Rusting Rifles

Her gait was predatory, her frame undeniably well shaped, her dress provocative but not all that revealing. She slowly advanced on the bar, the airs of elegance and ire all wrapped up in one pretty package. She had the look of a woman who had lost a whole lot, and all of it in a short space of time. She hadn’t slept when she walked in around eight in the morning, I could tell by the heavy coat and high heels it was the morning after the night before, and hers was not over. Her hair was perfect, her make-up was perfect, but her face was tired.
“We’re not open for another half hour,” I said to her as I reached for yet another glass that needed drying. She sat down at the bar anyway. Her eyes were a black as hard as steel, shiny and tense, but the allure that hid behind them was that of a women used to cat and mouse. Her eyes were half hidden by a red fringe that was too shiny to be of real hair. She pulled out thin stack of money and set it on the table. Big bills.
“Get me a bottle of whatever’s closest,” she mumbled. I was about to try send her off again, when she pulled another stack of bills from a matte black purse. “Please,” she said. I set a bottle of Beluga and glass onto the table.
“You alright?” I asked her -she was growing on me- and she shook her head. Her heavy eyes looked fit to explode under some kind of pressure behind them, her mind too full of thoughts or emotion, it was anyone’s guess.
“Do you know who I am?” she asked me. “Have you seen me before?” I shook my head.
“Of course you haven’t. No one ever has.” She wiggled gloved fingers through the air. “I am a ghost.”
She took a heavy swig from the glass, refilled it, and took another.

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“D’you want me to dash that with anything, or…”
“Ask me about my count. Go on, ask me what my body count is.”
“Your count, miss?”
“Ask me.”
“Uhm. What is your, er, body count?”
“Forty-five,” she said. She spat the word like poison, then waited for me to react. I could only think that she would be a hard ghost to forget an encounter with.
“Forty-five,” she said again, for effect. She stared at the leather gloves as though she couldn’t believe they fit her fingers, and frowned. “I had sex with half of them – you know, before. That’s what you have to do when you’re a woman. Those are the jobs you get. No one ever calls me to work a rifle or stage something magnificent” – her fingers form air quotes above her face – “an ‘accident’. They want me to be the mistress, to be Miss Argentina, to burn men in their beds at night and ‘vanish’ with their memories. I have twenty guns turned to rust under my floorboards, but three knives growing blunt from the bones of so many men, not to mention all other manner of weapons simply wasting away from disuse.”
I tried not to make a face at her. I had the sense she was a hooker, but wasn’t so sure anymore. She was appealing as all hell, and was sharp as a razor blade. She was also, definitely, crazy. “Ask me how many women I’ve killed.”

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She was on her fourth drink, and still clear as the morning sky. Her hard eyes barely softened. Maybe she was a seasoned drunk, maybe soft in the head from years of mornings like this. Didn’t have the droopy face for it though. I slung my towelette over my shoulder, slowly being sucked in.
I humoured her. “How many?”
“Six,” she whispered. “Of all of them, six. I was always someone’s secretary, or someone’s daughter’s friend, or fucking someone’s husband,or selling fucking cookies. I had to sell a woman cookies once. She let me into her big house, the hapless, rich idiot, without even a question as to what for, and I had to cartwheel her down the stairs. It was like clubbing a baby seal. Repeatedly.” She sighed. “These are the jobs you get.”
“Oh,” I said, for there was nothing else to be added… I had begun to regret letting her in so early. She probably did some dirty dealing for the kind of money she was pushing across my counter. I glanced at her, hers was fiery scarlet hair; a wig, hidden under a fluffy winter hat. Good, real fur. Perhaps she was a madam with a few screws missing. Perhaps she was a kept woman. She leaned towards me with eyes like slits and I took an instinctive step backwards. She smelled like vanilla. Fading, but not cheap.
“Do you know what I did last night?” she whispered. She was on her seventh glass and still as sharp as a needle, discounting of course her jumbled head.
“Come on, please ask me what I did last night…”
I was getting into the game a little. “What, miss, did you do last night?”
“I killed a man.”
“Of course you did.”
She sat back and put her head into both hands, a universal sign of crippling discontent. “Ask me how I killed him.”
“How did you kill him?”
“I gave him a heart attack.” She looked down, her hands no longer covering her eyes.
“And how did you do that?” I asked, unprompted. She steepled her fingers.
“I touched him,” she said, staring at her hands again, “in the right places. In just the right ways, at the right pressures. I trained three years, but I guess so did every other girl in this god forsaken business. These are the jobs we get. He was going to be mayor; they knew he’d be great or they’d have let him live. I mean, I’m guilty of the crime but I don’t feel guilty –I get paid either way- but just once. Just once, could I get called on to work a sniper rifle or a bomb, maybe something with some combat, maybe fly a helicopter. Just once, be something else, not the floozy they have to edit out of the press.”
She got up to walk away then hesitated, she’d left all the bills on the table. “Keep it,” she said with a wink and a nod in my direction. “I should bump you too, for all the things you’ve heard, but I guess that’d be no fun…” She leaned across the bar and whispered in my ear “Remember this as the day I let you live, the day I walked away.”
I held my chuckle until the door had shut behind her. What a nutcase. But part of me was unsure. She’d left enough money for my month’s rent, at least. I stuffed the money into my pockets before anyone could walk in and wonder where it came from, I found the remote to the television, and sat back for the end of the morning news.

