BlackpondKirsten Somare

"Fear death? Because you just met him."

a character in “Shadows of The Forgotten”, as played by nibblesnbits

Factions, Families, Clans, and Empires


Age: 18/19

Gender: Male

Rank: Civilian/ Assassin

City: Anywhere he needs to be

Ability: Makes people's nightmares come to life- After too much uses he begins to Hallucinate himself, nearly always with some injury or worse, his own death
His eyes turn orangey- red


His black eyes are mesmerizing, his dark hair always loose around his shoulders. He is about 6'5 and ripped :)

Theme Song:

None yet though I'm open for suggestions :)


Kirsten is a lover and not much of a fighter. He's a total flirt but only to the girls that show the least interest in him. He likes to play hero and is really a nice guy with a big heart.
He only works as an Assassin when he's bored or in his alter ego. Then his mind is focused only on the kill and he's only missed one (read the back story). He kills with mercy unless requested not to by his clients. He takes his time on the hunt, loving the fear and often using his talent to have them begging first.

Likes: Fear, women, horses, his pet hawk, danger, adventure, story telling

Dislikes: People who give up, don't fight back, any type of bug or rodent, people telling him what to do


Main: Sword
Secondary: Daggers
Third Choice: Battle claws

Other: He always wears a red cape with gold trimming along the tops and edges. His armor is silver and simple, not too much and yet it’s beautiful to look at. He carries a pendent shaped like a dragon, given to him by his sister right before he had to kill her.


Kirsten, his story is a mystery but will be revealed in time. All one needs to know is that he is a deadly hunter, the only kill he ever missed was a girl with two different colored eyes and that was because he spared her life and let her escape to Newhaven, sending one of his lessers to do the dirty work for him and not caring if he succeeded. He did have to murder his own sister, her husband having ordered it; but in an outburst of passion she gave to him a necklace with a dragon, curling around a black stone. She told him that it would help him remember his humanity when his alter ego took control, the blood lusting side of him and would one day save the life of another he had to kill. He doesn’t believe it but just in case he runs into the girl himself, he wears it.

So begins...

Kirsten Somare's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ess Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Newhaven2011-12-30 05:08:54, as written by Essence
*Nibbles and Essence*

Ess had not seen Tala since the night before. She was not at her usual spot by the front door when Ess awoke that morning. There was no worry in her expression, not until she called several times for her furry friend with no response.

“I thought you wanted to go hunting Taaaala!?” She yelled into the crisp, morning air. Her neighbor was sweeping out his home, to pause and look at Ess curiously as if she were yelling at herself.

“Damn wolf..” she muttered.

With a sigh, Ess went to grab her Relic sword, hidden away beneath a floorboard. She never did get to see Mageria again last night, to retrieve the matching dagger. Perhaps later that day she would run into the Captain Guard again.

"" “Well, if you want to learn some moves with the blade, some of my people earn a bit of coin by giving lessons. Give me a chance to assess your skills as they stand, and I can figure out who would be best to work with you."

Ess needed to start somewhere to advance her sword skills. She understood it would not happen over night, but it was necessary to better herself and she had been slacking. Long ago she had made a promise, and out of grief tossed it aside as if it had not mattered.

Strapping her sword to her belt, she straightened out her green tunic that draped around her curves. Pulling her breeches tight around her waist, she secured the sword. Ess relinquished her blade from it’s sheath, staring at it softly. Still no idea what the silver engraved markings stood for, she tilted the blade in the morning sunlight from her window. The bright rays casted odd shapes along her wall in reflection before she brought the blade home to her left hip.

“Since your brother isn’t here today,” she spoke tapping her sword hilt absently with her fingers, “..guess your cousins will have to do.” Reaching beneath her mattress she retrieved several finger sized throwing knives. Simple, fairly plain, she hid them along her waist, beneath her sleeves and tucked into her black velvet boots.

Fastening her cloak around her hour glass form, she stared into her mirror, lost momentarily in the porcelain face that watched back.

“Almost forgot....” she flinched, reaching for a red, leather journal. “I haven’t written to Blue Eyes today...” The journal consisted of letters to her past; to someone she lost very long ago who was quite dear to her soul. She wrote:

A beautiful morning it is today my friend. You are missed as always, never forgotten. I am sorry that I haven’t been keeping my promise, but I am changing that. I met a few different sorts of young people last night. One, who may lead me to the path that was your dream...To become a knight and protect the people. I will train hard, and continue to gain knowledge by collecting and determining results based on my own conclusions. No one is to tell us that we are not good enough for this world. That we don’t deserve to be here. Someone..or something is threatening the good people here in NewHaven. What kind of person would I be if I went against myself? If I ignore the evil and let it thrive and not even try, would I still be a good person? You would be so disappointed in me if I did. I taught you better than that I think.

I will make you proud of me, wherever you may travel now, lost from this world.

Love Your friend,

Tucking the journal beneath her tunic, keeping it close to her heart she made her way out the door. Still no sign of Tala, she headed out the nearest gate on foot having a pretty good idea where to find her this time of day, outside the city walls.

Kirsten rode into the city at a gallop, the speckled horse he was on was lathered with a foamy sweat and froth flew from his lips. He pulled the beast to a stop, the red cloak covering his face slipping back as the horse reared. His black eyes seared through the crowd, looking for a girl dressed as a man. His eyes caught the gaze of several, including a beautiful woman who looked ready to fight. Unfortunately her eyes were not blue and brown but a stunning violet. He spurred his hose over to her, carefully making his way through the horde of people. He stopped in front of her, his black riders forming a tight circle around her.
“My lady, we mean no harm to you,” he said with a slightly amused grin on his face as she reached for her sword. He dismounted tossing back his black hair from his face and nodding to her.
“Have you heard or seen of a peculiar girl. She would be moving around mostly at night, dressed as a man perhaps?”
His golden brown eyes looked deeply into hers, searching them for a trace of a lie as she responded. DA Party Camp

Essence huffed in surprise as she was stopped suddenly just paces from the gate. Quirking a brow she met the gaze of the dark haired stranger, her fingers lingering upon the hilt of her heirloom blade, eyes darting right and left as she was surrounded. ‘Not a threat....huh?’ she mused to herself. ‘Must be a joke.’

“Yes, I pay attention to every woman who wanders this city, didn’t you know?” She sneered with a sarcastic tone. She looked down at her pants and looked back up into the man’s golden brown orbs.

“I’m dressed like a man...does that mean you are looking for me?” She hissed towards him. Ess had things to do, and was not in the mood to be foiled in her plans. “I don’t know you, so I’d say not. If you don’t mind...” She nodded behind him towards the gate. “I was just going on a hunting trip of my own.”

Ess straightened, her fingers leaving her sword, inattentively fiddling with the cuff of her left sleeve. Her obvious annoyed demeanor quickly changed, lush lips spreading into an attractive smile. “Unless you wish to join me good sir?” She whispered alluringly, her violet eyes glowing slightly, as they usually did whenever she had an emotion of any kind.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said smiling sweetly and taking her hand to press his lips gently upon them, “Perhaps you will give me the liberty of meeting you later perhaps?”
Before he could wait for a response though there was a shout from the rooftops and his eyes focused on his man, waving his arms just a few houses down. He swung back up onto his horse, his eyes fixed on the man in black before riding off without another glace at the girl. He was sure that he would see her again, and soon. She knew things and he found himself wondering how she could use her to find the girl. He mused on this for awhile. Before nodding sharply at his men and turning and riding back to the girl.
"I will join you but only for awhile. Dont try your mind tricks, violet eyes they wont work on me."
He extended his hand, offering her a lift up onto his horse, waiting for her to take it.

Ess laughed sweetly, shaking her head. “I can not help the color of my eyes good sir...” Cutting herself off, she grabbed his arm, using the leverage to hoist herself upon the horse. Adjusting her sword, she wrapped her arms snug like around his waist. “If you find yourself weak and hypnotized against a flirt of a woman, then perhaps that is your problem, not mine.” Ess teased.

As the horse turned abruptly around, facing the gate entrance she nodded, still smiling. She tossed loose curls from out her eyes, exposing her tattoo like scar, etched below her left eye. Ess was a little perturbed but non the less accepting of the company, especially since tracking Tala on foot would take much longer.

“My name is Essence, and I thank you for the lift.” She awaited his reply as they headed out past the city guards, towards the dense foliage of the forest. Riding hard into the forest Ess tucked her lip against her top teeth and blew, an ear piercing whistle echoing into the air. It rang out for about fifteen seconds, rising and falling in a unique melody. She used it often to call for Tala, amidst the other tunes she had taught the wolf to respond to.

“Stupid wolf..” She muttered again, hearing no response.

He shook his head roaring in laughter as they cantered out of the gates, the whistle sharp in his ears.
“The call me Kirsten,” he called back, “And don’t worry, we will find your wolf.”
He offered no explanation of how he knew this, only whistling sharply into the air. He held out his arm, slowing the horse to a rolling canter as a scream filled the air and a brown hawk landed out on his arm. As soon as they hit the woods he slowed the horse, dismounting and pulling Essence from his back.
“Your wolf is nearby, Kie will take you straight to her as soon as you answer just a few things,” He sat down on a log, moving his sword.
“I’m sorry girl, I happen to be a bit of a flirt, I will admit to that. But as you are enlightened I see no reason why you would lie about the color of your eyes. Hide what you will I do not need to know,” he said holding up his gloved hand to keep her from speaking, “Essence, I am in need of your aid. My sister has disappeared from home and mother has sent me to find her. She is strange, silver hair and different color eyes. If you hear or see anything, whistle like you did to your wolf and Kie will find you. He will bring you to me. If you hear of anything, anything at all I beg you to tell me.”
He stood sharply, walking close enough to gently touch her arm but respectfully keeping his hands down by his side. His eyes glimmered, his face fallen; his whole body was acting for his cause very well. He waited for her response, eagerly looking into her eyes and searching her face.

Ess nodded towards Kirsten and his Hawk. She was a bit taken back that he knew she had an enlightenment, but she was not lying. The hint that she was hiding something did send her voice into a mocking response. “And why should I trust you? Who says this woman is your sister?..Perhaps you are trying to kill her?”

Crossing her arms she turned her head aside walking off in another direction. “My eyes...are always this color...” She hissed defensively. Ess has never really trusted any man, except one, so why would she confide in this Kirsten. Turning back to face him, she cleared her throat. “My apologies for being rash, but one can not be too careful around here. I appreciate your assistance, but I have no way of knowing if you speak the truth. If I come across....this sister of yours...we shall see...I can't promise anything."

He nodded, his black eyes shining. His hand rested on the hilt of his sword, running his fingers along it.
“You are wise to doubt, m’lady,” he said dipping his head slightly; “I give you my word as a human being. But then, as you are a cautious women, I suspect that will not be enough to convince you. I only can hope that you will take my words to heart and see how much I need to find this girl before she kills another,” he shook his head sadly, “But I would say that my time here has ended and I must get back to my men in the city.”
He whistled lightly and Kie came soaring down from a nearby branch, settling down on his shoulder. The brown hawk nuzzled into his shoulder. Smiling lightly Kirsten taped the hawk under his beak gently.
“You know what to do,” he whispered and then watched as he spread out his wings and flew towards Essence.
“Raise your arm out,” he directed watching carefully as she did so and Kie landed on her arm, “He will stay with you until you have found your wolf. We will meet again Essence.”
He walked carefully over to the grazing horse that had wandered off to a nearby tree. He took the reins and mounted up, looking down at the girl with wonder and mild curiosity.

Ess gave a genuine smile as she looked from the Hawk to Kirsten. Gently her finger stroked the top of the Hawk’s head, smoothing out some ruffled feathers. She was awed by the bird’s loyalty to this stranger but more so by the fact that he offered her assistance without even knowing (to her knowledge) what kind of person she was. Few offered out trust before it was earned, but she supposed this was his attempt at earning hers. In his observation of their meeting in the future, she couldn’t deny that possibility.

“I suppose we may.”

He turned his horse back to the city, running the poor beast back through the gates and over the stones. His hood back up over his face and the people running to get out of his way as he rode past. Kirsten knew that at the taverns that night, talk of his arrival would be spreading. Who he was and what he wanted would be unknown and that would inflame the rumor. He didn’t mind, he liked it when his prey knew he was there. It amped their fear and fear made them reckless and short-sighted. Even without Essence’s help he was sure that he would find the girl with the different colored eyes, Phantom.

Kie still on Ess’ arm fluttered his wings slightly as she kneeled down to the snow, her free hand running over the slushy mud as she inspected for tracks. It was easy to find Tala’s prints amidst the hoof marks from several horses passing this way. Before standing back up, she noted the pinching of the Hawk’s claws into her left arm and gave a wave of her arm hinting for Kie to take his leave. With her free arm she pointed towards the west, where the trees were thick and darkened with little light passing their branches.

“That way we must go.” She stated to the Hawk, unsure if it would understand, but to her surprise it took off from her arm, circling above as she stood and continued on foot down the dark path. Absently Ess sang quietly to herself...

“Light...and fragile...she’s feather sky blue....”

Glancing toward the sky, she watched the hawk listening to it’s call. Ess couldn’t imagine how free it must feel to fly, light and floating on the wind.

“She the sky...way out of reach...of human eyes..”

By Kie’s cries, she knew it was following her as she ventured forward, pausing now and then in her tune to whistle for her wolf. Her mind wandered back to last night, flashes of blood and gore, the meeting of her first Black knight, and to end with a strange, forgotten reunion of a fellow lost soul. Luckas. She hadn’t honestly decided if she would kill him one day or take him to bed. Maybe both? She laughed. 'He probably wouldn’t even know what to do.’ She cackled to herself.
Muttering to herself, “That would be the day." Still, there was something about him she couldn’t pin point, and it was enough to keep her interest for the time being. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do, except look for her lost wolf. Ess sighed, a bit annoyed. Luckas was, the only other person who knew her some what, even if it wasn’t by choice.

An hour or so passed before she came to a thicket where the tracks ended.
“Okay Tala...come girl..” She called. As she glanced back up towards the sky, the Hawk was swooping down towards her, causing Ess to grow nervous, she ducked thinking the Hawk would land on her head. Instead it preyed upon a field mouse, taking off with the life within it’s talons.

“Shit...What was that?!”

A sudden howl distracted her, she turned just in time to see Tala tackle her to the ground.
“Ah, geez Tala, who was hunting who, eh?” She joked, ruffling the wolf’s furry neck, Tala panting happily in her face. “Still the better hunter...” Another cry from the Hawk, Ess looked over to a nearby bush, Kie eyeing her a bit oddly. She wished she could understand what it was thinking as it fluttered it wings, screamed at her and flew off back towards the city.
Kirsten slowed his mount as he reached his black riders in the alleyway where Phantom had been the night before. They handed him the Rose Blade, the ivory hilt now blackened and scuffed from the ground below. His gloved hand gently wrapped around the blade and was sorely disappointed that there was not a trace of blood. His men motioned him to climb to the roof top and that is exactly what he did.His eyes burned with anger as he saw one of his best men lying on the roof, dead. He kicked the lifeless body shouting at two men to clean it up. He watched as they did so, the bloodlust rising in him.

'So Phantom,' he thought, 'I guess none of my men will be able to do the job. Guess it’s my turn to hunt.'
His black eyes scanned the rooftop, searching for any more clues when he found them; blood against the wall, sign of a struggle, footprints. Not just two pairs, but four. He smiled as he realized that his quarry was being aided and that she herself could not have been able to handle his best. If she was being aided, well, that meant that news of her arrival would spread through the city. She would have to come out of hiding one day and her “protectors” would be right beside her. He would have his men out on the roof tops, watching the comings and goings of people from the buildings and if they saw something suspicious they would let him know. That, and he also had Essence to rely on as well.

She puzzled him but as soon as he had looked in her eyes Kirsten had known her biggest fear and it made his stomach twist with pleasure. Her eyes were striking and the effect they would have on men untrained unlike him, would be devastating. He had extended out his hand and trust and she had taken it. He knew right away that she had seen right though his sister story but that didn’t bother him too much. If she came to see him, she came. If not well, that would only be a slight dent in his plan. She was a sweet girl and he honestly did not want to kill her but if she began to cause trouble.... Kirsten let his mind wander as he leapt from the roof top and walked back to his horse. He would start his search at the tavern, and then move on to look for healers who had recently done some work on a girl. Based on the blood left on the roof, Phantom was going to need one. He nodded briskly to his men, watching as one by one they rode off, tiny pieces of mirrors in their hands to signal each other across the roofs.
He moved through the crowed street, his blood red cape shining with its gold embroidery along the edges. His horse pranced under him, very conscious of the looks that its rider was getting from those on foot. There was something dark about this Stranger and Kirsten had to hold back a couple smirks as mothers drew their children close to their breasts and men hurried to get out of his way. He urged the dappled grey forward and the horse obediently did so, turning to skip down an alleyway. When he was sure no one was around he dismounted walking to stand in front of his horse.

“Easy Demono,” he said gently, stroking the horse’s nose. The horse instantly calmed, his prancing feet striking the earth one last time before falling still. Kirsten smiled and carefully took the reins, leading Demono through the alley and toward a stable. There he gave him quickly to a stable boy, paying him right there before walking off. His head hurt from all the things that had already happened today and his throat was dry, he needed a drink. His eyes darkened as he caught sight of a little urchin hiding in the dark and he strode past without a backwards glance, the boy reminding him of a younger, less deadly him. He stopped a little girl running down the street and asked her sweetly where the nearest healer could be found. She pointed, her little mouth forming the shape of an O at the beauty of Kirsten. He thanked her and gently ruffled her hair before continuing onward. Kids, he always had a soft spot for them. They were just so innocent and willing to trust.

He shook his head and smiled, thinking back to a kid he once knew. Her name was Eri or Ari, something like that. She had the greenest eyes of anyone he had ever met, including his sister. She boasted about adventures that she had never taken and strangely, she had no fear that he could find. Her eyes were what he remembered most.
Kirsten shook his head quickly before continuing onward, thinking too long about the past was dangerous. Better to look to the future. His eyes flickered as a directed beam fell across his face. He squinted, holding up his hand to block the ray and see who it was. One of his black riders was standing on the rooftop. The light flashed once, twice, three times, and then after a short pause, a fourth time.
He smiled. His prey had been located.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phantom/Spirit Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Newhaven2012-01-01 22:51:57, as written by nibblesnbits
Trickster and Nibblesnbits

Sophie snored, feet propped on a nearby table, chair kicked back on two legs and head cocked at what had to be an uncomfortable angle. Bran wasn't sure if she normally snored, but for now he really wished he had some way to record the sound that she was making at the moment. It could be used as a weapon in battle, if they could increase the volume. It was absolutely impossible to sleep through, at least. Well, if you were healthy anyways.
He glanced over at the woman lying in the bed they were camped out next to, finally looking like she might make it through the day. When he had gotten back last night, the medics had been frantically trying to figure out what poison was pumping through her veins and a way to counteract it. Honestly he didn't understand it, he just was grateful that they had been able to figure it out. It would have been very frustrating to have saved a woman and then have her die not more than a couple hours later.

With a sigh, he took a couple of nuts from a bowl nearby and crunched a couple between his teeth. Sophie kept snoring. Cocking one eyebrow, Bran carefully aimed a bit of nut and tossed it, managing to score a hit between her eyes. Sophie twitched, but didn't wake up. Aiming again, this time Bran managed to bounce one off the end of her nose. Again, nothing more than a sleepy mumble. Noticing that the front of her shirt was a bit loose, this time Bran aimed for her neck, hoping to let it slip downwards. He aimed, pulled back just a little . . .
"Do it, and sing soprano for the rest of the week."
Sophie's eyes were open, and evidently she didn't wake up in a good mood.
Bran smiled weakly.
She glared and let the chair drop down on all four feet, looking over at the bed.
"How is she?"
Bran shrugged. "Alive? Honestly, if I know what the hell the medics meant when they start talking, do you think I'd be hitting people with sharp things?"

