Taming Of The Night
October 16, 2003
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author. If you are offended by
descriptions of gay sex between male teenagers,
or if the law in your area forbids you to read this, leave this story
now. If not, welcome and please read on.
A friendly explanation here: this story is a series. It will last for several chapters and is not meant to be a quick jerk-off story. This story is more about love, friendships, relationships, romance and the supernatural.
I really want to do a good job with this story and I really want you to enjoy it, so I really look forward to any feedback, thoughts, encouragement, corrections or suggestions. Please send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also post them at the Taming Of The Night (TOTN)
group on Yahoo.
The URL is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TOTN_chillers
Please feel free to join the TOTN group on Yahoo if you haven't already done so. All information and announcements of new chapters are made there as well as announcements of when the new chapters are posted and it provides a place for readers and fans to ask questions and talk about the story with each other and the author (me) :). So, please join.
Be warned, all flames relegated to the porcelain facility.
To my readers, I sincerely thank you for your patience, well wishes and prayers. I truly regret that it took so long to post again. Life got in the way and for a long while, I didn't know if I'd ever find my way back. -- tcd
Chapter 6: A Dragon Returned
Chuck clearly felt the worry that Dray tried to hide as Dray projected his thoughts to him.
“I think I can take care of this… but I need you to watch my back. I’ve lost a lot of blood and I don’t know how much energy it’s going to take so I may not be in the best shape afterwards.”
Chuck slapped Dray somewhat un-gently on the back of his head. “Like you even need to ask!” Chuck thought back at him with a disgusted look on his face. “Just do it before whatever this is does something I’m not gonna like to my dick!”
Rubbing the back of his head, Dray said between clenched teeth, “Damn it Chuck! That hurt! We’re gonna haveta to talk about you hitting me when you feel like it. This ain’t practice. How would you like it if I slapped you upside the head? I gotta tell ya”
Chuck cut Dray off in mid-complaint with an almost hysterical growl, “Dray! For the love of God, do something!”
Still muttering to himself, Dray negligently waved his hand at the solid darkness that had crept to just below the top of his and Chuck’s thighs. The lines of light covering both Dray and Chuck’s body armor incandesced with the light and fury of a blast furnace, blinding everybody in the clearing but themselves. A shriek was heard from the edge of the woods as the darkness shattered and a figure, engulfed by intense golden flames, staggered from the woods to collapse and burn to ash.
Quicker than Chuck could follow, Dray grabbed a would-be assassin and sank his fangs into his jugular. Chuck took up a guard stance as he felt Dray ruthlessly probe the assassin’s mind while he fed. As Dray drained the assassin, Lee, Craig, Jared, and Billy glided noiselessly into the clearing.
Lee glanced around the clearing with a dispassionate look on his face. “Jared and Billy please take the wolf pack and secure the perimeter. If you are attacked in any way, let the rest of us know and deal with the attackers as you see fit. Your first priority is your own safety and the safety of the Duke. I want each of you to watch yourselves out there and be careful.”
Craig grabbed one of the assassins as he tried to crawl away. “Contact us mentally at the first sign of anything unusual.” Craig didn’t even wait for them to acknowledge him as he started to feed.
Jared and Billy nodded and moved swiftly and silently into the surrounding trees.
Lee walked over to Chuck and said quietly, “Are you all right Little Tiger?”
Chuck cast a quick smile at Lee and continued guarding Dray and Craig as they fed. “Yeah, I’m alright. It’s Dray I’m worried about. He lost a lot of blood and I can feel the hunger trying to take him over. And plus, I kinda hit him in the back of his head and I think he may be mad at me.”
Lee grinned at Chuck’s woebegone expression when he said the part about hitting Dray. “Well, there are enough humans here to give Dray and Craig all the nourishment they need to get up to full strength. As for hitting Dray, stick by me and I’ll set him straight if he gets out of hand. Besides, as far as I’m concerned, for letting himself get ambushed like this, you didn’t hit him hard enough!”
