The following story and characters have all rights reserved to me and are fictional writing of my own imagination and/or experiences.
(I have also disabled all my former posts between Ch 1 and Ch 2 for new readers.)
Clan Wars: Ch 2, Frozen Peaks
Beast dashed through the pitch darkness of the forest in an effortless stride, eating up miles in minutes as his eyes scanned through the night like looking through a spring day's rain. Here and there he'd see the fading heat signature of some creature that ran from the snap of branches but stealth wasn't the goal tonight. He'd make misleading trails, just in case someone decided to track the killers of the village before doubling back and heading off in yet another direction. After several trails had been laid, he headed towards their real destination. From the darkness within his mind, Max stirred, feeling the pitch of the forest in its steady incline, and knew they would be heading into the mountains where one of their hidden cave homes would give them safety for a few days.
[If you didn't take every challenge, we wouldn't be in this predicament you know. There was nothing wrong with escaping into the night and letting all those people live.] Max stated as he used Beast's vision to see their surroundings while staying in the mind's blackness.
"Hph!" Was all he received in response.
Beast was focused on the task at hand with little mood for conversation but what was new in that department. Beast had never been known to talk much audibly because of his belief in words having power and power was to be used when needed, not for idle conversations. Such idleness is what the rudimentary sign language or mind speaking was for. Max was more under the impression that Beast struggled to form proper words due to his face being more representative of a fox bat so his muzzle caused a guttural tone that lacked clear verbiage.
Beast stopped as he looked up the cliffside that brought an abrupt ending to the forest and shifted the weight of the woman into his arms.
[COME ON! Just cli....] the sound of his shirt ripping and the sting of flesh tearing out his back as new bones shifted, broke, and reformed to extend outward into massive bat-like wings. [Damit Beast! You know how hard it is to find clothes that will fit you!?! Fuck me, man...]
Max felt the smile on Beast's face, as the clawed hand extended just enough to see the middle finger lifted up for the eye that Max was watching through. [Fuck you too, old man.] Max said. [You could have at least looted some of those bastards if you're just going to shred our clothes.] A low chuckle of laughter was the retort as Beast's massive wings flexed and folded before he leaped into the air which took them nearly half the height of the great pines. With two harsh pumps of his wings, they started the ascension straight up the cliff wall and didn't stop till they reached the snow-covered ledge. Onward he flew, cutting through the mountains and covering the miles to their cave, where he landed with gentle grace. He strode inside the blackness as a Master returning back to his castle and followed the cave back to the soft glow of a side chamber.
Their cave wasn't lavish by any means with its pine needles and smelly hide bed covered in furs, that stank more of bears than pine. One candle-lit lantern to tell time by and a fire pit with a few logs to sit on. Beast made his way to the bed which pressed into a darker half nook and unceremoniously dropped the woman on top of the furs.
[What's the point in bringing the woman, if you're gonna kill her before we even need to feed?]
"Mine. Nah you." Beast snorted as he climbed over her to a large diameter log that l ran the width of the bed. Pushing up the bark on top revealed extra clothes and essentials, along with the shackles and broken chain, Max was once set in. Grabbing them from the hollowed log Beast set the shackles on the woman then bound the chain in an eternity knot above and below the metal bracelets. He looped the tail of the chain between her elbows and wrist a couple of times before giving it a tweaking tug as she groaned and spoke incoherently. As Beast hid the end of the chain in the knot, Max began chuckling.
[You're expecting her to stay of her own free will?]
"Uha, Uha" Beast acknowledged.
[Are you fucking kidding me? You think she won't lite out of here on the first chance she gets?]
Beast just snorted, ending his side of the conversation. Dropping her not-so-secured wrist, she grunted and twist to the impact on her guts as Beast headed to the fire pit. Slapping his hands together he kneeled over the kindling within and uttered an arcane word in a language Max couldn't understand. As the word escaped his muzzle, he thrust his palm towards the wood and flame leapt to life. Slowly he spun his fingers above them and the flame grew, rising up to touch the tip of his claw. Max could feel the connection Beast had with the fire elemental and a soothing calm waxed over Beast's body. The crack of bone and searing pain throughout the body, announced the morning was near as Beast's consciousness and form transformed back to Max's. The process felt like it was slow due to feeling every break and rip of flesh when in actuality the process took less than a few seconds.
