By Laura Jane Strunck
Golden eyes peered through the branches and she chuckled softly to herself, the noise a bare puffing of air in the morning mist. The men in the field were not hunting her, not this time, even so, no need to let them find her. “Not yet.” Her lips curled in amusement as she watched them mill about in faint confusion. An equi snorted as the air wavered, its rider looking around without the sense of fear the others held. She watched him and her eyes glittered. “What do you seek?”
“We can't stay here, it's not safe, Sire.” Rodgri swung his equi's head about to bring the nervous beast up to the man sitting calmly astride a gray striped gelding. The gelding snorted again as the mists moved and Rodgri's mare shied with a small buck, she knew something was out there. Rodgri himself looked around, this was the territory of a seraphadrin, one who was strong enough to remain close to their city and they did not take kindly to interlopers with weapons. “Sire, please.”
The man on the gray striped equi removed his helmet and then unstrapped his belt, handing both to Rodgri. His dark hair was cropped close, brown eyes that usually held a hint of humor now regarded the other man with some resignation. “For now it is safe enough, we have a reason to pass.” He removed his gauntlets and passed them over as well before dismounting. “I need to speak to her, bring the men to the edge of the woods, there.” He pointed westward. “Any that cannot be trusted to hold their fire should drop weapons six paces away.”
“Sire...” Rodgri's eyes widened.
Humor returned to the brown eyes, a flash that did little to reassure the nervous aide. “I hardly think that my wife will eat me.” His grin was meant to reassure but the eyes had darkened again. “Though I will let her have any that is foolish enough to try and harm her.” He waited long enough for Rodgri to nod and move off, taking the others with him to the far side of the clearing before turning towards the copse she waited in.
She sighed and rose, may as well let them see her now, if he was going to insist, though it might do the newer ones a favor. Soft paws moved soundlessly through the brush, claws sheathed as she did not fear these men and saw no need to rile them. Her wings were swept back close to her body as she stepped into the field and sat on the dewy grass, her tail curling about her feet.
He watched her emerge from the mists, his grin now for real, she truly did know how to play up the emotions of normal humans. Feline grace moved her on land, but she truly did not look like one of the great cats of old as much as suggested one that had been merged with a dragon of myth. Her outer wings were the same deep brown color as her fur, the inner a lighter silvery color that matched her scales. He walked closer towards the golden eyes that regarded him with amusement and concern, she was not the most impressive looking of her kind, but she did not need to be.
“Baensur.” Her voice held silver ringing tones. “Why have you brought hunters to this place?” She let her gaze sweep over the men, those that knew her simply nodded, the others had mixed reactions, but none dared to lay a hand on sword or gun. “This is not your time, beloved.” Her voice had softened as she turned back to him, head tilted just slightly.
“Jansraelle, forgive our trespass, we seek one that has harmed those of our home.” He bowed before her and extended a hand, she lifted a paw and set it in his hand. “Lady, this one is violent and has not hesitated to kill.” Baensur opened his mind to her showing the bodies left behind, the ruin of homes and shops. “I ask your help in the hunt.”
Her paw remained in his hand as she flicked through the images in his mind, then she dropped it, considering. “Not a human?” He shook his head, and reached into a pouch that was slung over his shoulder, pulling out a leather wrapped object. Inside was a shard of glass encrusted with green, rank smelling, ichor. Jansraelle wrinkled her nose, struggling not to sneeze until he re-wrapped the glass and put it away. “What is it?”
He sighed fasting the pouch. “I think it is a wyrding from a recent ship, they had fallen through an anomaly and...” She had raised a paw, shaking her head. “No, Jansraelle, it is not from anywhere on Plynthe.”
She had turned her head to look at a small flock of aries that had paused on the edge of the field with their two young herders. The children regarded her with less fear than they did the men and equi, she nodded to them and they brought the flock out to graze. “It left the city then, and came out here?” She spoke the words knowing he would not have brought hunters out unless he was sure there was a danger to her own people. “You have my permission to hunt this creature.”
He moved closer and stroked her cheek, smiling as she leaned into the caress changing form to enter his arms in a mutual embrace. “We will hunt none but the wyrding, my heart, I promise, but will you come with us?” He tilted her face up, only her eyes had remained the same, golden and glowing, her own people thought she was plain, all dark brown and muted silvers, his were alternately terrified and fascinated, idly he wondered what they would have thought of her father.
“I will come, but first we warn the village and pass on any information you have on the creature.” She turned and took his hand walking towards the children. These two were clearly of human stock and related with honey colored hair, freckles and green eyes. The girl curtsied to the seraphadrin, the boy nodded to Baensur warily. “Jordan, do you have a comm on you?” Jansraelle asked in her silvered voice, when he nodded she bade him to call his elder. “We shall be there soon to discuss this, and you should head back as well, it is not safe.” She lifted her chin when the boy started to protest and he desisted with a sigh. “Soon enough, young warrior you shall join them.” She promised with a smile and a look to the man next to her.
Baensur's attention, however, was on Rodgri, who had ridden closer, leading the gray striped gelding. The aide held his nervous mare well, though it was Baensur's private opinion she would be steadier if the other man was not so keyed up around Jansraelle. He shook his head, Rodgri was new to Plynthe he would learn soon enough that the female next to him was not the greatest danger the lands outside of the city offered.
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I can agonize over three lines of bio longer than it takes to paint with words the stories in my head. Don't ask me who I am, ask those who enjoy my stories.
Labels: Laura Jane Strunck