Assassin’s Chronicles: Chapter Seven
© 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.
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A Game Plan
I fought like a cornered tiger but it wasn’t enough, they were taking Alex and there was nothing I could do about it. They’d attacked us at the beach house sometime after midnight with more than a platoon’s worth of werewolves and they were everywhere. Mina and Rōk had their hands full with eight or ten of the strongest most powerful wolves I’ve ever seen. They were holding up against them but not without serious consequences. Mina’s arm was ripped nearly off at the elbow and Rōk’s left eye hung out on his cheek. I watched as he pushed it back into the socket. It didn’t work right for a moment or two but then swirled around and focused. He slashed out at two of the pesky mutts slicing their abdomens open spilling the contents, blood sprayed out as he eviscerated them. Mina used her good arm to give a blow that took a smaller wolf’s head off. Arterial spray washed the wall and ceiling near their fight. Turning my attention back to my blood-son I watched helplessly as four of the mongrels carried Alex off, screaming and kicking, towards the beach where they had Zodiacs waiting. I struggled with the six wolves holding me back keeping me away from my blood-son. “Alex!” It was no good they were carrying him off into the darkness. I saw a black clad woman approaching me. I couldn’t see her face between the goggles and her long black hair blowing in the ocean breeze but I knew who she was. She stopped right in front of me. I could smell the expensive perfume and her unique almost intoxicating scent, Angela.
She pulled off her goggles and looked at me with a faint smile curving her delicate, pouty lips. “I told you to do your job Simon. Now if you ever want to see this kitten of yours again, you will turn Jacob as we’ve discussed. You may consider forcing me to take action of my own as being the remainder of your fee.” She laughed at what she thought was funny. I struggled against the werewolf holding my right arm and pulling free I lashed out with my claws. Angela raised her arm to deflect a killing blow and cried out as bloody furrows appeared in her forearm. “Hold him!” She growled at the struggling wolf and then she scowled at me as the werewolf regained his hold. “Oh I think your kitten will pay for that one; you had better hope this is not enough to turn me.” She leaned over me bringing her face inches away from mine: the wolves tightened their grips. “If you’ve infected me, I’ll kill him.” She turned and strode back the way she’d come. Sand, kicked up by her heals, sprayed around her feet and without looking back called over her shoulder. “You have one week to turn Jacob. If he’s not a tiger by then, Alex dies. Do your job and you’ll get your kitten back.”
I woke with a start looking all around. Alex was nowhere to be found. The rumble of the waves crashing on the shore filled the background. “Alex!” Getting up off the lounge chair I stepped into the house calling his name. Everyone woke and came stumbling into the living room but there was no Alex. “Where is he?” I demanded.
“Where is who?” A very sleepy Mina asked.
“Alex, I woke up from a terrible dream where they were taking him from me and he was no where around. Where is he?”
“We don’t know Galin, we were asleep.” Rakish answered.
I ran back out onto the porch calling for him, “Alex,” and about to panic when I noticed a man walking in the surf about a quarter of a mile down the beach. He looked up at me when I yelled his name and waved a hand over his head. My heart raced in relief at the sight of him walking there in the water. A very bright nearly full moon silhouetted him against the snow white sand. A pair of Rakish’s white Bahaman Cappa Cino Pants that showed wet in the dim predawn light was the only thing he had on. The railing slid underneath me as I sailed over it and ran flat out down the beach to my blood-son. One moment I was flying off the porch and the next I was standing in front of Alex. I grabbed him in a tight hug holding him close. “Oh my god I thought I lost you.” I didn’t realize how panicked I was until I heard footfalls behind me. Spinning around with claws extended ready to fight I growled a warning at the intruder. It was Mina but it took a moment to realize this in my fear fueled anger.
“Galin, please it’s just me.”
I relaxed and took a deep breath. “Fuck, Mina you know better than to sneak up on me like that – especially when I’m like this.”
“I’m sorry, but I wasn’t going to leave you alone with just Pumar after the scare you gave us. What happened? What was the dream you had?” I told her the dream. I didn’t leave anything out because I seldom ever kept anything from Mina. She frowned, “I don’t like it.”
“Mina, it’s just a dream. It only freaked me out because I woke to find Alex gone.”
“Galin, you know me well enough to know that I take dreams very seriously. I know you’ve done contracts for Angela before and you know I’ve never liked it one bit. I don’t like her. Did you know you weren’t the only person she approached with that first job you did for her? She approached Rōk first? I went with him to meet with her and I didn’t like her at all. I don’t trust her. You took the job before I even knew she’d asked you or I would have stopped it. Galin, Angela is bad news, very bad news. I don’t want you working for her at all anymore and that includes this job, understood?”
“Mina, you know I cannot back out of it once I take a job. My reputation would be ruined.”
“I don’t care about your reputation. What I do care about is you and your safety. Why does she want Jacob turned into a tiger anyway? Why not turn him into a wolf or a puma – both have their own… people” she looked at Alex, “who do this sort of thing?”
“I don’t know, but she seemed adamant that I turn him, she wants him to be a tiger. She also seemed to be very interested in Isaac once I told her he’s a true immortal.”
“Isaac’s a true immortal? What do you mean by that?”
“He cannot die – at all.” I told her about ripping him to shreds and feeding him to the fish in 1981.
“And you’re sure it’s the same man?”
“Yes, the smell is him. There’s no mistaking it. No mortal or half immortal person would have survived what I did to him.”
“It couldn’t be a brother or close cousin?”
“No, it’s him.”
“I see.” She mulled it over. “I think you need to tell Isaac about Angela and what she wants you to do to Jacob. He might be able to shed light on it. We’ll ask him today after we’re all more awake.” I nodded my head because I knew I would not be able to talk Mina out of this. I didn’t like the idea of admitting to Isaac that I’d lied to him, but I guess Isaac does need to know, especially now that Mina has taken me off of Angela’s contract. I’ll admit that I’ve grown to like him in the last two days: heavy hot coat and felt hat and all. “I’ll see you two back at the house but don’t stay out here very long. The sun will rise soon and I don’t want people seeing you after what happened at the hotel.” She smiled at us as she turned and sprinted back to the house.
I slipped my arms around Alex wrapping him tight to my body. “Don’t do that to me again Alex, please.”
“You nearly frightened the shit out of me. I woke and you were nowhere to be found.” He started to say something but I cut it off with a very passionate kiss.
“Hmmm, maybe I should do it every morning if it will make you kiss me like this.” He mumbled around the kiss and I smacked his ass for it. He turned in my arms to stare out to sea. “Will I ever come back here?” He asked in a very quiet voice.
