"The baby was found on a night like any other stormy night… I remember it all so well. The sound of the crashing clouds as thunder rumbled throughout the sky, but, no rain just yet. I also remember that there was a war between the howling wolves and the howling dogs… and a single cry of pain sounded out throughout the land. 'Hunter has been bitten by his own dog.' I muttered.
This was when my horse paused. Never had Opeth stopped before. Even through everything we have been done together, never had my horse stopped, and as I kicked him on, he backed up. His black mane shook as his toss his head. It was then that my dearest horse turned so fast that I almost fell sideways from his back. Taking off into the dead of night… Although Opeth's strides were against my will, I felt that they were true.
The howls from the trees sharp, but, these were howls from across the wide, open river. 'Opeth!' I yelled and tugged on the reins, looking at the water ahead of us. 'Halt!' I cried. Listening to the pounding of his hooves as they beat over the hard ground. Yanking hard on the reins, but, alas, I might of well of had nothing to hold. Holding my breath as Opeth leapt, I grabbed onto his mane and closed my eyes, gripping my knees tightly on his saddle. But no rush of water came, opening my eyes to see if he had finally stopped… I was wrong. Staring down, Opeth was galloping across the surface of the water. The only water that touched us were that of the splashes which came up from his hooves. I shook my head and glanced down, watching lights flicker under Opeth's hooves. 'What cause do you see fit to cross here above all places?' I hissed towards my horses ears. 'If we were to be seen!' I added, but, nothing would stop the strong will horse…
When we reached the other side. Opeth trotted onwards, it wasn't safe to canter through these trees. Taking a hold of the reins, he let me pull him to stop as on the ground was blood… 'The dogs would of not killed the owner, would they?' I asked, but turned my head as the sounds of men were behind me, and not in front. Three men ridding along side the river were seen faintly through the trees, while the dogs were up ahead, still the yelping, howling and barking heard from both wolf and dog. Unsure, I kicked Opeth on and he moved as fast as he could under the trees. We came across a lady holding a bundle as she lay on the ground. I'll never forgot what I saw, the amount of blood which she had lost, it stained the forest. The dogs still tried to get at her and rip at her flesh, while, surprisingly, the wolves fought back against them, protecting the woman as she reached a hand to me, to weak to speak. Dismounting, I slipped my arms around her and sat her up to my chest, scanning over her, she tried to speak, but I placed my hand over her mouth, listening as the war between dog and wolf raged on.
It's true, I didn't understand. Fatal cries came from two of the dogs as they were savaged by the wild wolves. Four dogs remained. They snapped at me and one even sank its fangs into my shoulder. I gasped and swung my arm back to hit the dog in the side, though, I was aided here as a dark wolf tackled the dog from me, snapping his jaws under the dogs throat and shaking him. I looked to my shoulder before up the woman and sitting her up upon Opeth's back. 'Go!' I told him, looking to the orbs of Opeth's eyes. 'Go.' I pleaded and he went on into the forest, while I turned to face the fight. Only two dogs remained, while all seven of the wolves stood strong. Clasping my hand to my shoulder, I felt the burning pain from my shredded skin. And in a flash, the wolves took off within the trees. One stopped, however and it's eyes met mine, I seemed to get lost in the amber eyes… As quick as I had fallen into his eyes, I slipped out again as a voice broke my thoughts.
"What the devil has happened here?!" snapped the foul voice of one of the men.
"What the devil indeed…" came another of the riders as they glanced over the dead dogs. "Well… devil's the right word." he muttered, his eyes over me now. "Nicholas… you were banned from the lands."
"Aye, I was." I replied. "But, alas… I have lost my horse."
"Then you shall walk." Spoke the first man, holding a bow. "What have you done to my dogs?" he asked with a frown. The two living dogs sank behind the horses of their masters.
