Monday, November 6, 2017

Flames to the Beast (Of Gods and Generals)

Watching the crowd disperse to live the last few moments, of their life, Eli addressed the four that remained rooted by his dominant position. "For the next three months, each of you will be in co-command of this army of clans. Within those three months we have to develop a trust between one another. Keep in mind George and myself are in higher stature as the law of our people and the presentation of the situation dictates. However, your positions are just as vital as ours. Each of you will become the supporting points that circle the army and strengthen them. You’re allowed to govern each of them only using the long set laws of our people. Not the laws that you created for your clans. With that said, many of your clansmen are now part of the mass. Equality is a must. Treat each male and female as if they were your kin. Protect them, motivate them in any way possible and when needed, discipline them. Weakness causes death, and we have no room for stupidity. So, if you grow lax within your duty, you will be made an example of in front of your peers by either one or all of us that stands here.
Nevertheless, I'm sure each of you will hold yourselves to these standards as well as we will. Neither of us is above these laws. Strength, unity, and our purpose will keep our hearts beating as one during the battle. We fight together, we die together, we will thrive together. Now, I’m going to question each of you to find what useful skills we have among us. We’ll place you in the appropriate ranks where your skills will be of much use. We haven’t the time to linger further. Do I make myself clear?"

Another voiced agreement was spoken in unison by all, except for one who nodded and caused his voice to burst through the automatic response with a different thought. The male werewolf spoke confidently, smoothly. "It's evident, General, your current drive is because you fear for your wife's life and the life of your growing child. You sent her with Sheryl without even a goodbye to her or your boy. Am I right? I don't blame you. If my wife had become threatened by a Thogagi and his army, I would raise a thousand armies. But time didn't allow that luxury for you. Didn’t it?"  

Shocked someone knew him so intimately was too close for any comfort. Eli snapped his head to look to his left. He locked eyes immediately on the large blue orbs of the werewolf who held challenge in his gaze. He walked passed George and the remaining three to the newly appointed Elder couple on the far left of the line. He quickly looked them over. The female had a large observing green stare and pure gray fur. Pools of black faded into streaks around her eyes and spread to her perked ears. She was dainty compared to her burly mate. Nevertheless, she looked as if she could hold her own when push came to shove. Eli moved on and growled as he stared the male down. In his beast form, the man was every bit as tall as Eli, but twice the size of his mountainous frame. The stranger’s fur was a dark smoky blue, which complimented his royal blue eyes. He looked deeply into the male's face and suddenly understanding struck him. "You’re a fucking Inceptor.”

The stranger fidgeted slightly. “Good eye. Noticed the split pupil, did ya?”

Eli felt smug from making the challenger squirm and guessing what he was. “You’re a rare breed to find. Can’t be around a group of people for too long or else you can...go insane.” Eli saw the man didn’t like the last comment to well. But, he didn’t care he spoke the truth as crude as it was. Inceptors could split their soul and place it in different locations and people. Being an incredibly fluid substance, sometimes the soul would return corrupted, thus putting the Inceptor through violent episodes mocking several personalities. It could take days to recover. Sometimes years depending on how many times the soul had become split at one time and the level of corruption.

“I’m impressed. You’re knowledgeable in what I am. We enjoy our seclusion to meditate and cleanse the soul. It’s a must, but your mother knew that.”

Eli became hyper aware and felt a tingling over his body. The stranger had a sliver of his soul, reading his memory. Eli strengthened his will and in a flash, it the numbing tingle was gone. “Are you done now?” Eli asked irritated that the man would boldly mention his mother. True, his mother was an Inceptor before depression had quickly driven her to take her life. Unlike the male before him, she had become limited on how she could transfer herself. She needed to touch her choice of prey. The stranger just needed the will to do so.

“For now.” The man remarked firmly, but with a twinge of despondency. "I saw everything I needed able to trust your leadership."
Eli picked up on the hidden meaning and knew Talos had witnessed what the angel showed him on the boat. It brought a grim tone to his voice and soured his disposition. He leaned and whispered to the man. "I've accepted my outcome. But know this, I am going to fight as hard as I can to try to change this fate. You better keep this to yourself."

He shook his head as his eyes locked onto Eli's black stare. He replied accordingly and with a pitying flare to his outspoken thought. "Those that try to change their fate, often meet it just the same."