“You can come back anytime you like but until you’ve mastered your cravings you cannot be left alone Alex. It is VERY important that you keep an older tiger around you at all times until you demonstrate you can control your beast. Even then you will need to stay close enough that one of us can get to you quickly if you should find a need for emergency help.”
“What sort of emergency?”
“Oh, if you find the change coming on and you think you may kill someone. If that happens, you need to call one of us immediately so we can come and defuse the problem before people get hurt or killed. The last thing any lycanthrope needs is to change in front of mortals.” He nodded still looking out to sea.
“What about my things, my car, my apartment, all my other shit?” He leaned back into me resting his head against mine. “I really like my car. I don’t want to lose it.”
“We will do whatever you want us too with your stuff. Mina and the others can make arraignments to ship it all to Colorado where it will wait for you, or we can sell off what you don’t want and keep the rest. Just name it Alex and it’s yours.” I paused for him to say something but he didn’t. “Do you have friends and family you’d like to say goodbye to?”
“No, not really, most of the friends I thought I had disappeared when they found out I was sick. I have no family to speak of. There is Randy though. I’d like to see him before we go, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea with the way I look now. He’s positive and like me it’s gone into AIDS. He doesn’t have much time left either.”
“Alex, when I bit you, my ‘gift’ for lack of a better word, cured you of AIDS. You will not die from it, not ever.”
“It’s a pretty thought Simon, it really is, but you can’t cure AIDS just by snapping your fingers. I’ve felt invigorated since you bit me and I still don’t understand all the things that are happening, but I’ve been living with HIV since I was 13. I can’t remember life without it.”
“Alex, tonight you’re going to turn into a tiger, we all are. The older we get the more control we have over the change but the full moon brings it out of all of us no matter how powerful we are. I can change into my beast anytime I choose now, but when I was first turned I could only transform on the waxed moon for the first six or eight months. You’ve seen my half tiger form, you’ve seen me change my hands into claws and nearly rip my blood-father’s head off, you’ve seen me pulverize a solid granite countertop by slapping it with one hand, and with nothing more than the force of my anger shatter all the windows in my hotel room. After you change for the first time you’ll have a better understanding of what I mean when I say you are not the same person you were before we met. I don’t know what force it is that makes a wereanimal, but whatever it is: a disease, a gift, a curse, a blessing…, whatever, it has already changed your life and it will continue to do so until you are fully into your own power. It sometimes takes one of us decades if not centuries to reach a state of Zen with our beast. Some get there faster than others, but we all get there at some point in our development. Please trust me on this Alex; you are not going to die – at least not from any disease.” He took a deep breath and said nothing more but wrapped his arms contentedly over mine.
We stood watching the sun lighten the eastern sky. On the Florida Panhandle the sun rises along the line of the beach so part of the pastel colors painting the clouds cotton candy were over land, but most of them were over the water reflecting like light through prisms in its restless surface. “Come on, Mina wants us back inside before the sun comes up. I think we might make it if we start walking now.” I let him go and started walking towards the house holding my hand out for his. He took it after looking to see we were alone. I smiled and tried not to laugh. “It doesn’t matter who sees us hold hands Alex. I don’t care and after a day or so, neither will they.”
He smiled and gripped my hand tight in his. “Normally I don’t care what people think about me or what I do, but… I don’t know… I’m not feeling very secure right now. I’m hot, so very hot. That’s why I came out here in the first place. The water felt good on my skin.”
“We didn’t tell you, did we?”
“Tell me what?”
“The fever, that’s why you think you’re still sick isn’t it?”
“Yes, it ain’t unusual with HIV to have night sweats.”
I smiled. “Damn, how could we have forgotten something so basic? Alex, the fever is always with us but it doesn’t mean we’re sick but just the opposite.” I looked at him.
“What do you mean?”
“Our bodies are a lot warmer than most animals but as the full moon gets closer they heat up. It’s called the fever because it resembles fever like when you’re sick, but it’s your body’s natural response to what’s happening inside. Your body’s getting ready to change like you’ve never dreamt possible. Tonight you will literally be a tiger, not a half man half tiger like you saw me night before last but a full tiger. The magic takes over and the next thing you know everything is different from the form of your body to the way you perceive your surroundings, even the way you think will be more like your beast instead of your human.”
“So this fever is normal for the change?”
“Yes it is. There’s nothing wrong with you Alex. Feel my skin.” He slipped his hand onto my stomach. “See?”
“Damn, you’re just as hot as I am.” He smiled in wonder and then laughed out right at his unintended pun.
“Yes I am – in both ways thank you very much. Believe me Alex; you’ll love being a tiger. It’s so invigorating. There really is nothing quite like it.” He slipped his arm into the crook of mine and gave me a dazzling smile.
“Do you prefer to be called Galin or Simon?”
“I prefer Galin, but…” a shiver ran up my spine, and like the other night in the swamp I felt someone watching me. I glanced around trying to shake off the feeling, and again I didn’t see anyone. “…Simon is just an alias; it’s not my real name. When I’m on a job you’ll have to call me by whatever name or names I’m going by.”
“What was that about?”
“Just a feeling, that’s all.” I didn’t want to alarm Alex, he already had too much on his plate as it was.
He let it slide. “So with the job you’re doing now you go by Simon?”
“What do you do? I heard what you and Mina said, so I have an idea but I’m not sure.”
“What do you think I do?”
“I don’t know. It sounded like you might be an assassin or a mercenary.”
“Would it bother you if I’m a mercenary or an assassin?”
“No, not really, but it would explain a lot.” He gave me another of his mischievous grins.
“I’m an assassin Alex. I work mostly for governments, especially the US, but I also do odd jobs for anyone who can pay my fee. Why doesn’t it bother you?”
“I guess because I kind of got to know you first, but to be honest, I really don’t care. I’ve known killers Galin,” he smiled shyly at the use of my real name, “and while you may kill people, you are not a killer – at least not the type killers I’ve known. I watched my uncle kill my parents and my brothers. He was a religious fanatic who disagreed with my dad’s lifestyle. Dad was gay and my other ‘parent’ was his lover. He would have killed me too but I got away. You know, ‘the sins of the fathers’, bullshit. That’s why I was on the streets by age eleven. Over the years I’ve seen people kill for drugs, sex, and some who would kill just for the spite of it. Somehow I think killing because it’s your job makes a difference. It’s almost as if it makes it honorable.” He looked at me, “And this Angela can pay your fee?”
I started to answer but… “Oh yes, she is extremely rich Alex…” I almost fell because I was looking at Alex too hard to pay attention to where I was walking. We were in the spread of wet sand just above the surf but at the top of it was a foot tall ridge before the dry sand started and that’s what I stumbled into. “…She can pay my price with no problems.”