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And there he was, mayoral candidate Bartholomew H Roux, dead in his home from ‘natural causes’.
He was fifty-four years old. And I’d just met his killer…

Lust for the Lavender Lady: spider and fly

“So she turns to the bartender and says ‘Can I get dinner to go with that violation?'” The crowd erupted into howls of laughter, their captor, Kal, was loud and imperious, and consequently rarely took the temperature of the crowds that surrounded him. Fortunately for him he was also charismatic, amusing and hansom enough that his amusing turned to downright riotous. He had cold eyes and a darkness lurked behind them, probably all of that sadism pooling after an evening of having gone unused… Not for much longer though, he’d found his next victim.

The soft skinned young lady wore a dress of a spectacular lavender, with accents that matched her perfectly maintained hair, fingernails were short, heels didn’t hinder her sway and her contact lenses really did a number on one’s mind. She sat to his right, legs spread across the bench, one draped across Kal and the other at his back. Did I mention the lavender dress? The short lavender dress?

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Kal ignored her purposefully, knowing that she was far to accustomed to having idiots throwing themselves head first beneath her feet, every time she came near a puddle. Kal was no idiot, far from it. He saw himself as a winner, and judging by the look in her eyes and the way she was breathing him in, drinking in his scent and salivating at the chance she’d make to wolf him down: clearly she thought so too.

Kal’s hands were far too full with maintaining the ambience, keeping the liquor coming and the crowd enthralled to really look at her, because if he was he’d have picked up something he’d missed earlier. He’d noticed all the tattoos, the piercings and the body that beautifully complimented the art; he’d noticed the silver ring on her hand and the delicate inscription that ran all around it; but he missed the look in her eyes, the shadow that clouded that lavender, a shadow far darker than his own.

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As the night progressed Kal found himself more and more engaged by the lavender woman, his mind not the driving force behind their interaction of course. Her scent would play within his space when she got up to walk to the bar, her fingers would brush his intentionally as she retrieved bill after bill from his hand to once again quench her thirst, her eyes would capture his as she tied knots in cherries with her tongue. She was slowly sucking him in, a vacuum so tight he couldn’t retreat; soon the crowd was secondary, then eventually dissipated entirely, Kal’s mind was occupied, he was consumed by one thing, one thought. And when she could feel his hand start sliding up her long, toned leg she leaned forward, fingers running up to his shoulders, then playing with his ear; she whispered “Come into my parlor Kal, let’s climb my winding stairs. Come visit the silk sheets of my oh so inviting bed…”

So Kal went into the Parlor: he the spider and her undoing his fly…

But Kal never woke, she was the black widow that caught his eye.

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“Sex and Spatter” by Ayanda Msibi

Flecks of red dot his face and shoulder. I move to remove them, but stop. Somehow, they make him more beautiful.

“What are you staring at?” he says with a grin, feigning ignorance. His breathing is still ragged, quick breaths in and out swelling his chest intermittently. I try not to faint.
I want to make a joke, lighten the mood, but it’s unnecessary. The moment needs nothing more, so I let the words drown in our perfect silence.

