Chapter 9:
Tobias Barlow
Narlos Ar-ra, Near the Border of New Jersey, the Next Day

It was dark. He couldn't see anything around him. Can't be possible. Blindfolded not blind. He couldn't breathe through his nose. Blood trickled down of his nostril and into his mouth. Clogged with blood; can't smell, can't see. Don't panic. His body was sore all over. Can't remember why I'm here. Can't move my arms. Don't panic. "What's wrong wolf?" a voice laughed.
In my head? No, I can hear it. He felt a brush of movement near his side. Something ripped through his chest. A scream tore through his throat. The ripping motion stopped in his chest as abruptly as it had started. He gasped in deep breaths of air. There was a splash a liquid on the wound and suddenly, white flashes of pain filled his eyes and he started to scream again. The voice laughed and laughed into the darkness.
Comrade General Tobias Barlow woke up in a pool of sweat. He wiped his forehead and struggled to regain his breath. He was sitting straight up in bed. Tobias was relieved to see he hadn't woken up his partner. The werewolf Andrew slept soundly next to him, his arm still lying across Tobias' stomach with his leg slightly wrapped around Tobias'. He was just a little over a century and a half old, about 10 maybe 20 years young then Tobias. He had ear length brownish red hair and closed pale green eyes. His pale thin face was smooth and without a trace of hair. Just looking at him made Tobias smile. They had been dating for about two months and this had been the first time Andrew had slept over. Andrew, no last name; he was so sexy to Tobias that he didn't need one. No sex yet, just getting comfortable with sleeping together. Most Dontia relationships went in that order, that way there were no.unpleasant surprises in sex. They had met in one of the uptown bars down the street called Moonshine. Andrew had never been in any army and had just traveled over to America from Ireland. They bought a few beers, Irish of course, and talked. Andrew was soft-spoken and often serious, but once in the mood he had a weird sense of humor.
Not counting the nightmare, this had been Tobias' longest sleep in days. The days at Fort Reven had taken all the energy out of him. The new recruits for foot soldier positions needed to be interviewed and analyzed. It had been a tough change from the old routine of allowing any werewolf admittance in the army, but war, as learned from previous experience, brought freshly 'born' Dontias thirsty for revenge on the horrifying experiences as soldiers in the Western Front. The last thing the army needed was head strung pups ready to kill any German or Austrian, whether Dontia or human, who stepped foot in their territory. It had been a good 70 some odd years since Tobias had last seen it happen though, but the U.S Council wasn't going to take their chances. The Council had little patience for fresh Dontias who were practically human in their eyes.
Tobias was the General of the Narian Division that was just a special name for New Jersey. General by name, Night Hawk by reputation. He was well built with a fair skinned complex. As a human he had been incredibly scrawny and always picked on, but now he had learned how to even out weight in his body by working out. Adrian always said he had the physique of The David. Perfectly shaped muscles now rounded off his slightly too thin body. His strong cheekbones curved into a small goatee on his well-shaved face. His thin chocolate colored hair was shortly cropped to keep from snagging in his helmet. What differentiated him from the rest of his pack was the fact that he didn't have hard, cold eyes. Tobias had the softest brown eyes seen on anyone. He had boyish good looks and a way of smiling that made him look at least 8 years younger. Tobias sighed and lifted his hand, running his fingertips along a thick ugly scar that trickled down the center of his chest. The dream was almost too real for comfort.
His apartment was located in an old part of the city and had been inhabited for at least 50 years with an odd string of vacancies. The place was one of those art studios, with no walls separating the kitchen, living room, and bedroom. It was clustered with books and papers scattered across the floors and desks. Wooden crates became makeshift working counters and breakfast tables with half eaten, week old food clinging to moist unidentifiable grime. Thankfully it was winter and the food hadn't rotten to the point of noticing. A small radio sat on one of the wooden crates, almost buried by stacks of wrinkled paper and half done crossword puzzles. An almost finished game of Mah jongg was spread across a small desk. Next to it sat a deck of cards without a box soaked in spilt week old coffee. Everything in the apartment seemed half done from food to small drawings of a nude Andrew on the floor. The walls were covered with posters of human anatomy, wolf anatomy, and a chart of the demon species. The bed was still despite Tobias' sudden nightmare and movement. The thick navy blue quilts stirred softly as Andrew rolled over. The phone near the bed had been unplugged because Andrew was getting irritating, though he didn't say this out loud, over the amounts of time Tobias spent talking to the army.
