Guardians: Shattered Memories
Author's note: Warriors and guardians of ga'hoole
Prolouge: The DealShadows stretched over the tall pines of the shadow valley as if to create a web of darkness. The trees echoed with the raw silence, other than the droplet of a single dewdrop from a red rose landing on a nearby pond. Near the pond, lay a black lion with eyes of silver moon. Staring at his reflection with a look of disgust and displeasure as if he were not pleased with something about himself. The massive beast stood, growling and mumbling to his reflection. The lofty pines needles underneath his
There was a sudden stirring in the shadows and the lion felt his muscles tense underneath his thick fur. Stealthily a black figure moved from the darkness of the trees, golden orange eyes flashed like amber as the figure came into the spotlight of the crescent moon. The black beast quickly realized the shadow figure was a cheetah, black fur with white spots. He relaxed himself and gave the cheetah a look. “What have I told you about sneaking up on me unannounced subordinate?” He growled in annoyance, also wondering why he wasn’t able to scent her before she arrived, he ignored the notion. Trying to settle the fur along his spine he awaited her answer. The cheetah gave a respectful bow and the black lion returned it halfheartedly. She didn’t notice.
“I come with news Sir Vhas, there is to be a urgent clan meeting in an hour. All of the higher ranked officials are required to join. Lord Fell wanted you there so he sent me to fetch you.” The cheetah quickly explained. Vhas growled in amusement as he thought of what Fell could has possibly called a meeting so early, and why it was so urgent.
“Have you any idea why it is so urgent? Surely you know?” Vhas asked impatiently.
The cheetah shook her head and continued. “No sir, but he seemed troubled by something and he said he needed all of the officials present. He told me nothing other than to retrieve you Sir, Will you attend?” The cheetah asked with a concerned edge in her voice. Vhas took his time to answer. Weighing the possibilities in his head pondering on the simple question as if it were nothing more than a childish game. The cheetahs ear twitched in annoyance. “Well? What should I tell him?” She pressed on impatiently. Vhas gave her a look at made her shrink and look away.
“Yes, tell them I will be there but may arrive late cheetah.” Vhas replied at last sounding only mildly interested. The cheetah gave him a look, nodded, then turned away. Her tail high behind her as she stalked off. As she did so she turned her head over her shoulder and smiled.
“My name is Fera. Sir Vhas” she said quickly going away, not giving him the chance to react to her rudeness. And with that Fera slipped back into the shadows from which she came. Vhas purred in amusement and looked back to the sky, as if distracted by some sort of an invisible bird. Shaking his head he stood his full height and began to make his way back to the territory. His might jaws opened as he yawned sleepily, then, he too slipped into the shadows without a sound walking the dark desolate night.
Vhas had traveled quite a long distance from the forest, taking his time as he had warned the cheetah Fera previously. His muscles rippled through his fur as if a drop of water had hit its surface. His silver eyes fixed ahead as he came near the entrance to the clan headquarters. He wondered exactly where everyone had gone too, the entrance was normally crawling with members of the clan. Then he remembered it was still very early and most of them were probably sleeping or walking around somewhere within the territory. Regardless, Vhas felt nervous as he approached his own border. He was even more surprised to see that there were no guards in sight. Vhas paused in his tracks and sniffed the air. He scented them, but why couldn’t he see them? Vhas unsheathed his claws and his silver eyes flashed like a shooting star from left to right. Searching for someone, anyone.
A warning shriek came from just ahead.
“Who goes there? Reveal yourself!” The voice yelled. Vhas narrowed his eyes but still saw no one. His tail twitched impatiently as he remembered he was late to the meeting. Fell was going to chew his tail if he didn’t show up. Vhas growled and moved forward.
“I am the one who gives the orders around here, you are speaking to General Vhas!” He snarled furiously. He knew it was a guard speaking to him but Vhas questioned the guards intelligence for speaking to him in such a tone. Wherever he was. There was a long, awkward silence and Vhas’s patience was growing thin. Suddenly there the guard was. Standing right in front of Vhas. Vhas then realized it was a tiger but was slightly uncomfortable knowing the tiger could vanish and not be seen.
