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You are loosing yourself, love, come back before it’s too late. The voice echoed in my head as I lay alone in the lushness of the glade, the heavy spring rain caressing my skin, and the lightning dancing overhead.
I don’t want to come back. I am happy here. In the outside world my eyes were open but sightless, glazed over and clouded, with the inattentiveness of inner sight.
I was lost within myself, and I didn’t want to come back, but the voice was insistent, you may be happy, true, it agreed, but you are also weak.
I searched my mind for the source of the voice, the mental version of myself tight and alert, my eyes narrowed. I am not weak. I snapped uneasily, suspecting it was true.
I could sense the source of the voice was close, and it came gently to me again, you are not?
I hesitated; kept searching; closer.
I don’t think you believe that quite yet young one.
I turned a corner in my mind and was suddenly face to face with the source of the voice of my fears and logic. The face was not familiar and I leapt back in fear and anger. I glared at the boy. He was no older than me, a year older, maybe two. You call me young?
The boy’s near black eyes widened. You are not?
I had begun to think that was all he could respond. I looked at the form I was in. I had chosen to appear a child, then a wolf as I hunted for him. In my anger, I must have switched back to the child’s form. No, not really. I aged myself until I was the same age as I actually was in the outside world.
I smiled at his shocked expression.
Wow. You’re beautiful.
I shook my head. I don’t really look this way. I changed the scenery around us. Sit.
He looked dirty, tired and now grateful. Thanks.
I only nodded.
He sighed, but as he was sitting down I changed the chair into a living tree that would mold to his body. (I had a sneaking suspicion his body was bruised and battered. The way he moved just wasn’t right.)
He didn’t notice. Where are you?
I didn’t want to answer, but, for some stupid reason, I was starting to like him, so I did anyway. I’m not sure, I admitted, I know I’m on a big hill under a giant tree, I shrugged, and that’s about it.
He nodded grimly; I think I’m at the bottom of that hill.
I sat across from him, you’re welcome to come up, I don’t think it will do any good but, you can try. Like I said I’m happy here.
He sat up abruptly, and the tree did too. His head jerked around and he stared at the tree in blatant disbelief.
I hid a smile.
He shook his head as if to clear his mind of the impossible image and turned back to me fearfully, I’ m not alone. My captors need a place to camp and they are choosing this hill. You have to hide. I have to go, they are inpatient men, we’ll talk later. Hurry!
He disappeared and the tree froze, not knowing what to do now that it was empty. I had conjured it just for him, and now it twisted into several odd shapes in it’s indecision before settling on a statue of its previous occupant.
I cursed, and came back to the real world.
Scrambling to my knees I crawled through the mud and under the thick, raised roots of the monster tree. It hid me completely as I crouched in the dead center of the tangle and soon I heard the sound of approaching horses. The sound of pounding hooves was muffled as if it came from the end of a long tunnel, but I sat anxious and alert anyway, ready to flee at a moment’s notice. I waited, accessing the situation, but finding I would not be in any danger, I fell again into the strange abyss of my mind.
Someone was waiting for me, and it definitely wasn’t the boy. I changed the place were the intruder was into a wasteland, but left the tree the boy had used earlier in the center of it. Let the idiot think what he would. I changed my form again, this time into a grey ware wolf I favored in fear. Normally I favored the timber wolf, but a ware wolf had more muscle, clearer thinking in a fight, and a temper that would allow no fear.
When I walked into the place I had turned into a wasteland I was cold. I was not afraid, or angry, I was just bored and uninterested, or so it appeared. I wandered the Dead-land nonchalantly, passing the dark haired man without a word or second glance, treating the dark intruder like a piece of the scenery.
He raised an eyebrow in annoyance. I’m sure you’ve seen me.
I shifted my form to that of a teenager, with short jet black hair, pale skin, and heavily lined eyes. Dressed in tight black leather from head to booted foot, I reclined in boredom on a throne of blood red velvet, and silver. Because of the position, my bust strained against the corset style top as I examined my claw like nails. They were dark silver, like steel, with a single drop of what looked like blood in the center of each nail.
