Author Topic: Blood and Shadow UPDATED 5/19/2012  (Read 1244 times)

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Offline SenoraKitty

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Blood and Shadow UPDATED 5/19/2012
« on: May 14, 2012, 12:50:11 am »
WARNING: Mild language, and violence, also mentioning of nudity but not in detail.
Rating: PG-13

The blazing noon sun on the scorching hot sand made the dry heat of the desert even more unbearable. He may have had white fur to reflect the sun's rays but his thick under coat was not helping. Hybrin would much rather be on the slopes of snow-capped mountains then traveling down a desert road with the guild's southern chapter.

The caravan came to a stop ahead. Looking around Hybrin could see nothing but desert surrounding them. Curious to why they stopped Hybrin adjusted the cloth over his muzzle and stood in his stirrups. Glancing ahead he could see an object lying in the road a ways ahead of the travelers. Settling back in the saddle he directed his steed to the front of the caravan. As he got closer he could make out the square shape of a steel cage, and a few members of the southern guild mending their wounds. Coming up beside Zamier the leader of the southern chapter. He caught the ornate wolf's eye.

"It's a slave cage.” Zamier informed Hybrin, while watching his men cautiously move closer to the cage. "What ever is in there, it's desperate and attacking anyone who gets near.” He met Hybrin's ice cold gaze. Dismounting their thaluks Hybrin and Zamier walked over to one of the men observing the cage.

The man took a moment and bowed slightly to Zamier before he spoke."Sir, there don't seem to be any brands of ownership.”

"It must have fallen off a slave trader's wagon then.” Zamier surmised.

Hybrin knelt next to the cage peering inside shocked by the sight that greeted him. Lying against the bars that made up the side of the cage was a young feline. Everything about her showed that she had been there for a while. Glazed clear blue eyes were fixed on the ceiling of the cage. Gray and black tipped ears lay flat in distress against a matted head of tangled violet hair. Her gray and black stripped pelt stretched thin over her protruding ribs. Her side rose and fell with each ragged breath she took. Her lips were thin and wrinkled a clear sign of dehydration.

Like a shot Hybrin watched the emaciated cat throw herself against the door of the cage in front of him. Her crazed blue eyes met his. Hybrin felt it deep in his gut, a small feeling of pity was welling inside him. The sensation was foreign to him as he had learned over the years to steel his emotions. Yet now he found it hard to shun the feelings away. He did feel sorry for the poor girl slowly withering away out in the unforgiving desert sun. As he wondered what the poor feline had gone through in the past few days he almost missed the razor sharp claws aimed for his face. The cat's claws came inches away from Hybrin's black nose. He watched calmly as the creature he mistakenly took pity on a moment ago continued to swiping madly at his muzzle.

Zamier, the leader of the caravan, came to Hybrin's side at hearing the ruckus. He watched the cat flail about before she fell limp against the rails of the cage. "She's on the verge of death. Poor thing...” Turning to the rest of the caravan he called out to his men. "Amiese, bring your spear, and take care of this.” Turning back to Hybrin he placed his hand on the white wolf's shoulder reassuringly. "It would be best that we put her out of her misery.”

Hybrin grasped the shaft of Amiese's spear just before the dog was able to deliver a killing blow to the emaciated cat's heart. "...I'll take responsibility for her.”

Zamier looked disapprovingly at the caged feline. "We cannot go around picking up strays.”

"Then she will be my slave.” He said, releasing his hold on the spear. Taking out his water pouch Hybrin brought it to the felines lips pouring it's contents into her unsuspecting mouth.

The cat began to sputter and cough as most of the water dribbled down her chin. She had not expected the cool rush of water to wash so suddenly down her gullet. Licking her lips she realized instantly what the refreshing liquid on her lips was and grasped for the pouch desperately. Grasping Hybrin's hand she pulled the opening of the container to her mouth and sucked greedily from its confines.

Hybrin chuckled as he watched her hungrily gulping down the water. Slowly he pulled the pouch away. "That's enough now, you'll make yourself sick.” A smirk graced his lips as the feline mewed pitifully and reached for the water he held. Turning to Zamier he asked, "is there room on the wagon for the cage?”