He gives me his version of a smile, a red-speckled grimace with teeth. Trey’s never been a smiler; the ability was lost to disuse a long time ago. I giggle at the attempt and he fakes a frown. Usually, I’d have been afraid to make fun of him like this – I know too well that he hates it – but right now, I have an unspoken pass. His euphoria has eclipsed his temper.

Trey kisses me, gently. His hammer falls to the wooden floor with a clunk as he raises his right hand to my face. I scooch closer, awkwardly. I’ve always been awkward. And a little strange, if you believe the talk. I’ve never really believed it possible that someone as perfect as Trey would give their heart to someone as imperfect as I am. Maybe that’s why every moment with him is like some kind of dream, a fantasy that I’m almost sure I’ll wake up from at any second. Everything I do and say is flawed, but it doesn’t matter because this is my dream, and Trey thinks it’s great – that I’m great – and nothing else matters.

Not even Genni Gunston.

For once, I don’t concentrate completely on Trey. I run on autopilot as I think of Genni’s face that night, the way her stubby legs carried her as she ran away, her mousy brown hair trailing in the slight breeze. The sight of Genni running marked the exact moment I knew that I would do anything for Trey Barker. Anything.

Trey was walking away already. He didn’t care. I tried to calm my heart rate down enough to hear myself think over the pounding in my ears. I kicked the man’s feet. He didn’t move. The thought that he might be dead was less a cause for alarm than an annoyance. What were we going to do with him? The smell of urine seemed to get worse then, as though it were concentrating itself around my nose, taunting me with the fact that I’d have to touch him. Trey was nearing the end of the alleyway.

“I need your help, Trey,” I said, half calling to him and half whispering.
I was almost afraid to ask. He was unpredictable when he got like this.
He turned to see what I was talking about. “Just leave him there, Tuts.”
I hated that name. Trey loved it. It stuck.

He registered my silence and stood there, across the alley, staring back at me until his patience wore out. I always win games involving patience.
“This kind of thing happens every day,” he added before turning and walking out onto the street opposite me.
I looked down at the man at my feet. The smell of urine was laced with a sticky, metallic smell now. I’d have to carry him myself.

We were close enough to the harbour for me to hear the waves, smell the fishy ocean, but too far for me to walk alone, carrying a homeless man. I set him behind one of the huge dumpsters Genni’s dad’s restaurant used for their trash and left to find Trey.

“You smell like crap,” he said when I caught up to him.
I laughed. “It’s the month-old sweat.”

Trey’s lips are on my neck now, his sticky hands tracing uneven crimson lines over the small of my back. I’ve replaced the specks on his face with lines of my own; war paint where my fingers have been, preparation for battle: us against the world.
My mind drifts back to Genni. US: 1, GUNSTON: 0.

She didn’t say anything right away. She watched us in the corridors at school, not in the usual, curious way that others did, as one might look at a sideshow performer. Genni looked into us, made eye contact. I know what you did, she almost seemed to say, and I’m biding my time until I can use it.
I spent my days afraid that SWAT might swoop in on our school and seize Trey, and my nights afraid that he’d be taken while I slept. What is the penalty for murder? I dreamt of Genni Gunston’s pug face smiling as Trey was taken away forever. In my dreams, logic and democracy were myths, and Trey was hanged, beheaded, lynched, every night, right in front of me. I woke on a Sunday after one such dream and knew for certain: Genni Gunston would not go to the police. Genni Gunston would not take Trey Barker from me.
I’m not sure what time it was when I knocked on Trey’s door. He said nothing when he saw me. His face was an empty mask until I spoke. He listened to me babble, cry, babble, silent. I told him my idea. Then he grimaced, with teeth.

Barking breaks me out of my memory. I’m lying on my back now, sticky liquid in my clothes, matting my hair. I’ll have to wash it out when I get to Trey’s house. I’m probably never going back home. Trey has stopped kissing me. Marks across his shoulders and down the front of his white tank track where my hands have been, the brighter ones fresh and the older darker, browner. He is listening, too.
Genni’s dog has woken up. I didn’t hit it with enough force. The neighbours will be here soon, asking questions.

“We should get out of here,” I say. Trey gives me a ‘five minutes more’ look. He’s a kid in a candy store. I shut my eyes tight and try to make my brain shout over my beating heart. Trey is still looking at me. Shout, brain, shout.

