Greyjoy and I

Greyjoy and I

A Story by Rhia Thurman
"

Greyjoy and I have been together for so many years. He is my best friend and he is my brother.

"
My wound needed sterilisation, I knew it, but I was getting so tired. I had to get away... I had to get away from him... 
"Don't think you can hide from me!" The man shouted, his voice muffled from the falling snow, "I can follow your blood trail!" S**t. I looked behind me to see that there, indeed, were drops of blood that were following me with every step I took. The pain had dulled slightly, my adrenaline taking over to get me to safety and survive. My breath was fogging in front of my face, snowflakes clinging to my skin and hair as I leaned against a tree to catch what little breath I had left. The snow crunched beneath my feet and I steadied myself, straining to hear my attacker. Very faintly, I could hear his footsteps getting closer and closer. I had no time. 
I pushed off of the tree and set off at the best speed I could maintain. My fingers were still gripping my knife but I knew that if I didn't get inside soon, they would freeze and never let go of it. 
"There you are!" Uh oh. If it weren't snowing, I'd be away from here already. I gritted my teeth and chanced a look behind me. The madman was close but he was also struggling in the heaps of snow. If I could keep get to the river, I could potentially lose him in the evergreen trees. All I had to do until then was keep up my speed and not bleed out. 
"Keep running, go on!" The man called out again from behind me, "I'll be able to find you no matter where you go! If you keep running, you'll bleed to death!" 
"And if you keep following, you'll freeze to death!" I threw back over my shoulder, trying not show how out of breath I was. The river was in sight at the bottom of a hill and I sighed with relief, picking up speed. That was a mistake. 
I lost my footing in the snow - there was some kind of rock or tree root that was hidden under there. My ankle rolled painfully and I was sent tumbling down the snowy slope. Trees and stones and logs blurred past me, knocking me on my arms, legs and head. I managed to tuck my head down to limit the damage done but when I finally came to a stop at the bottom of the hill, I had a big cut on my head and god knows how many other injuries to worry about now. My breath was knocked out of me and I was heavily winded. The sky was beautiful above me, even if it was cloaked in clouds. 
There was a laugh above me. The man was standing at the top of the hill, a triumphant smile on his mauled face. Clearly he had been in a fight with something years ago. I wish he'd lost. The stranger slowly made his way down the hill, clinging to trees as he slid down carefully. I rolled onto my side, facing the trees on the other side of the river. It was still flowing but was frozen in some places. My life depended on me getting to my feet and pressing on. I grunted and groaned as I tried to sit up but the pain flared too much. I slumped again, cursing my injuries. The guy had gotten lucky and sneaked up on me when I was tracking a deer. He was steadily getting closer, along with my death. 
"What was that about freezing to death?" He growled maliciously when he reached the bottom of the slippery slope. 
"What's the point of killing me? I don't have anything on me." I snarled back at him. 
"The village I come from is starving." He reasoned as he approached further, "I'm not a very good hunter, unfortunately. Killing animals was never my forte. But killing humans? Much easier." He crouched beside me. 
"F**k you." I spat in his face. He wiped it off with no reaction. 
"Sleep well." He said and raised his knife. I closed my eyes. This was it. Well, there was no point in drawing it out any further. What a lovely seventeenth birthday. Unironically, goodbye cruel world. 
