His footsteps seemed ridiculously loud to his overly sensitive ears as he quickened his fast stride to an almost sprint. His breath began to grow ragged as he got more and more nervous and every exhale was like a pant. The alley he was dashing down was wet and narrow and smelled of mold, garbage and excrement. It burned his delicate nose, which was wrinkled with distaste and fear. His sense of smell was much stronger than any humans.
'I bet those assholes are loving this', he thought irately.
He let out a soft curse as he misplaced his footing and took a nasty tumble into a cesspool of a puddle. The cobblestone was very old and uneven, and in places some stones were dangerously recessed. In the dark, even with his acute vision, it was hard to maneuver safely.
"They need to repave this fucking alley…"
His ears twitched as he began to hear his pursuers footsteps pick up in pace. He scrambled clumsily to his feet and took off in a mad dash towards the end of the alleyway. The fronts of his clothing were sticking disgustingly to him, covered in liquid and slime from his tumble, and the breeze from his mad sprint was beginning to chill him. His nose crinkled up even further.
'This is the worst.. I'm being chased, I feel like shit, and now I even smell like shit..'
He burst from the alleyway and almost collided into a very disgruntled human. The man looked down on his short frame, only 5'8, and made to say something rude to him. But he had no time for that and quickly sidestepped the burly human and continued to make a run for it. He could hear obscenities being yelled at him from behind and threw his hand up to give the man a one fingered salute. His small lithe frame cut through the crowd with an inhuman grace as he sprinted towards the ends of the city towards the more wooded areas. He was getting closer now…
Unfortunately so were his pursuers. He could hear their menacing growls as they began to gain on him. Damn it, this was supposed to be a simple mission. Something even heshould have been able to do without adequately screwing it up. But lo and behold, he somehow managed to. Though it could all be attested to extremely unfortunate luck on his part, he would still get an earful of blame once he was safely returned home. That is, if he could out run those damned rodents.
As he ran the crowd began to thin out, he was entering the outskirts of town and exiting the hub where all the hustle and bustle occurred. It was dark, and fast getting darker, but as he turned to glance backward he could see with alarming accuracy the brutes that were gaining on him. There were three to be exact, and they were a hunkering slobbering troupe to boot.
'If they catch me those savages are gonna eat me,' he thought cursing his luck.
"Come on little kitty," one called out. "Slow down, we only want to talk to you!"
"Fuuuuck you!" he retorted without even bothering to turn around.
He sprinted as fast as he could and began to near the edge of the tree line. Once he was within a few paces of the forest, he let loose the tingling feeling he had been suppressing. In mid stride his body began to contort and shift. His bones cracked and rearranged, his limbs shortened. His hand began to sprout fur and shrink, and his spine seemed to both stretch and shorten at the same time as his change over took him. If felt like minutes for the change to occur, but was actually mere moments. And instead of a human figure breaking through the tree line and into the woods for safety a sleek black cat raced in its place.
With his new more agile form he bounded through forest, opting to climb a tree and race from branch to branch than to stay on the forest floor. He heard his pursuers curses as they tried to navigate after him, but he was too quick and their blundering bumbling forms were clumsy in these woods.
'There's no way those idiots will catch me now.' He smirked, as well as a cat can smirk, and continued to nimbly navigate through the forest top. After he felt he was a suitable and safe distance away he began to slow down, and eventually stopped in a large tree with wide and thick branches.
His tiny chest was heaving and his feline tongue lolled of his mouth. His legs began to shake as his adrenaline rush wore off. He wasn't exactly out of shape, but it had been a very long time since he had hauled ass like that. In the village his tormentors were terrible yes, but not deadly. If those slobbering brutes had caught him this time he would have been as sure as dead. After, of course, being brutally maimed and tortured.
The cat shakily sat down and began to groom itself for comfort. It was quite the large cat in fact, much closer in size to a dog than a cat. Slick short and gleaming black fur coated its entire body and the only things truly visible on its face were its very large and very golden eyes.
After he had settled a bit, he took the moment to begin to panic. Sure, he had escaped those pursuers for now but he had failed to get the things from the city he was sent to get in the first place. It was just his luck he had run into a pack of were-rats right in front of his destination. He hadn't thought there would be any were-creatures were he needed to go and had been careless about hiding his scent, something his pack was sure to not let him live down.
