The sun lifted it's golden rays upon the lands of Annos, it's
warmth setting upon all the creatures of the land. One creature out
of all this, alone in the awakening of the world, stood atop of a grassy
hill with his dark eyes greeting the sun. The wind caressed his short
hair, pulling it back to twirl it around her finger before finally letting
it go with a sigh. His eyes followed the life teaming around him.
the movements of the deer and the fluttering butterflies. Smiling a bit, he quickly lowered his mass to the ground, stalking a white butterfly moving before him. The creature didn't seem to mind as it shifted around his face, landing on his nose gently. He let a slight growl build in his throat as he swatted his hand to the insect managing to get it to flap off, leaving him alone.
He sat in the grass now, not noticing the soft foot steps behind him. When his head jerked up, it was too late. Strong hands gripped his tiny body, lifting him up swiftly. He let out a soft yelp in surprise, his small tail swaying around and instantly wrapping around the wrist of the being who dared to lift him. Looking to the face of this invader, an instant smile crossed his face. Above him hovered the visage of the man that fathered him. He was a brilliant wardran. His jaw was perfectly set with stern, black eyes to peer into the souls of others. He brought his son upward, setting his childish frame upon his broad shoulder. The young wardran set his tail against his father's back, allowing the tip to move across the rugged feathers that made up his father's wings. The young boy spoke softly, his voice sweet and innocent, "Hello daddy."
The stern eyes of the father looked to his son, a gentle smile crossing his chapped lips, "Morning Shino, my son." The boy, Shino, looked down to his father, hugging the side of his head lightly, "Morning to you too Arishawn, my father."
As the sun continued it's venture into the sky the father and son moved through the lands, young Shino running upon the ground now. He moved on all fours, his hands well adapted to movement like this as he kept up after his father. Much larger than his son, Arishawn could no longer run as easily on all fours as his son did, but still he managed to keep away from his son during their run. Laughs could be heard as the grass moved and gave way to the two. Deer and birds turned their heads to watch them, unable to comprehend such a sacred bond between a parent and their child. They seemed like the majestic rulers of the lands around them, their bodies much more larger and stronger than the life around them. In a way, Arishawn himself was the ruler of this land. He protected it from humans for all he was worth and raised a large clan of seventeen members.
And now, his first son was brought into this world not even a few months before. Like all wardran, his son hatched from a black egg in the darkness of a secured cave in the regions of a hatchery ground. His young son hatched alone. This time the humans managed to reach the many hatcheries within the regions and destroyed almost all the eggs present within the caves. It was only a miracle from Myris that the adults came to the caves on time to save the last of the generation. Besides young Shino, only five other eggs survived the massacre. And now, here the child was running through the fields of his clan alongside his father.
Shino's laugh moved through the open air, his small frame leaping towards Arishawn's mighty wings. Shino landed with the outmost grace onto his father's wings, sliding to the side somewhat as his father slid to a stop in the grass. Shino took the stop as a sign of submission, his small tail swaying as he kept his spot on his father.
"Got you Dad." said Shino with a pleasant smile upon his face. Looking to his son, Arishawn merely nodded, lifting up slowly to allow his son to get up. Shino slid down from his father's wings tilting his head a bit to one side. His father now had an odd look on his face. Confused, Shino tugged on his father's wing lightly, speaking softly now, "What's wrong Dad?"
Arishawn looked down to his son, his large, animal like second
ears lifted high into the air, listening to the hollow roars echoing in
the air. "The others are calling us back Son." Arishawn stated, lowering
himself to a crouch on the ground next to his son.
"I'll race you back to the lair."
Shino let a smile cross his face. "Ok dad.. on three, okay?"
Arishawn nodded, "I'll count down." Shino smirked and then quickly lowered himself into a crouch too, preparing to take off. "One... two.."
Shino prepared and leaned over, setting his hands into the ground, but before his father could get to three he suddenly took off, rushing on all fours, turning his head back slightly to yell out to his son. "THREE!"
Shino blinked once before he raced after his father, yelling out to him as he ran.
"No fair!" Arishawn let a laugh escape him as he continued to run on, passing the regions of the fields and into the forest.