Phantom began to wake, her eyes fluttered open and with a groan she turned her head to look at the women and the man. Her different colour eyes flashed, locking with the gaze of the man. A little shiver shot down her spine, the colour they wore reminding her of a foe she was supposed to be running from.
“What,” she began to say when it came flooding back. She sat up quickly, nearly screaming as her shoulder denied her movement. She shook her head, looking around the room for her things, realizing how much danger she had put these two strangers in.
“Thank you both,” she said, struggling to stand, her legs still weak from using her enlightenment for so long, “But I really must be going.”
When she managed to stand she took a wobbly step forward, looking like a newborn foal before falling forward into the man’s arms. She blushed and stuttered out an apology, again working on making herself stand. She needed to go, and fast. She did not want him coming for her and gaining to more souls as a bonus prize. The man tightly held her arms and her eyes flickered up to his face.
"Stranger," she growled, a little annoyed that he was holding her still, "As your counterpart may have told you my name is Phantom, or Spirit. I really appreciate what you have done for me and I owe you my life, both of you. So here is how I repay that debt. I need to leave now."
She looked over her shoulder at the woman for help; desperation caused her face to fall slightly as she thought about what she had said and how now they were going to question her.
Bran smiled brilliantly as the woman fell into his arms; usually he had to work a bit harder for that to happen. She was ill still, but he wasn't going to argue. But at her words he looked up, locking gazes with Sophie. She looked concerned as well, tilting her head t the side.
"Um . . . . . No." They both spoke simultaneously; years of partnership letting them follow the other's thoughts without problem.
"You really think you're going to run when you can't even walk across the room?" Sophie crossed to the window and closed the shutters, dropping a metal bar down to lock them.
Bran set Phantom down gently on the edge of the bed, handing her her things one at a time. The playboy expression eased from his face and he looked competent and dangerous.
"Only question for right now. Who are we watching for?"
She cocked her head slightly, her eyes pleading with them to leave. She knew that they weren’t going to abandon her to her fate and she desperately needed to explain to someone. Her eyes locked onto his, her lips parting to speak.
“Men in black like last night. They are a group of elite hunters bought by the nobility in Blackpond to hunt me down. Their leader is named Kirsten,” she shivered at the name, “He rides always in a blood red cloak, his men are lesser dressed in head to toe in black. He probably is already here, and if that’s the case then we have already been found. So I beg of you, please! Just go.”
Her eyes flickered to the window, a slight flash of light catching her attention. They were found. She grabbed her dagger and her hood, pulling it tightly over her face to hide the mark and eyes, expecting him to walk in at any moment.

"You sound like a popular person, love; too bad that the whole head to toe black thing will just blend right in around here," Sophie said, waving at the all black uniform she and Bran were wearing. "On the other hand, it's not like we're alone here, is it?" She gestured to Bran and between them they each grabbed and arm and helped Phantom move back further into the building. There were a number of other people in the rooms that they passed, and Sophie signalled them as they walked by; "Looks like we might have some visitors, my friends. Shall we make sure they get a warm welcome?" Several people smiled, doors and windows were barred, and weapons suddenly appeared in hands.

Phantom wanted to flee, not drag others into it, and she felt her adrenaline burn and she loosed herself from their grip, standing on her own.
“We must hurry,” she said spinning her dagger in her hands. She let them lead, running behind them, her eyes burning gold and silver as she changed the atmosphere around her so that hundreds of soldiers were lining the hallways, quickly saying that they were no harm. She slid to a halt at an open window, reaching up to close it. She recoiled as a brown hawk flew through, screaming before turning and flying back out. She slammed the window shut turning to look at her companions.
“They’re here,” was all she had time to say before the shouts came from down the hall.

Kirsten stood at the guard station, watching as there was a flurry of movement from inside. Kie had returned to him and now he sent him down into the fray, looking for the girl. It didn’t take very long until he heard the screech and nodded to his men. They burst in through the door, swords and bows drawn and at the ready. Their eyes glowed in an assortment of colours, all of them having some sort of enlightenment. Kirsten heard the sounds of steal hitting steal and smiled, slipping in through a different door and quickly stabbing through Phantoms apparitions. They wavered and he turned, seeing the flap of a brown cape, his prey was fleeing. He drew his sword and ran after them, his eyes glowing the colour of fire.
His heart raced as he turned the corner, throwing one of the daggers at Phantoms two protectors. He watched with mild amusement as she stopped and turned; the two people disappearing in front of her. He cocked his head slightly, checking her eyes. Her hood had fallen off and she stood proudly in front of him, silver hair cascading down her shoulders and her eyes burning silver and gold. This was the one he had searched for. He took a step forward, his mind pushing forward and into hers with a harsh amount of pressure.
Tell me Phantom, his mind whispered to hers, what do you fear?
Her mind stayed locked to him, he snarled as he realised that someone had trained this girl to shield her thoughts. He knew that she was going to have to be distracted before he got the chance to see her fears. He took another step closer, the screams of men and women echoing behind him.

“Party time," Bran muttered as the aid station was attacked. Smoothly, the entire force inside the station swung into action, some of them glancing uneasily at their doubles but fighting none the less. Those attackers with bows were at a disadvantage, one which the defenders were happy to demonstrate as they flung knives and other small objects at them. Small lightning flashes and clouds of smoke further confused things as the Guards fought with everything they had. The medics proved the fact that you never want to piss off the people who know how to take you apart as they used small razor sharp daggers to inflict slashing blows that bled and weakened those they fought.
Bran pushed Sophie behind him, as her whip was almost useless in close quarters. Instead she pulled out a thin rope with a heavy ball on the end, using it to smash in helm and inflict punishing blows as she spun and darted. Bran almost lost an important part of his anatomy when he got distracted, nearly letting a swordsman land a blow that he would have severely regretted for as long as he lived, which would have been a day or so, tops. Raising one dagger, Bran flared the light coming off of it, using the other dagger to slide the attack to the side.
"Duck!" Bran did so and Sophie's bullet whizzed past him, smashing squarely into the face of the man in front of him. He gurgled oddly and collapsed, the front of his face caved in.
"Remind me not to piss you off." He muttered as he looked around for Phantom. She was the point of all of this fight, after all.
"Don't get dead and that's a start." Sophie snarled as she wrapped the thin rope around another man's neck. With a savage grunt she twisted and pulled, drawing it tight enough that the man started turning red and then blue.
Bran finally saw who it was he was looking for, Phantom and some other guy standing alone down a corridor.
"Oy, asshole!" Bran yelled as loud as he could, while seizing a nearby basin and chucking it down the hall at the new guy.

Kirsten laughed lightly and sidestepped it as Phantom’s eyes faded back, her chest heaving from the effort. She was done but she saw the surprise on Kirsten’s face as Bran and Sophie flashed back into view. She dove forward, sinking her dagger into his leg before sprinting past him and right into another person. He grabbed her and she screamed as he grabbed her hair, yanking her head back by it as Kirsten advanced. She saw him coming and was able to spin her attacker, using his body as a shield as Kirsten pierced his own man through the heart. She swung her leg up, kicking up as another man in black ran to contain her. She smiled with sick satisfaction as she caught him under the jaw and his head snapped back, his eyes rolling to the back of his skull and his body slumping to the ground. With a snarl she tossed the dead man off of her and turned to face Kirsten. His face was modestly shocked but he kicked forward, catching her in the chest and causing her to fall back across several bodies. Her eyes lock onto his.
“Do it,” she snarled, exposing her throat.

"Not a good idea," Bran sang out as he kept heaving bit of furnishings at Phantom's attacker. "I haven't even had a chance to ask her out on a date yet." Behind him Sophie kept mowing through attackers, breaking bones and knocking a few out. With his back safe, Bran leapt forward over Phantom, landing lightly on the balls of his feet. With a flourish he brought both blades up to cross in front of his face, frowning in concentration.
"Gonna hurt," he said softly to himself, eyes glowing as his blades shone like twin suns, giving the shadows knife edges and blinding anybody who happened to be looking at him.
“Don’t,” she cried as Kirsten struck forward, barely having enough time to knock him out of the way as the blade sliced though the air and she closed he eyes. The sword veered wide as if it had a mind of its own and Kirsten looked at it with shock. His brown eyes locked onto hers before whistling sharply and watching as his men retreated, still the others striking them down as they ran. His eyes scanned over Bran before running after his men, still confused as to what happened.
Phantom watched them go before throwing herself over Bran and hugging him tightly.
“That was rash,” she scolded.
"Watch out, not a good idea." Sophie grabbed Phantom and pulled her backwards as Bran staggered around the corner to be rather noisily sick. "He get's nauseous and disoriented after he flares, really cuts into the romantic image." She patted Phantom on the shoulder when she looked worried. "Don't worry, happens all the time."
"But the ladies still love me," came weakly from around the corner, as Bran staggered back, eyes bloodshot and not quite focusing right.
Sophie rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes; you are unequalled in manliness; no mere mortal can hope to match your might, blah blah blah. I've heard it all before and you're not impressing Phantom right now." She gently steered him into a chair and pushed him down, pulling a flask from her boot and handing it to Phantom. "Get him to drink a bit of this while I check things out, will you?" With that she went to count bodies and help the medics patch people up. Phantom shook her head in wonder before opening the bottle and reeling back. The scent it’s self was nauseating, smelling of a strong wine and herbs. She didn’t drink and that was clear as she handed the bottle back to him and she watched him drink it down. His enlightenment was beautiful yet deadly but then again, so could hers and everybody else’s. Phantom turned, the effects of using her enlightenment were starting to hit her and hard. She staggered away from Bran, walking toward the man she had killed through Kirsten and gently knelt over him. She murmured something and gently closed the wide eyes before moving to the man that looked dead. She had caught him pretty heart in the throat but as she put her ear to his lips was glad to see that he was still breathing, shallowly but still breathing. She looked around, searching for someone to call out to when a hand grabbed her collar and pulled her down with a tiny yelp. Her face was inches from the man’s and his teeth were covered in blood as he spoke.
“I told him it was foolish,” he coughed, whispering so only she could hear, “He cannot kill you Phantom.”
She struggled to get away but he held her firm in his grasp. The effort and pain on his face showing just how hard it was for him to maintain this.
“Help,” she cried as his had shot forward and caressed the side of her cheek. Her body froze, itching and tingling moving across her face and scalp for a moment before it was over. His brown eyes now burned green and he smiled up at her gently.
“Learn how to fight girl,” he snickered, growing weaker every moment. His hand fell from her face and his eyes stared off into the distance and his last breath caught in his throat, escaping in a little hiss. She touched her hair gently, the silver strands gone and replaced by brown.
She fell against the wall, looking at her brother, lying dead on the floor. Tears sprang from her eyes and her heart lurched. She had killed the one last thing she had in life to rely on. She cried, tears falling like diamonds from her eyes, splashing down against the ground.
Bran sipped the tonic and grimaced as it slowly settled his system, feeling things slowly realign themselves the way they should be. He was too dazed to stop the 'body' from grabbing Phantom, but that didn't stop him from lurching up and trying to stagger over.
"Sophie!" He staggered over and slid down the wall next to the girl, who now didn't seem to deserve the name 'Phantom.'
"It's going to be ok, darling. Just lean on old Bran here. Just go ahead and cry and we'll get through it." When Sophie finally managed to get to them, he pointed at the body that had grabbed Phantom. "That one's special, treat him right." Sophie nodded and gently checked to make sure he was really gone, then looked over.
"Well, I'm afraid this is the part where we have to start asking for answers. Only because the Captain is going to hear about this and need to know. And I don't want to go against her wishes."
She looked up at them, shaking as the tears fell down her face. Her eyes were wet and she looked a mess. Her brother had given her a gift. He had switched the colouring of her circlet and her hair, the marking on her face shining silver, her hair now brown.
“Ask away,” she sniffled, wiping at the tear that wavered on her cheek. She had curled up against Bran, that was his name and she looked sadly up and the women, Sophie. Sophie smiled gently.
"Well first off, just who are these guys that they want to kill you so bad? At first we thought it was just between you and that other guy, but this," she gestured to the wreckage and bodies lying around. "This is something more. We're not going to throw you out, but we need to know who we're fighting against."
“Alright. But to understand you need to know where I am from. I was born in Blackpond, into a noble family,” she absently rubbed the mark on her head, “My eyes were said to be a curse to my family and so they ordered my death. The knight that was supposed to do it brought me to his brother’s farm outside of the city because to him, my eyes were a gift. They raised me as their own but even they couldn’t hide me forever,” she looked nervously up at Bran before continuing, “When I came home from hunting they had been slaughtered by Kirsten and his men. I thought my brother had died with them, but he joined Kirsten. So I did the only thing I could do. I ran. I knew they would continue to hunt me and with some luck I was able to run into some horse traders where I bought Shadow, my big black baby.”
She shook her head and sighed. Sophie would need more and so she continued with reluctance.
“I lived in Blackpond for awhile and then when Kirsten had found me there I fled to Newhaven. And that is who you’re fighting. Kirsten is being ordered by my ‘family’ to finish the job, to kill me. My eyes may have not been a curse for them as a baby but now....”
She trailed off, anger stirring deep within her as she looked at all the dead and heard the moaning of the wounded. Slowly the colour of her hair was draining back into the mark on her head and the silver began to creep up from the tips and ends of her hair.
Bran kept his arm wrapped around Phantom's shoulders, tightening it gently to get her attention.
"Don't worry then. We take in all sorta strays around here. You're not there anymore, you're here, so things are gonna be just fine." His voice was a bit slurred still and he listed just a bit to the side.
Sophie shook her head at him, but agreed. "You got lucky enough to run into the Black Guard, and we don't turn people away just because they're trouble. Half of us the Captain pulled out of the gutters or the prisons, the rest of us are trying to leave some bad past behind. Or both. We're used to dealing with things that people are trying to move past, and we don't ever give up." She reached over and plucked the flask from Bran's fingers, ignoring his attempts to get it back.

After a moment she levelled a solemn look at Phantom, all traces of humour gone for a moment. "So long as you play straight with us, me and Bran will help you for as long as we can."
Phantom nodded and smiled through her tears, shrugging off Bran and standing to her feet. She had no knowledge of the Black Guard but she was glad she had found a home, for a later date.
“We should go help with the wounded and such,” she pulled Bran to her feet and grabbed her brother’s arms. She began to drag him down the hall, not waiting for help. Phantom began to memorise her options to get out of the building. She needed to find Kirsten and she knew exactly where he would be, just like she knew he would be waiting for her. They had a lot to discuss, like her death. She had fallen for Sophie and Bran, they had defended a complete stranger, and yet she was also afraid of them. She did not want to meet the captain of the guard but she knew it was going to happen. She smiled lightly dropping her brother among the dead, her hair shining silver once again.


Kirsten sat in the tavern in the far corner, his face hidden by shadows. His eyes were staring down into the drink he had gotten from the barmaid. She was a pretty thing but he was still not in the mood to flirt with anyone. His memories were playing the battle over and over again, trying to figure out why on earth his sword had veered wide.
The blinding light, but he had already marked exactly where she laid and her protector had been knocked out of the way by her, but that still didn’t explain why his sword had veered wide. Unconsciously his had touched the dragon shaped pendent and his hand jerked back as he touched it. The dragon was burning hot, and as he pulled it carefully from its hidden place. The trinket glowed and his eyes widened, a memory forming itself in his mind’s eye.
Her crystalline eyes stared up at him, a knowing expression on her face as she saw what her older brother had to do. It was sad but that was life. He raised his sword, getting ready to plunge it down into her chest when she held out a tiny charm.
“For you brother,” she whispered, “It will protect the special one.”
Now he understood. The special one was Phantom, but why and how? He was sure Ari, yes that was the girl’s name, was the special one because she showed no fear. He took a deep drink of his ale, twirling the dragon around in his fingers.
So, he would finally lose a victim, all because she had been protected from him though his sisters enlightenment. He snorted and shook his head sadly, a bit amused at the thought. But then again it did save him the trouble of mulling over what happened, why his pendent was burning and why that girl had shown up here.
He stood as she wandered through the crowd to his table, sitting across from him.
“Glad to see you could escape from your friends,” he growled, taking another sip of his ale as they sat.
“My enlightenment has no limits,” she said, pulling her hood back from her face, “you wanted to see me?”
“Actually, I did. As you may have found out I cannot kill you,” he held up her hand as a smirk flashed across her face, “It is not because of your charm. Rather, the charm place on you by my sister.”
She listened as he explained the death of his sister and what she had said. Her eyes flashed as he showed her the dragon pendent and she gently touched it, her gold and silver eyes flashing back to green and blue. She swore lightly and looked at her former hunter.
“This is very intriguing and I am glad to know that I will have you to stop worrying about. But if I don’t hurry back Sophie and Bran will find me gone,” she stood abruptly as he reached out and grabbed her wrist, tightly.
“I will let you go, but there is a second part. I have to protect you now,” he let her wrist go gently, seeing the tears spring up into her eyes. He carefully escorted her to the door before walking her out into the busy street.
“Well, I will take you up on it. You’re a good fighter to have around. But I will be with Sophie and Bran for the time being,” and with that she turned, pulling the hood up to cover her face and running down the street.

Kirsten watched the girl go, shaking his head in wonder and glancing up at the rooftops. Some of his men were running around up there, some on the street. The wounded that had been able to escape were hidden in a safe house and being tended to by his own group of healers. Phantom, she was a puzzle, her mind had been shielded by herself, and someone must have taught her how. However, he would do as his sister had asked her dying wish, maybe learn a little from this girl. He smirked and entered the inn, deciding that he could flirt just a little.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Newhaven2012-01-06 18:02:27, as written by nibblesnbits
Kirsten came out of the tavern a little while later, finding that the barmaid was not really to his liking because she was terrified of everything. He shook his head, slightly intoxicated with drink and just a little amused by the shriek she made when he quickly had used his enlightenment to make a mouse run across the floor and up her skirt. He snickered quietly as he remembered her dancing across the floor, slapping at her legs, screaming. How amusing it was to toy with people’s fears.
He walked down the streets, pulling his read cloak close around his body, moving quickly toward the stables where Demono was waiting. He and his black riders would be going out hunting. He owed them that much after that disappointing failure. They had gotten blood though and had suffered as well. He wasn’t used to losing his prey at all and it hit him hard to know that one, he couldn’t kill Phantom, and two, that he now had to protect her. He shook his head and placed his hand on his sword, feeling the deep stirring in his chest. He could already tell that she was going to get him into so much trouble, draw more attention to himself. Unless she ended up getting herself killed. At the thought he nearly laughed but he only managed a smirk as the stable boy ran off toward the stall and came back out leading Demono, who was shinning and rearing up. He really was a beautiful beast, tall and heavily muscled. His coat was a light grey and it looked as if someone had cast snowflakes down across his neck and down to his flanks. His black mane and tail were neatly brushed to the point where it shone black as a raven’s wing. The deep brown eyes had some sense of understanding in them and Kirsten felt his stomach twist with love for this creature.
The boy lost hold of the reins as the horse bolted forward, not stopping as Kirsten grabbed onto his saddle, pulling himself up and onto Demono’s broad back. He tore through the crowds, his black riders appearing out of the alleys and riding close behind him as people dove out of the way to avoid being trampled. Sparks flew from the hoses hooves and their nostrils were flared wide, their eyes were wild. He knew they were making quite an impression, his black riders on black mounts with the red rider on a speckled mount; only offering themselves up for gossip and fear. Kirsten’s eyes grew lighter at the feel of the horse under him, the way people moved to escape his beast, nothing could bother him. However he found that he was wrong. Riding through the market, he saw the black cloak of Phantom, and his eyes flashed as she saw her talking with a strange man. He thought about slowing but his mount wouldn’t have it and instead neighed and bucked slightly. Kirsten scolded him by yanking sharply on the reins and then urging him forward, Demono agreeing and picking up his pace. Kirsten and his men thundered out of the gate into the plains. He stood in his saddle and looked back, already his group flowing out into the backwards V formation they had practiced and worked on for so long to perfect. His men cheered and hollered behind him, giddy to ride and be out of the city. He smiled at their joy, moving like a black shadow across the land with the horses’ hooves sounding like thunder. Kirsten pushed Demono until the horse’s breath could be heard over the wind, his dappled coat shinning with sweat, the wild ride reckless and dangerous. He was about to signal to return when a scream caught his attention. His head turned and he slowed Demono, the horse carefully shifting form a gallop into the choppy trot and then stopping. His night hunters, the Balkan, as he liked to think of them, all came to a halt on either side of him, forming out a long line of riders and impatient horses. His gloved hand gently stroked the specked neck soothingly as Demono shifted and pranced, tossing his head up and down in a nodding fashion.
“What do you think boys,” he asked as several of his riders had to turn their horses in tight circles to keep them from bolting toward the scream. Kirsten smirked as his riders drew their swords, the blades coloured black as night. He drew his own, raising it above his head as Demono rose up on his back feet, screaming a challenge out before pushing forward, galloping down toward the poor creature that was being tormented. He leaned low over his horses neck, the beasts belly low to the ground as it pushed its speed to the limit. The black hair whipped against his face and human and horse seemed to blend together, becoming one creature as they rode into battle.