  Eli’s face curled into a sneer. "Speak quickly and tell me your names. Based upon the camouflaged markings you and your life-mate have, I take it you hail farther north from here. " Eli harshly said as the male's words struck a cord of hopelessness and doubt he was trying hard to keep wayward from his mind.

The man snorted at Eli's correct evaluation as his eyes squinted in immediate liking to the man he had pledged his life to. He knew Eli was only young in body, but his mind was attuned to become a leader. He would guide them well with the experienced wisdom of them all, which that fact alone was the reason why his oath to fight became resolute. The male spoke in a rounded tone and had honor and battle in his stance. "I am Talos Wolfgram, an Elder by blood and age. The only surviving member of my great-grandfather's long forgotten Viking clan. He saved my life by forcing me to hide under the dead bodies of the children that bitch had slain before she could kill me too. Blood pounded in my ears causing a deafening roar as I feared for my life and mourned for those I lost. After several hours of waiting under the stinking flesh of my friends and kin, I emerged with revenge burning hotly in my chest. I tracked my family to her place of torture. My great-grandfather and his clansmen were tortured, decapitated and set on fire with hot irons and blades. I found their mangled corpses hanging from the ceiling. When she was thriving in the glory of her kills, I avenged their death. All it took was a quick blow to the head with my mace, then several more after.” Talos stopped as he seen their eyes glaze in sorrow. “Don’t clog yourself with pity. I don’t need it, and the dead is better off without it. I’ve fought for them every time I’m slaying one open. I feel them rejoice in that.”

“I’m sure they do. Where do you hail from, Talos?”

Talos answered Quicksilver’s question as he looked to Eli and the others in pride. “From the forests of The Great North. We thrive in our solitude in the greater part of the country still unseen by mortal eyes. A Half-Breed would die by the bitter cold before they could ever reach us again." He looked to his side. "My wife, Sizrra, is decades younger than me and is of aged blood as well. She doesn't possess any other talents that come with it. Nonetheless, she's a warrior scout for our clan. Her skills are unmatched by any other that I know of and that's including me. She even kills clean and quick. No blood, not a drop is ever left behind. Although, it’s expected of her since her people are known as the Shadow Wolves from the Rockies."

“Their methods are that of ancient teachings. The harsh conditions of the mountains sharpen their sensory. They’re incredibly hard to defeat. Almost near impossible. George said as he had a sly look to his surveying gaze.

Softly Sizrra replied, “It is indeed a smaller world. I remember hearing of you, Quicksilver. My mother told me stories about you. She still brags how you were her best trainable novice. She was proud to hear your victories when they had finally reached into our high sanctuary.”  

Eli looked at them both, interrupting before their reuniting turned their minds from the purpose. "It’s great to know we called on such skillful blood. Given your dexterity, the both of you will match well in the outer ring of defense. After we reach our destination, you both will begin to scout and keep watch.” Eli called to George without looking at him, “What you say to that, Quicksilver?”

“It’s a smart placement. After the first full month of training, you will have a choice to select the few that would aid you the most to secure our base. Train them well. We need their eyes outward to keep unwanted eyes from peeking inward. After you have prepared and posted them, you will take the responsibility and lead the hunting parties, and will be a burden carried by both of you. Do it well." Without a transitional pause, George took a step back and looked down the line and abruptly addressed the others. "Does anyone else here have any set of prior skills in battle, intelligence or any other that would strengthen our ranks?" A male eagerly stepped forward and turned to Eli. In the moonlight, his fur illuminated to a rich brown and his light turquoise eyes glowed in an eerie starkness. He was tall, but thinner compared to the others.  He spoke with a well-educated mind, and his inner voice reflected his high intelligence.

     "I am Professor Andante Hartman. I’ve never governed a clan before this one, but I am born of Elder blood. My father had over twenty sons, with all different women. Until he met his life-mate, and they conceived me over six hundred years ago. I'm the twenty-first, but not the last. We thrive peacefully within society. I've never had to take place as a commander or face a Thogagi or even a Sighati. My experience in battle or commanding during one is nonexistent."

Talos snorted through his words. "You’re lack of experience puts you out of sorts here in this line, Professor."

Andante locked his blazing gaze onto Talos. "Is it required to have a tortured past to do what's right?"

Talos growled low, ready to use his brawn to fight the brainy ass that stood at the end of the line. He took a step forward as he felt the clutching hand of his wife on his wrist.

