Assassin’s Chronicles: Chapter 13
© 2009 by Lootah Akecheta
Warning! This story contains physical violence, strong language, and bloodshed. It is not intended for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk. The torture scene in this chapter made me sick writing it so you may want to read with caution.
Note: While this story will have interment moments in it, it is not intended to be an erotic tail. There will be no more of the graphically explicit sex sense as is found in chapter 4 of this story. I’ve chosen to do this because I wish to try and publish this story with a mainstream publishing company for a general audience when I get it complete.
Disclaimer: This is a story of adult content. If you are offended by this type of material then please do not read further. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), then do not read this. It is strictly intended for mature audiences who enjoy reading material of this content. This is a purely fictional story and any resemblance to any persons is strictly coincidental. It is not my intention in the writing of this material to shed an unsavory light on any person by the use of any names in this material. This material is copyrighted by me and may not be used in part or in whole for group entertainment or education, including class rooms, without first obtaining written permission from me. I would appreciate any constructive criticism, complements, or suggestions my readers may have to share with me, however I will flatly ignore flaming out at my material. You may write to me via: email@example.com.
Help From Below
“What the fuck is going on here?” I said through gritted teeth. I could feel a slight tingling of warmth coursing throughout my skin where the talisman and runes resided. God, she’s already trying to seduce us with her magic. Hopefully Isaac knows what he’s doing. I thought.
“Galin, I will not have you speak of my people like that or with that tone of voice.” The Jaguar Matron glared at me. “Stephano and Loretta are good people and you will find that you like them once you give them a chance.” How very interesting: not ‘if’ I give them a chance, but ‘once’ I give it to them.” What Eva said and her tone of voice told me all I needed to know. This whole charade of a feast was to lure us here away from any outside help that we may procure: A perfectly laid trap, but for what purpose? Well, maybe not so perfectly laid – after all, Tobin and Torquil escaped so hopefully they’ll find a way back to Cancun and to Isaac. However for all I know the twins are blissfully ignorant of anything being wrong. Thank you Isaac for not being so trusting: I breathed. Had he not insisted on the tattoo and the spell that followed I’d be in a world of trouble. Then again that may be the case regardless of the spell, but with its protection I may figure a way out of this.
I looked at Eva. “When’ I give them a chance?” My eyes told her I understood everything. “You have no intensions of ever letting us go, do you? Why?”
“We need diversity in our defenses and once we establish tiger and puma tribes here no one will challenge us. Galin, it really isn’t that bad. When you get settled in you’ll like it here, you will not want to leave.” She said.
The female vampire spoke, Loretta, didn’t Eva say her name was Loretta? “Galin, I’ve so very much wanted to meet you formally.” Even with Isaac’s magic in place I felt the tug of her voice on my mind and soul like a gentle caress trying to soothe me into compliance. I ignored her.
“Do you realize she’s already tried possessing me twice without my permission?” I spat the words out while glaring at the exotic vampire standing only a few feet away from me. She and the Stephano were both beautiful beyond imagination, but I could see that it was a façade, a veneer, covering a much darker creature beneath. The evening gown Loretta wore was elegant and made from the finest royal blue silk. The caller, or more accurately neck piece, arched gracefully in a two inch band over her shoulders from which hung the bodice composed of two strips of fabric full enough to cover her breast but left little to the imagination. A split in the middle revealed cleavage without being obscene. Around her thin waist the dress fit snugly adorned by a blue sapphire jeweled pin of some sort. Darker blue flowers embroidered along the hem with tendrils of flowers on vines reaching up to about hip level adorned the gown’s full skirt. She’d pulled her blond hair up in a tease not much unlike the women of the 1960’s wore revealing a beautifully long and elegant neck. From her ears hung three inch dangle rings of blue sapphire matching the pendant jewelry on her bodice. The effect was breathtaking.
The man stood a good foot taller than the woman. His long dark hair hung listlessly over the tailored white dress shirt he wore. Where the tie and dinner jacket were was anybody’s guess, but the black trousers were of high quality – I assume Giorgio Armani. A pair of highly polished dress shoes completed the attire. His eyes showed black in the torchlight, no iris and no whites at the edges, only black pupils filling his entire eye sockets. To say he has an alarming gaze is a gross understatement. Like the woman Stephano’s skin is alabaster so white and translucent I could see the veins coursing blue underneath especially in the cheeks. I cannot believe either of these two makes public appearances because neither would pass as human or at least not healthy ones.
“All Felines are my animals to call.” Loretta said and again her voice pulled at a core deep in my body from somewhere around my solar plexus. My eyes blurred but only momentarily before a red hot flush ran the course of my body from one rune to another charging the shield Isaac placed upon me clearing my vision.
“We cannot resist her and the more you try the more painful it becomes.” Eva said helpfully but with a tinge of worry. “Honor them and they will reward you with kindness.” She placed a hand on my arm to emphasize her words. I looked down at it before turning my gaze to her. I didn’t have to say a word because my eyes said it for me. Eva flinched letting her hand fall back to her side. “I’m sorry Galin, but we need you – all of you. We’ve been trying to recruit other lycanthrope species to move here and join our clan, but to date no one has answered our call. When you showed up in our harbor, we thought we finally…” She trailed off looking away from me.
“Well you thought wrong, but what you’re saying Eva implies to dishonor them will bring swift and painful punishment I guess.” I retorted and my voice sounded like cold metal scraping across a frozen glacier.
“Galin please” Eva said imploring me with her eyes. “Don’t do this. There really is no use.”
“Galin” Loretta called. I ignored her. “Galin, look at me.” I still ignored her but I felt a strong push from her mind and an instant reaction from Isaac’s magic shielding me.
Do as she says son, or you’re likely to get us all killed. Rakish thought desperately to me. That broke through my stubbornness and I looked at the vampire trying hard to smile, remembering Isaac’s words:
Shit, I’ve almost blown it. “I’m sorry Lady Loretta,” I said softly, “so much has happened lately I…” I trailed off trying my best to look mesmerized, captivated by her beauty, her voice. I almost threw up with the effort. The more I looked at them I could see the demons looking back from beneath their faces: it must be an affect of Isaac’s magic since I’ve never been able to see this before. I can tell you one thing, whoever they were in life died when they resurrected to this new infernal one.
Loretta smiled at me letting the tips of her fangs show. “That’s better. I’ll accept your apology under one condition but I warn you I will not be so lenient if it happens again.” The gloat in her eyes convinced me more than anything that she bought my ruse.
“What is your condition my lady?” I asked diverting my eyes more to keep her from seeing the contempt in them.
“You must tell me how it is you were able to resist me. No one has defied me like this in over 5,000 years. How were you able to do it?”
“Just strong willed I guess…” I said with a friendly smile. She wasn’t smiling back. I cleared my throat and continued. “Back when I was young, not long after I was turned, I met a vampire with you talent. She wasn’t as strong or as beautiful as you but she called tigers to her. From what I’ve learned since I shouldn’t have been able to resist her at all, especially at that age, but I did. While in her presence I couldn’t defend against her very well, but away from her the control she held on me broke but I had to fight for it. Over time I learned to keep her out even in her presence and soon after I escaped.” I fabricated the whole story and I hoped she bought it because I most certainly didn’t want her to find out about Isaac’s part in all of this.
“What was her name?” Loretta demanded. Apparently the news of another female vampire with her gift seemed to alarm her more than my ability to resist her.
