With his sister's help, Pietas uses his dragon dagger to perform the Ritual of Strength. The ritual affirms his own prowess, and is far from religious in nature, but he never declares war without undergoing it.
The Dragon Dagger
Dessy picked up the dragon dagger and twirled it. "You should let our people know you still do this ceremony. They'd be impressed by your devotion."
"I don't do it to impress anyone. I do it to ready myself for-- Stop!" His sister had been sliding one fingertip along the edge of the blade. He removed the dagger from her grasp, and examined the edge.
"Honestly, Pietas! I was just testing the sharpness."
"I didn't want you to cut yourself."
"I'm as adept with blades as you. More so, if you ask me."
So like Dessy to miss the point. "If you'd cut yourself, I'd have to consecrate it again. It can only have my blood or my enemy's."
"You think I'm witless? As if I haven't performed this ceremony with you a hundred times. And here I thought you were concerned for my well-being."
"Stop playing, Dess. I told you, I'm busy."
She let out a harsh sigh. "Fine. Let's complete the ritual."
Dagger in hand, Pietas unfastened the clip in his hair, and let it fall. The wet tail slapped the middle of his back. He tossed the clip aside, placed the dagger on his palms, and offered it.
She poised her hand above it. "Who offers this weapon?"
"First Conqueror, War Leader of the Ultras."
She took it from him. "For whom are you willing to suffer?"
"I suffer for my people." Pietas turned his cheek.
Dessy slid the dagger tip along his face, from cheekbone to chin, drawing a thin trail of blood. "For whom do you bleed?"
"I bleed for my people." By the time the first drop of blood had risen, the cut had healed, leaving no scar.
Watch Pietas perform the Ritual
To save his people, a genetically enhanced warrior must do the one thing he detests... trust a human.
Origin of Pietas
An exiled, immortal king and his not-quite human friend join a ginormous panther "kitty" and the most dysfunctional family since forever.
Forged in Fire
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