'Fucking great…' he grumbled. His only mission was to pick up some supplies his pack needed for a mission, essentially like grocery shopping. It was the only thing his pack felt him suitable to do, and the only job he had been assigned in this preparing stage.
He felt hot shame wash over his entire frame; all he had to do was buy things. Unlike the others in his pack, he was not built to be a fighter. His clan was very well practiced in the art of assassination, afterall, what was more lithe and stealthy than a cat? And their size was relatively small, much smaller than the were-leopards and the larger were-cats which made them perfectly adapted for assassin work. Well, all of them except for him. He was the runt of his litter, and not blessed with the strength and skill that his clan was known for. He had still failed to pass his assassin proficiency tests and had never been on a mission in his 20 years of life, a feat within itself.
And because he was useless to the were-cat clan, he was charged with getting together all the other things needed for the mission his brethren were soon to undertake. He was assigned to go shopping. Go into the human city, buy some tools and ammunition and a few rations that would last long and could be easily carried. And just as he approached his last destination he was scented by a pack of were-rats. And them being the ruthless disgusting creatures they were, they set out in hot pursuit causing him to drop all his previously acquired goods and bolt for his life. Perhaps if there had only been one of them he could have risked a fight, and perhaps won. But he wasn't the most exceptional of fighters and as rats worked best in groups he would have stood no chance against three. So he ran for his life and in the process lost all he had purchased and was left with not enough money to buy all he needed again.
And needless to say, he was in quite a terrible mood. So now as he sat in the tree with shame racking his body, he was glad the burning in his eyes could not turn to tears in his current form. He thought out his courses of action. Should he return home, with nothing, and be regarded as even more of an epic failure than previously, or should he attempt to buy the important things off of his list with the remains of the money he had and at least return with something but risk being eaten by those savage rats…
The choice was an easy one for him, though he was useless to his clan in more ways than one he still had the arrogance and pride that all cats are known to have. Plus if he returned home now the torment he would receive would be unbelievable and far worse than normal. At home they were usually satisfied with cornering and pinning him and practicing take downs and new moves on him. Not to mention a heavy array of verbal abuse. Scardy cat, useless, runt, litter shit and, of course, pussy.
But though the others in his clan had their jokes, and their brawn and their assassin skills, he had something he knew was better. He admittedly was the stealthiest cat in his village, and if he didn't want anyone to find him he was as sure as invisible. Running away from tormentors all his life adapted his skill in this area to be quite astounding. Plus he was smart. Smarter than any of those assholes and he knew it. While they sat around pondering the best scheme for an assassination he already had them planned out. But of course he could say nothing to them, for the word of a 20 year old cat that had yet to pass his assasins test was useless in everyone's eyes. But what they all didn't know is that he didn't give a shit about their tests and their skills and their killing. The killing part especially left a bad taste in his mouth.
And so he stretched out and began to doze off in his tree, thinking of how he could possibly pull off returning into town without being maimed and killed. He knew the rats weren't the smartest and he was confident in his stealth. This time he would just be more aware of his surroundings and surely it would be an easy feat. Unbeknownst to him however, was that there were even more dangerous things than were-rats in these woods.
The were-cat almost cried with joy as he once again entered the forest, this time toting a bag full of almost all he was sent to get. He managed to avoid those rats and quickly repurchase what he was sent to get. Of course, once he had his plan formulated everything went smoothly and he didn't encounter one problem. But he did have to leave out most of the food he was sent for, but he had the tools and the weapons he was supposed to get. The load was cumbersome and heavy however, and he wondered why they hadn't sent another to help him carry it. He couldn't change to his cat form which would make travel faster and easier with the huge pack he was carrying, so he had to walk through the dense wood, something he was at all pleased with.
After walking for hours, and grumbling the entire time, the cat man decided to take a quick breather. He managed to climb a sturdy tree and tug the pack up with him. Setting the pack on the branches below him he found himself a suitable place to sit. Sighing he tossed his dark hair out of his eyes, and lifted the rest off of his shoulders so his neck could breath. He was slowly becoming drenched in sweat as the humidity and heat in the woods took a toll on him.
