Chapter 6 - Power Play
Chapter Six - Power Play
Ezekiel wasn’t sure what to expect after his harsh words....but he should have known that there would be serious backlash.
“I think someone’s forgotten who the hell he’s talking to! Do you really think you've got what it takes to go up against any of us!” sneered Ezekiel’s green eyed brother, Lander.
With a brisk step he brushed past Walter and approached Ezekiel with eyes full of open aggression.
Lander was Ezekiel’s second eldest brother.
He much like Walter had wide shoulders, but his hips were more narrow and defined by muscle and sinew. Defined but slimmer he was built for the Shift, the streamlined body made for hunt and kill, like the leopard that slept inside of him. His hair was a stark mix of golden and light golden that was long enough to brush the tips of his ear in the front, but long enough to dust his neck at the middle and back of his head.
And unlike Walter Landers face was free of all facial hair, though his upper chest was also dusted with shot golden hair. While his left eye brow was triple pierced, with three simple green amethysts that shimmered in the sun, but barely sparked in the moonlight. And with his hair swiped back with the morning dew that had soaked him through to his jeans.
“You’ll take care of it? And let’s all just forget that you’re playing with fire!? You are so freaking ignorant sometimes Ezekiel. ” Lander pointed out marching across the clearing. Pine needles crunching as he walked.
“You touched it remember!? The bloods all over you! Now your scent is on the mortals skin, not to mentions his blood being all over your shirt. So...Even if we did leave it with you and you took it into the village.... Dads gonna smell the blood on you tonight when he comes home. Then Dads gonna find the mortal and that will be it! And you can’t not come home ’cause then he’ll be looking for you. Either way you’re caught. So we can’t just “Let you take care of it.” Because you’re already in deep shit!!” Lander shook his head. “But I don’t really care about what happens to you or this intruder, but now you’ve drug us into this mess with you!”
“I said I didn’t want your help!! Now back off!?” Ezekiel snarled. Lander took one bold step after another towards him and the mortal.
“But you want Mom to get involved!? For some stranger?” Lander hissed in outrage, still coming at him.
“I know what I’m doing!!” Ezekiel hissed, taking a steep over the mortal to stand in his more emotional brother’s way.
“No you don’t you lil shit!!” Lander said. “Every Shifter in this Clan knows not to go anywhere near a mortal, but you just had to try didn’t you!”
His brother hissed as Ezekiel came abreast of him, but Lander dominated him, with his slightly taller body.
Ezekiel tried to respond in an even tone instead of a growl but he failed. “I know the damn rules. He’s my DAD too you know!“” Ezekiel replied to Landers harsh words. “And of course I don’t want to get MOM mixed up in this!”
Lander smirked, but Ezekiel ignored him and kept talking. “But, I definitely can’t risk taking the stranger half way across the Clan Lands to the other Healers house either.”
“Why not?” Lander hissed in irritation. “Anyone but mom would be better!”
“Well for one, you asshole.” Ezekiel snarled at his infuriating sibling. “I wouldn’t be able to get the mortal all the way over to the Eastern village before sun up. And by then there will be far too many Shifters outside preparing for the upcoming harvest. If I get spotted with the mortal, not to mention if one of them smells the intruder, count on word of this getting back to father faster than a fly settling on shit.” Ezekiel said and smoothly ignored how Lander glared at him for his vulgar use of language. “So that just leaves mom.”
Ezekiel continued gesturing to the woods ahead of him. “Mom will not only be able to help with the mortals injuries, but she’s closer, and unlike anyone else, I know I can count on her to stay quiet about all of this. At least until I can get the mortal stabilized and then back out of here.” he finished.
Lander growled somewhere deep in his chest like a cat in distress, but ten times bigger and angrier, and didn’t say a word.
Probably because he knows that Im right!
Ezekiel said to himself. Then cleared his throat.
“Lander... I know that’s its not ideal getting Mom mixed up in this, but she would want us to help him!” Ezekiel tried to implore. “She would also be heartbroken if she found out that there was someone here who needed her help but they died because we were too SCARED to come to her! Even if that someone is a mortal.” Ezekiel stopped, putting his hands on his brother’s shoulder, and trying to ease him away.
With a sudden growl Lander shoved Ezekiel backwards with a hiss. Long white canines grew before Ezekiels eyes, overlapping Landers bottom lip as his anger let the Shifter, the leopard, inside come closer to the surface.
“Mom won’t hear anything about this Ezekiel.” He spit, as Ezekiel glared him in the eyes. “The solution here is easy to see. Just take this filthy mortal back wherever you fucking got him from and leave it alone!” Lander pointed out stepping right up to Ezekiel again. Getting in his face now.