“The locals called her ‘Shanghai Devil’ albeit not to her face, but she was known to us as Mistress Chang. I never knew her first name.”
Loretta mulled over my answer and then her eyes calmed down and she beamed beautiful again. “Thank you Galin, I know the one you speak of. I never knew she could call any animal, especially cats; it’s a rare gift among us. But no matter; she is dead. Now, as Eva told you, resisting me is a wasted effort. I’ve practiced my art over werecats for a very long time and I will find any crack in your defenses eventually. The more you resist the more it will hurt.”
Stephano stepped close to Loretta. “You’re surmise is right tiger:” He said, “honor us and you will be rewarded richly, dishonor us and you will be punished most harshly.” His voice sounded like honey taste, sweet with a shade of something other: a pleasant voice but one with undeniable authority ringing through his rich baritone. He looked behind me at the remaining six of us one at a time. “That goes for all of you. Whatever your lives were before you came here no longer matters. You belong to us now and this is your new home and we your new masters.”
“I am no one’s slave!” Greg spat the words out and his stance indicated he was ready to fight and I had no doubt he thought we’d all back him up. In other circumstances he’d be right, but Loretta’s control over cats rendered all but me useless. I glanced around at the others to confirm my suspicions and was rewarded with almost blank eyes from each and every one of them except, to my surprise, Rakish and Pumar who only looked half dazed.
“Who is this?” Stephano demanded of Eva but never took his eyes off my adopted son. The muscles in his jaws flexed and eased creating a slight pulsing just below his cheeks. Obviously these vampires were not used to challenges. This might prove beneficial when the time comes.
“His name is Greg, a werewolf.” Eva’s words carried a hint of disdain and they brought looks of disgust from both vampires.
“A werewolf?” Loretta scowled. “We have no use for a werewolf – filthy creatures the lot of them. Get rid of it!” She ordered. Jose stepped forward with an excessively eager expression – eagerness for a kill.
“Wait, please, I beg of you my Lady.” I said dropping to a knee in front of them and bowing my head. “He is my adopted son. Please don’t kill him. I’ll do anything you ask, please.”
“Adopted son, you have a werewolf as an adopted son?” Loretta almost couldn’t believe her ears from the tone in her voice. “How do you tolerate the smell?” Now she was just being down right mean because Greg did not smell badly, the fact they didn’t know he was a werewolf until told screamed of her prejudice.
“We found him destitute and nearly dead. At first we thought it’d be a lot of fun to use him as a watchdog around the house, but I’ve grown much attached to him.” I lied. What are you doing? Rakish warned in my mind.
“A watchdog,” she laughed, the sound mixed between the gratings of fingernails on a chalkboard and of many crystals clinking together. “Why on earth would a weretiger need a watchdog?”
“It started out as a cruel gesture on our part, a joke, but we got to know him and now he is like a loved pet. It would grieve us all to lose him.” I implored.
She looked at Greg for a moment. “Very well, we may have use for him once we break his will.” Loretta said with a nasty edge in her voice. I’m trying to save Greg’s life. I shot back at Rakish. “Jose, take him to the pit. Do not kill him…” she said with a tired sigh as though she expected an argument, “but if you want to have some fun you may indulge.” She gave the sadist a wicked smile. I swallowed hard trying to keep my cool and act like a dutifully submissive servant because that is clearly how the vampire viewed us. “Rise Galin, you have proven your fist duty of loyalty in beseeching me to spare the life of someone you care for, but you still have to be punished for your insolence earlier. I will allow this dog to live so long as you do exactly what I say. The first time you disobey me, he dies. Do you understand?”
“Yes my lady.” I said bowing my head so she wouldn’t see the anger seething in my eyes.
“Good. Jose,” She called to the man standing between Greg and me, “put our new tiger in the pit with his dog. Make him watch how we reward those who defy us.”
Oh great Galin, now you have done it. Rakish thought to me and his mental voice sounded a bit exasperated and tinged with fear. “Yes my lady.” Jose bowed to her. His new task clearly disappointed him but I figured forcing me to watch Greg tortured would slake his lust for slaughter somewhat.
What I’ve done is save his life. It may still be a short one but he will live for the time being. I said to my lunar-father as Jose and six others forced us to march in front of them out of the chamber. We’ll find a way out of this. I swore. I had no idea how to deliver on it but it made me feel better to promise.
We will try and figure out what we can do from this end. I do not like this Galin. She is so damned hard to resist. Rakish said and the pain in his mental voice rang clear.
I don’t either Rakish. I don’t either, but we’ve got to keep strong. Resist her as best you can. It made me proud to see them standing so stoically in the knowledge that Greg and I were about to be sorely abused. Pumar fidgeted and I caught a glimpse of mutiny smoldering under the surface. Pumar, don’t do anything to get you hurt or killed. I love you guys, all of you and I promise we will find a way out of this alive – all of us. Please don’t underestimate this bitch. I finished as the doors closed behind us.
Jose’s palm slammed into my back between the shoulder blades tossing me forward. “Keep moving.” He snarled. “All of you have been such a pain in my ass ever since you got here, and believe me; you’re going to love what I do to your pooch.” He said in his best imitation of an American accent as he kicked Greg’s ass sending him sprawling on the floor in front of us. Before he could stop me I ran and helped him up. “Eres tan estupedo como un perro.” Jose laughed at whatever it is he said. The only words I understood, ‘stupedo’ (stupid) and ‘perro’ (dog), made me wonder if he spoke to me or Greg.
‘The pit’ proved to be a very deep hole in the center of the floor of what I took for a torture chamber. I guess it’s a fitting name albeit a very unimaginative one. We’d come up a very long flight of stairs before entering this particular little shop of horrors in the maze of underground compartments and passageways, but I guess in order to have such a pit where the subterranean water wouldn’t interfere made the higher elevation necessary. Jose took time bruising us up a bit before getting started in his assigned task. “Now you watch puto. If you close your eyes so much as for an instant, I’ll cut your eyelids off.” I had little doubt he meant it, but I couldn’t help the partial transformation the abuse started in me. Jose noticed my claws extending and chuckled. “You see these men who came here with us?” He asked.
“Yes.” I said through gritted teeth.
“Just try something, anything and these guys will beat the shit out of you and then force you to watch me kill him. You like the idea of that puto?” I didn’t say anything. “You’re out numbered bitch and you’re lover over there will pay the price if you try anything, so go ahead, make me happy.” Two jaguars held Greg and me by one arm each while a third stood behind us with a hand on each shoulder. All of them were large, old, and strong – dominants each and every one. I could tell by the way they held themselves they knew how to handle most any situation. “Do you like the other joto Pumar?” He saw the flash in my eyes at the mention of my lunar-son’s name. “Yea I bet he’s a real good lay. If you force me to kill this bitch…” he nodded toward Greg, “I’ll fuck your other lover Pumar while slitting his throat so I can feel his life drain out of him while I have my fun.” I surged forward before the men guarding me could react but not fast enough because they caught me just before I took Jose’s head off. I struggled against them and my claws fully extended into sharp blades as my fangs distended so the points poked down below my lower lip. A nasty snarling growl rumbled deep in my chest. “Oh ho ho ho yea puto,” Jose laughed nervously jumping back a little, “do that again and I’ll have them bring Pumar down here so you can watch me kill them both.” The smile he gave said he’d love for me to do just that.