"Fucking bugs, fucking plants, and this fucking heat! Fuck! It's so hot!" If there was anything he hated, it was sweating. He hated the way he could feel his sweat rolling down his back. It was disgusting. He had already shredded a majority of the clothes he had been wearing yesterday and was now only clad in a thin undershirt that hugged his skin and was drenched in sweat, and his shorts which he rolled up to mid thigh.
"A cat is not meant for this heat," he grumbled and drank some water from his canteen before he leaned back to rest on the trunk of the tree. He would take a quick cat nap, pun intended, and then resume his travels. Hopefully he would make it back by nightfall. And if he didn't, the whole forest would have to hear his complaints which he was sure to be making.
The were-cat shifted uncomfortably on his branch. He had been sleep for almost an hour, but something was waking him up. Before he had even fully opened his eyes he knew he was in trouble. It was the scent that hit him stronger than anything. It was strong and fierce and suffocating and it enveloped all of him so entirely. It smelt of forest, and musk and power. The smell was everywhere, it was clogging his pores and infecting his brain. He felt as though he was breathing in the strong musk, tasting it, and it was constricting his throat. He gasped for air as recognition struck him.
His entire body seized in panic as he cracked open his terror struck eyes. His eyes stared blankly for a good moment as he waited to be ripped in half. But as he focused his eyes he saw nothing. After he sat there terror stricken for at least five, some of the panic began to recede. If the werewolf hadn't noticed him yet, he would probably survive. It was then he noticed a strange thing about this smell. It was heavily intermingled with blood. A lot of blood. So much blood it made his stomach churn uneasily, and his throat constrict with nausea. The cat nervously got on all fours and peered over the edges of his branch, but as soon as he did, he wished he hadn't
A gasp hitched in his throat, and he quickly sat up and all but tried to press himself into the bark of the tree. Not good, not good, not good, he thought. And just to confirm it had been real, he peered over the edge again. But sure enough it was still there. A werewolf that looked to be the size of a damned bear was at the base of the tree. His tree. And not only was the thing huge, it had a huge chunk taken out of its abdomen as well. It was bleeding all over the forest floor and was covered in a numerous amount of other wounds and gashes. Twigs, dirt, and blood matted its coat, and with the way it was bleeding he didn't think it would last long.
The thought of it just dying there was enough to make his eyes water in disdain. Don't get him wrong, it's not so much that the monstrous creature was dying that bothered him, it was that it was dying right there, under his tree. He imagined the pain the creature must be feeling and his body seized with discomfort. Perhaps if he could heal the creature then…
'No, stop it!' he chided himself. This was exactly why he was always failing his proficiency tests. He couldn't handle seeing the death, he was too weak. Too soft.
Plus were-creatures were known for their self-healing abilities, and he wouldn't put it past this one to heal itself quickly. It smelled so large and powerful, it would only make sense that it could heal itself swiftly he reasoned.
That is, unless the wounds were caused by magic or silver, which would substantially slow down the self healing process and perhaps cause the creature to bleed out... But from where he was he could not tell what caused the wounds. It could be anything. And if the creature was indeed healing itself it would only be so long before it awoke. And when it did wake up it would probably be starving. He decided he didn't want to be there when that happened.
He slid down to the lower branch, using every bit of stealth he possessed. As he reached his pack, he cautiously began to hoist it up and fasten it onto his back. Then he glanced down to check on the were-wolf, only to find its menacing amber eyes locked on his own. The cat let out a mew of pure terror, and tried but failed to scamper up the tree with the heavy pack on. Realizing he was getting nowhere he looked back down again only to discover the huge creatures eyes were no longer focused on his, and in fact they were closed. He found it odd the wolf hadn't come after him. If it attacked and ate him its healing process would speed up considerably…
'Did the creature think it was wounded beyond healing?' He wondered.
He gazed at the mammoth wolf at the base of the tree as it lay prone in the leaf litter. Its breathing was extremely shallow and labored and copious amounts of blood still poured from its wounds. The cat sat there staring, for what felt like ages before he realized the wolf had no intentions of moving. He almost felt bad for the creature it had clearly taken a beating, something he himself was all too aware of. And he found himself wondering what would be required for it to be healed. The creature seemed to be quite unconscious, he was sure it wouldn't awaken for quite a while. Were-creatures tended to heal best while sleeping, and he was sure that with the extent of these wounds the wolf would be in a near coma.