Alex laughed as he caught a hold on me. “Who is she?”
I laughed at my clumsiness because it doesn’t happen often, and kissed Alex on the cheek while wrapping my arm over his shoulders. “I don’t know, but Mina’s right. I’ve got to tell Isaac all of it and who knows, maybe he will know who she is.” We reached the bottom step to the porch and started to climb as the first rays of sunlight blazed across the horizon washing everything in a spray gold.
Once inside the scent of coffee greeted us. “Mmmm, that smells good.” Alex said. I grunted my agreement and walked over to get some with Alex in tow. I handed him a cup and then poured one for me.
Isaac sat at the counter staring at me. “Mina sais you and I need to talk Simon. I have to agree with her.”
I looked at him and nodded my head. “Alex, may I have a moment to speak with Isaac in private please?” He nodded and walked off toward the bedrooms and I suspected one of the bathrooms. “Where do you want to start?” I asked as Alex slipped around the corner.
“Who do you work for Simon and don’t tell me you can’t say.” He was not smiling.
“I’m sorry for lying to you Isaac, but I was not hired to protect Jacob. I was hired to infect him. The woman I worked for is called Angela, but I don’t know if that’s her real name or not. She seemed to be adamant about Jacob being made a weretiger as soon as possible. I asked her why a tiger, but she wouldn’t say – only said she likes kitty cats.”
“You said worked, are you no longer on the job?”
“Mina took me off it. She won’t let me do anymore jobs for Angela.”
“OK, I’ll trust her on this because I don’t trust you. I don’t really know any of you, but I sense I can trust her. What does Angela look like?”
“She’s my height and weighs around 115 pounds. She has long black hair and charcoal gray eyes; small and delicate but pouty lips; long fingernails; and always dresses in black leather with very high heel shoes – stilettos mostly. She strikes me as a dominatrix with a very mean streak. She’s rich, very rich, and seems to be very well connected – you know, she has a lot of powerful political ties.
Isaac covered his expression with both hands taking in a deep breath. He released his breath while pulling his hands back down wiping his face. “I was afraid she was your employer.”
“You know here then?”
“Yes. She is as dangerous as you seem to think and she is one of the most ‘connected’ of all my foes.”
“Who is she?”
“Her name is Kesx Stonedeath.” He said it like it should mean something to me but I simply stared at him with a blank expression. “She’s an Ork.”
I snorted my coffee out my nose at that one: “A what?” I said as I reached for a paper towel to clean up.
“She’s an Ork.”
“Ork, you’ve got to be kidding me.” He didn’t answer but his face showed he was very serious. “I thought Orks were supposed to be some kind of butt-ugly. Angela is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen, she can’t be an Ork.”
“Ah but she is, Simon. What is an Ork but a fallen Elf? Tolkien describes them as being grotesque, but they are not physically ugly at all. They were once Elves. On the inside though, that is where they are ugly. Dark elves, or Orks, are as evil as Elves are good. We are the basis for all the Christians legends of angels and devils. Orks are some of the most seductive creatures there are and they have no conscious. In truth, on this realm they are no more attractive than any of the best human’s has to offer, but they use a simple form of magic called glamour to make themselves irresistible. I don’t have any idea why she would want Jacob turned into a weretiger exclusively but I do know why any type of lycanthrope would do. Shapeshifters are one of the few species on this side of the vale who can cross over and back again with impunity, it’s a secret we kept well but apparently not kept it well enough. However, Jacob is special. He is Dúnadan, an heir of the Kings of Old.”
“You mean like Aragorn?”
“Exactly like Aragorn! That’s why Kesx wants him turned. He’s the only one who could bring down the vale between our worlds but as a half-elven he is not strong enough to do it. He can manipulate the vale, but not destroy it. However as a wereanimal, that’s a different story all together. It makes perfect sense to me now.”
“I’m glad it does to someone, would you please explain it to me?”
“I’m not sure what the change would do to him personally other than make him a weretiger, but the power the change would create in him would be great, or terrible, depending on how you look at it.” He sat thinking for a moment before looking up at me. “Simon, how strong are weretigers?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, how strong are you guys compared to other wereanimals?”
“We’re among the strongest of all shapeshifters; some even believe we have no equal, but it really depends on the individual.”
“Well that would explain why she wants him a tiger then. Simon, we – the Elves – want to bridge our worlds together so it will be easier for us to cross back and forth between them. It has come time for us to once again influence the doings of men. But the Orks want our worlds to be one and the same again as of old. They miss the havoc they were able to cause us when we shared this realm and they have always been jealous of the fact that we were offered the call of Oromë to journey to Amen, the Blessed Realms and home of the Valar. It is my belief that should they contaminate Jacob… for lack of a better word Simon; I do not believe you are contaminated. However, to infect Jacob with lycanthropy would be a contamination of his blood, he is half-elven. Anyway, if they were to make Jacob a powerful lycanthrope, assuming lycanthrope is what he’d be – no one really knows what would happen, and convince him to ‘bridge the words together’ the power would overwhelm the vale bringing it crashing down creating untold chaos. The Orks thrive on chaos Galin, like the Elves thrive on peace.
It was my turn to sit and think. Mina walked in and leaned against the counter top. “Did you get all of that?” I asked.
“Of course, we all did. Even Pumar heard most of it although I don’t think he understood much of what it meant.” She looked at Isaac. “You are one of the Elves?” He nodded. “Why can lycanthropes pass the vale with impunity?”
“No one knows why for sure, but I and many others, believe it has something to do with your ability to transform. We’ve witnessed the vale preventing young lycanthropes from crossing but the more experienced the shapeshifter the easier it is for him to pass through. It holds any shapeshifter out if they are in either of their true forms, human or animal; it only allows the half-human to pass. The vale is little more than a form of magic that separates my dimension from yours. It was created millennia ago before Middle Earth passed into the shadows of time but it is as strong today as when it was first conjured.”
Mina looked at Isaac for a long time not saying anything. When she did speak she changed the subject. “How do you suggest we carry on from here?”
“I would advise you not to take Simon, uh… Galin off his contract. It’s best not to alert Kesx of his betrayal and it may buy us some very valuable time. She won’t take kindly to it and she doesn’t know the meaning of the word failure. If she suspects he’s not going to do what she’s paid him to do, she will hire someone else or try and force him. His dream may be more prophetic than he gives it credit.”
“Mina told you of my dream?”
He shook his head no. “I’m an Elf Galin. My hearing is far more acute than any lycanthrope’s. I was on the porch when you told your dream to Mina. I looked at him and I must have looked shocked. “What was one of the things Tolkien’s works say about the elves, our abilities?”