As Dray grabbed another cowering, failed assassin to feed from, he shot a scathing look at Lee. “I heard that!”
Lee possessively draped his arm around Chuck’s shoulder. “Since you appear not to have heard these oafs approaching over the sound of your own bovine like lumbering, I find it difficult to believe you heard the dulcet whisperings of Chuck and me!”
Managing to look both hurt and indignant at the same time, Dray made a rude gesture with his middle finger at Lee and Chuck collectively and went back to feeding
Soon Dray and Craig had drained all but one of the eight intruders. Dray casually picked up the last and Chuck forced himself to watch dispassionately as Dray viciously sank his fangs into the intruder’s jugular and with brutal economy drained him. “Well, all five of mine were mind wiped. I couldn’t get anything from them. What about you Craig?”
Craig didn’t even look up as he continued to search the bodies littering the clearing for any clues. “Same for my three. There aren’t any identifying glyphs on the bodies so I can’t tell what house they belonged to and there’s nothing about their clothing to give us anything to go on. There’s nothing to identify them. Whoever did this made sure to cover their tracks in case they failed.”
Craig pointed at the desiccated and rapidly disintegrating body of the Dragon that Chuck had killed. “Lee, can you tell anything from his clothes?”
Lee walked over and started examining the clothing of the Dragon Chuck had killed. “I’ll check. Why don’t you get rid of this rabble.”
Craig stood up from examining the last body and held out his left hand, palm up, and in a quiet voice that thrummed with power said, “Fire!”
Chuck felt as if he were being buffeted by a hurricane force gale but there was no wind in the clearing to account for it. Suddenly Dray was at Chuck’s side, holding him and moving him away from the bodies as Chuck trembled and swayed. Lee nimbly leaped back from the remains that he had just finished examining as each body in the clearing seemed to be consumed by an inner light and burst into searing flames. The heat given off by the bodies was unbelievable as even the ashes of the bodies were consumed by flame until no trace remained. Chuck stared in awe at Craig who, even though in the midst of the raging flames that had consumed the bodies, seemed to be totally unaffected by the blistering heat.
Dray, standing behind Chuck and holding him tightly, said in a low voice, “Craig’s quite a mage isn’t he? I sometimes think even he doesn’t realize how powerful he is but he’s as powerful as any mage I’ve ever encountered including the old Duke and he was said to be one of the most powerful mages that ever existed.”
“Man!” breathed Chuck. “I can hardly believe it! Can you do that?”
“Yeah, I can call fire like Craig, but I’m a battle mage. My magic is geared more toward destruction and protection. Craig is a full mage, so he can do a lot of things I can’t.”
Before Chuck could ask another question, he noticed Lee and Craig staring at a spot on the edge of the clearing. Chuck looked at the spot and could feel Dray’s attention drawn to it also. As they all watched, what seemed to be a particle of darkness formed at the edge of the clearing. The darkness, notable only as a complete absence of light, seemed to make the night bright by comparison. The particle seemed to be spinning and slowly, almost imperceptibly, started to expand.
Chuck could see that the particle, while still very small, now began to take on an oval shape. Without conscious thought, he moved away from Dray giving them both room to maneuver and assumed a battle stance as Dray, Craig, and Lee did the same.
Dray’s voice was a grating, rumble. “Lee. Prepare for an attack but let’s not do anything until we understand what’s happening!”
Never taking his eyes from the spinning, expanding oval of darkness, Lee nodded once and began giving orders. ”Jared, and Billy! We may have a situation here! Leave enough of the wolf pack to form a perimeter around us and come with the pack leader and the rest of the pack to the clearing at once! Dray, the black bears that range in the forest are close by, call them in and have them standing ready! Craig, cast a spell of containment around whatever that is. I don’t want it getting loose until we want it to! Chuck, guard Craig. He won’t be able to do anything but keep that thing contained so if anything attacks him or even comes near him, kill it!”