Shino ran with all his might, keeping his father's large tail with in his sights at all time. He quickly dodged incoming trees and low bush as he ran. He hated running in the forest. It was always so hard do dodge things and keep yourself from getting into anything else at the same time, but this was the only way home.
Shino let a laugh out, noticing his father slowing down. His father may have been a lot bigger and faster than he, but his size is what kept him from going at full speed through the forest. The branches always came close around the lair, making it hard for big creatures to get past them.
As Shino passed his father, he looked back once, smiling at him, "I'm beating you Dad!" yelled Shino, declaring his victory over his father with glee. Turning his head back, he came to a quick stop, his small frame skidding only a bit to prevent him from running into the pair of legs in front of him. Coming to a complete halt, he looked up to the legs' owner, gasping at the magnificent sight. Before him stood a brilliant wardran, larger than his own father to say the least. His second ears fell back behind his smaller human like ones, their tip setting at his shoulders. His body was not of an overly muscular build, but of a lean set made purely for speed. Behind him, set a perfectly shaped dual set of white wings. His face seemed delicate, yet it was lined with various scars and other signs of hard battles. His lips were thin and set in a kind smile as his heavenly eyes rested upon young Shino.
Not far behind, Arishawn came to a stop allowing his larger and more muscular body to come to a full stand. Seeing the foreign wardran he outstretched his arms, speaking in a hearty tone, "Ah welcome Brother to the Western Territories. I am Arishawn."
The foreigner bowed, his voice crisp and clear as he spoke with a slight, unknown accent, "Hello Lord Arishawn, I am Alacaster of the Northern Territories. You are the leader of this region's clan, Black Wing, are you not?"
Arishawn nodded once, "Yes Sir Alacaster, I am the leader of the Black Wing clan. What brings you from such a far off place to come see us?"
Alacaster frowned suddenly as if the question itself was the source of his pain, "I come here to ask acceptance for the last of my people into your clan."
"What happen to your clan, Sir Alacaster?"
Alacaster looked down, his fists clenching, "We were attacked by human mages and sorcerers during the time the hatcheries were attacked... most of my clan were young teens.. we didn't have a chance. Only a few of us survived, my son of the Survival Generation and two others, Caster and Reiton."
Arishawn shook his head, thinking about accepting them in when their wings weren‘t black as his were. Although, Arishawn knew that the fact they had white wings didn’t matter. A clan name was meant to describe the clan's leader and not the clan members themselves.
"I will take you in... but I must know, what happened to Lord Dominus? He was a strong warrior and your leader was he not?"
Alacaster nodded, replying slowly as if he tried to find the best way to explain, "Lord Dominus... was ill from a deadly sickness that had already claimed a few of our clan members.... thus he was an easy target for the attacks."
Arishawn shook his head some, "I see. Well, bring the last of your clan with you. You can meet your fellow brothers, and I'm sure they would be honored to have another member of the Survival Generation amongst them."
Alacaster nodded, a chuckle rising some as he turned around. "Caster, Reiton.. come down here and bring Alabaster."
The forest was silent for a few moments, and Shino wondered if these other clan members of Alacaster even existed. His wonders were put to rest though when two wardran dropped from the trees. They both were in their teens, their wings not yet grown in and their hair down to their waist. They both had glassy green eyes and stood two feet smaller than Alacaster. One though, had light blonde hair, like Alacaster and the other had a darker tint, almost like a brownish gold. The one with the light blonde hair held a small child in his arms, much like Shino, but his hair was almost silver and his eyes were magnificent ruby.
The one with the young child in his arms stepped forward, speaking in a soft and gentle tone as if afraid, "What is the answer Sir Alacaster?"
Alacaster let a wide smile cross his face as his reply was simple, "Why young Caster, Lord Arishawn has allowed us to join him."
Both the teens, Caster and Reiton, smiled to each other, both bowing to Arishawn with the out most respect, "Thank you Lord Arishawn for allowing us in." said the two in unison.
Arishawn nodded to them, "Its a pleasure to have newcomers to the clan."
Alacaster's eyes fell on his young son, "Son, why don't you meet Lord Arishawn's son."
Alabaster looked to his father and then to Shino on the ground, who had just taken refuge behind Arishawn's leg after Alacaster had first spoken. Alabaster shyly turned around and dug his face into Caster's armor, shaking his head some as in refusal. Arishawn chuckled a bit, looking down to his own son, "Go on Shino.. go say hi."
Shino looked up to his father, shaking his head as he hid farther behind his leg. Both Alacaster and Arishawn laughed lightly now, amazed at the kids' shyness to each other, "Well, they'll have to meet eventually." stated Reiton as he set his hand on Alabaster's head.
Arishawn nodded, "Well.. I'll show you to the clan and see what they had called me for. Later, I'll show you the grounds around here since the day is still young."
The forest led deep into the heart of the valley that surrounded it. The chromatic greens shone all around as Alacaster and his fellow clan mates moved through the forest. Every bird seemed to sing the song of welcoming and the sun trickled through the tree tops to kiss the foreheads of the new members of the Black Wing.
Alacaster seemed to be nervous, his second ears shifted around every so often, listening to the sounds around as his son kept close to his leg. He didn't really like closed areas, not that he was claustrophobic, but his home was set on the open mountains. If there was any attack to be set on his clan, it would have most likely been in the closeness of the rocks but here everything was close.
Arishawn seemed to sense Alacaster's fear and chuckled slightly in response, "Don't worry.. if anything was out there the birds would tell us."
Alacaster nodded, his ears dropping, but he still seemed weary. He knew it would take him a while to adjust to the forest around him.
Shino turned around every so often, looking back to the son of Alacaster, Alabaster. Their eyes met momentarily, but just long enough for Shino to send Alabaster a smile and he to return it. Turning around, Shino laughed a bit, running up ahead of the group as he knew he was close to his lair. He rushed through the opening of trees, leading to a large tree towering high above the canopy. It’s structure had been long since hollowed out by the forces of nature, allowing the clan a place to retire to the night.
Shino came to a halt in the entrance of the tree, peeking inward to see if any of the inhabitance were inside. Two shadowy figures greeted him, what appeared to be their heads shifting to look to him. From with in the darkness called a gruff voice. “What is it young Shino?” asked the voice, the two shadows moving to the child.
Shino jumped upward, giggling as he tried to explain himself between breaths of air, “Daddy’s brought home new clan members.”
Stepping into the light now, it was clear to see Shino’s fellow clan members. Both stood a medium six feet tall, newly sprouted wings sitting upon their back as they had just reached adulthood. Both looked to each other, then to Shino. The one that had spoke earlier, thought for a moment as he looked to the forest. “Where are they from?”
Shino didn’t have to think or try to remember, it was all in his head. “Northern Territories.”
The other wardran quickly spoke, a hint of surprise in his voice. “From so far off?”
Shino nodded, rushing off to greet his father as he now stepped into the clearing as well. The other two wardran beheld the sight of the four new arrivals, moving to them gracefully to introduce themselves. The first bowed slightly, his gruff voice seeming kind. “Greetings Sir, I am Terran.”
Alacaster returned the bow, speaking softly, “I am Alacaster, nice to meet you Terran.”
Stepping aside, Terran allowed the other wardran step up, he also bowing. “I am Dasanis, nice to meet you Sir.”
Alacaster bowed again, then looked about to the surroundings of the lair. He liked the cozy feeling of the trees around the opening, it seemed safe and hidden away from those who might wish to harm them. Following Arishawn on, Alacaster continued to look around, admiring the perfect shape of the large tree that housed the clan.
Arishawn came to a stop, thinking for a moment. He turned his head to look to Terran. “Terran.. Where are the others?”
Terran rushed to his leader’s side, “Well Lord, they went out for the morning rounds. Shall I call them back?” Arishawn shook his head, “Ask Elder Deccanter to do it… his voice carries farther.”
Terran nodded and rushed off, slipping to all fours as he scaled his way up the tree.
Alacaster stared dumbfounded at the mention of Elder Deccanter. “Elder Deccanter? The general who led the final battle of the wardran?” Arishawn nodded in answer to the question.
Terran landed on the tree limb highest to the sky, looking upon the figure that stood with in it. He stood at his full height of nine foot seven, his black wings tattered and too rugged to support flight ever again. His second ears picked up slowly at the movement of Terran, and the cold visage turned to him. “What is it young one?”