Greg’s voice sifted through my rage filled brain. I couldn’t see him, but his voice sounded strained. “Galin, please don’t do this. I’m not worth it.” The self loathing in his voice turned my stomach making me sick. Two weeks was not enough time to erase what Shredder had done to him and I loathed seeing him revert back to the submissive victim again. “You can’t fight this one for me, so please…” the silence that followed cut deep, “you know he’ll hurt Pumar too if you do.”
“Yes Galin…” Jose chortled stringing out my name slow and tauntingly emphasizing the ‘gay’ part of it. “You want to watch me fuck them both while I take their heads off?” I didn’t say a word and it made him mad. “Answer me you fucking puto.”
“No.” I seethed.
“Then you stay nice and quiet while I do this and watch everything like a good little kitty. So much as try and stop me in anyway and he’s dead.” I nodded my head in acquiescence easing back into my human form. I had no doubt he’d do exactly what he threatened and with the six bruits he brought with us I wasn’t sure I could win. To fail would certainly condemn Greg and Pumar to death and no doubt Loretta would back Jose up. What do I do? I stay still, watch, and bide my time until I can kill this sadistic bastard nice and slow.
In a way I wish I shared a lunar-link with Greg so I could distract him during the upcoming nightmare, but maybe it’s just as good we can’t share it. Watching it will be tough enough. I quickly took in the rest of the room and realized most of the ‘furniture’ I didn’t recognize. This may be a torture chamber, but it’s nothing like the ones we read about in period books of Medieval Europe. It’s circular, and spaced evenly around it stood twelve flat stone benches about waist high, or so I took them as benches, each with one end sloping down towards the pit in the center and the other facing away from it towards the wall and a large hole cut into the living rock like tombs behind each. The inside lip of the benches hung over the hole slightly, maybe a foot or so I couldn’t tell from my perspective, and had a notch cut into the center of that end. The whole room reminded me of a large numberless clock face. The notch made me think of a stone I’d seen once where spring water poured over it into a pool. This made me realize they were sacrificial alters designed so the victim’s blood would drain into the hole. It disgusted me to think of the carnage that happened here in times past – all to beseech the favor of sadistic gods. The jaguars stripped Greg before strapping him face down to one of these alters on the opposite side of the room from me and it surprised me when they placed his head on the lower end facing the pit. “No matter what happens Greg, you’ll survive this.” I said trying to encourage my friend. “I love you.”
“Like a pet?” He asked and the cold loathing in his voice nearly killed me. The look in his eyes told me he believed what I’d said to Loretta.
“No Greg, like a son.” I said trying my best to embody as much emotion as I could in the words.
They bound and shackled me to the wall with silver which burned slightly into my skin making me itch all over. I stretched my neck back and forth trying to ease the tension when I noticed a pulsing sensation at its nape – it altered between an uncomfortable burning sensation to nearly freezing cold. I couldn’t figure it out: did Jose rig something to drip on me while they tied me up? I didn’t think so. “Oh such sweet sentiments Galin, really, like a son?” Jose squat down beside Greg’s head. “Did you hear that perro? Which of them I wonder is your bitch mother, Galin or Pumar?” He ran his fingers through Greg’s hair. “Such nice hair you have, hmmm doesn’t look at all like either of them. Your mother must be some bitch whore they found. Is your mother a bitch whore perro?” Jose laughed at the fuming madness his words elicited in Greg. “I’ve never seen a silver wolf before, especially one with eyes like yours. I bet you’re just a nasty old mutt after all? A weremutt, that’s what I bet you are.” He looked back at me. “He’ll survive alright Verga provided you do as you’re told and stay nice and quiet and watch everything. The question is will he want to?” Our tormentor said with a grin. His canines distended to their fullest twisting his smirk into a hideous snarl.
As an assassin I’ve killed more people than I care to remember and believe me, I remember each and every kill: the look in their eyes when they knew they’re going to die or the shock on their face as a bullet strikes, the pleas for mercy they know will not be granted, the blood, gore, and shit as they lose control of their body in death… all of it. I can pull each and every one of them to my mind and remember every detail. Details that will haunt me for the rest of my existence, ergo I pretty much consider myself an expert on torture and death. But what this bastard did to Greg no one should have to suffer. They tied his wrist with silver chains to rings fastened to the foot of his alter and his legs similarly tied at the other end spread him open – arms and legs stretched wide over his stone. They secured his waist with a silver belt which passed through a hole in the center of his alter and buckled securely in the small of his back. Why the hole was originally bored only god knows but if lycanthropes were the intended victims of this chamber then the silver made sense and was probably the original furniture accessories from times past since silver weakens us. If not then this chamber was especially modified to torture shapeshifters. I swallowed hard as I watched Jose pull a long gold tray supported by a wooden table on wheels from the deep hole cut in the wall to the rear of Greg’s alter. The instruments of the trade glistened white in the torchlight illuminating the room. All of them were silver and each looked especially designed to deliver the most agonizing pain possible. Every tool on the tray would kill a human in short order, but lycanthropes are difficult to kill; we can physically survive extensive damage. Rather or not Greg’s psyche will survive it only time will tell.
Jose smiled holding his hands up for me to watch his fingers shift into long sharp claws making clicking noises as he slapped his digits against each other. The other jaguars stepped back as far as they dared. The disgust for this man on their faces was clear for anyone to see. I’ll have to admit I found that very interesting. “Shall we begin?” Jose asked and he turned to dance his sharp bone like fingers all over my son’s back poking him as quick as an industrial sewing machine. Greg bit his lip to keep from crying out as bloody pricks blossomed all over his white skin and filled the air inches above his body where it followed the sharp claws out of the new wounds. The damage was more than it should have been. Jose seemed to anticipate my curiosity because he explained: “Over the years I’ve learned to barb my claws so they inflict more injury. Like what they’re doing to him?” Blood trickled down the sides of Greg’s body dripping onto the stone upon which he lay flowing freely until it coursed down the cut notch oozing around his chin before dripping over the ledge into the dark depths below. I imagined since Greg could see over the edge of his alter that he could also see the bright red beads falling down into oblivion.
Soon Jose tired of this technique. I guess this was his idea of a warm up session. Using his claws he cut deep furrows into the backs of Greg’s legs from hip to ankle before stepping back admiring his handiwork. Reaching over the prone boy’s buttocks he slipped his claws into the crevasse of Greg’s ass shoving them in hard. Greg let out a yell, he couldn’t help it. Jose then raked his claws out and to the sides like the fronds of a palm tree wiggling his fingers back and forth to produce a serrated effect, the barbs ripping the flesh. Greg no longer bit his lip; instead he gnashed his teeth trying not to bite his tongue off as grunts of pain and frustration issued out of him. “The beauty of this is that you will heal perfectly and then I can do it all again, and again, and again anytime you piss any of us off.” Jose said smiling: more of an anticipatory leer. “In ancient times this room was used to sacrifice shapeshifters to the gods. Whenever we won a fight the losing side wound up here, usually after a nice ball game. I miss those days. Ever since archeologist ‘discovered’ Chechen Itza,” he spat the word discovered like a curse, “we’ve had to move our activities underground. So far we’ve kept these passages a secret. You know, the vampires are the best thing to happen to us in years. They allow me to practice my art often. Before they came along Eva had nearly ruined us. Changing our old customs, ‘taming’ us she used to say.” Jose spoke to Greg but I had no illusions his words weren’t meant for me as well. He grabbed Greg’s head by the hair and pulled it up sharply stopping just short of break his neck. He then traced a claw along the boy’s scalp just under the hair line like caressing a long lost lover. “You know most scalp wounds are not life threatening but they sure do hurt like hell and produce lots and lots of blood. He pressed hard on his next caress creating a deep cut line causing a flood of blood to run down into Greg’s eyes. “I hear the natives from your part of the world perfected the art of scalping.”