“My deepest apologies Sir Vhas, please go in. Forgive my absurd behavior; I am new to the clan.” The tiger lowered himself to the ground and closed his eyes. Vhas had an undying urge to bite into his flesh and teach him a lesson but giving him the benefit of the doubt he decided not to. After all Vhas had been gone for several moons and newcomers did come often, it made sense the tiger wolf be newer too, seeing as Vhas didn’t recognize his scent. Vhas nodded and studied the tiger as he stood up. He was…a bit young for his size was that of maybe a ten year old cub. His fur was grey and his stripes were as silver as Vhas’s eyes. Vhas saw he was obviously strong and it was apparent he had mastered some of his magical abilities although the invisibility thing was new to him.
“Before I go, I must ask. Aren’t you a bit young to be a guard?” Vhas questioned harshly. The tiger flinched as Vhas’s remark and answered quickly.
“Yes sir, but no one else was going to do it so I volunteered. Nadir gave me permission and gave me strict orders not to let anyone through. He did say someone named Vhas would eventually show.” The tiger explained. Vhas’s eyes lit up a bit as he mentioned Nadir. If Nadir gave the cub permission to guard the entrance the tiger had to be favored by him in some way knowing Nadir. that stubborn old jaguar rarely let anyone do anything unless they were in his eyes worthy of it. Vhas nodded approvingly.
“Very well then young one, what is your name?” Vhas asked for no reason particular. He figured he may have well known the kids name if he was new. The tiger purred and replied smoothly.
“My name is Dante.” He said smoothly, as if the name were one day going to mean something to the world. Vhas nodded and looked into the tigers eyes. He saw they were pure white. Was he blind? The lion wanted to say something but Vhas hesitated to ask, deciding not to press on the matter Vhas walked past Dante
“Well then young Dante I’ll let you continue your duty.” Vhas called over his shoulder, leaving Dante to his own devices.
After meeting with the young tiger named Dante who appeared to be blind Vhas made his way into the heart to headquarters. There were many Demari scattered across the opening. Many of them sleeping and a few of them talking or grooming each other. Vhas looked at them as he walked through them, most of them bowing their heads as he walked past. Vhas realized how the ground beneath him seemed to be trampled and stone cold underneath his paws. Then he remembered that the clan headquarters was in the darkest part of a gorge, were the ground never knew the warmth of the sun. Vhas looked up to see the rocky ledges which kept the area nice and cool, although Vhas much preferred to be in the warmth sun. Suddenly Vhas scented someone on the approach. “Sir Vhas!” a voice called out to him. Vhas turned his head slightly to see it was his assistant Morgana, a young sleek wolf with purple eyes and white fur which was always unusual for a Demari. Vhas lifted his head and a slight smile spread across his muzzle in hello. She came to a half a few lengths away from him. “I see you took you time getting here, they started the meeting without you. You’d better get a move on Vhas.” Morgana rambled on about his responsibility and other things Vhas wasn’t paying attention too.
“Silence Morgana, the important thing is I’m here now. Have you any idea what the meeting is about?” Vhas asked her as he walked past and toward the large mouth of the cave within the side of the gorge. Morgana walked next to him and shook her head disappointed.
“No Sir, only that it was a matter of extreme importance and that only Officials could attend.” Morgana explained just as Fera had before. Vhas growled at this. His irritation had erupted into something of concern. It makes sense for the cheetah to know nothing of the meeting but for Morgana as well to know nothing must mean this meeting is more important than I first thought. She is my most trusted adviser and she knows things often before I do, something must be horribly wrong.” Vhas thought to himself. Morgana must have been able to read his face because her face softened. “Sir, are you okay?” She asked. Vhas shook his head of the thoughts and looked at her.
“Yes, just thinking. I should go now; I’ll meet with you after the meeting Morgana, go get some sleep.” Vhas replied firmly as if he had never had a doubt in the world. Morgana gave a bow and stalked off. Vhas watched her go. When she was out of earshot Vhas grumbled something under his breath. Then turning tail he walked into the cave. There was a gust of wind blown into his mane as he entered and the cold of the cave chilled him. His eyes however were steady as he continued into the deep cave lit up by glowing red emeralds above him, giving the cave that dark feeling as the red highlight stretched across its cold lifeless walls. The walls were carefully carved out and designed carefully by the architects many, many decades ago. Vhas soon could hear the Officials voices bouncing off of the walls as he neared the meeting room within the cave. Vhas remembered how the room was not always there, it was formed by a young lion from one of the kingdom and formed it using something of alchemy magic. Ever since then it had been used for meetings and other important events regarding the clan.