It didn’t take long to slay the group of bandits that were raiding a merchant and toying with his daughter. Their bodies lay were they were slain, blood pooling on the red stained earth, already saturated from the blood of the animals they had massacred before the Balkan could arrive. His men were settled and sedated, blood flecks across the bit of skin they showed and their horses coming to a rest under them as they cleaned their swords. Kirsten smiled, his black eyes shining brightly. The merchant and girl were cowering away, Kirsten and a couple of his men having used their illusion enlightenments to mask themselves. He laughed and spurred Demono, his dappled coat stained from the blood of the man who lay beheaded under his belly, toward the city gates again. The horse reared, his eyes appearing red as a cloud of steam rose from his nostrils, screaming a challenge to the world. Kirsten shook his head and with a quick motion sent his men galloping away, leaving the merchant and his daughter wondering what hell they had just been saved from and the fresh hell they had entered.
He and his men re-entered the city, passing unchallenged through the gates and up through the streets. Newhaven was such an interesting place, too bad it wasn’t home like Blackpond was. He smiled and slipped into the first alley, his men dispersing. He brought Demono to the stables he had previously found, his eyes cold and hard as the boy took the horse and began to sponge away the blood stains on the horse’s coat. Now that he knew his men were just as bloodthirsty as he was, which none at the moment were, he decided to find Phantom; Twins forbid the trouble she could have already gotten herself into. He whistled, loud and sharp and his call was answered as a hawk drifted down onto his outstretched arm. He absently ran his ringers over the ruffled feathers, ignoring all the looks he got from the people. He tapped the hawk lovingly on his chin and nodded, watching with envy as Kie took to the skies, circling above the city in search of the girl. His black boots hit the stone as he walked calmly through the crowd, snickering at the people’s fears. He hadn’t gone far though when Kie came flying back, a piece of black ribbon clutched in his talons.
Great, he thought, Now I have to become the hero.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ari Lupir Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Valcrest2012-01-13 18:19:46, as written by nibblesnbits
[Assassin's Camp]

Ari tagged along, running after the new Second, Stranger, erm Franklin. She was happy for him though it seemed that he was completely against it. He was walking around the camp, motioning to people and they nodded, their smiles fading off their face and also glowering at her. She blushed, staying close to the large man before he neared Alex. There he stopped turning to Ari.
“Go to your cabin,” he said gently, looking at Alex and watching as he nodded. Ari shook her head opening her mouth to speak. Franklin turned and gave Ari a stern look turning to point in the direction of her cabin. “You will return to your cabin and stay there until I come and get you,” he growled, seeing all the Wolves around staring angrily at her. With a huff Ari turned and walked back to her cabin, sticking her tongue out at Franklin slyly. He smiled slightly and shook his head, that girl had a lot of guts. She ducked her head and walked like a shadow through the camp, avoiding the people as best as possible. Some of them were shifting to face her as she walked by, the conversations taking place around her coming to a complete halt. She flinched as a tough looking man with scars running down his arms, drew his dagger, stepping toward her. Before he could actually get near her, Alex stepped between them, grabbing her arm and pushing her roughly forward. He continued this until she was safely at her sleeping place, the door shut and locked behind them.
“They’re going to kill me,” she whispered, looking up at Alex with just a hint of fear on her face. He shook his head gently and smiled at her.
“That would be foolish; one, because you are the Alpha’s recruit and two, it goes against Pack law,” he gently took her hand in his own, grinning mischievously. “You needn’t worry about them; I’m here to protect you.”
Ari couldn’t help the laugh that came up from nowhere. Alex’s eyes flashed and for a moment he looked hurt before plastering on his smile. She blushed as she realized he was being serious and she bowed her head in an apology before looking up into his green-gold eyes with a smile.
“Thank you,” she whispered, “But will you be so kind to escort me to Doni? I owe him an apology and I would rather get that over with.”
Ari could hear the sharp breath he took, the mistrust in his eyes as he looked at her and then back out toward the other wolves. She couldn’t tell if it was suspicion of of her or of the other wolves. There was a battle inside of him and to make it easier she smiled at him, giving her features an alluring look. He shook his head and smiled back, not being able to resist and he opened the window facing the woods. He motioned for her to follow and she did, both of them slipping out of the window and into the woods, Ari grabbing her wolf dagger as she snuck out.
“We’ll stick to the woods, hopefully avoiding Sean and the others,” he whispered, a childish grin spreading over his face.
“Sean won’t hurt me,” she whispered lightly smiling back. Alex’s charming attitude really was hard to resist and she frowned as he shook his head, “Not you. Me. I nearly got in a fight with Franklin to give you a head start.”
Ari’s eyes narrowed and the corners of her mouth pulled down at the corners. She didn’t like the idea and Alex smiled slightly and touched her shoulder, “Hey, I’ll probably just be suspended at the worst and sent off with a slap to the wrist at best. Besides, I’m a good kid to have around in a fight.”
He smirked and looked at her motioning her to follow him through the trees. Alex ran, stopping only to look and see if she was still close behind. He was taking her the long way around, someplace where the Wolves would not dream to look for her or even be out patrolling this aria. When he was sure that she could keep up he ran, not stopping until they neared a different cabin. There he stopped, not even winded. He only had to wait a moment until Ari caught up, her breath short and her eyes glaring ever so slightly. It took everything he had not to laugh.
“Apparently Sean has not begun testing your endurance,” he snickered as she punched him in the shoulder.
“The only thing we’ve done is test my ability to hide and to spar,” she panted doubling over to catch her breath. Alex shook his head and grinned.
“Well, I’ll help you in your free time work on everything I know of. Just so you can catch Sean off guard,” he said with a small smile reaching out to straighten her back up, “Stay upright, it opens your lungs and will help you catch your breath quicker. There,” he said as Ari stood to her full height, her breath already calming. “Ready,” he asked as soon as she appeared back to normal and had stopped clutching her side. Ari nodded and began to walk out alone. He pulled her back, waiting until a group of men had passed by melding into them with Ari. He had taken a firm but gentle grip on her arm and now pulled her forward, not bothering to knock as he opened the door and pulled her through.
“Donovan,” he called, seeing the boy sitting on his bed, a glare passing over his face as he saw who his visitors were. Ari grimaced when she saw the hatred on Donovan’s face, pulling her arm out of Alex’s grip roughly and taking one step forward.
“Donovan,” she said gently, rolling his name around in her mouth so it came out slowly and apologetic sounding, “I came to apologise for what I said back there with Allison. It was wrong of me to speak to you like that.” She nodded her head slightly, acknowledging that he was much higher than she was. When he made no response she shrugged, walking briskly out the door without a backwards glance. Alex watched curiously as she left, nodding his head to Donovan before leaving with Ari. He shook his head gently and took hold of her arm again, steering her toward the woods when Franklin came by and called for them.
“Don’t take it personally,” he whispered into her ear gently, “his pride has been hurt and he’d much rather take it out on you.”
She nodded as Franklin saw her, a group of Wolves following him closely. If he was angry for finding them out and about he hid it well. As he approached and walked past, Franklin nodded to Alex and Alex gave an impish grin, his face hiding something as both he and Ari fell instep behind the group. He kept his hand on her arm until they were well out into the woods, letting her go only after they were out of sight. They walked in silence, as did the group, some of the Wolves glancing back at her and Alex. It was hard not to keep her face turned to the ground as their inquiring stares and glares penetrated her. It wasn’t until a little later that one of them stepped up to Franklin, whispering quietly to him. He stopped and shook his head roaring in laughter, his massive frame turning to look at the small group.
“Ari’s been suspended but she found this hell hole and Sean and I, thought it necessary to have her tag along. If any of you have a problem with it,” he said, all humour falling from his face and his hand reaching for the hilt of his sword, “You can take it up with the Alpha when we get back. For now, you’re with me.”
Nobody dare challenge him and they fell quiet as Franklin walked over to Ari, his eyes smouldering blue.
“Ok Ari,” he whispered, keeping his voice low, “Only you know where this thing is. Lead us there.”
Ari knew very well that Franklin knew where it was, based on the look on his face and when she took a tentative step forward his hand swept behind her back pushing her to the front of the group. She glared at him and quickly walked forward, hating the eyes trained on her back. Eventually she relaxed and even found herself enjoying leading. She moved with purpose and both Franklin and Alex, at the back of the pack, smiled at each other.
“Did I say I was sorry yet,” Alex murmured as the rest of the pack began breaking into small conversations.
“Not yet, but I’ll accept it,” Franklin said with a nod, pointing up at the woman leading them, “Know who she is? Seems to me that the frightened little kid has gone.”
Alex laughed and watched Ari’s hips sway as she walked, quickening her pace as they neared the grove.
“She has grown since you brought her here,” he sighed, looking away at the woods as he noticed Franklin staring at him, “But she still has a long way to go.”
“True,” Franklin shrugged, “But I’m glad she has a hunter like you, hey tiger?”
Alex nudged Franklin as he made a little grr noise and laughed with him. He was right; he did have some feeling for the recruit though he swore to deny it to whom ever asked. Franklin left him, joining Ari at the front of the pack, keeping a stern and commanding posture but even without using his enlightenment Alex could tell that he was grinning at the girl. They began to talk, whispering to each other and laughing which startled many of the Wolves from their conversations. Alex merely smiled; it was good that Franklin was drawing so much attention to her, pushing her into the group.
Franklin stopped right at the grove. He nodded to the Wolves and they fanned out, searching for clues. His massive build turned to look at Ari and Alex, his face pulled into a frown.
“You two stay close and holler if you hear, see or find anything,” he ordered, waiting until they both nodded and then ambled off, his sharp eyes searching the grounds for anything. Ari looked at Alex, shrugging him off and running out into the woods. Alex followed her closely; staying on her heals as she skipped around trees until she came to a willow, its branches so long that the tips dragged along the ground. She parted the branches, stepping through until she could reach the mossy bark, touching it, and gently pulling a piece of it off. She placed it into her pocket and blushed as Alex cocked his head his brow rising in question.
“It’ll make the shift easier for me,” she smiled, “That and enable me to keep it for longer.”
Alex cocked his head, listening closely to her and he stepped forward, taking the bark from her pocket. She looked like she was ready to protest and he gently shook his head, hearing another Wolf walk by. When he was sure he had passed Alex looked for his dagger, frowning as he saw that he didn’t have it on him. He saw Ari had hers, and he knew that she wouldn’t give it up easily. He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close to him. Ari was shocked into stillness, her eyes widening. He smirked and looked down at her, grabbing her dagger from her hip and pulling back away.
“You can stop freaking out,” he laughed and quickly and skilfully carved a small wolf from the piece of bark, taking a strip of his shirt and using it as a string to tie loosely around her neck so the small pendent fell between her breasts, hidden away. “There,” he said, smiling as she admired his handiwork. Ari thanked him gently, her heart still racing from their contact, she didn’t notice as he slipped a tiny bit of bark into his pocket. She walked out of the tree, her eyes bursting in a flash of silver as she caught the scent of something strange. She walked carefully forward, her dagger left in Alex’s hands. She knew that he would follow her but she broke into a run, moving lightly across the ground.
It didn’t take long for her to stumble in upon a small camp, she held her side, whimpering slightly as her side cramped and her breast heaved. Her eyes searched the clearing, instinctively moving toward the fire pit and crouching to look down at the ashes. She snarled as she realized that they were still hot and she stood, looking around and her hand reaching back for her dagger. She didn’t see the man as he swung down from a nearby tree. She blacked out; burned into her mind’s eye were a pair of brown eyes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Alex had caught up enough to see the riders leave, Ari pressed into the chest of one of them. If he hadn’t seen the way her head lolled or her bound hands he would have marched straight back, denouncing Ari for a traitor. This, he thought, was much much worse. He needed to get back, and fast. He held the dagger in his teeth, screaming as his body began to shift. He lay on the ground panting, steam rising from his red coat as his white tipped nose sniffed the air. Alex stumbled forward, not entirely used to his form, the large antlers on his head making him run forward with his head bowed, staggering and struggling to keep his head up. He shook his head, deciding that maybe a human form would be faster than a deer and he shifted back, groaning and pitying Ari for what the price of her enlightenment was. One could only imagine the unbearable pain. He stood; grabbing the clothes he had taken off earlier and pulled them on, rolling his joints and flexing his muscles. He grabbed the wolf dagger he had dropped, sheathing it at his hip before turning and running back to Franklin and the other Wolves. He was not worried, well a little. Ari was under his watch thanks to Franklin and he hoped that Franklin would let him off for now. Alex could already tell that he would be furious and then worried, maybe it was better to face Sean. He bolted through the Wolves wandering around, stopping only to quickly tell them about the camp and pointing them in the right direction and asking for Franklin. He smiled at the young boy who pointed him in the right direction and then took off, nearly running into the big man as he emerged from the trees, seeing the furious and frightened look on Alex’s face.
“Ari,” he asked his jaw tightening with anger.
“Taken,” Alex panted, pointing over his shoulder, “She ran off and I couldn’t keep up. They left on horseback.”
Franklin nodded, already heading in the direction that he had pointed, drawing his sword and his eyes flashing bright blue. Alex ran back to the pack territory and dashed up towards the Alpha’s home, his eyes burning with anger. He ran through the door and cursed, already being able to tell that he wasn’t there. He began to pace angrily, trying to figure out where he would go or be. He shook his head, of course the lake, why hadn’t he gone there first. He turned, already running out the door and down toward the lake, every moment counted.
Sean had been going over things he needed to say and do in the next few hours and the things that happened in the past few hours as well. He had people to apologize to, apparently. He had also been called weak twice by two people who he didn't trust, but somehow believed. He wondered what Lena had meant when she said something was going to happen... That was worrying him to no end; Lena never gave anyone warning unless it was very serious.

Suddenly he heard rushed footsteps towards his. He immediately stood and retrieve the weapons he had idly laid on the earth next to him, attaching them to his belt where they belonged, moments before Alex stepped into the clearing. He knew he had been out with Franklin and by the man's face something had gone terribly wrong.

"What happened? Where are the others?" Sean asked immediately before the man even spoke a word. He had a sick feeling beginning to stir in the back of his chest, sincerely hoping no one had died this time.

Alex stared at the leader, his eyes narrowing. He dipped his head, tossing the hair out of his eyes.
“Ari’s gone,” he whispered gently, his eyes narrowing as he saw the doubt cross Sean’s face, “She was taken.”
Sean's eyes narrowed as he heard Alex's words. What, if anything, he was feeling about the news didn't really show on his face, only the rage he would normally feel to have one of their own taken away; and that wasn't little. Remaining calm on the outside, however, he stared the other assassin in the eyes as he asked for more information. "Did you see them? How many? Which way they were headed? What they were dressed like?" He asked, the tone in his voice cold and steady even though his fists we clenched at his sides.
“Only their backs, they were wearing colours of some Lord, that much was obvious. Six or seven, they were riding when I reached them heading toward Blackpond but I’m not entirely sure. Alpha,” he said, his eyes narrowing, “What would they want with her?”
Sean was quiet for a long time. While it seemed he had been frozen, or in a shock, he was actually conversing with Franklin, deciding which of the two would head out to Blackpond and which would stay behind in charge of the camp. Franklin won the argument by reminding Sean that if anything happened he could send a message to camp a lot faster than any messenger would.

Finally the Alpha had to give into the logic of his Second and conform with staying behind and waiting for news. After all, the camp couldn't be left without a leader. Finally he paid attention to Alex's question. "Depends. The kid seems to have some secrets of her own... Hopefully they got her for that. If they have a grudge against us, however... Well, they think recruits are easier to break." Sean replied. "Frank will be leading people to Blackpond, no more than five, we don't want to draw attention to ourselves. If you want in on that, go find him." Sean told the man. Franklin's orders were simple ones: Find the bastards and make them squeal until they give up the kid or her whereabouts. Kill them once they do. No mercy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[Blackpond-A short ride and a little time later]

Her white dress billowed around her legs, making the colorless threads shooting through the black marble stand out. Her blonde hair fell around her shoulders, arranged so that it covered her breasts. Her eyes were closed. The low lighting in the room made the blood dripping from her fingers appear like black water, falling like diamonds from the tips. The cut right under her arm released the precious tears, the horrible jagged thing attesting to the pain she had endured. Her hands hug over the edge of the marble, her pale skin being mirrored by the puddle of blood shining on the cold grey stone. Her chest rose and fell with invisible breaths and a single tear shimmered on her cheek.
The barred door creaked open as her captors entered. Ari kept her eyes closed, her heart beat as slow as her almost nonexistent breath. They walked over to her, their eyes glimmering black as they used their ability to keep her body bound tightly to the cold marble, slipping back to allow another to enter. Finally the last person entered decorated richly in a cloak of deep purple, a signature of royalty. He brushed the silver grey hair back from his icy blue eyes, looking over her body with a nod of approval. His healers had done well, not a scar remained except for the slice under her arm, right near the large artery running along the length of it. He remembered with sick pleasure how she had wept as the steal had cut through her, burning with the special powder that his assistant had given him. She hadn’t told them anything, holding true to her stupid Pack laws. This time though, she would talk. His eyes grew hard and angry; he had a bone to pick with the Pack, something that demanded justice.
He rolled up his sleeves, nodding to the two men who had faded into the back of the room. They stepped forward, their eyes becoming normal colors and they began to arrange her in a position to better the pain that would be coming. Her eyes flashed open and she attacked, throwing her fist out to catch one of the extras under his jaw and sending him reeling back. Her blood spattered the wall as she moved, quickly making the two binders useless on the floor. Their blood flowed from their lips and nose, their eyes closed in unconsciousness. She turned to her captor, his eyes narrowing.
“What do you want from me,” she growled her body tensing. He stepped to the door, pressing his back against it and signaling the man behind him. She received no answer, only the icy stare of the man who she didn’t recognize, had no knowledge of.
“Sleep,” came the soft voice of a different man, stepping form the shadows, his cloak as red as blood. As she started to fall, he swept forward, catching her in his arms and laying her gently on the table. He arranged her as best he could, clapping her hands in the chains that hung from the table. He pulled his mind from her’s, letting her thought and mind take control of her body and it didn’t take long for her to wake. Her eyes fluttered open and her face remained a mask as she looked up into his face, if she recognized him, she didn’t show it.
“Thank you Kirsten,” the old man said, steeping forward and kicking the two men that lay on the dirty floor. “So, Wolf….”
“I’m not a Wolf,” she snapped taking her eyes off of Kirsten’s. She heard the slap as her head snapped wildly to the left before she felt the singing pain across her cheek. She had bit her lip, splitting it and already blood was oozing forth from the bite. She ran her tongue over the cut, tasting the salty blood and growling. Kirsten began to get anxious, his hand gently caressing her cheek which still stung like fire from the abuse it had just received. Ari could tell that it wasn’t Kirsten who had slapped her but the man who was pulling his sleeve back up over his elbow. Her eyes flickered and hatred burned in her soul, making her stronger. She wouldn’t tell them anything, nothing about herself or the Pack. They were her family and she would remain bound to those laws even till her dying breath had escaped her lips. Her family had once betrayed her; she would not follow in their footsteps. She would remain strong for Franklin, for Alex and….and Sean. Her heart lurched in her chest and she knew now was the time to finally admit to herself that she felt something more than kinship with him, yes, she would stay strong to protect those she loved. Her eyes flashed silver and then faded, her jaw squaring and becoming tighter as she locked it, thinking only of her familiars.
“Come now,” he said gently, laughter glimmering in his eyes, “You just have to lead us right to them in their woods and you’ll be free.”
Ari could hear the lie and his voice and apparently so could Kirsten. He shifted uncomfortably, his eyes narrowing into slits. She was just a little surprised to see him there, but he had predicted that he would find her again in a time when she desperately needed him. She nearly laughed but she managed a smirk that he saw and returned; the corner of his mouth pulling up and his black eyes shining. She opened her mouth to say something, whisper it so low that only he would be able to hear but as she opened her mouth to speak there was the sharp pain of skin ripping and the horrible smell of flesh burning. Words turned into screams as the pain finally hit her, her body withering as it tried to escape whatever was doing this to her.
“Talk,” the Lord purred, pushing the heated blade further up into her skin, his eyes narrowing as the only thing that came forth from her was tears, but they didn’t fall. “Very well, you will talk before this is over.”
He pushed the blade up to its hilt, twisting it violently inside of her as she arched her back, keeping her jaw locked but screaming none-the-less. She didn’t tell nor say anything but kept her mouth void of words as they continued to torture her; steal cutting and burning, fire pushed inside of her and white hot iron all took a shot to loosen her tongue but nothing but her screams filled the chamber.
Kirsten had no part in this. His eyes were darker than usual and it took everything he had to keep from using his power on the Lord. Normally his blood lust would be sedated by these stupid things but not with her. Ari, the girl who had no fear. It was hard to believe that she had ended up here in a dark cell where a man was taking great care with brands and knives and needles to push her into to spilling everything she knew. He shook his head sadly, his heart pitying her pain. He wished he had brought Alecto, he was Kirsten’s second and he was able to create a net in the mind that could hold back the pain, releasing only little amounts at a time. What was really amazing about Alecto was that he could transfer pain as well, siphon it off of one person and distribute it to another. If he was here, Ari wouldn’t have to endure this alone. He could tell that the Lord was getting frustrated with no answers and the state that her body was in. Too much and he could kill her and so far it looked like that was exactly what he was going to do. Kirsten hated this man. To torture a girl who obviously was telling the truth when she said she wasn’t a Wolf made no sense. He gently stroked her cheek, brushing a strand of hair that was clinging to her sweaty face. He tried to tell her that he was going to get her out, to save her but his ability wasn’t mind speaking, it was only finding fear and even now in this dark hour she had none.
The Lord backed away, his eyes hard and soot and sweat dripping down his royal face. The girls dress was now tie-dyed with her blood and her breasts heaved as tears ran down her cheeks, leaving two clear trails down her dirty face. He had enough and quickly left, not summoning the healers. Better to let her die because she obviously knew nothing. This was the moment Kirsten had been waiting for.
It was not his job to come like a dog to his clients; he was a thing to fear not to be summoned like a mongrel pup. He had been sitting at the tavern in New Haven when one of his riders burst in telling him that the lord who had wanted Phantom’s heart now needed his help, extracting information. Of course he had quickly mounted up on Demono and rode him until in a hard gallop until the horse was shaking under him. Luckily that had happened after he had reached Blackpond and when he was lead to the chamber his heart had nearly given out at the sight of her. He was a free man and this was wrong. Kirsten didn’t care what he was getting paid to do this, it just wasn’t right. He quickly and deftly began to work on the shackles, pulling them off of her wrists and pulling her into him. She was light and unconscious; her head tilting back to expose her throat. Kirsten froze, his eyes attracted to the sight of her flesh and the slight throb of blood just under the skin. He shook his head rapidly; the hunger in his face disappearing as his eyes burned red and he created an allusion. Her identical image was portrayed on the table and satisfied with his work he exited the cell. Her blood was soaking through to his body and the smell made him run. He wasn’t running in fear, he was like Ari who had no fear, but instead form his hunter instincts. He passed by several people, not one of them seeing the girl tucked to his chest. He knew that it was stupid to be moving her, she needed healing first but here she would find no healing without pain following quickly. He rushed out of the doors and into the courtyard, whistling for Demono who had recovered and bolted quickly towards him.
He lashed the girl to the saddle, her limp body conforming to the horses.
“Take her far; take her to Newhaven with all your speed. Don’t stop until you find the others, they will know what to do,” he whispered to the horse raising his hand to slap Demomo’s rump. He almost didn’t notice that she had woken and was looking at him.
“Thank you,” she whispered, reaching out to gently take his hand, “Kirsten.”
He smiled glad to know that she did remember him and then he watched as his beautiful beast screamed and tucked his head to his chest, pushing forward and galloping away from the house. Maybe hope did exist and here it was, running away because he set it free. He smiled and wished her luck and speed before turning and walking back into the keep, careful to make it look like he had been there the whole time.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[Newhaven-a while later]

