Chpt. 3

Chpt. 3

A Chapter by VincentRayne

Adriana paused at the edge of the forest, staring back the way she had come. Her heart was racing, and not from her quick escape. She could hear the scuffle; the battle going on between a few non-humans and their human adversaries. The feral roar that echoed through the dimness of the gray night overpowered the howl of a werewolf. She bit her lip. The sound sent chills down her spine, she’d never heard a noise like it before, and it intrigued her. But most of all, she knew that these were the sounds of a creature in desperate battle, and she yearned to go back for she knew two creatures at least were fighting for their lives. Why didn’t they run? Surely they would flee the town for the forest and trails.
Pinder wouldn’t approve of going back, she thought. Still, she knew he would wait for her. He would still be waiting when she was done, and she was sure she could be in and out again in no time. She wanted to help them, even though she wasn’t sure of what help she could be. Yes, Pinder would be angry with her for going back, but she was going none the less. With her mind made up, she darted back toward the town.
It didn’t take much searching to find the source of the commotion. Adriana recognized the form of a werewolf, but the other creature she had never seen the likes of before. Although she had heard of draconians, she had never seen one before because she and Pinder traveled mostly along human roads. She had come to find that humans were especially cruel toward non-humans without any semblance of human appearance. The two of them, the werewolf and draconian, fought side by side. However, while they were preoccupied with other opponents, another Patrolman was coming up behind them on the side of the draconian.
Adriana ran forward, and scooped up the blade of one of the men already fallen. She feared she wouldn’t make it to the Patrolman in time to stop him. He was raising his sword to strike down the tall, black draconian… but just an inch closer and she could strike him!
“Look out!” she screamed just as she dove to make a swipe with the blade. Her weapon cut through the tendon at the back of the man’s leg and he screamed in shrill agony as he fell. But at the same moment the draconian spun to face her, and the tip of his tail whipped across under her feet, knocking her to the ground.
Adriana gasped as she sat there in the dust, looking up into angry red eyes. Suddenly she felt the terror of what she’d just done. The Patrolman lay on the ground moaning in agony, while the werewolf killed the last of the Patrolmen they’d been fighting, and she sat gazing up. Yes, she had only been trying to help, but these two had probably taken enough abuse by humans that maybe they didn’t care, or wouldn’t take time to consider her actions. She made no move to rise, and she pushed the bloody sword away from herself. “When they figure out you’ve killed their men, they’ll send more,” she said bluntly. “Your best chance is to flee. You can’t stay here.”

 

'She was planning to kill you.' The voice spoke. In the accident that had preceded, Dormang had managed to regain control of portions of his mind.
'She wasn't, Dakros, and you know it.' His body had frozen in place, unable to move because of the mental struggle.
'She had the sword in her hand!'
'She attacked the Patrolman, she saved us.' Dormang mentally spoke, and parts of his body regained a bit of their feeling. His head twitched and the girl looked up in fright.
'She was trying to kill you you fool! Kill you!' the voice of Dakros said, suddenly failing.
'Away, demon, before you kill us both.' Dormang said, and with a final mental push, regain complete control of himself. The echoes of Dakros' screams of defeat as the girl spoke. The violent tint returned to his eyes.
"When they figure out you've killed their men, they'll send more. Your best chance is to flee. You can't stay here."
"You are right, human." the wounded Patrolman beneath him tried to crawl away, voice barely heard in the screaming. Dormang stabbed down at him with one of his swords. Two houses suddenly caught on fire. "Sylas!"
The werewolf paused in mid-howl as he stabbed another Patrolman, and he looked at him.
"We have to go, now! Get the rest of the men and let's go!"
"Where?" Dormang turned back, but the girl was gone.
"There's a special grove in the northwest, we can go there. Go! Look for the men!" The werewolf nodded and dropped the sword, bounding off on all fours. Dormang ran in the direction of the mill, gathering his friend as he passed them by. He found the twins Antonio and Eron, surrounded by Patrolmen. They danced and attacked around each other, both their blades striking deadly. They looked like they knew how to fight. When they broke through, he called them over and they kept going. He found Devin right before he was struck down and killed by the Patrolmen. He could still hear his screams as they ran by, approaching the mill.
When they reached the mill Sylas waved them over to the rest. Obadiah lay at his feet with a pitchfork in his chest.
"Couldn't be helped." Sylas said. "Where's Devin?"
Dormang shook his head. "Come on!" He said and headed off into the forest. The others followed, the fires spreading to over half the town.
_ _ _

