the blood's run stale

POSTED: Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:22 am

(+500 words)

The woods were quiet save for the sound of his breath whistling through his teeth, and the soft rasping of wings above his head. Adonis twisted his ears around, eyes bright and alert, as he stalked through the underbrush; weaving through the trees like a ghost in search of game. It was not Seer that cast the dark winged shadow on the ground, but a crow he'd flushed out of a nearby pine.

He was on a hot trail. A deer had recently passed through, and he bent down to examine a pile of leavings on the trail. One hand perched on his knee while the other he waved over the droppings, quickly judging them to be only minutes old. He pushed himself back to full height, his nose flaring as he inhaled the sharp scents of the forest. Something was off, but he couldn't place it; he was unnerved all the same. His hackles bristled in a wave only to flatten again as he refocused and continued down the trail.

Moments later the loud snap of a branch startled him, and he pulled his lips back in a silent baring of teeth against the invisible source. Ahead was a thick tangle of shrubbery and new growth, and he flexed his hands into quick fists and relaxed them again to steady his nerves. Hunting was never this complex in his lupus form, and he regretted not shifting before heading out. Now it was far too late to second guess himself.

The wind shifted then. On it bore the pungent musk of a female moose, followed shortly thereafter by a deafening roar. Adonis started, and watched, frozen, as the massive ungulate barreled headlong out of the woods directly towards him; he saw hell in her eyes. He managed to dodge away from her lethal hooves as she delivered a powerful kick to the air where he was standing milliseconds earlier.

Breathing hard, and facing at least two tons of enraged moose, Adonis turned tail and tried to flee, only to be knocked down. The air in his lungs was expelled by the force of the kick and he went flying into a snowbank. Dazed, Adonis struggled to right himself. Another hoof grazed across his shoulder and he snarled in pain. He blinked away tears and watched a blurred white streak rush past him, vocalizing angrily, and diving at the moose's face. It cried out and backed off, giving Adonis an opening.

He took it, stumbling through the snow and away from the distracted creature. He ignored the pain his shoulder and ribs, focusing solely on getting a safe distance away. He ran for what felt like minutes until exhaustion slowed him to a crawl. He collapsed against a tree and clutched at his shoulder with a hiss. Seer joined him moments later, landing on the soft moss and immediately tending to his ward. The pale avian gave off soft chattering sounds as he cocked his head left and right.

Adonis lay there for a good half hour, and only after gathering the strength to stand did he make the trek back to New Dawn in search of a healer.


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