Liberty is a vampire living on a space station on the edge of civilization, a place where only those avoiding attention from the government tend to land. Libs spends his days working for the gangster who runs the place. He is somewhat content with his lot in life.
Riordan Dalheart is a Ranger working as a government enforcer, and he's been sent to the furthest reaches of the galaxy on a secret mission. Liberty is immediately suspicious of his motives. Whatever his mission, Rory's presence throws a wrench into the finely-tuned dynamics of the space station, as well as upsets the balance of Liberty's life.
What is Rory up to and why is he here? Liberty is determined to get to the bottom of this situation ... and so is the gangster he works for.
There was a ship in the dock, and next to the refuse of Leonis Alpha, the craft was a flower among weeds. It was sleek and white, without a scratch to mar its shining surface. The legs were spindly and delicate, and the ship perched on them daintily. Whoever owned this vessel was likely wealthier than the entire station put together. Jane would definitely like to meet them, that Libs knew even before the hatch opened.
Quickly, since it appeared that no one had emerged yet, Libs scaled a ladder in the blink of an eye and scurried along the catwalk above the ship. Once he was in a spot that gave him a view of the entire docking bay as well as all the exits, he halted and flattened himself to the metal grate. He waited for the owner of the ship to emerge, not moving an inch, not even to blink.
The hatch opened soundlessly, not even emitting a hissing noise like most ships did. Libs listened carefully, and one set of light, even footsteps sounded on the high quality metal of the ship's walkway. The first thing that he saw was a set of leather boots that were a rich gold-brown colour, supple and snug, laced up the front.
The boots walked down the ramp sedately, revealing their owner in increments of gold and white. His uniform jacket came down to mid-thigh and was a spotless, shining white edged in gleaming gold. His body armour underneath was golden and the high neck collar of the shirt underneath was white. When Liberty could finally see the man's face -- for he was undoubtedly a man, tall and leanly muscled -- he nearly breathed.
His hair glinted like sunlight, although there was a silver swath from the top of his head down the right side, indicating a scar underneath. He was daylight. Everything about him shone bright, like a beacon. He was blinding, almost painful to look at. Libs' eyes stung. The man looked around, putting one hand on his hip, lifting the other to run through his cornsilk hair. He huffed out a breath, eyes scanning the cold, grimy docking bay. His gaze swept over Liberty's hiding spot but didn't stop.
"Blaise," he rapped out sharply, glancing back over his one of his squared shoulders. "Get your rump out here, you contrary animal and tell me what you think."
His voice was a honeyed tenor, and Liberty wanted to drink it in.
Libs' thoughts were pulled back to the matter at hand as he heard more footsteps coming to join the stranger on the ramp. They weren't human, and to Liberty's ears, they were achingly familiar: hoofbeats. He leaned over the edge slightly, straining to see.
What emerged from the ship was nothing like he'd ever seen before, and that was saying a lot considering what had come before it. It was a strange blue-grey colour and its hooves were matte black. Whatever it was, it was not a horse. The creature was as sleek as its owner and was fitted out with a saddle and hackamore bridle. It still wasn't a horse. It had four, straight, strong legs and a powerful body. It had a black, braided mane and a long, swishing tail. But it was not a horse.
For something that wasn't a horse, it sure looked a damn lot like a horse.
Its heart's beating was too precise, the breathing of the lungs too even. Underneath the smell of horse was something strangely metallic, too strong to be blood. It ran like clockwork, its movements too perfectly executed. It was too much and too little, whatever it was.
Then it talked.