Vhas listened carefully to the sounds echoing all around him, some were quieter so he couldn’t really hear them except for the ones who were shouting.
“This is an outrage! Who does he think we are? We should hunt him down and show him no mercy! Him and whoever is assisting him!”
“Nonsense, have you seen our clan warriors you fool? Some of them have yet to master their magic yet alone their fighting skills. And the only Warriors we can spare must protect our territory! This land has been home to us for generations we cannot give it up now.
One voice sounded above the other, only calmer in tone. “We cannot endanger the clan simply because a few threats have been made your lordship. We must not surrender to the will of a terrorist. Regardless of who it may be.” Vhas recognized that calm demeanor anywhere. It was Nadir.
Vhas then approached the hanging red cloth that cut off the room from the outside. Vhas could hear clearly now. Deciding not to wait any longer he walked in, the red silky martial brushed against his nose, tickling it uncomfortably. Vhas twitched his nose. The room was large, round and instead of bright red emeralds to light the room there was fire instead. Vhas felt immediately warm. All at once everyone in the room snapped their heads towards him, their eyes filled with anger. Vhas cocked and eyebrow at them and took a breath. Fell who was standing in front of them all spoke first.
“Ah Vhas, how nice of you to finally join us. I was beginning to think you would not show.” He said calmly, his eyes relaxed and his body language unaggressive unlike the others. Vhas dipped his head respectfully, avoiding eye contact with the others.
“Are you going to arrive to every meeting late!” A voice snapped. Vhas looked at him and gave a sneer.
“Are you going to ever think before you speak Alphonse? You and everyone else here knows I was on a mission in the forsaken Valley.” Vhas replied scornfully. Alphonse was a wolf, his fur was dark blue and his eyes were gold. His lips peeled back to reveal his fangs and growled. Fell shot him a look that silenced him. Vhas chuckled in triumph until he too was given the same look.
“It doesn’t matter why Vhas was late Alphonse, we have more important things to worry about.” Fell snarled impatiently, looking at Vhas he continued. “And Alphonse is right Vhas. Lately you have been avoiding the meetings of the clan and you never seem to be late when you aren’t. Regardless you are here now. Come, sit. We have much to discuss. Fell pointed out casually. Vhas nodded and took a seat next to Nadir, spying a smirk on Alphonse’s face. Vhas rumbled under his breath. Vhas made himself comfortable and lay down and took a deep breath. Nadir looked at him and gave a slick smile.
“Good, now that we all are present. We shall continue.” Fell went on. Vhas eyed everyone in the room, it was him, Nadir, Alphonse, fell and three others. Ladin the grey jaguar, Capone, the grey and black wolf. And Aria, Nadir’s sister. Fell continued.
“As all of us already know the Demari are not welcome to any of the kingdoms and many hate our kind. So it makes sense that we are to be threatened the way we are, but never in all my years of ruling this kingdom have I ever witnessed anything like I have last night.” Vhas stated calmly. Vhas’s attention was immediately caught when he heard of what he had witnessed last night. Vhas narrowed his eyes at his leader. A strange feeling in his gut sickened him as he did.
“What do you mean?” Vhas blurted out. Fell glared at him.
“If you were here on time you would know Vhas.” Fell snapped at him, still keeping his calmness in his voice despite the agitation in his eyes. Vhas stared at him.
“Vhas, many members of the clan were slaughtered.” Said Nadir gently beside him. Vhas’s eyes grew wide with anger.
“WHAT! BY WHO?” Vhas demanded with a roar, he wondered if anyone outside the cave heard him. Standing to his feet he stared at fell although Nadir had answered the question. Fell looked at him and then the others, than back at him. He knew Vhas was not one to take the death of his clanmates lightly, Fells eyes grew soft.
“By Karr,” Fell said with sympathy, his voice barely a whisper. Vhas’s eyes grew wide with shock. Vhas slouched down to look at the ground. His body trembling violently. Vhas refused to believe it. Karr was dead, he watched him die. They all did. “He is alive, and angry.”
“That’s…impossible. He died we all saw it!” Vhas shouted infuriated, almost as if he were going to leap up and attack. Fell stared at him, daring him to challenge. Vhas didn’t back down. “What happened?” Vhas growled impatiently. He could sense the tension in the room as his anger rose. Fell took a breath and explained.