I felt sick again. “No, please don’t do this Jose. You don’t have to do this.”
He looked at me with no compassion, no sympathy, no nothing, nothing at all reflected in his eyes. “Oh but I think I do. See Galin, I enjoy killing people nice and slow so they feel every bit of it. I enjoy tormenting them until they beg me to finish it. I enjoy denying them a quick escape. If you’d not interrupted my queen and begged for this dog’s life, I’d have been able to enjoy one of my favorite wet dreams. Now all I get to do is torture him and that’s not satisfying. You robbed me of the joy of seeing the light fade from these oh so pretty eyes. Of course I could take it too far. Loretta will not mind if I ‘accidently’ kill the mutt. She’s just about as much of an artist at this as I am.” I couldn’t think of anything to say other than please and I’d be damned if I’d give him the pleasure of that again. There was nothing good in him to appeal too. Repositioning his grip in Greg’s hair he pulled up as he slipped the tip of his claw under the skin pulling the scalp back gently so as not to tear it. “Ah yes, this will make a wonderful trophy. Too bad it will grow back. I think I would like seeing you walk around with a scared head.” To the mercy of the gods Greg passed out from the pain as Jose pulled the rest of his silver hair from his head. “¡Vete a la verga culero!” Jose cursed slapping Greg’s skinned head with the flat of his hand hard enough to cause a concussion. He walked around the room to me smearing the bloody side of my friend’s scalp over his face licking it. I guess I became the focus when his victim passed out. When he stepped up to me he held the skin out to my face. “Lick it.” He ordered. I turned my face away trying my best to keep the bloody thing away from me as best I could until I felt the razor sharp points of his claws grip my face cutting into my cheeks as he turned my head to face him. “I said lick it joto.” He smeared the pelt on my face bringing a gag from me. “Lick it!” I shook my head no but my efforts just brought a jackhammer of a slap against the side of my head.
“Get away from him.” The horse screamed came from the other side of the room. Greg glared at us as best he could. Blood ran over his face dripping off his chin joining the near steady flow of it pouring down into the darkness below.
“Oh my, I do believe the pooch was faking! Good!” With unbelievable speed and agility he sprang from my side sailing over the pit landing neatly beside my adopted son. “Now, now, now what have we here?” He wiped his hand over Greg’s mutilated head before licking it. “Mario, I do believe we have an actor in the house. What a wonderful performance. You had me fooled with that one.” Greg closed his eyes and I don’t think he faked anything as he teetered right on the precipice of the void but managed to open them again so he could glare into his tormentor’s face. “I think I’ll have a lot of fun with you before you finally piss someone off enough to award me your life. That’s what I really want you know. I want your soul.” Jose said hungry like a starved man. He slipped behind Greg picking up an especially odd looking tool: a rod, at least three feet long, four inches in diameter, and solid. It tapered to a dull point at one end while curving up 90° on the other like a handle complete with finger grips pressed into the shiny metal. To be honest it reminded me of a dildo but far too long and fat for that pleasurable device. No sooner had I thought it when I realized its use. Oh my god, please, no. I thought. The jaguar laid his chosen tool down on top of Greg’s back and the cold silver brought a small whimper from prone man. “That performance awards you a quick ending to this little session.” He picked up his tool, held it by the handle, and brought it forward so Greg could see it, after all the most effective part of torture is fear. “Do you know what this is?”
Greg shook his head before speaking. “No.” He said hoarsely.
“I’ll give you two guesses and the first does not count perro. Think of it as what’s between your lover’s legs.” Understanding dawned in my son’s eyes and fear flooded them. “That’s right, I see you guessed it.” Looking up at Mario he continued. “I do believe I saw a flash of desire in his eyes when he realized what this is used for.” The other six men in the room looked sick – especially Mario. Jose laughed and looked back at Greg continuing his torment. “If you ask me just right, I’ll use this on you. You want me to use it?” Greg said nothing so Jose gripped his jaw pulling it up so his head contorted at an odd angle stopping just before snapping the vertebra. “You want me to use this on you don’t you?” Using his hand to make Greg’s head nod yes he smiled. “There you see Mario, he does like being fucked. That wasn’t so hard was it joto? You’re a joto aren’t you? I think I heard someone say you like taking a big hard dick up your ass faggot. Well, the gods forbid I disappoint you. Are you ready? Here we go.” Jose chortled as he jumped up between his victim’s legs.
His screams made me puke. Loud continuous yells exploded in the room like thunderclaps. How anyone within a thousand miles could miss hearing him is beyond me. His anguished voice echoed off the walls and ceiling reverberating around the chamber like my headache had in my skull earlier this morning. If Greg were human he’d die. The pain alone would kill him not to mention the damage that tool did to his insides as Jose shoved it slowly from anus to throat working it in and out like a dildo until he was satisfied and left none of it but the bent handle sticking out. Mercifully Greg passed out, or died, I couldn’t tell which. GOD, how can people like Jose be allowed to exist? If given the chance I’d make him pay for this outrage. I can make it quick or drag it out just like he can and I’d make him hurt. “I’ll kill you for this!” I spat.
“Oh I’m sure you’ll try.” He said smugly. “Believe me Galin…” He jumped across the room to stand in front of me again putting his face inches from mine as he ran a bloody hand over my cheek. “I look forward to it.” He said before slowly licked Greg’s blood off of where he’d smeared it. “Prepare them for the pit.” He said in a flat tone, turned, and left the chamber with its tortured victim, tormented tiger, and six nauseated henchmen behind. I wasn’t the only one who’d thrown up, Mario and one of the other men wiped bile off their lips as Jose waltzed from the room to a tune only he could hear.
Mario walked over to me while his companions untied Greg’s limp form from the alter. “Perdón Señor. I hate it when they let him off his leash like this. He really is a… how do you say… Sadistic bastard?”
“Just release me and I’ll take care of him for you.” I said low and menacing.
Mario shook his head. “No Señor, I would if I could, but you do not know him like I do. He is not someone you can just take out. He has a sick sense for feeling when danger is near him. I’ve never seen anything like it.” The big man was gentle as he washed the blood from my face and removed me from the wall being careful not to loosen any of my bonds. They’d apparently already prepped me for lowering into the pit because he stood there holding me up while the others examined and bound Greg in silver chains.
Another man, I wasn’t sure of his name but I thought I’d heard them call him Pablo, felt for a pulse in Greg’s throat. “Thank god he’s alive.” He breathed loud enough for us all to hear and crossed himself.
I watched as the other men lifted Greg from where he lay still as death. I swear I couldn’t see any movement in him at all. At least I took comfort from seeing how gentle the men were with him. I couldn’t have been any gentler even if I weren’t bound like a silver spin top toy. All six of these men seemed to hate what went on in this chamber as much as I did. Mario hooked a chain to the bonds behind my back swinging me over the precipice yawning black in the torchlight. Soon Greg lay wound up in chains like me and before I could say ‘wait’ they swung him over the pit beside me. Slowly we went down into the darkness. “We’ll be back as soon as Loretta will allow us to retrieve you Señor. The quieter you stay when he wakes up the less he will suffer.” With that I lost sight of him and all but the lit disk of light forming the top of our prison shrinking smaller and smaller as we descended.
