Chapter 4

Chapter 4

A Chapter by MildmayFoxxe

In which we find out a bit more of Shylock's past and motivations,and Murdoch realizes he may have made a mistake.


Every part of him hurt. His stomach rolled, his skin stang, muscles burned, chest constricted. The wounds the silver-tipped whip had left in his back and sides, kept leaking blood, no matter what he tried, and the one time he’d been foolish enough to try and shift in an attempt to speed up the healing it had been like ripping himself in half.

So he settled for laying in his bed, chuffing with pain, laying as still as it was possible to do on his stomach.  If he stayed perfectly still, it faded away to a bearable throb, and closing his eyes to press his face in the pillow let his world fade to a dark, quiet zone of almost-sleep.

He wasn’t, typically, the type to rebel. In fact, ever since he’d become a fighter he could think of only a handful of times he’d ever felt the sting of a lash or snarl of a belly empty for days on end. It wasn’t worth it; nothing, no matter what you told him, he was familiar enough with it that there was nothing that could convince him to face it again.

Which was the funniest part about all this; he hadn’t not told them about Murdoch out of any desire to keep the man from them. After the initial awe had faded- which hadn’t taken long, to be perfectly honest- he’d only been totally honest with them.

The man smelled of outdoors, wilderness and freedom and untamed woods…but he could no more pinpoint where then he could find one certain tree in a group of them. And he certainly couldn’t track him; not unless he’d left after his scent that very moment, and even then it was debatable. There was so much humanity in the arena, so many Wolves, and while he knew the other man’s scent very well it would be nearly impossible to catch again after even a few minutes had passed in the myrid of smells.

He groaned softly, as his door opened, and rather then Aziin’s familiar presence, he was aware of the scent of Tousakk’s wife. He could also smell healing herbs and what seemed to be-


“Hello, Shylock.” Her voice was soft but gentle; she’d always been a gentle natured woman, and she hated seeing him fight and be hurt. “Tousakk told me you might need some help. Aziin-”

“She alright?” Even through the pain, he couldn’t totally keep the alarm out of his voice; he tried to push up, winced, and collapsed back down. His back screamed in pain, and he felt the snarl rumble out of his chest, trapped behind his teeth. She didn’t seem frightened, though. Cautious, yes; but she kept advancing.

“She’s quiet alright. She’s talking with Tousakk just now.”  

“She doesn’t know- nothing about-” Damn, talking hurt, and he’d never felt so perpetually short of breath.

“Shh, shh.” She crossed the room, put a hand on his head. She always smelled nice, soft and subtle, never the strong, artificial scents so many women wore that burned his nose and eyes and throat and tasted thick and harsh on his tounge.  He loathed perfumes, for men or women, and more then once he’d had to bite down hard on the urdge to push away someone standing far too close smelling far too strongly.  “I know, and so does he. But she may very well have seen or sensed something strange. She’s just talking. Flatten out.”

With a grunt, he obliged her, hissing softly as spreading to his full length pulled at his back. She ‘tsked’, and her weight- not inconsiderable- sank down on the side of the bed. There was the sound of water, then a cool, damp, gentle,  and incredibly painful cloth landed on the first of his cuts.

His back arched and he dug his fists into the blanket under him, yelping involuntarily.

“Be still, you’re going to make it worse.” Her hand found a clean spot on his back and firmly pushed him flat again.  She continued cleaning the rips in his flesh, slow and rhythmic but firm. She then spread a cool salve over them- it burned for a moment before settling into an icey numbness. He sighed without meaning too, relaxing for the first time since he’d been escorted back to the rooms.

“There you are.” Her voice was gentle. She didn’t comfort him in any way, but pressed her palm into his and when she pulled back he saw why he’d smelled peppermint. There were two of the small, soft candies in his palm. For bein’ a good boy? Came his mental quip. If it had been Aziin, he might have uttered it out loud. Now, though, he rather wisely kept silent.

“You’ve always had a sweet tooth.” She was putting bandages over the marks in his back; he was too interested in his candy to much care. It helped that he couldn’t feel much back there just now. “Ever since you came to us. How old were you then, in any case?”

“Fifteen.” He tucked the treats under his pillow. It wasn’t that he didn’t get things he wanted often; and these were hardly rare. He could have a whole pile of them, if he wanted. He’d even used to have a dish of them, until he’d made himself sick on the things and shunned them for months.

Come to that, he wasn’t sure why he tucked them away like precious little gems.  A little voice in the back of his mind that sounded more then a little like Aziin whispered, because she gave them to you out of affection, out of friendship, how many people do you get that from let alone your master’s wife-

Shut up. That’s bullcrap.

Sure it is, Shy.

“There. You should heal up rather quickly now. I know the silver tip did a good job of tearing you up,  but with any luck…” She shrugged, pushing off the bed. “You’ll get some rest, anyway.”

“Thank you.” The words were out before he could think about them. She stopped- then, to his amazement, her hand landed on his hair and her fingers combed through, gently. He spooked slightly, very unused to affectionate touch. Aziin was the only one who ever offered it, and rarely then…and not like this.

