Warrior of the Damned

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13

We left at dawn, preferring to travel under the safety of the sun. Our pace was slow, as Naevia was old and frail. Her werewolf form was formidable and powerful. She was deadly. But as a human, she was less than intimidating. She needed to stop and rest often and this slowed us down significantly. As anxious as I was to get home, or back to what was left of my home, I wasnt angry with her. The fact that she wanted to help was much appreciated. We needed every advantage we could get.

Days of travel had left us exhausted. My first trip to Naevia's had not taken this long but Marek was insistent we give the Castle a wide berth as not to be spotted. It would take us longer but we could easily sneak into the castle through the old tunnels that lead to the dungeons. There would not be guards as no one was stupid enough to try to get in to a place crawling with werewolves... Well, no one but us.

The nearest entrance to the tunnel was a mile away from the castle itself. It was covered by weeds and moss and not easily spotted to those who didnt know where to look. Luckily, my best friend had an excellent sniffer.

We decided to make camp for the night and set our ambush for daylight. Werewolves slept during the day and thus would be more vulnerable. Their numbers had increased significantly since they first stormed my castle. Word had spread through the woods and more clans had joined in on the cause. Apparently, world domination was an enticing thing.

Marek and Naevia insisted on starting a fire. This was not so much for warmth as it was to keep the wolves at bay. Because two werewolves were obviously not enough of a deterrent? Fine.

************

I awoke to a smoldering fire. It was dark out and I had no idea when I had fallen asleep or for how long. I looked around. Naevia was sleeping. Marek was gone.

"Marek?" For a long time, I got no response. The smoke from the fire had gone completely and I wasnt sure if I was supposed to try to start it again or not. Just as I stood up, deciding to rekindle the flames, Marek's voice filled my head.

Danger!

My heart fluttered with panic. I grabbed my bow and arrows, strapping them securely to my back. I shook Naevia, who woke startled. "What's wrong?" She demanded as she saw the fear in my eyes. All I could say was "Marek." She listened for a moment then suddenly shook into werewolve form.

I jumped back confused as to what was coming, terrified that I didnt know.

Close!

I could now hear something crashing through the forest. Something big. I grabbed an arrow and loaded it against the string, ready to shoot--no questions asked.

Ahead of you. I'm to your right, dont shoot me.

I nodded in affirmation, even though I knew he couldnt see it. Naevia was beside me, on my left. She prepared to pounce on whatever was coming our way.

Marek got to me first and I stood sandwiched between two humongous werewolves. All of us anticipating an attack.

The intruder slowed now, as the woods quieted, thankful not to be damaged anymore than the beast had already done. The bushes parted and out stepped a man. Not a werewolf.

"Beval!" I cried and ran to hug him. Marek snatched me with his big claws before I could reach my old family friend, "What are doing you Marek? We know him!"

Not as well as you think.

I was confused. Beval had a devilish smirk on his face. Naevia sniffed the air, growling.

"Dear Princess! You are alive! Aiden will be so happy to hear the news," Beval exclaimed, mockingly. What was going on? Why was Beval still alive? I know I hadnt seen him at my birthday celebration but assumed he was eventually slaughtered along with everyone else. I doubted they let any of my people live.

He's Damned, Addy. A murderer.

Beval? A murderer? No... he had saved me and my family a thousand times over. He was a loyal servant to the crown. Wait... did Marek also call him a werewolf? No...

Beval grinned at me now, "Has he told you yet? I know Naevia has figured it out." I was beyond confused now. My brain couldnt fit the pieces together. What am I missing, Marek?

Naevia snarled and snapped her jaws.

Beval Shifter.

My jaw dropped. Beval turned his attention to Naevia, "Hows your mate, old Warrior?" He laughed.

My eyes widened in shock. He murdered her soul mate? My world came crashing down. I had known this man my entire life! He had always been kind to me! Hell, he saved Marek's life! He also knew what Marek was before me... was this how he knew? Because he was the same thing? Why is this happening?

Beval transformed infront of me, brown and gray. A werewolf now, ready for a fight. Ready for a kill. Suddenly all my fears and confusion converged into one. My body couldn't contain all the knowledge of the last month and I erupted. From my gut, up my chest and out my mouth, I released a long suppressed, agonizing scream from deep in my throat.

In a flash, Naevia and Beval jumped into each other--snapping, clawing and thrashing. Spittle flying every which way, growling and snarling. Each one was thwarting the other's attempt at a chunk of their neck. As I watched in horror, Marek sat me down, ready to help Naevia if she needed it. I didnt know how he would be able to tell. Fur was flying every which way!

They rolled around on the ground, switching places atop of the other. Naevia scruffed him with her fangs and tossed him into a huge oak tree. He hit hard, a whine escaping his body. Before he could get up, she was on top of him again. She roared in his face and bit into his arm, shaking her head violently from side to side. His whole form moved back and forth trying to stay attached to his arm. He yelped and used his powerful hind legs to kick her off.

She hit a big boulder, jumped right back up, shook her whole body like it was soaked with rain water and instantly she was back on top of him again. Her jaws snapped visciously over and over, trying once more to tear into his neck. This time Beval used his big claw and slashed her face. She cried in pain, backing away and shaking her head furiously.

I readied my bow. I didnt want to take this kill away from Naevia as she had been waiting centuries to enact her revenge. Waiting patiently all this time to get justice for her love. I would not rob her of that if it wasnt necessary but if he got her dead to rights, I was prepared to end it. He would have to die.

I could see she was in trouble now as he had gotten a claw across her one good eye. The gash was huge and blood was pouring out. There was no way she could win this fight now. She couldnt see! I pulled back on my bow string, looking to aim.

Not yet.

I shot Marek a death glare but eased back on my arrow, hoping he stopped me because he had foreseen the outcome.

Beval was taking his time getting back to an upright position on his hind legs. Naevia was still snorting and sneezing, trying to escape her own wound. He charged her now, mouth open, ready to latch his huge fangs into her skull. She wasnt even looking at him!

As he jumped toward her head, she caught him mid air with one paw and immediately snapped his neck. His body crumbled, lifeless, as she let him drop to the ground. He receded within himself back to human form. Naevia did the same.

I ran to her. She was slumped against the log she had once fell asleep on. Blood covered the left side of her face and chest. "Marek! What do I do?" I cried out to him. He didnt move. His eyes left mine and he bowed his head.

Her breathing had slowed now. Her hand felt for mine. "What do I do, Naevia?" I whimpered.

"Let me go, child," her voice was raspy but soft as a whisper. I started to cry, "No, no, no! Dont leave me! We need you!"

She smiled, "Marek will be all you need. My work is done now." I cupped one side of her face in my hand, the other hand I used to stroke her hair, soaked with blood. I was still crying, softly now. I was trying to be strong and unafraid for her.

"But where will you go?" I whined, desperation in my voice. I had lost so many people in my life, all due to the violence of war. I didnt want to lose another. I didnt think I could bare it.

"I have someone to find." She murmured. I nodded, knowing her soul mate was waiting for her. I kissed her forehead.

Her grip on my hand released slowly, her chin dropping to her chest. She let out a raspy sigh with her last breath and then it was done.

Naevia was gone.

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