"Fucking hell!" Max panted on his knees before the fire. "Just once, can you give me a little forewarning?" The image of a middle finger slipping into darkness and the sound of chuckling was the answer. "Yeah yeah, fuck you too old man."
From the bed, he could hear the woman moan and he turned to watch but she was only repositioning herself in her forced slumber. Slowly Max found his feet and pulled the slipknot rope belt tight to hold his worn black pants up. His feet felt the cold of the cavern's stone but not to the stinging intensity that a normal human would. The fire attunement that Beast had, kept his body temperature stable against most cold environments, one of many perks of being the host to an ancient vampiric spirit. Taking a deep breath of the frosty air he set about getting preparations for breakfast ready, periodically checking up on the woman who had started to shiver. With more tenderness than Beast but less than tenderly, he pulled the furs out from under her and placed them on top. "Bitch is gonna be a blood-cicle at this climate." He muttered to himself.
[She's gonna be hungry also, by the time she wakes up from that concussion... probably freeze her tits off without some decent clothes], he thought as he headed back to one of the many side caves. They had stored plenty of meat from the former resident whose hide now covered the woman. Taking a mental inventory he noted that there was enough bread to last about a week and the snow outside fed into the stream that ran clean, deeper inside where the cave became a crevasse that dumped into a huge chamber. He hoped to explore it someday but that'll have to wait as he played babysitter slash warden to their new blood bag. As much as he tried to keep a distance from the "cattle", basic humanity clung to him and in some ways, he clung to it. Past the food storage and into a smaller chamber he knelt to sift through the piles of old items, searching for a worn garment from one of the many unfortunate travelers that found out too late, this cave was already claimed by a dominant male bear. When he and Beast originally found the cave it had been littered with bones, hides, and broken weapons from the apparent hunters and trappers that took shelter here during the random snow storms that seemed to plague this mountainous area. After Beast had killed the bear, Max began organizing items and storing things away. Some he could sell, some he could repurpose or toss in the fire, and some, like now, can come in handy. Finding a leather overcoat with a few claw slashes and some old blood-covered garments was still a better option than freezing. He wished his vision was as clear as Beast but through the red tinge that was afforded him, he could see better than any other human in the pitch darkness of the caves. After gathering up some others to do some minor stitch work with, he headed back to the food storage and then to the main cave they called home. Upon entering, he notices the woman had moved from her place in the bed but showed no alarm as he moved to the fire and started cooking up breakfast and doing some not-so-graceful stitching with a bone needle and dagger. His heightened senses could hear her trying to slowly get out of the bed, though it really didn't require a heightened hearing to pick up on the chains being tested.
Without turning to look, "It would be best if you lay back down till I have you some decent clothes to wear. That thin tunic isn't going to help you much against the cold of these mountains." He stated plainly. A faint gasp followed a sigh of resignation and what he assumed was her laying back down under the pelts to stay warm. "Breakfast is almost done too." This time he cast a glance her way. "Don't worry, I'm not the one you need to be afraid of," he said turning his attention back to the food and clothing. "Well, unless you give me a reason.. which I strongly suggest that you don't." The clink of the chains made him smile and shake his head. "Those are for your safety, not your imprisonment. Whether you leave them on or remove them doesn't matter to me but leaving them on will keep you safe."
She had no reason to believe him, he knew that she'd seen him slaughter the sentry but it wasn't him that hit her or brought her limp body here. He inhaled her fear, the smell was delicious and her quickening heartbeat was clear to his ears but he ignored both and set to finishing the task at hand. Once both were done, he took the food off the fire and stood with the attire to present to her. Walking over to where she lay peeking out from under the bear's thick pelt he held up the bloody garment and overcoat.