Terran moved closer to the figure, speaking louder than usual and keeping in a good eye range for him, “Lord Arishawn wishes for you to call the clan back.”
The older wardran nodded, turning to the forest below the magnificent tree. Terran had always admired his older clan mate. He had looked up to him as a fatherly figure, even if his father had died long ago in the great war. The older wardran lifted his head high into the air, his jaws opening quickly as a sharp roar emitted from his throat. The roar continued for a couple of seconds before it faded off into a hollow whisper and then faded away. Terran looked over the forest below, listening intently as he waited.
Arishawn walked through the opening around the tree before Terran jumped down from an overhanging limb. Behind him was the old wardran, keeping near the younger one’s tail. Arishawn smiled as he looked to the older wardran as Alacaster and the other newcomers stared in awe at the sight of him. It was Deccanter. The Deccanter that led the wardran to their victory those many years ago, and now here he was standing before them. He looked to the four new clan members and laughed lightly, “These are the new ones?”
Arishawn nodded, replying swiftly, “Yes, they are now one of us Deccanter, my father.” Rustling could be heard from the vegetation around as more wardran suddenly filled the area. There were seventeen in total, twenty one now with Alacaster and his people. They crowded around, allowing Arishawn to speak as he explained the situation. The others readily accepted the clan-less wardran into their home.
Days past and they turned into weeks which turned into months. Shino was growing steadily alongside his generation mate, Alabaster. Sadly, though, they weren’t getting along. Alabaster was jealous of Shino’s future position. He would have been the clan leader if he was still at home. But now it was different, he was at the bottom of the chain, a mere follower below the wing. He didn’t like that. His father knew this too, but Alacaster was ever grateful for having Arishawn accept them into his home.
The sun was high and the air was hot when Shino rested upon the green grass with in the valley. He had been told to come out here and play with Alabaster, but he couldn’t find him anywhere. He had long since given up now; hide and seek was his least favorite game. Now he merely looked to the passing clouds. He made out shapes from them, laughing some as he found the shape of a deer moving through the air.
A low rumble through the ground suddenly caught his attention, causing him to sit up abruptly. Looking around, his small second ears lifted up, swirling around to find the direction of the cause. He looked straight ahead to the rest of the unwooded valley to the west. Birds suddenly flew up from the horizon, flapping over him wildly as they passed. He moved his eyes to follow the birds, gasping as they passed over him, their sounds full of fear. His eyes dropped to the horizon as he saw the creation of this fear. A surge of panic rushed through him as he stood up, swiftly rushing off into the forest as a horde of angry boar followed close behind.
Shino dodged trees left and right, his form struggling to keep up the strenuous pace as the boars closed around him. Various grunts and squeals could be heard as he felt a hard tusk ram into his chest, casing him to lose breath instantly. He fell back, his head narrowly missed by a hoof. He rolled to the side, another hoof missing him, but one digging deep into his tail. He let out a yelp and quickly found his hands digging into the trunk of a tree. He rushed up it’s side, scurrying out into the branch not far from him to see the dark figure of something else running through the boar. It was larger than he, and he knew who it was instantly. It was Deccanter.
His old body strained and ached from the sudden burst of speed needed to keep himself from getting gored. The boars were about his size when on all fours, and their tusks razor sharp. Deccanter let out a low grunt as a tusk dug deep into his side, nearly piercing his lung. Both he and the boar fell to the ground, massing hooves trampling over them. Deccanter managed to make his way up some how, rushing off again as blood trickled down his side. He leaped upward to an overhanging branch, his hands gripping tightly on the branch. The limb gave a groan and a loud snapping sound echoed throughout the forest within the many squeals of the boars below. He gasped, raising his feet to hold onto the branch to allow him to leap away, but that didn’t work out. The limb suddenly gave way, dropping him to the stampede below along with the branch. As soon as Deccanter hit a few boars and the ground, the tree limb slammed onto him, bringing blood into his throat. He coughed before giving a sharp roar into the air.
