Silver Seren/Burn, Fire, Burn
Burn, Fire, Burn by ~silver-seren
Burn, Fire, Burn A TwoKinds Fanfiction By Silver Seren
Moonlight slipped through the overlapping branches of the thick canopy, lighting the bark with its pale luminescence. Between the bands of light lay an impenetrable curtain of darkness. A shadow veiled within a shadow slipped silently through the night, disturbing only the very tips of the delicate leaves. Flashes of color amongst nothingness showed fur shaded a light cream-brown.
Bright, flickering light gleamed intermittently from a clearing in the forest. From the changing orange, the word fire immediately jumped to mind. Sounds of revelry and laughter came discordantly through the trees. The black outline stayed hidden beneath the gentle foliage, obscured from view as it crept closer.
By and by, the campfire of the traveling caravan lay open beyond the edge of barked monoliths. Five men were gathered around the warming blaze. Crouching on the line between the night of the woods and the shifting of the fire, the figure watched, observed, and waited. It was through listening that one could overhear snatches of cognitive information through the haze of bleariness. Yes, there was alcohol going around somewhere, lending itself to their drunken state.
They were traveling to one of the outer human villages that intruded upon Keidran land. Food, supplies, and weaponry, all things likely to be in their wagon to assist the encroaching invaders. Instead, they would benefit the Keidran fighters.
Eyes narrowed, the figure stared across the clearing to the nest of trees on the other side, making out the shape of another outline. Raising a hand, a nod was received. Then the hand dropped. There was a flutter and one of the men, the quieter, outermost one, slumped. The others, while drunk, were not oblivious. Another man pushed the shoulder of the unmoving one, thinking him asleep, and the motion revealed the needle embedded in his neck. "What -" the man gasped, when the sound repeated itself, more audibly. Letting out a gurgle, he collapsed as well.
The rest noticed.
"Three left," Izael said with a smile, "My turn." It ended in seconds. Two men were in the act of drawing their swords when he appeared in their midst. Twin blades held at his side, Izael lashed out with one, slicing the first man lengthwise along the kneecaps. Blood spurted as the man fell, a fiery stream of liquid splashing over Izael's fur. Raising his arm, he blocked a slicing blow from the man's compatriot.
Steel clanging against steel let loose a rigid screech. But Izael had two weapons to the man's one. Plunging his second blade into the opponent's intestines, Izael twisted it viciously, bringing a ragged scream that descended into a bubbling wheeze. He yanked it back with a feral growl, followed by the sound of gore falling to the forest floor. Snickering, Izael turned, "And then there was one."
The final man was younger than the rest, possibly a new apprentice. Whatever the reason, he was plainly not a skilled fighter. The sword he held was trembling visibly. Izael, though angry at the fact, felt an amount of pity for him. Because of that, he made it fast instead of lingering like the others. His guard was easy to bypass and Izael struck with crossed blades.
A moment later something rolled through the grass and the body was pulled down by gravity. Though not before blood poured in a great spray from it, covering the immediate area. Izael stayed unmoving, allowing himself to be drenched entirely, his fur running in matted streaks of red. Black eyes peered emptily from beneath the crimson shade.
"Are you Keidran or demon?" Varek questioned, emerging into the doused clearing. Even with available light, his sable coloration blended him into darkness. There was a single white spot on the top of his muzzle, just before his eyes. Black pants aided the silhouette effect. He was twirling a long, slender tube, his weapon of choice.
The crusty, dried covering of fluid sloughed off of Izael as he ran his paws down both arms. It hit the ground with a pulpy slap when he flicked his wrists. "You're one to talk," Izael responded emotionlessly.
White teeth gleamed starkly, off-setting Varek's ebony shade as he grinned. "True." Purveying the work they had accomplished, Varek nodded at a body, "This one's still alive." Indeed, the man was still among the living, blood seeping from his shattered kneecaps.
Izael flipped his paw indifferently, "It's all yours, enjoy." It wasn't an unexpected present and Varek happily received it. Drawing a short, jagged knife, he turned the man onto his back. He was on the brink of consciousness, eyes glassy from pain. Varek's tongue stuck out the corner of his muzzle as he leaned closer. Angling the knife upward, below and to the right of the sternum, he wormed it through the fabric. It pressed tightly against the skin, before cutting deep. Varek focused on every spasm of agony crossing the man's face as the knife slid delicately past bodily tissues.
Scavenging, the tip found his heart and the man's eyes widened as Varek drove it home. Choking on his own fluids, the man quivered and then his body went slack. Varek removed his knife, the entire length of it coated with viscous, red liquid. He lapped at it casually, leisurely.