Ezekiel snarled, his own eyes slit, and glowing blue, overtaking his irises, as leopard eyes replaced his mortal ones.
“I wont! What’s wrong with you? Why are you trying to condemn a total stranger to death? We don’t murder outsiders!” he shouted.
Lander smiled at him nastily and completely unmoved.
“Oh grow up! It isn’t murder if we didn’t slice ’em up in the first place.” He supplied coldly. “There are NO MORTALS PERMITTED without Dads express authority onto the Clan Lands! You know this is wrong! What gives you the right to usurp Dad’s authority anytime you want to!? Your not special and just because your blood is a little fucked up compared to the rest of us it dosent give you the right to just go off the rails like this!”
Ezekiel shoved his brother with his left arm, still unable to move his right shoulder very much since he had gotten stabbed.
“Oh like your so god damn goody goody Lander. You don’t give a damn about the rule and I know I don’t give a damn about Fathers rules, IF they say that I have to stand back and let people die in front of me. Even IF that person is an outsider! He’s harmless. What will it hurt for mom to take a look at his wounds? Huh! Tell me what the fucking issue really is!?”
Lander took a step back from his brother with an aggressive hiss and spit at the ground, beside the mortal’s body. “On fucking cry me a river you liar!” He said. “If that mortals so sickly and helpless, how did you get that giant hole in your chest Ezekiel?”
“Shit.” Ezekiel mummed under his breath, feeling the giant stinging hole in his collar all the more now that his brother had mentioned it.
He had hoped that his dark clothing and the smell of rotten flesh on the mortal would hide the smell of his own blood. Ezekiel had also hopped that the sparse moonlight would hide the decidedly deep flesh wound inches to the left of his heart, but no such luck.
Lander being so close to him must have smelled the blood he had spilt while apprehending the intruder.
“Oh Shits right.” Lander chuckled with a hard edge. “Now tell us the whole story. Not some patched up sob story. You didn’t just find him passed out in the woods did you little brother?”
“I...” Ezekiel started....then he stopped.
He wanted to lie. He didn’t want them to know that the mortal had infact stabbed him. Tried to kill him. They would think he was crazy.
Ezekiel had to ask himself.
Taking a delusional mortal that stabbed him through the chest and then kissed him, right into his home...to his MOTHER no less?
But still wasn’t there more to the story?
The tears, the blood, the strange behavior, the fear that Ezekiel had glimpsed in the strangers eyes that had encouraged him not to kill the stranger himself only a few minutes ago. Something told him that this man, whoever he was, wasn’t there to cause them any harm.
But Ezekiel also didn’t want to lie. Not because he would feel bad about it, but because his brother Lander, much like his other siblings was....powerful. Or more like they each had powers that made any lie Ezkeiel would try to tell, completely useless.
And where Walter could silence him with just a word.....his other brothers could do much more. Especially Lander.
And then it wasn’t Ezkeiels choice anymore. Because a knife cold and steel, slammed into his brain, causing a pinching pain that soaked right down into his spine as it sliced across his thoughts. Into his memories.
Ezekiel was knocked wordless by strong discomfort as his elder brother tested his thoughts partaking of his mind without his permission. Ezekiel grunted, grabbed his temples from the invasion of another mind, the cold unfamiliar presence.
“Lander get the fuck out of my head!” he snarled, his own canines lengthening in his mouth, fangs cutting into his bottom lip. Ezkeiel thought about charging his brother and teaching him a lesson. But then it stopped.
Suddenly the cold was gone. Like a knife withdrawn from his temple Ezekiel shook his head and winced trying to knock away the cold on his spine, but he knew that the sensation would last for hours; unlike Walters power which faded away after only seconds of being removed.
Ezekiel felt exhausted being used as a punching bag for not one of his siblings, but now two in a row.
He prayed silently that his third brother, Nate, wouldn’t see fit to jump in, but Ezekiel’s third brother stood to the side simply watching. Nate’s two tones eyes, seemed quite bored with the whole situation as he cracked open his mouth and yawned softly.
Ezekiel insanely wished that Nate would step in, if only to stall Lander from getting more aggravated.
“So, let’s take a look.” Lander mused, looking down, the only proof that he had just read Ezekiels mind, was the fact that he hadn’t moved the entire time, until now.
His brother closed his eyes, his lids jumping as he mind saw all that his powers had taken from Ezekiels private thoughts. “So the outside wounded you!? And you still want to help him? No way am I letting you take him anywhere near the Clan. Leave him here Ezekiel.” Lander all but demanded.