It seemed forever before we stopped moving and I cannot express my surprise when I felt water cover my feet and climb up my body until it submerged my chest to my neck. A few days in this will certainly have us in a good mood. Not only did the way Jose treat Greg piss me off but the fact they didn’t even let him wake and transform to heal his wounds was unforgiveable. Depending on the extent of the damage and how weak he is, the scaring could be permanent. But he’s alive, that’s all that matters right now. I told myself. One good thing happened out of all of this, an act of compassion if you will from Pablo. While they prepared Greg for the decent into this watery prison he had the decency to pull the silver spear out. “Jose will not like you messing with that Pablo.” Mario warned him.
“Then to the devil with him…” Pablo spat on the ground as though to ward off a curse and crossed himself for the second time that evening… “He can shove it up me if he wants because I don’t care. I cannot and will not leave this inside to poison him. He’ll be dead before morning if I don’t remove it.”
Several hours passed with us hanging in the cold watery darkness of the pit and I’d dozed off or passed out, not sure which, when a noise startled me. I looked around but could see little down here. The light above looked weaker but it still shown like a shrouded sun casting little light down to us. “Are you awake?” The beautiful voice said.
At first I thought I’d pretend to be asleep and not answer, but I couldn’t help myself. “I’m awake.”
“Good.” She said. “Do you think you’ll defy me in the future?” Loretta’s voice oozed with politeness promising all kinds of pleasures if I only submit.
“Not if it gets my friends hurt or killed. There really was no need to do this to him.”
“Oh yes, it was most certainly necessary. It is essential to make an example out of someone. It makes everyone else more agreeable.”
“I see your point.” I said sourly.
“After what that bastard did to Greg, I’d say your point was made fucking clear enough.”
“I do not like foul language Galin. From now on you will refrain from using it around me.” Her voice grew sharp.
“Whatever you fucking want bitch!”
She stood there quiet for a while and when she spoke her voice steeled cold and brittle. “I see. I guess your wolf’s life means little to you after all. A few more days rotting in that cold water might change your attitude. If not, not only will I kill your dog but if that doesn’t work there is always Pumar. I bet you would love to see me set Jose loose on him.” Her threat made my blood run cold. I’d see this bitch dead one way or another: her, her fucking brother, the bastard Jose, and that bitch Eva for betraying us to them. They’ll all die. “Do you hear me Galin?” I said nothing. “Don’t make me ask again.” She said slowly, coolly.
“I hear you.”
“Good. Think long and hard about it because I will not tolerate any more of your insolence.” She left snuffing out the remaining torches dowsing the entire room and pit into cave blackness.
I lost track of how much time passed before I heard the first hint of life from Greg. Hours, days, it all mixed together but at some point, someone relit a few of the torches because a soft glow emanated from above. Greg moaned weakly before opening his eyes. “Who, who’s there?” He asked almost hysterically his voice coming out more like a croak than human.
“It’s me Greg, me, Galin. How do you feel?”
“Galin?” Sobs echoed off the sheer rock walls of our prison. A while passed before Greg regained enough composure to say anything else. I’d have given anything to be able to wrap him up in my arms to comfort him. I felt my own tears, hot and scalding, on the chilled skin of my cheeks. “Galin, what happened? I feel like a freight train ran over me about a dozen times.”
“You don’t remember?” I asked cautiously.
“Good, its better you don’t.”
“Where are we?”
“In prison I think.”
“Prison?” I heard memory clicking in his brain. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, NO!” He wailed. All I could do was wait, wait until he quieted enough to hear me, but I really didn’t know what to say. When the wails stilled silence deafened my ears. Finally after what seemed like an eternity in the darkness I heard him take a deep breath. “What’s wrong with me dad?” He’d never used that particular pronoun for me before and I almost broke down right then and there but stilled myself to be strong for Greg’s sake.
“How do you mean son?” I asked because I wasn’t sure if he meant physically wrong with him or something else. I added the term of endearment because I realized I’ve really come to think of Greg as my lunar-son but more because I wanted him to know I thought of him as much more than a pet.
“Shredder, now this, what’s wrong with me? Why do people hate me so much? I did nothing worthy of this yet she hates me just because I’m a wolf? Why couldn’t you have turned me?” I heard sobs in the darkness but this time quiet ones.
“Greg, listen to me!” I said. “There is NOTHING wrong with you, nothing at all. I don’t understand why you’ve had to deal with all this shit, but it is not your fault!” I couldn’t hide the anger in my voice.
“Why are you angry with me?” He asked in a small little boy voice that didn’t sound at all like a 17 year old man.
“Angry with you?” I asked. “Greg, please listen, I’m not angry with you. I’ve never been angry with you. Don’t ever think I feel anything but love for you.” I said in a rush of breath trying to say it all as fast as possible in case he closed me out.
“Then why are you angry?” He whimpered.
“I’m angry at what that bastard did to you. I’m angry because we’re stuck here in this wet hell hole and can do nothing about it. I’m angry because they didn’t even let you transform before putting you down here all wrapped up in silver. I’m angry at that bastard and his bitch queen.” I took a deep breath. “I’m not angry with you at all, do you hear me?”
“Yes.” He said quietly his voice trembling with the emotional effort.
“Well, well, you two are a wake finally.” The voice came out of the darkness around us causing me to yelp and Greg screamed. “It’s just me.” Torquil said. I could have kissed him – not only to find out he’s alright, but that he miraculously found us.
“How did you…” I started to ask.
“Yes.” I laughed.
“We found a way up into the catacombs and after seeing what all they are doing to our people decided it is far better to stay hidden instead of letting them know we survived. I heard Shea talking about you two being in the pit and how it will do you good…”
“Do us good?” I practically shouted cutting him off.
“Yes, they have them brainwashed Galin. The woman vampire…”
“Loretta,” I filled in.
“Yes, Loretta has a powerful hold on all cats anywhere near her. All of our people go about their business as though they’ve lived here for centuries and they can’t get enough of that blood sucker. I mean, we’ve only been here less than four days and they are totally within her power. It’s terrible.”
“Torquil, wait a minute, you said four days?” I asked.
“Yes, it was four days ago when we drove out here. You’ve been out of it buddy. Must be the emotional stress wearing you out because you’re not hurt, not physically at any rate.”
“When did you find us?” I asked. “How long have you been with us?”
“About an hour: I searched for this place for two days.”
I thought on this for a bit. “Where is your brother?”
“Tobin left the day after we got here. He went back to get Isaac.”
“Good we need him here. I feel he’s the only one who can help us.” I said.
“I know it Galin. Tobin’s on his way and I hope they get back here fast, but I don’t see how they will before it’s too late.”
“Two late?” I asked apprehensively.
“Loretta and Sebastian are planning a feast seven days from now. It’s the Blood Feast we were brought here for. It will fall on the next full moon and the prey is human.” He trailed off.
“What?” I asked.
“Shush” He said looking up at the dim light above. “Someone’s up there.”
Slipping off into the darker shadows Torquil took cover as a head poked out into the light forming the top of the pit. “Good, you’re awake.” Rakish’s said.
“Rakish?” I called up to him. “Quick, pull us up.”