Chuck nodded and took up a stance close to Craig. Craig stood staring at the spinning oval of darkness with his eyes unfocused as a glowing sphere formed around it leaving about three feet of clearance between itself and the oval. As the oval expanded, so did the sphere, keeping the clearance between the two at a constant three feet.
Chuck could see Dray standing in front of four large black bears at the edge of the clearing opposite where the oval was continuing to take shape. He couldn’t understand Dray’s mental speech but he could see in his mind the images and feel the emotions that Dray used to communicate with the bears. From what Chuck could gather, Dray told the bears to help the wolf pack guard the clearing against intrusion and kill anything that was not a member of the house that tried to enter it.
The bears seemed to nod to Dray and moved back into the fringe of the forest, spreading out so that they surrounded the clearing.
Jared and Billy, each armed with identical black swords, glided into the clearing to stand with Lee. Dray moved to stand with them. The group stood protectively between Chuck and Craig and the now much larger darkness. Chuck could see the members of the wolf pack as dark shapes darting in and out of the trees at the edge of the clearing. They were like a constantly moving circle anchored by the four bears that sat silently watching.
Lee took all this in as his eyes swept the clearing. He nodded his head in satisfaction and held his palm out, face up. In a few moments a sword that could only be described as crystalline blackness appeared in it. Waves of power seemed to ripple back and forth over the surface of the sword. Dray stared at his own upturned palm for a moment with the same result but his sword was the color of molten silver. The sword almost seemed like liquid metal as power flowed like heat shimmers over it’s surface.
Resting the point of the deadly looking black sword on the ground, Lee said in quiet tones, “Now we wait.”
Two thousand miles to the west, high in the Mountains of Utah, in a snow blanketed, deserted valley, an identical oval of darkness was forming in the darkening twilight. For miles around, the wildlife in the area fled in terror, instinctively sensing the waves of evil radiating from the growing oval of darkness, leaving the valley empty and nothing to stand as witness.
Sixty miles to the north of Chuck and Dray, Luke and Jon whimpered and stirred restlessly in their sleep. Even though it was 81 degrees outside, the temperature in Luke’s bedroom dropped enough to cause them to cling to each other for warmth in their sleep. They each shivered as if touched by the coldness of a snow covered valley deep in the Mountains of Utah.
In the clearing, Lee kept watch on the ever expanding oval of inky blackness. There was something familiar about this, something that he vaguely remembered. He cleared his mind allowing it to be alert but relaxed as he had learned to do so many millennia ago. After several minutes in this state, it suddenly dawned on him what this thing was. “This is a gateway.”
Dray didn’t take his eyes off the spinning darkness. “A gateway for what?”
To his right, Jared murmured, “Something in great pain and very much afraid.”
“I can sense it.” answered Jared at Dray’s surprised look.
“So can I.” whispered Billy to Lee’s left.
Exchanging a surprised look with Lee, Dray asked, “what else can you sense?”
“I think it is connected to you. I think it is trying to get to you.” At Dray’s questioning look, Jared shrugged his shoulders helplessly. “More, I cannot say... I’m sorry.”
“I agree.” joined in Billy. “I can sense it concentrating on you; like lines of attraction that come out of a magnet and pull a piece of iron toward it. Almost like it’s using you as an anchor. I don’t sense anything of danger or evil directed toward you, or any of us for that matter, just that whatever it is, it’s terrified and it’s in tremendous pain.”
“Don’t ask me how I know Lee… I just do.” answered Billy to Lee’s look of amazement.
“Well, pain or not, if it so much as flinches the wrong way, we do whatever it takes to destroy it!” said Dray as he looked around at each person. With the exception of the entranced Craig, everyone in the clearing grimly nodded agreement.
