The cold Russian air blew through her hair, pushing her long dark locks from her face as she crouched down, studying the large paw print in the snow. The frigid wind made her shiver and pull her parka closer to her body. By now many would succumb to the cold and give up the hunt, but for her the cold was where she thrived. It made hunting easier, her steps seemed quieter in the snow, her breathing calmer, and her mind sharper. Though her parents warned her about the danger of the forest and all the creatures they hold, she could help but disregard their warnings. It was like the forest was always calling to her.
“Come on Beasley, the beast couldn’t have gone too far.”
The voice interrupted her thoughts as her best friend and hunting partner Lev approached her with a smirk on his face and a gun in his hand. He was a few centimeters taller than her with a lanky body and messy brown hair that splayed across his forehead. His tan skin contrasted with his piercing green eyes hidden under dark lashes. She grinned and stood up, her own gun filled with silver bullets strapped to her waist clanged against her belt. Werewolf hunting had always been her favorite, the beasts were unpredictable and dangerous but a hell of a lot of fun to take down.
She and Lev hit the jackpot when they heard of an attack near their town and just had to get their hands on the creature. Though most adults would have advised the two sixteen year old kids to stay clear from such a creature, but the teens decided they’d be better on their own. It wasn’t their first hunt after all. Adjusting her thick coat around her body Rena followed her friend through the snowy forest
”What did you tell your parents this time?” Lev asks twirling his revolver in his hand as they walked. It was always the same thing with her parents, where are you going, who are you going with, will there be other mages around? All of it gave Rena a headache which led her to start telling her parents lies about her whereabouts.
Rena gave a half hearted chuckle “I told them that some of the other mages my age were meeting together to practice magic at the edge of town. And I’d love to join them.” Her tone was dry as they kept walking.
Lev threw his head back and let out a laugh “As if you, the great Irena Beasely, would ever spend your own willing free time practicing spells. You’re downright terrible at it.”
Rena rolled her eyes but knew he was right, being a mage wasn’t her thing, much to her parent’s disappointment, she was a hunter by blood.
The thrill of it made her feel alive, feel free, and most of all feeling in control.
“You’re right, i wouldn’t be caught-”She stopped mid sentence and held her arm out to stop Lev mid stride.
“Beasley? What is it?”
Her blue eyes wandered the forest searching for the sound she heard “Did you hear that?” She asked lowly, her gaze never wavering from the trees.
Before he could answer a twig snapped causing both hunters to turn their heads towards the sound. Lev cocked his revolver ready to shoot, the sound somehow seemed louder than usual. A low growl came from the dark forest, Rena reached for the gun on her hip, there was only one way to kill a werewolf after all. It all took a blink of an eye for the black beast to jump from within the trees releasing a powerful roar. Lev shoved Rena to the side as he threw his body in the opposite direction, the werewolf’s body hurling between them.
“Damn werewolves.” Rena grumbled as she hurriedly got up from the ground, her head throbbing from hitting the snowy ground.
The werewolf howled and wasted no time running towards Rena, Lev got up and aimed his gun at the beast, only grazing its shoulder but managing to get its attention from her. Howling, it changed directions heading straight for the boy, it’s eyes raging with anger, foam at its mouth, and claws ready to tear. Lev held his gun up once again ready to shoot.
He pulled the trigger to hear no sound of the gun. He froze staring at the weapon in his hand. It was stuck, something made it jam and the beast was still coming towards him...rather fast. “ Shoot it Lev!” Rena screamed, fear evident in her voice.
Still looking down and trying to unjam the gun, Lev underestimated how far away the werewolf actually was. He let out a pained yell as it’s claws tore across his chest.
“Lev!” Rena exclaimed scrambling around for her gun that had slipped from her grip and landed somewhere in the snow. A moment passed before she found the weapon. Holding it towards the werewolf she shot and missed once more. It turned with a growl, his large body looming over Lev’s, yellow eyes landing on Rena.
“I’m going to kill you now you bastard.” She says lowly aiming carefully this time as it ran towards her. Closer and closer it came but she needed to wait for the right moment, close enough to ensure a kill.
“What are you waiting for Beasley?! Shoot it!” Lev shouted as he clutched his bleeding chest.
“Just a little closer.” She breathed out fear slowly encasing her, her finger resting on the trigger. Just as she gained the courage to finally shoot with the beast that was leaping towards her, a large body was in front of her and with a sudden yell, the creature was levitating mid air, frozen, it’s deadly gaze still on her.