“He suggests you have superhuman senses of hearing, smell, and eyesight.” He nodded agreement. “So, she may actually hire the wolves to kidnap Alex to force me to turn Jacob. What would happen to the Earth should the vale fall in the way the Orks want it to?”
“Untold death; wars; famines; sickness and disease that would make the Black Plague look like child’s play; political unrest like the earth has never seen before; just to name a few. Basically it would bring about the Christian end of times plagues. And your dream is something she would do if she thought it would force you to turn Jacob.” There was a knock at the door and before anyone could blink Rōk was just there trying to sense who it was. He shook his head meaning it was no one he recognized. I eased over to the door and caught the faint smell of werepanther but these were males.
I looked at the others and mouthed the word: “Werepanthers.”
The knock sounded again. “Open up, police.”
Everyone except Isaac disappeared into the back parts of the house while he answered the door. “May I help you officers?”
“We’ve come under the instruction of our council to take Galin Moondeath. We are not here to harm him. Please tell him Shea sent us.”
“So you are not here on official Sheriff’s business?”
I stepped into the kitchen and looked at the officers. One was my height and had short blond hair and a mustache. His eyes were as green as Shea’s. His partner also had the same green eyes but his hair was a short brown and he was clean shaven. Unlike the first officer though, he was the same height as Isaac. It was the taller one who’d spoken and when he saw me he asked if I was Galin. “Yes sir, how may I help you?”
“Shea sent us to bring you to our tribe. I’m afraid there’s an APB out on you for the destruction at the Residence Inn and the council wants to keep you out of lockup.”
I nodded but didn’t move any closer and I felt, rather than heard, Mina and the other’s came out to stand behind me. “I’m afraid I’m no longer by myself and I go nowhere that they can’t come along.”
The smaller officer looked us over and in a reedy voice that reminded me of Don Knots said to his partner. “We can’t take them all Toby, we ain’t got permission.” The larger officer shushed him.
“Perry’s right; we can’t take you all without checking with Shea first. I’ll be right back. May Perry stay in here?” I nodded my head but said nothing. The big man backed out of the door leaving his partner to ‘watch’ us I suppose.
I checked him out and liked what I saw. He may sound like Don Knots but fortunately he didn’t resemble him physically. He had delicate features that fit his hair color well and his green eyes stood out. It’s not often you see blonds who’s eyes are such a rich emerald green. He had the muscles of a bodybuilder making his uniform looked well on him. “You really made a mess at the hotel mister. What happened?”
“I’m afraid I had a disagreement with my blood-father.”
“Shit!” He drew the word out so it sounded like sh-i-i-it. “If that was a disagreement, I’d hate to see a flat out fight between you.”
Mina gave me a look to shut me up. “Don’t say anything Galin. He may be one of the local panthers, but he’s still police.”
“I’m a sheriff’s deputy mam, but my loyalties are with my Tribe first. We’re not here to take you in, only to take you too Shea and the others.”
“How did you find us?”
He looked at me as though I’d said something funny or stupid, I couldn’t tell which. “You’re scent, how else?” OK, Stupid.
“And what if we refuse to go?” This question came from Klaus in his thick German accent.
Perry shrugged, “I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
The door opened and Officer Truman, aka Toby, walked back in. “She says to bring ‘em all – they’ll need a safe place tonight anyway and the swamp’s about as safe as it gets around here.
Mina walked around me to stand in front of Toby with Klaus and Szilárd following her one to either side. She walked right up to him so her breast rubbed his stomach and she had to look almost straight up to see him. “Tell me you aren’t lying to us and we’ll go.” She didn’t need to get so close, but it is sometimes Mina’s way – she likes to see if it will unnerve people. All lycanthropes can tell when someone is lying, we can hear it in the heart and see it in the smallest movements of the iris in the eyes, or the pulse in the neck – little things human’s ignore or can’t see.
“I’m not lying to you mam, Shea really did send us for you.”
Mina nodded and looked back at us. “He’s telling the truth. So, how do we want to do this? I take it that every patrol car out there is looking for Galin’s car?”
“Yes mam. Some of you can ride with us, but we’ll need another car to get the rest.”
I looked at Isaac and Jacob. “How about them, they aren’t shapeshifters. Will they be safe with your tribe tonight?”
“They’ll be safer than they are here but tonight is the full moon, there are those among us who cannot shift, they may stay with them. But we cannot have you locked up where the whole station can see you when the moon rises.”
I smiled at the young man. “OK, we’re all yours.” He nodded at me and we filed downstairs loading into Isaac’s car and the squad car. Mina, Rōk, Alex and I rode with the officers. It was crowded but not as bad as it could have been. Officer Toby had to fold up his laptop in order for Mina to straddle the center console. The others rode with Isaac and Jacob who was loudly complaining about not being able to take his Vodka.
Officer Truman drove up US-98 to the 110 Spur and we eventually took 29 north out of town. It seemed like forever before we came to West Quintette Rd and he turned east towards the Escambia Wildlife Management Area. We drove until we crossed the river and then he turned onto a small dirt road crowded on both sides by bushes and briers. Pine and water oak trees hung their limbs low over the track like they were trying to shield it from spying eyes high above. It was a very pretty drive but it wasn’t long before he stopped the car. “We’ll have to walk the rest of the way, I’m afraid the road becomes impassable just a little way up.” We filed out of the cars and began walking in silence. No one seemed to want to talk, not that either of the deputies told us not to, but because it seemed wrong somehow. “The Tribe’s lodge is on the east bank of the Escambia, up above Sawdust Lake. It’s all swamps around there.” Toby sounded proud of his tribe’s territory as he spoke of it. I guessed he should because it really is a beautiful place.
We’d been hiking about an hour when we came to a wide spread of water with no bridge crossing it. Toby reached under a thatch of low hanging branches and pulled out a small dugout canoe. It was full of water and I watched as he tipped the boat over dumping the water out. “We have to sink it when we ain’t using it because it’s made of cypress; it’ll rot if we leave it out in the air.” It was Mr. ‘One Bullet Barney’, aka Perry, who’d given up the information. I wasn’t thrilled about having to ride in the shifty craft, but eventually, thanks to Toby’s boatman skills, we all arrived safely on the other side where the trail continued.
I noticed people among the cypress, water oaks, and palmettos. They weren’t doing anything but watching as we passed by but then I looked behind us. There must have been about twenty of them following. I swallowed hard and glanced at Mina who nodded her acknowledgment. “They’ve been following us ever since the crossing.” She said. How did I miss something so obvious?