The man's scream forced my eyes awake. A blur of grey and red ripped through my vision. I was too injured to follow the movement but I could hear flesh being torn and bones being snapped. Sounds that I had grown accustomed to but certainly couldn't fall asleep to. The shrieks stopped and then there was silence. I strained my ears out for sound but there was nothing. My heart was beating faster now, which wasn't exactly stopping me from bleeding out. Snow crunched around me suddenly. Whatever it was that killed that man was coming for me now, and yet I couldn't move still. I tried not to breathe - maybe it would think I was already dead? I closed my eyes and waited. The crunches were getting closer and closer until they were right next to my ear. There was snuffling and something wet touched my face. I was too surprised not to react and opened my eyes. A giant wolf looked down at me, blood all over its snout. When I say giant, I mean giant. It was at least eight foot tall and had dark grey fur. There was large scar over one eye, sealing it closed, but the other eye was a pale blue - a rarity in animals in general but especially wolves. We stared at each other. 
It pushed its nose onto my face more, mopping up some of the blood from the cut. I tentatively raised a hand to it. The wolf retreated cautiously, growling lightly at me. That was my warning. I let my hand fall since it took so much energy to even more it in the first place. Sensing I couldn't protect myself even if I wanted to, the wolf returned, sniffing my whole body now. If it was looking for meat, it would be disappointed. That stupid man made me lose the deer and I hadn't eaten in days - I had next to no flesh on my own bones. Oddly enough, the wolf wasn't trying to eat me, or even salivating. Perhaps my would-be murderer was too filling for it. It was young, only an adolescent, and looked to be male from its strong and agile build. As it turned, I saw its genitals swing between its legs. Well, that cleared that up then. 
He seemed to have finished with his examination and sat on its hind legs. As far as I could tell, he wasn't injured, so the blood covering his fur was from his own kills. It dripped from his mouth as he watched me, ears flicking this way and that, as though determining my motive. 
"Shoo." I muttered, moving my hand softly to gesture, "Go on. Shoo." He didn't seem to care. Instead, he came back over and continued to sniff my face. 
"I said 'shoo'!" I complained, trying to fob him off still. He continued to ignore me and started licking my face. Great, just what I need, a stupid dog, I thought. I couldn't deny that having a wolf with me as a guardian would be convenient and pretty cool. But how could I count on this wolf not to kill me? I was stupid enough for even considering that this would even work - why would a wolf even listen or communicate with me? The fact that he wouldn't listen to a word I said simply strengthened this argument. 
"I'm going to die next to a giant stupid wolf." I whined. The wolf barked at me and I stared at it. It didn't make any other sound - just kept watching me. 
"What, you don't like being called stupid?" I quipped. He pined a little, shaking his head to dislodge some falling snow. Must have been a coincidence. Looks like I hadn't happened upon a rare genius wolf. What were the odds of that happening? 
The wolf stood abruptly, sniffing the air. I strained my hearing but found nothing. Wolves have a much more acute sense of smell and hearing anyway, I don't know why I bothered. He had definitely picked up on something and his behaviour told me it was approaching fast. He scampered over to me, nudging me with his long snout. 
"If you're trying to get me to move, it won't work," I remarked, trying to ignore the fact I was talking normally to a wolf, "I've sprained my ankle and probably broken a few ribs. I'm not going anywhere." He whined a mournful sound, still trying to get me to move, "I can't move! Get out of here if you're that scared!" The wolf didn't listen. Instead, he lay down next to me, his back to me. His head was turned and he was watching me alertly. I could reach a hand out to touch his fur if I wanted to. He shifted again, deliberately, urgently, and kept gazing at me. Did he want me to get on his back? To hell with it. 
I slipped my bloodied, frozen hands into the fur on his back and managed to roll myself next to him, hooking a leg over his flank. He stood and I bit back a yelp from the injuries being strained. I managed to stay on his back though. As soon as we were up, we were off. It wasn't a smooth ride but it meant I didn't have to run, so I couldn't complain. I never saw what had him so antsy but I believed that it was bad. I didn't really want to trust this wolf, but he seemed very trusting of me. 