Maurice and Eron doubled over, panting loudly. The others stood up, but sweat still poured from their faces. Dormang and Sylas looked back anxiously.
"We cannot stop, we must keep moving."
"Maybe you can keep this pace for longer, but were still just humans. We cant do the same." Maurice said inbetween breaths. Dormang started to hear crying, and he turned to see Fanis begin to gently rock a bundle of cloths. Dormang stared in regret.
"My wife's gone, and I couldn't leave my little Esmeralda."
"It's ok, Fanis." They all sat down, accepting the unexpected break.
"We could stop by the port city, drop you off." Sylas suggested after a long moment of silence.
"And abandon you? Never! You're all like my sons. I couldn't just leave you."
"But it'll just slow us down."
"This IT has a name, and HER name is Esmeralda. Don't forget that you're still human deep down." Fanis said stern and harshly. Sylas, even as a werewolf, flinched at the man's tone.
"I'm sorry Fanis. He didn't mean it like that. Unfortunately, he's right. You can't bring her with us." Dormang interceded before the old man's choler rose any further.
"Bu-"
"No buts. You want your daughter to live, right?" Fanis nodded. "You want her to grow up and live a good life, find a good man with a good name and land. You want her to marry and be happy, right?" Fanis nodded again, sadly. "You always said you wanted to be a grandparent." Fanis sighed.
"You're right. I should go." his daughter had stopped crying and had slowly fallen to sleep. He looked back at her and smiled.
"Don't you worry, we'll be alright. Your boys are safe." Dormang said, smiling with him. Fanis had to choke back a tear.
"Alright. We go to Scoll. I'll take her and raise her there. But I'll never forget you. Any of you."
"We know you won't." Maurice said with his ear-to-ear smile. They all laughed and smiled. Sylas ears pricked and his head rose up sharply. Dormang sniffed the air. They all tensed.
"What is it?" Antonio asked.
"Somebody shouting orders."
"And I smell steel."
"Patrolmen." Sylas said.
"We must move." Dormang said and took Esmeralda from Fanis. "We'll move faster if I carry her." Fanis hesitated, but let her go. "Let's go." Dormang said, and with that, they began again, turning slightly east toward the port city of Scoll.

 


Adriana ran as quickly as she could back toward the forest and the road leading out of the town. She kept looking back over her shoulder. Phantoms of dying men's last screams echoed so strongly in her mind she thought she might vomit, but she kept running, and then finally slowed to a walk when she could run no farther. She walked along the road, and met no travelers comming toward the town, and none leaving it. Silently she wondered if others, non-humans, were fleeing within the forest rather than taking the road as she had. If Patrolmen found a lone human wandering the forest at these hours they would surely be suspicious, so she had chosen this rout instead. Pinder on the other hand might have chosen the forest, but she knew he would come looking for her because he would understand her reasoning.
The running and short fight along with the encounter with the draconian and werewolf had drained her strength. Soon Adriana found herself paused in the middle of the road panting quietly. When she stopped to catch her breath, she couldn't keep back her morbid thoughts. The feeling of the sword she had held cutting through human skin and muscle... the man's desperate scream as he fell... and the draconian's last strike... she shuddered. At least she had helped some creature. The draconian and the werewolf had escaped at least. Raising her head to stare up at the sky that was now bright with morning light, she took a deep breath to steady herself. Then she peered around herself, to the forest so close to her path.
Pinder has to be in there, she thought. There was no use in her trying to find her way through there, she would only succeed in getting herself hopelessly lost. When would Pinder find her though? Deciding she couldn't walk any more, she sat down at the side of the road to rest. Again she had to push horrid battle scenes from her mind. No matter how badly she wanted peace she just wished that the transition could be made... well, more peacefully. Her thoughts however, were soon interrupted.
Foliage rustled behind her, and she gasped as a hand clamped down on each of her shoulders. Startled, she jerked and stood, spinning to face what she assumed was her attacker.
"Pinder!" she sighed. He did indeed look angry at her. A scowl darkened his features and to her surprise he shook her once.
"Don't ever do that to me again!" he snarled. "You worried me sick! I waited for you a while but then came searching, and couldn't find you anywhere on the road where you were supposed to be. You could have been killed back there do you know that?"
Stunned by Pinder's uncharacteristic anger, Adriana stared at him. Usually she could handle any person's mood, but this night had taken its toll on even her emotions. The expression on his face softened as an unnexpected tear slid down her cheek. "I helped them Pinder," she whispered. "But it was horrible. That man..."
"I understand," he said in a voice that was once again calm. "Try not to think of it, that time is passed now. Just be glad you escaped with your life, and forget the rest." His hands fell from her shoulders and he looked her over once as if to make sure that she really wasn't wounded. "We can rest here for a while longer, but then we need to move on."