Taking preventative measures, George snarled as he stepped forward toward the line. But, he looked at Talos. "Be still, Elders."

Eli stated with reason in his tone. "It works better to our advantage that you’re a novice being trained by a seasoned master. Though, go on, Professor. You have the floor to speak without interruption."

Andante looked to Eli to stake his place within the ranks. "I understand everything about the history of the Holy Order, and I know about the Code. I answered the call because it’s my duty to do so. As we all know, there are worse things to experience than the pain of death. Especially when it isn’t your own."

Developing an instant respect for Andante, Eli’s reason aligned with his outlook. He too was facing a certain death to ensure his wife and child's future. Andante’s voice broke him free from his thoughts as he added firmly. "I have the proper knowledge to command as I know the art of war."

“A soul hungry for battle.” Talos assessed at the correct moment as he discreetly explored the complex mind of this man. The Professor was a peaceful man that fell in love with a mortal man of war when the world was dark and medieval. Talos could see the memory of Andante’s thin hands running along old wounds of his lover’s back as sorrow struck his heart. Suddenly, Talos saw fire on an arrow's oiled tip as it flew through the air to meet the body of his dead lover. A man clad in armor and blood dead from battle. Talos receded his soul from the man realizing Andante had gained the wisdom of bloodlust of all men. Wars became ingrained in the violent agendas of all breeds and each had a similar pattern, and a strategic master could end it quickly.

Andante rushed readily."You can say that. A passion burned hot and steady when it couldn't become stoked. Over five hundred years, I have studied the dynamics of war and most follow a pattern. It's surprising what men will fight for and how it begins; a woman, expansion of land, religion, freedom from oppression, greed, desire, hatred. No matter who strikes first, these are what link their strategies. If you know what they fight for their moves of offense and defense, become almost predictable. ”

Intrigued, Eli carefully listened intently as he questioned, “What do you think our enemies move will become based on what you’ve heard tonight?”

Andante became a little startled by the question. He knew the answer, but Eli wouldn’t like the answer. He stopped to gather his thoughts to find the words to say without prompting an explosion of arguments. “We can treat this battle as game of chess. The Thogagi’s already made a strike against our defense the night he killed your clan. Now, he’s waiting for our turn while planning his next moves. He’s going to come in fast with his pawns, thinking he will have the element of surprise with his bishops and knights next to his side behind him. We take them out by rigging the board with traps. In the end, he’s the king piece. It’s limited in movements. But, we have a queen. She becomes flamboyant across the board. If you position your queen to take the killing blow towards the vulnerable king..."

Without delay he severely interjected. "Your mind is well adapted to help with the strategic aspect of this plight. I know where you're going with this. My wife will not be fighting. She's far along in her pregnancy and is carrying our firstborn male. It would not be fair to ask any man here that his wife shall fight when she's at her most weakened point as a Beast Blood.”

"I'll do it. I'll take place as the queen." A female stepped forward. All had turned to find the voice that was a light whisper compared to their passionate tones. She started again, but more firmly to be taken seriously, "I'll do it."

Eli looked her over, and it only took him a microsecond to notice she wouldn't do. Roslyn had white fur that was as pure as freshly fallen snow. The female before him had dull brown fur. The color of deification. A cavern dweller. He thought as he moved to look into her saddened eyes, which were a blonde yellow, not a golden earthy brown that shines with life. "You look nothing like my wife when she has taken her shape."

"Does Keller know what your wife looks like when she has transformed?"  The female asked with a tone as if she already knew the answer.

His tension eased some as her point became understandable. "No. She had always remained with me when we responded to the Calling. Even that night when we had to flee, he wasn't there. I'm sure the others couldn't tell the difference between a lesser werewolf to an elder."

“Though it’s simple to notice the different a male between a female.” So a female has to take the position as bait.

"Then he won't know it's me instead of her. Your wife can be safe; you can position me to kill him, or you can kill him. Either way, the Thogagi will die after we severed the head from the body. We're left to free the army from his influence and either save them or kill them, depending how far gone they are."

"It's sounds like a good plan so far, Eli." George chimed. He looked at the female. "What's your name?"

"Holly Skuleye. I’m an Elder and made of the blood. As you can tell by my heartbeat, after so many these years, it still sounds as if my heart is still trying to keep up. I lead a massive clan of cave dwellers, as we’re commonly known. My people are a mixture of born and made, and all are lower-ranking beasts. I’m the only leader among them."