Ari woke to the warmth of a fire her eyes opening and closing, blinking rapidly as they adjusted to the light. She was surprised to see that there were several men, all dressed in black waiting around for her to wake. When one of them finally noticed her watching them he walked gently over to her, crouching by the bedside. His dark brown eyes stared gently into her face and she felt suddenly very calm. He was obviously an Empath, there was no doubt in her mind but he also had the rare ability to control the emotions around him. She looked around the room, catching the glimpses of several of the others, all of them watching her carefully.
“Where am I,” she whispered in a cracked voice, her throat unbelievably dry. The man standing in front of her turned and took something from his hip pouring a bit of the liquid down her throat as his hand gently cupped the back of her head, lifting it up. She drank sipping gingerly at the water until her throat protested and she coughed.
“Kirsten sent you to us. Based on your wounds I would say you suffered greatly,” he smiled gently, “according to Demono, Kirsten’s orders were to heal you and help you in any way we can.”
“Beast speaking? Empathy?” Ari shook her head in wonder, “It seems as if Kirsten’s band has grown.”
The man smiled gently, reaching out to take her hand and pull her to her feet. She staggered forward and he had to catch her as he legs nearly gave out. She whimpered and sat back on the bed, the pain slowly being sapped away. She couldn’t take it, the scars that covered her skin made her remember the pain she had suffered and she noticed how one of the men flinched, but it wasn’t the Empath. She shifted, her body twisting easily into the shape of a wolf, the pendent in the shape of a wolf hanging from her neck. She shifted back right after, pulling the covers tightly around her body before the men had a chance to look. They blushed, most of them turning as the Empath rummaged around in a small bag. He pulled out black clothing, handing it too her and turning as she pulled them on.
“I need to get a message out,” she said quickly looking at all of them, hoping that one would have some sort of Telepathy. She could see the look on the man’s face as he looked over his shoulder before looking back to her.
“I’m guessing, Ari,” he said gently, “That you would need a Telepath. Unfortunately, in our last battle he was seriously injured and is resting now. The only Telepath we have that is healthy can only read, not send messages.” Seeing the downtrodden look on her face he pulled her chin up, taping the tip of her nose playfully. “Don’t worry, Sean can wait. And it appears that our Telepath is awake and would like to talk to you.”
She stood to her feet realizing that the two telepaths must have been inside her head and the thought made her a bit uncomfortable. The Empath felt her nervous energy and sent soothing notions toward her, “You can call me Erin.”
Ari nodded, following the Empath out of the room, a light headed blonde following her closely. His breath tickled her ear as he leaned forward and whispered, “Do not be frightened, I will get you to a healthy Telepath sooner than you think.” She cocked her head slightly, listening closely to his soothing voice before he leaned back in and whispered one thing so low she almost missed it. Alecto.
Ari had to answer all the questions from the Telepath a frail old man who looked like he could break at any moment and after he had passed out from the large wound on his side she had enquired why he was part of the group. Erin had explained that his frailness was the effect of his Enlightenment and that with time he would become the man that was sought for and that the ladies fell over. Ari laughed lightly, startled as Alecto had suddenly taken her hand and proposed that she, Erin and himself should head down to a tavern for a drink. Erin had agreed along with many other of the men and she soon found herself swept out into the streets in the middle of a rowdy group of boys, all chatting about different things and causing a commotion when there were no people around. She noticed that when a person was sensed or appeared, the group fell quiet and their light happy air became darker, threatening. Alecto and Erin stuck by her side, guiding her to a tavern and slipping inside. They pulled her to the furthest corner as the rest of the men sat lazily around, leaning back in their chairs as they received their drink, looking completely at ease but she saw how their eyes scanned the people, looking for any threats. She sipped on her drink as Alecto stood guiding a very young boy toward the table.
“This is Chalen,” he said, nodding to Erin as he saw the puzzlement cross his face, “Kirsten has been watching him and he is a very strong Telepath. Tell her what she needs.”
The boy’s eyes studied her, lingering on her breasts and she blushed self consciously. Shrugging, he sat down next to her, laying his hand on her arm and starring into her eyes.
“I need you to picture the people as best you can, don’t leave out any details now,” he said gently nodding as an image of a redheaded man appeared in his head as well as hers, “Very good. Now, focus on the message and I’ll be your vessel, your thoughts will travel through me and to him. I warn you it will only appear as images, dreams to him but if you were to give a place then I am sure he would go there. Try.”
Ari pictured Kirsten, the horse, the torture and finally the city of Newhaven, her eyes locked onto the boys as a wicked smile spread across his face and noting how Erin and Alecto had both glanced at each other, their brows knitting together in confusion and worry. At last the boy moved away flexing his shoulders as a wave of drowsiness swept over her and she sank against the Empath, her eyes fighting to stay open.
“What,” she whispered gently before falling still, held in the arms of Erin as the boy snickered and walked away.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sean Fletcher Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Valcrest2012-01-17 01:51:50, as written by nibblesnbits

Kirsten was very proud that he had gotten Ari out. She would be healed by now, he thought, leaning against the wall of the throne room where the Lord was ranting, throwing around things. He was unable to figure out how this girl had gotten out and Kirsten was very amused. He stayed mostly in the shadow, his back pressed against the cold grey stones that gave the room a strong and commanding sort of feel. Kirsten had watched with black eyes, his hair masking over them, giving him a wild untamable look, as servants and others were brought into the room to be questioned and a couple had even ended up dead. He was dosing off as a sharp voice cut through the silence he had been enjoying.
“Kirsten! How could this happen? I want you to find her, bring her back alive but barely. I won’t rest until I have that horse thieving Wolf back in my control. This time I will kill her,” he snarled and looked to where Kirsten had been. Instead Kirsten now stood behind him, his sword causally drawn as he leaned on it.
“Would you have me give up the hunt for Lady Phantom, milord,” he asked his voice dark and dangerous.
“Can’t you hunt both,” the Lord demanded, turning to face Kirsten with a little shudder, “You will hunt both. In the meantime, I’ll send out my men to the woods, see if they can catch another and if not they’ll be watching for her. That and I’ll send a small group to Newhaven to do some spying. You will leave now and find her,” he growled and his icy eyes narrowed as Kirsten made no move to leave. Instead Kirsten felt rage boiling up inside of him but he kept it buried down. He snatched his sword and sheathed it with a loud hissing noise and with unnecessary force.
“I would remind you,” he growled, his voice even darker, “That I cannot be ordered around. It would be wise to remember it.”
“You will obey,” the lord hissed, his eyes narrowing, “If you want her to live.”
“How dare you,” Kirsten growled, drawing his dagger and pressing it against the lord’s throat.
“I would advise against killing me. She’ll be dead before you can get to her,” he said a wicked smile spreading across his face. Kirsten frowned and reliantly moved away as the Lord smiled at him. “Here are your orders, disobey any part and the gies will destroy her. Go find this Wolf. Extract all that she knows. Kill her. Don’t tell anybody about this that would do something about it. Now go.”
His eyes flashed and he stormed out, his leather boots hitting the ground and causing the sound to echo around the room. He pushed open the doors, smirking as they hit the walls on either side and even more as the servants that he passed scattered to the sides of the hallways when he stalked past them. Their fear made him stronger and as entered out into the sunlight without batting an eye, he laughed manically. He turned and walked briskly toward the stables, his cloak blowing back behind him as he picked out his second horse, a large black Friesian. The beautiful horse tossed his head, his long fetlock tossing up and over his eyes. Kirsten smiled lightly, running his hand along the length of the thick muscular neck and moving down to his back. Kirsten had to jump slightly to mount up, the horse was so large. He turned the huge beast out of Blackpond, riding quickly toward the forest. He needed to find the Wolves, tell them what he could before it was too late.
He quickly thought about how he could get around the last order “don’t tell anyone who would do something about it” and his mind clicked. If he could convince himself that the leader wouldn’t do anything about it, then she would be safe. He never understood why he had continued to stick with She, he guessed because it made his girl seem less human, it allowed him to distance himself from her in case anything did happen. That is what he feared, losing her because he couldn’t or wouldn’t kill anyone. He ducked under a large branch, already breaking into the woods. He needed to convince himself that Sean, that was his name that Ari had screamed, didn’t care about the girl and hopefully Sean wouldn’t care. He slowed his mount from a bouncy trot to a slow walk, riding straight forward on a small path that would lead him within sight of the Wolves and hopefully his red cape would make him stand out more.
"There's a rider heading this way." One of the scouts had informed Sean. Sean wondered if this was one of the men that had taken the recruit, and if he was, he couldn't understand why the man would be heading into their territory so recklessly. Either way, he was personally greeting this stranger, placing himself on his path on the trail, other assassins hiding amongst the nearby trees, silent and out of sight.

