Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"C'mon, Erik, let me help!" The speaker is a dark-haired nineteen-year-old shifter, practically bouncing from excitement and an overabundance of teenage hormones. "I want to be part of your team and hunt down the ghouls, and I know I can help!"

I sigh deeply. "Nina, you can help us best by staying home and protecting your brothers."

A look of annoyance and disdain flashes over her face. "Those lumps of suet? Hell, Erik, any ghoul that eats them is in for a heart attack from all the cholesterol in their roly-poly little carcasses!"


"Look, Nina, you're not making this easy," I point out. "One of the first things you have to learn to be on a team - any team - is to take orders without question, and you can't even take 'no' for an answer?" The bouncing stops, but her eyes are wide with hope and stubbornness. "Our teams are made up of experienced warriors - with a few that are less experienced, sure, so they can get experience in the field. You're - what? - five-foot two or three, maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet, and you've never used a weapon in your life. We don't have time to babysit you."

Her eyes go to hot slits.

"You think I can't take care of myself, is that it? You think because I'm not a bear or a wolf or a - a tiger or something, that I'm helpless? We'll just see about that - "

And with that, Nina is gone. Her shorts and tee drop to the floor, and a very pissed-off were-squirrel scampers up my pants leg, chittering with rage. Her tiny claws are like miniature pitons and she moves like greased lightning, moving too fast for me to do more than make ineffectual slaps. I feel her approaching my crotch - oh fuck - and then she's there and I hold my breath. She lingers there just a second - just long enough to make a point, I suspect - then her head pops out of the top of my jeans. I make a grab, miss, and now she's scampering up my shirt, leaving tiny scratches all along the way. More slapping, always too late, and then she's chattering in my ear, her claws dug into my throat and those chisel teeth poised at my carotid artery. I feel them just touch my throat... then she drops like a stone, bounces over to her clothes and - poof! - she's a girl again, and the clothes are even in the right places - a little twisted to be sure, but the shirt is on the top and the shorts are on the bottom and that's better than I could do.

She stands with one hip cocked, looking at me levelly. "Still think I'm helpless, big man?"

"Fuck, no!," I say feelingly. "Okay, you can join my team" - she whoops and bounces some more - "but you're on probation. You've proved that you can fight; now prove that you can follow orders. In the meantime, after school, you'll be schooled in weapons training. You want to be one of us, you're going to learn to pull your weight, and we're not going to take it easy on you because you're young or a girl. Got that, rookie?"

She whips out a flawless salute, going to a ramrod-straight attention. "Got it, sir."

Keon passed Ron's information on to those of us who were there last night, leaving a written report for Tori. She'll take care of informing anyone who wasn't there at the time. We talked - argued, mostly - about plans to deal with the ghouls, now that we know their new strategy. Still, we didn't really come to a consensus yet; by the time we called it a night, the sun was almost on the horizon and Nick had to fly to beat it home. The rest of us followed at a more leisurely pace, too tired even for bedtime games.

Raina joined us this morning, Nick having already gone to his darkroom to sleep the day away, and after we woke up, we managed to while away a few hours before adjourning to the shower... I don't know who designed this place, but the showers are huge, more than enough room for three people, or even four.... Good thing vamps don't really have problems with running water....

After breakfast (which is actually brunch), we go our own ways until Nick wakes. Ky goes to her salle to work out; I go to the garden, just to relax and maybe putter around a bit; and Raina? I think Raina's going to take a nap; she was tossing and turning and moaning a lot this morning. I wonder what she was dreaming about?

The knock is soft, a mere tap. Ron's brother Travis cracks the door and speaks to someone on the other side. He closes the door and stares at Ron. His eyes are wide, betraying his unease.

Sylvie looks up, glancing at the door, her brow furrows when Travis doesn't say anything. "Who is it?"

Travis glances nervously over his shoulder. "What are you mixed up in, Ronnie? He smells... dangerous. Like a..." His words falter. "What the hell is going on Ronnie?"

Sylvie starts to rise, but Ron's hand tightens in hers. "It's okay mom. Trav, is he blacker than a moonless night, with pointed ears and a blue streak in his hair?"

Travis nods. "Let him in Trav. That is Lord Keon Blackthorn, captain of an elite fighting corps. And he's a good friend."

Sylvie squeezes her youngest son's hand. Travis opens the door, moving aside. He watches them warily as Keon steps inside the room. The Unseelie Sidhe nods to Travis, then takes Sylvie's hand and kisses it gently. He clasps hands with Ron, grip firm. His eyes narrow slightly at the weakness in the werefox's hand.

His voice is the clipped impersonal tone Keon uses when either at Court or on a mission. "It is a pleasure to meet the mother who brought such a brave young man into this dangerous world. I am as honored to meet you, Lady Sylvie, as I am to call Ronald my friend."

The werevixen watches him carefully. "I hear you have been a good friend to my son."

Keon smiles, his dark eyes brightening as the smile reaches them. His vice slips into the lilt of his more casual tones. "Nay, My Lady. Ron has been a good mate to me. He has helped me through a vera rough time. T'would hae been lost without him, fur sure."

Sylvie smiles back. "Ah, I have heard of you, but not as a Lord. You are Ke, the friend Ron stays with sometimes?"

"'Tis a joy ta hae the lad about. We keep each other sane."

Travis glares at Keon, standing away from the wall in a defiant pose. "What's that mean? Are you saying you and Ronnie... that you two are... Just what the hell have you been doing with my brother?"

He steps close to Keon, who towers over the slight foxman. His face is pinched, eyes narrowed in anger. Sylvie's voice is like a whip, snapping at him to stand down.

Ignoring his mother, Travis growls softly. "My brother is no one's plaything, not even some high and mighty Lord of whatever."

Keon frowns down at the man. His own voice has become clipped, taking on a dangerous timbre. "Ye underestimate yer brother, mate. He is a noble soul who was the best friend of me heartsworn, a brave soul who has helped save the wife of a good friend, and a man who risks his life in his off-times to keep this town safe. I don't see YOU on any of our patrol lists. Yer brother has gone out nearly every week. He would hae gone more if the rotation allowed."

Sylvie clears her throat as Travis opens his mouth. "I apologize for my son's rude behavior. Travis has not been here, Lord Keon. He moved away years ago and remembers Ronald as nothing more than a scrawny boy. He just moved back to town in the past week. This is the first he has seen Ron."

Keon nods once, eyes never leaving Travis. He nearly growls out the words. "Be that as it may, ye hae no right to speak fur yer brother. His life is his own and he has grown into a fine man. As fur his sexual choices, those are fur him to decide, net ye."

Ron struggles to sit higher in the bed. His mom helps steady him as he sits up, tucking pillows behind him for support. "Trav, I wrote to you about Ke. He was married to Cassie." Keon glances at Ron, but says nothing. "He's Mera's dad. Ke's the only one who really understands how I felt, how I feel," His voice catches, breaking. "knowing Dollie died at the hands of a rogue werewolf."

Keon turns on his heel, striding the few feet to the bed. Ron shakes his head. "I'm okay Ke." He smiles, the sadness tinged with a little happiness. "I saw Dollie. It's not my time yet, and she wouldn't be happy with me if I... joined her. Just like Cass." Tears fill his eyes and he blinks them away. "They would have liked each other,"

Travis still radiates anger, and Keon pointedly ignores him. Sylvie rises and kisses Ron's cheek. "I'll leave you boys to talk business. I think Travis must be hungry to have this much anger in him. I hear the food here is fantastic. Ron raves over it." She pats her youngest son's cheek. "Get some rest when you are done talking. I will check in on you before I have Travis take me home." She ushers Travis out the door, closing it behind them with a definitive click.

They can hear his angry voice, muffled by the door. "Sorry Ke. He is such a homophobe... He proposed to a human woman many years ago, only to be turned down for another chick. He won't even talk to one of our other brothers because he is bi." He sighs, leaning back into the pillows. "I don't know exactly what I will remember. I was drunk when I escaped, and had to stay in fox form longer than I should have been." he grimaces. "Not many places for a naked man to hide..."

Keon grins, pulling a small notepad from a back pocket. "Let's just talk. Ye've been through a lot, boyo. Ye'll be surprised what ye remember if we don't push it."

They talk, and soon Keon is filling a page with descriptions of his unsuccessful kidnappers, the paint job and style cab, the license plate number. He tells him of the thwarted attack on the drunk, and running into a patrol as he fled from the ghoul he interrupted. Ron's eyelids begin to droop and Keon closes his notebook. He helps Ron lay back in the bed. The door opens and he looks up to see Sylvie and Travis entering the room. Keon bows as he moves past, sharing a glare with Travis. His eyes glow red and Ron's brother turns his head.

When Keon leaves the room, Travis looks at his mother. "Just what exactly is he?"

Sylvie smiles sweetly. "Travis, you haven't listened to anything downstairs, have you. That man is the fae equivalent to a Were version of the Hell Hounds."

Travis stares at the closed door.


Star and Pike reach the small clearing not far from the cabin. She lets her senses guide her and moves to the large willow tree. She slowly parts the long thin branches and peers into the depths. She sees the Drow, sitting on the ground, obviously in a great deal of pain and trying to hide it once he looks up and sees Star.