Shino leaped from the tree he was within, rushing into the direction the boars ran off. He could hear the movements within the trees not far away; the rest of the clan was coming. He ran through the path the boars made, coming to a complete halt when he caught sight of the limb and the figures under it. He gasped, seeing a black wing from under the limb and surrounded by dead boars. He rushed to the limb, attempting to push the limb off of Deccanter. The limb moved slightly, but then fell back down suddenly. It was too heavy. He moved down to Deccanter’s head, staring down at his bleeding face, not knowing what he could do. He listened to the rustling coming closer and faster, quickly going into a panic. He leaped to the left of the limb, rushing to the direction of the rustling.
As he ran, he yelled out, his voice shaky and desperate, “HELP.. Deccanter’s been hurt!” Just a few seconds after he yelled out, one of the members of his clan leaped from the tree, landing with a light thud.
“What happened young Shino?” asked the clan mate.
Shino looked up to him, tears forming in his small black eyes, “It’s Deccanter.. He’s stuck.” His clan mate nodded, running to the fallen limb as the other clan members dropped to the ground. As the clan rushed to the limb, Arishawn quickly made his way to the front, he being the one to lift the limb off of his father.
Shino ran under the legs of the others, stopping behind his father as he knelt down next to Deccanter. Arishawn had his eyes closed and his head lowered. He set his hand on the crushed ribs of his father, muttering something inaudible before he looked to the rest of the clan, “He’s dead.” Murmurs from the clan rose as the words left Arishawn, the many faces looking down suddenly at the loss of their eldest.
Arishawn stood before his son, looking down at him as the rest of the clan sat in a circle around. The new clan members held back, not feeling comfortable for being so close, especially in such a delicate matter. “Son, what happened?”
The question scared Shino; he didn’t know what happened.
He meekly responded as his body trembled, “I-I don’t know father, I was just lying in the grass when the boars appeared.”
Arishawn crossed his arms, knowing that the boars wouldn’t just run off into a stampede. “Son, please.”
“BUT.. It’s the truth!”
Arishawn shook his head. He loved his son very much, but his father was dead and he had to know who was responsible for it. “Okay then, if you didn’t anger the boars then who did?”
Shino shook his head quickly. “I don’t know!” Shino felt tears now stream down his cheeks.
His father seemed so calm and cold as if he didn’t care that Deccanter was dead. Arishawn narrowed his eyes, “Son, boar do not just rush out from the lands, they have a reason for everything as we do. Now Son, if they were startled by accident that’s ok.. Just-”
“I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! I was looking for Alabaster and when I couldn’t find him, I just rested in the grass when the boar appeared!”
Shino’s sudden outburst caused Arishawn to blink and the rest of the clan to suddenly speak amongst themselves. Arishawn frowned at this, sighing as he watched the tears flow down his son’s cheeks. Looking up, Arishawn looked to Alacaster and then to Alabaster standing near him. Alabaster seemed to be scared as he suddenly hid behind his father’s leg. “Alacaster, please, bring your son to the circle.”
Alacaster nodded, setting his hand on Alabaster’s back. “Go on son.” Alabaster shook his head, but Alacaster gave him a sudden look that sent the child walking into the circle slowly. Alabaster stood next to Shino, looking up to Arishawn with fear in his eyes.
“Alabaster, do you know anything of this stampede?”
Alabaster suddenly began to speak, his voice quick as if he were forcing out as fast as possible, “I saw it all! Shino was around the boars when he started chasing one! It turned around and then charged at him and that made the others mad and then they all charged!”
Shino looked to Alabaster quickly, “No, YOU DIDN’T SEE WHERE I WAS!”
Shino’s muscles tensed as he leapt to Alabaster. Before he could land, Arishawn gripped his tail, pulling him up. A frown was set on his face as he held his son’s tail tight in his hand, walking out of the circle now. “Dismissed.” That was the last word out of Arishawn as he walked off into the forest with his son.
Arishawn walked to the edge of the forest, just set before the forbidden land. He set Shino down lightly, looking down at his son. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Shino gasped, “But, I didn’t do anything.”
Arishawn sighed, “Son, you are everything to me, please.. Don’t lie. Alabaster saw you.”
“Why would he?”
“I don’t know, but I didn’t do anything!”
Arishawn closed his eyes, he didn’t know what else to do. “From now on son, you will not go into the fields with out an escort. I do not want you alone.”
Shino couldn’t believe his ears and he quickly made protest, “B-but father!”