Nothing identified Sean as Alpha, and an outsider wouldn't know his face, therefore he acted as a scout would, calling out as the man's horse approached. "Halt! You are trespassing on the territory of the Wolfpack."
Kirsten slowed his mount and pulled the war horse to a stop, the beast tossing it’s head. He pulled the hood back from his face and glared at Sean. His eyes flashed red and he smirked lightly.
“You are Sean, yes? Good. I come with news of Ari,” he said without waiting for an answer, dismounting and leaving his sword attached to the saddle of his horse. He didn’t explain how he knew that his name was Sean and he was able to convince himself that this man didn’t care. He hoped that he would keep the façade of a cold hard leader.
Sean flinched only slightly in response to the man's behaviour, he caught a flash of red in his eyes and knew immediately that he was Enlightened, fact which was confirmed when the man mentioned his name without it being given to him. He said he had news from Ari, and he seemed agitated, in a hurry, which meant he cared for her safety somehow. That, or he was a very gifted actor, and Sean wasn't going to risk showing just how badly he wanted the information. "Ari? That kid? We had her for less than a day, I was convinced she left us. What news do you say you have?" He asked, raising an eyebrow in and expression of curiosity and slight disbelief.
“She’s in danger. You have to get to Newhaven as fast as possible. Keep her hidden, even from me,” he said in a hurry, already a bit of dread rising within him. “I’ve been ordered to kill her on sight, and I’m afraid that I cannot disobey this order, even if I want to. Newhaven, as fast as possible.”
He turned and mounted back up, looking down at the man who Ari had feelings for. He cocked his head, riding forward just a little bit and leaning in his saddle to whisper, “She only thought of you.”
With that he spurred away, knowing well enough that his Enlightenment was working and he was gone from their visions before their sight. He pressed the war horse into a reckless gallop, already running for Newhaven.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ari Lupir Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare Character Portrait: Stephan Kalir
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Setting: Newhaven2012-01-29 03:06:05, as written by nibblesnbits
Kirsten rode into the city of Newhaven, the rain pouring now around him, pelting his skin. The horse was soaked, from sweat or rain it didn’t matter. The steam rose off of both of them, the horse’s breath heavy as it reared and let out a raw scream, the voice dark but scratchy. It was a call and he rode the thick muscled horse through the now almost empty streets, his dark eyes scanned the roof tops, nodding as his men stood, raising their bows before leaping away. He met Catlen, his normally blonde hair now brown as it was soaked with rain. His hood lay across his back, collecting rain as his hands reached of the reins. The smell of wet leather was incredibly rich and Catlen whispered to the horse, steadying the black creature that towered over him. He watched as Kirsten dismounted, transferring the black leather into his other hand. The beast, blinked, its black eyes peering through the wet tangled mass of hair that was under the face shield made of thick leather. Catlen shook his head, knowing perfectly well that Kirsten didn’t need that or the saddle with the spikes sticking out of it. He ran his hands down along the horses legs, pulling his hand away, wet with sticky blood and with a mild curse towards Kirsten he lead the horse away.
Kirsten smirked and walked into the building, pulling off his riding gloves and slamming them on the table causing Erin to leap up from his seat, the chair flying back to clatter against the floor. The man’s eyes narrowed as Kirsten laughed, sitting down in the chair across from him and throwing his muddy boot up on the table. Erin growled slightly, watching the mud from the boots run from toe to heal and onto the wood, the grit and dirt spreading slowly in puddles. Kirsten’s red cloak dripped water onto the floor, leaving two large puddles and his hood only showed the tip of his nose and his lips, water dripping off of them as his lips pulled into a thin smile.
“What’s the news on the girl,” he said, picking at his fingers and only glancing at the boy when he didn’t speak. “Well,” he said pulling his boots off of the table and leaning forward in his seat.
“She got away but we’ve found her The Inn,” Erin looked away from Kirsten’s eyes, blushing as he shrank back from Kirsten’s wrath.
“Damn it! That place is neutral ground....We can’t go hunting in there,” he slammed his fist into the table, his lips pulled into a snarl. “How did this happen? I gave you simple orders Erin!!” Kirsten’s eyes blazed, his body quivering in anger. He could tell he was hurting the Empath that much was obvious as he sorta shrank back without him having to lift a finger. He watched, considering how to kill his second as he pulled a dagger from his belt, digging the tip into the table as he stood, the chair groaning as it was shoved across the floor. “Tell me something good Erin or Alecto is about to get a promotion.”
Erin stared at Kirsten, he was in a blood rage, that much was obvious and this one was the worst he had ever seen. He knew as well that the threat put forth would be followed through on. Kirsten had already disposed of several Seconds and Erin had been there to see the last wasn’t pretty. He stood tall as Kirsten advanced around the table, looming towards him like a dark shadow, the room beginning to change around them.
“Ari entered the bar with a man and a while later, she was followed in by a woman and again, a man and a woman. Your telepath was able to get a message out that it is the Alpha but at the moment he is not paying attention to the girl,” Erin said in a dead tone, his eyes flickering as the room returned to normal.
“The Alpha? You mean you have a Hunter in there,” Kirsten shook his head slowly returning to himself.
“We’ve been sitting in there the moment she escaped,” his eyes were fixed straight ahead, not looking at the man who stood in front of him, but rather through him. “Already we have six archers on the rooftops, all the gates are being watched and our most skilled are circling the Inn as we speak. They won’t move without your permission and not one inside, but rather three. The streets around the Inn are being watched by the less skilled. All wait for your command.”
Kirsten nodded, mildly surprised that Erin had been able to execute all of this and get the reserves out and ready as quickly as possible. He rubbed his temples, three inside a nest of assassins; that was big. If they tried to make a run for it outside, Ari would be dead before she even got a breath of fresh air. The Inn was seen as neutral territory and he certainly did not want the entire Wolfpack on his back if he attacked. Then again, Ari was a wolf which meant that they would Hunt him down anyways. He decided to take his chance and nodded to Erin. Watching as the Second walked quickly away, he couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face. Attack it would be.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ari took another sip of her drink, her eyes staring into the glass. She didn’t much care for it now; in fact she was still frightened. It had nothing to do with Sean, but what Stephan had told her. She laughed lightly at the horse remark, maybe she would have to ride off to the mountains and collect a few of the horses that were up there solely for the Wolfpack. She made a mental note to ask Sean about it, her mind stumbling over what Indrani had asked her. Had Sean not told her that she had been taken in by him?
“Sean. He’s my instructor,” she muttered, keeping her attention to the contents in her glass. She looked curiously at the desert queen, cocking her head slightly as she told them they had to leave and she reluctantly nodded. Ari made to stand when something caught her eye. There was a flash of movement; several men had stood to their feet and Ari felt her body freeze as she saw they were entirely dressed in black.
Stephan knew where they were, knew their numbers inside the inn before Ari had even sat down. He honestly thought that they weren’t going to be stupid and launch an attack. He cursed himself for not immediately pulling her into a room and hiding her from their sights but then who knew that Kirsten was psychotic. These Night Hunters were taking a large risk. Stephan grabbed her hand, pulling her toward the door with a curse, somehow his dagger already drawn and clutched tightly in his hand. Some of the Wolves looked confused, that or just drunk and only a few of them reacted. His eyes widened as they fell to the ground, unable to move, their hands clamped over their ears as they screamed. Only two Hunters advanced forward, the other occupied with tormenting the others and it looked as though anyone who stepped near him was automatically incapacitated. He opened the door, flinching back as several black arrows buried their heads into the wood next to him. He stepped back, shutting the door and turned to look at Ari with an innocent smile.
“Of course they’ve got this whole place surrounded by fucking archers.”
He turned, stepping forward and his wrist flicked, the dagger in his hand now protruding from the Hunter’s chest. The hood dipped to look down at the weapon, his hand reaching up to nearly touch it before he crumpled to the floor. Several of the wolves were now also attacking and he turned as Ari stepped up behind him, her eyes burning silver as she stared at the man who was still tormenting the Wolves who were curled up on the floor. Her hand reached out, a moment later the man flinched, clutching his neck and swearing. They had lost sight of Indrani and Sean and Ari peered over heads to try and find them. Stephan grabbed her hand, pulling her toward the Bar, ducking behind it as the door opened and more Night Hunters swarmed into the place. Shelia ran past, ducking down for a moment and looking Stephan in the eye.
“Love, there’s a tunnel in the basement; it will lead you out into the sewer. I suggest you get her out as fast as possible,” she looked at Ari and smiled gently, “Stay safe, be strong for him.”
She ran off then leaving them a room to cross full of Night Hunters and Wolves. All locked in a battle to the death. Stephan took Ari’s hand gently, her eyes looking up at his as he counted to three.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ari Lupir Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare Character Portrait: Stephan Kalir
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Setting: Newhaven2012-02-07 15:40:13, as written by nibblesnbits
Rain pelted the streets, the lights from the buildings flickering in the downpour. The cloaks were soaked from the rain and the silver arrows flashed as lightning cracked between the dark skies, lighting them for a moment before leaving the world in the dark once again. On top of the buildings, a small band stood, the rain dripping off the edges of their cloaks and passing in front of their eyes, all hidden beneath the masks of darkness and shadows. Some shifted forward, their bows hung down by their sides but arrows knocked and at the ready. Most were crouched; their legs bent as dark eyes narrowed at the sounds of the screaming inside the building below them. The predominate one was standing tall, the red cape drawn tight around his body and the water sliding off of the tip of his hood to splatter across the black boots he adorned. His dark eyes caught the brightness of the lightning, the flash lighting up his face giving him a sinister yet powerful look. His long black hair fell out of the hood, sticking to the red cloth like grass stained by blood. His normally soft face, the feminine look, was replaced by malice and hatred. Kirsten watched from the roof, his black eyes narrowing with distain as he saw that the Ari girl had not come running out the door like he had expected. Apparently she was thinking things through or had become an expert fighter. He snarled, deciding that he might have to go in himself; the fight was taking too damn long. He looked over at his archers. They too had the same wild, hungry look in their eyes and he could feel the tension in the air. They wanted a shot, they wanted blood on their hands and he felt for them, but as one of them leaned forward he raised his gloved hand, watching as they shrank back, reining themselves in. He would wait for a moment more, Erin was supposed to report soon anyways. Kirsten drew his dagger, tossing it between his fingers as his lips pulled back into a snarl. The thunder sounded in a deafening roar, crashing around him and his men yet none flinched, and he caught the dagger, turning his head toward the sky, blinking as the rain dug into his face like needles for a moment. He sighed and looked down at the Hunter who had walked up beside him, bowing his head in respect as Kirsten looked at him with contempt.
“This could have been ended,” he growled, his voice not nearly as low as the thunder that had added emphasis to his statement and Kirsten’s eyes narrowed. “If we shoot a fire arrow in through a window, the whole place will go up before they can do anything about it. So why haven’t we?”
Kirsten took a step closer to the man who had dared speak to him in such a tone, looking into the man’s eyes, and watching calmly as he dropped to his knees, holding onto the sides of his skull. Kirsten watched, his lips curling into a thin line before the man dropped to the ground panting. He let the man lay there, letting him recover from the mental attack before crouching down next to him. He forced the man to look up at him, snickering at his reaction slightly.
“Why? There’s rain you idiot, it would put out a rag in a matter of moments. That and we would,” he paused, noting that he had all the Hunters attention on him, “HATE, to kill so many innocent people.” He smiled as some of the men laughed, the sentence dripping with sarcasm and with a forceful push the man lie screaming on the roof, a deep cut running from temple to jaw. He stood suddenly, brandishing his dagger in the sudden flash of light and the grumble of thunder and looking at the men around him. “Any others who wish to challenge me?! Don’t be afraid, step forth.” He mocked, bowing at the waist and spreading his arms wide. He sneered as no one came forth, all their eyes averting from him and the man on the ground, back to the Inn where the Hunters were slowly being pushed out. They were all cowards, all except those in his innermost circle and even they had fears that Kirsten preyed upon. He sheathed the dagger, listening to the harsh click as the white blade with the red rose hit the top of the sheath. Kirsten turned, sensing someone was close to him. He smiled at Erin who looked slightly annoyed and now, apparently nervous. Kirsten snickered as Erin’s eyes flickered to the man who was being helped by two others.
“What news Erin,” he called walking briskly forward. He watched the boy, pulling his hood back, for a moment his charming self coming through.
“Well….some idiot wouldn’t stand down on orders and so we had to kill him,” Erin said softly, watching as Kirsten raised his eyebrow, a curious expression on his face. Erin saw he didn’t care and thought it irrelevant and so he continued, “We’ve had several of our best killed or wounded, Sesh is seriously wounded and is trapped in there, none of the Night Hunters are near enough to get him to safety. Alecto is in infirmary with bleeding, he overused his enlightenment again. Juma is still fighting. Makom is doing the best he can to reach Sesh but Wolves block his every movement. Lichen is turning the Wolves upon themselves as much as he can but he is wearing out fast. Catlin is doing everything he can but last I checked he was surrounded.” The second gently took Kirsten’s arm and steered him further away from the archers his voice dipping into a whisper, “We have to retreat. None of them have seen Ari, she must have gotten out through a tunnel or something.”
“That’s a possibility,” Kirsten mused, his brows knitting together in thought. “Well….. I guess we should start pulling back then. The Alpha knows what I want. If he’s smart…he’ll hand her over without a second thought, she is just a recruit anyways.” He turned snapping at the archers, barking out orders and his eyes flashing as his gaze locked onto several Night Hunters already retreating. “We’ve made a point, if they follow shoot.”
He turned, sharply as the archers readied themselves on the edges of the roofs, their sharp eyes piercing through the rain at the Hunters flowing out of the building, from doors and even windows. His mind momentarily flickered to Sesh, the poor boy if he was still alive would wish he was dead soon enough. The Wolves wouldn’t be kind enough to spare a young pup from their jaws, and he was fine with that. He leaped from roof to roof, sliding down toward the ground and landing lithely on his feet in a crouch. His head snapped up, his eyes flashing momentarily before walking off along the streets of Newhaven.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three. Stephan stood, leaping over the bar and kicking a Night Hunter in the chest, the crack of a rib audible over the sounds of steel clashing and people screaming. The man stumbled back into a group of Wolves, shouting as the pain slapped him across the face, a rude awakening into the battle. The cry was cut short, a blade protruding from the man’s neck as his eyes became dull and lifeless before he even hit the ground. Stephan did not like what he saw one bit. Knight Hunters were everywhere, tangled with the Wolves in heated combat, killer verses killer. It was a test of skill and Stephan ducked as a dagger shot across the room, embedding itself into wood instead of the flesh it had been seeking. His eyes narrowed and he flinched as more Wolves flooded down the stairs, crowding the already too small bar. Could Sean not handle this by himself? Stephan shook his head, his eyes snapping up to look upon the stairs where several Wolves had turned on each other. He focused on them, each one trying to tear each other apart. His eyes narrowed, some foul play was upon the Wolves and his eye turned sliver as he called forth his enlightenment.
What he found surprised him moderately. Instead of finding their thoughts, he found someone else’s and he skillfully worked his way into the subconscious without being noticed by the man who was controlling the Wolves. He found the memories of their graduation oaths, and drew them forth. His mind slammed against the other’s and he momentarily lost sight of the Wolf’s mind, snapping back to his own body as he sagged against the counter, just ever-so-slightly. He closed his eyes again, shoving himself forcefully back into the mind and pulling the memory of the oath to the forefront of the Wolf’s psyche. Everything changed. The wolf turned, now defending instead of attacking and Stephan found himself digging through the memories of the men that were still captured and freeing them all with their oath memory. He opened his eyes, what had seemed like an hour’s work was really only a couple of minutes. His green eyes narrowed as he realized he was under the bar and he shook his head, wondering how in the hell he had gotten there. He pulled himself out, rolling his shoulders as he remembered Ari and dove for the counter. Stephan turned, reaching over to help Ari up over the bar, finding that she was no longer there but engaged in a tough fight with another Wolf in swordplay. He couldn’t tell if she was exhausted or enraged, so bad were the tremors that wracked her body, but at that moment it didn’t matter. She was already being worn down, her movements slower than normal and it was becoming obvious that the Wolf was going to strike the final blow very soon. He reached for the sword at his hip, giving up on the notion that he wasn’t going to have to use it. He cursed, his hand closing on thin air when Ari cried. His head snapped up, his eyes widening.
Ari cradled her arm close to her chest, the Claymore sword abandoned on the floor of the Inn. She had leapt up over the bar right after Stephan had, ready to make a run for it when he had stopped. Ari knew the signs of his enlightenment and she watched with earnest as he had closed his eyes to focus better on his target. She stood by his side, watching the fight going on around her. She nearly missed the Wolf that had come at them, sword raised above his head, nearly but not quite. She had reached for the Claymore sword at Stephan’s hip, as she was unarmed, drawing the thing and shoving Stephan under the bar, barely having time to block the downward stroke aimed for her head. She had screamed at him, telling that she was a Wolf as well, but he was rabid. She had no choice but to fight with her weakest weapon, blocking but never striking. Now she was a goner. There was no noise, nothing as her vision tunneled, her face locked on to the Wolf’s. He struck forward, and she flinched stumbling back as the Wolf’s sword was knocked down and away. Stephan stood next to her; his eye flashing silver as the Wolf stumbled back shaking his head. The man stood finally still, nodding to them as if nothing had happened before jumping back into the fray.
“Thanks,” she stammered, looking up into the tiered eyes that stared back into hers.
“You have a lot to yet learn,” Stephan said gently, his face pulled into a mask as he took her hand and pulled her across the room, slipping between fights and dodging others. He only blocked the blows that were directed at him and Ari, slowly beginning to be surrounded by more and more Wolves. It was as if the Wolves had overrun the Hunters and now they were slowly being pushed out. Perhaps Sean was right to call down others, just maybe. He stopped at the stairs, trying to remember where the cellar was when he was shoved out of the way, roughly by feminine hands. Stephan’s green eyes widened as a bit of metal, no bigger than the palm of his hand and flat, buried one of its sharp, curved spikes into the wood where he had just been standing. Ari pulled at the star, ripping it from the wood and seeing the nearest Knight Hunter, threw it, watching as the object slowed almost to a complete stop as the Hunter stepped out of the way, the Wolf who he had been in combat with unknowingly stepping forward right as the star resumed it’s normal speed. She flinched as it hit the Wolves shoulder but before she could dwell on the subject she was pulled roughly forward by Stephan. He had remembered where it was; now all he needed was to get there. But before he could make it, Ari snatched onto his arm, not moving forward. He curiously looked over at her and saw how her eyes were wide, her lips curling into a snarl. She lunged forward and Stephan pulled her back against his chest.
“No,” she screamed, fighting against him, her eyes locked onto the figure on the floor. “Sean! Let me go!” She couldn’t see his face, but something told her that it was him. She needed to get there, help him but Stephan’s iron grip held her tight to his chest. She struggled as he turned her around, several Wolves already flocking around the body and several surging forward into the Hunters.
“Ari,” he cried, his voice darkening as he tried to get her attention. “Listen to me. He’ll be alright, but right now we need to get you out of here and to safety. He’d want that too.” His hands slowly stopped becoming restraints as her struggles ceased. She stopped moving, her eyes flashing dangerously but she let him lead her across the room.
Sesh lay on the ground, something small had caused him to lose his concentration and then something else had torn into his leg. He lay there panting, his hand clutched around his leg. He could hear Makom screaming his name, trying to reach him but Wolves were everywhere now. It was, difficult not to be fighting but perhaps it was for the best. Here on the ground he was able to use his enlightenment and he had already turned several Wolves on each other but the Wolves were able to fight back with their own….mental trickery. Someone was stopping his advancement and now his head hurt from all the minds he had toyed with. He winced, leaning heavily against the wall by the stairs. Even he had heard the order to retreat but there were just too many Wolves for him to drag himself across the room unnoticed. He pulled back his hood, exposing his face. He brushed his hand through his hair which looked white at the moment. His black eyes appeared stormy grey as he caught sight of two people bolting through the crowd, ducking fights and twisting out of the way. One of them looked like a Hunter and the other a frightened girl and his heart lightened as they got closer to him. He could hear their struggle, and he forced himself to move, moving away his hand that was stained red with sticky blood. He reached out, snatching a hold of the Hunters hand, looking up in surprise as he saw that it wasn’t a Hunter, nor was it a Wolf, the girl however that stood behind him he immediately recognized as his prey and a tiny snarl worked its way from his throat.
“Sesh,” came the man’s voice and his black eyes flickered to the hooded face, his eyes peering past the darkness and widening. The hand pulled him to his feet, his body lurching forward only to be caught in part by the girl. She held him up as Stephan, Sesh’s best friend, took the other side and together they carried him down into the cellar. “Sorry old friend,” Stephan whispered. There was a sharp blow and Sesh slumped, his body becoming much heavier.
“Let’s get him out of here with us. I won’t have a Wolf take his life,” Stephan said gently, looking towards Ari for approval. She nodded and together they slipped out into the tunnel, making their way toward her freedom.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phantom/Spirit Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Newhaven2012-02-26 03:33:34, as written by nibblesnbits
Kirsten entered back into his manor as he liked to call it, sitting down by the fire and shaking his head grimly. Every time someone was struck, they would die and so would a little part of him, he would feel their pain. He shuddered as several of his ties were cut loose but he had grown use to blocking out the pain and he leaned back against the red chair. His inner circle was safe, the ones he considered most precious, now stood milling around in the rooms above his head. Erin seemed to be pacing, obviously still upset about the sudden attack on Ari. Alecto was down the hall, his wounds grave but liveable. Catlin was in his room and based on the thunks coming from above, Kristen guessed that the boy was throwing daggers into the wall again. Kirsten shook his head, suddenly too tired to care where the rest were, Sesh surprisingly wasn’t dead, at least Kirsten could feel his loyalty still alive but that didn’t mean that the kid wouldn’t be dead soon enough. The red-orange flame cracked as a black log, covered with veins of shifting red, collapsed under the weight of the others, sending up a flurry of sparks. For a moment, Kirsten’s eyes mirrored the colour of the logs before fading back to the black he was accustom to.

Enlightenment, that was a curse. Something he would give up gladly and without hesitation. He smirked lightly as it struck him that she would have slapped him for even thinking that. She had always claimed that it was a gift, but now she lie in the bottom of a hole in the Lords prisons’, rotting away. His fingers reached up to rub his temples, his brows knitting together with distain. Most of his fighters were enlightened, only his inner circle. The rest were just there, he having given them a dream to make them think they were enlightened. Of course it was all Lichens idea, and surprisingly it had worked. He found that his Hunters could see better, hear things no one would think about, some had begun to move faster and he realised that to some degree everyone was “Enlightened”. They all had some special ability, every person in Valecrest. He snorted and leaned forward, his eyes reflecting the light of the fire and he remained perfectly still as a silent mind whispered into his own.

I guess one could say that we all are...but We channel our ability, making it stronger than the others. Why are you in despair Kirsten, son of Kilter?
You know why, his mind snapped, If I don’t bring back the girl, it’s over. For both of us.

There was the light bell like laughter in his mind as the voice slowly faded, disappearing into the nothingness it had come from. Kirsten searched his mind, digging into his deepest thoughts to find the voice once again. He muttered a curse when he realised that it had gone again, and slowly he stood. Lichen stood beside him, his eyes fixed onto the fire where the images of a girl slowly faded into ash.

“She talks to you,” he said, more as a statement then as a question and Kirsten shrugged.
“Sometimes, when I do not need her, yes,” he looked towards the coercer and smiled slightly. “You fought well tonight, as did the rest of us.”
“It was folly to even try,” Lichen said, his voice as flat and dead as the air around them. “I had the Wolves fighting each other, but there was a...a man,” he paused, choosing his words, “He was stronger than me and I couldn’t keep him out.”
Kirsten blinked, obviously a little taken aback and his eyes studied the man beside him. He was the strongest Kirsten had ever met dealing with minds, strongest and most crafty. To hear of another who was able to disrupt that was......rare, exceedingly so. There was silence, a deadly hush that fell across the room, cut only by the hiss and pop of the fire. For awhile they said nothing, each absorbed in their own thoughts until Lichen spoke again. His voice was soft, almost enchanted as it rang through the hall.

“The archers are falling back, most of our men have retreated, and I hear that the Alpha lay dead,” his green eyes were closed lightly, the shadows from the fire giving his face a sinister look. “Whoever was able to shield me out is now doing so to Ari, the Telepaths can’t find her.”
Kirsten blinked, not at all surprised by what he had heard. The Alpha would be dumb enough to get involved and for a moment, he was honestly touched by the fierceness of the Pack to defend one of its own. That kid, Ari, had done at least one thing right. She had strong alleys now. He thanked Neway, for it was he speaking through Lichen and then watched as Lichen blinked several times and shook his head, clearing it of the Telepath.
“There is some one here to see you,” Lichen said suddenly, his voice still light and airy. “Someone who has given us enough trouble as it is. And she brought a friend this time.” Seeing the looks on Kirsten’s face Lichen hastily continued, his voice darkening, “They lay asleep, both of them.”
“Bring her,” Kirsten sighed, slumping back into the chair as another tremor ran through him, his throat exploding with the feeling of pain.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~
Phantom had tried to lose Sophie and Bran, giving them a lame excuse for leaving. They had agreed, only after she had told them where she intended to go, of course she had lied. She wasn’t going to pop into any of the taverns to look for the girl, but rather she would go Kirsten’s house and begin her search there. The black door had loomed above her and her sharp eyes found the signs of a struggle right beneath her. Scuffs of boots against the stone, several strands of blonde hair caught on the wood of the house, and then blood. She couched down to look at the tiny spot better, swiping the hair out of her eyes as the rain splashed down onto the only dry spot in the city. Her fingers reached out to gently touch it, the dry dot crusting against her fingers. She shook her head sadly; it was the girl’s blood. Phantom doubted that she even knew that she had been injured, or if she did, she would ignore it and keep running until she had found a good place to hide. Her different colored eyes looked back toward the black house.
Phantom thought they would have been a little more conspicuous when hunting but apparently they were not the kill quietly type, no sir. They wanted everyone to know who had struck the blow and Phantom had found herself wondering if that would come around and bite them. She wondered if Kirsten knew the risk he was taking, blowing his trumpets around the way he did instead of sliding around in the dark, out of sight. She looked up to where a curtain moved in the window, the flurry of movement causing her to straighten out her back and she stood, stepping back into the rain as some mental force struck her own. She felt herself falling, her vision fading and then going black.
She woke suddenly, lying on the black stone floor. She slowly picked up her head, studying the white veins that ran through the stone and then her gaze flickered to the wall. It too was black and she realised that the room was incredibly small, a pressing sensation that, she assumed, Kirsten wanted his victims to feel before dealing with them. She shook her head and nearly cried as she found that her wrist was clapped in iron to her ankle and she was unable to move. Her eyes looked to the door, her lips pulling into a snarl as she found not an ordinary door, but one made entirely out of hard wood and the window near the top lined with bars. So it was to be a prison then, she snarled and looked around, her ears catching the curses from another cell, or what she assumed was another cell.

“Hello,” she called, flinching as her voice rebounded throughout the cells and another curse rang out. Phantom shook her head, that, it couldn’t be. “Sophie,” she snarled, “If you followed me here...By the Twins.”