We reached a deep and dark cave. I almost couldn't tell it was a cave as it was covered in snow and logs. The opening into the cave was well-hidden as it was behind a large rock. I wondered vaguely if the wolf had chosen this hide out because of it. As we approached the hole, it occurred to me that the wolf may not have been alone. I could be going to my death, his pack waiting in the caverns, starving. Maybe that's why he brought me. I would have preferred to have died with the sky above me but I can't be too picky, I suppose. 
We turned the corner and I was admittedly relieved that there was no pack of hungry wolves waiting. There were bones around the cave but that was the norm for us Survivors. There was a pile of old cloths and blankets in the back corner - a makeshift bed that the wolf must have crafted. I wondered how intelligent this wolf really was. He set me down as gently as he could and I lay on my back. He sat and watched me carefully. 
"I guess you're not going to eat me then." I muttered, "If you're trying to save my life, it's not going to work very well unfortunately. I'm badly injured and I don't have my supplies to fix myself up." The wolf stared at me, "Okay, this is crazy. What the f**k am I doing?" I sighed, "Alright, wolf, you seem to want to help me. If you really want to, you need to go to my cave and pick up my medicinal supplies. I keep them all in a brown bag next to my bed, okay? My cave is next the huge knoll by the mountain, on the right... You don't understand what I'm saying, do you?" In credit to him, he seemed to be listening intently, "Look, I'm not exactly going anywhere, am I? I can't wreak havoc in your home. Are you going to get them or not?" And with that, he jumped up and ran out of the cave. I blinked after him. Maybe he did understand... But probably not. Death was a long way off yet now that I was out of the cold but if I didn't stem the bleeding, I was a goner. Sleeping for a few hours wouldn't kill me. I hoped. 
It was almost night when I was awoken. The familiar snuffling in my ear was what caused it, and I almost found it comforting this time. The wolf had returned and was looking down at me. A brown bag was beside me and a pile of slightly damp wood. I stared at both of the things he had brought. How did he even...? I gave him the worst possible directions I could have given him, I realised upon reflection, and yet he still found my cave, the bag I was talking about and he had brought wood to make a fire. I turned my gaze to the very smug wolf sitting above me. 
"Okay, looks like you are smarter than I took you for." I set to work on the fire first so that I would be able to see what I was doing. When the flames caught and began to rise, I noticed a fresh amount of blood on the wolf's side. I peered closer and saw a large gash in his fur. 
"You got injured on your way back." I murmured, reaching forwards. He scrambled back quickly, still seemingly wary of me. I held my hands up. 
"It's okay, it's okay... I can bandage you up. You got me my things, the least I can do is take care of you." He sat obediently after hearing these words and allowed me to clean and bandage him. Once done, I started on myself. Sitting with this freakishly large, freakishly intelligent wolf, I embraced the companionship. I never really realised how lonely I had been before. Looking at the giant dog next to me, I almost felt a kinsmanship. He was clearly alone and young, much like me. 
"You don't have a name, do you?" I broke the silence as I finished up bandaging my hands. The wolf snuffed, almost like a laugh. 
"Didn't think so. Are names too human for you?" He didn't respond, merely watched me, "Well, I'm gonna give you a name. I can't keep calling you 'wolf'." I racked my brains for something meaningful, "What about Fred?" He shook his fur, ears flattening. I was beginning to understand his behaviour and mannerisms. 
"Forest Overlord?" We both huffed a chuckle at that, "Okay, something a bit more serious..." I scrutinised him carefully, wanting to find the perfect name. 'Scar' wasn't quite right, it felt too... thuggish. He had a beautiful eye and his fur was incredibly soft and lovely. 
"I've got one." I smiled, "Greyjoy." 