"They picked a fight with wolves…"
"Nonsense… There are no wolves in these woods anymore. They are in the wetlands and in the caves of the land beyond the other side of the river. Now, I will ask again." he said as his eyes dug into me. "What happened…?"
"Maybe if you had kept up with your dogs, you would have seen for yourself that my eyes do not lie." I spoke. "And, if you had had better control over your animals, then they would of attacked the fox they chased instead of me."
"Fox?" He asked, lowering his bow. "We wouldn't waste such time hunting a fox…"
"Then what life has caused you to leave your kingdom?" I asked them, looking to the all. "Which poor creature were you after? Deer? Bear?"
"Seai'lin." spoke the third man.
"Seai'lin?" I questioned. "The race is gone…"
"Almost." he muttered. "Nearly. Now, speak the truth and you shall be left to walk back to whichever cave you now call home." he hissed. "Have you seen the body of the seai'lin?"
I shook my head. "When I arrived, the dogs must of let this… seai'lin slip as they started their fight with the wolves."
"Nicholas, however would a wolf enter these woods unknown? The cursed beast is as banned as what you are."
"Then dismount from your high horse look over your dogs, check their wounds and find the teeth markings." I told them, turning from the three. "I think if I had fought them, I'd be left with more than a bite on the shoulder. Now, I believe you should be returning home. For, a seai'lin will not fall to two dogs." I told them as I walked on after the trail which Opeth had taken. Leaving the three men, their horses and the two injured dogs alone with their thoughts, as I crept into my own.
Wolves in the forest of Isden was very rare, for they had travelled over the river. But, I now knew of why they spared the lady… she was Seai'lin. A being connected to the earth. A creature so hidden and unspoken of that very little was known of them. It's true that they were hunted at a time until they were almost gone, yes… some were sold to the rich, in hope for entertainment. Many that had ended up a pet died, for they could not live life in cages, behind walls with no windows.
With a heavy heart, I soon came across Opeth, the lady on the ground. She had fallen from his back. As I stepped closer, I knew what many a man would have done to her in the end, but I was different to most. Her body lay lifeless upon the ground. "Opeth… you brought me here to watch a woman die… why? When she was going to die anyway? She was fading the moment I touched her." I spoke to the horse and sighed deeply. Opeth nickered softly, walking to the woman as she lay, he lowered his head and nuzzled the bundle in her arms. "Great." I started to say. "She lays dead and all you can think about is eating whatever it is she carries." I said before freezing as a tiny hand rose up and touched the black muzzle of Opeth. The horse flickered his ears forwards. Stepping forwards, I moved the cloth to look down upon a baby boy with the most beautiful green eyes.
I stared down at the baby, but he only returned my look of shock with a wide smile. Careless to the world around him and so very helpless. It took me a while before I knelt to the ground side, his eyes followed me. "Seai'lin child…" I whispered and he replied with one of the most happiest of laughs ever to be heard.
I laid the babies mother over Opeth, just behind his saddle, before mounting, holding the baby. Opeth walked on with big strides. The night carried on, rain falling ever so lightly. When we came to the river, I dismounted and placed the baby on the ground, then took his mother and walked on into the water, looking towards the stars in the sky. When the water became pretty deep, I let the body go and stood, watching her sink. There was a drop off just in front of my feet. I watched until she disappeared into darkness. I kissed my finger before placing it on the surface of the water. "Sleep well, fair lady." I whispered, backing away, turning and making my way to Opeth, glancing down to the child. I sighed and picked him up. "You'll be the death of me." I told him, but, once again, the only thing that came from him was a laugh and another smile. Holding him close as I sat myself upon Opeth again. I made him walk to the waters edge before I pulled back on the reins, making him stand. I looked about myself carefully. Checking over the forest, scanning the darkness in sight for anyone. Dead. No-one, as far as I could see. Tapping Opeth on, he stepped out onto the water… soon trotting, then cantering over the top of the river as we headed down, back towards the other side of the river… to see what fate had in store for us and the little one.