“Milady...” Ghaunt tries to struggle to his feet.

Star rushes forward, “She beat you again? The last cuts are barely healed... Dont stand... please. Let me tend to your back...” Star slips the bag she was carrying off her shoulder and sets it on the ground.

“Milady, you are too kind. Please dont help me if it will cause you any trouble. I would not want your husband to punish you.”

Star smiles as she sets out her supplies, soft rags and cleansing solution and an ointment she made to soothe and stop the pain as well as aid in healing. “Erik would not punish me for this. He would understand if we explained...”

“NO! Please... I have placed you in danger with our friendship as it is. My mistress is... evil... beyond evil.... and your son would be a great prize for any Drow... It is best that no one even knows of my existence.”

“Pffiittt...” Star responds as she starts to gently wipe the injured skin of Ghaunts back. Her eyes fill with tears as she sees the old healed scars. So many of them crisscrossing his back that there was barely any unscarred skin visible. “My son is well guarded, all the time. Wish and Pike would kill any who dared to threaten him, as well as my husband and brother in law and the others sworn to us. Should I bring him next time so that you can meet him?”

“I would love to meet him and swear to him, but it is best that you do not bring him this far into the woods now. Please, promise me you will not, not until it is safe. But tell me of him... your stories help distract me from... this... and my life...”

Star smiles sadly, wishing there was more she could do for her friend. She knew Erik would yell at her for going so far into the woods after he told her not to. And Tannr would never understand, he hated and mistrusted the Drow from his dealings with them on the Unformed Plane. She sighs as she carefully smears the ointment over Ghaunts back. She tells him of the baby bunnies and their mother she rescued from Tannrs fox, and how Ru was fascinated with all the animals. She told him how Mera loved the doll Tannr had given her and she carried it everywhere with her and slept with her.

Gaunt sighs and lets Stars words take him to another place. Somewhere filled with laughter and light, where people loved and cared for each other. So unlike the place he was forced to call home. A place always dark and dank, where its peoples did nothing but fight and connive and plot to get ahead of one another. His thoughts were interrupted by Pikes approach.

“My Lady. We most go. There are Others near in the woods.”

Star nods and quickly packs up her things. She hands the jar of ointment to Ghaunt. “Is there somewhere you can hide it? Even here in the Willow, in case you need it before I can get back...”

Ghaunt nods, “It would be safe here, in the branches. I thank you for your kindness..”

Star smiles, whispers “Take care..” and disappears into the night with Pike.

Ruarc is sleeping peacefully. The bubble enclosing his cradle shimmers softly in the dim moonlight. Mya dozes among the petals of the flowers Star had brought in earlier. Wish sits on the floor in a corner, hidden by the darker shadows.  A Hound lays at her side, grizzled head resting on her knee. She runs sharp nails over the scaly skin, skritching lightly.

The night outside is peaceful. Wish runs her thoughts among the spells she cast for the clearing's protection. She feels a disturbance, but it is a recognized energy.

So who has gotten back first...?

"My priestess." Ardara is tall, but Ghaunt is so much taller that his abasement compels the eye.

"Report, slave."

"The tavern is well-protected, my priestess. It seems to be busy at all times, and I sensed some subtle magicks woven into the very fabric of the structure; I was unable to determine their purpose. Also, many of the patrons have warrior skills, magical skills or both. I do not say that the thing cannot be done, but I believe it would cost us many warriors to succeed.

On the other hand, I was unable to sense any kind of protections about the gallery, and those who dwell there are children - quite beneath the notice of a warrior. If we wait until the woman is leaving or returning, a frontal assault may not be necessary, and we may accomplish our purpose by guile, without the need for undue force."

He remains on his knees, not daring to raise his eyes. Ardara is intuitive to the point of appearing prescient, and it would not do for her to read his expression. It is a long time before she speaks.

"Something troubles you, slave?"

"My priestess?"

"You think more than you say, Ghauntel. I would know your thoughts."

His words come slowly, as though drawn forth against his will. "Why this woman, my priestess? 'Tis clear she is no virgin, which makes her of lesser worth as a sacrifice - "

"Do you question my decisions, slave?"

"As the knife to the sheath, so is my will to yours, my priestess."

"I wonder if that is so...." She casts a long speculative look at the kneeling figure before finally answering. "This - gargoyle" - her mouth twists, as though the word is bitter - "she is kin to one of that group who took it upon themselves to execute my sister for her 'crimes'. By taking this one for a sacrifice, I do in part avenge my sister while giving my goddess a most unique delicacy." A slow, cruel smile plays about her lips. "And now I think it meet that you learn not to question the decisions of your betters... Tarvyll!" The call is not loud, but it is answered before the sound dies away.

"My priestess?"

"Take this slave and have him soundly flogged, together with whatever refinements you think needful to remind him of his place."

"It will be done, my priestess."

Raina shivers at the warm caress of Ky's breath along the curve of her ear. "So... I'm Alise. What are you going to do to make me want you?"

Sighing at the soft feel of Ky's breath against the skin of her neck Raina closes her eyes. When she opens them again she sees Alise standing, Stoney rising to join Keon and Eik.

Raina stands too, quickly, startling Ky. She wonders if she has gone too far, if mentioning Alise were something she wasnt suppose to talk about with Raina. But when their eyes meet Ky sees the longing, the lust in the emerald green pools.

Raina takes a few steps towards Ky, forcing her back against the wall. Her hands start at Kys hips and slowly move upward, feeling the curves. Raina kisses Ky, slowly at first, her tongue barely tracing the outline of Ky's lips.

Pressing closer, Raina pushes a knee against Ky's legs, forcing them apart, her hands move to the sides of Ky's breasts, making her shudder. Gasping as kisses trail down her neck Ky grabs Raina hard getting her attention.

She buries her hands in the long ebony tresses, “Damn woman. I hope you are planning on coming home tonight...”

Raina kisses her again, more gently and tenderly, then smiles, “Well you did ask....”

Returning the smile and trying to catch her breath, Ky replies, “Yeah, I guess I did.”

Touching her face lightly Raina leans close, “I'll be back in a few...”

Moving over to the family table where Alise is sitting, her eyes wide as saucers, Raina takes a seat next to her. She notices Alise is breathing a little heavier, whether from watching her and Ky or from Stoneys attentions Raina isnt sure.

Alise smiles, always happy to see Raina. “Bon soir Raina.”

“Hey... I wanted to tell you something...” Raina reaches over and pushes the heavy gold tresses away from Alises face. She runs her hand through her hair and down the back of her neck, watching Alise shiver.

“I dont want to embarrass you in public... but you know you and Stoney are always welcome in our home...  Anytime...”

She leans close to Alise's ear and whispers: "and in my bed...."

The woman is petite. Her fiery red hair is liberally streaked iwth grey. The small  framed man with her looks around the room. Green eyes still sharp, he spies Ob and Pandora at their regular couch. Jeb speaks with them briefly, then calls a waitress over to take them to the Tavern's owner.

The woman has a regal air. Shoulders back, she looks at Pandora calmly. Only then do her eyes move to Obsidian. She nods to him. Her hands are clenched tightly together and she reeks of the worry her body language struggles to hide. Her escort Introduces her, and himself.

"I am sorry to intrude. This is Sylvia Redman. I am her son Travis. We understand that my youngest brother is convalescing here? Is it possible to see him?"

Ob puts a hand on Pandora's shoulder. Kissing her cheek, he rises to his feet. His long frame dwarfs the two werefox. Pandora introduces her husband and asks them to sit. Ob will make sure it is alright with Healer. Just then the baby kicks and Ob leans close to make sure she is alright and to tell their son to behave. The foxwoman reaches out tentatively, hand hovering. Ob tells her it is alright and Pandora beams. When the woman asks if it is Pandora's first, the witch tells them of Chloe. Ob slips away as Pandora sidetracks them with baby talk.

The noise from the room is raucous. Ob shoos the guys out, then asks Ron if he wants to see his family. A weight seems to slip from the boy when Ob tells him who it is. He nods. The Gargoyle sends to his sister and shortly there is a knock on the door. Ike ushers Ron's mother and much older brother into the room. His mother heads straight to the bed and strokes her son's hair back from his face. As the tears slip down her cheeks, Ob and Ike slip from the room.

Ob glances at the door, a wistful look on his face. Ike hugs her brother. "You miss yer mum, don't you bro?"

Ob hugs her with one arm. "Yeah, but I have a family of my own now. I chose my Kin and I am not sorry. But yeah, sometimes... like now... I miss mi madre'."

Ike hugs him back and they head back downstairs. "Ke will be up to talk to him in just a little bit. He said Ron needs time to be with his mom. They are close and he needs to tell her a few things." Ike tugs at Ob's hand. "C'mon. Let's see what the other patrols have to say..."

The tavern is its usual chaos when I come in from patrol. I need to check in with Tori, then I need to get my ass home; I don't like leaving Star, even though Wish and Pike are there, and they'd die to protect her and Ruarc.

I don't see Tori, but Monty tells me that Keon is coordinating in her absence. I wander over that way and I see something a little weird....