Speaking again, as he reverted the conversation back to George's previous statement and agreed with it. "It's something we can work with now. We have our security; Talos and Sizrra. George will train all of us to become offensive and defensive fighters. Eli, you're the overseer, the connection between what Keller wants and Holly will act as the bait. She will secure Keller into the trap. I know how to ensure our lives and our positions. Once I know where we end up, I can construct the devices accordingly. I just need to see the layout of the battlegrounds."

George looked to Eli. He noticed his black eyes glazed over with calculating thought as his head hung toward the ground. "What do you think, Eli? Lead the enemy to us?"

Eli snapped his eyes to George, and his calm demeanor sprang to life. "As long as Roslyn stays away from the battle, this will work. Tonight, as you all run East, I will head South. I will leave traces of my scent leading to the place George will take you. I'll set the bait, and we prepare, waiting for him to follow the trail. We will know when the time has come."  Eli looked at the moon and saw the hour had passed, and took action. Quickly he removed himself from the group and released a roar to the united clans, and heard their echoing response as silence filled the void once more. Eli smelled George's scent and knew he had stepped close to him, ready to lead.

“Godspeed, my friend,”  George said before he gave three short yelps and everyone began to flock around him. Eli felt good about the plan. Even the gods of generals would approve. With that last thought, he left them in a dead run south.

Beast Blood (The Blood Moon Turns)

Marrok looked around the table as he observed the members of his newly found family. They all sat in a solicitous silence eating their late lunches and shoveling food into their mouths, except Isabel. She hardly ate anything since her last hunt, but she was still quite like the rest. No one spoke to one another since early that morning when Gabrio stated aloud that he was going to turn him into a fully functioning member of the clan. He had reservations becoming a werewolf, but the mental arguments he created became outweighed when logic reasoned through them. He snorted at the thought of the word logic. Yesterday, nothing was logical about what had transpired today. However, today it prevailed. There was nothing else to stop him accepting his newly issued fate. He sighed and quickly rubbed his face, a twitch he developed when he was most stressed. Exhausted from the sleepless night and equally hindered nap; he needed more sleep. Raul and Isabel were kind enough to let him stay in one of the guest bedrooms.  Gabrio took the other spare room, but he startled the household several times. He woke them up to the sound of him yelling Esmeralda’s name while in deep, agitated slumber. Nonetheless, sleep didn’t do any of them help to ease their troubled thoughts as everyone was still on edge at the uncertainty of what was to come. Fear was evident on the face’s Marrok searched. Even he could feel it’s creeping negativity crawl along his spine. Despite this, he was remaining strong with the others.
Raul finished his plate first and rose from the table to take the dish to the sink. He lightly placed the dish in the bottom of the tub and turned around to look back at the people who stared at him. He broke the tense silence. “Men, after you're finished eating. I’ll grab my chisel and give you the symbol. Luckily, I have a photographic memory regarding the etching and can go by memory.”
Isabel tossed a piece of broccoli around her plate as she lightly shook her head of long brown hair. “I don’t want the symbol. I carry the blood of the demon werewolf and I just don’t know if I can trust myself enough to have such a power." She swallowed a hard lump in her throat. "Especially if I ever need to be destroyed.” Isabel dropped the fork on her plate as she choked out the last words. She tried pushing back the feeling to shed forthcoming tears, but it was useless.
Raul rushed to his wife as he consoled her. He wrapped her in his arms holding her tight. She hurriedly buried her head against his flat stomach sobbing into the folds of his gray shirt. “Hush now. Don’t cry, Bell. Please don’t cry. You have a blessed heart, a pure heart. The heart controls the blood, remember that. That won’t ever change. I won’t let it change.” Raul whispered to his wife as he knelt beside her, never breaking their embrace.
Gabrio’s lips pressed hard together as he folded his arms. He hated seeing how the turmoil edged deeper in his family. Thriving on the rooted anger within him made him all the more determined. "Let's  do it. He noticed Raul looked at him waiting for his agreement. Gabrio nodded his head in reply. "I'm more than ready."
However, Marrok was still unresponsive. He wasn’t too thrilled about having a chisel repeatedly tapped into the back of his head. “Do you mean like a chisel, chisel? Like the tools they used to use to give tattoos?” Marrok asked balking.
Gabrio chuckled. His face becoming more relaxed instead of harsh looking as he found humor in what Marrok said. “Come now. Don’t be a baby.  A little pain from a medieval tool hasn't killed anyone, recently. Plus, the pain from a chisel won’t compare with the pain of your first transformation. We're made for pain. You can take it.”
Raul shook his head, speaking to Gabrio first. “The symbol won’t allow you to feel pain when you transform once you have it on you.”
Gabrio’s eyes widened. “Holy hell! What a relief that'll be. After a hundred years of screaming in the middle of the night from the snapping of bones and tendons, we'll no longer deal with the agony.” He paused. “Also, it works to our benefit when we search for Esmeralda. We’ll have a new advantage of stealth. They wouldn’t even hear us transforming. However, they might see us, unless we're hidden well.”
Raul nodded at Gabrio’s reply."But that's just it. With the symbol you can remain a werewolf for as long as you want, you just have to want to change when the day breaks." Then, he spoke to Marrok. “As for the chisel, it’s clean. Old, but clean. It’s made from the melted bullets of my gun. It was the only choice to do when you’re in the middle of the woods. Wood was too porous. It soaked up the ink and blood. It was shitty. The one I have now had only been used just that once when Anuk gave me the symbol. Moreover, the symbol has to remain a secret. I wouldn’t trust the random person at a local tattoo parlor. Who knows what they truly could be or if anyone should somehow know about the symbol try to track it down. I’m sure we’re not the only ones looking for Esmeralda or this symbol. Anuk’s tribe slaved to keep it unknown. For a longtime I was the last one with it, until now. Now, I've agreed to pass it to the two of you.”
Marrok knew Raul made a good point and was about to say so, but Gabrio spoke before he could say anything. “I don’t care if we do it with a razor blade and a broken ink pen. I’m up for it. I just want to find my wife and bring her home where she belongs after I wring the fucker’s neck for taking her from me.”