"Sorry for the dried blood but there really isn't anywhere to wash clothes up here and if you put them over your tunic, you won't have to worry about it." She didn't budge from where she lay so he tossed the garments on top of the pelt. "Once you're dressed, come eat a bite, you need to regain your strength." He said but again to no response. Max just shrugged and headed back to the fire, cutting the food into two portions placed on broken wooden planks that he used for plates and motioning in her general direction to come to join him. After a few moments of shuffling under the hides and light curses at the binders, she slowly emerged into the firelight and sat opposite him.
"I'm not your fucking slave, woman. Come get it or starve, the option is yours." He said, sliding her makeshift plate to the closest log, leaving a small dagger embedded in the wood for her to use on the meat. He watched her look at the plate, then the dagger, and back at him.
"I told you, I'm not the one you need to fear." Causing her to quickly glance around, most likely looking for Beast. "He's not here either." He said nodding towards the cave entrance.
This wasn't the first time he'd kept cattle, and it wasn't hard for the mind to draw its own conclusion without him having to make up an outright lie. The human mind is a fickle thing that drew logical conclusions, especially when what she'd seen was probably the most illogical thing she'd ever seen... a human eating the neck of the sentry... a monster that appeared from nowhere, they had to be two different entities and she'd just not noticed the monster while being fixated on him. Max smiled broadly, his fangs had long retreated into his gums. When she finished her scan of the entryway she looked and he could see the relief wash over her. She once again stood and made her way to the food, glancing at the dagger and biting at her own lip in thought.
"He's never THAT far away, hun... be a gracious guest and eat." He said with a wink and started doing the same.
[His voice is so melodious, almost like a shaman soothing a child if his language wasn't so vulgar.] She thought as she watched him eat without even a shiver from the cold on his bare feet and moderately hairy chest. [How was he not cold] she wondered as she turned her attention to the food that called to her empty belly. [Must be the heat of the fire.] she concluded feeling the fire's heat fighting off the cold of the cave. She leaned forward to pick up her plate and hesitated.
"H.. How am I supposed to eat like this?" She pushed her bound wrist out the bottom of the bloody shirt, hooking it at her elbows.
"Not my problem." He said between chews of food.
"Bu.." she didn't even finish the complaint as his eyes caught hers, trapping her in mid-speech that ended in the quick shallow swallow of air.
"Figure it... the fuck... out." His gaze was in strict contrast to his sweet and welcoming tone. "You managed to get the shirt on. You even managed to keep the coat over your shoulders while getting out of my bed to sit here." He stated in his soothing voice. "Which means you're not an idiot."
She gazed at her chains in a moment of thought and sighed before sliding off her log and going face-first into her food. A slave's life is all she'd known while in the village they'd stolen her from, so this wasn't the first time she ate like the dogs. [From one capture to the next] she thought as she sat back and grabbed the end to tear a piece of meat off. She looked back at him while she chewed, pondering from whence he was to be so pale, and watched as he nodded and went back to consuming his food.
Even with the chains on, she finished her meal at nearly the same time as him. He wiped his lips with semi clean cloth and stifled a belch. "Excuse me." He said in modesty while grease and mushed veggies dripped from her chin. He tossed the cloth the short distance between the two "Clean yourself up and toss your plate on the fire." He said while doing the same with his.
"Bu.." she started before being cut off
"It's all firewood, hun. Nothing here is permanent and I only plan to be here a couple more days till the snowstorm passes. Then we'll be off to..." He hesitated. "Somewhere else."
"Snowstorm?" She asked perplexed. "What mountains are we in, exactly?"
He stood and casually stretched out his athletic frame, crisscrossed with minor scars. "The snowy ones to the north of your village."
"What?! How?! That's days away from the village." She exclaimed, her mind racing to try to calculate the distance. "we're in the Frozen Peaks..." She said under her breath, blinking rapidly as her mind sought rationality.
"You've been out for a while." He said, once again letting her mind do the work of misdirection.
