Author: WhiteZephyr PM
Two souls seeking escape. The first, a Werewolf who can't and won't remember his past. The second, a woman who denies her heritage. They meet by complete accident, and as she shows him what it is to be "human", he teaches her what it truly means to be "noble". Reviews welcome and appreciated!Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Romance - Chapters: 7 - Words: 19,337 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 03-01-13 - Published: 02-10-13 - id: 3100038
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Zayne lowered his body slowly to the ground, the grass tickling his underbelly and making his nose itch with the morning dew that gently brushed against it. He fixed his eyes on the small white figure as it flitted closer to him, its small body slowing as it reached its chosen feeding grounds. Zayne waited patiently, suppressing the urge to leap from his hiding spot in the bush and kill the rabbit swiftly. He knew it was too far away, and he would have to wait for it to come closer, oblivious to its end, until Zayne could take it quickly, leaving it no time to react.
He waited there, under the cover of the green leaves of the bush and the shadows of the reaching trees, for his breakfast. He'd become accustomed to waiting and learning to be patient. Nothing had come to him when he'd rushed for them, and an empty stomach was a lesson well-learned.
The rabbit, after having gorged itself on various greens, carefully hopped over to Zayne's obscured position, where it likely sought the cool shade and solitude that the bush offered. Zayne made not a sound nor a move until the rabbit was within range of his arms, and then he tensed the muscles in his legs and pounced.
Prey had no chance against predator. It squeaked in surprise as Zayne's teeth sank into the tiny animal's flesh. It thrashed around in his mouth in an attempt to escape, but it was futile, and the rabbit expelled the last of its energy for a lost cause. Zayne snorted at the animal's behaviour and shook the rabbit around until he heard the satisfying sound of the crack of the animal's neck, and then he trotted back to his abode to have his meal.
His cave was occupied only by himself. He'd run the previous tenants out—a band of thieves who fled at the sight of him—and had occupied it ever since. When? He wasn't certain. He couldn't remember the time very well, but the encounter remained clear in his mind. It was a deep, dark place, that could very well have become a cavern had those thieves continued digging through (no doubt searching for gold or other kinds of treasure). Zayne had dragged grass into the cave and it served as a good bed, although he really didn't have a need for it. It was a simple reminder of the past, and nothing more.
Zayne opened his maw and allowed the dead rabbit to fall onto the stone floor of the cave, where he proceeded to rip it apart and guzzle it down his throat. He took his time to savour the taste of warm meat on his tongue, and he unceremoniously ran his long tongue around his chops to catch the blood he may have missed. Satisfied, Zayne shoved the bones away with his nose into a corner and climbed the small slope inside of the cave to where he slept. He was just about to make himself comfortable when a sudden sound caught his attention, and he flicked his ears in its direction.
Footsteps, that much was obvious. Fast, as if they were running. Zayne paid them no heed, certain that the vines that obscured the entrance to the cave would be enough, but he remained on all fours to reassure himself. The footsteps eventually became louder as the one running drew closer, and now Zayne could hear another pair of footsteps behind the first. Zayne lowered his head, crept close to the entrance of the cave and peered out. A figure clad in red leapt overtop of a fallen log, a long burgundy cape billowing behind them in the wind. The cape caught onto a branch on the fallen log and tore as the figure slammed onto the ground on their back.
His interest piqued at the sight of the strange outfit that the figure wore. They obviously weren't one to blend in with their surroundings, which was likely why the two men pursuing didn't lose sight of them.
"Ha!" one cried as he caught the figure. They looked too exhausted to fight back. "Thought you could escape! Well, we finally got you, Crimson Ghost!"
Zayne snorted at the name. The person on the ground groaned as the second of the two men finally came up.
"That name sucks," the person grumbled. "Can't you idiots think up a better one?"
A woman. Zayne could have smirked at her response, but he remained watchful. The two men straddled her against the fallen tree, and the smaller of the two drew his knife from the sheathe on his boot. Zayne tensed at the sight of it, even more so when it was pressed against the woman's neck.
"Good thing you fancy red," the smaller man commented, "because we wouldn't want your blood to stain your clothes, now would we?"
"Oh, I don't know. It's hard to get red wine stains out of this thing." She smiled at him, and then pointed to her sleeve. "See? Like this one."
The man looked—and was dutifully rewarded with a punch to his nose. Zayne cringed at the sound of smashed cartilage as the man recoiled, holding his bloodied and broken nose. The larger of the men, uncertain of what to do, released the woman and hurried to his fallen comrade. The woman leapt to her feet and began to run again.
"Don't let go of her!" the smaller man yelled at his friend. He spun his knife in his hand and fired it at the fleeing woman. It struck her calf, burying itself deep, and the woman fell to the ground again, crying out in pain. "Stupid sod! She could've gotten away!"
