Shadowed Moon Chapter 2

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 5/2/2009

Later, I woke to the sounds of voices coming from just outside my room. With great effort, I managed to stand and walk to the door, leaning against the doorway for support.

“We cannot keep it here, Durant,” a low, gravelly voice said. “And we all know what happened with your last little “find”. Excuse me for saying so, but I’m just a little irritated by the fact that we could all be murdered in our homes. And you would stand by and let it happen!”

“Now, Faylin…” Durant began soothingly.

“Don’t now Faylin to me, badger. I was only a pup that last time. I watched helplessly while that boy murdered my father and mother and den-mates. But you and the others were adults! Strong and wise, yet you behaved foolishly!”

“Faylin, lad, please –“

“You could have stopped or even killed him for his crimes, but you sat by and let him go. For shame, Durant!” the voice softened a bit. “Durant, you are my elder, and I respect you. But how can you let that – that human here?”

“Faylin!” said a new voice. “Durant found the creature, and it is in my caves. We know how you feel. You have reminded us time and again, and for that I don’t blame you. But Durant has a point.”

“I do?” Durant sounded surprised.

The new voice ignored him and continued. “Not all creatures of the same kind are of the same mind; so the ancient saying goes. The boy was foolish and desperate. Besides, now we have learned from our mistakes.”

“Your mistakes, Ditri. And I am the one to suffer from them,” Faylin said bitterly.

The voice gave a great exasperated sigh, and I felt heat carried by a dry breeze enter my room. “Let’s go and see it,” the voice said.

I quickly turned and stumbled back to the chair, sitting down in it just as the creatures entered.

Durant stood there in the doorway looking both a little confused, and maybe embarrassed; while the others pushed forward in curiosity. All except one.

An enormous wolf stared none too kindly at me, with unblinking yellow eyes. He had mostly black fur, with some grey; and I noticed a huge scar running from his left ear, all the way down to his jaw.

“Why, she does look different than what, ah, I, ah, pictured her,” a female voice broke through my thoughts. “Faylin, I though you said, er, that they looked, like, well, wicked.” The voice came from a young vixen, who – despite the stutter – spoke fast enough that I couldn’t quite make out all the words.

The wolf gave a noncommittal sound that was unnervingly like a growl.

The third member of the party was a hawk, with bright amber eyes, rusty-red feathers and yellow talons and beak. She simply stared at me, blinked a couple of times and ruffled her feathers.

Durant smiled cautiously.“Lara, these are my friends: Faylin, Catalee and Narris.”

The wolf – Faylin – nodded, while Catalee grinned and Narris screeched.

I was tempted to ask where the other person was, the other voice I had heard earlier. But I kept my mouth closed while the animals talked. Mainly about me, though they acted as though I wasn’t there, or couldn’t hear them, or was just stupid enough not to care.

Durant kept glancing at the door anxiously, and Faylin merely muttered a comment here and there. I recognized his voice as the one that had been arguing with Ditri and Durant outside. I also realized that he didn’t trust me one bit and maybe even hated me. Catalee acted as though I was her brand new pet.

“What is it, er, called?” Though annoying, the fox had a certain charm that shone through her amber eyes.

“Lara,” I said, looking her in the eye. “I’m Lara, and I’m a she, not an it. And I have heard every word you’ve said since you came in here, and you’d better remember the fact.” I was fed up with them acting like that.

“Got some attitude, Human.” Faylin said, allowing himself a dark chuckle. “But you’d best remember to hold a civil tongue with us, or you’ll find teeth and claws at your throat before you’ve had time to think.” I shivered at the warning in his voice.

“Aw, let her be, you old spoil-sport,” teased Catalee. Faylin glared her into silence. The fox gave a dignified sniff and walked out, her tail deliberately swiping Faylin’s face as she left. The wolf growled moodily and turned to Durant.

“Shall I continue where we left off?” he asked.
Durant glanced at me meaningfully. Faylin smiled.

“It is her business just as much as it is ours, old friend. You know it well.” he turned to me and said, point blank, “We’ve been discussing what to do with you.”

“I’ll have a say in that, if you don’t mind,” said the voice from earlier. It seemed to come from nowhere and I nervously glanced about.

The wolf shook his head irritably and stood up. “Those wimpy legs of yours strong enough to stand on, Human beast?” he asked. I noticed that he refused to call me by my name, but I was goaded by his brashness and immediately said “Yes, of course.”

