The roaring of beasts and screams of grown men filled the valley. Gunfire crackled from the left followed by several small explosions to the right. Ezekiel, a Drakon just coming into adulthood, scrambled behind a mound of mud and rock. He pressed his back against the rocks and ducked his head down. His tan camouflage uniform helping hide most of his body in the desert landscape. He had questioned his commander about sending him to the desert rather than the forest, where his olive green skin would have been more suitable for.
“You’ll do as you’re told.” Was his answer, so that’s what he did.
A growl followed by another explosion rocked the ground. He flattened himself on the ground and army crawled to the opposite side of the dirt mound. A large silver wolf was in battle with a brown wolf, a group of dead Drakons laid scattered. Ezekiel swallowed retreating back a bit to stay hidden while he watched the beasts battle it out. Lycanthrope against Lycanthrope was a rarity to see. Not many were against their own race.
The two rolled across the ground as a purple skinned Drakon took aim with an assault rifle lifted from a human. Ezekiel ducked down, his catlike ears pinning back as the gun went off. Bullets slammed into the closest Lycan, causing it to roar in pain and anger. A black wolf raced down the cliff side and took out the purple Drakon in a swift bite. It threw the Drakon to the side before joining the fight with his injured ally.
Ezekiel held his breath for a moment, steadying his hand for an energy attack, when he heard a small cry. The sound was coming from a group of boulders near the wolves. It drew the attention of the black wolf. The beast raised his head in the direction of the sound, his lips pulling back in a snarl. Ezekiel lowered his hand and crawled forward, trying to see what was behind the rocks before the wolf could.
A small Lycanthrope boy sat curled up behind the boulders. His tail tucked between his legs, his body trembling in fear.
The silver wolf tore away from the brown wolf and tackled the black wolf. The brown wolf jumped onto the silver wolf’s back, biting his neck, freeing the black wolf. The black wolf took the opportunity and ran towards the sound coming from the rocks.
Ezekiel jumped to his feet and ran towards the boy, arriving just as the black wolf hovered over the child, teeth gnashing. The boy screamed as Ezekiel tackled the beast, using all his force into an attack that broke the Lycanthrope’s front right leg.
“Run!” Ezekiel shouted at the boy as he wrestled with the black wolf.
The boy gasped, then turn and ran, stumbling down a rocky slope and out of sight.
The silver wolf tried to follow, but was stopped as another wolf slammed him to the ground. The silver wolf howled in pain before climbing to his feet and running in the opposite direction the boy had ran in. A group of Lycan’s, several untransformed, and humans blocked its exit.
Ezekiel shoved his hand into the black wolf’s chest and fired off an energy attack. The burst of energy pushed the Lycan back while igniting its chest. Ezekiel fired another blast into the wolf’s eyes, blinding it. He turned and ran in the direction he had seen the boy go.
The boy hadn’t gone far, and Ezekiel didn’t stop running as he passed by, scooping him up as he went.
“What are you doing out here!?” Ezekiel growled, ducking into a cave opening. He set the boy down and peered out the edge of the cave seeing if they had been followed. He saw a couple untransformed Lycanthropes reach the top of the rocky slope and look down.
“My dad, he’s out there!”
Ezekiel backed up away from the entrance, “The silver wolf?” He looked down at the little boy, “The one fighting against the other Lycan’s?”
The boy nodded, “He wanted me to watch a fight…”
“Is he fucking stupid?! This is a war, no place for a child!”
Ezekiel snarled, pressing himself back against the cave wall. The little boy whimpered. After a moment of silence a low soft cry emitted from his lips as he sat down on the ground. Ezekiel looked down at him in shock.
His mouth opening and closing in panic, “Kid, kid stop it. You’ll be heard.” He hissed, peeking outside again before turning to the child and picking him up, “Sh! We have to be silent.” He said retreating further into the cave in hopes of finding another exit.
The boy hiccuped, “B-but my daddy…”
Ezekiel frowned, “He’ll be okay, kid. I have to get you out of here though.” A tremor was working its way up his right leg. Ezekiel shook it off, pushing himself into a jog.
“What’s your name, kid?” He asked noticing the boy’s hold on him get tighter the further into the cave they went.
“Gabriel.” The boy whispered.
Ezekiel slowed to a walk, the darkness too much even for his eyes, “Gabriel, I’m Ezekiel.” He pulled a flare out from his pocket and lit it,“We’ll get you out of here, Gabriel.” He whispered. The cave split up into three passageways, he could hear water running in one.
“I can smell grass from that one.” Gabriel whispered, pointing to the left passageway.
Ezekiel nodded, “Grass it is.” He said, choosing the passageway Gabriel was pointing at. The tremor returned to his leg, this time worse. He tried his best to ignore it, his walk becoming jumpy. The cave began to light up with sunlight, and soon they were standing out in a valley. Gunfire crackled from somewhere in the distance. Ezekiel dropped the flare and set Gabriel down. He climbed up the side of the valley and sighed, a village was within sight.
“Can you climb up here?” He called down to Gabriel.
The boy nodded and made his way up to where Ezekiel was kneeling.
Gabriel looked around, spotting the village he grinned, “I’ve been there before!”
Ezekiel nodded, his fingers digging into the ground. His heart was pounding in his ears, the tremor in his leg had now moved to both legs. He couldn’t stand up. It felt like the fear he had was taking over him, and he couldn’t fight it off anymore.
“Are you okay?” Gabriel squeaked, grabbing his shoulder, then cried out when Ezekiel collapsed, “Ezekiel!”