“We’ve been through this!” Ezekiel spit back at him. He was positively sick and tired of his brothers tone. “I’m taking him into the village Lander!” He flashed his growing fangs in a clear threat. A rumble of violence in his chest that seemed to tremble the air between the two men. “We both know that I’ll win this fight Lander, so back off!!”
“OH! So now your goanna fight me!?” Lander sneered, then shrugged. “Bring it on, but you’re wasting your time. No way is mom gonna help an outsider that tried to kill you! And he’s definitely dead when Dad finds out too.” Lander shook his head. “It’s not gonna work!! I’ll just put the little shit out of his misery right now for you!”
With a sharp pop of energy, warmth poured across the air, and Landers nails shivered slightly and then began lengthening, until in seconds they had become long sharp clear claws. The hunting scythes of a leopard tipped Landers fingers and from the look on his face....Ezekiel knew his brother was gonna try and use them.
Ezekiel snarled at him in warning and took a step forward.
“WHOA! Dammit Ezekiel! Stop it already. We get it!! Jesus!!”
Nate suddenly growled, putting a hand over his eyes, then he strolled forward.
Suddenly the only sibling who hadn’t made a move or said a single word so was walking right between Ezekiel and Lander and it was only his presence that kept things from turning into chaos .
With an unconcerned smirk he put a hand on Landers shoulder. “Did you seriously have to challenge Lander to a fight!!? We don’t have time for this you two....the sun will be up soon. We need to come to a decision before then.”
Nate, the wolf, Ezekiels third eldest sibling, said with an eye roll.
Which served to accent the fact that one of his eyes was jet black, while his left eye was pure white with a black pupil. His height matched Ezekiels as did his build, but the main variations could be found in the cut of their features and their hair color.
Where Ezekiel was long hair’d and dirty blond. Nate’s hair was bolt black and cropped inches from his scalp and styled at discordant spikes and angles that were somehow still appealing to the eye.
Where Ezekiels muscles were sinewy and more graceful, Nate’s limbs were slightly shorter, but bulked with more muscle and tanned far more. And where Ezekiels face was unmarred by any piercings or scars, Nate’s left eye, was marred by a deep, old, and very long scar.
The old cut was faded, but still noticeable enough in the pale moonlight to stand out. While Nates ears were both fitted with two three inch gages in the shapes of spikes.
“Get out of the way mutt.” Lander hissed, slapping Nate’s hand off of his arm after they silently glared each other down. Daring the other to make a move. “I have made my decision. That outsider is not going into the village!!” He snarled, as he tried to brush past Nate, but Nate stepped in his way smoothly.
Nate shook his head, and smiled at Lander as Lander growled back in his face, but Nates smile, flashed sharp, wolfish teeth. “No one can talk to you when you get like this Lander. You need to calm down.”
“Move Nate....or I’ll move you!!” Lander hissed at him.
“Nope. You’re still not calm.” Nate quipped, his voice just as smooth as Ezekiels, but a smidge huskier as he opened his left hand, palm down, then closed it into a fist.
With a crisp cold snap of power his energy, poured out into the night. With an indignant shout of surprise , Landers left leg snapped together with his right, as if drawn together by magnets. And a moment later his claw tipped hands were ripped down and plastered at his side and thighs.
The sudden move apparently caught Lander of guard, because he swayed dangerously fighting not to fall forwards as he was tied into a penguin stance that would have been comical any other time to Ezekiel.
Lander snarled, gnashing his teeth in righteous fury and began to struggle wildly for release. But for all his snapping and struggling Ezekiel knew he wasn’t going anywhere. Having been at Nate’s mercy before Ezekiel knew that it was futile to fight him once he managed to capture you.
“Let me go you stupid bastards!” Completely ignoring his brother as Lander had a small meltdown behind him, Nate walked up besides Walter and Ezekiel, leaving Lander in the background to curse them to all kinds of unpleasant locations. “Let me GO!!” Lander shouted and snarled.
Unconcerned, Nate simply flexed his neck from side to side and settled in by Ezekiels side. Putting a hand on his shoulder, he beckoned Walter to join them in a circle next to the still mortal.
Once Walter was close enough, Nate shrugged and said.
“So what ARE we gonna do? I definitely smell the blood on you now Ezekiel, and metal. The mortal definitely stabbed you....” Nate, tapped Ezekiel’s left arm, making him wince as the wound in his arm throbbed. “Right here.....Tell us what happened.”
“I already told you what happened!!” Ezekiel growled at his brothers, still feeling slightly aggravated and cagey after Landers failed attack on the mortal. “Were wasting time.”