"If you're done," Izael called from in back of the wagon. Both horses were snorting and stomping from their proximity to Keidran, but they were well-trained and didn't bolt. Apathetic now that his fun was over, Varek stretched and grabbed a half-full bottle of an amber liquid at his feet. "They were definitely drunk," he said, tossing his discovery into the fire, which blazed up in earnest from the offering. "Like they would have been any better opponents sober," Izael replied, emerging with two packages in paw. He lashed the wagon covering back in place.
Then, he tossed one of the wrapped objects at Varek, who snatched it out of the air with a questioning glance. "Food. Eat," Izael explained, opening his to reveal a piece of half-cooked meat. Whatever type it was, he couldn't care less. It had been some time since either of them had eaten anything substantial. Wolfing down their portions, the two finished at the same time.
Varek wiped off his muzzle with the back of his paw and studied Izael with a critical eye. "You need to clean up," he commented, eying the blood still stuck to his body. Varek ran a finger along Izael's shoulder, rubbing off a portion of congealed slime. A look of distaste and a shudder ran through Izael, who muttered, "As soon as possible."
Smirking at his displeasure, Varek clapped his partner on the back. Thereupon, he leaped onto the wagon, grasping the reins, and turned around, "Well, let's be off." Clambering up himself, Izael sat close to Varek, whispering, "Finally." The horses whinnied as they and their passengers vanished along the forest road.
Another night, a different forest. The full moon brightened everything with its silvery glow. Silence in these trees was a comforting quiet, feelings of tranquility pervading in the natural, healthy air. But this serenity was broken by a yelp and then the sound of struggle. "Varek!" a voice called out, angry and impassioned. A rope was connected to a tree branch, which in turn was wrapped around the ankle of a small, squirming wolf. Izael should have known to keep his eyes open, especially when playing with Varek.
Speaking of whom, the rope snaked into a bush, from which emerged another wolf, a white spot on his forehead. He was grinning maliciously in amusement. "Well, look at the little rabbit i've caught," Varek laughed, yanking lightly to make Izael bob in midair. Growling ineffectively, Izael tugged at his leg binding to no avail, before surrendering with a low-pitched whine as he spun in a slow circle. Varek cut the rope with his claws, sending his captive to a face-first encounter with the ground.
Paws twitching as they were held up comically, Izael groaned and allowed his lower body to collapse. "That looked painful," Varek observed, leaning over Izael with his paws clasped behind his back. There was some bitter mutterings from Izael, but he didn't directly reply. Instead, he leaped at Varek and knocked them both over. Izael attempted to crush him into the grass, but found himself dislodged in an instant. With a grunt of effort, Varek kicked Izael off and then immediately placed his knees onto Izael's back.
Having effectively trapped his friend, he, breathing heavily, snarled, "You give?" There was a moment's pause before Izael whispered, "I give." Chuckling, Varek swiftly licked between Izael's ears and scrambled away to avoid an answering kick. "I win again,' Varek announced, gathering the rope he had used in his trap. There was no audible response besides some words said under Izael's breath.
But he brightened soon and began joking an dlaughing with his friend as they tramped through the undergrowth. The two had traveled at least an hour's worth of walking in their exploration, far enough that nobody from the village would bother them. Though that did mean a long trip to get home in the middle of the night. Time passed quickly enough. As they neared the village, Varek's nose began twitching and he coughed.
"Are you alright?" Izael asked, concerned. Nodding, Varek pointed ahead, "Can you not smell that?" Izael breathed deeply and then coughed himself at the scent of smoke. Now that he was aware of it, he could see the billowing clouds rising into the sky, faint against the night.
His mind worked for a reason behind the fire, "Was there a feast of ceremony tonight?" Varek shook his head slowly, the movement remaining jerky even so. He appeared horrified at some truth that hadn't yet occurred to Izael. The sense of fear and urgency seeped into Izael's confused mind, just as noises reached their ears. They paused at the sound of far-off screams, crackling fire, and, fainter still, triumphant yells. The latter were clearly not Keidran, heard words belonging to the human tongue helping that observation.
"Humans," Varek said like a curse. Knowledge of who led Izael in a frightening direction toward what. "Mom, Dad," he found himself whispering, cold ice gripping his insides. Fear combated with his need to know, each one trying to win out over the other. Varek made the decision for him, when he grabbed Izael's paw and tugged him forward.
The smoke grew thicker as they drew closer, each step feeling like lead. They encountered their first body as the house that skirted the village came into view. A long slice had cut from shoulder to sternum, exposing ribs and spice, along with a bloody pulp of a heart. Blood leaked drop by drop from the corner of the Keidran's muzzle, showing how fresh the death was. Izael didn't have enough courage to check for gender or to even look close at the corpse. Feeling lightheaded, he fell to his knees, frozen in place. Varek pulled impatiently, then gave up with a growl, releasing Izael's paw.
"Fine then, coward!" Varek hissed, racing off, presumably to find his family. Fire eagerly ate through the support beams of a nearby home, causing a portion of the roof to collapse inward. Izael watched it with a glassy-eyed stae, attempting to distance himself from his surroundings.