With a flick of my partially velvet gloved hand, the scenery changed to that of a grand receiving hall. The throne sat on a black marble dais, and the rest of the room was toned in black, blood red, and silver.
So I did.
I looked him up and down, then cocked an eyebrow. Should I be interested?
Something flickered behind his violet eyes; surprise. This man was not used to being ignored, and seeing he was just the barest uneasy I safely assumed he was also used to being in control.
He shrugged and gave a devilish grin. He was cocky, and sexy, but the worst part was, he knew it. Most women are, he stated, starting to sit down on the floor.
I conjured a chair for him. It was like mine but more inclined to comfort, and not as grand. It was toned in the colors I favored, red, orange, and gold. The colors of fire.
He sat and in an attempt to draw me from my shell, he mirrored my pose; one foot on the floor, one draped over the left arm of the throne, back against the right arm. His form rippled and I saw that his clothes had changed. He was now wearing a white shirt that was opened halfway, a pair of slightly darker slacks and a pair of sand colored boots, in an effort to look harmless and familiar.
It didn’t work. I kept my blank look and black leather in place.
He move to recline in a different position. How do you sit like that?
I shrugged, not really answering him. You did not answer me.
I changed my black eyes to ice blue.
He inclined his head, I sincerely apologize, I seem to hove forgotten my manners. His form rippled and he now appeared as my age. I seem to have neglected introductions as well, he muttered to himself. My name is Rowan, and yes, you should be interested, after all, he added, I am inside your mind.
I watched him for a moment in detached silence, Many people enter my mind, Lord Rowan, why should I be interested in you?
He looked at me, perplexed, Lord? How did you know?
I gave a crooked smile that revealed sharp fangs, I didn’t.
He glared at me, obviously angry I’d tricked him. You’re pretty slick, there Dragon girl.
I smiled evilly, No, I am Princess, not slick. I rule here, and I am in control. I ignored him calling me Dragon girl. This is my game here, and when I imply that I know something… I shrugged not bothering to finish the sentence, Things are never as they seem in this place, you would do well to remember that if you ever return here.
He continued to glare at me, Thanks for the advice, he spat, Do you think you could have given it to me before I made a fool of myself?
Temper, temper. I chided him gently, not loud enough for him to hear. I raised an eyebrow, saying louder, I will.
The implication caused him to ease up a little. So I am not your jester for today, Princess Dragon?
I shook my head, No.
He smiled. Thank you.
I inclined my head in acknowledgement, proceeding with idle chit chat. Do you like dogs?
He was a little taken aback with the sudden change of topic, but his immediate response was guaranteed to be truthful. Yes. Why?
I grinned, You’ll see.
I snapped my fingers and one door on either side of my throne swung open silently to reveal two identical wolf hounds, brothers, that were more wolf than hound.
One had a red collar with amber eyes, the other a blue collar with pale, ice blue eyes. They came up to sit beside my throne, but I slid to the floor and skidded to the edge of the dais when the red collared one head butted me. I dangled my feet over the edge, and the one with the blue collar laid his head on my left leg, the other one was racing around like a maniac. I raised my hand and he dove into my lap to lick my face, until the other dog glared at him. As the hyper one got comfortable in my lap I explained to the gaping Rowan, Wolf hounds. Identical twins except for their eyes and personalities. Winter, the dog on my left raised his head to look at Rowan, before laying back down, And Blaze. At the mention of his name Blaze shot to his feet and leapt off the dais, making a bee line for Rowan.
The dark teen couldn’t hide his smile as Blaze skidded past him across the marble floor, (His paws couldn’t find any traction,) then turned and came back, moving at a slightly slower pace. It was the first genuine one he’d given that hadn’t been an oily, or saccharine smile, and for some reason I liked it. My eyes faded to a less intimidating color, black, as I watched him rough house with my hound.
He may be o.k. after all, I thought at Winter.
Yeah, he thought back, but just o.k.