I'm not sure why Mortuis is at the Tavern; somehow he doesn't strike me as the kind of guy to drop by for a beer after work.... He's sitting by himself in a dimly-lit booth near the back, and I wouldn't have seen him at all if I hadn't passed by on my way to the men's room. There's a glass of something black in front of him, something that seems to soak up all the available light without reflecting any back. Weird....

Back at my table, I'm shooting the breeze with Keon when one of the college kids catches my eye. He's young; in fact, he looks too young to be here, but Jeb's very good at his job, so I shrug it off.

What I can't quite shrug off is the way he's behaving. He's so fidgety you'd think someone had dumped itching powder down his pants. He keeps wandering over near the sorcerer's table. Starstruck?, I wonder. I start to ask Keon about the kid - and then he makes his move.

Like a hawk he swoops; his fingers clutch at the black hood; and that's when I start to doubt what I see. It looks like his fingers pass through the fabric, or slide across it as though it were greased. Either way, he comes away without his prize.

And then the sorcerer stands. He turns to face his assailant; his hand grips a handful of his shirtfront; and he lifts him off the ground, holding him above his head without apparent effort.

This kid would go maybe 175 pounds, give or take. Now, I'm considered a fairly strong man, as such things go; but I couldn't lift him over my head and hold him there one-handed. I'm not even sure Guunar could do it. Nick? Yeah, probably, but he has that whole "my strength is as the strength of ten" thing going for him - the advantages of a liquid diet, not because his heart is pure.

He speaks not a word, but those ice-grey eyes speak volumes. He holds the boy aloft for a full thirty seconds, just letting his eyes do the talking; then he makes a flicking motion and the kid flies across the room to crash at Jeb's feet. The big werewolf hauls the boy to his feet and shoves him out the door. "And don't come back!"

I can't help it. I have to know. I stand and walk over to the mage's table. "What was that all about?"

The glare is so fierce I nearly step back, but then his shoulders slump and he murmurs, just loud enough to hear, "A fraternity initiation.".

The waitress heads for the stairs with the tray for Ron's room. As she reaches the first landing of the staircase, Ty vaults the railing, landing lightly in front of her. Marc slips up behind her and carefully pulls the tray from her hands as Ty cups her face.The waitress seems mesmerized as the handsome weretiger claims her mouth in a deep searching kiss.

Toby moves past the couple and takes the tray from Marc. He heads up the stairs as Ty lets the waitress sink into Marc's arms. The werewolf eases her back up on her feet and helps her back down to the main floor. Ty follows Toby up the stairs, hiding a wicked smile.

Marc joins them moments later. "You better take her out. If you don't, I'm going to wring your neck myself. She's friends with my half sister."

Ty grins. "I will. When we come back down I'll get her number. What a kiss... makes a guy wonder what else she is good at..."

Toby sighs and nudges at Ron's room door with the toe of his boot. Marc reaches past him and turns the knob. Turning around, the cougar backs into the room with Ron's tray. "You are such a slut. One day the perfect woman is going to walk away because you can't control your hunger."

Marc laughs. "It's not his hungers this tiger can't control."

Ty flexes his biceps. "You know what they say guys... This Tiger knows how to make it grrrreeeeaAAAAAT!" His words stop as the scent of herbs and astringent hits his nose.

Toby turns his head at the sudden silence, and blushes a brilliant shade of red.

"Evenin' Miss Rowan."

He sets the tray on the dresser and moves aside as his friends step through the doorway, embarrassed by their behavior.

Rowan smiles, gathering her bag. "I'll leave you boys to visit. Don't tire him out." She closes the door behind her, eyes dancing at the boys' discomfort at being overheard by an elder. Shifters... More respect in many cases, less understanding in others. Rowan laughs again, stowing her bag in a hall closet before making her way down to the bar for a drink.

Alise smiles and stifles the giggle that almost escapes. She doesnt want to make Ron feel worse, after all, there was a time not so long ago that she would have been just as embarrassed. She sends to Stoney, Chiot... please ask Monty if he has a pair of boxers for Ron. He is mortified to be naked under his sheet in front of us.. .I will come down in a minute....

She hears Stoney chuckle and tells Ron she will find him something to wear...

Raina is sitting at the bar, nursing a drink and watching the patrons. She still feels uneasy, there is a quiet, an expectancy to the energy in Exton but not in a good way. Couples are dancing, the shifter kids have overtaken a couple of tables, waiting to hear about their friend, more couples having a late meal. She watches as the detective comes in and looks around. Raina smiles, Gods, am I glad Tannr and Tori are gone for the evening... I thought Tannr was going to kill him the first time he came nosing in here...

She smiles as Alise comes down the stairs and makes a beeline for her husband. Stoney greets her with a kiss and after a few hushed words; they go to the bar to speak with Monty. Shortly a tray appears, juice, broth and a folded pair of boxers are ready to be sent up with a waitress. Alise goes to the shifters table and speaks briefly with them before returning to her husband.

Stoney takes her by the hand and taking a seat at their usual table he pulls her into his lap. Raina tries to look away and cant, her eyes glued to the sight of Stoney running his hand through Alises hair and up her back. He pulls her close and nuzzles her neck making Alises eyes darken with passion and half close. As Raina watches her own eyes darken, her thoughts swirling and imagination running. When Alise senses someone watching her she opens her eyes wider to see Raina staring at her, the lust unmistakable in her expression. They watch each other as Stoneys hands roam and Alise shivers, Stoney growing more bold as he realizes what is going on from his wifes thoughts.

Raina can feel herself getting hot and wet and takes a long drink from her glass, her eyes never leaving the couple. She nods when Monty asks if she needs a refill.

On the dance floor Nick and Ky are noticing Raina too and Ky asks whats up.

Nick shrugs and replies, “I think those two have had the hots for each other for some time but it just hasnt worked out.”

“Well, damn... she used to give us such a bad time about dancing around each other. She needs to take her own advice....”

Nick smiles, “Its a bit more complicated with those two. Alise scared her to death when they first met and she is obviously very much in love with her husband...”

Ky stops dead in the middle of the song. “Hang on Lover. I'll be back.”

Laughing Nick moves to a table, getting used to Ky's spontaneity has taken everyone at the Lodge some time to get used to. But it was part of what everyone loved about her, that and her bluntness that was almost childlike, she tended to say what she thought, when she thought it.

Ky approaches Raina from behind and wraps her arms around her, kissing her bare shoulder and glancing over at Alise. “Why dont you just tell her how much you want her?”

Raina startles a bit and looks at Ky. “And just how do you know what I want?” She asks, half teasing.

“Its as plain as the nose on your face. A baby could see it.. Seriously, why not? Looks to me like she feels the same....”

Raina sighs, “She is married, and committed to her husband. She's never been with a woman, I wouldnt want anything to ruin our friendship...”

“So, just talk to both of them and lay it all out. If anyone has any doubts then dont do it. But you never know, and its sounds incredibly erotic to me. Doing a woman for the first time while her husband watches. Think how turned on he would be... Hmmm... maybe we should go home and practice. We can fuck each other silly and make the guys watch...”

Laughing, Raina tells her, “Go back to your dancing. And yes, later, that sounds interesting. But good luck getting Nick and Gareth to agree to that one.”


"I don't want to go back, not when I finally found you again." He touches her hair, tucking it back behind her ear. "But I have to... I know now that you didn't run. Alise told me the truth..." His own auburn mop lifts on an unfelt breeze. "I have to... They need to know about the ghouls."

She moves into his arms, The blue and green streaks in her hair glittering in the odd lighting. "I know Ronnie. It's not your time. Your friends are worried, you're out too long." She presses a hand to his chest, covering the beat of his heart. "I'm right here... Right where I ever was. Don't mourn me forever. You need to live life to its fullest. You never know when it will really end."

Ron holds her close, whispering into her ear that he loves her, always will. He kisses her dolphin earring, finding his lips touching nothing as her words of love drift to him from somewhere far away.


There is the slow sound of dripping, the sensation of wandering in a mist. But the terror of being lost and hunted is gone. He hears voices. Women's voices, the quiet sound of concern.

"You need a break... you work non-stop..."

He knows that voice. Alise. He struggles to follow her voice as she speaks. The other voice brings his attention to smells. Food... good food, not the scent he had lived with for the last... how long? Ron tries to open his eyes, but nothing happens. Panic sets in and he struggles against the lethargy. Finally, he manages to crack open his lids. He doesn't recognize the ceiling above him. Eyes opening wide, Ron stares around the room. His gaze settles on Alise and Rowan.

The redheaded healer grins at him. "Welcome back."

A worried look crosses his face. Alise watches him, wondering if he knows where he is. "Ron? Do you know where you are?"

The werefox looks around again. "Tavern...?"

Alise nods, moving to take his hand, but Ron clenches his hands tighter around the sheet at his waist. He slowly looks down, lifting the sheet mere inches. He snaps the sheet down, cheeks flaming bright red.

"Ron, what's wrong?" The women watch him with concern.

His voice is strangled, almost non-existent. "I'm naked..."

Rowan sighs as she watches the IV fluid with the antibiotic slowly drip into the chamber and down the tubing.

