I expect to be underground. But it is deeper than that, as I am beneath everything. I am outside a pyramid shaped temple, set in the middle of sand dunes.
Everything is slightly bothersome to the senses.
It is not a mortal realm. The Under was disconnected from everything else. A great place to hide when you are a lonely demon.
A lonely demon in a temple, too.
I fly myself around the Lycan Temple, not a crack or a vine is in sight, and no damage. Only a perfectly maintained home for an Ancient Lycan.
Outside the front of the pyramid is a grey smoky aura.
My first audit.
The demon I have come to check on is lonely. Very lonely.
I keep flying around to inspect the perimeters, looking for any other thing I can audit.
I should be upset about being murdered, but I am more concerned what they will all think of me if I do not complete my first task. My Fate was taken from me by Feeb. It was a very mean thing to do to a Fairy, because we did not have souls, only Fates. But even so, I would prove her wrong and earn my Fate back!
I could survive this and return, even with my Fate absent and in her care.
When I completed my audit, I would appeal the court’s decision to have me judged in a such a fashion. Fairies judged every other Kind, but not each other! That is the only thing that has truly upset me about this journey thus far, the fact I had been looked down upon and punished with a very difficult task.
After flying around the temple, I see no other signs of life, so I return to the entrance.
Flying directly inside, I see the temple is a place of many rooms – yet devoid of souls.
At the very centre of the temple is my demon I must audit.
He is sleeping, if not dead.
I approach confidently, flitting around the room, looking down at his form. Dressed in darkened bronze armour and a metal mask with hinges for his snout and jaw.
The eight foot Lycan is laying on his back, eyes closed, chest not moving, breath not seeping through his nostrils or his mouth.
Completely menacing, even from so far away.
I fly closer to check his vitals.
Hmm, what was wrong with him?
All around him, he seeps grey loneliness.
Such intense loneliness – which means he is very alive. Yet his heart is…
I have to get even closer.
I land my feet on his chest.
A Lycan was meant to very hellishly hot.
He is only luke warm.
His heart is thumping very, very, slowly.
In fact, I fear he is near death any moment.
The cause of his sickness?
I diagnose loneliness.
My heart jumps into my throat. How terrible for him to be this sick!
I fly onto his nose and stand on the top of his mask, looking down into his eyes.
The slits are closed, but they slice apart a tiny hair’s breadth, and he looks up at the ceiling, his red eyes are a dull grey.
I understand why my Kind did not want to visit him.
In another time, this monster would be exactly that.
A terrible monster.
But right now, he was an almost dead and very weak demon.
And I could try to abate his loneliness even though he could not see me.
I fly to his fluffy silver ear.
I whisper into the ear canal.
“Anubis, my name is Cleo,” I wait and see his cheek muscles twitch.
I smile – he heard me, and it’s already working on healing his aura!
“Anubis,” I say again, “You are not alone. Cleo, that is my name. Cleo watches over you.”
As I say that, Anubis’s eyes peer open, as wide as they can go.
The grey of loneliness dissipates further.
He starts to sit up, finally awoken.
I did it!
At least, I think I did it.
Until I see what has appeared in the room, unbeknownst to me.
I jump around in fright to see the newcomer, a silent and quiet young mortal woman.
She’s dressed in red silks, with pretty makeup.
Her aura is that of a ghost, she is already dead!
“My name is –” she does not finish her sultry welcome to Anubis, but shuts her lips when he takes off his mask politely, and I observe her lips immediately drying and becoming chapped, her tongue so stiff she can barely speak as thirst over powers her desires, “…I…” she rasps out, “Am willingly here. Whatever you need. Flesh. Or Lust…” one curved eye brow leaps up seductively, “…whatever you want…Anubis…” although she hoped he would choose the latter, obviously.
Anubis turns and his thighs almost knock me, so I quickly flit off, invisible to all eyes.
I fly around them, observing the energy change.
Anubis is no longer lonely, and I feel happy for him, as he is pleased by the company of a mortal woman sacrificed to him.
The Lycan’s energy, however, is shifting now to desire, a violent red.
I try to pick up on the tone, hunger or lust… or both?