“As you know Vhas, when you went to complete your mission in the canyons, I and a team of twelve others went to the Ulair Kingdom to negotiate terms of the treaty we discussed. However, before we reached the border we were intercepted.” Fell paused, looking around the room at each of the faces that were fixed on him, tension rising between them. Vhas was growing curious of what happened the longer Fell was silent. “We were intercepted by Karr, only…there was something different about him. He seemed, different. Angry.” Fell continued halfheartedly. Vhas was beginning to grow tired of his leaders stuttering. Vhas was beginning to wonder why he was even in charge. Vhas felt annoyed by his leaders own lack of self-confidence.
“We were all shocked to see he had still been alive and tried to talk to him. But…he said something, disturbing. He said, ‘The seal must be broken, darkness will return again.’ At first I didn’t know what he meant and when we tried to ask, He attacked.” Fell ended, shame in his voice. Vhas however wasn’t buying it, not for a minute. He took a step forward.
“That’s it? He ‘Attacked?’ I don’t believe it, If Karr really is alive he would never attack his leader yet alone you, if he is anything like I remember him he is as hard headed and loyal as a dog. And even if he did what did you do to stop him? Do you honestly expect me to believe that you fought him, lost and escaped with your life while the others died! There has to be more!” Vhas demanded. The challenge in his eyes growing more and more. Fell pretended not to notice, he was obviously avoiding him and it only made Vhas more infuriated. Fell growled suddenly and stood his full height. Standing just as tall as Vhas he walked up to him, never breaking eye contact. Vhas stiffened but held his ground. Fell was now only a few feet away now, standing almost nose to nose with Vhas. Fell did nothing.
“We did fight, the battle was long and great and Karr had grown far more stronger since the last we had seen him. Even I had trouble fighting him, my magic didn’t even have much of an effect. He subdued us in a matter of minutes. However, he spared my life and gave me a warning.” Fell said irritably. Vhas narrowed his eyes and waited for him to go on. The others were silent as their eyes were fixed on both of them. Fell continued. “He said, that the clan has long been in hiding, curses will return to the innocent. The seal must be broken, and darkness will return again. After that he told me to give up leadership of the clan to him, and if I refused he would destroy us all.” Fell explained as if it were not a problem. Vhas’s eyes widened in surprise, he tried to hide it with a scowl.
“Then we will fight. Karr of not we will not fall to the demands of anyone, we are Demari. We stand and fight!” Vhas cried in defiance. Fell stared at him and growled.
“That is not your decision to make Vhas!” He snarled losing his calm demeanor. Vhas turned to look at the other who were still silent for some kind of backup. Nadir spoke first.
“My lord, Vhas is right. We cannot simple fall to Karr’s will. This has been our home for years and you are our leader. We should stand and fight.” Nadir agreed, he glanced at Vhas then back to the others. Aria mumbled something under her breath. Fell growled and began to pace thoughtfully, ignoring Aria’s distant mumbles.
“I agree with them. is Karr is working with others then it is something to consider but if he is working it alone then we should fight. He is only one wolf.” Said Ladin. The others were still silent, their faces tightened with thought. Then Aria stood.
“My lord, with all due respect I think you should stand down,” Vhas could hardly believe it. Everyone’s head snapped towards her, their eyes burning with surprise. All accept Fell who instead of looking at her simply held still. “If he is talking about what I think he is. I think I may know what is going on. But…I could be mistaken, after all I only know a little of what he may be speaking of.” She confessed looking to the fire which lit the room. She took a breath and continued. “I prey to Dakvhas I am wrong, because if he is truly alive and seeks leadership of the only remaining clan of Demari. Then there is nothing anyone can do to stop him or anyone helping him.” She finished her voice grave and her eyes alive with fear. Vhas wondered what she was talking about but didn’t say anything. Vhas knew she spoke mostly gibberish given she was the clan shaman so he often ignored anything she had to say.
“What are you babbling on about, more of your legends and stories?” Alphonse accused scornfully. Aria glared at him and scoffed, not bothering to acknowledge his words with even the slightest response. Nadir stood and looked Alphonse in the eye challengingly; something Vhas knew all wolves hated for some reason. Vhas thought all of their species were too complicated, and their weird obsession with the moon was rather annoying to Vhas. He shook the thoughts away and looked back at Aria who was staring off into space deep in thought. Apparently same as Fell who still stood still.
“Aria, do you care to share with us what you think you may know?” Fell asked softly, although his body language said he was still irritated. Aria noticed but stayed silent for a moment, looking around the room as if searching for something. Vhas wasn’t really interested in what she had to say if it was nothing meaningful. Fell looked up and eyed everyone in the room.
