Claimed by Her Mates(6)

By: Grace Goodwin

“There is no Viken woman alive that can be truly neutral.” He looked between the three of us. “Would you claim a mate from another sector?”

We each shook our head. It would be impossible to mate and fuck a woman from another sector. She would detest me and I would tolerate her. That was not the way of a mate and we all knew it. The bond had to be strong, powerful. Once mated, the connection was more powerful than anything else on Viken.

“Therefore, you have been mated to a woman off-planet. An Earth woman.”

“Which one of us?” I asked. “Not all three of us are required for this. Surely one of my brothers knows enough about a woman to breed.”

The men didn’t argue with me. If they were anything like me, breeding a woman would not be a hardship or a problem.

“One is not sufficient.” I swear Regent Bard paused for effect. “All of you must breed her. And it must be done within minutes of each other. You all must have an equal chance of siring the child.”

The three of us glanced at each other, but said nothing. However, I knew what they were thinking. I couldn’t hear their exact words, but I knew them just the same. “I don’t share, regent. I’ll take a bride, if you insist, but I will not share her.”

“Then there will be war.” At the regent’s words Lev shifted his stance and Tor’s scowl deepened. “You three are the last of the royal bloodlines. The entire planet acknowledges your claim to the throne of Viken. You must claim a bride together. You must overcome your differences and lead your people to a new age of peace. We must stop fighting with each other and focus on the interstellar battle groups. We are no longer at liberty to fight amongst ourselves as children. The outside enemy draws near, and our warriors do not volunteer. Instead they stay home and raid one another’s territory like spoiled children.”

The regent took a deep breath, his rant one I’d heard many times. From the look on my brothers’ faces, the regent’s words were not new to them either. “You three are identical in every way. Your seed is identical, therefore any child from the mating union     will represent all three of you, all three sectors.”

“So we don’t have to do this together,” I said. “Either one of them can have the woman.” I tilted my head in my brothers’ direction.

As long as it wasn’t me who ended up with the female. I didn’t need one. Vikens treasured their females and children, but since I didn’t have to worry about pleasing a woman, or taming one, life was so much simpler. When I wanted a woman in my bed, I took one. When I was done, she returned to her life as I returned to mine. I certainly didn’t need to breed a female for any reason. Children meant devotion and a family, which I did not want. By all accounts, our parents had a loving mating, yet look where that got them. Dead. I didn’t need to bring a woman to Viken and have her be killed for political reasons.

“I don’t want a mate,” Tor said. “He can have her.” He pointed at Lev.

“Me? I don’t want a mate.”

The regent was so damn calm, so intent to set the planet to rights before his death. He was old and frail. Unlike the three of us, he’d witnessed a peaceful Viken. “It is done. She has been matched to all three of you. As Vikens, you know your responsibility.”

Responsibility. That had been forced upon me from a very early age. There was responsibility to lead the planet, but not to breed a woman with my estranged brothers.

“We didn’t ask for this,” I said, speaking for my brothers as well. When they nodded, it was perhaps the first thing we’d ever agreed on.

“And will you all accept and name the child of your brother as your successor?”

“No.” Lev’s eyebrow arched again.

“Never.” Tor’s hands clenched into fists.

I did not respond, for my answer was the same. No. Never. I would never abandon my people to the offspring of another male. They were my people. My child would inherit the sacred mantle of leadership.

“And now you understand. You must all mate her.” The regent raised his hand to silence me as I opened my mouth to argue. “You weren’t asked to be born the three rulers of the planet. You didn’t ask to be separated as infants. You were meant to be together, as one. You were born to rule, but your life has been, and will be, full of sacrifice. For the sake of the planet, for future generations, the feuding must end. Our warriors must once more rise in service to the Interstellar Coalition. We must protect our planet from the Hive, not fight amongst ourselves. If we do not once again meet our warrior quota, we will be removed from coalition protection. I received word that we have eighteen months to comply, to once more contribute to both the bride program and the warrior ranks, or Viken will be abandoned. I would see Viken unified and strong again. Protected. Proud. Before I die, we must restore Viken to its place as a powerful force in the fight against the Hive.”

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