I cannot read between the lines, but I do hope the girl gets her desire fulfilled. She is very lustful. They were seemingly a great match so far!
It would be a lovely romance. A demon King of a restricted zone in the Under, finding love! I fresh virgin bride sacrifice, willing to meet him and be his betrothed!
Very, very romantic!
I fly higher to the ceiling with my hope, my hands clasped under my chin as I audit their behaviour, taking out my small scroll at my hip attached to my small belt. I use a pen tucked behind my ear to start taking notes as my wings keep me levitating.
I write down:
Anubis feels great loneliness, but a twist of fate brought a girl to be his bride.
I wait with my pen above the paper, waiting for the mating to commence.
The bride starts to slowly disrobe from her red clothes, while Anubis stands up, his meat, shall we call it, is hidden under his own blood red robes.
“Do you like what you see?” the girls whispers, as Anubis takes a long step forward, then another stride, very good progress, if I do say so myself.
Anubis begins to circle around her, appraising her and dwarfing her by more than double her stature.
When Anubis is behind her, steam shoots out through his nose, as his wolf’s mouth opens, teeth wet with drool, as he snaps down and bites her shoulder, before releasing.
To a mate?
I watch as he raises his head, licking his lips.
The girl cries out and her knees hit the ground. She inspects the wound, a hefty one.
The blood spills down her skin and I worry that was not a mark… rather a full blown bite.
Her aura changes to one of pain and incredible fear, in sync with the energy now radiating from Anubis.
He’s very, very hungry.
I watch in horror as he walks backwards from her, toward the only exit and entry to this temple.
He stands out in the grey light of the Under, looking left and right.
The girl has collapsed to her side, in too much pain as she tries to wrap the wound in her red robes.
I am simply watching, as Anubis is not only viewing the horizon. Instead. One. By. One. A pack of Lycans stroll forward to greet him, snarling their teeth in smiles only their kind can understand.
Tall hulking wolves with giant men’s bodies, covered in silver fur. These wolves are pierced with jewellery through their nostrils, and near their eyes.
Anubis fully disrobed now, kicking his clothes aside, he stalks back into the temple with his pack in tow.
No words are spoken, and no sounds are ambient except the girls laboured and shortened breathing, the clicking of their claws as they circle around and around, inspecting the gift, all eight of them.
Eventually they all stop circling, and all Lycans look to their King.
Anubis catches them all in the eyes, his many sharp rows of fangs showing off, as a growl erupts from his throat.
The command is given.
I quickly learn; it is not of lust.
I shoot out of the temple before I see what happens after they all leap onto the gift.
It is not a sexual desire that ruled all their hearts.
It was only the need for flesh in their bellies.
They were starving and this was a chance for food.
I hover outside the temple by a window, hearing the sounds from within. The girl didn’t cry out or scream, but I can hear bones being cracked and flesh being ripped apart.
A few minutes later, when silence is the new nothing, I dare look inside – looking for remains.
Not a piece of dust, a crack of a skull or a drop of blood remain.
A red robe itself which is drenched in blood lies at the altar Anubis was once sleeping on, that is all.
The pack has left the temple, and Anubis with them.
They disappear as fast as a flash of lightning, the only remnants left behind for me to audit are power and a lust for violence.
The room was saturated with their demon’s magic.
I look at my list.
I write down the rest.
Very alive. Very hungry. Lust for flesh. Loneliness abated.
The Fairies wanted me to check he was alive, and well, he was fed and he was very alive.
It was time to return home.
I hold my locket, open it up and pull out the piece of paper with his name on it.
I fold the list and place it with his name, inside the locket.
Once I closed it shut, task complete, the locket would activate. It would take me back home, and I could show them I was a good student after all.
After I shut the locket, I am waiting too long for the snap of magic to curl around me and shoot me out of this zone like a shooting star.
When absolutely nothing happens, I consider that maybe I didn’t lock it properly. I check and I am right. A corner of the list is poking out of the locket.
I open it up, and at the same time a violent gale of wind doesn’t just knock me off the window sill, but it takes my list and the name!
“NO!” I yell out and try to take off into the wind to chase my paper and list.