Raul nodded. Then he looked around the room and saw everyone was agreed to the plan, even Marrok. Raul looked into his son’s startling blue eyes, Sophia’s eyes, and could see Marrok’s heart made him a genuine fighter for the greater good. Raul beamed at the uncommon trait his son possessed, but then in the same moment he felt just as guilty because he didn’t see such a heart grow. Raul pushed aside his self-pity and dealt with the current problem they faced. After making sure Isabel was fine enough for him to leave her side, he raised himself from the ground and gave her a brief kiss on her cheek. “I’ll be back. I’m going to grab the supplies.” He firmly stated.


Sheryl snapped her head as astonishment adorned her elegant aged beauty. Her ice blue eyes sparkled, smiling as she ran to her stepson and kissed him on his bloodstained cheek. Her long, bony hands framed his face as she radiated pure pleasure at the news he announced to her. She was still incredulous. She whispered loud enough for Laycerath to hear what she said as she paced the room. “Is what you say true? It is true. I taste the little whore on your flesh. The last heart - you’re complete now. Well, you will be with tonight’s moon. Finally, with your completion your powers will be supreme. The humans will panic, the Beast Bloods will gather and the Blood Tasters will protect the little bitch, but it’ll be perfect. All these years of waiting it can finally happen because of us. It’s all falling into place and no one knows the wiser. Esmeralda carries your blood Laycerath, your sweet, delicious blood and you’ll know where she is. You can find her once you've transformed. Then I will complete the transfer using the symbols of the sisters once we have her in our hands.”

Laycerath snarled arrogantly. “Why bother with those trinkets? We can overtake her.”

Sheryl stopped muttering and looked at him realizing she never told him part two of the act. “After you die, the seals will be needed.”

“You will not rid of me so easily, bitch!” Laycerath intruded as he jumped to his conclusion, ready to attack her.

Despite the candidly rude outburst, Sheryl didn’t let it bother her as she lightly stated the rest of her plan. “As an energy source to transfer your soul into the newborn. The first heartbeat is life, but the first breath taken when the soul enters the body. You will already be there lingering inside before the child will draw breath. The child will grow quickly, thus you will grow quickly acquiring the powers of the Hybrid and the ones you’ll gain tonight. Then you’ll rule the heavens, hell and the world between. Then, I’ll be at your side, seeing the long waited destruction of the world God created and we will start new. I survived the flood, but no one will survive what will come.” She said darkly as she looked out the window watching the night blacken out the sun.