I rolled and rolled until I felt the ground drop from beneath me. Uh oh. The wind was blowing hard, the ocean throwing up huge gusts from its raucous waves. I was going to fall into it if I didn't catch myself. I snapped my hand out, praying that I would be able to grab the edge. My palm smacked against the hard earth and was pushed away. Looks like this was it, for real. Goodbye, Greyjoy
A bark from above told me he was here. He barely caught my arm in his teeth in time. The force of the stop caused agony in my shoulder and slammed me into the side of the eroded cliff and my breath shot out of me. But I was alive. Greyjoy was holding my arm within his mouth as tight as he could without biting it off with his sharp teeth. Blood was steadily streaming down my limb but it didn't matter. Greyjoy had saved me again. He pulled me up, scuffling backwards and I yanked myself up the rest of the way. Carefully, I felt my injured shoulder. Dislocated. Greyjoy stood in front of me, protecting me from the b*****d that had knocked me back. 
"You want the pleasure of killing him?" I said loudly enough for bandit to hear. Greyjoy snarled furiously and rushed forwards, teeth bared and saliva everywhere. I was thankful that that would never be directed at me. The sun beat down upon us. Happy twentieth birthday to me. 

"GET AWAY FROM HIM!" I screamed, leaping over the rocks and jumping onto the bandit's back. I sank my knife into her throat and she went down to the ground, a bloody gurgle erupting from her slashed neck. I had arrived just in time; the arrow knocked in her bow had not been fired. I knelt beside Greyjoy's huge body - so much larger than it had been when I met him eight years ago today - and pressed my head to his furry chest. His heart was still beating. 
"Greyjoy." I shook him, relieved he was still alive. He didn't respond and continued to lay there. He was definitely breathing but he was out cold. That's when I noticed the dart on the top of his neck. I yanked it out and sniffed it. Sedative, I cursed. That b***h. I turned to her. She was still alive but barely. I stormed over and yanked her up by her hair. 
"There's more of you, where are they?" I snarled. She coughed at me. 
"N-no..." 
"Tell me or I'll tear those little fingernails off one by one." I taunted. She became rather co-operative after that. I couldn't have asked for a better twenty-fifth birthday. 

It was lightly snowing outside, the sun readying itself to to set. Greyjoy and I had a small but cozy fire going in our cavern. The smoke funnelled out of the makeshift hole I had made a few years before since it made us both dizzy. Our dinner, picked to the bone, was discarded in a small pile that would be chucked out for any scavengers in the night. I lazily strummed at my guitar, humming and singing little lullabies my mother had sang to me once upon a time. I was settled against his side, his tail curling around me, and his head rested upon his paws. The scarf he had scavenged for this year's birthday was wrapped around my neck comfortably. Twenty seven felt good. 

"Why do I have this horrible feeling in my gut?" I wondered aloud, staring out into the greying, thunderous sky. It hadn't begun raining yet but the downpour would reach us soon. The calm before the storm... It is not an exaggeration. The forest was quiet, not an animal made a sound, not a leaf rustled. The humidity clung to floor like a thick mist - you had to wade through it with tired muscles. A snuffle behind made me turn my head. Greyjoy was alert, his ears twitching. 
"You sense it too, don't you?" He sniffed. "Thought so. Well, regardless, we're gonna have to hunt now if we want to eat tonight without being soaked to the skin. Let's go." I pulled my hood up, tugged my goggles down and adjusted my scarf - the one I was gifted last year - over my nose and mouth. Not many people knew how I looked anymore. I was simply the Survivor, Greyjoy; the Beast. He rose to his feet and padded over, passing me to leave the cave. I followed, grabbing my spear on the way out. I was armed to the teeth as usual and Greyjoy was armed with his teeth. I climbed onto his back and we set off down the damp hill. 
We were hunting for at least two hours with nothing to show for it when Greyjoy froze. His right ear was twitching so I gazed to our right. All I could see were bare trees and all I could hear was the distant gushing of the river he had found me beside all those years ago. My friend began to shiver, shifting his weight and acting very skittish. 
"Greyjoy, what is it?" I asked him, stroking his neck. He gave no indication of hearing me, continuing to whine and shudder. Then I heard a low growling. It didn't have a source - it was all encompassing. I turned this way and that, trying to pinpoint the source but I couldn't even see it. Fear, real fear, gripped me for the first time in three years. Whatever it was, it was very dangerous and it was very frightening. I didn't want to stick around long enough to find out what it looked like. 
"Greyjoy, let's go... Go, go!" I lightly kicked him into action and he took off at a dizzying sprint. I hunched over, clinging to his fur and gripped my spear tightly. There was a foreign feeling, an obscene amount of pressure on my shoulders. It felt like the air was getting thicker and thicker, weighing down on my whole body. I gasped for breath, trying to shake off whatever was on my back but there was nothing. 
"Hurry." I rasped out and then we were flying through the air. I was flung off my brother's back and smacked hard into a tree. What little breath I had shot out of me and I landed in a crumpled heap. My vision went black for a few seconds, stars swimming before my eyes. I tried to call out for Greyjoy but no words came. As my sight returned, I looked frantically for him, still struggling to move. He was laying a few feet from me, blood soaking the earth beneath him. He wasn't moving. I called his name out, my voice finally coming back, and tried to crawl towards him. The pressure was still pressing me to the earth, unbearably so, but Greyjoy wasn't even breathing and I had to get to him- 
The pressure disappeared as quickly as it had come. I could finally breathe properly and I could get to my feet. I came to a stop at Greyjoy's side, disregarding the idea that our stalker was still out there, and quickly examined him. He had four large scratches down his side, oozing with blood and some kind of black goo. I pawed at it with my hand but screamed when it came into contact with my skin. I wiped my hand on the damp grass and stared at my skin. It was mottled and burned, blisters already bursting on my skin, and it hurt like hell. I turned back to Greyjoy and wept. Whatever this substance was, it burned and poisoned its victim. He was breathing but barely. 
"G-Greyjoy..." I whispered, laying my injured hand on his side. "I-I can't fix this... I don't have any weeds with me for the poison and... I don't even know what it is! I need to get you to a healer, come on, get up." I tried to move him but he whined in such pain that I sobbed with him. "No, come on, please, Greyjoy, you can't stop now, you have to get up, please, please... You can't leave me now..." His breaths were so shallow. "You're all I have... You're everything... You have to get up." I stayed with him until he succumbed to the poison and died and I stayed for long after that. The sun had set and by the time I returned to the cave, it was almost dawn. Before leaving him, I cut one of his front canines out and kept it with me. I cleared out the bones from our dinner last night because that needed to be done. I cleaned my hand in our water reservoir and disinfected because that needed to be done. The following day, I buried Greyjoy because that needed to be done. That night, I lay in Greyjoy's makeshift blanket bed and cried because that needed to be done as well. 