“No.” Walter growled looming over Ezekiel and Nate slightly. “You are wasting time.” He said simply. “You told us a lie. The sooner we get the truth, the sooner we can get to damn the point.”
“Fine.” Ezekiel hissed, glaring at them both.
“Ok. “Nate shrugged and smiled softly. “Now that our resident buffoon has been dealt with.” Nate rumbled with a smile at Landers expense. “And since the rest of us can’t exactly read your minds Ezekiel, just start at the beginning.”
“Okay.” Ezekiel breathed suddenly releasing a breath he hadn’t known he had been holding.
Now that the most volatile of his brothers was out of the way he felt he could relax his guard. So he recounted the events of what had all transpired between him and the stranger, as precisely and as quickly as he could. The smell of the mortal’s blood saturating the air was an ever present reminder that time was of the essence.
“So the mortal struck you...twice. One time close to the heart....but you still want to help it?” Nate questioned Ezekiel a three minutes later once everything had been said.
But then Nate leaned forward to sniff at his wounded shoulder. He grimaced as he withdrew. ” I don’t smell any poison, only blood and iron. A blade for killing. This stranger could be very dangerous Ezekiel maybe it would have been best for you to leave him where he fell?” Nate softly asked
“I couldn’t just leave him out there to die.” Ezekiel said back, took a deep breath, and dropped his head.
“I may have also cracked his ribs.... and....I sort of slugged him in the jaw when he came at me...but I didn’t know outsiders were so fragile. I think I made the wounds worse by striking him.”
“So you feel guilty?” Nate murmured looking over at Walter. “But you had to knock him out. That wound in your chest was not some lucky shot! And you are not some passer by Ezekiel. It took some skills to land that blow on you.”
Ezekiel tried furiously not to flush in embarrassment.
Oh! What my brothers would say to know that I had left myself open to attack when I tried to check the strangers pulse...!?
Ezekiel shuttered inside then said to them.
“But Im sure he wasn’t trying to hurt ME! Ezekiel started only for Nate to speak over him.
“But he stabbed you Ezekiel! Normal people don’t just go stabing strangers, Im sure.” Nate said cutting him off.
“Well I... “Ezekiel began again only from his other brother to speak over him this time.
“He obviously would have killed a lesser man with such an unprovoked, and vicious attack.” Walter said with a shrug.
“As I was saying...!” Ezekiel huffed, crossing his arms over his chest ignoring the fiery twinge that stabbed into his collar bone and shoulder as he moved his arm upwards. “When I came upon him the mortal was screaming into the night. The mortal was raving, bloody, and weak, stumbling drunkenly from foot to foot and tree to tree. And after he saw me he started crying, moaning in pain.”
“He what?” Walter prompted.
Ezekiel shrugged again ignoring the pain this time. “He cried to me. He begged me not to “Take him”
“He begged you?” Nate now prompted.
“That’s what I said isn’t it?” Ezekiel snapped at them both. He was tired of the run around. “So it stands to reason, that not only could this intruder have been confused, but this mortal could have mistaken me for this unknown assailant that seems to have split open his stomach like a piñata.”
“So by your thinking is that he tried to kill you.....on accident?” Lander sniffed, still stuck in place looking like a very angry penguin.“Opps! Im sorry, I just plunged my dirk into your heart good sir. It was all so very silly of me!?” Lander snorted at Ezekiel and looked away.
But he only managed to shift his head though, since any other movement would have sent him to the ground face first, without his hands to catch him or to break his fall. The fiery anger that had taken him over seemed to have disappeared. He perhaps no longer wanted to kill the mortal, but he wasn’t happy either.
But Ezekiel had long ago stooped being surprised by the drastic emotional heights his older brother could reach and then come back from at the flip of a dime. That was just how Lander was. How his powers made him act. But Ezekiel squashed that particular train of thought as he responded to the question.
“What I’m saying is he needs help, and I don’t think he’s a danger to us! So let’s take him to the village already.” Ezekiel sighed, giving up.
“Don’t even try it! What if he’s one of those rare meat seekers that like to eat us and skin us?” Lander questioned him, long nails and teeth still quite visible through he could sense his brothers ire dissipating.
“What, like a hunter?” Walter provided.
“Riiiight.” Nate said with a good natured eye roll. “Like this pathetic pile of bones and rags is a Hunter? Hes as skinny as a weeping willow! Give me a break, besides all Hunters reek of silver and he dosent.” He said scoffing at the mortal on the ground.
“What else do I have to say?” Ezekiel said throwing his hands in the air. “There is no danger here. So are you guys gonna help me or let me go? Make up your minds, because I’m taking him to the village. No more discussion!”