As the path narrowed to little more than an animal trail I saw a petit woman of color standing next to a sign written in English and French warning people away. It was a standard ‘Keep Out, Private Property’ sign with a stylized panther head with mouth gaping showing sharp fangs painted under the lettering. Her skin was the color of light chocolate milk and her hair was long and straight. Her green eyes blazed from her pale brown face but it was not an angry affect. No, the green framed by her darker features made the color stand out. She smiled at me extending her hand. “Galin, it is good to see you again. I hope Toby and Perry didn’t frighten you too much. We find it invaluable to have members of the Tribe on the various police forces in the area. This must be Mina.” She extended her other hand to my queen who gracefully took it looking the woman in the eyes. She wasn’t smiling, but she wasn’t angry either – this was good.
“I take it you are Shea?” I asked. “I’ve never seen your human form.” I was actually very taken by this woman. Shea in human form is just as striking as she is in her half panther and her beast forms.
“Yes I’m Shea.”
I bent down and kissed her hand. “It’s good to see you again. Shea, I’d like to introduce you to my Queen Mina. Mina, this is Shea.”
Mina continued holding the woman’s hand while she bowed her head in a traditional Chinese greeting. It was clear that Shea was a person of power among the panthers, but exactly what position remained to be seen. “It is good to meet you Shea.”
“As it is you Lady Mina.” She looked at all of us and focused on Isaac and Jacob. “And this is your human friends?”
I glanced at Isaac and he nodded his head almost imperceptibly. “Yes, this is Isaac and Jacob. She nodded her head to them and they responded in kind. And this is Rōk.” I held my hand out to my queen’s mate to bring him forward. “He is Mina’s companion and our king.”
She smiled at Rōk extending her hand to him. Like Mina he held her hand while he bowed to her. “It is good to meet you Rōk.
“And you too Shea.” He kissed her hand as I had done smelling her scent as well as tasting it. There were other more formal methods for greetings among tigers, but the customs of different species of lycanthropes are so confusing sometimes that it’s safer to hold to more common human style greetings.
I then introduced Shea to the rest of our group. She stopped at Klaus staring up into his blue eyes and at his white hair. “Are you a tiger also?”
“Yes my lady, I am a white tiger and an adopted son of the Clan Moondeath.” He kissed her hand as the rest of us had.
Shea didn’t say anything for a moment but continued to stare into Klaus’ eyes. Finally she let go of his hand. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance Klaus.” She turned to the rest of us. “We must go, the council is waiting and I don’t like keeping them for so long.” She started walking down the path beyond the sign followed by Toby, Mina and the rest of us, and Perry along with the followers brought up the rear. The path snaked its way around trees and bogs keeping to the dry ground. Mosquitoes, horseflies, and the more pesky deerflies buzzed around us but never lit for a feast, or at least they didn’t feast on us lycanthropes, Isaac and Jacob were having a much more difficult time batting the insects away.
After what seemed a lifetime of traipsing through Spanish moss decorated trees, swamp brambles, palmettos, and other wetland flora such as the famous pitcher plant, woody vines, and of course poison ivy, I began to notice the occasional tree with an orchid blooming in the branches. They were pretty but obviously not part of the tree itself but were craftily planted in the boughs of the trees so as to look like they were growing there naturally. As we walked further into the swamp the orchids became more prevalent until they were just about everywhere. They extended long branches full of white and violet veined blossoms. Some blossoms were solid white or yellow and a few were a deep blood red with clot looking nodules along the petals. “The moth orchids are beautiful but they’re not native species here, why are they growing in your trees?” It was Mina who’d spoken.
“You know your orchids?” Shea asked.
“Some of them, yes.”
“We like planting them out here when the season is right. They are beautiful, are they not?” As she was speaking we stepped up onto a boardwalk. This one was different from the occasional foot bridge we’d crossed to span a creek or bog that would have proven to be impassible. This was wide and bordered with railings much like you would see in a National Park or something for public use. It continued the winding path through the swamp, but everywhere I looked was bog or water thick with cypress trees and knees, and other swamp plants, most of which I couldn’t name. Once in a while an arm of the boardwalk would cut off to the side and slope down to the water’s edge granting access to streams that ran clear but with a hint of brown from the roots of trees and other plants that stain the water. After about half a mile of this I saw the first hut built high above the ground on pylons. It looked comfortable but small and more of them appeared further in making a community of them under the trees. In the center of this was a larger hut or pavilion. All the structures had thatch roofs and were made of rough boards. To those of us used to the high mountains of Colorado or used to air-conditioning it was all very hot, but it had a nice quaint quality to it that made one forgive the lack of modern conveniences.
When we drew close to the central pavilion Shea stopped and waited for us all to gather around. “Welcome to Swampbane’s Tribal Grounds.” There were about fifteen men and women sitting in the open air pavilion on small benches cut from tree trunks. All were looking at us. “And this is our council. They are waiting for us.” She turned and walked up the steps to the structure and we followed. Shea took a seat next to a wizened woman who looked about as ancient as the earth herself.
There were two benches in front of us where no one sat one was long and the perfect length to seat the eight of us weretigers and one was shorter perfect for Isaac and Jacob. Mina took the seat in the middle with Rōk on her right hand side and Rakish on the other. Klaus sat next to Rōk and Szilárd sat next to Rakish. Next to him sat his brother András leaving me to sit by Klaus with Alex next to me. Isaac and Jacob sat a little to the left on the smaller bench. We completed the circle with the panthers on one side and us tigers and ‘humans’ on the other.
Shea made introductions ending with the wizened woman sitting next to her. I realized she ended with her out of respect. “And this is Sapokni Poloma, our grandma.” She patted the old woman’s arm and it intrigued me that a human would have such a position of high honor among any group of lycanthropes. Beside her sat two other women in their late teens but only one was human. “Beside Sapokni Poloma is Shanita Swampbane she is our Matron and beside her is Koko Smallwood, Sapokni Poloma’s granddaughter.” The women looked very much alike; there was no denying the relationship between all three of them. Native American decent was clear in their features, but what nation I couldn’t have said. I knew the Choctaw Nation occupied this part of Florida before the Great Removal to Indian Country – present day Oklahoma, so I presumed these three were Choctaw.
Shanita was a tall woman with very high cheekbones and her green eyes shown as bright in her face as Shea’s did in hers. She had very long black hair which she’d bound into a single braid down her back. She wore a white sleeveless sundress and to my surprise a pair of moccasins so pale they appeared to be white.
Koko’s skin was a tad darker than Shanita’s, but she also had very long black hair pulled back into a ponytail. It was a relaxed look. Her dark brown eyes were very expressive and it was clear she wasn’t sure she was ready to trust us yet. She wore a pair of old denim cutoffs where the lower legs portions were cut just above the knee. A white blouse with a delicate lace neckline completed the outfit. The look was really cute on her. She saw me staring at her and visibly blushed looking down at her feet.