He gave Andrew a soft kiss on the check and then slipped himself out of bed quietly. A soft glow poured out of window from the cloud-blocked sun. Tobias made his way silently through the room, completely naked, searching for clothes. He grabbed a loose shirt and stitched together baggy pants. He gave a quick look around for food as his stomach growled loudly. When he nearly stepped in a box of soggy pizza, he decided to forget his stomach. The smell of snow and rain drifted in through an open window, giving the apartment much needed ventilation. Tobias yawned and threw on a thick military jacket over his shoulders. It took him a few moments to find a matching pair of combat boots that laced up to his knees before he was out the door, closing it softly behind him. He hopped lazily down the stairs, carefully avoiding the cracks. His foot got stuck only once; it must have been his lucky day. Frost clouded the window near the door. Tobias lifted his sleeve, wiped a clean circle in the glass, and peered out. He saw that dark threatening clouds blocked the midday sun. There was a sharp feeling in the air that raised the hair on the back of his neck. The untouched snow glowed eerily in the silent street. The Dontia city of Narlos Ar-Ra, the War City, had once been the werewolf capital of America in the early days of American werewolf colonization, almost a thousand years ago. However, years of war with humans and demons had turned it into a fortified metropolis. It resigned its title as capital to Excus Ar-Ra, the Warrior City. Many had grown tired of the constant fighting and left. Even in the twilight hours of darkness, the City was a ghost town compared to other cities. Every aspect of Narlos Ar-ra down to each single brick in the walls was shrouded in sadness and lamented its glory days. It grew on the residents.
Tobias sighed and pushed open the creaking down. He pulled his thick jacket around him and shivered. The crisp brown tinted snow brushed up against the top of his leather-clad boots. He walked to a firmer part of the street and stretched. A few muscles ached in protest against the sharp movement. He ran his hand through his short-cropped hair. He gently touched the spot on his chest where his scar was, feeling the cold air sink in suddenly. Tobias then shook his head, as if to shake off the nightmare, and took off running for a long jog. The cold air pierced his lungs in short ragged breaths. His stomach gave another angry cry for food and suddenly the watery pizza sounded very appetizing He hadn't made it very far down the street before he stopped at Moonshine for a bite to eat. Tobias slid into through the unlocked doors knowing that someone had to be home.
The Moonshine Bar was one of those places that never changed and never closed. It was rumored that the sole bartender and owner was either an insomniac or slept standing with his eyes open. The owner, Randy short for Randolf, had a mass of long curly hair tied back into a ponytail. He was slightly short with darkly tanned skinned around the face. Tobias couldn't remember the last time he met a werewolf that wasn't in some way attractive. It was a quality often needed to quickly attract human prey away from public forums with promises of.well.whatever they wanted. Randy had attended Tremore once and 'dropped out'. He was one of those guys that read philosophy and pretended to understand. Tobias cracked a smile at the thought when he saw the Randy was reading a book by John Locke. "Got any food available at these hours?" Tobias asked, sitting down at the bar. "This is a bar, of course I do," Randy said, tossing a menu from the back table over to Tobias without so much as a glance up. "Right," Tobias muttered to himself, flipping through the list of food. "You ever thought of writing this menu up on the board so people don't need to ask for menus?" "Then people would stand around like mindless morons staring at the board in their hopeless dependency on all authority," he finally glance up. "It's a socialist ideal to use menus that was hidden in Marx's theories." Tobias forced himself not to mutter anything about socialism and the Communist Manifesto knowing it would only start an argument. "I'll take a..T-bone steak and a glass of alcoholic Vaya." "Made with what?" Randy sighed, moving over to the glasses. "Umm.Irish imported beer and.uh.black sheep Vaya." Tobias said, watching him pore the drink together. "Shaken, not stirred," Tobias added softly.