Ron had slowly returned to his human form when they got him settled in a room at the tavern, almost as if he had known he was finally being cared for. Sweeney and Mole had stopped by and didnt really have any new information for Rowan. She knew infection would be setting in if he had been scratched by a ghoul. She had washed him, treated the gash on his arm and started the antibiotic. Now it was a matter of waiting, she had done all she could and it was in the hands of the Goddess.

She turns at the sound of tapping on the door and Alise comes in, carrying a tray. “This is for you... and do not argue with me. If you intend to sit with him, you need to eat.” Alise set the tray down and knelt by the bed. “Poor boy. He has been through so much. My heart breaks to see him like this...” Alise slipped the dolphin pendant over her neck and gently places it around Rons. She carefully pushes his hair away from his face and sighs. “I wonder what happened to him? Why didnt he get help sooner?”

“I dont know, but I am sure he will tell us when he is better. I would think once the antibiotic takes hold...” Rowan sighs and Alise stands and gives her a hug.

“You need a break, you work non-stop taking care of all of us...”

Shaking her head Rowan replies, “It would be lovely, but not now. Star isnt able to take over for me just yet and theres no one else. Pandora will have her baby soon, and I am so uneasy about this eclipse. I dont know why. I've prayed... and meditated....” Rowan shrugs, “What has Monty made? It smells delicious...”

Alise wasnt fooled by the abrupt change of subject. She sends to Stoney, Something is going on Remi... she isnt the only one uneasy. So is Raina and she says she can feel it from some of the others. Pandora thinks the little one is ready to come and it is a bit early, some of the Riders are on edge. I dont understand... We have had eclipses before... why is this one different?

Stoney can feel a sudden stillness, a quiet in his wife. What is wrong Chaton? Should I come up?

Nothing is wrong, mon amour. Rons girl friend is here, watching over him... She is so beautiful, I wish he could see her...

Alises eyes fill with tears, remembering the horrible way the girl had died, at the hands of Jean-Marc and his werewolves. She watches as the girl with the dolphin tattoos hovers near the bed, the love and concern for Ron plain on her face.

The bike roars to a stop and Tannr shuts the engine off. He could hear Toris soft gasp of surprise and he smiled, glad he thought of asking his sister to borrow the bike for the evening. Getting off he takes Toris hand and helps her. “I didnt know if you liked to swim...”

“Yes, I do. I dont get many chances... Tannr, this is beautiful. This must be where Alise and Stoney like to come...”

Tannr nods, “I think so. Alise mentioned it as a place that was kind of away from it all....” He pauses, watching Tori kick off her shoes and pull her shirt off over her head. The sight of her half naked in the moonlight makes Tannr swallow hard.

“What are you waiting for Coppertop? Lets get in the water...”

“Go ahead, I'll be right there.” Tannr opens the saddlebags on the bike and takes out two large towels and a beach blanket. He turns when he hears the splash and after a minute sees Tori come up for air, laughing and calling to him. Quickly tossing his clothes in a pile he joins her. His muscular body cutting through the water with ease.

It doesnt take long for the water play to turn into something more serious and soon the pair are clinging to each other, bodies pressed tight. Tannr feels her shiver, partly from need and partly from the chill of being wet. Her nipples tighten and pucker under Tannrs hand and he moans. “Lets get out of the water....” taking a deep breath, “And get you dried off.” Tannr tends to forget that the cold affects people more than it does it him and apologizes.

“No, its fine. This is great, getting away from everything for a awhile...” Tori spreads the blanket out and they sit, cuddled together in their towels.

Kissing and laughing, suddenly Tori's expression is serious and she is quiet.

“Red, talk to me. Whats wrong?”

“Nothing... this is perfect...” Tori takes a deep breath, 'But are you sure about this?”

“About what? Us?”

Tori nods, the insecurities slowly fading the more time she spends with Tannr, but wanting him to be positive about their relationship. Not wanting to trust if he wasnt sure.

“Yes! Gods, yes. I dont know that I have ever been more positive about anything.” Tannr pulls her closer, nestling her between his legs, her head resting on his shoulder. He feels Fox left his head and peek around his back, curious about the redhead he senses his master cares about.

Tori smiles and holds out her fingers for Fox to sniff. “I think he is getting used to me.”

Nodding Tannr says, “He is more wary than the others. A fox's nature I suppose... He rarely even gets that close to people, except for Star...”

Fox gives Toris finger a lick and he settles down, once again a tattoo on Tannrs back.

Out of the blue Tori asks, “Will you ever have to go back to the Unformed Plane?”

Tilting her chin and looking in her eyes, Tannr says, “No, I dont have to. I'm not interested in anything at the UP. What I am interested in is right here in front of me....”

The chair rocks slowly on its back legs. The feet attached to the person in the chair rest on the railing of the Tavern's back porch. Four patrols have checked in, and still not the one he got the call from. Toby watches the night waiting patiently.

His nose twitches. The smell that assaults his senses is a mixture of rotting food, weremusk, and ghoul. The group eases through the bushes from the alley, one carrying a small bundle. He surges to his feet, half expecting bad news.

The werewolf hands over the blanket wrapped form. Toby moves a corner and looks down on the still form of his friend in fox form. The breathing is shallow, harsh, and Ron doesn't open his eyes. The tall youth looks up at the returning members of the patrol.

It is the winged girl who breaks the stillness. "We think the ghoul managed to catch him with her claws. We can't be sure though. I was all for giving him a bath, but no one knows if it would make things worse."

Toby nods. "Can one of ya'll see if Rowan is inside, or if anyone can reach the undertakers?"
The werewolf nearly barks. "Dude! he isn't dead!"

The girl lays a hand on his arm. "No... but they are ghouls. If anyone would know, they would."

She turns away, heading for the door. The demon wings on her back seem to dissolve as she reaches the door. When she turns back with a smile, she no longer looks demonic. The hair is full of curls, body slim and face pixieish. It dawns on Toby where he knows her from. It's Hermione, the girl in one of the afternoon class he shares with Ron.

"Be back in a few, I'll see who can help."

Aware... he feels his siblings emotions and thoughts; hears her high pitched little girls voice.... he feels his mother's love, her hand resting against him as he moves beneath the skin of her belly; feels the emotion roll over him... he stills briefly as he basks in its warmth. He feels his father's emotion; love and pride; a son... soon... soon he will be with them beyond the enveloping warmth of his mother.

Darkness lengthens shadows. Nothing has come down the alley since the Hell Hound made its appearance. Hours later, sane creatures still avoid this small stretch of Exton. Ron sniffs the air, trying to see if any faint aroma of sulphur remains... Nothing... Only the stench of his own lack of co-ordination.

Using the night for cover, he eases out onto the main street. It's still early enough for people to be about. Ron keeps to the shadowed walls, darting through the sections brightened by the street lights. Darting under a parked car, Ron waits for traffic to slow before he tries to cross to the other side. A door across the street opens and a couple stumbles out of a bar. Ron freezes, watching. As the pair cross and trips onto the sidewalk near him, he inhales. A shudder runs along his spine, lifting his fur. Ghoul...

The woman opens a car door and a whiff of chlorine touches his nose. Ron growls, a high pitched sound that cuts through the night, The drunk human stumbles back as Ron stalks out from under the car. The female stops, staring at the small bundle of fur.

She starts to laugh until his lips curl back, baring daggerlike teeth. She growls back, skin stretching tight over bones as she starts to change. There is the aroma of urine, and the human stumbles back. pulling out a cell phone.

"911? There is a... a... rabid fox, man... across the street from the State Street bar... Dude I'm serious... It's stalking my new girl..." He stares, phone nearly slipping from his fingers. The girl has changed, Instead of the hot blonde, the creature growling at the fox was all teeth and claws.

Ron feints at the female's left side. He swerves as the claws nearly reach his back. He darts in again and she catches the very tip of his tail. He escapes the claws, leaving her with a tuft of white hair. He streaks around her, darting for an alley. The ghoul gives chase, grinning.

Place to hide, place to hide, place to hide...

The prayer rolls through his head as he listens to the claws scrap along the dumpster he has just passed. He knows she is just toying with him, but he couldn't let her take another human. A stench of rotted meat glides over him and Ron spins, finding her nearly upon him. Frantic, he scrambles away. The boards across a ground level window have just enough room for him to squeeze through and he drops to the floor inside as he hand punches through the wood. He skids to a stop as the aroma of musk and sulphur assaults his senses.

Red eyes gleam in the darkness. Suddenly Ron's fear slips away, leaving him to slump onto the floor. There is a footfall, the sound of a solid heel on the cement floor. There is a squeek and someone curses softly. Another crack at the window draws the red eyes. Ron looks over his shoulder. He closes his eyes and prays again.

Suddenly, he is airborne. It happens so fast the werefox has no idea who threw him. Ron twists in air, trying to be in position to land on his feet. Snatched in midflight, his breath whooshes out of him. The werewolf gags, words rasping. "Dude... you fucking stink." He upends a broken bucket over Ron. "Stay here. We'll take care of this creep."