There was no answer, but she assumed that it was Sophie with her, but where Bran was... Phantom hoped for the best, that he was not here but elsewhere, and if she was lucky she had only imagined Sophie’s voice.
Her internal conversation was cut as a door boomed open and there was a harsh word followed by a blow and a yelp. Phantom snarled and tore at her bonds, ignoring the pain. She froze when a man appeared at her door, his face hidden by the shadows and after looking at her for while the door swung open. The figure stepped forward and knelt gently over the irons that held her, with a soft word and a click they opened. Phantom flinched as the man gently took her hand in his own and lifted her arm to better look at her wrist. He shook his hooded head, seeing the black liquid smeared around the skin was her blood. His hand reached up and pulled back his hood, Phantom recoiling once again. His black hair fell across his face; it was shorter than Kirsten’s and a touch lighter in colour. Blue eyes, bright and as cold as the sky in winter, peered at her, the pupils big and inky black. She looked up into the face, the sad set of his jaw just visible under the perpetual thin lipped line that most of the Hunters had etched onto their face. She hissed as his fingers brushed across the torn skin, finally realizing the pain that her wounds caused her. She took a closer look at her wrist, studying it. The healthy skin had been rubbed away, layers upon layers and the skin was tinged red around the open sores that wept for her. Tears of rubies, dark and full of life were crushed and smeared across the skin, her sweat mingling with her blood to form a slippery over layer that stung like fire when it was touched. She took her free hand to brush away at a bit of dirt when boots echoed down the corridor and her jailor quickly returned the hood to its former position. Phantom’s eyes snapped up as the footsteps ceased, her face breaking into a pained smile as she saw that it was Lichen who towered over he and her jailor.
“Lady Phantom,” he said flatly, his eyes never leaving the wall behind her, “Kirsten demands your presence, so if you will follow me.”
Her jailor carefully pulled her to her feet, watching from under the shadow of his hood as she walked forward, keeping her wrist close to her side. There was a scream from further on down the corridor and Lichen seemed to snap out of a trance, looking at Phantom as if she were real and then back to her jailor.
“Damn it Makom,” he snarled, giving the jailor a name, “I told you to keep those two quiet until Kirsten calls upon them too. See to it that it is done,” Lichen turned, grabbing her bloody wrist and keeping his face a mask as he lost his grip from the slick blood. Phantom thought she saw him wince slightly before taking her other hand and leading her forward. When they were well out of earshot and up a flight of stairs he turned, stopping them in the hallway. “Phantom, you were a fool to come here,” he whispered, “and fool for fighting like that.” His fingers trailed over the sores causing her to whimper.
“What do you care,” she spat, still miffed about being treated like a prisoner and turning her back towards Lichen.
“Yes, Lichen, what do you care,” came a mocking voice and both of them turned to see Kirsten leaning against the doorway behind them. His face broke into a smile, giving his face that charming, boyish feature that he still had about him. “Well just don’t stand there, Phantom, we have work to do.”
Phantom looked at Lichen. His face was contorted with shock and she guessed such a look was mirrored on her own. Kirsten must have had something go right, something good happen and whatever it was it had to be dramatic. Her hand reached out to touch the green shirt that covered his torso and after several rapid blinks he again took the lead, pulling Phantom behind him into the room. The fire blazed brightly, casting the room with a warm summery feeling against the rain that pelted the window outside. She took the seat that Kirsten offered, next to him at a long table where several of the Night Hunters also sat, their eyes fixed on her and Lichen as they took their seats to the right and left of Kirsten.
“Phantom here is about to become the best thing that’s ever happened to us boys,” Kirsten called, his eyes shining with some sort of mischief. “Phantom, I would like you to meet Erin, Alecto, Catlin, Juma, Neway, and you already know Lichen....Blast it where is Makom!”
“Sir, he is down stairs subduing several of the prisoners,” Lichen said, looking across the table to Phantom. She smiled softly at him, her lips pulling into a thin smile that he returned, his foot tapping hers under the table.
“I know that, but he should be here. Neway!”
“Already on his way Kirsten,” replied a Hunter who had reddish-brown hair and was heavily muscled, so much so that his shirt was stretched over the skin, giving his a massive, almost menacing look. Neway noticed Phantom studying him, truing his blue-green eyes on her face and smiling politely at her. She blushed and dropped her gaze, settling for studying the dark oak of the table in front of her.
“Good, then we can begin and he should be here shortly…” Kirsten paused as if consumed by some thought, the excitement obvious on his face, “This is my innermost circle Phantom, the people I trust my life to. Many times have they saved my life and not only are they my best fighters, they are my friends. I would be dead without them.” Phantoms head shot up, her eyes locking on to Kirsten as she absorbed the information that he was telling her, why though was going to be a trickier thing to find out. She flinched as his harsh voice cut the soft crack of the fire, breaking the hall back into noise, “Now here’s where I will let you in on a little secret: They are the only enlightened ones I have at my command that are truly enlightened. See, if we find a good fighter with excellent position or quality we fore upon them a memory which gives them this…idea, that they are enlightened. So they become, of course we can only do very small things, and unfortunately one of my best trainers was killed tonight by a frightened cur. He was also in my inner circle, gifted with speed.” There was a crash as the doors opened and her jailor, Makom strode quickly across the room settling into the seat next to Lichen as he was greeted by several bowing heads and whispers and Kirsten, who clapped his hands in delight. He shone like a kid who had been given a gift and she shuddered to think that perhaps she had just delivered herself into his hands, gift wrapped and all.
“Alright,” he called, his voice commanding as the chatter died again, “What you all know…is about the Blood Oath.” Phantom saw several turn pale and some even swallow with fear and she shook her head, looking back at Kirsten with curiosity.
“Blood Oath?” she asked quietly.
“It is the binding ritual to the Hunters,” whispered a dark haired man next to her and she nodded her mind clicking in Eric as his name. His eyes smiled at her and she felt her mind slowly come to a rest, her worry gone. She stared curiously at Erin, knowing that somehow he had done this and was about to ask when Kirsten again took over.
“Phantom is about to become one of us.”
She stood, the chair sliding out behind her and clattering against the floor, her eyes blazing with fury. Kirsten obviously enjoyed her reaction, choosing to remain seated as she towered above him, noting how several others had also stood, their hands resting against the pommels of their swords and daggers.
“I will not,” she cried, eyes narrowing as her hands balled up into fists. Kirsten watched her, humor flicking across his face as he tapped the table twice and the rest of his group sat down quickly. He smiled gently and whispered something into her ear, her face growing pale. She nodded then took her chair up from the floor and taking a seat again. Kirsten smiled. One more piece in place.
“May the games begin.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phantom/Spirit Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Valcrest2012-03-20 01:17:24, as written by nibblesnbits
[Somewhere in Newhaven]

Kirsten had gone about his day as he normally would; seeing to disputes between his team, planning the movement toward the mountains and thinking about his prey. However, there was a new sense of urgency as the Blood Moon was nearing and the men around him were shifty and easily angered. Two of them had been wounded from the quick stab of a knife and a couple others had suffered blows. His inner circle stayed calm but even they snapped at the others and stomped around. Kirsten had to deal with a dispute which ended up with one of his team dead, killed by his own hand. The boy was irritating anyways and refused to follow orders, so Kirsten didn’t feel bad when he buried the tip of his dagger, up to the hilt, into the man’s throat. He watched the life flood out of his eyes and smirked, twisting the dagger before removing it, stepping back as the boy fell to the floor. He left it there for his men to deal with.

The fire in front of him was dead. Nothing existed for him except for the soft glow of the embers, making his black eyes shimmer. He ran his fingers through his hair, a smile crossing his lips before fading. He stood from his chair, smoothing down his white tunic and brushing his hands across his pants. He righted himself, moving quickly through the halls and toward the staircase. The Hunters he crossed moved out of his way, giving him plenty of room to move around them. The order had been given for all of his men to remain in lock down. They were confined to the building, each one mostly staying to their room. However, several others he had sent out to ready the inner circle for the Blood Oath. He turned the corner, nearly running over Eric.

“My Lord,” Eric said bowing at the waist and keeping his hand on the hilt of his sword. He rose again, looking Kirsten dead in the eye, “The Inner circle will be ready to move tomorrow morning, Phantom has been placed into the coma as you ordered, she shall not wake till the Blood Moon. The horses are ready as are the men.”
“Good, we leave at first light,” Kirsten growled, watching he bowed before walking briskly around him. Phantom, the one person he wanted to lay eyes on right now and yet the one who had caused him so much grief, she called for him. Hunted for years and marked because of it, now about to become a Hunter. With her it was a cat and mouse game, he Hunted she hid and now…if all the women were the same, Kirsten would end up being the one to flee. He growled and tore open the door. He took one step into the room his hard leader aspect softening as he laid eyes on the back of her sleeping form. Her silver hair lay stark against his red blankets, her face pale and her lips unmoving as her chest rose and fell silently with her breath. He walked carefully forward, his eyes dark with hunger as his footsteps echoed off the ground. Kirsten sat beside the sleeping woman, his eyes roving over her body. His gloved hand reached for her hair, gently stroking the silver strands. Through them he extended his mind into hers, delving into a memory, seeing it through her eyes.

[Flashback- three years ago: Forest]

“Well, well, well,” said a cool voice. Phantom turned around and stared up at Lichen, his body leaning against the branch of the tree he was in. His bow was in his hand, resting lightly upon his side. His lips were pulled taunt with surprise. “Long time no see,” he growled. Phantom had been running from him for a couple years now though they had met on several occasions in the past. It had been almost a year sense she had last seen him, but he pretty much looked the same: light blonde hair, cobalt eyes, and a dark attitude. She had, surprisingly, fallen effectively into his trap though it appeared as if he wasn’t expecting her too. Her sword curved lightly and shimmered in the small spots of light that were able to make it through the thick canopy of leaves that had once sheltered her so well. Phantom was frightened, but she wasn’t about to show it, not to a lover.

“Same here,” she said letting the blade in her hand rest casually by her side. Her mind raced, counting the men that stood around, though her eyes remained locked onto Lichen’s face. He seemed to be struggling to say something, to find the right words and she had to listen hard to hear what he had to say.

"I begged for your life when I found out He had found you. Can you believe he actually thought about it until you took revenge? And now you’re stuck running from me. I have no memory of the “love” we shared, and if anything, I don’t care.” Phantom couldn’t tell if the He was her real father or Kirsten, the Hunter. However, she could hear the tremble in his voice, the whisper of the lie hidden in his words but none the less they still hurt. “He’s ordered me to bring you back, alive. Barely. They also mentioned that I could have some fun with you, however I please.”
A wicked smile crossed his face, his body not moving from its relaxed position against the trunk of the tree. She took a step back, her eyes narrowing into thin slits and her hand tightening on the hilt of the sword. His eyes softened slightly as his men shifted forward, slowly settling into a crouch.

“I loved you,” he whispered, “How long did I look at you and wish for you. Your hair sent my heart pounding, your smooth curves, tempted me, and your lips sang to my own. Now, all I can see is something human.” He spat the word as if it was dirty, his lips quirking into a snarl, “Human! And now to my sharp eyes you are nothing. Why would I choose you, out of all the women I can have if I just asked? You do not arouse me standing in the shadows like a scared rabbit.”
Angered at this, Phantom turned her back to him, ignoring the rush of blood to her legs, telling her to run. Lichen wouldn’t attack, not without seeing her face first. He just wasn’t the type to stab someone in the back. She heard him laugh, a dark mocking tone. She unbound her hair, letting it fall in bouncing waves over her shoulders. Maybe, this would help him remember.

Phantom turned back to face him but he had gone. The silver strands fluttered around her face, passing in front of her brown eye before she brushed them away. Casually she slid forward into a small patch of light and sheathed her sword with a low click. The guard drew back, whispering among themselves, eyes locked onto her face. Her band of royalty stood stark against her pale skin, her high cheekbones giving her face a feline grace to it. Her eyes roved the branches of the trees, pausing on the back of a shadow, it was Lichen. His back was towards her. Seeing her chance to escape she began to pull away when someone in the guard called out to him. He turned back to face her, his face had changed to that of Kirsten.

“You decided to show what you truly look like,” he huffed, “well I must say, you do have a certain charm about you.”
His eyes glanced toward someone moving behind her and she suddenly wheeled sideways and pressed a daggers blade to the throat of an approaching guard. He backed away, his eyes angry. Her body told her to move then and she obliged, arching her back quickly, and letting her hands touch the earth. Her legs followed a short while later and she avoided the two arrows that Kirsten had fired.

“You still got your moves Phantom,” he whistled.

“Come down here I can remind you what I looked like better,” she taunted. In a flash Kristen stood in front of her, his hands resting on her hips. Her hand rose to gently brush his black hair away from his face and she stroked his pale face, letting her hand rest on his cheek. He leaned into that hand as if remembering, his black eyes closing with the contact. Phantom smiled gently, reaching to wrap her arms around his neck. She pulled her body to his. His arms returned the embrace, but only for a moment. Kirsten pulled away, a smile playing on his lips.

“Love,” he crooned, “I think it would be best if I left to my tree, see that wound in your shoulder, its bleeding quite a bit,” he was in his tree before she could blink, “How long I awaited you. How much I still do,” he whispered.
“And here you are, alone, with me, and my arrow in your shoulder,” he laughed darkly, shifting forward into a crouch, “Come to me, it won’t hurt, you’ll be enveloped by me, you will love me and I will please you.”

Phantom was temped by the offer, death and love were said to go often hand in hand. However she wasn’t quite ready to walk into Death’s warm embrace.
“I will never, ever come to you,” she spat through her teeth, the wound in her shoulder slightly bothering her, “not while there is breath in me.”

His eyes flashed and he swung down from his tree.

“You have ten seconds to change your mind.”

Phantom remained silent, her lips sealed as the time vanished.

“That’s too bad,” he frowned, “and to think of what we could have been.” He shook his head in shame, nodding to the battalion. They charged. Sword clashed with sword and sometimes met skin. Several bodies surrounded hers, all Hunters who were dead. There were several cuts and gashes that covered her skin, but she didn’t stop. Stopping meant death. She twirled, using her dagger to slit the throat of her enemy and she stabbed them through their stomachs. Her hair whipped around her face, her lips parted as she took in a sharp breath. An arrow buried its head into a nearby tree, carrying with it a bit of her blood. She balked, pausing her stroke to stare at Kirsten. His eyes were slits and his lips a frown. There was a shout from behind her and she turned just barely blocking a fatal blow to her delicate back. Another Hunter fell, his blood shimmering on the blade, dripping black to the ground. Her shoulders and face were spattered with their gore, her chest heaving as they still moved forward. Madness in the form of laughter bubbled up and danced on her lips. She turned once again to face the Kirsten shadow, just in time to see him knock another arrow to his bow. He released it and it collided sharply with her side. Phantom’s lips parted in a silent scream, her body spinning as she fell to her knees. One she could handle, but two arrows along with the pain every breath she took, was just too much. The surviving Hunters froze, their eyes locked onto the wounded. Kirsten slowly approached. He stood over her and with a smile, kicked the sword away from her hand.

“Bind her, tightly,” he snarled. Her arms were roughly yanked back. Her lips parting with a gasp at the grinding pain the arrows caused. Kirsten turned back and began to walk toward her. He bent down, kneeling in front of her and extending his hand to her face. His hand lightly cupped her chin and pulled her face up. Blue and brown stared into black, eyes met his, pleading. Kirsten’s eyes changed blue, his hair back to the silver blonde it had begun in the dream. Kirsten had been replaced by Lichen once again, his hand gently stroking her cheek. His lips opened as if he was about to speak, but instead his eyes hardened. He stood to his feet and turned away.

“Let’s move,” he shouted.

[Reality: out of Dreamscape]

He sighed lightly, brushing the dark hair out of his eyes. He knew how this dream ended, he had seen it from Lichen as well. Phantom would escape and somehow survive the wounds she suffered, probably from some dammed Wolves. What surprised him though was that Lichen’s face had been replaced by his halfway through it. He smiled softly, standing up to walk around behind her, to the bed that was still unclaimed by her body.

Phantom, the girl who was to be a Hunter caused him pain. She would be the fourth girl he would try and bind to him and each one before her had caused dire consequences. He hoped that her unique ability would help her survive this; he really didn’t want another dead girl on his hands. He stared at her back, looking toward the ceiling and muttering a prayer to the Twins. He spared Phantom one last glance before exiting the room, closing the door behind him with a bang.


Phantom had escaped the hands of the Hunters again, the wounds in her skin causing her minimal discomfort as she ran along. She knew they would wake soon enough to see her missing and she didn’t want to be around in the aria for that. She drew forth a small read, hollowed out by her careful knife to create a whistle into which she blew. The shrill cry of a hawk cam froth from the piece and a moment later it was echoed. Phantom looked up into the tree, seeing a brown specked hawk looking at her. She drew her dagger, having heard of Kirsten’s hawk and threw it forward. The blade sang through the air and a moment later was caught between the jaws of a large black panther. She nearly screamed, staring at the bird-cat that stood in front of her. The creature was as tall as a horse and it made its way down through the branches of the tree, still clutching the small dagger in its mouth. When it was not that far from her, it began to change, fur became flesh and paws became hands until a small girl stood where the panther had.
“Oh I’m terribly sorry miss,” she said bowing and handing over the dagger gracefully before slinking behind the tree and coming back out clothed. “I should have chosen something less dangerous, a kitten perhaps.” Phantom looked at the little girl, her fierce green eyes blinking from under long eyelashes. She slowly sheathed the dagger, her heart thudding in her chest. The girl flashed her smile, and Phantom suddenly felt as if she needed to protect the sweet little thing that had, only moments before, terrified her top the core. The girl held out a small delicate hand, her eyes bursting with a flood of color as her smile widened. “My name is Ari.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phantom/Spirit Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Setting: Valcrest2012-07-30 07:03:34, as written by nibblesnbits
Kirsten watched the village burn. Red orange and yellow flames licked their way up wooden and straw houses, the fire snapping and growling like a beast as it consumed everything in its path. Black smoke rose high above the clouds as a beacon for those who dared near the sight. Of course, no one dared to try and stop the flames as they rose higher and ate more. People had long since fled into the soft comfort of the forest which, Kirsten thought with a smirk, would soon burn too. This wasn’t his first burning; he had already burned two other villages, trying to bring the Wolf Girl, Ari, out. The forest would be his next target if he had heard nothing. His black eyes watched the fire, reflecting and mirroring the blaze as his soul took fire as well, burning internally.
Phantom silently rode up behind the Hunter, her horse’ feet gliding over the grass like a shadow. The horse was speckled, much like Kirsten’s as she slowly dismounted and her black cloak swung around her shoulders. Her different colored eyes were striking, her silver hair hung lose around her face as she turned her head toward the heat of the flames. The Hunter’s body was turned away from her, his hawk nowhere in sight as his silhouette stood black against the wall of flame, his black hair occasionally swaying from the wall of heat that blasted against her horse and caused him to take a couple of jittery steps backwards.
“Phantom, come stand beside me,” he whispered, not turning as she took a couple steps forward until they stood side by side.
“Kirsten,” she said dipping her head into a bow, her hair falling like a curtain over her face, breaking past the barrier of the hood and face cover. She moved stiffly, the black leather pants and black shirt caused her some discomfort and it would take some getting used to before she was able to move as fluidly as Lychen and some of the other Hunters. “It’s been done.”
“Any sign of her?”
He sighed and turned his head towards her, grinning as his eyes flashed blood red.
“Well, then I think it’s time we headed into the forest,” his lips pulled into a thin line as Phantom nodded her head and moved back to the horses that had started to graze. Her body still burned from the Blood Moon, the fire that was likewise eating the village was eating her inside and out. She shivered and stuck her boot into the stirrup and swung her leg up and over the horse before kicking the animal into a canter down the hill toward the rest of the men who were still terrorizing the villagers that hadn’t been so lucky as to escape.
Kirsten watched her go, his eyes melting back into that familiar red as the fire seemed to bolster his power and his cloak flapped irritably against his back as another wave of heat struck him. Things seemed to be going his way. The fires burned hot and quick, devouring everything in a belch of black smoke that he could replicate and make bigger. Not lying about the size of the blaze, the stretching of truth he thought with a small smile. The girl would have to move fast to stop him, that or the Wolves themselves would have to move against him and that sent a spike of pleasure down his spine. Killing was something he could do, and well. Almost like a small hawk, no one saw him until it was too late. He whistled sharply and the small black dot that hovered over the flames tilted, heading his direction. Kirsten stood, watching as Kie glided down to perch on his outstretched arm.
“Hey you,” he whispered, tapping the small bird on the bottom of his beak, “Warming your wings?”
The hawk gave a loving coo as he nuzzled his head onto Kirsten’s chest, flapping his wings as if to answer. Kirsten smiled and gently bounced his arm, watching as the head bobbed up and down like a nod. Kie was a special bird, found by Kirsten in the woods after being kicked out of the nest by his younger siblings. Now, what had then been a scrawny and hideous fledgling had grown into a huge beautiful fighter. Normally Kie’s rich feathers would be deep brown and speckled with small white flecks, however now his wingtips were streaked black from the smoke and his body was spotted with soot. It was a fitting color for such a magnificent animal. Kirsten double tapped the bird and with a massive jerk of his arm, sent Kie shooting up in the air as the cloud slowly began to disperse, giving Kirsten a clear view as the bird circled once overhead before diving into the forest. It was time.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ari Lupir Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare Character Portrait: Stephan Kalir
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Setting: Newhaven2013-01-02 20:40:17, as written by nibblesnbits
Kirsten paced. His black boots shone against the light, the window’s shades tossed open to let the sun in as it caught the red color of his cape and the shimmer of his black eyes. His lips were pulled tight together, his brows knitted in concentration.

“How?! How does an entire army go missing just like that,” he snapped his fingers, his voice a low growl as he looked to the map above the mantle. Its old grey lines marked the boundaries of Newhaven and Blackpond, added in colorful paints were the healers and the boundaries of the Crimson and the edges of the Wolfpack territory. Basically anything that involved trees. His black eyes bored into the paper, his stare so hot it was amazing that the paper didn’t combust into a ball of flames. The door opened and Erin stepped into the room; dressed head to toe in black, his gloves groaned as he pulled down his face mask, taking in a small breath.


“What?” he snapped; not taking his eyes from the map.

“It’s time.”

“I’ll be there in a moment.”

The door closed with a soft click and once again Kirsten was left to his thoughts as he slowly peeled his eyes off of the map. He pulled his gloves on gently, leaving his red cape leaning on the back of his chair. His sword he fastened to his side, the silver buckle flashing as it caught the light and quietly he turned. His dark brown hair he shook loose from its knot as he made his way like a ghost across the floor and out the door. The Night Hunters he passed in the hall stopped to salute, and from nowhere Alecto stepped out of a door, falling in step behind him, eyes locked forward.