However Sapokni Poloma was the biggest shock of all. She was a petit woman bent in the back from osteoporosis. Her gray hair was braided and wound tightly in a bun on the back of her head. She seemed to be able to see perfectly but her eyes were so white with cataracts it was clear she was blind. She wore a buckskin dress decorated with rows and rows of small dentalia shells; it was a beautiful affect. The dress looked heavy but she didn’t seem to mind. In one hand she held a staff carved on top to resemble a panther’s face and under that was feathers and other sorts of beads and bones hanging on strings of sinew. It looked old and I was betting it was at least as old as the woman holding the artifact or older. In her other hand she held a turtle-shell rattle with a deer antler handle. The rattle was unadorned, but looked as old as the staff. For her age, the woman was rather striking.
Shanita spoke to Mina first. “Welcome to our home, I hope you find your stay here to be a good one.” She waited for Mina to answer, which she did by nodding her head in acknowledgement. Shanita had a deep throaty voice for a woman, but not unpleasantly so. She spoke to me next. “Galin of the Moondeath Clan of Weretigers in America, you did not ask for permission for this many people to hunt our lands. The permission granted was for you and your spirit-son Alex. Do you wish to extend this honor to the rest of your clan who are visiting with us?”
“Yes my Lady. I would like to extend this honor to my matron and our people while they are here. I was expecting their visit but I was not expecting them to stay for more than one day, otherwise I would have asked on their behalf.”
Shanita nodded and spoke to the rest of the council. “Provided there are no objections it will be granted.” No one objected – good.
“Thank you my Lady Shanita of the Swampbane Tribe of Werepanthers.” It was Mina who’d answered. "We originally planned on staying but one day only, but our plans changed. When Galin spoke with Shea, he didn’t know this.”
“It is all good Lady Mina. However the moon is full tonight and it is my understanding there is one among you who is new to us.” She looked at Alex, “is it this one?”
Mina looked at Alex and answered. “Yes, this is Pumar Moondeath. He was given the gift night before last. He is the reason we have come.”
Shanita looked at Mina and then back at Alex. “Were you given a choice before being given such a gift?”
Alex looked at me before answering. “Yes my Lady, Galin gave me a choice.”
She nodded before addressing me. “Galin Moondeath, do you realize it is not wise to change a person this close to the full moon? It is dangerous to the intended recipient of such a gift as it is to everyone around them.”
“I knew there could be complications but I didn’t know of any real dangers my Lady.”
Mina answered. “It can be dangerous because the body needs time to prepare for the first transformation.”
“Did you know of the dangers before you were given this gift?” Shanita asked Alex.
“How could Galin inform me if he didn’t know about it? Even if he had told me I would have agreed to the gift.” He’d added that last part to protect me from further scrutiny, there was no other explanation since he barely knew what he was agreeing to in the first place. “Lady Shanita, I was dying of AIDS and the disease was so advanced that I would have been dead in a matter of months if not weeks anyway. I was spending more time in the hospital than out of it and my life had wound down to little more than pain and simple pleasures. If the gift can give me a new lease on life, I’d choose it no matter the dangers. What do I have to lose?”
This answer seemed to mollify the Matron of the Swampbane Tribe. “Very well, I will look no further into this. It is clear you made up your own mind and would have done the same had you been fully informed.” She seemed to visibly relax. “Now that the formalities are over, I really do welcome you all to our home. Would you like refreshments?”
There was a murmur of accord from most of the men in our group and Mina gave them a most disapproving look. It was not the way one should accept such an offer. “Lady Shanita, we would be honored to be graced with whatever you choose to share with us.”
“Mina, you may relax. There is no need to continue with the formalities. I really do hate all the posturing anyway.” Her smile was beautiful. “We can move over to the gardens to eat. It’s far more comfortable there anyway.” She stood as she said this and gestured for us to follow her. The other council members stood with her and two of them helped Sapokni Poloma to her feet escorting the old woman down the steps to the lower boardwalk. We wound our way towards the back of the pavilion and further into the complex of buildings and boardwalks. After about 10 minutes we emerged into a large garden area on higher, dryer grounds. It was beautiful with cobblestone paths coursing through it bordered with flowers most of which I didn't know but I did see Iris and Hyacinths among the unidentifiable others. In the center was a large pool with about twenty of the largest Koi I’d ever seen swimming in the crystal clear water that reflected blue as it got deeper. It took a moment for me to realize I was looking at a natural spring which had been dammed to produce the pool and for keep the fish in.
Tables were set up underneath a large oak tree near the middle of the garden and they were all laden with all sorts of tasty treats. It looked like a church potluck with plates and flatware on one end, salads next to that, followed by hot dishes, and then deserts. Several coolers full of ice and drinks sat at the end of the tables on the ground. It was a simple setup but looked and smelled delicious. Among the hot dishes were fried chicken, tuna casserole, and lasagna.
Off to one side was a grill built like a large black barrel supporting a smoking stack on one side. Several men stood around it talking. Toby was one of them. Next to the grill stood another table with hamburger patties, bratwurst, and steaks piled on and waiting. There were about thirty panthers present along with our party of ten, but it appeared to be plenty of food available. Toby had changed from his uniform and now he looked like just another one of the guys. He saw us and walked over. “How do you like your steaks?” All except Jacob answered rare. He wanted his well done and we gave him a look telling him how awful it was for anyone to ruin a good piece of meat like that. Isaac cleared his throat. “Oh, I’m sorry Isaac; I’d forgotten you’re a vegetarian. We have plenty of food that will suit your taste too I think.” Toby grinned and I realized for the first time that his canines were a little longer than most of ours. I found myself wondering how he explained having small fangs in his mouth to his fellow ‘human’ officers.
“How did you know I’m a vegetarian?”
“We did our research,” he looked at me and his grin widened, “Very thorough research with attention to every detail.” And again I found myself wondering about this man. He must have meant my sexual orientation instead of my line of work, but who knows? Toby was a study in contrast all by his little ole self. First he is a cop, OK sheriff’s deputy, and it was obvious he was one of the guys, second he showed fangs as though he’d stayed in his panther form for too long to change back completely and yet he had an easiness about him that seemed to calm all fears, and third there was an air of danger about him that had all my warning bells sounding like a fucking tornado alert. I might find myself in trouble if I stayed around this man for too long.
The food proved to be as delicious as it smelled. While beer was not Jacob’s poison of choice, it never the less served its purpose and soon he was on his way to complete intoxication. Isaac shook his head looking at his charge. “I really wish he wouldn’t drink like that. It does no good at all.”