Through the gaps in the bucket Ron can hear the eerie whine of a Hell Hound. An answering snarl warns him that some have shifted. There is the sound of blades being drawn, the murmur of a spell invoked. The click of a boot heel and the sudden stillness is warning enough for Ron to freeze.

The click of talons on the floor, the soft growl, and scent of rotting meat means the ghoul has finally broken through and landed on the floor. The lack of light helps to hide the patrol, but their mixed scents still permeate the air. The ghoul slowly moves through the darkness seeking Ron's trail.

Her voice is still enticing, a siren's call if one doesn't see her. "Come here little fox... I only want to stroke your pretty fur... Maybe take you home and clean you up. Poor thing..."

Ron shivers in his hiding place Clean me up so you can eat me... Oh god, I don't want to die.. I thought I did, was ready to, but I don't want to.. not this way... not at the risk of... There is a scrape of claw on the floor nearby and Ron bites back a yip.

The ghouls howls as claws rake down her side. She spins, slashing out, only to slice her hand on a descending blade. Pain draws her away from her quarry as another set of claws gouges along her back. Spinning again, she finds herself back in the center of the floor. There is a rush of wings and she grins. Reinforcements! Blood oozes down her face as something makes a strike at her eyes.

Head back, she howls in defiance and lashes out. For every hit she scores twice as many strikes land on her. Arm up to protect from the air assault, she sinks her claws into the throat of a wolf who has leapt at her. Her satisfaction turns to confusion as a blade sinks deep into her stomach, thrust upward. Dropping the wolf, her hand clutches at the blade.

Stunned eyes meet those of a frail looking girl. The girl blinks once, twice, flexing the wings on her back. The snarled mass of her hair seems to writhe with the force of her thrust. The ghoul shudders. A whimper of pain trickles from her lips. "Swords don't kill us..."

The girl smiles, exposing rows of shark like teeth. "Enchanted ones do." She twists the blade. As the Ghoul begins to sink to the floor, the girl follows her down. Light skips across her arms, glittering on reptilian scales. Th ghoul takes a swipe at the girl, arms barely responding. The girl forces her back until she is bent nearly double, sword tip finally ripping through the ghoul's back.

The siren voice has lost its enchantment, sounding weak and lost. "What are you?"

"Your guess is as good as mine. Momma was a harpy. Daddy was a deamon. But what I really am... is pissed off." She thrusts on the pommel, forcing the blade through the ghoul's body. The sound of metal on bone is loud in the dark room. "What you are... is dead."

When she moves no more, the girl leans on the sword, waiting. There is a bubbling as the ghoul's flesh begins to melt. The smell of rotting carrion begins to fill the room. Shifters move into the darkness, changing back to their human forms, donning the clothes they had tossed aside. When the ghoul is no more than a puddle of sludge, the harpy halfbreed carefully cleans the blade with a cloth. She sheathes it, caressing the plain hilt. She speaks to the sword, thanking it for its help.

She hands it back to the Rider with their patrol. The hooded figure shakes his head and belts it on her hip. The voice is soft, but higher in pitch than most of the Riders Ron has met. "Keep it for now Hermione. You handle it well." He remembers the voice, and relaxes... Brigit, Brigit... One of Keon's friends. She has been to the boathouse a few times.

Someone wraps Ron in a blanket, cradling him in their arms. "Dude, you are Ron, right?" Ron nods once, seeking the patrol for anyone he knew. The werewolf holding him turns his head, speaking to someone unseen. "Hey, buzz Toby. I'd rather he meet us at the Tavern than Ty or Marc." There is the sound of soft voices and soft movements as the group makes their way out of the building and into the night.

As Tori opens the door to the nursery she smiles at her brothers and Alise, then her eyes move to the large bed. Tannr was sitting on the edge, four little faces watching him so intently they werent aware of her entering the room. Mouths in 'O's" and eyes wide the children listened to Tannrs tales of the nine worlds and how they were all connected by the world tree called Yggdrasil and that rainbows can act as bridges from one world to the next. He told them of some of the animals, Geri and Freki, Odin's wolves, Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse and Ratatoskr, the squirrel that plays in the branches of Yggdrasil. Huginn and Muninn are the two ravens belonging to Odin who keep him imformed of all the goings on of everyone else.

At this point Gracie points to Tannrs arm, where his Raven gives his feathers a slight ruffle. Tannr laughs, "Little one, this is my Raven, not one of Odins, but I imagine they look much the same.."

Tomas grins and asks "Monsters?" and holds up Godzilla.

"There is the giant sea monster Jormungandr, who will take entire ships to the bottom of the ocean... I will tell you a tale of his next time..." Tannr reaches out and ruffles the boys hair, "And maybe a story of the Alfar for your sisters."

Gracie was trying hard to say the new word, "Alf...Al..."

"Alfar....fairies...." Tannr explains.

A collective "Ohh ..." from the girls and images of Star sent to their parents that of course Tannr could not see.

Tori laughs and approaches the bed for hugs and good night kisses. Tannr can tell by the pauses in their conversation that much of it is taking place mentally and he envies the closeness and security this affords the family, especially for the little ones.

Suddenly he is wrapped in a bear hug from all directions, the children laughing and trying to knock him over. Hugs all around and Stoney tells them its time to settle down.

Tannr and Tori wish them good night and leave to let the parents settle them in for the night.

In the hallway, Tannr pulls Tori close and she asks “Is something wrong?”

“No. Not at all. Its just that I am... well... amazed that the kids are so accepting...”

Tori laughs, “Actually, they arent. Gargoyle children are very perceptive from a very early age. If they felt that you meant any of us harm, or that you werent sincere, trust me, they wouldnt go anywhere near you.”

“But they cant read my thoughts...”

“No, not exactly. But they can feel emotions and intentions, especially Tara being an empath as well as half gargoyle. And everything she feels gets sent to her twin. Who, bless his little heart, is an open book, much like his father.” Tori smiles, remembering some of the things that Stoney had neglected to shield from his sibs,

Tannr runs a finger down the side of Toris face. Gods, I love her so much...

Tori smiles and struggles to control the expression on her face, still not sure if she is actually hearing him or is just imagining things she wants to hear.

“Lets go eat, Coppertop. I'm starved.” as Tori takes his hand.

Laughing, Tannr lets her lead him to the stairs and down to the common room.

I should go, just walk away and keep on walking. The dark figures’ shoulders slump. But she’d just find me, and then there’d be Lolth to pay….

He’s seen, more than once, the fate that awaits those who betray the demon-goddess, and a quick death is no part of it.

But there’s not much I can tell… we already knew that the gargoyle worked at this place, and so far as I can tell, there’s no security, no spells, no wards… nothing to keep us out if we choose to enter…Such news should cheer him, as it doubtless will the Priestess… So why do I feel like a traitor? 

Stalking the gargoyle has been, as the humans term it, “a piece of cake”, though he’s not certain what pastries have to do with keeping watch on someone… She’s alone most of the time, except when she goes to the drinking establishment, or when the big redhead stays the night… Still, there are the children she permits to stay on her various properties… they might prove to be a problem….

He shrugs. This is all too much for him. He’ll pass it on to the Priestess, and she can make whatever decision she pleases regarding the gar-girl….

Alise barely moves as Stoney plucks their son from his mother's arms. He grins at Tannr.

"It works, mon ami, because she is a wonderful mother, a talented woman, and we have a fantastique nanny." He tickles Tomas' belly, making the little boy laugh. His wings snap wide and he laughs even harder. Stoney taps a finger on his forehead. "Bedtime, *chien petit guerrier. I promise. I will send Tante Tori to check on you."

Wings furl as Tomas pouts."How about if Tannr helps take you all up to the nursery?"

The pout disappears and Tomas holds his arms out to Tannr. The worried expression on Tannr's face disappears as he heads to the stairs with Tomas, Ob close behind with Chloe. The wildhaired gargoyle pauses a few minutes with his wife so Chloe can say good night to Mamacita, and to touch her brother.

Chloe giggles, then waves to the family. Ob kisses Pandora, telling her to keep her feet up. Once Chloe is settled, he will be right down. Absynthe nuzzles Pandora then soars across the room. She hovers above the landing, waiting on the others. Alise and Laila gather the girls let them bid goodnight. Soon they are up the stairs.

The lock makes a final click as Tori turns the key. It had been a profitable night and she had taken time to secure the days reciepts in the new safe. She salutes. To anyone watching, it is as if she is saluting the end of the day. The cat in the second floor window nods slowly. Guard on duty...

Tori shoulders her shoulder bag, the laptop a familiar weight. Stoney told her about the missing member of their favorite college group. She keeps her eyes peeled for something red and furry. She liked the kid. Empathized with him actually. Her mind goes back to the one person she thought would be with her forever. Shaking her head, Tori pushes the memory away.

Something tingles along her senses. A spell? Yes, but not against her. She feels a glamour, a harmless casting to keep someone from seeing their true form. Then again... welcome to Exton. Most here had some feature they wanted to hide from the human world. It almost feels as if someone is watching her.

Tori lets her mind seek out anyone spying, but the sensation is gone. She resumes her route, stride taking on a more paced stride. Before she knows it, she is at the Tavern door. Turning once more to survey the night, Tori sighs as a Hell Hound slips from the alley. She hides a smile as she opens the door... paranoid much? Jeb winks at her as she enters.