“I have come to a decision,” Fell announced stepping back to the middle of the room. Everyone’s eyes were now on him, all except for Aria. Vhas’s eyes narrowed for a moment as Fell continued. “Vhas, you are my second in command. And you are my most trusted adviser, and I trust you with my life completely.” Vhas could feel the eyes on him. “However, Karr is now an enemy with far more power then we could comprehend. And so I have decided to relocate the clan.” The others stood to their feet.
“But you can’t! This is our home, we were all born and raised here as were our children, and our soon to be grandchildren. We cannot abandon something that has belonged to us for generations! What would your father say about this!” Alphonse shouted, followed by Ladin. Vhas could see Fell grimace at the mention of his father.
“He is right, we should fight for out honor, for out home. The weak will look after the younglings!” Ladin cried. Nadir and Aria simply nodded, not going against their leaders orders. They were good soldiers. Vhas saw Fells expression darken at the mention of children. As if there was an ach in his heart. Vhas ignored it and spoke. “So…that’s it then? You’re just going to run away? Like a coward?” Fells turned his head to Vhas and gave a weak smile. It made Vhas cringe.
“Yes Vhas. I am running always, as king it is my soul duty to protect my people. My pack, my clan. My decision is final. I may seem like a coward now, but in the end. You will thank me for this.” The others were in shock, Vhas looked away disgusted, disappointed, and angry. Although he looked calm on the outside, Vhas was furious on the inside. The others were as well only they made their anger obvious. Fell stood and walked to the curtain. “This meeting is over, dismissed.” Alphonse was the first to leave, his face was tight with fury and he left nearly knocking Fell over. How disrespectful! Vhas thought as he witnessed the movement. Vhas understood the reason of why he had acted so rashly, after all Vhas was still held to his emotions of anger just as much as Alphonse but he saw no reason to behave so rudely. He expected fell to attack him, Vhas twitched with anticipation for a moment. But Fell simply watched Alphonse walk away. Aria stood up and left next in somewhat of a hurry. She did not come into contact with Fell, she simply floated past him and out of the cave as graceful as a butterfly. Ladin was next to leave. He walked out slowly, his eyes on the ground and his expression puzzled. As if he were trying to comprehend what had just happened. Nadir went to go as well but as he approached the exit Fell stopped him.
“Not you, I need to have a word with you if it’s not too much to ask.” Fell asked with authority in his tone, as if Nadir even had a choice. Vhas took that as his queue to leave. Standing to his feet Vhas slipped out of the room masking his anger from his leader and walked out of the cave. When he left he could see a pair of green eyes glaring at him from across the clearing. It was Alphonse, staring at Vhas as if he were prey. A roar echoed in his chest as he stood there getting only more irritated.
“What happened? When everyone left no one seemed to be happy.” A familiar voice sounded beside him. Vhas turned around to see Morgana sitting next to him licking her paw, her purple eyes intently on his. Vhas blinked and inhaled deeply. His eyes narrowed.
“What happened to your scent?” he asked avoiding her question when he realized she didn’t have any particular scent. Morgana gave a sly smile that Vhas always found kind of mistrusting.
“My, my Vhas it looks like your sense of smell has went from that of a lion to a wolf. I think I’m beginning to rub off on you.” She teased as she stretched out her sleek frame. Vhas sighed. “I was helping Lari with herbs and I fell in some kind of plant that masked my scent. It should ware off soon.” she explained coolly, Vhas nodded in understandingly. “Anyways, back to my original statement, how did the meeting go? I could hear your roar all the way from the healers den!” she pressed on. Vhas looked at her and shook his head.
“Fell was ambushed during his mission to the Ulair kingdom. He was told to step down as leader of face the wrath of death.” Morganas eyes went wide. But before she could say anything Vhas finished with “Fell announced that we are ‘relocating’ the clan. Vhas tried to say with dignity. It didn’t work.
“So in other words were running with our tails between our legs?” Morgana said coolly. Vhas nodded and looked back into the cave.
“We told him we should stay and fight but he didn’t listen. I think he has gotten soft.” Vhas said defying. Morgana scoffed at this and looked around.