“Now Galin, you know I cannot do that. You are down there for your own good. You really should not have spoken to our Lady Loretta like that. She has always been so good to us. I swear I don’t know what came over you.” He shook his head like a parent trying to figure out the behavior of a naughty child. “She says you’re to stay there a few more days. Maybe then you will understand your place better. I have to go and let them know you’re awake. Jose has something he wants to discuss with you.” He paused. “You know, I thought he was such a prick when we first met him but he’s really a nice guy…” Rakish’s voice trailed off as he walked for the passage leading from the chamber.
“A nice guy: Rakish are you out of your fucking mind? You didn’t see what he did to Greg!” I yelled up at the empty ring of light.
Rakish poked his head back over the lip of the pit’s opening. “What he did to that werewolf?” He said the word like it degusted him to even think of it. “I swear Galin, the reason you’re down there is because you stood up for that whelp. The sooner we sacrifice him the better everything will be.” His head disappeared from sight. “I’ll be back shortly with Jose. He’ll be glad to see you’re awake.”
After a little while Torquil swam back out from his hiding place. “See what I mean? Rakish would never say anything like that before Loretta got her fangs into him.”
“Can you get us down from here?” I asked.
“Yes I think I can, but you will have a hard time swimming for it wrapped up like that.”
“Can you get us down from here and unbind us?” I asked a bit slower, exasperated. “We don’t have much time.”
“It will be easier to take your bonds off first and then unhook you from the chain. Good thing I’m not allergic to silver like you are. I might not be able to do this otherwise.” He slipped under water and I felt him tugging, pushing, and twisting at the silver chains wrapped around me. Before long I felt pieces falling off and away and soon I had my arms and legs free.
“What are we going to do?” Greg asked.
“We’re getting out of here so we can group with Isaac and figure out a way to rescue our friends.” I whispered.
“I don’t know if I can swim.” Greg said.
“Shush, I hear someone coming.” Torquil said as he finished freeing me. I slipped into the water gripping the hook I’d been hanging from until feeling and circulation returned to my limbs. Torquil slipped into the darker shadows.
“Galin, Rakish tells me you’re awake – how nice.” Jose said.
I scowled at the sound of his oh so affable voice. “Yes, what of it.” I said putting in as much venom as I could muster.
“Now, now, now, that’s no way to speak to an old friend.” He cooed.
“No friend of mine would torture another friend of mine the way you did Greg.” I spat.
What are you doing? Greg whined.
“If I’m friendly to him he’ll probably take me out of here leaving you behind. I cannot allow that.” I whispered so quietly I hoped Rakish and Jose could not hear me.
“Are you still sore about that damned werewolf?” Jose said sadly. “I swear Galin; he’s just a nasty, filthy dog. He’s of no concern to us but he’ll make a wonderful sacrifice come the feast.” Jose chuckled and it felt like someone dowsed me in black oily slime.
“Jose,” I called.
“¡Yo mataria tu!” I said in Spanish.
“And here I thought you didn’t know my language.” His tone mocking.
“I don’t know much, but I know that. You’re a dead man Jose; you just don’t know it yet.”
“Well, it seems to me you could use a little more time down there. Maybe by the full moon your attitude will improve.” He disappeared. “Come along Rakish, we need to let them stew some more. He’ll change his mind after a few more days.” His voice faded off as they walked away.
You’re a maniac Galin. Greg said and only then did I realize he’d not spoken it but thought the words.
Can you hear me Greg? I thought.
“Of course I can hear you, you just spoke”. He said, then: Shit! How is this possible? I thought you had to be lunar-related to do this.
Apparently not, I thought back. I remember Mina saying something about this happening during times of great stress, but she was talking about people of the same species. I don’t know how this is possible.
“Galin, I could use a little help here.” Torquil said as he tried to free Greg. “His flesh has healed over some of the bonds.”
“What?” I asked swimming over to my ‘adopted lunar-son’. Gee all these lunar-relations are getting confusing. Sure enough some of his more severe wounds had indeed healed over the silver forcing us to rip the flesh open again. Greg whined as we did this, but said nothing. Before long he slipped free and sank into the water and my waiting arms forcing me to kick harder to keep our heads above the surface. I gave a mighty kick and with one hand grabbed Greg’s chain, holding onto the hook with one hand and holding Greg in my other arm. It felt like I’d pull apart, but better than trying to tread water with his dead weight in my arms.
I was about to let go and swim towards the dark shadow Torquil waited in when I heard someone else above. “Oh great, I guess bitch queen has decided to give us another visit.” The footfalls were quiet and slow, shuffling hesitantly towards the opening. “Galin?” Pumar called softly.
“Pumar?” I asked. “Is that you? I can barely hear you.”
“They don’t know I’m here and I’ll be in trouble if they find out.” He said.
“Why have you come?” I asked guarded. “Rakish was just here and he’s totally won over. How about you? You give into that bitch?”
“NO!” He sounded aghast at the very thought of it. “I saw what they did to Greg.”
“What?” I asked. There was no way he could have been here.
“After you left the vampires greeted the rest of us and after that it really became a greet all. They weren’t paying much attention to me and I snuck off, wandering around, following your scent but I was afraid to come too close. I saw it all though through our link. I’ve been avoiding everyone ever since, but when she calls me I cannot help but answer. I hate it. I hate her.” He said in a small voice. “I want to get both out of there but I’m afraid.”
“We don’t want out of here Pumar.”
“What?” He almost cried too loudly. “You can’t say you enjoy hanging in a pit of cold water, I don’t believe it.”
“Pumar, come down here.” I called up to him.
“Shit boy, jump. It’s only about eighty, maybe a hundred feet.”
“What if I land on you?”
“You won’t.” I said.
“How do you know?” He asked so quietly I almost couldn’t hear him.
“Trust me.” I said.
“Shit, someone’s coming and I can’t get out of here. I’ll get in trouble again.”
“Then jump damn it! Come on Pumar just jump.” I saw him hesitate only a moment before he hurled himself over the edge and only seconds later splashed in the water beside me.
When he surfaced he spit water out looking around desperately. “Where are you?”
“Right here,” I said. He looked at us and I waved a hand to make sure he saw where I’d swam pulling Greg in tow to the alcove were Torquil waited. Pumar smiled and joined us. “If you’re afraid of them hearing you, why didn’t you use the link?”
“I can’t. Rakish is completely taken over. He told Loretta about the link and how we use it. He’s been listening in to see if I’ve been using it to communicate with you. Loretta forbade any of us except for Rakish from coming anywhere near here.” He gripped a hold onto the edge of the recess we huddled in and took time to give Greg a good look. “Shit, it’s been nearly four days and he’s still this messed up?” He asked.
“He’s been wrapped in silver son. We heal almost human slow everywhere silver touches us so he still looks bad on the surface.”
“Pumar, are you in here?” Rakish called out from above. “You were told to stay away from here. Loretta’s not going to be happy when she finds out you disobeyed her again.” He stopped and listened. “Pumar, where are you?” After a moment he looked over the edge. “Are you awake Galin?” I didn’t answer. “Has Pumar been in here? He’s been such a naughty boy since we got here,” pause, “No? I guess I’m imagining it then.” He said a little too theatrically and walked away but I had no doubts he hadn’t left.
“We need to get out of here Torquil, which way?” I whispered.
“Here,” he whispered back and slipped off into the dark. Pumar and I followed pulling Greg along in a rescue hold keeping his head above water.