“Why does he drink?” Alex asked.
“To hide. He doesn’t like the fact that he is the last surviving hear of the kings of old. He’d rather not be involved in this at all, but I’ve managed to convince him that he needs protection at the very least. It’s not been easy. He goes out of his way to make the task complicated. Now if I can just convince him that it is for the better interest of everyone involved to cooperate, that would be just grand.”
Alex looked at the brooding man sucking on a bottle of Budweiser. “Why does it frighten him so much?”
“Alex, you were human just two days ago. Did you believe in weretigers then?”
“What would you have said if I or someone else came up to you and said you would be a weretiger by today?”
“I’d have thought you were crazy and I think I see your point.” Alex looked pensive again.
“Yes well, Jacob didn’t believe me at all when I first introduced myself to him and it took a considerable amount of arguing to convince him of his lineage. It’s not every day you find out that the stories of J. R. R. Tolkien are true – for the most part at any rate, or that you are next in line to be the king of all humanity. He didn’t take it well.”
“I guess it would be rather much to swallow.” I said. I looked over near the pool and saw Mina sitting with Shanita. She saw me watching her and motioned us over.
As we approached the two Matriarchs, Mina looked up at me. “Please, all of you sit. We need to talk about some things. We joined them on the ground and Alex slipped off his shoes and put his feet in the pool. “Pumar it is not polite to assume you may do as you please with that which belongs to your host.”
He looked properly embarrassed and pulled his feet out of the cold water. “Sorry, the cold water felt so good, so inviting.”
“It’s alright Pumar; you may swim in there if
you like. The fish will not mind.” Shanita seemed to be rather amused by the
young man. She pulled her sandals off and stuck her feet in the water as well.
“We all enjoy this pool from time to time.” Looking at Mina, she added. “I do
appreciate you bringing it to his attention, but it really is not necessary.
Everything we have here you are welcome to use as need requires. Besides, I
would say the fever has him; he may swim if he chooses. It would keep his temperature
Mina bowed her head at the invitation and logic. “Thank you Shanita.”
“What is it that we need to discuss?” I asked looking at Mina first and then Shanita. Off to the side I saw Alex strip out of his clothes down to his underwear and slip into the pool. The look on his face was that of total relief.
Mina spoke: “Well first of all we need to decide how and where we’ll be going for tonight’s events, and then we need to discuss how we are going to help Pumar through this. Isaac, it might be good to talk about some of your plans for after tonight and where you will be going from here.” She looked at Shanita, “Where would you like to start?”
“Let’s start with tonight and then go from there. We’ll be leaving here right at sunset to go to our council grounds. That’s where the ceremony will begin and then we’ll have to prepare Pumar for his first change.” She looked at me. “Has anything out of the ordinary occurred since you passed the gift to your lunar-son?”
“Lunar-son, we always use the term blood-son, is there a reason you use this other one?”
“We call those we’ve personally changed our lunar-relations; lunar-son or daughter, lunar-father or mother, and so forth because it fits. They are not really blood connected to us but connected through lycanthropy. I personally like it better because blood-son etc reminds me too much of the way vampires think.”
“I like it.” I looked at Alex, “Which do you prefer?”
“I’m somewhat used to blood-son, but lunar-son has its merits.”
I nodded and then looked at Shanita but before I could say anything further Sapokni Poloma toddled over and I stood to help the old woman sit down in our little group. “I couldn’t help but overhear some of what you were saying and decided to join you. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all Sapokni, please join us. We would do well to listen to your council.” Shanita said. The old woman bowed her head to the Matron and gave a toothless grin.
“To answer your question Shanita, there have been some unusual things happening. The most pronounced is the rate at which Pumar is changing. Yesterday morning he woke and his eyes had already changed to the point where they would be noticeable to anyone and he was much gaunter when I bit him then he was the very next morning. All of his senses have been improving exponentially and the link between him and me is almost fully developed even though it’s only been two days at the most. The link usually takes the longest to solidify from what I’ve observed.”
Mina and Shanita thought about this in silence for a time. It was Sapokni Poloma who spoke. “I see there is a connection between you two that you didn’t expect or know about. I’m talking about a link different from your lunar link caused by the bite. This is one that is much older and is a desire from one for the other. You have shared a lifetime before.” I was about to scoff at the old woman words, but thought better of it. I may believe in a lot of things but reincarnation isn’t one of them. “The speed at which the young man’s body is changing is his spirit preparing the way for tonight, but I see difficulties with his first change. I see it will be a hard one.”
Alex swallowed audibly: “A hard one as in how?”
“You are afraid of the change Alex Babineaux, it is not surprising, but that is the problem. You have to want the change or it will make it difficult. You can embrace it and things will go smoothly or you can fight it and you may well die.” Alex paled at the news.
“Is there anything else you see about it that will help us all?” Shanita asked the old woman.
“Yes, you will all need to be present when he changes for the first time – all of you, not just those present here and now: especially you Galin, but you must take your tiger form before his transformation begins so your lunar-son will see where to go. You must all be ready to help push or soothe him when he becomes frightened and begins to resist.” She looked at me with those white eyes. “I see there is one you have a lunar connection with that you have not accepted or forgiven. He must go with you when you leave this place or serious consequences will follow you both. Try and make amends with him. Your beloved has returned to you. It is time to forgive and allow both of you to be whole. I have spoken.” She went silent and said nothing more.
“Who is this person she speaks of?” Shanita asked me.
“That would be my blood-father or lunar-father if you prefer, Rakish. I’ve never forgiven him for killing my brothers and my best friend.”
“Is he here with you now?”
Mina looked at the other woman and said: “Yes, I
brought him with us. I decided it was past time they settled this feud between
“I see.” Shanita sat there silent for a while and then she looked up at the group of men sitting a little ways away. “That is him there, is it not?”
I glanced where she was looking and Rakish was sitting there with the others. “Yes, that’s him wearing the light pink shirt.”
“Would you go to him and invite him to join up please? I think he needs to be in on this conversation.”
I didn’t want to do as she said, but it would be rude to ignore her, so I got up and strolled over to Rakish. He watched as I approached a mix of suspicion, mistrust, and hope shining in his eyes. “Blood-father, Shanita request your presence.” I held my hand out to him, not that he needed it, but I figured if I was going to be forced to make nice, I might as well go all the way.
His suspicion deepened for a moment but he took the proffered hand and I helped raise him to his feet. “She wants me?” I shrugged my shoulders and turned to walk back to the others. Rakish followed me more like Alex does instead of the confident arrogant bastard he’d been earlier. He was almost meek. We approached the others and I sat down. Rakish sat next to me where Alex had been sitting before taking his swim. “Thank you Shanita for inviting me to this gathering.”
