Posts from the ‘Wolves’ Category

It’s simple: just breathe through my lungs

Yori knew that he was supposed to use the full extent of his gifts only rarely and only under the direst of circumstances. Rune knew that he was well aware of that fact. However, he had to agree that their circumstances had, indeed been dire.

As soon as the wolves had been chased off, Rune whirled to face his mate. “Yori,” he said. Then, he cried out as he watched Yori crumple to the ground.

Galen beat Rune to his side, but only by seconds. They turned him over together. Yori’s face was ashen and his lips were faintly blue. “He’s not breathing,” Galen rasped.

Rune nodded and tipped Yori’s chin back. He inhaled deeply and pressed his lips to Yori’s own, then, he slowly breathed into his mate. His chest expanded nicely. That was good to see. “Come on,” Rune said, as he inhaled.

He gave Yori several more breaths of air. Then Yori’s body seemed to spasm. As Rune sat back, Yori began coughing and gasping. “That’s it,” Rune said, rubbing his back gently. “Take nice deep breaths, Bellissima. You’ll be fine now.”

Galen sighed in relief. “That was… that was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. He looked up at Rune. “Have you had to do that before?”

“Just once,” Rune admitted. He sighed and shook his head. “Sometimes… Yori just needs to borrow a set of lungs that work better than his own.”

Just a little bit of history repeating

Yori frowned slightly as the wolves closed in around Rune and himself. He summoned his staff, even though he knew it wouldn’t be enough. He had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“All right, Bellissima?” Rune asked, his tone strained.

Yori shook his head. “I feel sick,” he said.

“Something you ate?” Rune asked. “Maybe, if they eat you, they’ll get sick too?”

“It’s not like that,” Yori said, flushing. “I just can’t shake the feeling that we’ve been through this before.”

“Hmm,” Rune said, “perhaps.” Then, the wolves launched their attack and there was no time for words.

At a loss for words

Yori was quiet now and that worried Rune. While it was true that his mate was one to speak softly, he was never so silent. He hadn’t realized how much his ruse with the wolves would upset Yori, not until he’d heard the anguished cry and seen the tears.

Rune sighed and glanced across the room at him. “Bellissima,” he said, his voice soft. “Are you cross with me over that stunt I pulled earlier? It was the only way.”

For a moment, Yori just stared at him. Then, he gave a weak chuckle and shook his head. “It’s not that,” he said. He smiled. “Rune, you know I can’t stay angry at you. I love you far too much for that. I understand why you did what you did and you feel contrite for upsetting me. That’s enough.”

“Then why are you so quiet, Cara mia?” Rune asked, stepping over to smooth his hair away from his face.

Yori shivered slightly and then held still while Rune adjusted the barrettes that pinned back his hair. “It’s the howling,” he breathed. “They keep… howling. It’s enough to freeze the blood in your veins! It’s like they’re calling to each other, asking if some poor soul was foolish enough to leave the walls!”

Rune nodded. “I was doing my best to ignore it,” he said. He heaved a sigh and took Yori’s hand. “Let’s explore the grounds, perhaps that will keep your mind off their incessant howling.”

“I doubt it, but at least it’ll keep my mind occupied,” Yori said, tucking a lock of hair needlessly behind one ear.

Don’t Do That Again

Yori landed just inside the walls of the fortress, then he sank to his knees, sobbing softly. He couldn’t seem to speak clearly enough to tell them why he was so upset. As he struggled to regain his composure, there was a commotion at the gates. He looked up, rubbing away tears, as they opened them to admit another visitor.

“Thank you,” a cheery familiar voice said. Warm brown eyes met his. A ready smile touched the newcomer’s lips. “Ah, Bellissima,” he said. “I’m glad to see you made it here safely as well.”

For a moment, Yori was stunned. Then, when he’d decided that his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him – that Rune was truly standing there in the walls of the fortress, safe and whole – he wasn’t sure if he was relieved and happy or angry.

“Rune,” he said, his voice cracking. He stood shakily. He brushed away his remaining tears with a trembling hand. “It was an illusion.”

“Of course, Bellissima,” Rune said, nodding. “We were surrounded by those beasts and I saw no other recourse than to fool them into thinking I’d slipped away and let them, then, believe they’d killed me. I was most fortunate that they fell for the ruse.”

“Of all the stupid, irresponsible, uncaring, thoughtless things to do,” Yori shouted. Both of them flinched at his tone. He never raised his voice. He let his breath out in a huff and then, much to his embarrassment, he was crying again. In a much quieter voice, he said, “You scared me half to death with that stunt, Rune!”

Suddenly, Rune was hugging him. “Ah, Bellissima, will you forgive my thoughtlessness? I should have told you my plan, but I feared they might be intelligent enough to understand…”

Yori sighed and hugged Rune back. “Just… don’t do that again,” he whispered.

“If it’s within my power, Cara mia,” he replied.

For now, that would have to be enough. Yori was well aware that he couldn’t promise it would never happen again. Only the Fates knew what the future would bring.

Your sweet symmetry, all shattered

Yori panted softly. He was back to back with Rune, as they battled with the wolves. They weren’t natural creatures. Their size told him that without the need for them to come at him from above!

“I’m going to try something,” Rune hissed. Then, he was gone.

Yori gasped, swinging his staff around to guard his now unprotected back. His wind was enough to keep the gigantic beasts away, but only just. “Rune!” he cried. Where had he gone?