© 2017 Rhia Thurman


Author's Note

Rhia Thurman
This was character development that was long in the works but a contest brought it on. It's the plan I have for two characters I've considered for the past three years now and I've incorporated them into fanfiction before too so it's about time I gave them something of their own. Please do not steal, these are my own characters and I've been developing them for ages! Do let me know what you think and I welcome any constructive criticism!

My Review

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Featured Review

This is a very interesting story. It kept me reading, which is a rarity. I got a bit lost near the end. There seems to be a section missing just before she rolls out of the cave, and there are other places where something seems to be missing. Perhaps this is still a work in progress, I don't know, but so far I like it.
I enjoy the interaction between man/woman and beast. There's a special bond that is hard to explain.
Great job, and I wish more people would read this. It's one of the better stories out there.
Oh, an added note, I'm an old guy and the font size was almost too difficult for these old eyes to read.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Rhia Thurman

2 Years Ago

Thank you very much for the review! I almost fell off my chair when I saw the notification after so .. read more
M.E.Lyle

2 Years Ago

You're welcome.



Reviews

As a lover of fantasy, I would say that there is some good material here. And I enjoyed what I read. Clearly you are giving us snippets with some major time gaps.

You have the opportunity to show how the relationship between the girl(?) and the wolf developed and fill in some of the gaps.

For me the last section and particularly the last three paragraphs could do with some work and expansion. The loss of Greyjoy might deserve a little more explanation and detail for such a major event.

But overall the potential for a very good short story or even novella. More if you feel inspired!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Rhia Thurman

2 Years Ago

Thank you for the review, I really appreciate it! This is still a WIP and it was made for a contest .. read more
This is a very interesting story. It kept me reading, which is a rarity. I got a bit lost near the end. There seems to be a section missing just before she rolls out of the cave, and there are other places where something seems to be missing. Perhaps this is still a work in progress, I don't know, but so far I like it.
I enjoy the interaction between man/woman and beast. There's a special bond that is hard to explain.
Great job, and I wish more people would read this. It's one of the better stories out there.
Oh, an added note, I'm an old guy and the font size was almost too difficult for these old eyes to read.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Rhia Thurman

2 Years Ago

Thank you very much for the review! I almost fell off my chair when I saw the notification after so .. read more
M.E.Lyle

2 Years Ago

You're welcome.

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470 Views
2 Reviews
Added on September 27, 2016
Last Updated on June 5, 2017
Tags: wolf, hunter, survivor, beast, poison, death, angst, family, love, friendship

Author

Rhia Thurman
Rhia Thurman

Milton Keynes, Bucks, United Kingdom



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Horror, fantasy and sarcasm. more..

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