“Alecto,” he nodded, keeping his pace the same as he moved forward.

“Important news.”

“Save it for the meeting.”

“Kirsten!” Catlin called, running after them only to fall to the left side of Kirsten as they moved into a room.


“I have some bad news.”

“No news is good news, Catlin. What is about?”

“It’s about someone you care about...”

“Save it for the meeting. Is everyone there?”

“Almost sir,” Erin said, appearing off to the left. Kirsten nodded and headed to the large double doors that would open into a long room. His hands closed around the handles pulling the doors open, the wood creaking open with a light groan. Already his inner circle was sitting around the oval table, with the few exceptions of those around him. The fire was crackling at the head of the table. It cast shadows on the faces of his men, all the black curtains closed as the men around the table fell quiet. Erin, Alecto, and Catlin made their way to their seats. Quietly Kirsten searched the eyes of those around him, a small smirk on his face as they averted their eyes. They were afraid…that was good.

“Seems as though those wolves have presented a challenge,” he mumbled, pulling off his gloves and sitting down in his dark chair. “News Catlin.”

“Kie is dead.”

Kirsten looked up from the table, his eyes narrowing as they pinned the sandy haired boy to his seat. His lips pulled into a snarl as his fingers dug into the table, his breath catching.

“What did you say?” he snarled. This was not what he was expecting and almost as his anger rose and his eyes started to glow he was suddenly washed over with a sense of compassion, understanding, and even grief. “Damn it Erin.”

His second said nothing but kept his eyes forward, a small smirk playing on his lips as Catlin stammered.

“Kie was shot down at the beginning of the attack, I’m sorry.”

“So be it,” Kirsten whispered, and then there was nothing but the crack of the fire as Kirsten nodded.

“Kirsten,” Alecto whispered as Kirsten watched as the youngest of them all slowly folded his hands in front of him, resting his elbows on the table as he let the science drag out for a moment. “As you all know we sent in a group of three behind the main attack to gather intelligence from the fight, if there was one. There was.”

“Get to the point Alecto. What did we learn?”

“Only one made it out.”

“Who?” Erin asked calmly.


With that two more Hunters burst into the room, the doors swinging as wide as they could, crashing against a cot that the two men were carrying. On the mat was a body, cut up and sliced up, blood dripping from bandages. There were audible gasps from around the table, followed by mutterings. Slowly Kirsten stood as Lichen was set down next to his empty chair, lifted into his seat and eased down as he groaned. This wasn’t too big of a shock to Kirsten, he had known that the man was in poor shape and had suffered and any information Lichen could bring now would be already known. Kirsten could tell that most of his men had not made it, but which ones was a better question. The entire connection given by the blood moon had disappeared from him to them, or became static. This is where Lichen’s information would be most helpful.

“Kirsten,” the bloody man spoke, his voice surprisingly strong, “They ambushed us. Like monsters, like wolves they chased us into clearings. There were hundreds of them. Some you couldn’t kill, your arrow passed through like a knife through butter and they’d pass right through. We couldn’t tell real from fake and then Phantom….”

“Phantom? What of her?”

“She got split off. I didn’t see her body as I ran,” again he paused, seeing the look on Kirsten’s face. Running was punishable by death.

“Go on,” Kirsten mused quietly.

“There was a wolf with them. A white wolf.”

“It was a fake.”

“It killed men. It bled, it was no apparition.”

“It wasn’t Ari!” Kirsten whirled, snapping his teeth at Erin whose ability was already slowly working its way over his body. “My spies tell me she’s in Newhaven castle.”

“Spies can be wrong, Kirsten,” Erin whispered.

“Even Chalen? He showed me her face,” Kirsten growled, “besides; Ari always takes form as a black wolf, not white.”

“So there is another then,” Juma nodded. In front of him was a dagger, floating almost at eye level as time slowed for the object, allowing him to gently change its trajectory before letting his enlightenment slip. The knife slammed into the statue in the middle of the table. It was of two wolves; one was black the other white and they were fighting. The knife stuck dangerously out of the black wolf. No one moved forward to pull its blade from the figure; instead they all thought quietly, eyes locked onto the wolves. Kirsten slowly sat down, folding his fingers in a peak in front of him.

“So, now what do we do?” he asked gently.

“Hunt down this lie and kill it,” the door boomed open and a finely figure slowly entered. Kirsten stood, his eyes narrowing.

“Who is this?! How did he get through?” Kirsten growled, readying his enlightenment as he readied himself for an attack.

“Easy Kirsten, he’s with me.”


The table turned, their eyes widening as they looked upon a familiar face. Shesh’s white blonde hair was ruffled and knotted, his black uniform covered in dirt and his bright blue eyes tiered. He moved to take his seat, several of the Hunters making room for the newcomer. Kirsten looked toward the man in the hood wonderingly. He had seen him somewhere, but he didn’t know exactly. He licked his lips, eyes faintly glowing as he longed to slip into this newcomers mind. What he hadn’t noticed quite yet was the shadow that slunk along behind the man, the twitch of whiskers and the brilliant white fur coat. In fact not a single one paid much attention to the snow leopard walking among them; their eyes were fixed on Sesh and his companion.

“Who are you?” Kirsten growled, watching as the hooded man sat down.

“Stephan, Stephan Kalir.”

Stephan smiled softly, reaching up to pull back his hood from his face. There were small mutterings as people took in his appearance. It was strange to be in the company of so many. At first, even the boy Sesh had seemed like too much ever since he had come across the shadow. The encounter had changed him, and not all for the best. His ivory shirt hung loose around his chest, the strings dangling to his navel and the top V open to the sharp lines of his chest. His pants had remained in good condition; the boots shone under the table, the black leather reflecting the fires flicker. His cloak was something he had left behind, the brown fur stitched down with the gold embroidery from his homeland; the tooth peeking out from behind the V on his neck. He smiled softly, his slick black hair ruffling around his eyes, the tiny steak of silver in his hair drawing the attention of everyone there.

“By the Twins,” someone muttered.

“Stephan,” Kirsten barked, drawing his attention back towards the front of the room, “What do you suggest we do then?”

“I told you. Kill that other. Even if it is Ari, you’ll get your prey.”

“And why give her up so willingly now?”

“Revenge,” he smiled, wickedly and for a moment even Kirsten shuddered.

“And if it isn’t her? If this white wolf is, say, someone else, what then?”

“Then you prevent the two from meeting. Ari doesn’t know how to handle her enlightenment to the point where she can hold a form for more than a few hours at a time. And there is no way she knows how to switch after being in one form for so long. If this is another of her kin, then she can learn. And we don’t want an Enlightened wolf at your doorstep or even among the Pack, do we?” The firelight caught his eyes and for a flicker of a moment they shone, a dark green ringed with red and black.

“No we do not,” Kirsten mused, hung up on the way the boy looked as if he was being consumed by an inner flame. His eyes flickered toward Sesh’s, watching as the white-haired boy spared him a glance and a small nod. They would talk later. Slowly Kirsten placed his daggers on the table, leaning forward in his chair ever so slightly, eyes bright.

“Tell me more.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Most people would have left alone an injured cat limping along a back alley in Newhaven, except for a few boys that Ari happened to run into on her way toward the inn. They took turns trying to hit her with stones and after awhile, fled like dogs with tails turned between their legs. She expected that the story of the cat-bear was going to be in all inns by the end of the night. She continued onward to the inn, fleeing to the shadows as her naked body made its way. Her bow and clothes were hidden away in the woods somewhere and she hadn’t the energy to go looking for them after her romp through the woods. Her shoulder ached where an arrow had struck her pelt, dammed hunters were everywhere this time of year and if it moved, they shot. She had managed to break the arrow shaft off of her back, but not the arrow and she couldn’t reach the dammed spot.

The back door swung open into the Inn that the Wolves had control of and it didn’t take long before a Wolf came around the back to check it out. Ari waved sheepishly and the Wolf shook his head before taking off his cloak to hand it to her.

“Mel, I had no idea you were out here,” she said quietly as she hid her body from view.

“And I knew you were going to be trouble,” he chuckled, leading her around the bar toward the stairs that would lead to the rooms. Mel had been one of her friends at her initiation into the Wolf Pack; he had been the one to finally get her into the water. He paused to have a word with Sheila before taking her hand and pulling her up the stairs.

“What did you do now? And how in the hell did you get out here?”

“Sean sent me to do some searching for gossip around town, kids talk. And it’s hunting season.”

Mel laughed, his laughter booming out from a narrow chest as he carefully sat her down in a room already alight with the blaze of a fire. His fingers carefully pulled his cape from her body, his fingers working against the wound that wouldn’t heal. Her eyes swam as his little finger dipped through the slit that the arrow had made, his lips letting out a low whistle.

“I thought you said you could heal instantly?”

“I can,” she gasped as he left her to stride across the room for the pitcher of water and supplies that were hidden under the floor boards, “But not when there’s something still in the wound when I shift.”

“Wait. You’re telling me you were in a different form when you got this?”

“Three actually. I was a wolf when I got this, then I went cat and then,” she stopped as his blue eyes locked onto hers, disapproving in every manner.

“You need to be more careful Ari,” he said disapprovingly and for a moment his eyes flashed cobalt blue. Ari opened her mouth to say something, but his knife was carefully cutting away a bit more skin so that he could pull the arrow from her flesh and all that came from her was a small protest.

“Quit complaining. This needs to get out, and now,” he murmured, continuously working as he hummed along. Ari couldn’t help grimacing as he worked; humming along as if it was all he’d want to do was pull the tip of the arrow from her shoulder. She sighed as he dropped it into her open palm, her eyes widening as she examined the dammed thing, her flesh caught in barbs. Her lips tightened over her teeth as he dangled string over her, eyes hinting to a bone needle. She stepped back, blood running down her skin as he raised an eyebrow.

“No stitches?”


“Okay then,” he hummed; cleaning up the materials as he cautiously watched her body shift. The flesh seemed to ooze over her body slowly, fur sprouting from her as her jaw cracked and elongated out into a muzzle, her nose growing out as her eyes closed tightly in her skull. Bones snapped and he turned to watch fully with some awe as she whined through teeth that seemed to burst forth from her human ones, splintering and changing as he watched her muscles flow like water to adjust to their new form, and finally, her tail folded between her legs. She lay quivering on the ground, eyes closed as with each breath she whined.

“Stitches would have been less painful,” he said to her as he knelt by her side, running his fingers through her coat to her shoulder where she would have taken the arrow. He only left when he was sure there was nothing left of her injury; the flowing of her flesh must have healed it, he mused as he took his cloak from where it had pooled to the floor.

“There are clothes next to the fireplace behind that rock and I will arm you with a bow for your journeys back to Sean,” he called, closing the door behind him. Watching her go from human to dog was bad enough, he had a strange feeling that changing back would be even worse.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mageria Talsheir Character Portrait: Ella Page Character Portrait: Sean Fletcher Character Portrait: Ess Character Portrait: Ari Lupir Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare
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Balls were not all they had been made out to be. There were loud eruptions and the occasional Oooh and Ahh over someone who entered with a name or rank, the low growl of people’s private conversations and of course the music and dancing. The room was a whirl of colorful dresses and men leading ladies across the floor to the beat of the music, and everyone seemed to be getting along perfectly well. Sweet, comforting, and yet boring as hell. Why Ella would even want to come to one of these was beyond her reasoning. Orders were orders and Ari had followed in secret for the time being to keep an eye on her. Ari stifled another yawn as she rose from her place on the wall, her ball gown swaying over legs as she made her way across the hall. It, like the one she had worn for her induction into the Pack, was also white. The dress was constricting to her hips before flaring out across a floral pattern that split the dress into two parts. The gap was pushed out by white chiffon, the edges of the silk cloth embroidered with silver threads that swirled out. White flowers wound into her hair and draped off her shoulder and a small silver circlet dipped between her brows in a twisted leaf pattern. Unlike most, Ari had also chosen small touch of paint to circle her eyes in a silver mask that was painted on and left her golden hair free to dip back along her waist. This wasn’t exactly her idea of a gown but if Sean had left it for her to wear, then she would. She figured that he would have perhaps the greatest expertise in these situations after all. The Wolf she had gotten it from was pretty adamant that she wear it too.

Absently she rubbed the palms of her hands, little pieces of earth still stuck to them. Ari had no clue that Ella was actually going to the ball and her little run had placed Ella out of eye sight and out of earshot. Ari did the only thing she could think of. It was back into the white wolf, running along the shadows and earth to get to Blackpond as fast as she could. Of course she had forgotten the gown so it was a miracle that one of the Wolves had been waiting outside of the palace gates to greet her with one. Surprisingly the guards had no questions when he escorted her inside, only to vanish once she was safely inside the ball room. Her hands and feet still ached from the mad sprint against time and somehow she was managing to catch her breath underneath the sweltering heat of the dress, and it didn’t help that she was trying to move freely about. The dress was big.

Her green eyes sparkled as she passed by and through the general chatter that came with the whole dancing thing, catching bits and pieces of it. Most of it was general and proper greetings, however, she occasionally stumbled upon the hushed, yet heated conversations of people who would have preferred to have nothing to do with other. These were the conversations that caught her ears, and sometimes even drew her eyes. Her body stopped, the graceful movement of her procession stopped as she caught sight of a women she knew. Dressed from head to toe in black, Ari was damn sure that it had been the woman who was there for the archery competition, who had set up. Ari licked her lips nervously, unable to pull her eyes from the women as she struggled to put a name to the face.

“Staring is rude,” a voice whispered behind her as a hand gently touched her elbow. Ari drew her gaze away to the face she had hoped to never see again. Kirsten smiled down at her gently; his black coat and pants gave his eyes a special glint as he took a small step back.

“Well, I will give you this, you do dress up nice,” he smirked as his eyes roamed up and down the length of the dress.

“Kirsten? What are you doing here?” she hissed quietly, trying to take a step back as well. He was having none of it and he pulled her forward to him as he took her arm forcefully and led her across the hall.

“I’ll explain later,” he growled, pulling her with him.

“I’ll scream.”

“Lower your voice Ari, people are staring.”

It wasn’t until then that she realized that his words rung true and she quietly let him lead her across the floor. Ari bit her lip nervously, her green eyes tingeing gold as Kirsten came to a stop and gently turned towards her.

“Do you trust me?”

“Trust you?!” Ari wanted to laugh, but all that came was a strangled squeak.

“Tonight I am neither your enemy nor a Hunter,” Kirsten soothed quietly, genuine concern flickering over his handsome features, his brow furrowing. Ari realized that he had taken her question as a sign of fear but before she could protest he again took her hand, his eyes burning red as a wall rose between them and the crowd. A moment later the wall was gone as well as the odd couple that had stood there only moments before. Only a few guests saw it fizzle, most of them coming to the conclusion that they really had had too much to drink that night and politely placed their glasses down.

Kirsten felt Ari shiver behind him the moment they vanished behind the tapestry. He couldn’t tell if it was because she hadn’t realized what was going on yet or if it was because he had dipped into her childhood memories to make the wall appear. It left most victims shaken; after all, he had to flip through her memories to locate the fear. It was an invasion, and according to Eric it was like having a dark presence make you watch the memories you hated most while flipping through them like cards. To him however, memories ran like a silver thread through his fingers; fragile when put through too much but strong and smooth though a gentle touch. He smiled as he couldn’t help but compare himself to a seamstress. Thread was easy to work with if you knew how, as were the memories and fears of people.

“Kirsten,” Ari whispered behind him in the dark.

“Hush, were almost there.”

He wasn’t lying, for a few moments later his hands closed onto a door knob and gave it a small twist. A door creaked open and he quickly pulled her inside. The Night Hunters rose, Eric being the first to move forward to pull the girl to her feet. Ari carefully stood, brushing down the wrinkles in the dress as she looked from Kirsten to Eric and then even to Lichen.

“Took you long enough,” Eric grinned, looking towards Kirsten with amusement as Kirsten laughed.

“She was so pretty I didn’t know what I was looking for. It was only the wolf in her threads that gave her away, that and the description of the dress” he motioned to the silver threads on the dress and he watched as she blushed, “Anyways, I do believe, however, that it’s time for you to change.”


“The person who got you all this was not a Wolf, in fact Sean has no idea that you are here. It was one of the younger recruit’s ideas.”

Kirsten smiled softly as she shook her head gently, nodding toward Lichen who carefully laid a different dress on the table. Ari was resisting, he could see a bead of sweat on Eric’s forehead as he tried to work with the suspicion they placed there. It was very true that Sean did have no idea she was here, but the dress was from a Wolf. Finally she blinked and nodded. Her hands scooped up the dress and ran off to change out of it, leaving them alone as Kirsten grinned. It was no longer the smile of a concerned man, but the triumphant grin of a wolf who knows he’s got the rabbit trapped at the end of a ravine.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When next Ari found herself immersed in the swirl of colors she was hanging onto the arm of Eric. They were caught in the middle of the dance, her face washed fresh and her eyes bright with laughter as he spun her. The new dress moved like water across her skin and the corset let her breathe with ease. The white material fell loosely around her hips and flared as she spun, the golden accents of the string lacing across her chest drawing the gaze of a few people. Her golden hair was spiraled and braided atop her head, her slender neck and collarbone shimmering slightly as Eric pulled her from the dance floor, his own eyes bright as he bowed.

“That was truly magnificent,” he smiled, taking her hand into his before bending to press his lips to the back of it. Her cheeks were hot from dancing and her breath was short as he thanked her again and moved off. Ari smiled and moved to press her back against the coolness of the wall, her fingers moving to touch her heart. She became a wall flower again; content to watch the dancers as she caught a glimpse of Sean out on the floor dancing, Ella talking to the women she still couldn’t name, and she could have sworn that for a moment she had seen Essence out there too. Ari smiled and shook her head gently, obviously she needed air. Carefully pushing herself away from the wall, she began walking toward one of the many windows, turning her back on the whirl of color and organized confusion.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phantom/Spirit Character Portrait: Kirsten Somare Character Portrait: Stephan Kalir
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Setting: Valcrest2014-09-10 00:01:26, as written by nibblesnbits
“Tell me a story.”

With a scratch and a hiss, a flicker of a flame sprung to life, illuminating the curve of a soft jaw, stubble casting shadows across the curve of a pair of lips. A smirk turned into a smile, a deep shadow cast over the face the light flickered on before fading out, casting the world back into oblivion. But only for a moment. Stephan watched as the match flew through the air, only to land in the fireplace. His steely eyes stared as the straw and dried grasses caught, curling and withering into themselves as red embers ate away at their energy, releasing it as light. But such little fuel wouldn’t sate the sickening hunger of fire and it quickly grew as it began to tear into the logs with snarls and growls. Darkness fled, terrified by the ferocity of the flames, and with it ran cold. Stephan carefully tugged up at his hood’s end, his eyes moving from the fire to the face of his victim. It was one of Sean’s petty She-Wolves and she blinked against the sudden light that filtered through the room.

Let her see, Stephan thought quietly to himself, looking around the furnished room with an almost bored expression on his face. It was no dungeon, hell, it wasn’t even a prison. It was Kirsten’s living room. Everything was red and gold; the carpet on the ground, the curtains drawn over the windows outside were satin red, much like a ladies dress as it flowed gently to the ground. He hated it. The only thing that really brought a splash of color was the pelt of a white wolf draped over the back of the couch his feet were resting on. His eyes scanned the heads on the wall. Bear, Wolf, even the full body of Kie was screaming downwards, talons outstretched and silver wings casting off a light glow. On the shelf below the bird was the statue of the black and white wolf fighting, the white one so cowardly looking, Stephan half expected the damn thing to come to life and hurl itself into the fire.

“Where am I?”

Slowly Stephan pulled his eyes from the fire, pulling his boots off of the couch and to the floor, moving slowly and deliberately to stand just above the Wolf. She’d had her fill of the room, and he let his own presence sink in as, for a brief moment, she struggled and fought against her bonds. It was really of no use and he tried to hold back a smirk as her struggle caused her wounds to reopen. Blood dripped and spread across her shirt, and pants, flowing over the blood that had crusted over the table and now threatened to drip onto Kirsten’s floor. With a sigh he placed his hand on the center of her forehead, watching as her struggles suddenly ceased, her eyes going blank.

“You’re safe for now,” he purred, pulling a chair closer to her face as he put a foot up onto it. “You only have to do one thing. Tell me a story.”