Arishawn growled slightly, “Silence! You will obey my decision.”
Shino suddenly burst into tears again. Arishawn sighed once more. Seeing his son like this pulled at his heart greatly, but he had to be disciplined. Arishawn turned around and slowly walked off, “You know your way to the lair when you’re done.”
It wasn’t until night fall when Shino made his way slowly back to the lair. He dreaded stepping foot into the area, knowing that his clan mates thought of him as a murderer. He didn’t do anything and he knew it, but they didn’t know that. That’s what had him scared the most. He moved into the clearing surrounding the tree, finding everyone had gone to their nests already. He held his head low, more tears swelling up before his eyes.
He peeked into the tree, looking up to see his entire clan looking down to him. He couldn’t see their faces, but he could feel their eyes. He lowered his head again and slowly crept to a spot on the ground, not even bothering to make his own nest. He felt lonely and an outcast. I didn’t do anything. Those were the only words he could repeat in his mind over and over. I didn’t do anything. A sudden idea flashed in his head. He could get the boars to tell them what happened. He looked up to the nests above, seeing that his fellow clan mates had fallen asleep. He slowly got up and crept out of the tree. Setting himself upon all fours, he ran away to the entrance of the forest. Stopping, he looked back once and then rushed off into the night.
The forest was dark and it was hard to see as Shino ran. He felt a few low branches slap his face as he passed by, the ground hard and cold under his hands and feet. He ran as fast as his legs could take him, following the path the boars left, stopping once and a while to pull out splinters from fallen trees from his hands. He came to a final stop, sighing as he looked up to the moon peeking through from the forest canopy. He didn’t know what to do when he found the boars. He didn’t even know if he knew his language. He didn’t even know if they would let him come close without charging at him.
The sun rose slowly into the sky when Arishawn discovered his son nowhere in sight. He ran out to the trunk of the large tree, making his way up quickly. At the top, he looked about madly to see if he could spot his son, but the vegetation was far too thick to see through. He opened his mouth, roaring out to call to him, hoping for some kind of response, yet there was none. As he roared out again the clan came to a slow wake, wondering why their leader was acting so oddly. Terran stood by Arishawn when he spoke softly, “Lord, what is wrong?”
Arishawn snapped his eyes to him, “I can’t find Shino.”
Terran’s face went pale and he suddenly leaped down to the ground below. He spoke quickly to his fellow clan mates and they all dispersed into the forest to look for their young clan member.
Shino sighed when he looked over the path that led to the world beyond. The boars had gone this way, and he was going too. He could see the trees rustling from his fellow wardran below, but he decided to continue on the path. He looked around slowly, stopping when he saw the land below the valley. The land only his father and his late grandfather had visited. He didn’t bother to keep a slow pace. Instead he ran down the side, careful not to stumble and fall down. He came to a stop before a large boulder, crawling up it to look over.
A smile crossed his face happily now as he beheld the sight of hundreds of boars below him. Stepping onto the rock fully, he looked down to them and watched with intent as they all turned to look at him. Various squeals came from the creatures, their group crowding around the boulder now. Their tusks slid against the boulder, pushing it slowly. Shino felt fear surge through him. They wanted him dead. He looked around frantically, searching for something to use as an escape. The boulder moved suddenly, rolling over slowly as Shino made a leap of faith to another boulder near by. A few boars let out squeals of pain as the boulder moved over them, leaving their bodies crushed.
As Shino landed upon the boulder, he slid down to the boars landing on one’s head. Trembling, he suddenly began to leap from boar to boar with all his might, dodging tusks as they were jabbed to him. As he neared the end of the herd, he landed on a small group of rocks, falling down to the path bellow.
As Shino ran down the side of the mountain trail, he could hear the boars’ angry sounds, wishing he hadn’t left home. It was too late now though to go back. The boars would never let him back past them and into the valley. With the death of his grandfather behind him and the many roars of his clan mates and father echoing through the air, he held his head low, continuing on the unknown path.
As the day formed into mid day, the roars became a faint whisper in the wind. He was tired and wanted to rest, but he knew that if he stopped now, he might be spotted from the air. Then it suddenly hit him and he froze. His father and a few other clan members could fly. He rushed down to all fours again, running down the trail as fast as he could. The last thing he needed is for them to find him now. He couldn’t return, they saw him as a murderer when he didn’t even do anything.