Laycerath wasn’t sure if he could trust her, but her plan puts him in ultimate power. How could he deny the opportunity?  He’d only have to relive death. He’s felt the cool grip of it before, seen its blackened face. It was easy to die especially when an empty vessel waited nearby. “What do we do about the child’s mother?” Laycerath asked.

She looked at him and snorted at his question. She replied. “That’s easy. We keep her until she births the child and I raise you just as I have before. It’ll be a fresh start for us both. However, I’ll let you do what you want with her when we first obtain her from wherever she’s at. Then, later on you’ll have new playthings, a whole universe of playthings. Now, night is coming and we should gather what we’ll need.”

Laycerath watched Sheryl walk away as she hummed a tune. He looked outside as the wind began to flick the limbs of the trees. He could feel the air shifting already. The night was going to bring a storm and out of the rage a beast will rise with the power of the precious moon running through his veins.

After several more pulsing stabs of the fine point chisel entering the soft flesh at the nape of Marrok’s neck the symbol became finished. Raul dabbed away the small droplets of blood with a damp cotton wad and relaxed his hand in his lap, admiring the work he accomplished. “The deed's done. It’s mighty fine job done, if I do say so myself.” Raul gloated.

Marrok was grateful that Raul finished with the tattoo. “Finally, I can get up from this damn chair. I thought you were never going to end with that damn torture.”

Raul shrugged. “It's a small symbol, but it’s well detailed. Every swirl, every line and every circle have to align perfectly or else, well, you know.” He mumbled, casting his eyes downward.

Gabrio raised an eyebrow as he lightly rubbed his tattoo on the back of his neck. “No, I don't know. What do you mean?” He asked unsure of the dire result was.

Raul slightly winced as he replied. “It can act as a self-destruct trigger if it’s not properly done. It was another precaution taken by the angel and Anuk's elders.” Instantaneously, he saw Isabel’s mouth dropped. Marrok stopped in mid-movement as he was grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. Gabrio dropped his arm to his side. Raul looked at everyone’s stunned visage and quickly saw Isabel’s expression first twist in response. “Are you serious and so you wait until now to tell them?” She exclaimed as everyone began fidgeting again.

Quietly, Marrok closed the fridge door and grab a large glass instead as he made his way to the cabinet stocked with whiskey filled decanters.

“I needed full concentration, a clear head to do it right and I got it. Overall, would knowing beforehand make a difference to what has to be done? This is our only hope of finding her and bringing her home to us.” Raul defended.

Marrok chuckled while he poured the glass to the rim. “No, there wouldn't be any difference. It was needed. Either way we’re going to go up in flames or out with a bang. However, a warning of what to expect would’ve have been fucking considerate.” He downed the glass of the whiskey without a flinch. He began to pour another, but only to give the overflowing glass to Gabrio, which he unreservedly accepted.

Gabrio knock backed the whiskey with as much vigor as Marrok, but coughed at the harsh rush of burning liquid that slithered down his gullet. After he caught his breath, he spoke, rising to stand. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be and frankly the sooner the better since we no longer have to wait. Tonight we are finally in control.” Gabrio walked from the room to head outside under the thickening pall of the night, leading everyone to follow him.

As they walked outside, the elements billowed around them. The wind stirred, bringing in a cold chill with the icy rain. Thunder rumbled above them as cracks of lighting whipped across the black sky. Gabrio, Marrok and Raul stood facing each other in the soggy farmland that expanded behind the house. To become heard, Raul yelled above the thundering noise. “To transform into and back into your forms, you need a certain word. A sole word from the language of the angels. I can’t give you the word to use. They have to give it to you as a rite of ratification.”

“They?” Gabrio questioned.

Raul nodded and pointed to the sky. “They.”

Marrok looked up and saw the rain fall from the black sky. He searched the black void as a sudden clarity came over him. “I think I understand what I have to do.” He spoke while blinking the accumulating raindrops from his eyes. Standing silent while staring into the cloudy void, Raul and Gabrio watched him as the rain began to fall in slow motion around them. The symbol began to glow, slowly burning into the back of Marrok’s neck. He cringed at the scorching pain that increased with the light of the gleaming emblem. His ears began to ring a high-pitched sound as if a loud explosion made him temporarily deaf. He looked at Gabrio and Raul. He saw their mouths moving, but couldn’t hear them speaking to him. Then, he cast his sights toward the sky once again. Even the roar of the thunder after the strikes of lightning were lost to him and only the high-pitched ring remained. He grabbed his ears as the noise began to lower and become clear. The pitch took shape into an unknown voice, whispering to him. Marrok’s eyes widened as he looked at Raul. He dropped his hands from his ears and licked his lips as he prepared himself. In his head, he repeated the word. “Dhashay.”

