Shadowed Moon chapter 11

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 3/8/2010

 

 
 
I woke up with a horrible crick in my neck and groaned as I rolled over, finding that my neck was not the only sore part of my body. My legs ached as if I had been running all day and my head throbbed. One arm was numb from sleeping on top of it and my brain was just so plain irritable with the rest of me that it was contenting itself with sending out messages of total discomfort and weariness to my entire body.
It was only the second day.
“You are incredibly lazy human.” A familiar growl said. I looked over at Faylin who was resting his large fur covered head on his paws not long from where I lay.
“Well, you aren’t exactly running laps either.” I muttered back and he chuckled, a thin smile spreading across his canine features. “Where is everyone else?” I asked as I sat up and noticed the very nearly empty campsite.
“Narris took off sometime in the night for something or other and Catalee went to see if she could find breakfast, Ditri I would assume is about the same business.” He replied offhandedly. The smile turned into an evil grin. “Since we’re all carnivores here I hope that we will be having meat.” 
“Meat,” I said thoughtfully. “Why is it that you eat meat when you understand each other and are even friends with each other?” I asked.
The wolf frowned. “That is rather a delicate question, human, and not one that is easily explained either.” He paused and seemed to be thinking over a reply, finally saying, “I have never really thought of it in those terms before but think of this; just because you can now understand us does not mean that we change. You know our language and we seem almost human to you but we are still beast and we remain the same. It’s like… looking at a tree across a field and saying that its trunk and branches are brown, yet when you go up to the tree you find that it is really made up of many different browns and grays and greens. The tree itself has not changed but your perspective of it has.” he suddenly stopped and made a rolling motion with his shoulders like a shrug. “And that is a very poor example.”
“Not really, I can kind of understand now.” I said. “Faylin?”
“What now?”
 “I heard you singing the other night?” I asked, though it was not supposed to be a question a slight, an uncertain lilt in my voice made it so.
Faylin grimaced. “Ah, you did. Lovely.” He stood abruptly, signaling that our conversation was over but I wouldn’t let him.
“It’s not a bad thing,” I said hurriedly and Faylin cast a strange look over his shoulder.
“Of course it is not, not that you would know much about such things. Yes, I sing. Most wolves do actually so it is not uncommon.” he said curtly and moved away. “Ditri is coming back.”
I looked up at the sky, squinting to see past the morning sun and saw the speck of the dragon flying closer every second. To Faylin I added, “What were you singing?”
He glared, obviously fed up with talking to me. “How should I know? You didn’t tell me when it was that you were listening.”
Ditri landed at the moment and the conversation was now clearly gone. “Have the other girls turned up yet?” he asked and then went on without bothering to hear a reply. “Oh well, we’ll just have to save them some I suppose.” and with that he produced a wild goat, freshly killed.
I grimaced and Ditri noticed. The huge dragon scooted the corpse aside and smiled at me. “Good morning there, Lara. Sleep well?”
“No, not really, I rarely sleep on the hard ground. “I replied.
“I see.” he paused. “I brought breakfast.”
“I see.” I echoed.
Ditri cast me a quizzical green eye then turned to Faylin whose shoulders were moving slightly, but not in a shrug. The dragon turned back to me. “What on earth is going on?” he asked.
Faylin began to chuckle, the dry rasping sounds escaping from his solemn face. “Nothing at all Ditri, the human and I were merely having a discussion regarding, well, meat.”
A look of understanding spread across the dragon’s face while I glowered at Faylin. “I don’t see what’s so funny.”
Faylin smirked. “No, I don’t suppose you don’t.”
“Neither do I for that matter.” Ditri said in a rare moment of confusion.
“I just happened to notice the look of dismay and revulsion on our dear friend’s face when you brought that over here is all.” Faylin said, all grim once again. “Truly priceless. Now, I for one am starving and am not going to turn up my nose at this feast.” Faylin walked over to the goat and began to eat, like a normal wolf of course but somewhat more delicately and I wondered if this was more of my change of perspective than a change in the wolf’s habits.
I still frowned at him. Ditri bent his head down to me till it was nearly level and whispered, “He enjoys teasing you.”
“As if I hadn’t noticed.” I hissed back in a low voice.
Ditri smiled, “I’ll cook it for you.” he said, producing a small flame that he pretended to hold a single, long foreclaw.
“You’re to kind.” I said dryly.