The woman began crawling forward slowly, but the men were upon her in an instant. Zayne pulled his lips back into a snarl as the smaller, more violent man stepped on the handle of his knife. She screamed as the knife dug deeper into her flesh, and her screams were just loud enough to obscure the sounds of Zayne's growls.
"You have something we want!" the smaller man snapped. "Best to give it here now, since you can't escape!"
The woman clenched her teeth and her fists. She was so close that Zayne could see the tears of pain brimming at her eyes, but she didn't let them fall. "John, Butch... Go to Hell!" she spat.
"Then we'll just have to take it off your corpse!"
Zayne leapt out of the cave and hurtled himself at the men. The small one, especially. He made no effort to hide his approach and lunged at the man named John just as the man spotted him. John ducked as Zayne soared overtop of him, and Zayne barrelled into the second man instead. Butch yelped in fright, but Zayne was quick to get off of the large man and position himself so that the men would have to fight him to get the woman. And since John's knife was still in the woman's "possession", it would be more trouble than it was worth.
The men eyed Zayne warily, and so Zayne bared his teeth and them, growling and barking to get his point across. He snapped at John when the man attempted to get closer and narrowly missed him. Zayne advanced, and eventually the men stumbled over the fallen tree that the woman had been caught on earlier. Without even turning to look behind them, they turned tail and fled, screaming about giant monsters all the way back from where they came.
Zayne snorted at the terrified men and padded back to the woman. Blood leaked from her calf; a little too much for Zayne's comfort. Latching his teeth around the handle of the knife, Zayne carefully pulled the weapon from her body. She groaned, but otherwise didn't react. She was likely already fading from the blood loss. Spitting the weapon out, Zayne manoeuvred his body under the woman's and only stood when she was safely on his back. Then he began to make his way for the village not far from his cave.
The people there didn't pay him much heed. Certainly, they'd sometimes grumble in irritation if he were unsuccessful in catching animals for his food and would wander into the village at night to take some drying meat from their stores, but he lately hadn't paid any visits there. No need to, considering he'd become a much better hunter than before. This would probably be the first time he'd visited in the daylight, as it were.
Picking up his pace, Zayne did his best to balance her on his back while avoiding the natural obstacles that the forest and the mountains provided. When the village was in sight, Zayne crept close, suddenly aware of how many people bustled around its small market. Some wagons stopped to unload goods, while others began their journey back to the larger towns. The village would probably grow larger sometime soon.
Zayne lowered himself to the ground and gently rolled her off of him. Grabbing a mouthful of her torn cape, Zayne pulled her along the forest floor and into a clearing that no one was really paying attention to. He was quick, because if anyone looked past the house he was behind they would surely spot him. When he placed her easily within sight of everyone (should they turn around), Zayne bounded back into the forest. He nestled into the cover of a bush and watched intently, mentally ordering the humans to turn around and discover the woman.
It took a while, and Zayne wondered if the woman wasn't dead, but a young girl and what looked to be her brother came around the house and inspected the woman. The boy had his sister run to the house to get their mother and father, and then his eyes examined the bloodstain that was smeared across the ground. Of course, Zayne had nearly forgotten about the blood. A mark from his paw was prominently outlined within the thick crimson liquid that had begun to dry in the sun. He could have frowned, but resisted the urge. The boy examined the print a little closer but forgot it the moment his father came around the house, followed closely by the mother.
The father bent over and put a hand on her neck gingerly. Zayne waited, tensed in the bush, until the father brought his hand back.
"Breathing," the man declared. "Barely. She's lost a lot of blood."
The mother said something that Zayne didn't catch. Not that he paid much attention; he was already headed back to his abode. He'd stayed to hear what he'd wanted to.
Zayne was at the entrance of his cave when he glanced down and saw the shine of the blade that had been in the woman's leg. The parts that were free of dried blood were easy to spot in the sunlight. Zayne snorted distastefully at the weapon, scooped it into his mouth and tossed it into the cave. He'd deal with it later. He just didn't feel like it then. It brought too many memories up to the surface—ones that he would rather have buried deep into his mind.
Tori woke up facing a blazing fire, its heat warming her face to an uncomfortable degree. Her eyes adjusted slowly to the light, and she turned onto her other side to gaze at her surroundings. A quaint little home, dark outside and illuminated only by the fire, met her eyes. Three beds lined the walls, and a table wasn't far from where Tori was on the floor, but the house was barren, with barely anything of value inside.
Carefully sitting up, Tori squeezed her eyes shut as pain flared from her left calf. When the pain died down, she could see that people occupied the beds. A family. Tori swallowed as she realized the danger she'd put these people in just by coming into their home. And for how long? Tori shivered as the memory of John and Butch's chase came back. She wondered if those brutes had even done their research properly. If they had, surely they wouldn't have chased her? Tori had rejected the job that they wanted her to do—.
Then again, she'd not only rejected the contract. She'd also informed the guards and joined them (subtly) in bringing down their business. Afterwards, they'd seen her, and, believing that she'd somehow taken a bit of their "merchandise" which they could sell to get back into business, pursued her. Tori shuddered to think what they'd do to the people she was with. She needed to leave, that much she knew.