Before I slipped under the arched tunnel I caught a glimpse of bright light as Rakish held a torch over the pit. “Shit, where the hell are you?” he dropped the torch and watched it fall down into the water. “Shit, shit, shit, oh you’re in big trouble now.” He called down as he turned and ran from the room. Well the little shit’s going to betray us. I thought.
I’d caught hold onto Torquil’s tail and followed along. Since we went with the current the going was easy even if dark as pitch. Yes I said tail, he transformed to his otter the moment we headed down the passageway telling me to hold his tail before doing so. I have to admit the idea was rather cleaver. Before long the current picked up and carried us faster. I guess maybe thirty or forty minutes passed in total darkness before I saw a faint light ahead, the kind of light you see in a cave when you’re getting close to the exit but cannot see it yet. “What time is it?” I asked.
“It’s morning, around eight o’clock I guess.” Pumar answered.
“Is that sunshine?” I asked.
“It’s certainly something.” He said and no sooner had he gotten the words out when the currents twisted down a sharp grade spitting us out around a corner into a small chamber lit with torches. The otter scampered onto a flagstone landing and transformed back into Torquil who held a hand out to help haul our precious cargo onto the sloped ramp. Greg grunted as his raw head bumped the flagstones. I knew I’d have to make him transform soon or he’d never regain his hair and the scars would be permanent. I only hoped the wounds inside were healed enough not to cause problems. Since no silver remained in contact with them they would heal at an almost normal rate for a werewolf. His scalp and other lacerations healed slower because of the silver and still looked as angry as when it happened. Blood oozed from two especially nasty wounds, one on the back of his left side just below the ribcage and the other on the back of his left thigh. At first look some of the wounds tinged green but were clearing up before my eyes. Gangrene is an infection we don’t suffer from, but silver will have a similar affect if left in an open wound too long eventually killing the wounded lycanthrope. “Galin, I had to find a way back to you. I guess our link helps fight her off when I’m near you. It was the same for Rakish too. As soon as they took you away he fell to her powers and I almost did too. I guess I share a stronger link with you then he does.”
“Either that or your mind’s stronger than his.” I said a bit sourly. I didn’t want to be this way, but the past comes back to bite you sometimes and right now I had a hard time liking my lunar-father. After hating him for so long sliding back into the habit is easy. I hoped, no I knew, Rakish would not willing betray any of us and I couldn’t help but wonder how he’ll feel once we’re out of this. I refused to think of any of us being left behind. “Where are we Torquil?”
“It’s a chamber we found on the first day we arrived. Tobin and I have been using it as a hideout. This is where he said he’d meet us with Isaac.”
“How can you be sure they don’t know to look here?” Pumar asked.
“It’s a Dwarf Hall.” Torquil said beaming as though it explained everything.
“What’s a Dwarf Hall?” I asked.
This made the little guy laugh. “It was made by dwarves. Only dwarves can enter unless we invite someone. My ancestors made this one.” He said excitedly. “There used to be River Dwarves here. Come on; let’s get him inside where it’s warmer. After soaking in the river I’d say you’re both pretty cold.”
I’ll admit the guy had a point but I cannot express my surprise when he walked to the far side of the chamber to the solid rock wall where he placed a hand on the limestone, grunted something unintelligible and the stone literally melted away. “What the fuck?” I said.
“I’ll explain it better later, but it’s dwarf magic. Right now we need to get you three inside where you’ll be out of harm's way. It’s the only place you’ll be safe.” With this Torquil picked up one of Greg’s legs looking at Pumar and me expectantly. “Come on let’s get him inside.” I took a hold of Greg under the shoulders while Pumar took both legs as Torquil let go trotting off before us into the darkened hole he’d created in the wall. Reluctantly we followed and the hole sealed as soon as we passed through. The moment it closed I felt a calm pass over me I hadn’t realized was lacking. It wasn’t until that moment when I realized Loretta’s power over cats had been working on me the whole time. Torquil spoke another odd command and torches sprang to life along the walls of a small tunnel leading straight as an arrow off into the distance.
I looked back to say something to Pumar only to find he’d collapsed. His body lay half on top of Greg with his legs spread out behind him. “Pumar, Pumar,” I called scrambling to his side. I rubbed his arms and back before rolling him over into my lap. “What’s going on?” I demanded of Torquil who appeared beside us.
“I’ve heard it said before that when the link between a master vampire and an animal that is totally under their spell is broken the effect can be severe. I don’t think he was totally under her control, but enough that she directed some of his actions.” Torquil said. “He should come out of it soon.”
“And if he doesn’t?” I asked.
“Then we’ll have to move Greg to a more comfortable place and come back for him.” He saw I was about to protest. “Galin, I cannot carry either of these guys, not easily at any rate. Greg’s condition is far too gone to leave him alone even for a moment.”
I nodded my head and looked at my lunar-son. He looked at peace even if comatose. “Come on Pumar, wake up. Wake up damn it.” I said. He showed a steady breath and I felt his pulse which also proved steady. No fever, no chills aside from what the river caused. “Come on Pumar.” I shook his shoulder where it lay against my thigh. I shook him again and again but nothing. “Pumar!” I shouted slapping his face lightly.
His eyes fluttered open. “What… what happened?”
“You passed out.” I said.
“I passed out? How… Oh my head!” He exclaimed. I was kind of glad he already lay in my lap because I think he’d fall over otherwise.
“How do you feel?” I know, stupid question after what he just said, but hay.
“My head hurts but other than that I feel fine.”
“Do you feel her anymore?” I asked because I had to know.
He thought for a moment before answering. “No. No I don’t.” He smiled. “Thank god!”
“Do you think you can walk? We need to get Greg someplace more comfortable and warmer than here.”
“OK, I’ll try.” He said trying to get up. I helped him to his feet and after a couple of wobbly steps he braced himself against the wall of the tunnel. “I think I can make it. Lead the way.” I looked at Torquil who obliged while I picked up Greg to follow. Pumar tried to make me go first but I refused. I didn’t want him collapsing again where I couldn’t see it. “Come on Galin, I’ll be alright. You can go faster than me and he needs to get warm as soon as possible.”
“He’ll be OK Pumar. It’s not far, is it Torquil?” I thought at the last minute to ask.
“Where we need to go is about a mile, but there’s a room we can rest in for a while about a half mile up.”
“See?” I said to my lunar-son. “Not far at all.” Pumar grunted his OK but said nothing. I did notice he picked up the pace and I wondered if he was alright to do so. “You OK at this pace?” I asked.
“Yea, I’ll be fine.” He said but his voice sounded a little strained.
We got to the room Torquil told us about and found a nice stone cabinet top to lay Greg on. He looked bad and at some point he’d passed out again. “Is there any way to light a fire or some other way to get it warm in here?” I asked Torquil.
“Not really no, but another half mile and we’ll be in the main hall. There are all sorts of bed covers, skins, and blankets there we can use to get you all warm, and there’s more.” He answered a little mysteriously.
I looked at Pumar. “You OK to go on?” I asked.
“Yes, I’ll be fine really.” He held one hand to his head. “My head hurts but I’ll be alright. I’ve not had a headache in a while.” He smiled.
“You shouldn’t be having one at all.” I said.