He waited patiently, twiddling his thumbs. Randy set down in front of him a plate of raw meat, still oozing with blood, and a tall glass of thick red liquid. He ate quickly, hoping to make a quick stop of the main barracks before returning home. Tobias left a few dollars on the table and made a quick exit without a word from Randy. The Barrack was located at the far end of the city, just before the towering walls worn down from the majority of the fighting. The building was composed of four tall towers surrounding the center training court and sleeping quarters. It's brownish gray bricks were over 900 years old. Tobias jogged down to its tall doors, barely breaking a sweat. The musty halls lead to numerous rooms, offices for the leading commanders. A line of werewolves flowed down the hall. As Tobias guessed, it came from a closed oak door at the end of the hall labeled 'Comrade General Tobias Barlow'. He pushed through the line quickly, trying to ignore the fact that most of the werewolves there were either taller or bigger muscled then him. He had gotten used to the fact that some people were bigger than him after he turned 12. "Hey buddy, you can't cut through! We've been waitin' here for half a fucking hour!" yelled someone in the front Tobias just looked up and glared. A sprinkle of whispers scattered through the line. Tobias caught his full title once or twice. He pushed passed the young wolf that had yelled and opened the door to his office. "Excuse me, you can't.oh hey Tobias," said the woman sitting at the desk.
It was Tobias' second in command, Tracy Neinmeck. She was a young wolf, barely fifty but had quickly risen in the ranks as Tobias had. She had strawberry blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes that always seemed to be focused on Tobias, most often on his rear. She smiled a bright white smile and stood up. She was well muscled, like any military commander and was wearing a tight blue shirt with a small skintight skirt. He usually saw her in heavy armor and little makeup. "Tracy, are you sure that's proper attire? If we were attacked now, I doubt you'd be able fight in that outfit," Tobias said gently, glancing at the new recruit who seem to be drooling over Tracy; he must have been a new born. Tracy's face reddened, "Oh, I just thought of.dressing up." She did a quick curtsy as Tobias nodded slowly. "Next time try to dress up in something a little more metal and a little less.skin." "I.I didn't think you'd show up today," she grinned. Tobias seriously doubted that. He smiled politely. He never had the heart to tell her that he wasn't ever going to be interested. Her age group never understood homosexuality. "Listen, I thought I might interview a few recruits, take some time off your hands." "Of course. I'll just.wait outside. If you need any help." "I'll call. Relax a little.mingle," Tobias kept the smile plastered to his face. "Of course," she repeated, walking passed him for the door. Tobias didn't have to turn to know that she had turn to look at his butt; the jealous glare from the recruit was enough. Tobias smiled reassuringly at the recruit and said, "So, how far did she get?" "We were just finishing discussing army policy." "Ah, then I think you're done," Tobias said quickly, stacking the papers a little for effect. "Talk to Tracy on your way out if you'd like," he added before the boy could argue.
The recruit held in a grin and nodded, practically tripping over his own feet as he ran. Tobias took a deep breath in before he yelled for the next wolf to come in. He sat in the large leather seat as the door swung open. The man who had yelled at him entered. Tobias made a quick guess at his age and realized he was a new born. "Name?" he asked, strictly business as the man sat down. "Daemon Lee Thomson," he said, his English accent poking through. "First and last will suffice," Tobias muttered. "Any military experience?" "No, my father kept me out of the war." Tobias held in a comment, he was the mature werewolf, "Any knowledge in weaponry?"

"I can shoot a gun..sir," he said smugly. "It's 'Krin' not 'sir' in werewolf society. 'Sir' implies male authority and just plain authority all together," Tobias explained. Daemon didn't seem to understand so Tobias skipped it all together. "What about hand to hand combat?" "No, I was brought up a proper gentlemen," Daemon snorted. "Ah.well, we need werewolves with experience in some form of fighting right now. We can't, in this fort, take time to train you from step one," Tobias explained. "Maybe you should think about it," Daemon said carefully. "I already have," Tobias replied, "and I've decided, as I have already stated, that we can't except you." "I don't think you should.do that," Daemon said. "Do what?" Tobias asked frowning. "Not allow me in." Tobias sighed; he'd have to compensate to get this newbie to.well.fuck off.