He slid the pack off of his back and silently made his way down the tree to the side of the creature. He sniffed over it, checking to see if he could scent any magic or silver which could have caused the wound. And sure enough he began to detect the sharp twang of silver on the edges of the wounds.
'So he was attacked with weapons,' the cat mused internally. 'But who could do this to a wolf this size?'
Slowly, with caution, he lowered his mouth to the largest wound on the bear wolfs abdomen. He testingly prodded the wound with his tongue and immediately the vile taste of silver mixed with the already metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. He glanced up at the large creature, but it had yet to stir. Confident with this new discovery, he was sure he could finish cleaning this wound and disappear before the wolf reawakened. If he could seal off this one wound, it would most likely be able to heal its other minor injuries on its own and still live.
The cat cautiously began to lick away the traces of silver from the edges of the wound, spitting out the tainted blood periodically. It was a slow process, as he had to make sure to lick gently enough that it wouldn't jar the wolf awake. He kept checking and rechecking to make sure the wolf was still fast asleep. He soon grew even more confident in what he was doing, and the strength of the wolf blood in his mouth left a pleasant tingle. The power vibrating through his mouth began to flow to his head, making him feel slightly tipsy and even left his fingers and toes tingling. He was almost done cleaning the wound when he looked up to check on the mammoth creature again.
But this time its eyes were open and its head was directed to look at him hunched over its abdomen.
The cat froze mid-lick. All the confidence that had been building crashed down an in instant. He immediately sprung into action, leaping quickly backwards from the wolf. As he leapt he was struck with a terrible feeling of dizziness and nausea.
'I swallowed too much of the blood,' he thought hazily.
He landed sloppily, his footing slipping from beneath him. He was quick to get back on his feet, but the wolf was quicker. A giant paw raked across his side as he tried to sprint away. The force of the blow alone threw the cat a good five feet. He rolled painfully, and scampered to his feet before darting off into the trees.
His side felt wet and hot, and as he reached down he felt the hole where a huge chunk of his flesh should be. Panicking he looked down at his side. And sure enough a few inches below his ribs were huge gouges from the wolfs' giant paw. His blood was pouring rapidly from the wound. Desperately he tried to clamp off the wound with his hands, but the blood just trickled beneath his fingers. In a quick decisive movement he ripped of the remains of his undershirt and tied it as tight as possible around his middle, hoping it would staunch some of the blood flow.
'What in the HELL was I thinking?!' he mentally kicked himself as he began to try to run again. How in the world did he think it would be a good idea to nurse a damn werewolf back to health?? It was this softness he was chided about at home, how he would never be a good assassin if he couldn't stand to see anything die. How it would get him killed. Well look at him now. He had a hole in his torso and could barely run. Hopefully the werewolf was still too injured to pursue.
The numbness in his side was beginning to spread as the panicked cat ran through the woods. Each step he took was more strained and painful then the last. The drunken affects from the wolf blood was wearing off, and in its place was a terrible pain. He tried to drag his feet forward, but his blood was pouring out faster than his body was healing. Oh no, he wouldn't die from it. But if he passed out in these woods covered in blood, he didn't know what would happen to him
As he sprinted his vision doubled and his feet caught. He hit the ground hard, not even managing to throw out his hands and prevent his face from crashing into the soil. He struggled to push himself up, as his breathing became more and more labored. His arms became to weak to hoist himself up and he tried semi-crawling semi-pulling himself towards a tree to help hoist himself up. As he dug his claws into the bark to try and pull himself up, he was once again struck with a huge wave of disorientation and plummeted to the ground.
Thinking and moving were becoming more and more difficult. The wound wouldn't stop bleeding.
"No, no, no," he panicked aloud. "I can't pass out now.."
He was getting cold, and as his claws weakly dug into the forest soil as his vision began to blur in and out.
Then it was dark.
So i hope that was a decent post. It's been a VERY long time since i've written any fantasy, but i felt like its time to jump back on the horse. We got to know the main character some in this chap, and in the next you'll finally learn his name!
Critique or just comments would all be HIGHLY appreciated!
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