Soulmates found one story at a time.






Vilkos ended his run through the forest on four paws, shifting from his gray wolf body to human as he came to the treeline and took in the view.

Raven Castle.

It had been his home for almost as long as he could remember, but never felt like it.

The full moon reflected off the impersonal towers, keep, and battlements of black stone. Surrounding the whole thing, the moat resembled ebony glass, with only the occasional ripple revealing the presence of monsters in its depths.

Everything about The Morrigan was black. Nothing about that had changed in the time he’d been gone.

Candlelight and magic glowed in windows open to the night air, and the wintry breeze carried the slightest tinge of salt from the ocean on the far side of the palace.

To his magic enhanced vision, a sheen of dark purple shimmer surrounded the entire building and grounds. The magic of powerful and ancient wards — as yet unchanged, and left wide open to him.

Clumsy, brother.

Fechin had always been too trusting. It was one of many traits that made him unsuitable for king. Had their positions been reversed, Vilkos would have re-spelled the wards to lock his brother out the second he left.

A black raven swooped low, aiming at Vilkos’ head with a derisive caw that scratched the inside of his mind. One of Fechin’s pets on an errand, no doubt. The things were a nuisance he’d longed to eradicate for years. When he was king, he’d fill the palace with Wulven in wolf form and let them eat their fill.

That was a nice daydream, but for now, better to get inside to see what was happening before the damned bird came back and ruined the surprise of the prodigal son returning.

With a thought, Vilkos pulled his glamour magic around his body in an invisible shroud. He traversed the open, grassy ground between the forest and the castle, easily passing through the two gates and crossing the lowered drawbridge.

More sloppiness. When he was king, all the courtiers, beggars, more like, would be evicted. Only those with power, alliances of use, or invitations would be permitted inside. He wouldn't tolerate the constant simpering Fechin allowed.

Inside the main entrance, he paused as his wolf side retreated, dulling his senses to avoid being overwhelmed. The air reeked of perfumes, cooking, sweat, paint, stone, and interestingly, some blood. Maybe some things had changed, if blood was spilled in hallways now.

How very uncivilized.

He skirted individuals and groups as he passed him, letting him hear snippets of conversation.

Borders. Parties. Someone's wife having an affair. Fashion. Potential alliances.

All the talk sounded exactly the same as when he'd left two years ago. Was it possible the fools were still arguing over the same things? Maybe it was even the same unfaithful wife.

Vilkus snorted. Ridiculous.

Ignoring the courtiers, he pondered where to find Fechin. If he was sending ravens out, he must be in the tower with the birds, or close by. Vilkos turned his steps in that direction.

Tantalizing aromas lured him on a detour into the kitchen, where dinner preparations were underway.

A black-uniformed castle guard sat at a small table off to the side, holding a rag to his bloody nose. A buxom kitchen maid fluttered around him making cooing noises as he muttered about his bravery when facing a rampaging centaur.

That was interesting. And probably all lies. A rampaging centaur wouldn't have left a man with only a bloody nose.

Vilkos snatched a plate piled high with meats. Hiding it with magic, he snacked on his way through corridors lit by torches and magic crystals leading to the raven's tower.

Courtiers and servants streaming his way forced him to step aside as they rushed past, their steps a bit faster than he’d seen anyone moving so far. He rounded a corner and caught Fechin’s irritated voice snapping at Shisti.

That explained things. Rumors around the land said Shisti was no longer the almost timid girl she'd been. Anyone with common sense stayed far away from her, or, so the gossip said, died.

Vilkos hurried his steps and turned at the next intersection, catching sight of his brother and the woman who wanted to be his wife.


She was still beautiful. He’d been drawn to her when she arrived at court, but she’d only ever had eyes for his brother. So determined to have Fechin, she'd brushed Vilkos aside like trash. He'd left the castle and wenched his way through Fae courts all over the land, fucking every woman he wanted, but none had fallen pregnant. Not by him, anyway.

Surprising that Fechin hasn't bred his prize by now.

A child was the requirement to officially take the throne, after all. But the supposed royal couple was not wedded, expecting, or by the look and sound of things, even happy.

Vilkos, on the other hand, was delighted.