“I can’t believe this. This is our home, we cannot abandon it. I used to respect and look up to Fell, but this? This is unforgivable.” Morgana said, speaking to no one in particular. Vhas saw Nadir walking out of the cave and smiled briefly at him. Nadir approached slowly and came to a stop when he was close to Vhas. Nadir gave a look at Morgana and back at Vhas. Vhas knew what he meant.
“Morgana, go help with the preparations.” Vhas orders sternly so there was no backtalk. Morgana nodded and dipped her head to Nadir, then stalked off. Nadir nodded in thanks.
Nadir spoke first. “Vhas, fell wants us to patrol the borders until the clan is ready to move out. He…said he had a destination in mind he also--.” Vhas shook his head in the middle of his sentence.
“This isn’t right and you know it Nadir. We should not be running from a fight. It’s not natural for our kind.” “Vhas interrupted irritably. Vhas was growing tense knowing that Karr was lurking somewhere out there. And somehow Vhas felt eyes on him. Nadir ignored Vhas’s rudeness and continued.
“Vhas, I know you’re angry, I am too but Fell had led us well for many years. He had always done what was best for the clan regardless of his own personal feelings and interest, but we are not to put our kind in danger. Fell knows that, and you should too.” Nadir lectured. Nadir shook his head disappointed and left without a word. Going over to the cubs den, mewing and small yelps sounded as he walked into the den. Vhas felt suddenly guilty. Weather he liked it or not Nadir was right, they couldn’t endanger the clan. Vhas looked across the clearing, analyzing the clan. Many of them were lazing about, talking and sharing meals while the younger pups played and scurried about in the dirt. Vhas gave a thoughtful sigh and walked off back to the entrance. Vhas needed to clear his head, he had a lot to think about and he still couldn’t grasp one concept. How was Karr still alive? And with that thought in mind, he left the clan headquarters.
The sun was high now and the raze of the sun dappled the forest floor brilliantly with the colors of autumn. The magnificent reds and oranges all danced through the forest. A cold gust of wind blew from the east, ruffling Vhas’s fur. His black silhouette easily spotted in the mirage of bright colors all around him. Vhas was thinking, think about the meeting, things about Fells submission. And thinking about Karr. He was still trying to figure out how Karr could have still been alive. Karr was Vhas’s childhood friend. They played together, laughed together—fought together! Karr had died in an assassination assignment, the Lavyith kingdom had been causing a lot of trouble for Fell and the clan and Vhas was ordered to kill one of their head council members. A fox named Odin if memory served him correctly. Vhas was given the job but Karr insisted to go along and provide backup. Because it was to be a high profile mission there were no arguments and Karr was given Fells approval.
Vhas was told Odin was a politic who believed all Demari and such were nothing but a plague to the balance and needed to be terminated. He went around to several kingdoms and tribes and preached to them about all the unholy thing things their clan was capable of. And soon he began conducting genocide of the entire Demari population. And they were closing in on their clan, so as a result Vhas was ordered to find and kill Odin, and send a message to their precious kingdom. Vhas remembered when they arrived that their seemed to be a public announcement in order. Odin and the other members of the council as well as the king and queen themselves were present, which made the mission that much more dangerous. There were guards everywhere and the fortress was heavily secure.
Vhas had made a carefully thought out plan that would separate Odin from the other council members. Karr however didn’t agree with the plan. Vhas recalled him saying something about a ‘front on assault’ on all of them. Vhas and he argued about what to do like pathetic children deciding what game to play on a hot summer day. As the disagreement reached its breaking point Karr simply got fed up and left, going at it alone. Vhas tried to stop him but it was too late. Karr had already rushed in blindly and was quickly taken down by their elite guard. Vhas was forced to flee and watch his best friend die. He lost two things that day. His friend, and his heart.
Vhas looked to the sky and sighed. Vhas wondered if Karr was angry with him, and that was the reason for all of this. It made sense after all didn’t it? The last thing Vhas had ever said to his friend was ‘Your stupid if you think your strong enough for a bold move like that!’ Vhas pondered on the notion for a long moment. But it still didn’t add up. Vhas saw the guards break Karr’s neck. There was no way he could still be alive, unless he was placed under some kind of curse or spell which was unlikely unless it was a resurrection spell. Vhas gave up on the whole thought and continued walking through the forest. The bright colors almost blinding to the his sensitive silver eyes. He was after all used to sticking to the shadow even though the sun did feel good on large frame.