“Trey,” I can barely hear the words over the rushing in my ears, white-hot in my head against the cool floor.
I carefully peel him off of me and stand up. I step on Genni’s hand as I do, by accident. I didn’t know she was so close by. That cools my blood a little; Genni is still good for that.

I grab the items we came with: Trey’s hammer and the knife I took from our kitchen – my mother’s favourite: sharp and new. I step over Genni’s body twice as I go and a part of me, somewhere deep in the shadows of my mind, cringes. I expand the shadows and shut it out. I have to think now.

“How about,” I say, flashing Trey my most alluring smile, “you and I get into your car and take a very long road trip, Bonnie and Clyde style.”
He grabs me by the waist, and I know it’s a yes. No persuasion necessary. Thank God.

We step over Genni’s body together on the way out. Trey went a little hard on her face, smashed her skull in. I tried to be precise, aim for the heart. Bloody arcs smear the floor where she writhed, where Trey and I made out. I lose the distinction between Genni’s handprints and ours somewhere across the floor.

We leave the front door open and walk straight to Trey’s car. He revs it a few times, for the fun of it, before backing out onto the street, in the opposite direction to both of our homes. I want to stop time and keep us here, like this, forever.

The dog is still barking.

Any and all confusion :)

My younger sister, Ayanda, has made me aware of something I had missed: the confusion surrounding my Primus story’s various installments which I would like to clear up. So, if anyone out there in cyberspace and our wondrous bloggersphere has any questions regarding the Primus story please feel free to post them in the comments section below or even in the stories themselves. I would be more than happy to discuss the stories and even change mistakes anyone has spotted; after all this blog, for me at least, is all about experiential learning and the creation of not just poetry and story that belong to me, but to the readers as well.

So please, I beseech you to feel free to raise anything and everything that comes to mind; I am here to make something we will all enjoy.

Primus: The Flower Petals

The golden light of the malicious and destructive fire slowly drew closer. Leonus unable to think due to the lack of oxygen. He would never stop hearing that screaming though. He would forever remember the agony of the trees. He Dug pouring his life force into the ground, trying to end it all. If he leeched his health long enough he could save them, he could unleash a storm of life upon the forest; significantly beyond his normal magical radius. His only problem came when he saw the fire sprout around him. It was futile to pursue: this was it.

Heather screamed in horror. Ilu was gone, nowhere to be seen. They had spent so little time together yet they were starting to bond. She had gone to collect some water for his bath, upon her return, he was nowhere to be seen. She tried to Trace him, yet there was a strange interference. His magic was being masked by an outflow of power that she had never seen the like of.

She followed her gut. Picking a direction and taking off. Speeding through the brush, coat fluttering wildly and snagging on thorns she no longer felt. She decided that it was best to head towards trouble; it was always where children went. Heather felt the wind against her skin, warmth. This was not the Seys for warmth, it was still a few cycles off. Looking into the sky she saw a glow, doubling her speed by reducing her stamina to a quarter of what it should be, she began moving at a pace that was inhuman. If she was heading towards a fire it would be best to cover the distance fast and possibly manage to out run it, on the way back.

His eyes widened in the glow, that flame that consumed so quickly. That heat that made him sweat, he could feel the trees dying. Worst of all he could hear them scream. He plugged his ears with his fingers. Sitting down hard, rocking back and forth Ilu tried to sing to himself. Suddenly he felt hands on him. Gently caressing his head and humming. Soon he could hear nothing save that familiar voice. He felt no heat licking away at him, carried by the wind. All was still.

Opening his eyes he saw Bindy standing within the flames, the golden flames kissing her equally gold skin. She stood stock still, arms wide and head turned to face the sky. There were still caresses and calm, loving song. Ilu knew that if he listened hard to the wind, he’d hear the sound of the flute accompanying it.

The Shesha’s soft clay brown skin, black hair and grey eyes were closed. Yet she looked strained, her skin looked dry and her muscles were clenched tight. She sang with the tense vibration of over stretched string being plucked. Yet she held Ilu as if holding on for dear life. Ilu realized that the blaze was dimming. He tried to look for Nica and Niddy. All he found was the soft and still sound of Niddy’s flute, Nica seemed to whisper to him from a distance as well, repeating the words “Go to the heart of it and we can heal the forest.”