"Alright, I'll see if I can get you a position as a foot soldier.although you'll have to." "I don't want to be a foot soldier," Daemon cut off. "I believe I deserve a higher position." "I'm sorry then," Tobias lied. "You should think about it," Daemon repeated. "And why's that?" Tobias said evenly. "I've seen you around." Tobias thought about that line for a few seconds, trying to find some threat, "And?" "When you're not on military business.with.others." Tobias blinked. "I saw you with that other man in the bar a week ago." "And.?" "You were." his face tightened in revulsion, "kissing." Tobias rubbed his eyes; another Victorian pup. "And that would make me want you in the army because.?" Daemon's eyes narrowed, "The army doesn't want queers like you." Tobias' face tightened, "The Dontia army doesn't give a flying fuck what I do! If you have a problem with it then you joined the wrong specie. And I would greatly appreciate it if you never set foot in this city again. Blackmail doesn't go down well with me or the Council." Daemon's face turned red with anger. He opened his mouth to speak. Tobias leaned in towards him, his more wolf side appeared through his eyes. "Fuck. Off." The man stood abruptly in his seat, knocking it over. "You've made a very dangerous enemy here." "I'm sure I have," Tobias smiled sweetly, his jaws tightening. It took every ounce of his sanity to not knock the young wolf out. The door slammed as he left. Tracy followed in as he left totting a newspaper in hand, "Oh, you okay? Need any comfort?" "No, I'm just tried," Tobias sighed. He looked up and read the front title of the newspaper. In thick, bold print, he saw the words, 'Vampire Attack. Massacre in New York'. "Give that here," he said, reaching for the paper. "Oh, right. I brought it for you," she smiled. Tobias spread it open and read allowed, "20 humans dead in Night Hawk den. Lead pack member, the infamous Adrian Willis, dumped the bodies in Central Park before heading off to speak with informants. The humans had their eyes gouged out and their nose broken, a few ripped off completely. All of their chests had been slit open and mutilated with burns from acid. The attacker was reported to be a vampire, maybe several. Their message, whatever it may be, has certainly caused the violent Night Hawk pack to look for a proper way to respond to this attack on their Dontia authority."
The article continued on and had some colorful pictures of the bodies. Tobias was pale, shaking from anger and something else. He closed his eyes trying to shut out the memories. He ran his hand down his scar and breathed in deeply. "Are you okay?" "I need to go," Tobias said, standing up. "Go where?" "To New York." "Why?" He doubted whether that was any of her business, "Pack business." "Wait, you are in the Night Hawk Pack?" Tracy asked, in something close to disgust. "Yes, I'm leaving you in charge," Tobias said, rushing out of the door.

* * * * * *

"You're leaving?" Andrew asked softly, watching Tobias pack some odd clothes. "Yeah. I need to help my pack out." "Not to be rude, but why now? I mean the Night Hawks have had problems with demons before and they've always.dealt with it." "I can't.I just have to go," Tobias answered. He paused and laid his hand gently on Andrew's face. "I'm sorry. I can't explain it. I'll be back as soon as I can." He turned back, surveying the room for more items he needed. "Where were you today? When I woke up, you were gone." "I.went out." "You were at the Barracks again, weren't you?" Tobias swallowed. Andrew gave a deep sigh, "I thought.I thought you were on military leave." "I am." "I thought that meant you didn't have to go to the Fort." "I don't. I just thought they might need me," Tobias said weakly. "They have over two hundred wolves in command," Andrew smiled softly. "I'm sorry. I promise that when I get back, there will be a lot less army business." "That's what you said two weeks ago." "I know." There was a long pause. Tobias looked carefully at him, "So.I'll see you when I get back?" "I don't know.this isn't going to work with your obsession with the military," Andrew said slowly. He stood, "Call me when you get back." "You can stay here." Andrew shrugged, "I prefer home." "Wait," Tobias stopped him. "Just hold on. I swear to you that this is pack business. I won't lie to you." "I know," he replied softly, looking down. There was another pause. "I'm.I can't just stop seeing the fort. I'm trying, I really am. I want to make you happy but I have.obligations." Tobias pulled him slightly forward until they were nearly touching. "I do.I do. God it's been a long time since.I do.love you. At least I think I do," Tobias stuttered. "I know," Andrew nodded quietly. "I just.God I don't want to lose you but I have to go." Andrew smiled, "You're not going to lose me. I want this to work out and I'm tiring to make this work but it's a two part effort." "I know." "Just give me a call when you get there okay?" Andrew asked. Tobias smiled, relieved. He leaned in and softly kissed him.