As he spoke he ran though her mind, nudging softly at memories as her time as a Wolf. Even as he did so he bumped into a different consciousness, his eyes narrowing until it identified itself as Sesh. He wasn’t a telepath, but Coercion certainly had its perks. He rummaged around in her head, looking though her memories and thoughts, pulling forward a memory of something silver, a dancing face, and strange whispers in the night. Suddenly her eyes opened wide, round orbs growing to the size of the moon before her lips began to move.

“Get out of my head, bastard!”

Stephan retreated with a small hiss, his eyes narrowing as the sudden flurry of thoughts in her head had him feeling nauseous. She’d been playing this game all week. His hand rose up and her jaw clenched, waiting for him to strike when his hand stopped.

“Is this how we treat our guests?”

A shadowed figure moved forth from the shadows, pink lips pulled back to reveal teeth bared in a familiar smile. Black eyes were slightly obstructed from the unconcealed windswept hair beneath the blood red hood. Even so his eyes still held a sense of cunning and wit as for a moment they burned red. Stephan lowered his hand, the metal claws coming from between his fingers curling and rolling to prick his palm as he stepped away. Kirsten nodded encouragingly and then tossed a meaningful glance towards the door. Stephan frowned, wanting to protest. However, he was bound by the blood moon to obey and that’s just what he did.

Kirsten took a seat in the chair, his arms gently resting along the top of the back rest as he placed his chin on the back of his folded hands.

“You poor thing. Stephan can be a bit harsh,” his hand moved to gently touch her bloodied cheek. There was no doubt she would scar from this; Stephan was a bit too fond of his claws. Scabs had formed over the three parallel slashes and as he pulled his hand away, some of the dried blood stuck to his fingers. Carefully he brushed it off as he sighed. “You know what we want, I’m very sure that you have a general idea. Won’t you tell us?”

“You’re all monsters!” she whispered with a small shudder, the clenching of her jaw causing the scabs to crack slightly.

“Monsters?! My dear little Wolf, we are only trying to find my friend. Won’t you help me find her?”

“Your friend?”

“Her name is Phantom and she has the most beautiful hair, like starlight. Surely you’ve seen her around camp.”

“No, but I’ve heard of her,” she paused, thinking for a moment before shaking her head, “I don’t think anybody has seen her except Sean and a few others.”

“So, she’s being locked away then?” Kirsten frowned, thinking about the torture she was probably facing. If he could feel her connection thought the pack boundaries then maybe he could soothe her pain, lessen it with his presence, if only slightly. His eyes flickered back toward the girl, her eyes riveted away from him toward the door. Stephan stood in the entryway, his eyes blank and empty as he carefully brought in a bucket sloshing with cool water.
“He won’t hurt you anymore. A beautiful thing like you shouldn’t have to face such treatment. Let him help you,” Kirsten nodded, watching carefully as Stephan placed the bucket on the side of the table, coming towards her flesh with a damp cloth. At first she flinched as Stephan did his best not to rip open any scabs as he tried to clear away the spatters of blood that offended Kirsten so, but slowly her body relaxed and Kirsten smiled, “See, not so bad is he?”

“I guess not,” she bit her lip, the thought also crossing her mind that Phantom, this mystery girl, was perhaps being tortured. She hadn’t been in camp since the girl had first been brought in, but she wasn’t one to put pain past Sean. “She’s a friend you claim.”

Kirsten nodded.

“And if I help you you’ll let me go?”

Again he nodded.

Quietly she let out a sigh, blowing back a strand of black hair that had fallen over her forehead, “I’ll help you. I’ll even escort you to where she’s most likely being held.”

“You would do that? For me?” Kirsten sounded aghast, his eyes blinking, threatening to smile, “Thank you! So very much!” he did his best to look over-joyed, something that he rarely was. Tears glimmered in the corner of his eyes and Stephan paused in his work. Kirsten’s eyes flashed, warning him to look away and he did, continuing to cleanse her skin.

“Please, tell me more about my dear friend Phantom.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cold, the freezing air caressing blue skin, shaking so violently it was no wonder that her body didn’t rip apart from her muscles contracting. Her torn clothes were loose around her boney frame, her teeth chattering as her stands of hair hung limp across her cheek. Phantom lay inside the cave, her eyes closed, violently shaking. She’d escaped, she’d survived, she’d fled. And now, she was dying. Not like it mattered; not anymore.

Her breath rose in a thick swirl above her head, body trembling. Curse Kirsten. What had he done to her? She flinched, her breath catching right before her lung released the oxygen with an explosion of air. With it came blood, and lots of it. Like a fountain it sprayed from her lips, projected further by the air and spit behind it. Like a painting it coated the wall, raindrops on the ground, spattering randomly across the snow. Phantom stared at it. How curious, she thought as her fingers tried to reach the nearest spatter of her own blood, that such a thing could bring such warm color to an inhospitable world. The sight of her own blood gave her comfort rather than fear. She blinked, frosted eyelashes closing quickly once as the spots of her own blood remained in her vision, and when she opened her eyes, everything she had was now gone. The snow, the cold, the blood dripping from her mouth and oozing from the various pores of her body like black tar—all of it had vanished. She sat up and gasped.


“Phantom, come here child.”

She stood, her little silver braids on either side of her head bouncing as she ran towards her mother. She fell into the arms of the woman, her eyes closed as arms wrapped around her body and pulled her close against her bosom. Her mother smelled of flax and lavender, her soft brown hair running all the way down to her lower back. Her eyes, bright blue shimmered with happiness as she stroked Phantom’s silver hair. She was wearing a grey dress and a white apron, her brown hair pulled back into its typical braid as her lined face smiled.

“What have you been up to, trouble maker?”

“Mamma! I’ve just been playing!”

“Oh? With who?”

“Jeremy and Sasha,” Phantom declared proudly, “I beat them at tree climbing!”

“You did? Well aren’t you a little squirrel,” she smiled again, looking up as, for a moment, Phantom’s father stopped raking the earth and came to stand beside them.

“Squirrel, eh?”

“Yes Papa!”

“Do you know what we hawks do with squirrels?” he waited till she had shook her head before turning his hands into talons, “We eat them!”

He lunged forward, grabbing hold of her as she squealed. Mother laughed too, watching as Father swung her around, pulling up Phantom’s shirt and blowing his breath across her belly as she screamed. Mother was upright, laughing as her dirty hands pressed against her hips, her body bouncing with the force of laughter. Finally Papa stopped trying to eat her and instead let her fly, running around the field with her body ridged in his arms and her arms out to the side.

“Easy now Eler, Phantom! Don’t you go hurting your back. There’s still seeds to be planted,” Mother called and her flight ended, Father putting her back gently onto the ground. He smiled and ruffled her hair as she thanked him, bouncing off to dash back to Mother. Phantom took the seeds and began, one by one, placing them into the earth that had been opened up to receive them.

“It’s me?” she thought suddenly, pinching her arm to make sure that she hadn’t been dreaming. When she opened her eyes the vision before her hadn’t changed, and her eyes brightened.

“Mom! Dad!”

She began to run, arms reaching forward and out, unable to contain her excitement as both of her parents rose from their hard work and looked directly at her. Arms outstretched she went to fall into their own open arms, only to fall face first into a pond. She rose, sputtering and shaking as her arms fell around herself.

“What the—” she thought sadly, slowly pulling herself up out of the water. The breeches and shirt she wore was soaked through, her body showing through the lightness of her shirt. She stumbled forward a couple of steps, dragging herself from the water when she saw it. Two children next to what appeared to be a massive horse.

“Have I gone mad?”

“Easy on his back side there, don’t jab your heels in.”

Phantom nodded curtly, her head bobbing as under her the horse whickered. He was black as night, his coat shimmering with the reflectiveness of a raven’s wings. Shadow’s eyes blinked as the bridal jingled, colored like chocolate and deeper than the lake nearby. The horse blinked and his tail swished. Below her a boy kept his hands on the chest of the horse, brown eyes looking upwards toward her own.

“Are you ready?”

Again she gave a little nod and the boy stepped back, giving the horse room to walk as Phantom’s legs dangled across the back, gripping with her knees—not her heels.

“Alright Shadow. Walk on.”

The horse jumped forward, leaping off of his two back legs as soon as she had finished her words, galloping forward with such a spurt of energy that she had remained exactly where she was, hovering for just a moment before crashing onto the ground.

“Phantom!! Are you alright?!” the boy called, running forward to land beside her. She gently touched her breast, massaging the tissues before giving a little nod.

“I told you to sell that horse back!”

“NO!” she cried suddenly, watching as the beast turned back and came round to gently whiff the grass beside her, “Shadow is my horse.”

“He’s too dangerous Phantom!”

“You promised to help me learn,” she cried with such a defiant voice that the boy’s angered expression grew soft. For a moment he stared at the horse whose nose was now clutched tightly between Phantom’s arms, unmoving besides the small twitch of his tail and the surprised flick of his ears. He suddenly smiled and gave a small nod.

“If that’s what you want,” he stood, holding out his hand to the eighteen year-old girl, watching as she let go of her horses face to pull herself back up. She brushed the dirt and clumps of grass from her skirt; pigtails bobbing along her skin as behind her the trees rustled.

“Are you sure you want to try again?”

“Gimme a boost,” Phantom said quickly, watching as he linked his fingers together to provide a platform for her bare foot to step on. With that she hoisted herself back up onto the horses back.

She remembered now. This was the day before the riders came. She was learning how to ride Shadow, her beloved war horse. Back then, nothing could have stopped her. She’d found a home with the boy teaching her how to ride, who gave her all the help she could ever ask for and the pendant around her neck. Her fingers wrapped around the small wood carving of the horse and as she did so, a smile carved her face. It was a reminiscing smile, one far and lost upon the face, often going unnoticed by the person who wears it. Phantom could feel it, growing faster as her heart beat in her chest. Were these just memories?

Shadow slowly walked forward, the boy at his shoulder holding the leg of the girl. Phantom was beaming and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen before. Her different colored eyes met his grey ones and he smiled, her cheeks flushing for an instant at the touch of his fingers on her thigh.

“Go Shadow,” she whispered and clung tighter to his body as his muscles bunched and he leaped off back in the direction of the inn. She spared a glance over her shoulder and saw the boy there, standing still with a look of disappointment. She had hurt him galloping away like that, but how could she allow him to see her face. A face that was a red as a sun. Her eyes snapped forward and a moment later she was galloping away on the back of the wind.

She’d never told him. Never had got the chance to tell him exactly how she felt before he’d died the next day. With a face of determination Phantom removed herself from the trees, turning in his direction as her eyes glimmered and her cheeks became flushed.

“Estel!” she cried, walking towards the boy who suddenly turned to look at her. He looked older. Estel, the boy, had become a man in a turn. His hair had been braided and pulled back along his scalp, coming together to form a short ponytail near the top of his head. He was dressed like the inn keeper’s son; simple brown breeches and an open V shit that fluttered softly in the breeze that was stirring from the lake behind her.

“Phantom?” he responded, cocking his head as he took a couple of steps forward. She beamed, suddenly. Maybe this wasn’t a memory after all. He ran. Arms outstretched she also reached for him, her breath quick as tears began to cloud her vision and stream down each of her cheeks. If this was death may the Twins never take this away, this happiness that suddenly filled her heart and left her feet light across the ground. He grabbed her and with a twirl set her down once again.

“Jesus woman. Wake up!”

Her eyes opened and around her the world burned. Estel held her arms, his eyes panicked as he tried to lead them away. The wood crackled with flames, hot and angry they licked at her night clothes and his own. The door had been bashed down, knocked away from the hinges by the man who did not yet know his fate. What was happening? She blinked, body trembling as a moment later he was shaking her.

“Come on! Out the window!” he was pulling her towards it, eyes shimmering and flashing with the flames that swallowed up her bed, pushing everything insight to its hungry maw. With a thrust, Phantom had pushed out the glass to her window, her body franticly clawing out onto the straw patched roof. Below her the stables burned, sparks flying like light bugs through the air, smoke burning down her nose and throat, choking her body and vision. She was coughing, the heat was searing at her flesh, Estel’s hand so tight it was like a vise as his masked hand fell over her nose and mouth. For a moment she could breathe. The air was split with the sounds of people screaming, burnt to death in their tombs as beams fell and crumpled outside their doors, locking them to their deaths. Even the horses had not been spared such a fate, their straw stoking the fire until it rose far above their terrified heads before crashing down upon their backs. Mane burnt, fur was singed away in the blink of an eye, and flesh was left beyond the harsh blisters that rose like warts before bursting—it was burned and charred to darkness and death.

Phantom could have handled the smell—she’d singed her own hair and skin once before so she was no stranger to the putrid order that now seeped into her pores and wafted to fill the forefront of her skull. It was the sounds that got her to her knees. Lichen fell beside her, holding her shoulder and trying to urge her on. Nearby the sounds of animals kicking desperately at stall doors, crashing and smashing their bodies against the wood and beating their noses and chests bloody, filled the air. Pure terror rang in her skull like the shriek of an unplayed flute. However that was not the worst of it. Terror turned to pain, blistering and blackening as the fire leapt from one horse to the next, exhausting the mount to bones and cracked meat.

People were rushing to the stables, those that had managed to escape the fires, but were beaten back from the explosive heat.

“Shadow!” she screamed, Estel holding tight to her shoulder as around them the roof threatened to fall.

“We have to jump!”


“Jump!” and with that Estel shoved her from the top of the roof and onto the ground below. Her arms flailed, legs kicking and wiggling as her eyes closed and her body landed with a sickening crunch.

Darkness now. Yet everything in her body ached like she had jumped from the height of a cliff. Tears ran down her cheeks. So they were memories. Nothing but the horrible memories of her life all collected into one terrifying moment. She didn’t want to remember. Life went by quick enough and she had thought she had suffered enough. Did the Twins not think so?

Her eyes fluttered as a cool breath of air touched her body. She could see herself lying there—broken and crippled off in the trees. Estel had long since gone and as she watched, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

Phantom was buried. She was deep inside the safety of the forest, surrounded by the coolness of the breeze and the greens that made up the pines and the leaved trees. Her eyes were closed, her breath shallow and ragged—hair singed and face so coated in mud. Her nose wrinkled and her body coughed softly as her eyes opened. She was surprised to find that her mouth and nose had been covered in a damp cloth, and even more surprised to find that she couldn’t move to pull the cloth from her face. She began to struggle, her eyes widening as she looked down. Her entire body, minus her head, had been buried under the earth.

“Help!” she screamed, feeling the weight of the earth sink against her lungs and crush the air from around her limp limbs. Phantom did not have to wait long. Almost as soon as her voice had stopped echoing around the air she could hear, and feel, the drumming of hooves against the ground. Closer it came till she could hear only the snort of the horse and the light tinkling of bells. Before she could get out a nervous hello she was quickly face to face with the most wild and uncivilized girl she had ever met. Perhaps only just fourteen, the girl’s brilliant green eyes stared unafraid into Phantom’s own. The girl cocked her head, hair so long that it created a curtain for both of their faces and so matted, Phantom wondered if instead of hair they were actually pieces of rope.

“Erm…can you help?” Phantom asked as the wild-girl cocked her head. Then without warning she began to pull the earth up with her fingers and nails. She moved like a dog, pulling the freshly dug earth off of her body little by little. Finally the wild-girl was able to free an arm and as time passed Phantom began to help unbury herself.

“Ari,” the wild-girl said suddenly, her eyes meeting back to Phantoms with such a rich shade of blue that Phantom, at first, thought that she had imagined that the girl had green eyes. No, not a girl-Ari. That was her name. Phantom smiled and pointed to herself.

“Phantom,” she said and a moment later the horse that Ari had been riding was pushing its muddy face into her own. She gasped and nearly fell over—the horse was stepping on her still unburied legs and Ari was quick to react as she began to whicker and make the same noise as the horse. Phantom stared. So she was crazy. That was nice.

Phantom was just about to start screaming when, even more to her amazement, the horse moved. She stared at Ari, her eyes wide as she blinked.

“You can talk to animals?”

“His name is Shadow. He says that he knows you.”

“Shadow?” she watched as the horse swiveled his ears forward at the sound of his name. So it was him. Just coated in mud. She looked at Ari, the girl who was clearly enlightened and could speak to animals.

“For the burns,” she said suddenly, picking up the earth and rubbing it on her arm. Phantom stared. So this girl had managed to save her horse and her all in the same go? Before she could say anything Ari rose, spoke a few words the horse and stood. Without another word the girl made her way back into the trees. She didn’t come back either.

End Flashbacks

Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ice. The elements had touched her all, claiming her back into the circle of energy. One thing becoming the next and Phantom was sucked deeper into the frozen wasteland. Her eyes had once again opened to the icy caves, shimmering blue and green from her breath as beside her head a small pool had formed from the heat of her lips. Around her she could see the shoes and bare feet of those surrounding her. Her eyes flickered up, wisps of steam circling above her head. Water crystalized as it left her breath, fluttering back around her as snowflakes that fell onto her flushed skin. Her hands were clutched to her chest and the first pair of eyes she met were Kirsten’s. He looked at her sadly, his dark red eyes filled with a lovers longing.

“You poor dear,” he said, watching as she quivered on the ground.

“Go away!” she snapped, “Let me die in piece, free from you and your evil!”

“Relax,” he purred, taking off his cloak. As it fluttered over her shoulders, Phantom realized that it had become transparent. It settled lightly over her shoulders and soon she found she was able to stand once again, without pain. The icy world around her had vanished and she was sitting upright in a field. All around her was the stagnant air of this word, decorated with the red colored poppies that dominated the majority of the landscape. Her eyes flashed, and Kirsten smiled, warmer now, his cheeks were flushed with color and those red-red eyes were slowly changing to brown.

“What are you?” she asked, nervously watching as his pity rose into that of a small smirk. Beside him, she finally noticed a woman with green eyes. She was holding his hand and smiling gently, holding the reins to a horse. “Ari?”

The woman nodded with a small sad smile, reaching her hand for Phantom’s. So Kirsten had completed the hunt. Ari would be dead…Phantom suddenly shook her head. Were these just memories as well? Were the Twins teasing her?

“No Phantom,” Ari said with a small sad smile that could have torn the heartstrings of any man, “You are in the Red Meadow.”

“Red Meadow?”

“It is the true crossing between the worlds. Come with us.”

“Who are you?”

“We are the dead,” Kirsten said with a wicked grin, “We are the forms of your memories.”

“Memories?” Phantom asked. Ari gave a small nod, her fingers twitching softly in a beckoning moment. She waited till Phantom took it, pulling her up from the sitting position on the ground. With the touch and a breath of air Phantom could suddenly see. The haze that had blurred the vision of the meadow had vanished and every flower was now defined in perfect detail. The stagnant dead air had been misplaced and a cool breeze stroked along her face and ruffled the strands of her silver hair. The three ahead of her no longer appeared like ghostly apparitions, white with read soulless eyes. They had regained their color. Ari’s blonde hair as gold as honey and Kirsten’s eyes so light they were a ruddy brown. Their lips were flushed and cheeks pink with life and blood. Phantom was so taken back by the sudden change and beauty that surrounded her that it took all of her strength not to cry.

“Does that mean I am dead?” Phantom asked nervously.

“You are in the Meadow. The in-between. If you want you may pass on, or you can remain here longer,” Ari explained gently, “All you have to cross over into the trees.”

“What’s behind the trees? Are the Twins waiting for me? Do they really exist? What about the old stories?”

“Hush!” Kirsten snapped, “None of the living may know what lies beyond.”

Phantom could feel him withdrawing, his eyes flashing dangerously as he looked around almost nervously. Ari had also grown a fearful expression on her face, but she stood her ground heroically. Phantom frowned slightly, her brows knitting together in confusion. Was now her time? Did she really have a choice? Her eyes turned behind her, looking back towards the grey light where she knew the ice lay in wait. Around her it became warmer; she could move her fingers and nervously she reached out to Shadow, running her finger along his jaw and nose. Could she really leave this?

That’s when she saw them.

Phantom didn’t have to say anything, both Ari and Kirsten split apart and soon she was wrapped in the warm embrace of her parents.

“Mother! Father!”

They held her tightly, smoothing over her hair and holding her tightly as she finally broke into joyful tears. Behind, Kirsten and Ari stood watching, their eyes smiling as they watched their embrace.

“Is he here too?” she asked excitedly, turning with her parents toward the trees. There she saw a face. Green eyes were laughing at her, a flash of white-blonde hair. She didn’t look back. Phantom went running towards the trees, tears running down her face and her mouth calling his name as she neared the trees. As she leapt over the bridge between grass and trees a hand clasped hers and both Estel and Phantom vanished.

Outside the wind began to die down, releasing from the confines of the cave a small giggle and a sigh. The snow ceased to pelt the skin and from the top of all the tallest points came the giggles of the unknown, celebrating the end of the snowstorm.