Zamier scratched his head, looking back into the crowd he mentally estimated the size of the cage and the wagon. "Maybe not enough for the cage, but there should be room in there for her.”

"We'll need rope to bind her so she doesn't escape...” Hybrin glanced back to the cage's occupant only to find her unconscious against it's confines. Reaching to his belt he took out a ring of lock picks and began working on the steel lock on the cage door.

Hybrin placed the slumbering feline in the back of the caravan's wagon. Taking a blanket he covered her to keep her out of the sun.

Zamier rode up beside him. "With this distraction we won't make it to town by nightfall.”

Hybrin called back to him. "Then we will have to camp out another night.” Leaving his new slave behind he mounted up and waited for Zamier's word to start moving again.

"Forward” Zamier bellowed, and with that the travelers were off again. Zamier slowed until he was riding beside Hybrin. "You know, if she causes us any trouble I will have to have her killed.”

In a voice void of emotion Hybrin replied. "If she does so, then I will have no problems doing it myself.”




As night fell on the caravan's encampment Hybrin spent the twilight hours in his tent watching the bound and slumbering feline on the floor of his tent. A slight movement caught his eye, and he observed as the rescued feline began to stir awake.

The first thing she noticed was that she was alive. The second thing was that she was laying on something soft. Not the hard steel rods that made up the cage. The next thing she noticed was that she was bound at the ankles and wrists. She began to struggle against her bonds when she noticed something else. She wasn't alone...

Hybrin watched the slave girl trying to test the limits of her restraints. Having none of that he spoke up. "Know here and now that I hold your life in my paws. From this point on you belong to me.” Standing he walked around her still figure on the floor. His black pads not making a sound as he stalked around her. He padded around to come face to face with those dazzling blue eyes he had made the mistake of taking pity on. "You have caused us a great deal of trouble by having me barter for your life. Know if you do anything to endanger us I will not hesitate to kill you.”

The feline's eyes darted away and Hybrin could tell that she was taking in her predicament. "You will stay bound until I can figure out what you're useful for.”

"I'm a slave.” She spoke, the shallow rasp of her horas voice coming as a surprise to her own ears. "What do you think I am useful for?”

Hybrin took a deep breath. He had not expected such a blunt question. "...I do not presume to make assumptions about people. Rather I observe them, learn the facts about who they are.”

She stared down the white wolf in front of her from her place on the floor. "What do your observations say about me?”

"Your paws don't appear to have any calluses on them. So I assume you were not a slave for labor.” He leaned back against his desk. "You were of average weight considering the sagging of your skin. No muscle tone. So you were not meant for house work. You were healthy. Either someone took great care to keep you that way or you have an impeccable immunity to illness.” He bit his tongue not really wanting to speak his next thought. "Based on all of that, and the fact you were found nude, I am left to believe that you are a bedroom slave.” Sex slave, concubine, courtesan, kept woman, mistress- going through all the names he knew for it he nearly shuddered. He prided himself on his ability to make it sound cleaner then what it really was.

Anger flashed in her clear blue eyes. "Have you thought that I might be new to my slavery?”

It would make sense. She had a fire in here that he had not seen in any owned slave. Slaves new to the trade often times are defiant where experienced slaves are trained to have a mild demeanor. They learn that their role is to be seen but not heard. "The thought had crossed my mind. Have you no experience in slavery then?”

"No. I've been haggled for.” She stated as a matter of fact.

"You have been trained but not sold...” He pursed his bottom lip, thinking about that. Why hadn't anyone bought her? His eyes roamed over her withered body, trying to picture what she would have looked like when she was filled out and healthy. She would have had a nice hourglass figure based on the span of her hips. Her bright hair would have been wavy and down to her shoulders instead of the matted mop clumped at the base of her neck. Her eyes; the thing that would have captivated any potential buyer, were clear and expressive. She had a fire in her unlike that of any slave he had seen before. Perhaps that was it. Slave buyers normally settled for slaves that had already been broken in by their traders. This cat had far to much spirit still.