“Rest, Shylock.”

She said, still petting his hair- it was nice, rhythmic, and he couldn’t help but lean into it, shivering a little. He could feel his eyelids drooping, could feel muscles relaxing and calming and he’d forgotten how nice it was to be out of pain when you’d been in it for so long.  Forgotten how much he-


Sure it is.


When he woke, the numbness from the salve was still there and Aziin was in the room. She was sitting in a chair at a table and drawing something, swinging her legs under the chair. Her beautiful long hair was loose, falling down the back of the wood and over her slender shoulders, concealing her expression. He knew she was aware of him stirring- their senses were far too sharp for otherwise-  but she didn’t react. He was timid about standing, but his back still felt numb enough and moving didn’t cause him any undo effort.   He stood, crossed to her and placed his hands on her shoulders gently. She didn’t spook, but pulled away when he put his chin on the top of her head.   He blinked in surprise.

The picture was well done- she’d always been a good artist- and clearly of her homelands. There was a large, rocky meadow and trees in the distance, and the sky- the sky was massive, filled with soft clouds, the horizon just there behind the line of ancient trees. A pack of Wolves- a small pack- raced across the field.

“Your pack?” He asked, softly, and she nodded under him.

“My home.  They’re all dead, now.” She murmured. “Or taken. The alpha- was killed.” Her father, of course.   “ Myself and some others- we were too beautiful to destroy. We were taken instead. In a way, you’re lucky, Shylock.” She whispered. “That you were born to this. You never…tasted freedom, before. You are…” She paused, then turned to him. “You are happy, to live like this.”

“Happy?” He echoed, softly, thinking of the stripes on his back and the boring monotony of life and the collar around his throat, thinking of days of hunger and beatings and silver bands around his wrists in an attempt to subdue him. Thinking of Before Tousakk, when they wanted to put him down for being too strong-willed, and thinking, just briefly, just fleetingly, of how many he’d killed for no other reason then he’d been told to and how he’d enjoyed the fighting.

“Content, at the least.” She spun in the chair to face him. “Now, if not always. You get whatever you like as long as you do as you are told, less a slave and more as if selling your services.” The anger in her voice startled him.

“What the hell, Ziin?” He asked, her pet name slipping from him almost defensively.  “So I make the most of a situation, what’s wrong with-”

“You are apathetic.” She spat, “and it gets worse the longer I know you. When we first met, you were angry and spirited and ready to fight anyone for the sake of yourself. Now you let yourself be used and man-handled because you remain comfortable. Who was he, Shylock? And where did he go, so that I might find him!”

“Whoa. Aziin, stop.” He held his hands up, and she slapped them away. The jolt made him grunt.

“You had a chance of freedom.” She bit out, “and you chased it away. And now they will find him and kill him.” Her voice was steadily rising, and he was stunned to see tears in her eyes.

“They won’t.” He pushed a hand through his hair. “I have no ideas where he went or where he came from. If they chase him, it’s his own fault for coming here.”

She was out of the chair in a flurry of blond curls and blazing eyes. “Looking for you!” She growled, “Coming for you, Shylock!”

“How do you know th-”

She shoved him, hard. Normally it wouldn’t have had  an affect, but his back screamed in fresh back and he staggered, catching the table to keep from going to a knee and jarring himself worse.


But she was already moving quickly to the door, rubbing an arm across her eyes. “I brought you food.” She whispered. “Tousakk took you out of the next two rounds of fights but then you’re scheduled again, so you should rest.”

“Aziin, wai-”

But she was out the door.

He stared, panting softly and  leaning against the wall to keep his balance.  “Where the hell did that come from?” He whispered, slumping into a chair then wishing he hadn’t. It was going to take a team of horses to get him up again, and the position was painful.


Was he? Really? He’d never thought about it before, in truth, never thought about much beyond the boredom and the…

Apathy. She was right.  He closed his eyes, briefly pushing a hand through his hair and letting his head drop to the tabletop.

“So what am I supposed to feel?” The sound of his own voice was loud in the empty room. And for the first time, he realized he didn’t know. He didn’t know how he felt or should, or thought, or wanted.

His life had never been complicated.

It had never mattered before. Everything in his life has been- simple, easy, plainly laied out before him. He’d never made  choices, and he’d never, once, in his life…

Thought about being happy.

His back hurt. He was fairly certain he was stuck where he was, and the irritated surge of anger was all that got him unstuck, surging to his feet.  It hurt but not nearly as badly as he’d imagined- his arms shook with the effort of levering himself upright, though, and getting back to the bed required using  everything he could reach to stay on his feet. His back wasn’t screaming pain at him, but he could feel the danger threshold rising, and by the time he made it back to the bed he was panting heavily. He lay down, careful, curling his arms under his head with a low, soft groan.  He was vaguely hungry, but the effort of moving to the food was too much.

He fell into a second restless, pained sleep, and dreamed of the forest, and running with the Pack after something large and looming that he was utterly unafraid of.