"Your boyfriends are waiting upstairs."

Tori blows the werewolf a kiss and heads for the stairs already well aware of her nephew's impatience.

As Alise is bringing some of the supper dishes to the bar for Monty she hears Tomas squeal and turns to see Tannr lifting him high in the air.

She laughs and moves to greet Tannr. “How are you? Where is Tori? I thought she was coming with you?”

Tannr grabs a foot and he and Tomas play their version of tug-o-war, Tomas trying to fly away. “She'll be here shortly. She got held up at the gallery and needed to finish up a few things. A clerk didnt show...”

“Oh, I see. Thats too bad. She works hard enough as it is...”

“I know she does. But the gallery is important to her...”

Tomas stops pulling and asks “Tante Tor?”

Oui Tomas. She will be here soon.”

Tomas sends to his mother, Can I stay up until she comes? Sil vous plait?

If its all right with your father...

Alise laughs as Tomas sends the question to his father.

Stoney smiles but is firm in his response. To bed as usual, but if she isnt here by then I will send her up to see you and say Good Night...

All right Papan...

“Can I ask you something?” Tannr asks hesitating a bit.

“Certainly, ask anything you like. Although that does not mean I have an answer for you.” Alise grins.

“How do you make this work? I mean, the family, you all seem so happy, but your husband is stone half the time, I mean...” Tannr sighs, “I know it isnt any of my business...”

Alsie smiles, “No, its fine. It works because we want it to." She grimaces. "I'm sorry, that sounds like an cop-out, doesn't it? It's not easy sometimes... but we love each other and family is important to us, so we work together to make it work. And in the end, love is all there is, and its worth it...”

Pandora is grateful that Alise and the kids are here; now that they know Ron is in trouble the men are going to be scouring the alleys in search of him and she is glad for the company. Alise understands only too well the final slow cumbersome  weeks before a baby's birth.

While Alise struggles to find a clue as to Ron's plight... Pandora sits quietly; the children are playing, and she feels her son struggling to touch her mind..."mama"... the gentlest brush against her cheek... she opens her eyes expecting to see Chloe; but there is no one there... again the soft brush, and she realizes her son has broken through.... he is communicating with her.

Pandora looks up and glances round for Ob; finding him across the room with the boys.... but he is staring at her... grinning in a way that tells her he heard their son. She smiles back and slides her hand gently over her stomach, feeling her son move and she says to him... "soon my son, I feel you are coming soon, we love you and wait for you."

Chloe runs excitedly to her side... "mama; we were in Tomas' tent; and my baby brother touched us "... she grins and turns, doll in hand and rushes back to the other children.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The water drips from his body in slow rivulets as Keon walks across his bedroom to his closet. Pale arms encircle his waist as he pulls clothes from the hanging bar. A hand slips lower, wrapping around his half-mast cock. A warm deep voice murmurs in his ear.

"If you take the Path from Sheriwellyn Way, you will be back at your Human Realm headquarters in no time. Five minutes more is all I ask."

Keon's head falls back as the hand tightens, stroking him harder. His cock rises, firming under the talented touch. He moans as warm flesh presses against the curve of his ass.

"I can't get back up, but I can make sure you leave satisfied..." Kisses trail softly along the width of a well-muscled shoulder. Teeth sink in, just hard enough to hurt, not break skin, and Keon jerks hard. "You are already so close to the edge. It won't take long."

Long fingers caress slowly, nails dragging across midnight black abs. "Sit. The armless chair. Tell me what you want. Mouth or ass... or both."

Keon lets himself be drawn to the chair. Lowering onto the seat, he spreads his legs. A tall thin Sidhe kneels between the open thighs, seagreen hair gliding over Keon's lap as he lowers his face to kiss the tip of the Dark Lord's turgid shaft. The hair slides through Keon's fingers, a silken wave. His hands wrap in the strands, gripping tight.

"Open your mouth Gil. Suck my cock. I want to feel your teeth glide as you swallow me." Keon moans as Gil obliges. The other Fae's palm cups Keon's balls and long fingers push their way up his ass. Keon bucks, forcing himself deeper into Gil's throat. The pale skinned fae moans, making Keon buck again.

Bobbing his head, Gil begins to suck hard, drawing Keon nearly out, until the Dark Lord forces the hot mouth back down his black cock. It isn't long before Keon is fighting to keep control.

"Up..." Keon yanks the green hair, getting a moan of pleasured pain." Get that tight ass up here."

Reluctantly the Sidhe rises. Keon holds his cock steady as the other man lowers himself over his lap. He stills when the cock head slides along the sensitive area behind his balls. Keon uses a finger to find the tight pucker of Gil's ass and teases. The green-maned Sidhe arches, trembling as a finger pries him open. Keon raises his hips, pressing the head of his cock against the tight opening. Gil moans and follows as Keon lowers his hips. Cockhead embedded, keon grips Gil's hips, holding him still until the Fae writhes, trying for more.

"You are such a slut Gil..."

Gil stares down at Keon. "We both needed this... Stop teasing... let me fuck myself on your cock." Keon grins and shoves hard, forcing Gil down. The Fae throws back his head and screams as his feet slip and Keon's hard shaft spears deep. Feet finding purchase, the pale Sidhe rocks, leaning forward to change angle and thrust himself back and forth, reaming himself on Keon's hard length. His now hard cock slides along Keon's pelvis and the Dark Lord grips it hard.

The man jerks hard, muscles contracting around Keon's hardness. Keon tugs hard and Gil's muscles clamp down again. His moan causes Keon to squirm, screwing his cock deeper into Gil's ass. Keon scrapes his nails along the sensitive flesh of Gil's balls. The Sidhe shudders, muscles milking the cock in his ass. Keon shudders and growls, ramming upward, impaling Gil deeply. With a howl, Keon cums, spurting deeply up Gil's bowels. The pale Sidhe shudders at each jet and clamps hard, Keon feels the ball in his hand pull up tight. He rolls his hips, grinding deeper and Gil explodes, cumming again. His hot seed sprays over Keon's abs. Both men lean back, Ke against the chair, Gil propped up by his hands on Keon's knees.

"You need to go find your human. I need to get back to work." he rises slowly, moaning as he feels Keon's now deflated cock slide from his sore ass. He leans forward, kissing Keon gently. "Look me up when you get back. If you need an orgy, you know I can arrange it, Go shower, mate. I'll grab you some clothes."

Keon takes a quick rinse. By the time he returns to the bedroom, Gil is gone. His gear is laid out, as if Gil had never left his side. Sliding his sword belt in place, Keon mounts his stallion. He knew the Path Gil had mentioned would bring him out close to the Tavern. When the Path finally ended at the Crossing, Keon made a wish to find Ron well... The Veil opened, and Keon rode through to the back lot of the Tavern.

Ob closes the cell phone, tapping it against his palm. Either Keon was out of range, or his phone was off. Neither Twillon nor Guunnar knew of any missions the Dark Lord would be on. Miko hovers at his shoulder, deep in thought.

"*Hermano... Blood and Blade. Old spell... if he is our home realm, we reach him by that. You got a silver blade? Si?"

Ob stares at the small warrior as he hangs in the air. His mind flies through the regulars and those who stay at the Tavern when not out on missions. There was a steady business with Other realmers, now. His gaze settles on Twillon, where the Seelie Dark Lord sips a cup of black coffee.

Twillon looks up as the pair approaches his table. Ob drops into a chair next to him as Miko perches on the ever-present plants used as table decorations since the demifae took up residence. The broad leaf dips under the small warrior's weight. The Sidhe nods as Ob asks about the spell of Blood and Blade. He stands and heads toward the bar for his blade, agreeing to meet the two men in the private dining room.

Ob closes the door behind them as Twillon lays his longblade on the table. Weebit has joined them, perching on the back of a chair. Her patchwork wings fan slowly, keeping her steady. Miko watches her from the corner of his eye. He can see the effort it takes, and her determination to ignore the pain.

Twillon holds out a hand to her and she slits forward, landing gratefully in his palm.

"Will thou heal mine hurt, My Lady, an I make the call to our Kith?"

Weebit bows, kissing his palm. "Needs must be done, do as ye needs. I offer healing freely."

Ob raises a brow at Miko who flits to the Gar's shoulder to whisper an explanation. "He will cut on his sword hand. The stronger the blood flow, the stronger the call. But he may need to wield the sword, so will need to be whole before patrol. He does not take demifae gifts for granted." He stares at the patchwork woman. "She must love him greatly to give of herself so freely. She will be depleted..."

A hiss of pain draws their eyes. Twillon has slid the ball of his index finger along the razor's edge of his blade. Three drops of blood run along the shining surface. Twillon leans close and breathes on the blade.

"Keon, Lord Blackthorn. Lord of the Night. Lord of Hounds. Heed my call..."

Twillon squeezes out another drop of blood. As it hits the blade's surface there is a chime, the ring of steel on steel. Moments later Keon's eyes peer back, blurred by the small warps in the finely made blade.

"Twill? What the hell..."

"Where the fuck are you Ke? Ron's missing and we think he ran into ghouls. His pals are ready to go hunting NOW."