Ditri considered me for a second. “You have changed since we first met Lara; you aren’t the scared little girl I found in the woods or even the nervous little girl back in the cave. You are growing up.” And with that he also turned to the goat.
I looked down at myself, as if I could see the changes there. I didn’t feel different, I didn’t look different but I suppose that going from being completely arrogant of nearly everything to knowing more than most people in the whole country did was a sort of maturing.
Reluctantly, I followed the two to the dead goat and tried not to think of what a kind creature he might have been, tried not to think of all the pleasant conversations one could have enjoyed with him. I made myself not consider the idea that had we met at another time he could have proved to be a friend, or the assumption that Faylin might not have eaten him if this was the case. I made myself think firmly on other things than the fact that he probably had a family who were now mourning him and kids who would forever be fatherless. I shook my head as a very faint but audible wave of nausea passed over me. Come on stupid, its meat, you have always eaten meat its okay, its not like cannibalism or anything. Still, I hung back. It was natural and fine for dragon and wolf even though I couldn’t quite understand it, but for me, knowing what I knew, I simply couldn’t bring myself to eat even when Ditri produced a perfectly cooked piece for my consumption.  
Finally as both Catalee and Narris arrived at the camp I made a decision. I went over to Ditri’s makeshift pack and pulled out the supply of greens and berries that I had placed there, smiling briefly at the bundle of mint that I had slipped in when the dragon lord was not looking. I selected a few items including a bright; purple-shaded wild fruit that Faylin had said was called woodpear and had claimed was full of deadly poisons. I had later found from Ditri that the moody wolf had been pulling my leg. Again.
I bit into the fruit and found that it was both tart and sweet with a certain softness in the middle and a crisp, crunchy outer shell. I closed my eyes and savored the taste as I rolled the bite around on my tongue. I should have known better. The instant my eyelids shut I felt a dense object barrel into my chest. It didn’t hurt, but the mere shock of impact forced me to double over and nearly drop my meal.
“Faylin.” I said without opening my eyes, forcing the name out while trying not to croak. I opened them slowly.
He had apparently finished his own meal and now stood waiting silently. “Well?” he asked, baring his teeth in that infuriating grin.
“Well what? And how on earth did you manage to throw that?” I asked gesturing at the narrow stick that had made its collision course with my body.
He sighed and before I fully knew what he was doing he had the stick in his jaws and was standing parallel with one side of his body towards me. In one, deft, swift movement he slung his head sharply to the same side and the stick barreled into my chest once again. I doubled over again.
“Now that we have stick-tossing lessons out of the way, can we get on with it?” he asked coolly.
“If you would be so kind as to tell me what ‘it’ is.” I replied, mimicking his tone. For just the barest part of a second I thought I caught a glimpse of pleasure in his burning yellow eyes but then it was gone and I realized that I was probably imagining it. I flicked my black hair away from my dark brown eyes and studied his casual, wildness which radiated power and self-assurance and yet underneath it I felt the presence of something else, something far bigger than Faylin himself, no matter how large his ego was. Something else that kept the wolf going, that kept him strong and sure and I smiled inwardly as I realized what it was. HolyOne or The Maker as Faylin would refer to Him. I was so caught up in these observations that it took me a moment to discover that Faylin was addressing me.
“…and so, if you will be so kind as to fetch that wimpy hunk of steel you call a sword then we can get on with it.” he was saying.
I grimaced then turned back to the large, leather sling. I dug around for a bit searching for the sword which I had stowed in it and finally found it, sliding the sheath it was carried in gently out of the pocket. As I did it rasped against something metal and I paused, looking deeper into the pocket. Inside there was a large black shield. On it was a silver design of a dragon in flight, fire bursting from its mouth. Between the flapping wings rode a small figure, dressed in armor and holding out a long, slender sword.     
 I stared at it for a minute until Faylin cleared his throat—how does a wolf do that anyway? I turned, wondering why the shield had been brought. ‘A shield that bears a story, untold… A sword that carries an evil of old…’  This shield? The sword was the one that Kellen had stolen, but the shield, what was its purpose and why did it also have to be destroyed?
            “Lara…”
            “I’m coming, I’m coming.”  

Comments

Ooooh, the plot thickens...

Ooooh, the plot thickens... ;0) Good chapter!

Heather | Thu, 03/18/2010

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"