[M] disintegration

POSTED: Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:05 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

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He ran faster and harder than he ever had in his life. Arrows that once threatened his heels began to fade in distance and number until he was out of reach, slinking into shadow towards the plumes of smoke snaking black tendrils into the sky. Gentle slopes began to even out as the first pines shot up from the ground, silent stalwart sentinels that greeted him like old friends. But he had no time.

His heart raced, his breaths in direct contention as pants became gasps and his calves screamed for reprieve. As the forest closed around him and the sky darkened he could smell the ever-devouring flame. The bastards! He passed from tree to tree, gripping onto their trunks to keep him on his feet, to press forward. The wolf’s blood crusted between his fingers and he ground them together, cursing the usurpers and calling to his god for more. And then he heard the screams.

He stiffened and listened. Slowly his face drained of all color, all sensation. Three voices: two male, one female. No! Claws raked bark as he flung himself forward. Closer and closer he edged to the shrine of his god as the wood grew darker and darker, as smoke choked the air and drained the forest of life. And the screaming...the screaming.

Silence.

He tried to shout, but coughed instead, gasping, panting, doubling over. The air was thick with it, stifling suffocating smoke and the vile flicker of flame. He felt the heat surround him, tongues of flame drawing ever nearer. Voices behind him.

“Any rats left, I wonder?” Athras passed from tree to tree, away from the voice, away from the coming inferno.

“I heard screams.” Came the reply, somewhere to his left.

“Not enough.” Said the first. “Swear I saw another run inside. Guess they wanted to burn with the rest.”

“Could be hiding.” Suggested the second. Alarmingly they sounded closer. He held a shaking hand to his mouth and prayed to Nanin that he did not cough. “Come out--come out!” The man called in vile sing-song.

“Best get it over with!” Said the other. “It’s an awful death-- fire.” They were pinning him in, one on either side shepherding him towards the burning wood. The whites of his eyes flashed again as he pressed himself so tightly to the tree trunk he could feel the bark scraping his skin. He held the horned dagger against his chest, watching, waiting. He could see them now, the fire casting shadows across their faces as their wicked eyes searched. One of them coughed, holding a cloth to his scarred muzzle. Athras’s grip tightened, gaze sweeping between them frantically as they closed in. His eyes watered, his throat itched he was going to...he couldn’t take them head-on.

He began to climb.

He sheathed the horned dagger and hugged the tree trunk, scrabbling with drawn claws up up up, as he had so many times as a pup. This forest was his home. He knew every twig, root, and tree: every forest-dwelling creature. He held his faith close to his breast, uttering prayer after prayer to Nanin and trusting that the verdant stag would see him through. Cat-like he darted up through the branches as fast and as high as he could go. The usurpers below rounded the tree, weapons drawn. They exchanged glances as Athras, above, held his breath.

“What?” One hissed. “Where-- did they --go?!” He sounded hoarse, coughing as he pressed the cloth tighter to his face. A horn sounded in the distance. Retreat!

“We need to get out of here!” Said the other, voice cracking as he choked on the words. They left. Athras watched their silhouettes flee, his vision swimming. He breathed freely, but nothing but smoke entered his lungs. His family was dead, he saw their faces one last time before he faded into unconsciousness.

Athras Eryn
New Caledonia
The Half-Shadow
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Stormie
Luperci

Canon