“Come on, we need to get him warm, and both of you too.” Torquil said as I picked Greg back up heading for the doorway followed by Pumar and the little dwarf. “Lead the way Torq.” I said. He laughed at his shortened name and head out up the tunnel. After a few minutes we entered another door at the end of the hall we’d been traveling where it T-interchanged with another hallway.
The room was very spacious with large columns supporting a ceiling rather far above. All the pillars were decorated with ancient looking glyphs and designs I didn’t understand but found beautiful in an Art Deco sort of way. “WOW!” Pumar said as he looked at the vast room expanding out in front of us. “How do they not know about this?” He asked. “This is beautiful.”
“As I said earlier, it’s a Dwarf Hall. My people made it and therefore it is not easy to find, not even for dwarves. Tobin and I lucked up when we stumbled upon it.” Torquil said as he retrieved blankets for the three of us. “You two need to strip so your clothes won’t get the blankets wet.”
“No, I need to bring Greg’s beast or he’ll never heal right.” I said looking at my friend as he lay on the floor in a pile of furs and rugs. I placed a hand on his forehead and felt a very hot fever burning there. “You guys come here and hold him down. I’ve got to try this.” I concentrated on Greg’s wolf thinking about pulling him to the surface. At first he retreated from me but before long he eased out of his den looking at me. My tiger looked back because on a psychic level it is our beast that communicates with each other. Come out, we need you to come out. I thought.
I’m afraid. He whimpered.
If you don’t you won’t heal. Do you want to remain like this forever? I asked.
Then come out. Come on… He inched forward. That’s right, come on boy. Before long a large silver wolf stood in front of me. I looked up at the surface of a long tunnel leading up and out. We need you to come out, up there. I looked the way he needed to go.
OK. He said and started trotting towards the surface and the cave’s exit. I followed. On the outside I pulled with my power and found it interesting that his energy wasn’t much different than Pumar’s or Rakish’s.
Come on, I thought. That’s it.
He continued trotting until he got to the top and then paused. I don’t want to go. He thought. I’m scared.
Come on boy, just a little more. You need to go out. Nothing is going to hurt you, I promise. It was all I could think of to say. He looked once at me and then back at the exit to his mental cave and took off running full out. When he got to the edge of the cave he leapt bounding out into the bright moonlight. I followed him back out of his psyche. Before us, lay a very wet and bloody silver wolf whimpering and licking at the blood soaking his coat. “That’s awesome Greg.” I said as I ruffled his fur just behind the ears. I looked him over and all the wounds on the outside were healed and he sported a full pelt with no raw patches. It surprised me how well he healed this time. When I broke his back it took four transformations before he felt right again. “How do you feel Greg?” I asked. He rewarded me with a very wet lick on my cheek.
I feel OK, but I hurt a little inside. His mind went quiet and I guessed if I’d experienced what he had, I’d not want to remember it either. Greg laid his head on his paws closing is eyes and drifted off to sleep.
“Can you two talk through the link?” Pumar asked with an understandable amount of skepticism in his voice.
“Yes, it happened after he woke from being tortured. Mina said it could happen, but I really didn’t believe it would between different species. I don’t understand it but it works.” I said looking at Pumar.
He shook his head in awe. “I think we have a very unique family.” He said.
“That we do.” I said smiling at my son. Torquil came over holding another blanket for me and a clean one for Greg to curl up on. “How large is this place.” I asked accepting the blanket from him.
“I don’t know but it’s quite large. There is a bathroom here that has hot water if you’d like a warm bath. Greg and Pumar may enjoy it too.” He said.
“How do you have hot water here?” I asked remembering our first night in the Jaguar compound. The bathrooms there had no hot water, it was all cold.
“There are geothermal water currents in this area but the jaguars apparently don’t know it. My ancestors tapped into it to provide hot water for our people.” He answered. “They never told the jaguars because they didn’t treat us very nicely from what little I’ve gleaned from journals they left behind.”
“I think a hot bath would be wonderful.” I said. Pumar vigorously nodded his head yes beside me and I had to laugh when Greg’s ears perked up in full attention at the thought of a hot bath.
The bath chamber was large enough for about twenty people to easily fit. One large pool in the center steamed while the four smaller ones looked cold and blue. “In old times our people would soak in the hot bath for as long as they could and then slip into the cold water. It is wonderfully therapeutic.” Torquil said to us as he led the way to the steaming pool. “They channeled cold and hot water into this pool to maintain a constant temperature that is just right for soothing aching muscles and it’s shallow enough so Greg can be comfortable in his present form.” Greg sniffed the water before touching the surface with his paw. Satisfied it wouldn’t burn him he slipped into the water and swam or walked around. I swear if a wolf can smile, he did. Pumar, Torquil and I followed suit and found the shallow water’s temperature just right and just deep enough for lying down in without having to fight to keep from sinking. The bath did what all the blankets in the world could not: for the first time in a long while I felt warm and safe. While soaking, Torquil and Pumar caught Greg and me up on recent events. On the surface the jaguars seemed to love their vampire masters but we suspected it was more the way Pumar viewed them. He couldn’t resist her and he hated it, but the longer he had to endure the affect Loretta had on him the more he caved in until he was on the verge of giving up and letting her take control. In theory if we removed the vampires the jaguars would regain control of their own lives again. In theory that is, but none of us was sure it would work.
“Torquil, do you think you could lure a jaguar into this Dwarf Hall? We need to see if our theory is right.”
“And what do we do if it proves not to be right? Do we kill said jaguar? We cannot let him go again to tell Loretta and Stephano about this place. My ancestors may not live here anymore, but it is still ours. I will not turn it over to the jaguars and certainly not those damned vampires.”
I thought about this for a moment. Greg bumped my leg causing me to look at him. Maybe we can knock one on the head and bring him here while he’s out. Then if it doesn’t work we can reverse the process to keep them in the dark about this place. I have to say he had a wonderful idea. I relayed it to the others and we decided to put it in motion as soon as possible. For the rest of the day and most of night we talked about ways we could overthrow Loretta and Stephano, rescue our friends, and escape back out to sea on the Twilight Obsession before being ambushed by an angry jaguar throng.
We’d just about given up in favor of sleep when Tobin returned. He looked pleased to see Pumar, Greg and me but he immediately began speaking to Torquil in their own unique language for some time before they looked at me with a pained expression on their faces. “It appears Tobin was not able to find Isaac or Jacob. The hotel where we stayed said they checked out two days ago. They said two local men were with them when they left but they had no idea where they went.
My stomach fell. Without Isaac we were doomed. “Regardless if we have Isaac’s help or not, we have to find and capture each of our party and bring them here in chains if necessary. Once they’re out of Loretta’s hold we can make plans from there.” I said. Agreed on this plan we all decided to get a bit of sleep while we still could. God knows when we’ll get sleep again once we began recapturing our people. “When we’re all together again, we’ll make plans for an escape.” Everyone nodded their heads in agreement and Tobin and Torquil led us to a large chamber with an enormous bed in the center of one wall. After speaking a command in their language lots of candles lit the room and the bed looked plush and comfortable. We all curled up in one large kitten and puppy pile owing to the fact that otter young are also called pups. Tomorrow is a new day and a new hope so long as we’re alive.
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This concludes Chapter Thirteen. Please feel free to write to me to share what you think about this story so far. I'm not sure how long I'll make it, but I will continue as people express interest in the story. Again constructive criticism, comments or complements are welcome, but if you just want to flame the story, then I respectfully ask you to keep your opinions to yourself. I may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.