"Would you let yourself to be sold to just anyone?” The feline asked smugly.

The question struck Hybrin as amusing. His own services were also for sale to the highest bidder. He gave the feline a knowing smile. "Depends.”

She froze, studying him with a wary gaze. She hadn't expected an answer, much less that one. Studying the wolf more closely she tried to determine whether he was making a joke. The sly smile and look in his eye told her that he wasn't. This wolf was beginning to unsettle her deep inside. She told herself to keep on her toes with him, or he very well could make good on his earlier threats.

"Do you have a name? Or do I have to make one up for you?”

The question snapped her out of her observations. She considered for a moment making a sly joke about her name being for her to know, but she decided against it. After all she was still unaware of what this wolf was capable of. She was the one still bound and he was the one who saved her life. If he wanted to rape and kill her she was sure there was nothing that would have stopped him from already doing so. He surely would have passed on all the pleasantries. " the Prezarian springs.”

Hybrin remembered hearing about the mystic purple pools of the Prezarian springs. Roaming bards would sing songs of their mysterious color and powers. Mages often used water from the springs for potions. With her bright violet hair and piercing blue eyes the name suited her well.

Preza swallowed, leery of the answer to her next question. "What are you going to do with me?”

Hybrin thought for a moment, unsure of the answer she was seeking. Perhaps it was best to be honest, "...I haven't figured it out yet. For now I'm going to get you better. Maybe I'll make you my personal slave.” He smiled eerily at her, enjoying watching as she squirmed uneasily in her ropes. He snapped his fingers and three women walked into the tent. "First we are going to get you clean. No one here will tolerate a filthy wretch in their presence.” Turning to the women he nodded. "The ropes stay on.”

The elder of the three women nodded in return handing Hybrin a worn water pouch. "Yes sir.”

Hybrin took the pouch. Plucking some berries from a bowl atop his desk he squeezed the nutritious juices from the fruit into the pouch, dropping the berries one after another into the water. He handed the pouch back to the painted dog. "In case she asks for food, or something to drink.”

Taking the water pouch back the woman smiled. "We'll take good care of her.”

-chapter 2-

Without another word Hybrin stepped out of the tent, leaving the women to the task of bathing, and dressing the newly liberated feline. Night had already begun to fall and the temperature was rapidly dropping.  Hybrin could feel the cold wisps of wind blow through his pristine white coat. The cooler air being more to his liking. He breathed it in, catching the scent of a meal being roasted on an open fire.

Silently he made his way through the small line of tents, joining the rest of the guild members in the large community tent where they had a fire pit going. Carefully he weaved through the small crowd coming to Zamier's side where the most food was placed.

Zamier nodded to Hybrin in acknowledgment. “I take it the girl is awake?”

Hybrin took his place, the designated guest of honor seat, next to Zamier. “She is. Your sister members are seeing to her care now.”

“They'll see to it that she does not escape.” Zamier tore a piece of meat from the day's kill, sucking it and his fingers into his mouth.

Hybrin too began to pick at the foods splayed on the table in front of them. “They better not kill her if she tries to. I would rather they bring her to me first.”

The painted dog laughed around his mouthful of food. “You men of the north, so concerned about your honor.”

“Honor has little to do with it.” Hybrin chuckled. “We both know that.”

“So you are ready to remedy the problem if one arises?” Zamier observed. “It is good to see that you are willing to do what is needed to protect my band.”

“We all do what we must in order to protect our guild and it's secrecy. I will always treat your chapter and it's people as if it were my own. You are my brothers and sisters.”

Zamier swallowed. “I can see why the northern guild leaders sent you. Your way with words is quite compelling, when you choose to speak.” His face turned dark, all humor long since gone from his voice as he spoke. “However, we find that actions speak louder then words here in the south. I like you Hybrin, and I do not like many of our kind.” Zamier paused for a moment allowing his words to sink in. “Regrettably, your recent decisions have left me to question your sanity much less your loyalty to the guild.”

