgust turned to his dragons. “I want those responsible brought to me by day’s end tomorrow.” Then he faced Nikolai. “I’ll see justice done.”

Nikolai bowed his head as he said, “Thank you,” through the mental link.

“Come here, lad,” Avgust said.

Though Nikolai couldn’t pinpoint what it was, something told him to remain with Ulrik. He was trying to find the words to tell his King when Ulrik put his hand on Nikolai’s back.

“We’ll meet tomorrow for the burial of his parents and to see those responsible brought to justice,” Ulrik declared.

Nikolai looked up at the King of the Silvers. Ulrik remained calm, but his voice brokered no argument. His father would’ve liked Ulrik. As young as Nikolai was, he understood the great dragon Ulrik was—and that Avgust was afraid of him.

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