The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) - Kaitlyn Davis
The king had never known the warm kiss of the sun. Still, he stood at the edge of his ship, forearms resting on the damp wooden rail, face lifted toward the sky. Those golden rays were the stuff of songs.
His world was gray—the vapors swirling off the dark surface of the sea, the mist against his cheeks, the endless fog. True, he often found himself searching the gloomy expanse for one small crack, one tear in the cloudy folds, one glimpse of the sky. But it wasn’t in search of the sun.
It was in search of salvation.
In search of her.
The stomping of boots pulled him from his reverie. The king spun. His first mate crested the steps to the quarterdeck and dipped his head in greeting. With a sigh, the king stepped away from the rail, away from his thoughts, and opened his mouth—
An invisible pulse of energy whipped through the air. The blast struck the king in the chest, and he stumbled back, slamming into the rail. Sparks of silver and gold danced across his vision.
He blinked, and blinked again, trying to clear his sight, trying not to hope, but the dazzling gleam wouldn’t fade. Across the effervescence, his first mate’s eyes were wide with disbelief.
“Silence,” the king ordered as he turned and studied the fog. Spirit magic simmered in the air, flecks of stardust and sunlight, glimmering majestically against the impenetrable haze. The king lifted his palm and released his aethi’kine power, shooting a golden arc over the sea. His magic merged with the aura descending from the sky, one and the same.
“She’s here,” he whispered, the softest confession.
Across the deck, his first mate gasped.
“She’s here!” the king shouted, as though the authority in his tone could invest the words with undeniable truth, since he believed in them with all his soul. He’d only ever felt power like this once before in his life—on the day the prince was born. And he’d been anchored in these deep waters ever since, in this very spot, waiting to feel that pulse of magic again. “Wake everyone! Prepare the ship for battle. The day has come!”
His first mate sprinted away without another word. The king kept his eyes on the surface of the water, waiting for the inevitable.
Not three minutes later, he saw the telltale glow in the dark. The ocean began to bubble and steam. Black-as-night liquid turned midnight blue, then warm aqua, then fiery orange, as though the world had flipped and the sun was no longer hiding behind a layer of fog, but was somewhere deep beneath the sea, surging toward the surface.
And then the beast emerged.
Its long screech was loud enough to make the king step back. The dragon pumped its wings, once, twice, roaring into the sky. Droplets of boiling water fell like rain. The king closed his eyes against the burn, waiting for the wave of steam to dissipate, and reached blindly with his magic. The dragon’s spirit was an inferno, too searing to grip, too potent to control, and even with all his power unleashed, the king wouldn’t be able to hold on for very long. Still, he sent the command through the golden energy pulsing from his palm.
Do not move.
Do not fly.
“Bring it down!” he screamed for all his soldiers to hear and opened his eyes. The dragon hovered in the fog, but the king’s magic was losing strength, losing vigor. The beast was the biggest he’d ever seen, ever battled. Already, his insides burned as the dragon fought back, a silent war, shooting fire and fury through the spirit connection the king had no choice but to maintain. “Bring it down!”
Magic flared in the air around him.
Blue sparks dipped beneath the sea and swirling water rose, splashing against the beast, dousing its flames. But the fire returned in moments, churning from a volcanic core no hydro’kine power could touch.
Yellow streaks cut across the sky, twisting into a windy vortex, aero’kine magic. The dragon was pulled into the storm, confused and swept away, wings flapping against the invisible currents, unable to fly free.
Dark swirls ensnared the beast’s head, the work of his shadow mage. Blinding ivory beams burrowed through thick scales, pure burning energy from his light mage. As the king dropped to his knees, the scorching beneath his skin too much to handle, a metal arrow pierced the dragon’s heart, leaving a trail of deep emerald ferro’kine magic in its wake.
The beast wailed.
But still it fought, wings pumping, spirit fuming. Boils erupted