In a flash Marrok’s eyes glowed brightly as if the light of the moon were inside him. Then in a bursting explosion his body became surrounded by the same white-blue flames that engulfed Raul. Gaining the knowledge of how their breed came to be and their purpose. He quickly realized the symbol acted like the Calling and the word was the moon. Together they honed the power of both creating an ultimate force from within. As the color of the dancing flames changed to its primal color, his skin began to peel from his limbs revealing glimmering fur of gold. His joints cracked, but he felt no pain. He could feel the new strength of this power throughout his bones.
When he finished transforming, the flames became smothered and he knew he became marked by God. He had become a guardian, a protector of his kingdom and of those who proved worthy of his grace. His blue eyes had flecks of gold that shimmered in the dark of the night. He looked around him, seeing the world with even more meticulous than before.

Raul looked over Marrok. “You’ve done it. You heard the voice and completed the rite. Now you’re marked to be a guardian, just like me and just like Gabrio. You’re a Beast Blood, my son.” He spoke proudly standing in his wolf form.

Marrok looked over at Gabrio and saw he had transformed as well. He tried to speak by using his mouth, but it only came out as a low grumble. Raul and Gabrio both shook their heads as their amusement became evident in their eyes.

“It’s just like thinking. Direct your thoughts outward.” Gabrio assisted.

Marrok looked at Gabrio and nodded to let him know he heard and understood what he meant. He tried to speak again and did so successfully, but in moderation.I feel stronger. Everything's clear. I can hear everything, see everything. Smell everything, all at once.  It’s overwhelming. Marrok sparingly said.

“You’ll become used to that in time, but control it. Learn to break everything up, narrow it down and put it altogether. Once you do it enough, you’ll become used to it since you have all of eternity to practice.” Raul advised.

“Can you find her? Can you sense her enough to find her?” Gabrio asked not wasting time.

Marrok looked at Gabrio and remembered the connection he first felt between him and Esmeralda. Once again the feeling was low just as it was when she first touched his hand. Marrok was about to shake his head. Then, with the flash of lightning the intensity of the connection escalated. Marrok grabbed his head, his claws digging into his scalp as a pulse of energy escaped his body pushing outward. Marrok was in the whirlwind of the farsightedness as the pulsing wave took him throughout the land, across the Atlantic sea in a gust. It was as if his soul left his body and he searched for her himself.
All the same time, he felt like he pushed toward her as a force repelled him from her. Cities and towns rushed passed him as the feeling became stronger the closer he was to her. Night became day as the scenery changed from the land to rest on a massive castle. He could feel himself circle the establishment. He felt her soul was there behind the walls. He could hear her heart and the almost soundless murmur of her child’s heart underlying the strong current of hers. He found her by a window. She was looking out the window. He saw her ivory face in the stained glass. He screamed her name and she heard him. Esmeralda looked and seen him. She began to pound on the window screaming. Raven Eye, he heard her say. Marrok called out her name as he ran to her. Suddenly,  a wolf with red eyes filled his vision. Startling him, the connection was broken and sent him back into his body. Gabrio and Raul surrounded him as they watched him intensely, waiting for him to speak.
Marrok felt mentally drained as he spoke. “I found her. She was screaming through the window. She’s at Raven Eye. Then, another wolf with red eyes… I’m feeling so drained.”

Gabrio looked at Raul. “Raven eye. She’s where it all began. She’s in Scotland.” He spoke unambiguously.

The clouds began to break and a light of red cast over the land. The world around them looked bathed in blood. All looked toward the sky and saw a blood moon hung over them, low and foreboding.


Laycerath looked at Sheryl as he snarled in his deep, unearthly voice. “Someone else had already found her. It’s not just anyone either, It’s a guardian.”

Sheryl looked at the silhouette of the beast Laycerath had become with the blood moon. He was a magnificent sight to behold. She shook the remainder of her skin from her fur. “Don’t tell me you’re shaking in your fur. Your complete now and a guardian will be no match for you. Kill them and take their damn symbol. I'm glad we have an opposing team again. It makes things more interesting. So, what’s a little more struggle in the race we’re about to have? You know where she is, so let’s go get her.”