When he woke, he was surprised to find Aziin back. She sat stiffly, beside him, the tray in her hands. He grunted as he pushed upright.

“’S it poisoned?” He drawled, weakly, and she scoffed.

“Che‘. If I wished you dead, I’d simply allow you to neglect your stripes while they festered. We both know you will.” She said, but she wasn’t looking at him. “I am…still not pleased with you, Shylock. But you are my friend, and…that is what matters most.”

She looked up, at last, pushing her dark hair back. “Are you in pain?”

He took a moment to consider himself, then shook his head, slowly. “It’s alright.”

“Good. Then here.” She reached out to gently help him sit up. “Eat. You’ll need your strength to recover from silver-wounds.”   She handed him the tray, setting it gently in his lap.  He wasn’t very hungry, but he was hungry, stomach snarling but body whimpering protests at even being upright.  He ate slowly, carefully, checking on the state of his stomach every so often. The last thing he needed was his lunch ending up on her lap.

“Aziin…” He said, after a moment, and startled slightly when her hand landed over his.
“Don’t. I was just- sometimes, I remember.” She said, softly. She was staring at her own lap.  “And it- hurts- to remember. You really are lucky you don’t…know anything like that, you know.”

He set down the try, pushed it aside slightly. “I do- I remember my mom, you know.” He murmured, something he’d never told her- never told anyone. He wasn’t sure what it was that made him speak now- a need to prove something? Tit for tat?

He just wasn’t sure.

But he kept speaking.

“I shouldn’t, and I don’t very well, but I remember one thing.  She ran away with me. When I was- a kid, eight or nine. When they- when they caught her, she-”

“Shy, run! Change and run!”

“Mom? Mommy-”

“I’ll be right behind you, baby, I promise, just go!”

“-she shoved me into an ally.  Shoved me in and threw her cloak over me. Told me to shift and run and hide, and she was going to be coming. She said she’d meet me in the Forest. She said-”

“-the wall, Shy, get outside the wall and you’ll be safe. The Forest is safe!”

“I don’t wanna-”

“Shylock, don’t argue with me!”

“I don’t wanna leave you!”

“She said we’d be safe there. I never even-” He laughed, black and without any humor. “I didn’t even make it halfway to the wall before they grabbed me.” He could feel it rising, a black, threatening storm inside. His chest was constricting- he was panting.  His stomach was churning. His back burned. His throat burned.

“She wanted freedom, too.” Softly. That strained, choked voice- was his? His own?  “I don’t know if she knew what it was, but she wanted it.”

“What…what happened to her?”  Aziin’s voice was soft and gentle, and he wanted to slap her.

“What do you think happened? They used  me to subdue her.”

“We’ll kill him, b***h, you hear me? Change back and get flat on the f*****g ground or we’ll kill the rat-”

“And when she did what they wanted, they put silver manacles on her and chained her and put me in a cage-”

“Momma? Momma, I’m sorry- I really tried-”

“Shh. It’s- it’s alright, Shy. You- you did good, baby, you were- you be brave now, okay? You’re my- brave Wolf.”

“-and when we got back to the auction house , they-”

“Kill him to teach the b***h a lesson. If we put the pup down maybe she won’t pull a stunt like this in the furture.”

“Please, no, don’t punish-”

“Shut up, woman! You are on thin enough ice as it stands.  A cub is far too valuble to kill, Masteron. Let alone one so young.”


“She lead others into attempting escape, sir. Two young females besides herself. Who knows what other rebellion she’s been inciting? She’s a danger. Sir. She must be controlled.”

“I’m sorry! I’ll- kill me, separate me, I’ll never- please, just- it’s not his fault-”

“She wouldn’t stop talking. For me. Begging. For me.”


“I told you to shut up, woman-”

“She wouldn’t stop. They told her to, but she-they-”

“She can hardly continue to encourage others to rebel-

-if she can not longer speak.”

Aziin’s hand covered his. He hadn’t realized he was shaking so badly. Hadn’t realized he was shaking at all. Her jerked back to reality almost viciously.

“In front of you?” She asked, not whispering but very softly, as if for his ears only, as if they weren’t the only two in the room.

“Two birds. They taught her and I a lesson about what happens if you rebel.” His back hurt. His head hurt. “But if you just- go with it, behave, do as you’re told and obey, you get what you and I have. Comfort. Content. Yeah, okay, happiness. I’ve never had freedom, Aziin, but I’ve seen what happens to people who fight for it.” He looked up, locked eyes with her. “And you’d have to give me one hell of a reason why it’s worth losing everything for. Because so far? All I’ve seen it cause is hurt.”

She looked at their joined hands, and didn’t answer.

Which was , to him, an answer in itself.

© 2011 MildmayFoxxe

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Added on June 12, 2011
Last Updated on June 12, 2011



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Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by MildmayFoxxe

Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by MildmayFoxxe

Chapter 3 Chapter 3

A Chapter by MildmayFoxxe