Never had Nica put him in a position that wasn’t beneficial so he trusted. Forward Ilu walked into the heart of the blaze. At first he expected pain but as he got closer he felt none. Looking over his shoulder he saw the face of Addie. Her hands firmly clasping those of Shesha and Niddy; with Nica holding Shesha’s and Bindy in the center.

Adelin, Bindy, Nica, Nidho and Shesha his family gathered together all at once. Urging him forward. It was a miracle; the flame unable to harm him. He looked hard at them all and it dawned on him, all those vital roles they performed for him. They corresponded to an element: Addie, to water; Nidho, to wind; Bindy, to fire; Shesha, to earth; Nica to light. That was why they never appeared when Heather came out of the bushes, they were within him.

Nica smiled saying “We are your Elementals. Parts of a single whole, part of you. You rule us, we follow your heart. You just have to want it to be badly enough.” As he spoke the fire died completely and rain began to fall. The soft pitter patter starting off slowly. The scorched ground sizzled, the embers slowly starting to darken as they stood in silence.

“Can we fix the damage that’s been done?” Asked Ilu quietly and sadly as he looked at the devastation.

Nica dropped to his knees and asked “Do you believe we can?”

“There is always something we can do,” Ilu responded “that’s what mom used to tell me…”

“So then what are you waiting for? come grab our hands and lets get it done!” Responded Nica

Heather came around a corner and at first she had a hard time adjusting to the light and colour. She looked hard, concentrating. Her vision cleared, showing Ilu sitting in the lap of a strange man. There was an air of menace about him, yet his eyes looked dotingly on Ilu like a proud father. There was a third person lying some way off in the distance. The brush looked a vivid green polka dotted with colour, the trees looked like they’d been carved from ice yet threw off the most fantastic rainbows, the light trickled in the forest looked alive; smelled gorgeous and the wind was gentle. As it blew Heather felt things brush against her. Turning around she saw the pink petals of a cherry blossom tree. She smiled at the slight. She smiled for the first time, in a long time.

For the first time in a long time, there were smiles in bloom…

Primus: The Weeping of Trees

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Leonus stood in among trees, trying to imagine a world in which he could not speak to them, a world in which he was not of the trees and would never return to them. The thought caused him pain. Never being able to face his friends if he failed to avenge them –

Leonus, this is Pinar Truewood. I have a message for you. It’s from Panth Deathsung. He sends: We have always loved your tenacity but in this case we love our former kin and our new kin more. If you choose to continue pursuing this path you are on then we will know that you never embarked on this journey for us. If you had you would be happy to pursue that which we deemed the more important path.

Leonus was staggered; he laughed sardonically at himself. Even in death Panth knew better than he did what was of higher priority.

“Pinar, show me the way to the Bringers of Peace. I shall do as the Trees will.” Leonus had gathered his thing as soon as he had returned to the campsite. No rest would come to him with such weighty matters resting on his shoulders.

You needn’t move Leonus; simply call out “Hail King and Father, He of Earthsung, Son of Wolves.” when we deem it fit.

Boreon stalked quietly, smelling the scent of a man, not far off the path. He could smell the agitation from here. Nothing bothered him more than animals that were on edge. Especially the sort which could do him harm. Normal men seldom killed wolves, however, seldom was not never. It could only be a pup’s own foolishness that led to his demise. He could hear a disturbance in the man’s breathing. And as the wind gusted he picked up a scent of calm. He heard a call and knew the man addressed him. And here he was thinking that he’d pass without alerting man or tree to his unique presence. The Alpha snorted in resignation and began padding in the direction of the very thing he’d tried to avoid.

He silently emerged from the underbrush the leaves strewn about thickly, into a clearing of speaking browned Pines. Clearly this man was Treeborn and Gaia’s touch gave him the faintest black aura. Another gust flung leaves about, this time also carrying a hint of the rain coming from the west. Clearly he would be traveling into something he’d rather avoid.

In the small clearing he saw a young man, with black hair and mahogany skin, his blue-green eyes were unsettling and his stance that of someone threatened. He stood easily in that pose as if it was natural for him, being the prey and never the predator.