There is a splash and drops of wetness obscure the blade. "He was at the houseboat two nights ago. Came right after patrol. I'll hop a path and be there soon. He was going to drink himself into oblivion, to forget. I told him that won't work, but... Clean your blade Twill, I'll be there as soon as I get some clothes."

Twillon wipes the blade, breaking the spell. "Well he is in the Fae Realms. Those were his personal baths, and he wasn't alone."

Weebit lands on Twillon's offered hand and presses kisses to his bleeding fingertip. He cradles her gently, as the wound begins to close. Miko bows to the room and takes to the air.

"I will let the others know that the Dark Lord is on his way."

Ob laughs when they hear Stoney telling one of Ron's to be patient. They couldn't hunt Ron in were shape before night hit, and shouldn't do it on an empty stomach. Monty knocks on the door, letting them know that dinner was ready and Tori called. Ike was rousing, so if they wanted something to eat, they better get something before the sisters and Guunnar got to it.

"I think they already know..."

As he passes Miko, Ob hears the demifae mutter something about gargoyles and their damded telepathy.

Bad enough hiding under dumpsters to escape the feral dogs in town, but to fall IN had been even worse. Wet, sticky, and stinking of something extremely foul, Ron had managed to clamber his way out of the garbage and jump to the ground.

A sound startles him and he darts under the dumpster. He watches two strays pace down the alley, sniffing out hiding places. He presses back as far as possible, keeping himself out of their reach. Ron wraps his tail tight around himself, curling into a small ball. One of the dogs catches his scent and tries to follow the trail. Scrambling up over stacked crates and boxes, its greater weight brings the pile tumbling down. The loud crash startles the other dog and it leaps out of the way. A rat races out of the mess and the strays tear off after it.

Uncurling, Ron edges toward the now empty alleyway. The scrape of a shoe freezes him a whisker's length from freedom. His ears perk forward, swiveling to catch the slightest sound. Wrinkling his nose, Ron tries to pull the person's scent from the surrounding odors. He stifles a sneeze as the unmistakable aroma of sulfur and brimstone cuts through the stench of his fur.

Slowly easing back, Ron tucks his tail under his belly, hiding the brilliant white. He hunkers down, tucking his chin onto his black paws to hide any remaining white. His eyes and ears flick around the openings of his hiding place, freezing again when a dark snout forces its way under the dumpster. The nose wrinkles, suddenly snorting, spraying wetness. Biting back a yip, Ron buries his face under his black paws. The harsh smell disappears and Ron peeks from under a paw. The snout is gone as if it were never there.

Marc looks to his companions, “Thats Ron's necklace. It has to be. There isn't another like it. He had it custom made."

Ty and Toby exchange looks.  Ty's knuckles slowly turn white as he grips the edge of the table. “Something must have happened. He wouldn't leave that anywhere and he never takes it off...”

Toby swallows hard, “And Alise is crying, it must be bad news..”

Twillon watches as the trio still. One rises and makes his way across the floor. There is no mistaking the Tiger as the young man stalks to the family table. His almond shaped eyes narrow as he stares at the charm around Alise's neck. His words come out tight, strained.

"Ron wouldn't have given that to anyone."

Alise looks up at Ty's tight features. She sees the anger in his dark eyes.

"He didn't. I am trying to see if he is among the shades." She watches the Tigers lips thin, the flesh whitening around the grim line. She shakes her head, placing her small hand over his larger one. "Ty, I don't see him... he would come if he were not still among the living."

Marc clears his throat, breaking the tension between Ty and Alise.  He stays behind Ty, keeping distance between himself and Alise. He remembers how she fears wolves, and wants nothing to interfere with her gift.

"Ron took off a few days ago. Said he needed time to clear his head." He sighs, laying a hand on Ty's shoulder, drawing his friend's anger away with just a touch. "He's been depressed, feeling his mate's loss more and more." He looks at Twillon. "Even the time at the houseboat isn't helping anymore. He's been talking about... he's been thinking about ending things."

Alise looks at the young wolf. "Ending things?"

Toby hooks out a chair, straddling the seat as he leans his arms on the back. He pokes at the pieces of cell phone. "That's Ron's. We've been trying to call him. He went out on a patrol and never came back to the college. We - " He waves at his friends. "We thought he went home for a bit, but his mom said nope. She figured he was out with more patrols, keeping himself busy since its the anniversary of..." He gets quiet, picking up the shirt to look at the claw marks. He brings it to his nose and sniffs. "This is Ron... and a ghoul, maybe two, can't quite tell."

His eyes flick around the table. "Where did you say this was found?" Twillon tells him where Patra's people last saw Ron. The Cougar nods slowly. "Think we can take a patrol down there? It's two days, but there aren't that many werefox in this town."

Alise smiles as she watches the children play. She and Pandora had done some shopping for the baby, Pandora wanting to get some things in colors for a boy. When they passed a shop with wooden toys Alise caught sight of a small highchair, just the right size for the dolls that Tannr had given the girls. Luckily, they had four and were willing to deliver them to the tavern. A small nylon pop-up tent for Tomas was found and the women called it a day.

As Alise and Pandora watched Tomas was in his tent and Gracie walked over and called his name to get his attention. Tomas response was to stick Godzillas head out the flap and growl loudly. Startling Gracie so she lost her balance and landed with a thump on her bottom.

“Not nice, Tomi!”

More growls from Godzilla followed and Alise and Pandora tried hard to stifle their giggles.

Standing slowly, holding the chair next to her for balance, Pandora says, “I better check and see how Monty is doing in the kitchen. If we need to place any orders with vendors we should do it now, before the baby comes... one less thing to worry about.”

Alise nods, understanding exactly how she feels. Her head snaps up as she hears the girls squeal, seeing Stoney come downstairs. He lifts the three of them easily and they excitedly tell him of the highchairs for their dolls. As he sets them down, Gracie turns and says “Tomi, bad boy” and points to the tent. Alise sends to Stoney letting him know what happened. Stoney approaches the tent and squats near the flap, his greeting is met with Godzilla growling. Trying not to laugh he tells his son that he and Godzilla need to be nice to his sisters and he especially shouldnt startle the littlest one.

Silence from the tent and Stoney joins Alise at the table. She smiles and Stoney kisses her in greeting.

A few moments later Tomas sticks his head out of the tent. He waves to Gracie and she smiles and starts to head for the tent. Suddenly stopping, she turns and gets her doll, then hurries to the tent where Tomas is holding the flap open for her.

Stoney grins, “See? He can be a gentleman when he wants to be...”

“Hmph, it is a plot so that Godzilla can eat the doll. I have no doubt we will be hearing screams shortly.”

As Alise and Stoney laugh and watch their children and Chloe, Twillon enters the Tavern, a somber look on his face. Stoney waves him over and Patti brings a pitcher of ice water and glasses to the table.

Twillon takes a seat and takes a deep breath. “I have some something to show you. I got this as a tip today and I am hoping someone here recognizes it....”

Alise and Stoney watch as Twillon removes a small bag from his pocket. A noise at the front makes Alise glance away for a second, a group of college boys entering the tavern giving Jeb a hard time about the new girl he was seen flirting with. The smile on Alises face fades and her face pales as she sees what Twillon has in his hand.

“Where... where did you get that necklace?”

“So you recognize it? There are parts of a cell phone too, but they look as if they were run over...”

Alise exchanges a worried look with her husband and chokes back tears. “The necklace, it belongs to Ron. He is never without it, never. Where did you find it?”

As Twillon explains Alise takes the necklace and closes her hand around it. Her eyes close and she stills her mind. There are spirits in the tavern, but not Rons. I would know if he had passed. He would come to me, with his love, they would be together, I know they would...

The college boys move to take a table and see Alise, tears slipping down her cheeks. Not sure what to do they hesitate a moment and Marc watches as Stoney fastens the chain, Alises hand coming up to rest on the silver dolphin charm.

Jeb decided now that he'd broken the ice with Roxi it was time to get used to each other on a daily basis and he decided since he usually ate breakfast alone mornings... and Roxi came for meals; it would be nice if they dined together. Nights he was on the door and couldn't have dinner with her, so this seemed a great quiet time for them.

"Monty, think you can whip up breakfast for two?... you know,melon and strawberries and all the frillies gals like with breakfast." Monty grinned... "Oh,you mean with the side of ham Roxi favors, and cappucino?" He grinned wickedly and said... "Coming right up, Jeb, why don't you take the table near the front window... Roxi likes to watch the activities outside."

Jeb sat with a cup of strong coffee and waited for Roxi; she was pretty punctual... there around 8 am, ready to work at Traegers by 9 am.

Roxi approached the tavern with a light step... still musing about last night's encounter with Jeb. She had been attracted to him, now she knew it could be something more for both of them.

Stepping in the door she turned to her favorite table; and found Jeb smiling at her... "Hello pretty lady, how about joining me for breakfast?" Roxi smiled and blushed a little as she sat opposite him. Monty appeared almost instantly with her cappucino and a vase with a pink rosebud... "Compliments of the gentleman". Roxi gave Jeb a soft thank you... and over her shoulder Jeb could see Monty wink, he'd used his magical powers to win Jeb points... he'd thank him later.