For the first time Hybrin feared that he might have done something wrong by saving the feline's life. He wondered if the action made him appear weak to the southern clan leader. His mind raced to come up with something that would prove otherwise. After all he was one of the northern chapter's highest ranked members, and far from a coward.“I offer you my skills and the aid of the northern chapter. You only need to ask. Zamier, allow me to earn your trust.”

“It is not you I am worried about, as much as it is the slave girl whom you rescued.” The southern clan leader tossed back a goblet of water to wash down his meal. Smacking his lips he continued. “We do not know who she is or what she is capable of.”

“Believe me, I have already thought of that.” Hybrin's mind raced to quell Zamier's concerns. He had thought about it but even he did not know what to do with the outsider. “She will remain bound until my business here is done. Then I will take her to the northern elder and see what they wish to do with her.” He said, trying to convince himself as much as he was trying to convince Zamier. Taking the girl to the elder would be the wisest idea, and in his best interest. At least then she would be taken off his hands... Hybrin took a moment and thought of the possible implications of the elder taking Preza away from him. The girl would be killed for sure if she figured things out before he got her to the elder. Even then it wasn't certain that the elder would allow her to live even after they get to the northern territory.

A long moment passed before Zamier spoke up. “I encourage your decision to bring the girl to the elder. They will know what to do with her up there... None the less, while the two of you are amongst my people I will have two guards placed outside your tent... Just as a precaution.” He added before Hybrin could protest.

Hybrin nodded in understanding. While he did not like to be watched he knew that Zamier would do anything for the safety of the guild and his people.

On the way back to his tent Hybrin's mind was full of questions, to which he could find no answers. The outcome to every scenario ended with the death of the violet haired feline, whether it be by his hand or some other. He began to wonder if saving her was truly worth it. Coming up to his tent he saw that Zamier wasted no time in posting guards outside his quarters. Politely he nodded to the two men before sliding between the tent flaps.

Once inside he shut away the weight of the world. Taking a deep breath he allowed himself to relax. Opening his eyes to find the slave girl, Preza, watching him. Her hair was cropped short, the matted nest no longer at the nape of her neck. Now her violet locks feathered outward a few wisps framing her face. She was no longer nude, instead she wore the leggings and wraps most women of the guild appeared to wear. Only a simple scrap of cloth was draped over her shoulder, and tied in place with a thong of leather wrapped around her ribs to hide her nudity. It was clear that the women had followed his instructions, and worked around the feline's bound hands.

The silence in the room was deafening. The space between the two of them was heavy with unasked questions.

It was Preza who broke the silence. “Where did you go?”

Hybrin suddenly felt the weight fall back onto his shoulders as he stared down the length of his muzzle at the feline. He had often held other people's lives in his hands. He was responsible for taking many lives, but to save a life- It made everything much more complicated. He could feel invisible eyes watching his every move.

Giving a heavy sigh he came to a decision with himself. It was time for him to stop playing games with her, to stop avoiding the inevitable. He would accept what came next no matter what the future may hold for the two of them. “I went to meet and talk with the head of the chapter here. We discussed what I should do with you.” Sauntering over to the cat's side he took her shoulder and guided her to a rug at the foot of his bed. “You don't know the people you've gotten yourself involved with. We are more then a traveling caravan.”

“I gathered as much.” Preza stated as she naturally took a spot on the rug while Hybrin sat on the bed, looking down at her. “So who are you people?”

Casually Hybrin reached under the mattress pulling out a long crimson sheath. He rested his sword across his lap, displaying it to her as he spoke. “We are a band of assassins.”

Preza stared at the strange sword. It was slightly curved like that of a scimitar, but the blade did not widen or taper near the tip, and the handle was much different. This sword was unlike anything she had ever seen before. “Even you?” She peered up through her bangs at the wolf.

He nodded, “even me.” He watched as the realization of her situation sank into the felines head.

Preza opened and closed her mouth as questions raced through her mind. Eventually, she settled on the one that seemed to be the most frequent. “Am I going to die?”

“I cannot promise you anything. Just know that I am trying to avoid that at all costs.” He placed his sword back beside the mattress.

Preza could see it in his eyes, Hybrin's words were sincere and honest. “Is there anything I can do to convince you to let me go?”

