Chapter 8: The Forest of Blood pt.1
“Mira. Take Quinn and get out of here!” My mentor contacted me after I dispatched the first round of assassins.
“I am not leaving you, mentor!” I protested against the idea of leaving her.
“Girl, I am getting up to my age, and you know my time has come. Quinn, however…”
“He is getting stronger, expected for him to fall on his sword by now.” I remember he whined about how unfair life is. I was more than happy to end his misery… had Mentor and that… ‘Spirit’ not stayed my hand.
“Do you still plan on killing him, Mira?”
“No… As long as he fights for his life, I see no need to do so.”
“Take him out of there. They are attacking the village as a cover to eliminate both me and Quinn. Please… Leave me.” Mentor?
“Angharad? Are you all right?” I am losing her…
“JUST GET HIM OUT HERE! Please…” I heard screams… then silence…
I’ve reflected on that fact since we left mourning ridge… I can no longer feel her spirit in this world. Holding Quinn on my back is nothing, but I am worried about how he’ll take the news. So I should… I narrow dodged a dagger that flied out of nowhere.
Angharad and Fenrir are not here to aid me, and Quinn hasn’t woken yet from the Dream world. I must protect my ward alone…
Protecting my ward
“There he is!” A voice speaks through the trees. “Kill the Dream walker!” A flurry of knives flies toward me. They are more focused on Quinn than on me.
“Roduriga! Partial!” I quickly went into partial wolf to swift deflect the knives using my polearm in my mouth.
Partial wolf-form allows me to move on 4 legs. I used this form when I need to move fast against my enemies. But these assassins are more dangerous than the previous group that attacked us on our way to the ridge.
They jumped out of the trees and bushes, Vampires…
“Mira! They are after Quinn, girl!” Rodu is telling me… “They ain’t the only ones we have to worry about!” I narrow dodge a bullet… Human mercenaries!
“Focus on killing the brat! Kill the Lycan bitch!” One of them spoke and raised his revolver at me.
The humans and the rogues working together? I thought they would be against the idea, but Quinn… One of them came close by, raising his knife in an attempt to kill him; I threw the polearm at the assassin; the man crumpled to ashes. More of them are closing in our position…
I moved back toward Quinn and revert to my normal form. They are too many of them to fight in my current state… The rogues, vampiric assassins and now human mercenaries working together. What compels them to do so? They normally want nothing to do with each other.
But I have no time to think about it now… I pulled my sword from my scabbard, I put it in my mouth. Went hybrid by attacking the first assailant I saw, to deflect the bullets from the mercenaries as they fired on me.
I used one of the assassin as a shield to make my way to the mercenary with a Gatling gun. Sliced the man across his throat, taking his Gatling gun for my use. I’ve fired against any fiends that go near my ward. I dropped it to dodge a swipe from one assassin… I rewarded her with a blade to her heart.
A bullet went through me… Grr… I got to keep going…
“Hold her down!” I felt hands were… pushing me down… Wolfbane…. How else would they be able to do this? Damn… “Kill the dream walker before he wakes up!”
“No!” I tried to force a transformation to get the man off of me. My body… Wolfbane is weakening me to where I cannot transform. They prepared for this. They have known that I would be there to protect him.
“Lady Mira!” Fenrir..? “I can provide help. Quinn is almost back from the dream world. He needs more time.”
As much as I don’t trust spirits, Quinn needs our help right now. And I… I can’t do anything with the mercs holding me down.
“Fenrir, can you get them off of me?” I noticed it took the pressure off of me… One of them raised me up from the ground. They are… 5 of them surrounding me?
“Lady Mira!” one man speak. “Tell me…” Another spoke, “When to fire at the enemy!” They are speaking as if… the spirit possesses 5 of them at the same time. “My lady, hurry!” This is… “We are running out of time!”
Take command of the possessed
I can use this to my advantage then… I can think about it later.
“Fire!” The men wasted no time firing against their own allies. The assassins were turning to ash by their bullets, the rogues were being shot in the heart and the head. I wasted no time grabbing Quinn and ordering those men to cover our escape.
These mercenaries are skilled enough to eliminate most of our pursuers, and some of them I took out on our way out of the village. I ran hard as I can to escape them, not stopping until we were in the clear when we reached a wide field. The mercenaries suddenly fell down, I don't know how a spirit can possess 5 people at a time.
“Hmm…” Quinn is awake… it is good to know that he is all right. “Mira? Where is…?”
“We need to move ahead toward the river, then we can talk there.” I continued to head on to the riverbank to rest there.
As soon as we arrived at the river, I sat Quinn near a rock and set up our camp. Also brought from wood from the village to prepare for the campfire.
“Quinn… Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I am…”
“Mentor is dead. I am now in charge of protecting you as my ward.” Quinn’s eyes widen as I went straight to the point. “You will need to continue training.”
“I… I saw her…”
“Given her life to protect you as her apprentice.” His eyes flared at me.
“Oh, you are so nonchalant about her dying! Why didn't you go back to save her? You could have got the both of us instead of leaving her behind!” I stood above him… he doesn’t understand… Now he is crawling toward back toward the village.
“What are you doing, Quinn?” I walked alongside him.
“I’m heading back to the Ridge!” He is stubborn…
“Master. You cannot go back.” Now the spirit appears! “Stop!”
“Angharad needs our help… We can’t leave her!” He will not give up on her. “We can’t…”
I carried Quinn back to our camp, despite him trying to fight my grip on him.
“Let me go!” He hits on my shoulder… You can try as much as you like. “LET ME GO!” he sobs on the fact that he is not accepting that mentor is already dead. She gave her life to save him, and she knew he was not ready to face our foes.
“Quinn…” I continued. “You need to become stronger! Your tears won’t bring back, Mentor.”
“You are my ward now! And it's my fucking duty is to make sure you are safe! As well, of overseeing your training. Be better than my mentor…” I set him down and had him look at me. “Be strong as a cub, seeking to become its own person. Get strong, Quinn!” I had him look at me in the face. “Don’t you give me on now! Because I won’t!”
“I won’t give up on you, my master.” Fenrir bows to him. “I can help with spirit, dream and magical training. You are not alone in this.”
Quinn realizes that the task that Angharad set for him is clear: to exceed her and to become the Shaman that our people need.
A new goal, a new mission
“If I understand correctly, my goal is to develop my powers to become stronger.” Quinn understood that goal.
“What your plans after you achieve that?” I asked, because I need to know what his mission is.
“Take up my role, I guess.” Hmph… “But as a Dream walker and to be a shaman in training…” He struggles to stand, his legs are wiggling as they have been asleep for a long time.”
“Master!” Fenrir caught him as he fell down… He has spirit… “Your legs will take time to heal, don’t rush it.”
“You understand that not only you will advise your dominant clan, but the other clans as well. They will come to you for guidance as well.”
“Then for starters, I feel a something is calling me.” He points toward that direction… The forest of blood…
“Do you want to go there?” I sharpen my weapon with my stone.
“Yes, I can understand…”
“We go in the next morning, Shaman Quinn.” I smiled. “I assume you are ready.”
“Wouldn’t call myself a ‘shaman’ like that. I’m just Quinn.” I burst out laughing at his modesty. He’ll definitely be a good ward to protect.