Her head snapped back to the entrance of the cave and she shook noticeably. Her voice dropped to a whisper, "What about the cave trolls and Ice Giants..." Panic began setting in ".. the bears and wolves?" Her fear was truly magnificent to inhale and stirred his hunger slightly.. his true hunger... the lust for blood. Her heart beat so loud it played a rhythm like a drum to him.
"STOP!" He demanded. His breathing was heavy and musk filled her senses, causing her to look and be captured by his gaze once again. His eyes seemed to swirl in a pool of blue and green with streaks of red, and she fell into them as though he was the calm eye, inside a storm. Her panic shed off as though there was nowhere else that could possibly be safer than where she was right now.. bound on her knees before him. He was meant for her, she was meant for him, all else no longer mattered.. and just as suddenly she blinked as his fingers touched her chin.
"You are safe here, with me." Pulling her out of his hypnotic gaze.
"yes, master" She heard the words come out unintentionally but naturally. He wiped a bit of grease and mushed veggies from her chin with the cloth that had been in her hand.
"Now, please... clean up and make yourself useful." His tone was calm and soothing yet his eyes had a struggle beneath them.
[MINE!] came the voice of Beast, within Mas's mind.
[Yes, yours... but until the night comes, I'll do as I wish, old man.] Max could hear the snarl but pressed the issue. [If I am to be the one to tend to her while you sleep, then I'll take what I will even if she is yours. We work as one so what is yours, IS mine, and what is MINE, IS yours. That was the contract, abide.] Calming himself further... [She's just cattle to me, so calm your tits and get some sleep. Apparently, this cave you brought us to is in the region of the Ice Giants... remember them, Old Man?] Max's frustration peeked back out. [I told you not to kill that kid but oh NOOOooo, you can't pass up a challenge. Let's just hope this tribe hasn't heard the news yet or discovered our presence.]
The familiar middle finger appeared from the darkness of his mind, followed by a dark chuckle. "Fuck me..." Max whispered audibly as he turned away from the woman to busy himself elsewhere.
"What was... that.." She asked tentatively as she finished cleaning her face.
"Nothing, just thinking out loud," He said, causing her to blush and hurriedly toss her plate into the fire. It wasn't until she started to remove her garments that he realized what she must have heard and quickly returned to stop her. "That's... not what I meant. I tend to talk to myself as I plan and sometimes the words just... come out." He could see the confusion and perhaps a bit of hurt but refused to explain further. "I need to get some more firewood for tonight. Stay here and uh..." He looked around and silently cursed his organizational skills. "Busy yourself. I won't be long nor will I go far." Letting go of her bound wrist, he turned to head out into the snow, though not for wood... there was plenty enough to hold them for a week, but he needed to clear his head and smell for smoke. Even Ice Giants cooked food. He didn't even make it to the entrance when she grabbed his rope belt.
"Please don't leave me...." She asked meekly. He turned ready to chasten her but when he saw her head bowed, her hair cast to the side and the soft tender flesh of her neck, he found he could not.
Sighing he motioned to the lantern. "Get the lantern and that dagger I gave you. We need to find a back door to this place."
She didn't hesitate and scrambled for the dagger which she used to slash a hole through the garments so her hands could hold the lantern, and quickly returned to him.
"What do they call you?" he asked while fastening the top cross chain of her overcoat.
"Kah. They call me Kah." She stated.
"Well Kah, You can call me Max or you can call me Master. I'll respond to either." A slight smirk of arrogance on his lips.
"Aren't you at least concerned?" Her brows furrowed, unsure if she appreciated that look, and presented the dagger in hand.
"You're not that stupid, Kah. Even if you managed to kill me, how long would you last without me?" His answer was a mix of statement and cockiness. He didn't wait for the answer as he headed into the darkness of the cave, heading towards the crevasse.
[Ass] She thought, but hurried behind him.
Clan Wars: Ch 3, The Crevasse... Coming soon.
Thank you to my friends, supporters, and lovely AngelBunny
(Too long or do y'all feel it ends at a good pause point?)