“We’ve already covered what we need to about tonight and Pumar’s first change, but we still need to discuss Isaac’s problem. Would you fill us in please?” She asked Isaac.
Isaac told her everything we talked about before her deputies interrupted us at the beach house. “From here we need to go to Germany by way of Dominica Island in the Caribbean. I used to live there and I left something of great value that I need to retrieve if our plans are to be successful, but I’m at a loss on how to get there. Kesx is most likely watching all the airlines for any sign of Jacob’s and my departure.”
“I think we may be able to help you with that. We have a sailboat you may use – it’s the Twilight Obsession and it’s slow but faithful. It's a fifty foot wooden hull ketch with two masts and plenty large enough for five to ten people. If you sail at night or at least board at night, then you may lose the people watching you. However, if Galin has to pretend to still be working for Ms. Stonedeath, then he will have to call in periodically, which will give her your location.” Shanita seemed pleased she would be able to help us out with this. “Also, unless all of you know how to sail, then you will need a crew to go with you. Shea is an excellent sailor and captain. Most of my people grew up on the water and are excellent boatmen. I will send Shea with you and she will choose whom to bring with her as crew.” She finished this last as though it was a done deal.
A grievous look passed over Isaac’s face. “My Lady, I do appreciate the offer, but we can hardly accept. You have already done more than you needed to. I cannot in good faith endanger any of your people.”
“Isaac I appreciate your concern, but they are not your people to order into harm’s way or to keep them out of it, but they are mine to use as I see fit. What you are doing is most important for all living sentient beings on this planet. I will not let it go down in the books of history that I didn’t do what I could to help in your quest. You need the help and any of my people who choose to continue the journey with you once the Twilight Obsession is no longer needed may do so. Simply leave her harbored in a port somewhere and contact us and we’ll come get her. If this will help you achieve even part of your goals then it will be worth it.”
Isaac didn’t argue but bowed his head in acquiescence. “Thank you my Lady.”
Alex looked at the others and then at me. “Am I the only one here that isn’t a little bit freaked about all of Lord of the Rings shit?”
“What freaks you about it?”
“Well, first of all Tolkien may have been a terrific author, but his works are fiction, not fact. I mean it’s difficult enough to believe in weretigers and werepanthers and all this other shit and I’ve seen the evidence of you guys but Elves and Orks and a drunken king of all the earth? Come on!” Alex got out of the pool dripping water on the grass. He turned to watch the large fish swim slowly through its clear depths.
“Alex, I can prove who I am to you if you like and it will require a great deal of strength on my part, but if it will make all who are here believe in what I’m saying and help us achieve our agenda and further protect Earth and Amen then so be it.” Isaac stood up and closed his eyes. After a moment he began to chant and a faint glow swirled around his body. Alex turned in time to see a blinding flash of light emanating from Isaac’s body as though he were full of divine light. His chants increased in volume and tempo until he was nearly shouting them. The light swallowed him whole and when it faded a different man stood in front of us. He was just as tall but a lot thinner. Long silver/gold hair flowed down over his shoulders. His eyes shone like liquid gold and power flowed from him like a stiff breeze. His clothes had changed from his trench coat and fedora to a form fitting tunic, breaches, and thigh high boots. He wore a bow over his shoulder and a quiver full of arrows on his back. “I am Lórien, son of Legolas of the Silvan Elves.” His voice was mostly the same, but it carried a singsong quality to it. We all sat there dumbfounded looking at this Elf who stood before us. I was beginning to understand why Elves and Orks were the stuff of legends that fueled the Christian myths of angels and devils. He held the visage a bit longer and then the light faded altogether and he collapsed to the ground, Isaac again, and passed out cold.
“WOW!” Was all any of us could say at first. “Holy shit, did you see that?” Alex was beside himself. He didn’t know rather to be frightened shitless or exhilarated.
When I found my voice I said: “Yea, we all saw it.” Shanita called over two of her panthers to carry Isaac to one of the cabins. She ordered them to stay with the Elf until he regained consciousness. They stooped over the fallen man and gently picked him up looking about as uneasy as Alex. After all, they’d seen his transformation too.
She looked at Shea. Please show Galin and Pumar were they may retire and freshen up. Tonight is going to be difficult at best and they need their rest.”
Shea nodded her consent and rose to escort Alex and me away. We got up and followed her saying nothing. Once we turned off the main boardwalk to head to one of the many cabins Shea looked at us. “He really is an Elf then. I thought much along the same lines as Pumar. Who’d have thought Elves really exist?”
“Well, we exist don’t we? Is it not likely that if lycanthropes and vampires exist then other creatures of myth do also?”
“Yes, that is a logical way of looking at it.” She smiled almost shyly. “I didn’t mean offense, but I’ve never even thought about the possibility that other creatures of legend were around. Well, here we are. We do have electricity here. You will have all the amenities you’ll need, accept air-conditioning. There is a fan in the attic of the cabin that will pull a draft through the windows if you turn it on. No air-conditioning is the only thing about this place I really don’t like but one does get used to it after a time.” She smiled again and turned to leave.
We thanked her and walked into the small cabin. It was rather nice, rustic but nice. There were two full sized beds in the main part and off to the left was a small cove harboring a sink and a door to the toilet and shower. On the far side of the common room was a full efficiency kitchen. The cabin was a hexagon structure and proved to be rather comfortable. Insulation and shade kept it much cooler than I thought it’d be. “Need a shower?” I asked Alex.
“Yea, want to join me?” He had a wicked gleam in his eyes and there was no doubt what he was thinking because I was thinking it too. I smiled and wrapped my arms around his waist and leaned in for a kiss. He kissed me back very passionately wrapping his arms around my neck.
“Hmmm, I could get used to it just being us.”
“Me too,” he said. I picked him up and carried him to the shower room. We fumbled with each other’s clothes while trying to get the water running. It wasn’t easy and we nearly ripped our clothes off before we got them untangled from our limbs. I backed into the shower and yelped, if a cat can be described as yelping. The water was almost freezing. Alex laughed and pushed me the rest of the way in. As hot as our skin was the cold water felt good. He broke the kiss and looked at me.
“What?” I asked.
“Is it considered incest if we do this?”
“You may be my… lunar-son,” I stumbled on the new expression, “but we are not really related. I turned you into a weretiger. I didn’t sire you, so no, it’s not incest.” He smiled and kissed me again. It felt good to have the close connection the lycanthropy provided and to have the strong physical and emotional needs for each other. Our bodies were hot, the water was cold, and our desire steamed as much as the ghost tendrils of physical steam rising off our enflamed skin.
* * *
This concludes Chapter Seven. 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