 

The group slowed as they reached Scoll. Dormang could smell the coast and food and wine.
"Scoll." Fanis said in relief.
"What about the guards?" Sylas said, pointing to the two soldiers standing at attention near the gate. A third walked the parapet.
"I can get past them easy." Fanis said, taking his babe from Dormang. He stood there for a moment, hesitating, not wanting to go. "I guess this is goodbye, then."
"Take care, old man."Sylas said and patted the man's shoulder carefully.
"Alright. You boys stay safe now, you hear?"
"No problem, Fanis. You just worry about yourself and your daughter."Maurice said, ear-to-ear smile reappearing on his face. Brios nodded silently.
"We can" Antonio said.
"take care" Eron said.
"of ourselves." Antonio finished. Fanis smiled sadly.
"Alright. I hope to see you boys in better times."he said and slowly, reluctantly turned and walked towards the gate.
"May you live that long, friend." Dormang said to himself.
"Ok, lets keep moving before they catch up with us." Sylas said, and they began their run again.
_ _ _

The grove was no more than twenty paces from the Dropping Daggers, a strange waterfall that was so cold and fell so fast that it was deadly. The grove was surrounded by tall, healthy looking trees, and flowers of every color sprung here and there. In the middle was a low stone block, carved with swirls and shapes of whatever long lost people lived here before. Dormang and the men stopped in the middle, all panting loudly. Eron and Maurice both collapsed to the ground from exhaustion. Antonio doubled over, sucking in breaths, while Brios forced himself to stay upright, placing his arms over his head. Dormang and Sylas sat on their haunches.
"You sure they wont be able to find us?" Antonio asked between breaths.
"The waterfall should help mask our scents. The grove, however, makes those who stay within it disappear."
"How do you know that?" Brios said in his quiet tone.
"I found this place once while I was on the run. The men following me ran by not more than ten paces from the outermost tree and didn't see me at all." Brios nodded, then slowly sat down. Dormang looked at each one of them until his eyes fell upon Sylas. The werewolf sat with his snout down, staring at the ground.
'He caaaaauuuuuuuused thiiiiiiisss.' Dakros said faintly, and Dormang suddenly felt a burning anger. Quickly he stomped to him and grasped his neck, his eyes turning a smoldering red.
"You." Dormang snarled and raised the werewolf up above him. The men stared at him in fear. "This is your fault."
"Dormang." Sylas choked.
"You. If it wasn't for you, none of this wouldn't have happened. Fanis wouldn't have lost his wife and Devin wouldn't have been killed. We wouldn't have had to run or kill or sneak away. Your fault!" He said, squeezing harder. Sylas' response turned into a choke.
"Dormang." Brios said
"I should kill you right now! You spineless mutt!"
"Dormang!" Brios rose his voice, higher than anyone had ever heard him. His voice was clear, deep, and stern. "Will you kill another? This will solve nothing."
"Does it matter? I've broken it already."
"Then you will only prove that you cannot control yourself." He couldn't quite figure out why, but the anger dissipated at those words. He dropped Sylas and his eyes returned to their violet hue. "We all chose this. We knew what the outcome would be."
Dormang shook his head and walked over to the other side of the grove, leaning back on one of the trees. He glared at Sylas as the werewolf regained his breath.
"P'rar da Shadi for'rix zu, pa'ra no mi tak." Dormang said in his native tongue, which meant, "Pray that the Shadi forgive you, because I will not." Sylas looked at him with regret and pain in his eyes, but Dormang closed his.
"Alright, everyone needs to try to get some sleep. We've got a long day ahead of us." Brios said. The rest found trees to lay back on or simply slept on the ground, the grass unaturally soft, and went to sleep.

 



© 2009 VincentRayne


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Added on April 27, 2009


Author

VincentRayne
VincentRayne

Los Angeles, CA



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I'm pretty quiet and keep to myself most of the time but I don't mind expressing myself through creativity. I love drawing, writing, playing the guitar, bass, violin, and piano. I play video games as .. more..

Writing
Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by VincentRayne


Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by VincentRayne