This was cut short by new screams, a familiar voice. It was a scream of pain, but not from pain. He knew he didn't want to see where it was coming from. However, he stood and his feet moved of their own accord. Everything around him was insubstantial and he saw nothing. Bodies littered the ground and flames burned through anything they touched. Luckily, or not so much, Varek and Izael had missed the himans, who had attacked and left. Varek probably wishes they'd stayed, Izael thought dully. Glazed vision surveyed the carnage, noting that there were far less dead than there should have been. Some must have gotten away.
This realization shook him out of his stupor, a twinge of hope breaking his defenses. There's a chance... Moving while he thought, Izael was oblivious to where he was going, so he tripped. Dirt plastered itself in his muzzle, causing him to retch and spit. His vibrations brushed him against a hand attached to the body he had fallen over. Scuttling to the side, he tried not to touch any part of the tiny form.
Recognition flashed into him when details emerged from a glance. Sudden tears burst over him as he looked at a friend from a neighboring family. Now that he was noticing the horrors, Izael saw the boy's family scattered nearby, hacked to pieces. His stomach clenched, twisting. Taking deep breaths to keep himself calm, he struggled as far from them as he could get in his weakness, willing himself ot not throw up. He would not be able to hold himself together if he did. A little while later, he was partially better and able to think. Izael had believed he was wandering randomly, but his paws had taken him to the place he least wanted to be.
His home loomed ominously ahead.
The backside was aflame and crackling merrily, while the front remained, as of yet, untouched. Though that meant little. There was nothing he desired to retrieve, no object for remembrance. With his village destroyed, he didn't want to remember it at all. There was only one answer he sought and dread filled him with the idea that it might be directly in front of him. It was easy to sense the trepidation in his gait as he clambered across the steps. Swinging freely, the door stood ajar, waving as it was buffeted by rising heat. The fire grew louder as Izael entered the room.
Everything was strewn in all directions, anything large had been crushed and splintered. But the room itself was empty. Wishing he could feel relieved, he turned and froze. An arm lay face-up across the threshold to the next room. The fur pattern was hard to miss. He cross-stepped, allowing more to be seen. No...
Izael ran. He ran out as the foundation crumbled behind him. He ran without looking, without stopping. He ran until something barreled into him.
Gazing at the sky, his view was blocked suddenly by Varek's muzzle. There were tears in his eyes as well. "We have to go," he said hoarsely, Izael nodding blindly. Varek helped him to his paws, but Izael nearly crumpled and had to dig into Varek's fur for support. Sobs wracked him with no warning, sounds of agony like what he had heard earlier. Varek tried to be conforting, but he was unsure of himself. His hurt was also too fresh.
Time gave Izael quiet, holding tightly to his only pillar. "Izael." The whisper made him remember Varek's presence and how hard he was gripping him. Letting go instantly, he gave numerable muttered apologies. A yip escaped him when Varek crushed him roughly in an embrace, "Let's just go." Izael cried all the more at that, but the tears weren't as sad. They had each other. And that was more than could be expected.
Wisps of steam circled lazily into the brightening sky. Dawn was approaching steadily, colors swirling together off in the distance. Sighing, Izael sank lower, allowing hot water to lap around his neck. An arm around his waist gripped him and he turned to kiss his lover underneath his muzzle.
Varek smiled, saying, "I like the hot spring. It's quite...enjoyable." Running his fingers through Varek's chest fur, Izael replied, "It's only enjoyable if you're here with me."
Varek gave him such a tender look from his words that Izael almost cried. To stop that, Izael nuzzled in along Varek's collarbone. The fur tickled his nose, making him tremble, Varek's arms caressing him in response. They were burning, warmth from their combined body heat and the spring mixing into a sweltering temperature. Izael could feel light touches from the rising sun and he followed the rhythmic up and down motion of the body beneath him with closed eyes.
For all of their troubles, for all of the heartache they had to go through, Izael still felt that everything was right. Being held like this, he felt safe. There was a closeness that came from being able to trust someone so completely.
Izael gasped when Varek gently grasped the closest ear to him between his teeth. There was a moan from Izael as he tilted, trying to relieve the pressure from Varek's insistent tugging. Totally submissive and prostrate to his lover, Izael was bowed backwards, exposing the line of his neck. Varek, in a flash, released his captive ear and settled his jaws over the rich neck fur in a dominant canine position. A squeak came from Izael and he trembled softly. Rumbling chuckles echoed from Vare's chest, rocking them both. Letting go, he returned to his reclined pose, still laughing.
He was cut off by Izael's muzzle pasting itself over his. Izael reversed direction and allowed breathing room so he could say, "I love you." Varek's paw closed behind Izael's head as he whispered, "And I, you," pulling them together again.