The oval was by now about 6 feet high and about 3 feet wide. It stood about a foot off of the ground. Bands of light seemed to come from within the oval and grasp the edges as if to hold it open.
Two wetly glistening hands suddenly thrust a long pole through the gateway and slammed the pole into the ground. The hands then grabbed the edge of the gateway as the pole stood upright, firmly planted in the ground. The bands of light came from the top of the pole and ended at the rim of the gateway. Everyone in the clearing could clearly see a figure as it used it’s hands and arms to drag itself out of the oval and collapse face down on the ground where it lay unmoving.
Lee studied the body. It seemed to be that of a small boy wearing wet, ragged shorts and nothing else. It was obvious that the boy was injured; his entire back looked like nothing more than raw, seeping flesh; as if the skin had been flayed until nothing was left but torn glistening muscle and protruding bone. But still, there was something odd about the shape of the boy; his legs seemed much too short for the rest of his body. With a feeling of growing dread, Lee looked more closely and suddenly realized that the boy wasn’t wearing shorts; the boy’s legs and pants were gone below mid thigh.
Lee could hear Dray sniffing, trying to identify the body by the smell of the blood. But, Lee had already recognized the boy by the blood’s odor. The smell belonged to Ruslan.
“Lee! That’s Ruslan!” yelled Dray into the silence of the clearing as he finally identified the smell.
“I know.” Lee responded quietly. “Craig, drop the containment! Jared, Chuck and Billy, pull him out of there!”
Chuck, Craig, Jared and Billy rushed to comply. As soon as the containment was dropped, Chuck, Jared and Billy ran and, as gently as possible, carried the severely injured boy to the edge of the clearing.
Craig moved over to Dray and Lee who were both staring intently at the gateway.
Unlike Dray and Lee, Craig’s attention was not on the gateway itself, but on the pole and bands of light that seemed to hold the gateway open. “Something else is coming through.” He said in a quiet, distant tone, voicing what his mage sense was telling him;
At that moment, an almost crippling stench rushed from the gateway and flooded the clearing, causing Chuck, Jared and Billy, at the edge of the clearing, to gag. The bears, sitting motionless until this time, reared up as one and began roaring. The wolves could be heard growling from the edges of the clearing. Without taking his eyes from the pole, Craig nodded to himself while Dray and Lee exchanged a glance, the grimness of the situation evident upon their faces. They didn’t need to speak, they each recognized that stench; it was the stench of a demon.
Jared broke off tending to the mortally wounded boy and stared at the pole and the bands of light which came from it, as if in a trance. He left Billy to care for the severely injured Ruslan and Chuck to guard over them both. Never taking his eyes from the pole, he moved quickly and silently to stand beside Craig who also stared trancelike at the same thing. As if by common agreement, they both grasped the pole at the same time. The result was a silent explosion of light that enveloped them both. The light that had reached from the pole to the gateway was absorbed by both Craig and Jared until it was gone, leaving the clearing illuminated only by the light of the distant stars.
“What the hell was that?” said a stunned Dray.
“No time for that now, I’ll fill you in later.” replied Craig. “Jared, take this staff and don’t let it out of your hands no matter what. Go take over for Billy. You and Chuck guard Ruslan and no matter what happens, under no circumstances leave his side. Billy, come here. I’m going to need you soon.”
Both Billy and Jared ran to do what Craig had asked.
Lee moved to place himself to the right side of the roiling blackness of the gateway and motioned with his hand for Dray to take the left side. “When it comes through, Dray and I will hold it. Craig, you have to send it back.”
Craig nodded and moved back from the gateway but remained in it’s center so that the first thing anything saw coming out of it would be him. “Billy, you wait behind me and to my right. When I see what this thing is, I’ll know what weapon I need to make to banish it. It’ll be up to you to wield that weapon.”
Silently, Billy positioned himself as Craig had instructed and knelt down on one knee. His eyes eager with anticipation and showing no sign of the fear that he refused to acknowledge.
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