We were running deeper into the forest, blending within those green and musky colours as the spirits chased us with unimpeded fury and malice.
I looked to my right seeing nothing but the blinding dark shades of the red and grey body growing closer and closer. I knew, if any of those dark spirits caught us then death would be inevitable but not in any brief way. It would be days of agony watching the your body surface break, bleed, rot so that every organ would fail one by one until the heart gave its final beat. I had seen those who suffered, stayed by their side helpless and finally snapped their neck with my jaws to lessen their sufferings. I didn’t want to become one of them. The spirit’s infectious touch was so corrosive that none of the medical aid came as effective as death itself.
“Alek, run faster. You lead half of the enforcers to the east, I will lead the other half to my left. Tell them to scatter and head up the west.” I communicated with the other commander.
“Be careful.” Alek nodded and swiftly arched his way to his right, followed by other enforcers. I bent my path to my intended right and mind linked the warriorson my side to scatter their run but keep heading into the west.
We had encountered the spirits in the late evening so, the miles they covered in fending off them suggested that the night would soon succeed the day and further fuel the chaos. The spirits were powerful during the night as their strength rejuvenated at the rise of the moon.
The spirits that were so angered now once guarded the realms of the three powerful kingdoms of werewolves and Lycan. The spirits were the immortal beings, belonging to those who had fallen serving their kings and families in war and were crowned as sacred deities of the kingdom. Years ago, the mighty spirits of the dead had forged their own coven of pure and dignified reasons, as to always protect the kingdoms and never let one rise over or invade the other. These three kingdoms, the Gaiamata, the Theomata and the Zoimata formed in three different realms birthed their own names that were characterised through their alliances around the place, so the spirits were never belonged to any particular kingdom.
The spirits rose over division and equity, their names were taken in admiration and respect and moreover, every enforcer’s position in these kingdoms was bestowed with the gift to be able to communicate with them. The spirits and the enforcers ran parallel with the motive of protecting their own so, never once did any kingdom think that their guardian would turn their backs on them and, no one was prepared for such.
I could hear the shuffling and, laboured breaths of other comrades around me. We had been running for quite a long time sprinting from miles to miles, leading the spirits away from their kingdom, the Gaiamata. Our kingdom was named after the alliance with the human world and their surrounding, though our presence wasn’t too exposed like the other two kingdoms, which each had an alliance with either the gods or other supernatural creatures. We ran more risk of getting interfered from humans, so we laid low as much as possible.
The night had risen with the silver moon throned in its rightful place against the black sky. There was a shift in the wind as our group ran along the woods. It was no doubt that the day’s end would provide a reprieve to the soil from the glaring sun, but the air and the soil around us had dramatically chilled and further panicked us.
“They are growing close, Elai. I don’t think we can outrun them. Should we fight back?” A warrior mind linked me.
“Don’t fool yourself thinking we can overpower their strength, especially now. Don’t panic. Just keep on running and when we reach the border of the human world they will vanish themselves.” I calmly informed my group as we kept pushing far away from the forest. Us enforcers were built stronger, agile and more tactical than the others, but our strengths too needed periodical restoration. The spirits never went beyond the kingdom's territory, so I knew staying close to the human territory would keep the spirits off our backs for now.
We had good night visions, as sharp as the day, so our group had no worry navigating around the tree. But, a sudden mist had encircled around us which could cause us difficulty if it rose above our heads.
The trees shook and shuddered as the spirits grew more agitated and powerful as the night itself. The dark aura around the shapeless body got more saturated as they gained more proficiency in their speed. They hissed and growled, thunders dancing in their vocals rather than voices. Like a wave of the sea, they surfed through the trees and winds, determined to seal the fate of at least one of us.
I tore through the wind focusing only on reaching the border. I hoped that Alek too would reach there before the spirits consumed them.
Soon, the lines of the trees were thinning and the soil grew rough which indicated that we were nearing the border. I had been in this place only once before when I was ordered to go along with one of the royal council members to get his human mate. Since then, I had confined myself in this territory, never thinking of visiting it, until now.
The mist had abruptly dissipated during the time and the our strength only fueled for survival. The paws snapped the fallen twigs and foliage in resounding echoes that were soon drowning under the roars of the spirit. I didn’t like it. After some minutes of running, we reached the border. Some of the enforcers slowly jogged before collapsing on the barren ground. I too wanted to rest but, had to look for Alek first. I hadn’t heard from him for long.
As if there was an invisible wall between the forest lines and barren ground, the spirits couldn’t inch forward beyond the grassy lands that marked the territory of Gaiamata. I looked towards the spirits and attempted to contact them. Closing my eyes, I feel myself building a bond in the air that desperately tried to grasp a mutual thread of communication with the spirits. There was a long pause before I felt a snap and, upon opening my eyes, I found the spirits gone. I looked around but only found the worried and inquisitive faces of my comrades.
"The spirits didn’t tie a mutual bond again. They turned down my request to speak with them." I said. Just then, Alek appeared with the rest of the group.
“Glad everyone is fine. Should rest here and leave at the first light of the dawn.” Alek announced. He was not much of a speaker and I respected that. Through time and situations, we had been paired at different circumstances of our life, bonding our close friendship that didn’t need an exaggeration. It only took some words and glances to decipher each other’s motives and through that, I knew that Alek was worried for the group though he never showed it explicitly.
The soil around the border was very coarse which explained its barrenness and, the land stretching far away was fairly visible under the lunar illumination. We were trying to wear off their exhaustion but knew that uncertainties lurked around every corner so none of us had transformed back into our human forms.
I stood far from the group, running my sight into every direction and sniffing the air for some unfamiliar smell. Everything seemed quiet for now. I wanted to believe that but for the past few days, there were a lot of issues going off the track that convinced me to stay vigilant and cautious despite the calmness. I returned to the group, finding that everyone but Alek was resting on the ground. Approaching a pacing Alek, who looked too engrossed in his internal thinking, I stood near his side.
“You don’t seem to like planting your arse on the ground. Got an itch?” I asked.
“You always do. I’m not sure what they want. I have never encountered such angry spirits as them and they seem to grow every day. This just doesn’t feel natural. ” I couldn’t even link his mind with those spirits which confused me more than to angering me. I had a natural ability to connect more easily and deeply with the spirits than others which made me earn the position of commander following a few years after my induction in the force. Yet, I was failing this time.
“Ain’t sure. It definitely has more reasons than we think.” Alek averted his eyes from mine and, looked ahead at nothing particular.
I just nodded. “Let’s be back tomorrow and we can discuss this with the Head Enforcer. It would be the third time this week.”