The wind keeps it ahead of me at all times, no matter how hard I try to fly faster.
The gale takes the papers up a dune, over the dune, and into a deep valley.
It’s another zone!
I have not been granted access to it.
The paper flies down into a city area, lit by burning fires and crumbling buildings of an ancient time long past.
The boundary keeps me from flying any further. I land in the sand and bury my hands into it, begging for entry with my heart.
“I’M STUCK! Someone help me!” I scream out, wondering if any other fairy is around to hear me. Maybe another fairy is auditing the other members of the pack?
I fly back up to the temple, which is now abandoned by everyone.
When I fly around the restricted zone, Anubis’ home – I cannot get beyond the dunes of sand hugging the temple on all sides of the pyramid.
I fly back into the temple, feeling exhausted.
I check out all the rooms, looking for a portal, or a stash of magical runes.
The many rooms are filled with supplies and offerings, but there is so much I cannot take it all in so fast with my little eyes.
I eventually find something I’m looking for in a room with a well. Water.
I sit on the edge and drink some.
Now I am alone and stuck here! Oh, fuck!
I observe my small face, pointy upturned nose and upturned green eyes and pointed ears. My hair is neatly to my shoulders, a light mess of black waves. My silver dress is comfortable but not suitable for desert weather long term. I would have to stay inside.
I wipe my tears away and look for a book of spells.
I do find one in a magic room, but it is closed and too heavy for me to open, because the cover is encrusted with gold.
For the moment I am doomed.
All I can do is wait.
2 hours later
I am resting by the well, my feet dangling toward the water, when the Lycans all return. They return with treasures and supplies, dumping them into each room. I hear the commotion.
The pack leave the temple, and Anubis remains, stalking through the rooms, taking note of everything before eventually coming to the well for a drink.
I stay where I am, as he approaches me directly.
I almost feel his crimson eyes directly on me for a second, but they quickly focus on the well and I know he cannot see me because nothing in his aura notes a change.
I cross my legs and stay still, not to disturb the dust, as he strides closer.
He could squish me with his hand if I am not careful where I position myself.
He puts a clawed hand down on the rim of the well, just next to me, as he leans over to cup some water with his other hand, taking his fill.
A few times, he dips his hand into the water, bringing it up to use his tongue to lap up the drink.
I watch him drink very attentively, leaning on my side, my chin resting on the palm of my hand.
I stare right at his reflection.
So fearsome and now projecting confidence and a content mood.
His red eyes look down into the well.
He stops breathing, and a curiosity enters his soul.
Anubis’s eyes slowly roll over the water, to the rim.
It appears as an illusion to me, as if he is looking right at me through the reflection of the water.
I just stay still, staring back, wings relaxed and lazy behind me.
I feel sad he cannot actually see me.
Until my slow little brain realises he is actually looking at me. For real, for real!
The Lycan’s head twists to mine, but as he looks away from the reflection, he has lost sight of me. He can only see me if he looks into the water’s reflection! Anubis realises this and looks back to the water and we lock eyes again. I’ve jumped to my tip toes and flared out my wings.
Anubis reaches out a hand for me, while looking at the reflection only for guidance to my location.
He misses as I fly up and out of the room, before his searching hand tries to crush me.
I fly to the window and stay away from the water’s reflection, as Anubis spins around the room, his eyes searching for me everywhere.
Without a word, he stalks out of the room and I follow his movements from safely outside the openings which act as windows without window panes. I stand on an open yellow brick, hands on hips as he opens that darn spell book I couldn’t open before.
I wish I could peek closer!
Mm… damn it. I can’t help myself. I dare to fly closer, keeping above his head as I look at what he’s looking for.
Anubis flips through the pages too quickly, but finds the spell page he is searching for.
He’s reading about Nymphs and Pixies. I sigh. Not Fairies. Fool.
I fly away in disappointment and sit on the yellow brick again, looking at him reading intently about the wrong kind of little creature I am not.
When Anubis does not find what he is looking for, he leaves the room. I carefully note him looking through a pile of treasure dumped in another room. He sifts through all the shiniest objects. Strange creature. I don’t understand how a Lycan truly thinks.