“No,” Hybrin stated bluntly. “There are guards outside this tent who will kill you on the spot if you were to leave alone.”

She gulped and her gaze fell to the closed tent flaps. “So take me out of here and let me go outside of the camp.”

He shook his head, he too had thought of every way to let the woman escape. Every option would end in her death, and he knew it. “...The only thing you can do is listen to me, and do as I tell you.” He stood and walked to the head of his bed, turning down the thin sheets. “Use the skills you were'e taught as a slave. Follow my commands, and you may yet survive.”

Hybrin then began to undress, pealing off the layers of cloth that the southern tribe gave to him for this journey. He folded and set each garment on the chair sitting next to his desk. In nothing but his under garments he slid into bed peering down at the feline who was looking back at him with the most serious of expressions. The look confused him for a moment, he was so sure that she was near tears a moment ago, and there she was looking as if she could kill him with her piercing stare.

“I will not die here,” she said in a flat voice.

Hybrin could do nothing but nod. “Then do what you need in order to stay alive.”

Preza nodded, and lowered herself into a sleeping position at the foot of Hybrin's bed. It wasn't easy, and took quite a bit of shifting and maneuvering, but finally the feline found a comfortable enough spot where she could rest.

After a while Hybrin could hear the soft rhythmic breathing that told him Preza had fallen asleep. He sank between the covers and murmured, “I picked one hell of a time to start trying to redeem myself...”

-Chapter 3-
At dawn the caravan was already on it's way once more. At the campsite there were no signs of anyone having been there the previous night. Even the scorched earth from the campfire was carefully hidden under the desert dunes.

Preza, who was still weak from her time out in the harsh elements was resting on the back of the same thaluk as Hybrin. The massive beast having plenty of room on it's broad back for two more bodies, even with Preza curled up and sleeping soundly.

In order to keep the trust of the southern chapter Hybrin still had Preza's arms bound, but this time they were tied at her front so as to make things more comfortable for the feline.

Hybrin glanced back at the feline who was still shivering from the night's cold. Idly he reached behind him and pulled the blanket completely over Preza's shaking form.

Turning back around Hybrin caught a few of the band's members looking back at him with smiles on their faces, as If they knew something he did not. With a slightly perplexed look on his face he directed his gaze to the riders in front of him, only to find Zameir riding his way. He hesitated in greeting the guild leader, concerned that he might have seen and misunderstood his actions toward the slumbering feline. Before he could defend him self though Zamier raised his brown and white dappled hand. “We will be at our destination a few hours after mid day. How is your captive doing?”

Hybrin sighed, knowing that Zamier could care less about Preza's well being. “She is asleep. I don't think she will be well for a few more weeks.”

Zamier snapped his reins, pulling back up to the front of the pack. “Good then she won't cause us any trouble.” He said, loud enough for Hybrin to hear.

Hybrin sighed looking back at the lump of Preza's body under the blanket. He could not blame Zamier for wanting to protect his people, but he really wished that the leader would give the feline a chance to prove herself.

The sun had risen a few hours ago, and now the temperature was beginning to rise. Much to Hybrin's displeasure. A groan from behind alerted him that Preza was waking. Hybrin called back to her. “...Zamier says that we should be there-”

“A few hours after mid day? I heard.” Preza interrupted as she peeked up at the sky, then looked at the tracks that the thaluks were leaving behind. “We'll be there hours sooner then expected.”

Hybrin smirked at Preza's words. “Heh. How do you know that?” It didn't make much sense to him that a simple slave would know  traveling time.

“I looked up at the placement of the sun when the leader said that. It's moved since then, and the speed of the thaluks has picked up. It's as if they know the end of the journey is near.”

“Ah...” It was a trick that he himself learned when he was a fledgling assassin. He wondered how she would know such a trick. “You figured all that out on your own?”

“When I was in the cage I had all the time in the world until the end finally came. So I learned to tell time by the sun.” She paused for a moment wondering if she were speaking too much for Hybrin's liking. On the other hand, the white wolf did ask, and it wasn't a big deal to explain what she knew to him. “I can tell the speed that we're moving by the distance between each thaluk step. I learned that from years of being moved around by thaluks.”