“There must be something I can do.” He whispered to himself confused. Suddenly, there was a sudden chill as the wind blew hard. Shaking the leaves from their branches high above. The brilliant collared swirling all around him in some kind of formation. Reds and oranges, yellows and browns seemed to cloud his vision. And not a moment later Vhas felt his blood run cold within his veins. Vhas found it hard to breath and he couldn’t move. He slowly began to tremble as the leaves fell to the ground all at once. Suddenly, there was a voice.
“Well, there are many things you can do. If you’re willing to commit!” the voice echoed through the trees. Vhas snapped himself out of his trance-like state and swung his head around. But there was no one there. He whipped back around only to still see no one, just like when he met the tiger Dante.
“Show yourself, I’m in no mood for games!” Vhas roared demandingly. A slow and sadistic chuckle sounded through the trees again. Sending a chill down Vhas’s spine. His eyes narrowed as he searched the trees, the voice was coming from all around him and it was almost impossible to pinpoint the source.
“But I like to play games, life’s a game. You have to win it.” The voice said teasingly. Vhas was getting a little intimidated by this unknown Lira’s method. Lira being the word for all canines and felines as well as prey. Vhas took a step back and growled. The voice spoke again. “Calm down Vhas, I’m not a threat at least so long as you aren’t.” Vhas’s eyes narrowed as he regained his posture.
“How do you know who I am, Who are you stranger?” Vhas demanded. Vhas realized he was indeed a high ranking member of the clan and most Lira knew of him but he decided to ask anyway. The mysterious stranger spoke once again.
“Oh it’s always the same questions. ‘Who are you? What do you want? Why are you doing this? Where are you? How do you know this and that. I grow tired of always being asked all these stupid questions. I think that you should assume I have more information than you at all times.” The voice said coolly and nonchalantly. Vhas growled at his calmness. And strangely enough he felt silly asking anything else seeing as he had clearly listed them before he had a chance. Vhas remained silent for a moment, thinking of what to say.
“Then…what can I help you with.” Vhas muttered. Not sure it was the best thing to say or if he really wanted to know. The Lira began to laugh again.
“Now that is original, I like that response.” He replied jokingly. Vhas was getting annoyed. “But to the contrary, I was looking to help you.” The voice replied, his tone soft and deceiving. Vhas didn’t trust it.
“Help me?” Vhas replied suspiciously. Help him with what? Vhas wondered if this had anything to do with Karr. He growled at the thought.
“Yes, I hear that your clan has been having…minor difficulties and that your leader is planning on relocating your clan. So you can help me help you.” The voice explained. Vhas suddenly grew a bit interested in what this stranger had to say. Vhas thought for a moment.
“I’m listening.” Vhas replied unable to hide his amusement. He wondered what this Lira had to offer. There was a moments silence. He wondered who he knew about the clan and such at first but then remembered what he said only moments before about having more information.
“Good, because I will only make this offer once.” The voice said. But this time it was closer, in fact it was clear. Vhas swung around to see a black silhouette standing behind him in the shadows. Vhas could see from the outline that it was a wolf. Vhas stared at him. Slowly, the shadow walked into the light, unveiling himself. Vhas watched as a large silver wolf with black markings walked closer to him. Vhas noticed he was heavy with muscle and was complete with massive paws and a strong but slender muzzle. Vhas was captivated by his eyes. They were a glittering sapphire blue. Vhas would have had to been blind not to see that the wolf was obviously attractive, any male or female would have to be blind not to see that. Vhas cleared his throat.
“What offer wolf?” Vhas asked pretended as if he were not momentarily in trance by his eyes. The wolf rolled his eyes as if he knew all along and replied coolly.
“An offer I believe that we both can benefit from. A…deal if you may.” The wolf explained, circling Vhas as if he were a fresh kill being circled by a flock of ravens. His blue eyes studying him intently. Vhas felt slightly uncomfortable.
“Go on.” Vhas said trying to avoid the wolfs eyes. A smile crept on to his maw as he paused behind him.
“I offer you, leadership of the Demari clan.” The wolf whispered in Vhas’s ear. The edge in his voice creeping through his skin as his mind began to bubble. Vhas didn’t move.
“What? How?” Vhas asked stupidly. The wolf scoffed at this and took a few steps back.