I fly back to the spell book in the other room.
I see he left one page open.
It is a page about Reflections!
I stand on the book’s paper, reading about it because I wanted to learn what that meant too!
Water is a source of reflection.
A window pane.
Some precious metals.
I walk along the lines as I read, scratching my chin.
I feel a sense of eeriness overcome me, as I keep reading some useless information, but I pace my way to the corner of the page. I can lift pages now that the cover was off!
I squat down and fumble for the corner, grabbing a hold, I start to curl the paper back, but before I continue any further, I pause.
I should check where he is first.
I stand up and jump around.
Oh, hm – what?
I am staring at a reflection of the book and myself.
It is so large, I am confused and perplexed for a moment, until I see the edge of the ‘illusion’, where furry claws are holding up a large mirror!
As I look up to see the Lycan head above the mirror he is using to find me, an empty bird cage with the bottom ripped out, is thrust over my head before I can fly off.
I’m fucking trapped! I’m going to really die!
Anubis uses the mirror to see me, as he steps around it and he shoots me a menacing glare.
“Fairy. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t crush this cage on you right now, you’re in my sacred temple!” Anubis’s questioning is a normal tone, until he snarls at the end and it’s so loud it almost bursts my ear drums.
I hunch down and cover my ears.
When that roaring, which echoes around in my tiny head, finally subsides, we exchange glances through the reflection. My poor head hurts now.
“O-One good reason? I am stuck here and I need your help!” I tell him, shaking my fist.
“That is not a reason,” Anubis’ changes his tone, “Think again. You’re dead.”
“Do not kill me, Anubis, please,” I beg him, hugging the bars to my face, “Please!”
“You are dead,” Anubis repeats, more slowly, “You can not leave.”
“But Anubis! My Fate was stolen so I could make a list on you!” I explain.
“Your Fate?” Anubis asks, intrigued, his anger in check for now.
“Yes, my Fate was stolen! I am not really dead, well I am… I was killed but I… I believe it was the only passage to reach you,” I hope he understands, “I mean you no trouble!”
“You drank from my well, so you mean me trouble – you don’t have a right to my property,” Anubis is either dead serious or teasing me. I can’t tell.
“It was a mouthful, equivalent to a tear drop for you!” I complain, “Please, Anubis.”
“What is your name?” he asks me instead, “Stop saying Anubis, Anubis, Anubis. It’s fucking annoying.”
“…my name is Cleo,” I blush, hoping he doesn’t remember me.
Oh, he so remembers.
Anubis goes deathly quiet.
He gets down on one knee, so his eyes are at my level.
“Cleo watches over you,” the foreboding Lycan reminds me what I said into his ear, with a new harshness in his tone, “Have you gone insane? No one watches over me, little bitch.”
What the fuck was his problem?
Oh, Lycan’s had a mouth!
I learnt this.
I should not be shocked, yet I still am!
I go very red and clasp my fists tight, my wings shimmering off red smoke from embarrassment.
“You can kill me if you desire it,” I admit, “I can do nothing.”
“A Fairy brings good luck,” he decides, “You can stay. As long as you don’t get in my way.”
“I will not get in your way,” I promise him, holding out my open hand through the bars.
Anubis amuses me by reaching out a big fat claw – that has flesh from a previous kill stuck underneath. Luckily, I was too small to be a meal.
I lay my hand on his claw and pat it.
Deal done, I step back and he lifts the cage off me, throwing it aside. He keeps the mirror up so he can continue to see me.
I fly up to his eye level.
“I will find a place to rest out of your way, as I am tired,” I tell him, “Goodnight.”
I fly off before he responds.
I fly out of the room and onto the window again.
Anubis looks around the room, tilting the mirror to catch me at the window.
“You’re dead,” Anubis tells me a third time, and I seem to understand what he means now, “It means you can never leave this place, you’re stuck here with me.”
Oh, well… that’s what he thinks. He would be right usually, but I wasn’t a mortal. I had many tricks up my sleeve as a Fairy. All I needed was my list and name. One day I would find my ticket back out of here, I just had to be patient.