Hybrin road in silence for a moment. His forehead suddenly creased, drawing together his two dark brows.“How did you know he was the leader?”

“He's at the front of the pack...” Preza mumbled as she curled back under the blanket.

Hybrin nodded, impressed that a mere slave girl was able to learn basic mathematical skills such as counting, time, and distance. Her skill of observation was also as keen as his own at some points. How was it possible for her to learn all of these things if she was just a slave?

Suddenly he realized his mistake. Of course she could learn these things, after all she was still a person with a mind of her own. Silently Hybrin chastised himself. He was thinking of Preza in the same way that Zamier would. As if her status as a slave made her less than a person.

He knew from reading books from scholars that the people of the south had a hierarchy structure to their society. Land owners, and merchants were at the top of the status pyramid while slaves were at the very bottom.

It was considered that he who has the wealth must be a cunning and brilliant man where as one who has to serve others and had no values of their own are the lowest of creatures. It made sense to him now why Zamier would have rather killed Preza then to take her in. It would have been a mercy killing in his eyes. A way to put the miserable creature he saw in that cage out of it's misery.

Vaguely Hybrin began to wonder why he himself did not truly see Preza in that light. It was not just a difference in culture, was it? It could have been the spark of life that she showed when she lashed out at him and the other members of the guild. Or it could have been the intelligence she showed when they debated over her slavery. Either way Hybrin knew that, Preza was no fool, and it would be a mistake to think of her as such if even for a moment. Hybrin realized now that he must be very careful in what he told the violet haired feline, lest someone should get their hands on her. Then they could force her to tell them what she knew about the mysterious caravan that she arrived with.

At one point Zamier ordered the band to halt. Hybrin and Preza both watched as he rode to the back of the caravan. In the caravan's rear there was a small line of thaluks with straw mats tied to their flanks and dragged behind the beasts. The riders who were upon these thaluks dismounted and began pulling up the mats at Zamier's command.

Preza, who at this time was wide awake and riding upright looked to Hybrin. “We're getting close.”

Hybrin raised a bushy eyebrow at her comment.“Oh? What makes you say this?”

Preza nodded back to where Zamier's men were rolling up the straw planks. “Those mats are there to disguise our tracks aren't they? If they are pulling them up that must mean that they want the tracks to be seen.” She looked a little perplexed as she turned to Hybrin. “Why? Where are we going?”

Hybrin gave her a long stare, silently warning her not to ask such things. “You don't need to know that.”

Preza took the hint and timidly drew back in her seat, diverting her eyes from Hybrin's disapproving glare. She realized that she had overstepped her bounds by probing for information. “My apologies.”

Once Zamier took his place back at the front of the caravan they continued on without a word for the rest of their journey.

Just as Preza had predicted they arrived at the front gate of the city at mid day, and not a moment later. Zamier called back to Hybrin and the rest of his men. “Once inside the gates you are free to do as you please. I will send a messenger to collect you when you are needed.” His gray eyes fell on the wolf and feline, and he beckoned them forth. “Hybrin, if you'd please?”

Without hesitation Hybrin guided his thaluk to the head of the caravan. “You wish to speak to me? Here?”

The painted dog shook his head. “Not yet. I want you to meet me at the inn at dawn. Tomorrow you will be heading north, and I have yet to show you my gratitude.” With that Zamier turned to the gate, and gave the order to have it opened. Moments later the thick wooden doors opened to the weary travelers, welcoming them to their summer home.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 09:27:16 am by SenoraKitty »

Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: Blood and Shadows
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2012, 12:59:27 pm »
I found the story interesting, and flowed well as to keep
one reading.

Thanks for sharing. :orbunny:
Avatar drawn by me.

Offline SenoraKitty

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Re: Blood and Shadows
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 12:55:24 pm »
I found the story interesting, and flowed well as to keep
one reading.

Thanks for sharing. :orbunny:
Good I was concerned about the flow of it. I have not tried writing anything beside fanfiction until now, and that was years ago. I'm glad that it keeps you engaged, and not having it feel like a task to read.