I got up quickly and stood for about three seconds before toppling over on my weak limbs. “I thought not.” Said the wolf. Before either Durant of his silent bird friend could react, the wolf strode over and pushed his snout into my back. He turned me over and gently helped me to my feet.

Two things stood out to me at once: first, that this animal who scorned me was so much shorter when I stood up. And second, that he had been so gentle in helping me. I stared for a moment before smiling at him. He simply growled and turned away. His aid gone, I toppled over again.

Faylin chuckled as he walked out.

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With Durant helping me, we managed to leave the room and entered a vast cavern. The walls were higher than the forest trees and smooth from ages of water dripping down them. Various holes and tunnels lined the walls; and a few strings of sunlight floated down from cracks in the sloped ceiling.

The badger led me into another, slightly smaller part of the cave. A few blue gems lined the wall along with flecks of black, silver and red. Durant led me to a wall where Faylin was already seated

“It is time you met the forest lord,” the almost invisible black wolf whispered. His voice bounced and echoes across the cavern. A sharp chill ran down my spine as Durant had me sit facing the wall and then turned me around.

There, at the far end of the room, sitting like a great cat with its tail curled around it; was a huge creature. It was so enormous and so terrifying that my heart skipped at least two beats. Its wings were folded along its vast sides, and its long neck was curved so that the massive head was facing me. Wisps of smoke drifted from its nostrils, and the cavern resonated with the sound of its breathing.

The creature had to be at least twenty feet tall. The upper part of his face was covered in navy–blue scales, and the lower jaw was the color of the forest. Two horns protruded from his forehead and his mouth was lined with dagger-like teeth.

The creature’s eyes were fiery gold; like pools of boiling metal. There was such an intense fire in them that it hurt to look – and yet it was difficult to turn away.

A dragon.

Suddenly, I realized why Durant had warned me about the owner of the cave; why he told me not to fear him, and why he had been so secretive. For surely this great monster in front of me was Ditri.

I tore my gaze away and looked at the others. Both were calm and easy, but there was a sense of awe-inspired fear radiating from them. I turned back, as the great dragon’s mouth opened.

“Greetings.” The masculine voice said.

Trying to stop my shaking, I nervously raised a hand to brush back my hair. Realizing that I was sweating, I mustered the courage to speak.

“He-hello.”

The dragon stood and stretched its great wings. The tips brushed against the far walls, creating a scraping sound. “Do not be afraid, young human,” his rumbling voice said. “The Maker sent you to us – that is plain. But now we must figure out why. Tell me how you came to be fleeing into the Northern Forest on a storm-filled night. What of the men that I scared witless when I touched them? What of the tasty hounds that trailed you? And what of the peculiar things I have discovered in you pack?”

“Um…well, see…I was…” I stopped short. Clearing my throat, I swallowed hard and tried again. “I was running away…um, Ditri.”

“Yes, I am Ditri – Lord of the Northern Forest and of Eastern Karamin. But you needn’t be afraid, Lara. I will restrain myself from gobbling you up.” The dragon laughed; a raspy echoing chuckle, but then assured her; “I don’t believe I could eat a human if it would save my life. I’ve heard you’re too salty. Plus, the meat is not nearly delicious enough to bother with killing one.” He cleared his throat and added in a teasing whisper loud enough for the others to all hear; “I prefer birds and dogs.”

Narris screeched a protest and Faylin growled; but it was easy to see that they were all fond of each other. Durant merely smiled.

“Now, Lara, back to the matter at hand: why where you running away?”

Ditri’s teasing manner immediately put me at ease, despite his size and intimidating form. “Well,” I started, “I had just escaped from a public execution, see, and I – wait.” I caught their baffled looks. “Maybe I’d better start all over again.”

The creatures nodded in agreement.

Alright, I thought, all I have to do is tell them…everything. This is going to take a while. I sighed. “Here goes…”

Comments

AHK!

That's all you're going to give me?!?!?! I don't think I can stand the suspense:) A public execution? OOOO, creepy! Very good writing...can't wait for more:)
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"Yes, words are useless! Gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble! Too much of it, darling, too much! That is why I show you my work! That is why you are here!" --Edna Mode (the Incredibles)

Ariel | Sun, 05/03/2009

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"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

Very well written. I am

Very well written. I am excited about the next chapter! ~Laura

Anonymous | Tue, 05/05/2009

I love the way you described

I love the way you described the dragon! And she's hunted? I love that idea; don't know why. And she's got a temper! (I have a temper! Hehe!)

"True love is the greatest thing in the world - except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe." - Miracle Max, from The Princess Bride

Bridget | Fri, 06/12/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya