Horizon - Chapter I: Awakenings
Posted By: The 14th Wonder<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 29 May 2009, 5:12 am
Chapter I: Awakenings
(Author's note in the comments section)
He was enveloped in an unforgiving, inky blackness. A figure emerged gradually from the shadows. Unholy. It trudged toward him, an air of helplessness in its stride. Putrid odor filled his nostrils. He focused his vision with all his strength, forcing the figure to materialize in his sight and, with deep-seated horror, found himself gazing into a cracked and stinking corpse. A corpse, yet it stood and moved. It was approaching faster, now. It breathed heavily. He could see its eyes. They were wide. He felt them pierce his body. Its breaths became more frantic. It was nearly upon him. He
he knew this face. It startled him. It unnerved him. Another face appeared to him from behind the walking death, an unsettling smile spread across it. A tongue emerged and swiped across its dry and cracking lips. Sickly delight fused with mock pity marked its features. Death wore a headdress. He was in chains. The Other behind Death shot down a menacing stare. He cocked his head to the side. An arm reached over Death's shoulder. It raised a weapon. It
Leonus snapped upright from his bed, air whistling between his clenched fangs, heart pounding in terror. His eyes darted in every direction trying to find some evidence of the unsettling specter he had just witnessed. Tightening his muscular frame, he kept himself coiled for attack
until a firm grip on his thigh pulled him from his wild adrenaline.
" And that was all it took. He closed his eyes and tilted his head downward, letting out a long breath to help return his composure. Looking to his side, he found Rela, his chosen mate, returning his gaze with the presence and peacefulness he needed. Leonus reclined and draped his arm around her, pulling her close.
He ran his nose up the length of her upper arm, a sign of affection. Could I truly be so blessed? This female, his female. Rela. She was everything to him. As he took in the full abundance of her beauty --thick fur, a full bosom, a scent that was, to him, more intoxicating than any brew or herb concocted by Jiralhanae-- he ached with a passion rooted at his core, his spirited affection and commitment to Rela. To other males, females were, at best, worthy of respect for their ability to produce children and, at worst, pleasure-on-demand. But never to Leonus. He could not be capable of making something so magnificent, so dear to him as Rela as trifling as that: her virtue was too great to allow it. She was strong, but submissive. Exceedingly charitable, but not irresponsible. Willing to extend grace, but accomplishing what needed to be done. In Leonus' eyes, she was perfection, and she controlled nothing short of his worship.
And yet, Leonus' love was wrong. He was the High Chieftain, Supreme Commander, and Lord Magistrate of a master pack. Strength was everything in his position and such dependence was not strength. Was not right. Was not Jiralhanae.
No. This cannot be wrong. She makes me what I am. Leonus ran the thought through his head several more times, until he was satisfied. Finding peace, he surrendered again to sleep.
Taminus awoke, stirred by a noise from down the hall in the palace. Leonus must have dreamt again. He listened intently, but the commotion soon subsided. Taminus began to relax again. He had been a light sleeper since childhood, since
No need to think of that. He needed peace to return to his ever-uneasy sleep. Taminus looked about the room in the faint light from the torch and let his mind wander. Thuisal, Palace of the High Chieftain. Taminus was grateful to be in this place. The Darend were a pack without match, and Taminus was thankful he had not lost his place in it, a place he owed to Leonus. Leonus had instructed him in all that he needed to be and Taminus was secure under his strong leadership. He was honored to have Leonus as an uncle, perhaps even more so as a chieftain, yet Taminus felt a certain distance from Leonus and the pack. True, this had been his home for the better part of his life, and he had completed his maturing years here, but there was always that intangible guilt or shame in the back of his mind that he never could shake. He felt that he was, in part, an outsider. All because of
And I land in the past once again. Taminus restrained whatever emotion it was that began to rise. I wonder what is troubling Leonus? Perhaps I can take comfort knowing I am not the only one in this house with unwanted thoughts.
Taminus stared into the thatched ceiling above him, and waited for sleep.
Light spilled through the window onto Rastulus' eyelids: Oth Sonin had risen, and another day had begun. Rastulus sat up with an irritated grunt and opened his eyes to Posena, his mate, looking at him from a few feet away. Rastulus stared back until she moved to take the warm remnants of the previous meal from the small fire pit in the center of the hut.
He then arose, his towering form now seeming to dominate the hut, as it always did when Rastulus entered a building. Rastulus strode to the curtain that partitioned the hut into halves and drew it aside to look in on his three children. All asleep. He turned back to Posena who sat on a stool by the fire, holding the plate in both hands.
"I will eat on the walk," Rastulus returned abruptly. He approached and took the plate, looking down into Posena's eyes. After a brief, silent gaze, he embarked.
He stepped through doorway, and pulled a pickaxe from the ground. Slinging it across his shoulder on a leather strap, Rastulus began his daily journey down the street through Oertscha. In this first moment after sunrise, stirrings within the huts were just beginning. Rastulus felt some strange sense of primacy each morning, as he tended to have the street entirely to himself this early. He liked it, and he always rose quickly to avoid missing the experience.
That day, the path squished under his massive feet, due to a strong rain the night before. That, Rastulus did not enjoy. The muddy path was all too much like the dripping, sticky mine in the heat of summer. The damnable mine. It ruled over him and he resented the fact that a simple metal could bind one as powerful as he.
He shrugged off the thought as he exited the town and neared the rails. It was a thought that was present with him every moment, and it was not worth giving it any more time on his mind than it held already.
Seven hours earlier
Night had just fallen. As darkness veiled all that was around him, he proceeded on his trek into the jungle. The dark, terrifying jungle. He kept his head down and moved quickly. He knew the route, no sense in peering about, finding things to rob his courage. He tried to block the sounds until he reached the shack. He moved to the door and gently opened it with a creak, the darkness now sinking in at its deepest. A single candle illumined the room and a face sat behind the flickering light. It spoke.