Rena’s eyes widened in shock seeing none other than her older brother in front of here. What was he doing here?
Her brother turned to her with eyes full of anger, wand still in hand “Are you out of your damn mind Rena?!”
Rena struggled against her brother’s grip as he dragged her towards their home with Lev following behind clutching his bloody chest grimacing with each step. The sun had begun to set and was a beautiful pink and orange color. If she wasn’t so annoyed, Rena would have been enamored by the sunset.
Luka turned to the boy with a glare “Go home Lev. Get that wound tended to.”
Lev’s gaze met Rena’s before reluctantly trudging trudging towards his home not wanting to anger Luka anymore than he already is. He didn’t need to be on the receiving end of that.
Rena glowered at her brother who merely rolled his eyes “Don’t give me that look Re, you’re the one who put herself in danger.”
With that he led her to their large wooden home, multi colored smoke coming from the chimney. Mama must be practicing again.
Swinging the door open Luka shoved his sister inside leading her towards the living room where their parents resided. “Look who I found wandering the woods with Lev again.” He bellowed out getting their attention.
“Irena!” Her mother says rushing towards her daughter checking to see if had any injuries “Are you okay? Are you hurt?” She asks frantically.
Rena sighed as her mother checked over her, so this wasn’t the first time she got caught out in the woods hunting some sort of creature, but she really couldn’t help it. Her mother examined her face looking for any sort of damage, Rena’s couldn’t help but appreciate the older woman, she was in fact the spitting image of her mother with a heart shaped face, small upturned nose, and full lips. Though she and Luka inherited their father’s stunningly blue eyes, tan skin, and jet black hair.
Rena rolled her eyes removing her mother’s hands away from her “I’m fine mama. I’m perfectly fine.”
“Fine?!” Luka says in disbelief throwing his hands in the air “ You were nearly killed by a werewolf!”
Rena shot her brother a glare in annoyance “Werewolf?!” Her father exclaims narrowing his blue eyes at his daughter, causing Rena to grimace. “What were you doing around a werewolf?” He questioned.
Luka reached behind him and threw her gun towards his father who caught it with wide eyes “What were you doing with this?” He demanded lowly.
Suddenly the floor looked really interesting to her “Hunting.” She responds slowly looking up at father.
“Hunting!? Irena Beasley you have no training nor the skill for hunting. What you did was reckless and could have gotten you killed!” He yells, the veins in his head popping out. Okay, he was definitely angry. She didn’t exactly get along with her father, his strict rules and expectations for her to become a Mage caused her to be a little rebellious leading to many fights.
“I’m fine Papa! Look I’m perfectly safe!” Rena argues, crossing her arms in annoyance.
“If your brother was not there to save you. For heaven’s sake Rena, you’re only 16!” Her father states with a glare.
Glancing at his wife tiredly he sighed “Karina, you know what we must do, we cannot keep letting our daughter put herself in danger. It’s those Volkov people I tell you! The further away from them the better!” Rena glanced between her parents in confusion, what exactly were they talking about? She froze in realization, they couldn’t possibly be discussing what she thinks they are.
Karina gently put a hand on her husband’s arm “Damien, we must let her make the deci-”
Her husband shook her hand off his arm “No, my decision is final” He turned to his daughter “That’s it Irena, we will not keep doing this anymore, we’re sending you to Ethelwine to begin your training as a mage.”
“What! No papa! I don’t want to be a mage, I want to hunt, I’m good at it.” She tries to reason holding back angry tears.
Her mother held her close as she continued to stare at her impassive father. “ I said my decision is final Irena. You will attend Ethelwine and you will become a Mage. This discussion is over.” He left no more room for argument. Rena merely nodded her head looking away from her father before stepping out of her mother’s embrace rushing up to her room.
Luka watched as she disappeared from view, grimacing as a loud slam of a door echoed through the home. He glanced over to see his mother wiping tears from her eyes and mumbling to herself then to his father who sighed deeply
“Papa, are you sure about sending her like this?” He asks cautiously. That last thing he wanted was to anger his father further.
Damien placed a hand on his son’s shoulder, the older man looking worn and tired “It’s what’s best for her. Being a Mage is in our blood, the sooner she realizes that, the better.”
Luka furrowed his brows as his parent’s walked out of the front room. An idea sprung to his mind, yes Ethelwine will be good for his sister, just not in the way they think it will.