Now, the trail became wider and led into an opening of a forest. He was nearing the great beyond. Rushing to a stop, he looked into the forest, watching a few black figures greet him. He lowered his second ears, hunching his body over as to show submission as he stepped to them slowly. He could hear murmurs and the sound of metal against metal come from the figures as they all looked to him. He gave a sudden yelp and a short growl as something from the forest came and slashed his cheek, sending blood to the ground. He stepped back, lowering himself to all fours. He jumped back now, narrowly escaping the lick of the thing that hit him earlier. He hissed, rushing forward as to get away from the thing that attacked him.
As he leaped over the dark figures, a sharp pain filled his side as something large slammed into him. He fell to the ground, wheezing slightly as he struggled to catch his breath. He growled angrily, thrashing about as the figures came into the light and one picked him up. They were humans. One held a whip in his hand and viciously moved it to him. The whip’s lick slid across his head, knocking him out instantly.
When he awoke, Shino found himself enshrouded in darkness, but a familiar scent filled his nostrils. His eyes went wide, quickly adjusting to the lack of light as he looked around now. His eyes studied the room, finding himself locked with in a dungeon. As his eyes drifted, they fell upon the two figures in the back of the dungeon. They were fellow wardran. He stepped to them, feeling comfort in being near others of his own race. “Where are we older brothers?”
The other two wardran looked to each other and then to Shino. “We aren’t your brothers.” replied one.
He was old and looked as if he had come from a northern clan for his wings were pure white and his hair blonde. The other one, with brown hair and brown wings nodded, “We may be wardran, but we don’t like you outsiders.”
Shino tilted his head to the side, not understanding what they meant by outsiders. “I’m not an outsider, my father is the leader of Black Wing.”
The other two wardran burst into laughter. The blonde one growled to Shino, “Then you are an outsider! We are in NeoAnnos, the last haven for the wardran who live in the Southern Territories.”
Shino looked around confused, wondering how this could be a haven. The brown haired wardran seemed to sense his questioning of the surroundings and smirked, “This city is also run by humans. You and your little clan have it made up there in the valley, but any wardran in the south is a slave to the humans.”
Shino gasped, “How can you allow the humans to enslave you?”
The two wardran looked to each other and then smirked down to the young Shino, but before they could answer another voice spoke. “Because they are weak.” The voice was muffled and seemed distant.
“Shut up old man! At least we aren’t chained up and have a muzzle over our face.” retorted the brown haired wardran.
Shino quickly ran to the voice, gasping at what he saw. Chained to the wall was the biggest wardran he had ever saw in his short life. His muscular arms were chained crossed over his chest and his legs chained crossed to the wall. His head was held back tight against the wall by a muzzle covering his mouth, leaving his nose and hazel eyes free. Shino could only stare at him, admiring his nine foot seven stature. His horns had been long since cut off and mere stubs replaced them. “W-who are you?”
The large wardran looked down to him, his eyes softening as he smiled, “You can call me Manifestation… or Mana for short.”
Shino nodded, “I’m Shino.”
Mana smirked, knowing the child from the whispers in the wind. “I heard of you, you’re the grandson of Deccanter aren’t you?” Shino nodded quickly as a hidden smile crossed over Mana’s face, “How is he?”
Hearing the question, Shino looked down, his ears dropping as Mana looked at him confused, “Did I say something wrong?”
Shino shook his head, replying softly, “Grandpa died yesterday.”
Mana let out a soft gasp, “No, you don’t say. What happen to him?”
Tears suddenly began to stream down Shino’s cheeks as he spoke quickly, “There was this stampede of boars.. And.. A tree limb fell on him. I don’t know how the stampede started, but they think I did it.”
Mana kept silent for awhile, never guessing his old friend would ever die. “Shino, how did you get here?”
Shino looked away, “I thought that if I could talk to the boars
and find out who started the stampede, then I could tell the rest of the
clan. When I got there though, the boars tried to kill me.”
Mana sighed, his large body heaving, “Poor child… poor, poor child.”
~ End of Part II ~