Archive for December, 2010

Nautical Dawn

Yori woke just as the sky was beginning to brighten. He stood and padded to the window of the little room he shared with Rune. He pulled his robe a bit closer around his shoulders and looked out towards the horizon.

“Hey,” Rune said, his voice hoarse with sleepiness. “What are you doing?”

“I was just…” Yori started. He trailed off and looked at Rune. “The sky looks so pretty. Come and see?”

Rune sighed. “The sun’s not even up yet,” he said. Then, he pulled himself out of bed and moved to stand beside Yori. He sighed again and hugged Yori close. “It is beautiful, though,” he said, resting his head on Yori’s shoulder.

Allow me to remind you…

“Allow me to remind you that there is no memory that time does not efface, no pain that death does not destroy.”

Kylen let out an explosive sigh. Part of him wanted to thank Mikelis for coming after him. Another part of him wanted to try and escape his rescuer. He didn’t get the chance to do either.

In the blink of an eye, Mikelis had caught him around the waist and lifted him off the ground. “Let us return to the nesting grounds,” he said. Sighing, he added, “What were you thinking, Kylen. Surely you understood the danger.”

“I – I wanted to go home,” Kylen rasped, but he didn’t struggle. Instead, he hugged Mikelis and rested his head against his broad chest. “I – I didn’t care if I died trying to get there – or I thought I didn’t.”

“And now?” Mikelis murmured.

Kylen closed his eyes. “Now… maybe I can return to my homeland one day,” he said, his voice soft. “For now, my home will be with you.”

“In time the pain will fade, dear one,” Mikelis said, hugging him gently. “In time, the Winter Caverns will be your home and your old life will be distant memories of another world.” Then, he shifted into his dragon form and flew out above the trees, towards the Winter Caverns.

Cheated death to catch you as you fall.

There was a flash of light and a metallic clang, then, the scythe was spiralling through the air. The hand holding Kylen’s hair loosened and he pulled free. He scrambled away, struggling to get to his feet. As he nearly fell forward, an arm snaked around his torso.

He screamed, but then, he was released again and fell against a tree. Panting and trembling, he whirled to face the scene. He watched the slender form that stood in front of him. He couldn’t see who it was, but their intentions were clear: they were protecting him.

Kylen watched as figure engaged the masked men, one after another. His sword seemed to flash with unearthly light with each swing. Soon, the masked men were either lying on the ground, dead or unconscious, or else, they’d run off into the trees.

He looked up with wide eyes as the figured turned to face him. “That was a near miss, dear one,” a soft, familiar voice said.

Killing to your rhythm, banging to the beat of your drum.

Kylen ran through the trees. His heart was pounding in his chest, like a drummer beating out a rousing dance. However, this was no dance. This was a matter of life and death. He wasn’t in the spirit world anymore, but he wasn’t home either. Times like this made him long to be back in the strange Enchanted Gardens.

He slid to a stop as masked figures loomed in front of him. “Please,” he rasped, as he tried to stumble away. He gasped as he tripped and fell on his backside. His eyes were wide with fear as the masked people encircled him, raising their bloodied scythes. One of them grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, exposing his throat. Kylen screamed in terror as the scythe descended.

That one’s never gonna be in your bedroom again, now that the war’s over

Rune tensed when the door opened. He waited for the deceptively gentle hand to smooth his fur – for the screams of his mate to ring through his cell. When nothing happened, he opened his eyes.

A young girl stood in the doorway. She blinked at him and then glanced around quickly. Timidly, she stepped over to him. Leaning down to look at him, she said, “If I let you loose, can you… shift out of this fox form and into something… stronger?”

Rune blinked and then nodded slightly. He could do that. However, why would she want him to do so? What did she have to gain by releasing him?

“Would you… take me with you?” she whispered.

Tensing, Rune nodded again. So, that was it. She’d free him, just as long as he agreed to take her with him. Well, he could do that much. He wasn’t quite sure what would become of the girl once they were away from this place. However, he knew that she wanted to be free just as much as he did.

His eyes closed as she loosened his bonds. As soon as he was free, he took his human form and smiled at her. “Thank you, miss,” he said. “Just… allow me to free my mate and we’ll be off.” He took her hand and guided her down the corridor, towards where he knew they were holding Yori. He would be glad to put this place behind him.

I don’t think I’m scared of anything except happiness

“Why do I have to be the one that goes?” Yori asked, his voice tinged with frustration.

Rune chuckled wryly. “You’ve been in the human world before – been physical there,” he said. “None of the rest of us have.”

Yori heaved a sigh and shook his head. “Not by choice!”

“Still,” Leif said, “the fact remains that it’s an experience you have, which the rest of us lack. To be honest… we’re all a little afraid of the idea.”

Glaring, Yori said, “What makes you think you should be afraid? You’ll be able to return whenever you want!”

Rune laughed. “Only thing that scares me is the idea that I might enjoy myself there,” he said. He kissed Yori on the cheek. “You’ll only be gone a little while. How hard can it be to find one little human?”

Yori just heaved a sigh.

Lighted streets, distant stars, brilliant snow

Yori frowned as he walked along beside Winnie. “What are we doing?” he asked, blinking.

Winnie laughed. “It’s called Christmas shopping,” she said. “Well, to be more precise, we’re window shopping. I already have gifts for everyone. I just like looking at the window displays.”

“Why?” Yori asked, shaking his head. Then, he saw it. The window was decorated with twinkling stars and snow. People wearing fine winter fashions – presumably available inside – seemed to play in the winter wonderland. “It’s beautiful,” he breathed.

“That’s why,” Winnie said, nodding in agreement.

Nighttime story

Yori sat down beside Rune on the log. He leaned back and smiled up at his mate. “So,” he said, “ready for the festivities?”

Rune smirked and looked out the window. “I think so,” he said. He smoothed a hand through Yori’s hair. “What should we do while we wait for the others?”

Chuckling, Yori shook his head. With an impish grin, he fluttered his eyelashes flirtatiously and said, “Tell me a story?”

“A story, you say?” Rune said, arching an eyebrow. He leaned close and began whispering in Yori’s ear.

Leif came in and looked at one and then the other. He frowned and shook his head. “Not the sort of story people should be telling where others might see, Captain Wolff,” he said. When both of them burst out laughing, he rolled his eyes.

…But don’t let the sun catch you crying.

In spite of his resolve not to give in to the madman’s wishes, Rune felt tears stinging his eyes. He wasn’t crying yet, but he was near to tears. He trembled as he struggled to keep his tears inside.

Another scream echoed through the prison and he flinched. He knew that voice as intimately as he knew his own. He had no idea what torture his mate was suffering, but the screams were enough to shake him to the core.

Rune lifted his head and looked up at his captor. A low growl escaped his throat. If he could just get free!

“I wonder,” the man said, smoothing Rune’s fur gently. “Will he die before you begin crying or will his pain be enough? Don’t doubt, little fox, he is suffering terribly and, in a way, you’re to blame for that.”

Fit objects for our tears

Rune watched the man warily. He could hardly believe that he’d been so careless – so very foolish! As he cursed inwardly, he kept his expression carefully neutral.

“Did you know,” the man said, testing the ropes that bound Rune in place, “that the tears of foxes like yourself have magical properties?”

A low growl escaped Rune’s throat. If this man thought he was going to cry, he was wrong. He wasn’t the sort to cry over physical pain or from fear. It took true sadness to make him cry and this man couldn’t bring him that.

The man looked into Rune’s eyes. “The question is,” he said, “just how do I go about making such a strong specimen cry?” He reached out and smoothed Rune’s fur. “I wonder: just what situation would you feel is deserving of your tears?”