“Funny, I didn’t take you for a fool Vhas, by the death of Fell of course!” The wolf snapped. The words echoed in Vhas’s ear. Normally if Alphonse or one of the others had been told such a thing they would have jumped at the chance, but Vhas wasn’t a power hungry traitor. He was loyal to the clan and his leader. Vhas knew the right thing to do was too kill this wolf, or take him back to headquarters for punishment against the clan. But Vhas couldn’t find it in himself to do it. He found himself yearning to hear more. Vhas didn’t know what to do, or what to say. And being a general he had a way with words but now he was just stupefied.
“What are you saying?” Vhas stammered. The wolf sighed and began to pace behind him.
“Simple Vhas, I am saying that the Demari needs a new leader. A fearless overlord to lead their kind to glory once again. You and I both know that the Demari species has long been hunted and hated by the world. And your leader Fell only holds you and your clan back, weakening you. The Demari was once a great race, now look at it. Dangling at the bottom of the social system. Vhas, i promise you that in Fells death, you shall be the new ruler of the clan!” The wolf explained, his eyes growing wider and wider with each word. Vhas began to tremble. Weather he liked it or not the wolf was right. The Demari clan was once a great and powerful race, but ever sense the enlightenment era their kind had been reduced to ruin. And the more Vhas thought about it, the more he considered it. The wolf went on. “Come on Vhas—Think about it, how long has Fell kept your kind hidden. Living off the scraps or the higher kingdoms and giving in to any threat? Face it Vhas, it is time a new leader be chosen. One who is fearless and will not hesitate to jump into action. And I believe that leader…is you.” The wolf pressed on. Vhas glared at him.
“I see how I could benefit.” Vhas admitted guiltily. Now understanding what was needing to be done. But it still felt so wrong, and Vhas was still extremely iffy about trusting a complete stranger. No matter how good he was at preaching. Vhas spoke up finally. “But it isn’t right, and what do you get out of all of this, I doubt you’re going to do anything simply out of the goodness of your heart.” Vhas accused, his posture and confidence suddenly returning to him. The wolf stepped in from of Vhas and gave a wicked smile.
“Vhas I can tell you are not one to do things for your own personal interest, but I can also see you are only concerned with the wellbeing of the clan. Like a leader should. And a Powerful leader who owes me a favor is all the payment I need.” The wolf said. Vhas nodded. “Just imagine all the power, all the respect and admiration of your brothers and sisters could be yours. You could be the most strongest leader the Demari could ever have. You could strengthen them too, Fell is weak Vhas. You and I both know that. He isn’t fit to be leader, just like you’re not fit to be a general. Your entire Clan will thank you, you know this is the right thing to do.” The wolf lectured smoothly. Vhas took a long moment to think, and finally nodded in agreement. The wolf was right, his only concern was for the clan. It was his responsibility.
“Your right, it is my duty. I must assume the position; it is the least I owe my people.” Vhas agreed, felling a twinge of guilt surge through him at the moment he had said it. But whether he liked it or not Vhas found himself in a desperate position. His only interest was in the clan protection and pride. Nothing else was of his concern. But he still hesitated, how would this be done? Would he have to kill Fell? Vhas looked at the ground thinking about it.
“Magnificent. You are on your way Vhas, you’re on your way. So we have a deal?” The wolf said turning tail and walking away. Vhas took a step forward.
“yes, but Wait! What of Fell? What do you want in return?” Vhas asked franticly. The wolf paused and turned his head.
“I will take care of Fell Vhas, and as I now I require nothing. But remember…you owe me.” Suddenly there was a gust of wind and the leaves rose once again. But instead of swirling around Vhas they were hovering around the wolf. He called out. “I will be back in one moon. And by the way. My name is Angeal.” He said, followed by a chuckle. And as a single golden leaf went past Vhas’s eye, Angel was gone.
Vhas stood there, dumbfounded. Wondering if he had really just met a wolf named Angeal who just…made a deal with him. Vhas looked around confused. Inhaling the air, the wolfs scent lingers but it was as faint as the smell of prey. Vhas sighed. “What is happening to me?” He asked tiredly. Suddenly there was another voice calling from behind him.
“Sir Vhas! Thank spirits I found you!” Vhas recognized the voice. It was Morgana. Finally something that I’m sure is real. Vhas exclaimed as he turned to face her. She was running full pelt at him. Vhas stumbled backwards as she skidded just a few feet in front of him. She was panting out of breath, her eyes wild with horror. Vhas stared at her.
“Morgana what’s wrong? What has happened?” Vhas asked concerned, she was still trying to catch her breath before she announced.
“Fell is dead!”