Tori left a pouch of gold coins on the table and slowly, as quietly as she could, left the residence. She'd taken some small medicine tablets along as well, so she hoped that the gold she left behind was enough to cover for it. She used the side of the house as a crutch as she began her journey, but then she realized that she didn't know where she was. Cursing silently, Tori took in her surroundings. It was a small village, but its roads revealed its bustle. The village itself was a small hamlet of sorts, hidden by the surrounding mountains and forests. Tori had, indeed, gone through the forest to escape John and Butch, but she didn't remember noticing the mountains before. They towered over her now, looming shadows against the night sky that blotted out the stars.
She chose a random direction and started walking. The bandages around her calf, soaked with blood, itched her leg, and it was all she could do to ignore it. By the time she reached the edge of the forest, she was already exhausted. But Tori pressed on, fearful of the dangers that Butch and John carried with them. Surely, the next time she saw them, they wouldn't be alone.
She couldn't remember much of what happened after she hit John in the nose. She knew that she got up to run, sensing her freedom, but she'd forgotten about John's precision with knives. And when the white-hot pain shot through her leg and she fell to the ground for a second time, she realized that her luck might have run out.
Tori remembered cursing at John. What did she have to lose? She could see her death looming over her, so there was no point to being polite any longer. But then everything became fuzzy. A white mass had come out of nowhere and frightened her pursuers enough to make them flee, but she wasn't sure about afterwards.
She stopped in the woods to allow her wounded leg some rest and then looked up at the night sky. From the phase of the moon, she could tell that she lost three days that could have gone towards her escape or finding a place to hide. Tori cursed and pressed on. She needed to put as much distance between herself and the village as possible. The forest was an ideal place to hide, but for how long? And where would she stay? If she were to make it her residence for the time being, then she would surely need someplace hidden from the rest of the eyes in the forest.
Tori stumbled as her weakened foot caught onto the root of a tree, and she slammed hard into the ground. Biting her lip to keep herself from crying out, Tori carefully rose to her knees, but her leg was giving out. She couldn't get any farther on it, and she had lost her waterskin (to down the medicine she grabbed) during the scuffle with John and Butch.
She took a deep breath, clenching her fists in frustration. Her leg felt like it was killing her, and the cold wind bit the wound as if it was being stabbed anew. Her outfit had been made for speed and comfort, not warmth. She decided that she could lose the cape though.
Tori fingered the edge of her wide-brimmed red hat as she thought of her next move. No, the forest wasn't her best, or even her first choice. She couldn't survive in it. She wasn't good with a bow, and she didn't even have one on her. She had no weapons, no skill in tracking animals, nor any way to figure out her position. Tori was completely hopeless. Well, at least she could build a fire. She had some flint in a pouch on her belt in case she was camped in a field, but that was about it.
She sighed in frustration and pushed her hat back, off of her head. The string attached to it caught her neck gently so it didn't fall to the ground, but she couldn't properly see the stars with it on. She disliked having to strain her neck. And if she was just going to die there, medicine in hand but no way to properly down it, flint on her being but likely to give away her position, then she wanted to see the stars as her soul left her body.
But Tori froze when she heard something not far off from her. She cursed her stupidity. Of course! she thought grimly. I'm such an idiot! Of course there would be animals who could eat me out here! I have to move!
She tried to get to her feet, but to no avail. Her leg was in no shape. The steps came closer, and Tori's heart pounded so loudly that she was certain whatever was coming could hear it. With no way to move and nowhere to go, Tori let her head fall back so she could watch the stars. Maybe the animal would make it quick. It definitely sounded too large to be a rabbit, as it was. A bear, maybe?
She wondered how long death would take. She wasn't sure she wanted to find out. Shivering from the cold, Tori waited. And waited. And continued waiting.
What was taking so long?
Tori looked back at the forest rather than the sky. She'd been right about the size of the animal, at least. But she was right off of the species. It was a huge white wolf, and it stared at her with intelligent yellow eyes. Although most of its fur was matted with dirt and blood, it still looked beautiful in the moonlight.
"Well, go on then!" she goaded it. "I'm only going to die anyway..."
The wolf snorted at her, as if it was mocking her, and then it came closer. It circled her twice, examining her, and Tori wondered if it wasn't just toying with her. Eventually, the wolf began circling her a third time, but then it slid its lithe and furry body underneath her left arm nudged her with its body. Tori had to shake her head a few times to make sure she wasn't hallucinating, but when it nudged her again she realized what it was doing. Perhaps it was some sort of forest spirit come to aid her? Whatever the case, Tori was grateful for the help.
She used the wolf's body to get to her feet and let her left foot dangle in the air. She would hop with one foot, and hopefully not trip over any more roots.
She was looking forward to some sleep. She needed to escape the nightmare that she'd suddenly found herself in.