Breakfast was delicious; and they talked about how they came to be in Exton. Jeb opened up about his past... how he'd been hunting when he'd been attacked and became a werewolf... it was in early 1962, and he'd remained the same since then... no older, but much wiser as the years rolled by... using sheer will to train himself to hold back the wolf inside until he could safely release it... or use it at will when threats ensued. He told her he thought that explained his fondness for his 57 Chevy,and all things rock & roll.

Roxi laughed as he talked, enjoying his company... stopping briefly to greet Pandora and Chloe as they came down to eat, Chloe racing her dragon to the family table after a brief hello.

Pandora greeted them saying... "You must excuse us, nothing stands between Chloe and food when she's hungry"... and she walked slowly after her daughter, the weight of her pregnancy telling in her slower steps.

The couple watched after them; both musing a little about a time when they would be settled and have a family life. Roxi broke the brief silence... "Oh,gosh... its later than I thought, you'll have to hear my tale another time." Josh took her hand and squeezed it; "How about same time tomorrow?" Roxi realized he meant to join her every day, and it pleased her. "Okay, breakfast around 8 am?" She blushed as she picked up her rose vase and started to the door... "See you tonight, princess"... Jeb said softly as she reached the door... and on impulse he rose and quickly crossed the space between them... turning her and kissing her softly but intimately; before opening the door for her....

"Patra says his people found something that might belong to one of yours."

The kid slid from the low stone wall, falling into step beside Twillon. The small glamour that rounded Twill's eartips, also hid his sword and gave him the look of a short hairstyle. The jeans and T were his. Keon had advised him it was better to look local, especially if he were going to take daytime patrols. Less need for any major magicks, more concentration on what was going on around him... it seemed to be accurate, except he had somehow missed the kid on the wall.

The kid looked up at him from under shaggy bangs. Twillon gave up trying to figure out if it was male or female. The clothes were no help, nor was the voice. He gave the kid a small grin.

"Patra's people, My people, who are Your people?"

The kid looks around, lowering their voice until nearly a whisper. "I am one of Exton's kids. That's what everyone calls us." Glancing down an alley, the kid motions. "This way. He is bringing the stuff to you. The ones who found it want to meet on neutral ground. Personally, I think they are afraid you will eat them." The kid shrugs. "You don't smell like Ghoul, but then the Brothers don't either, unless you get up close."

Twillon raises a brow. "The brothers?"

The kid laughs. "The Brothers Grim, the morticians... they're good guys, for ghouls. Anyway," The kids suddenly stops and sniffs at Twillon. "Nope... you smell like the fae who lives out at the lake."

A hulking figure steps from the shadows. Twillon's hand slides around the grip of the short sword riding unseen on his hip. The bag he is carrying drops to the ground at his feet. Patra grins, doffing his hat. A small figure shuffles forward, something soft held tight to its spare frame. Only as it approaches Twillon does he realise it is a woman. She offers the clothes, saying nothing. When he doesn't take them at first, she turns and looks at Patra.

"She doesn't speak. Clovis has never spoken as long as I have known her. When she and Maggie brought this to me, Maggie told me what they saw.."

Again, the woman Clovis held out the small pile. Something small and shaggy sat at Patra's feet. His hand stroked its head, and a small sound of pleasure  reached Twillon's ears. He examined the bundle. Jeans, button down shirt, sneakers, underwear, smashed bits of cell phone. The clothes were torn, shredded in places by claws. That alone made him think Shifter's belongings.

The small creature came forward, holding out something that dangled from its hand. He gently took the object, examining the creature as well as what it held. It looked like a young girl, but was covered in silky looking fur. He blinked, looking closer and he saw the anger that crossed her near hidden features. Her voice is strong, words spat at him.

"Get a good look? See the freak? Take the stuff and go home, Mr. Perfect."

She turns on her heel and tugs at Clovis' arm, moving closer to Patra. The kid stares after her, then at Twillon.

"Dude... you pissed her off. If you want her help, you need to show her you are not like her family." When Twillon just looks at him the kid leans close. "Drop your spell. Show her your ears."

Shrugging, Twillon lets the spell dissolve. His eartips lengthened, his hair fell down his back in a long braid. At his hip was a shortsword, his longer blade in a sheath across his back. Clovis tugs at Maggie's arm, pointing at the Sidhe. The woman takes in the changes, then turns on Patra.

"He's one of your world. Isn't he?" Patra nods. "God damned foreigners... Well maybe he can help the kid that wore those. He took off when they tried to force him in a cab. Ain't seen him since."

Twillon picks up the bag and holds it out to Patra. The Troll looks inside and grins. Patra hands the bag to Maggie. She looks in the bag, then turns to look at Twillon. He smiles at her. Monty had put all the leftovers he could scrounge into it.

"Payment for your eyes, the help you give. Enough to share, I hope."

She hands a sandwich to Clovis, The woman stares at it until Maggie nods. Maggie watches her get comfortable on a set of steps, before she turns to stare at Twillon. After a few moments she begins to talk, eyes still locked with the Sidhe. She tells him of watching him stumble from the bar, how something made his face clear, all signs of being drunk disappear. She couldn't see what was going on when he slipped down onto the sidewalk, didn't get it until a fox ran out the other side, narrowly missed being hit by a car. She managed to get a look under the cab, but had to hide when the cabbie came back. When he pulled out, she and Clovis picked up the stuff the kid left behind. Unfortunately, the phone had been run over, but the jewelry was still okay.

Twillon nodded, looking at the charm as it glittered in the sunlight. "I'll take this back to the Tavern, maybe someone will know who it belongs to, and we can find him before he runs into trouble again."

As he turns to go, Maggie calls out after him. "Don't know if this helps, but when we grabbed his stuff, there was a lingering smell of rotting meat. Clovis thinks it was the cabbie and the girlfriend. Says she smelled her when she ran past, trying to catch the fox."

Twillon nods, waving as he pulls his glamour back in place. The kid pulls a plastic bag out of a hidden pocket, handing it to Twillon. The clothes disappear into it, hiding them from sight. The pair stroll back along the street, Twillon lost in thought. The kid touches Twillon's arm and salutes him as he looks.

"I am gone... but here's a thought. There's a fox that runs on patrols. Goes to the local college..." Hopping up on a wall, the kid grins at Twillon. "Friends with the local Alpha's halfbred son. I hear he carries a dolphin with him."

The kid seems to vanish from sight. Twillon waits, listening for any sound. When there is no more, he turns toward the Tavern, steps quickening.

Friday, June 10, 2011


The night's darkness has slipped away, leaving limited places for a wild animal to find shelter. Ron squeezes through the broken slats across the doorway of an abandoned building. He curses as the wood catches in his fur. Slipping behind some debris, he watches the room, seeking any sign of movement.


Moving warily into an open area of the floor, Ron stretches. Bones move, joints cracking. The fur recedes as skin stretches to cover his re-organizing form. Stifling back a cry of pain, Ron huddles on the dirty floor until his equilibrium stabilizes. When he can finally stand without shaking, the werefox begins to explore. His head is pounding from lack of sleep, and maybe just a bit too much alcohol.  His stomach growls from lack of food. A fly lands on his bare skin, making him twitch and curse the lack of clothing.

Peering through the slats over the windows, Ron tries to see a street sign. No luck. Frustration eats at him. His steps take him around the room, pacing as he tries to think. His cell phone was in his jeans. Those were left under the cab when he changed. He sighs, realizing he has lost the dolphin necklace as well, his only link with the woman with whom he had wanted to spend the rest of his life. Sinking to the floor, the tears spill over, slipping down his cheeks.

All he had wanted was a night to forget the pain, to be alone and think. Somehow it had been easier when he thought she had run away. Knowing she had died, tortured for some crazy's entertainment... He rubs his hands over his face. Half the time, he wanted to join her. To find her in the Afterlife, and pray they would come back together. Then he ran into the ghouls, or rather, they chose him for their next victim.

He had managed to get away. Was well on his way across town, in fact, when he crossed the path of the pack of strays. If it had been one or two, getting away would have been a piece of cake. But this was five. The smallest one was smaller then he was. Every time he had found a bolthole, the damned animal would ferret him out. They would have had him too, if something hadn't spooked them as he tore down this alley.

Now he was stuck in a catch-22. If he heads out in his fox form, he can't read signs or get directions. or...  he could run into those damned dogs again. If he goes out in his human form, he won't get help either. Being nude might get him arrested, but not taken seriously. His stomach growls again. A mouse scurries along the wall and Ron watches it. His thoughts go into survival mode. He has to make it back to the Tavern, or maybe one of the patrols. They need to know that the Ghouls have found a way to trap victims. That, and that they are taking live prey, not carrion. Watching the mouse forage, Ron lets himself go, making the painful transition to fox. Very shortly, the mouse is no more.

Finding a corner, Ron curls up to get a little sleep. His mind still revolves on how to find his way, how to get back to the people who could help. Ron resolves to find a patrol when the sun goes down. That or a street kid. They'd get him back to Tori. His eyes drift closed as sunlight creeps through the cracks in the boards.