“How does it know I,King Father?” He asked in a low grumble and very awkwardly, he wasn’t a practiced speaker out side of natural tongues.

“I was told to call on you by the Trees. I was told to follow you, to assist you in your task… Yet I know not what that maybe. Do you care for company?” Asked the young man probingly. Boreon was irritated at the Trees’ further interference.

“No, I not care fuh company!” He said irritatedly, of course he realized that neither the young man nor the Trees had registered his refusal because the young man began to collect his things. Toting his bag he looked expectantly at the wolf.

The wolf stalked off, meandering between the trees at a moderate pace, for wolves that was. He’d lose the boy, it wouldn’t take long. Maintaing pace, right behind him, however was the uninvited guest.

“Goawy!” he said over a lolling tongue, very careful not to bite his tongue. He picked up speed, weaving back and forth this time but trying to move in a general Westerly direction. The young man, however seemed not to have heard him because he pushed on, putting the thin vine woven chords of his bag over his shoulders. Stubborn.

Leonus had not seen himself ever being in this situation, hounding a wolf, come to think about it the very idea was comical. Leonus was glad that snowfall was still a time off, else he would have lost the cloud coloured wolf. He noted the general direction they were moving in and made his move. He started heading west. He cut a meandering line, he didn’t want to end up too far from the wolf.

The young man was becoming a pain in Boreon’s backside, mostly because he had managed to notice that no matter what direction the ran in the always head west. Perhaps one of his new powers would come in handy…

Leonus had been keeping his heading for over an hour, surely by now the strange wolf had to be close by. Leonus was at breaking point having been pushed to near sprinting to keep up. Leonus stopped now would be a good time to Feed the Trees. Leonus Dug and poured power into the Trees that surround him, they were a particularly healthy bunch, yet despite the frequent feeding of Envrese-boosted life force to them and the surrounding plants none bloomed anymore. No one had seen a natural flower in years. No fruit unless you boosted one plant with huge amounts. While he fed them he could hear the entire stretch for a few kilometers. If the wolf was near he’d hear it. A surge of magic filled his ears, a buzz that stopped him in his tracks unable to do anything but clutch his ears. Tears filled his eyes and he heard a howl not far off. Out of the darkness stepped a figure clad in gold armor, his partially drawn blade gleamed redder than the Wolf’s eyes and his eyes were an unnatural brown. He walked toward Leonus screaming something, but Leonus was unable to hear him. He still only heard ringing, Leonus leached his hearing and feeling, pouring it into his eyesight enhancing it for the price of temporary loss, as the wavelengths visible to his eyes changed he saw an aura, not the black tinge of Envrese or the silver glow of Instict of the Red of animal magic, not even the strange white of the Wolf he’d just encountered. This Aura shot golden flares of power, arcing from head to shoulder, toe to chest constantly shifting. All that activity was encompassed by what seemed to be a black cage. He radiated all that power gold and rich yet he was being limited… Leonus looked up to face the blinding light and returned his senses to normal. The out line of the aura was etched into his eyes. “You have seen it I see. You too can have this power if you join me. If you refuse I will strike you down. What says you Elfchild?”

The Trees screamed “No”, the first time he had ever heard such a lamenting cry. His heart broke at the wailing which seemed unending. The whole forest. Leonus covered his ears. Then he heard a voice in his head. “I will leave you here, but every Tree you listened to, every Tree you’ve fed all of them within your radius will burn, until the conflagration reaches you at its end point. If you choose not to join me you will die here. You have until the fire reaches you, choose wisely!” the gold clad speaker walked away and as he did he drew his sword. It sparked as it came out of its sheath. Leonus saw it drag on the ground like the matchsticks of old and far behind him at the base of the hill five kilometers away he saw a line of fire start, spreading left and right.

Then The Weeping of The Trees began.

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Primus Three: The Earth Sung Warrior

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Boreon the Alpha inhaled the air. In it he could taste the hatred, the sadness, the surprise, the pain of the two victims. Yet he saw no bodies, no blood trails. The scent of blood had lured him here, and now what kept him here was the stink of Gaia’s Touch. Her intervention was clear. Wolves often avoided places touched by  the Mother’s magic

He sniffed, something must have happened to the bodies. Then he caught it – something he had missed due to the overwhelming concentration of Gaia’s touch – a mistake like that could get him skinned. He looked for it, scanning carefully – he saw it. The trees. Five towering Elder trees in a grove of Pines and Lockwood. He neared them and as he did they whispered to him. This was not the way of the trees. This was the way of men. They never spoke to Wolf Mages unless Tapped. Yet these seemed to whisper to him. Wolf Father, please, deliver us from ourselves, we know now why Mother cries.