Then, he spotted his mate standing across the clearing. Rune nodded once, then whistled. As one, the wolves turned towards him. Seeing him as an easy target the wolves charge. “Run,” Rune screamed.

Yori hesitated for a just a moment. In that moment, he saw Rune whirl away and try to escape. He screamed as he saw them attack Rune, knocking him to the ground. Then, he squeezed his eyes closed and launched into the air. He flew blindly and faster than he’d ever flown before.

The cold wind froze his tears on his face. He didn’t stop flying until he couldn’t hear the sounds of the wolves anymore. Then, shaking with sobs, he opened his eyes and looked around. He saw a walled fortress and made for it. He couldn’t believe that Rune was gone. It was… he couldn’t accept it.

the door out of the fairy-tale stands wide open

“So,” Yori said, smiling at Galen and the other captains. “Thank you for having us and – and you are welcome to come and visit us any time.”

“Thank you,” Galen said, bowing slightly.

Rune smiled at the portal opened. “That’s our ride,” he said. He sighed softly and took Yori by the hand. “Let’s get going, before the big bad wolves come back.”

“Gladly,” Yori murmured. A moment later, they were through the portal and on their way home.

an angel in distress

After several minutes, Xander returned and bowed politely. “Please, come with me,” he said. He turned away and started down a corridor. Yori and Rune exchanged a look and then trailed along behind him.

As they entered, they saw a boy that appeared to be nearly the same age. White wings spread from the center of his back. One was flapping wildly, while he held the other at an odd angle. He was making pained noises.

A woman stood close at hand. She seemed to be trying to get closer to him, but was not able to do so. His flapping was threatening to do her an injury.

Yori frowned and stepped forward. “Wing cramp?” he said, his voice soft.

“Y-yes,” he said, squeezing his eyes closed. “It just…” he trailed off with a moan.

Nodding, Yori said, “Stop flapping and stretch them, then fold them slowly.” He watched for a moment, while the boy did as he’d said. Then, he smiled. “Is that better? Try stretching and folding it a few times – very slowly.”

After a moment, the boy sighed in relief and tucked his wings out of sight. “Thanks,” he said, smiling. “I’m Galen, Captain of the Stags.”

everything is as it was

Yori was wheezing by the time they were safely inside the walls of the fortress. He tried to speak, but couldn’t manage to get a single word out. Waving at Rune, he pulled out the vial that held his medicine and popped the cork.

“Wolves?” Rune said, looking at the boy that had guided them there. “You’re sure they can’t get in here?”

“They don’t seem to be able to,” the boy said, giving them a wan smile. He heaved a sigh and then bowed. “I’m Xander, by the way. I’m the lieutenant of the Stag Division. You’ll probably want to see our captains.”

“Yes, please,” Rune said nodding. He looked at Yori and set a hand on his shoulder. “Better now?” he asked.

Yori nodded. Replacing the cork, he smiled. “I’m just fine,” he said. His voice was as soft as always, but he wasn’t wheezing or panting any longer. He gave Xander a weak smile. “Thank you very much for getting us to safety.”

Flushing, Xander shook his head. “No – no problem,” he said. He flashed Yori a sunny smile and spun on his heel. “This way,” he called, hurrying into the largest building within the walled compound.

Floating in Empty Space

Yori didn’t like running when he didn’t know what he was running from. He slid to a stop, gasping for air. He wasn’t surprised when Rune stopped beside him. Their guide stopped as well. He hurried back, eyes wide with shock.

“I need to… catch my breath,” Yori panted, shaking his head. Looking at the… Yori could only think to call him a boy. He looked like a child! “What are we… running from?”

“The wolves,” the boy said. He squeaked, then and pointed behind them. “There,” he snapped, “we’re running from those! Now, hurry up, or they’ll make a meal of you!”

Yori blinked and looked back. Just calling them wolves was an understatement. They were easily the size of the oliphants the Sky Maidens rode. Not to mention that they were floating in the air as they stalked towards Yori and Rune.

“Fates,” Rune gasped. He caught Yori by the shirt collar and dashed ahead, dragging Yori behind him like a flag.

Yori blinked and shook his head, trying to collect himself enough to help Rune – to run on his own. However, he couldn’t seem to manage it. Giant flying wolves? Just what sort of place was this?

a mechanical doll that falls to pieces every night

Yori smoothed off his clothing and shot a glare at Rune. “What was that called?” he asked, his voice cracking.

“The portal was closing, Bellissima,” Rune said, his voice gentle. He touched Yori’s chin and looked into his eyes. “Are you angry with me? Truly?”

“No,” Yori replied, his voice faint. He couldn’t stay angry with Rune. Sighing, he looked around at the place they found themselves in. “Where are we?”

Rune opened his mouth to answer, but someone else cut him off. “What are you doing here?” They whirled towards the speaker to find a little boy. His eyes were wide with shock. He darked forward and caught them each by a wrist. “It’s not safe here, in any case. Follow me.”

Without another word, he darted away. Yori squeaked when Rune caught his arm and dashed after the child. “We’re from the Court of Justice,” he called. “Lord Forseti and Lady Astraea sent us to open relations.”

“Nice for them, but bad timing for you,” the boy called. “This place gets crazy once the sun goes down, so stay close. We’ll talk once we’re inside the walls.”