“And why would I intervene Tree children?”

A war has come, one that none of us will win. There will be no victors. Extinction will find us all. Even the wolves. The Conqueror has arrived.

“That, tree child sounds like a threat.”

I am Clou Deathsung, I knew the conflict of the Ari and the Wandborn. I died in defense of a dream created by men and imposed on us as will of the Mother spirit. In death I have learnt the truth. We must survive and our abilities must be made one again. The Ari hold true to the ideals of their elders but not to that of the Supreme Mother. The same can be said of the Wandborn. We will bestow upon you a boon – one that only our kind can give – use it to show Men the truth that all wolves, willows and wildlife know. Become more than what you are now – go forth as Earthsung and proclaim it: Envrese and Instinct are two parts of one whole. The Guardians were neither Wandborn nor Ari. They were Earthborn.

“Never has a Wolf done the will of the Trees; and never has a Tree done the will of the Wolves. I will trade however. If I accept this boon, I will desire the power to save my kind. As you say a war is coming and I need stronger soldiers to fight He Who Slays. I will it that any that I deem fit shall be made sons of mine. Are you amendable to such a condition?”

You may have a select few; we will commune over your selections as Luna speaks; only at the height of Luna’s song will you have the power to make them yours. Do not forget the Deathsung will watch you and only the Deathsung will keep this bargain. You fight for survival not dominion.

“This I can tolerate, only if their offspring are mine!”

The trees creaked, If that is your desire… However their offspring shall not be what their fathers once were. I will mark you hence forth, never again will you be a Grey, for you are now touched by Luna’s light, the Bonds of Death and life in unison, and the Elements that we represent. You are Diana’s child, but Gaia’s knight as well. You are the Brother of all Deathsung. Silver shall adorn you and yours. And elements speak your rank. The Life that flows shall mark your eyes, and So the blue of water for you are King. Green for the Mages who are your kin. White for those born as knights. Black for those who sing your Ash. Greying hair for those you claim but no sign shall begin for all Wolvesbane. A bite will seal their fates.

A blinding yellow glow surrounded Boreon, his pelt began shedding, replaced by a new one and then shed once more. His bones bulking up, breaking and knitting once again, over and over; muscle torn asunder and reformed, then torn asunder once more. The process mimicking the natural strengthening of evolution. His coat finally regrew a grey nearer to white and a silver ridge that ran from snout to tail. He howled in agony as his muscles turned to a malleable new fiber and snow poured into his slack jaw. His eyes bled, watered and began to rot in his skull. Helpless and lamenting he tried to loose another howl, which came out as more of a choking. His bone turned to something stronger and more flexible. new bones grew and old bones split and he fell out of waking.

Waking, he felt sluggish, his form unwieldy. But his thought was sharp, he could feel his bulk was tensed and powerful. A coiled snake ready to strike. He sought the river for his fiery thirst and in his reflection he saw eyes a fierce blue. He saw the ridge of silver and the fur that looked an icy grey. He was the Alpha, King, as Clou Deathsung had proclaimed, of a new race comprising of one.

As he put his tongue to the slowly flowing river it shrank. He drew his snout back and his tongue lengthened. He leaned forward once more, yet his tongue again shrank. Perplexed he leaned further and tried again, his snout touched the water and the water drew him in. He fell into the freezing flow. Yet, his body was not that of a wolf’s as he bobbed back up, he looked down to see the body of a man. Boreon began to panic; his body was again that of a wolf. He desperately swam for shore. Jumping out and shaking off his soaked and dripping pelt; he looked out at the water. Tied to it as he was now, he looked at it reverently: the catalyst to his change. His thirst was dire. How would he drink? His desperation was all pervading. He howled a sorrow filled cry. The water rose, an orb floating before his snout. He lapped greedily at it and heard a distant whisper.

Wolf to man, man to wolf. Paw to hand, desire it and water complies.