The caves are where it all started. They allowed the first wandering wolves access to the land of Blossom Forest, and afterward housed the monster that had threatened the earliest of inhabitants. The heroes had slain it, yes, but in doing so had also closed off one of the pathways in the caverns, magic blocking one of the many exits to Blossom Forest. But over the years, the original spell has weakened and now the way is clear. What will not only crawl out of the caverns, but erupt from it? The caves now thrum with the ever growing magic wellspring as it spreads out into the land. It is from here that the first vampire of Blossom Forest was corrupted, and it is here that any subsequent vampire will be born. To traverse its paths is dangerous - there is an almost impenetrable darkness, and in that abyss lays many secrets - hidden holes one could fall through, weakened floors, and then of course there is the labyrinthe itself. No one knows what the deeper levels hold - no one has traveled them and survived to tell tales. Not even those who call this place home dares to test their luck by going in deep, deep, deeper. The magic exuding from this place has rearranged the lands - moving packs, changing the terrain. Here the cave looks the same but it is not - it is more dangerous than ever. In addition, outside the mouth of the cave the sacred stones that once stood erect in another place now stand guard. They are colored the most beautiful arrangement of jewel tones, and almost appear to be made of gems themselves, no longer the dull grey they once were. It is within them that all official fights must take place - at the Blican Orlege. Welcome to Drylic Cofa...


i n s i d i o u s

Kavik had become accustomed to having a second shadow. Well . . . perhaps “accustomed” was too strong a word. Certainly the skeleton lad had ceased flinching every time he saw a flash of crimson and ivory in the periphery of his vision; the occasional soft snap of a twig beneath the other male’s paw as he followed at a distance no longer spurred Kavik into a fit of instinctive terror, hackles shifting upward and visage crumpling into a ferocious snarl. He started to anticipate the breath of tantalizing cologne that threaded through the air when the wind changed and carried Silas’ presence invisibly closer, instead of pausing like a startled stag at the first whiff of danger. Having the Crimson Helmet lurking nearby each day, for over a moon cycle, gradually began to tame the lupine shark. Adjusting him, breath by breath, to company. Before Kavik was even aware of it, he’d lost the edge of fear that sliced him whenever he realized he wasn’t alone.

That wasn’t to say the skull-faced boy felt brave enough to approach Silas. Allowing the powerful warrior to stalk him and confronting him outright were two completely different things; Kavik might not bat an eye when he discovered another peace offering waiting for him after a long nap, but he wasn’t about to march up and say “thank you” and offer to share. The thought of engaging the blood-painted gladiator directly . . . of standing close enough to touch . . . the espresso prince shivered at the thought. Such daydreams snuck into his brain like insidious spiders, weaving lovely impossible fantasies before the monster realized they carried poison and shook them violently away, heart pounding in his breast and that awful confusing heat devouring his flesh. To linger on anything involving Silas for too long flooded the brute with madness. Without warning he would remember the solid weight of him draped over his spine, holding him still without effort, and all at once Kavik would want to run until his lungs burst or else give in to those vile, terrible urges. He’d never sought someone’s touch before. He’d never wanted it. Physical contact was agony, and with Silas it would be no different.

So why did his body crave it?

Today—as with every day, Kavik attempted to banish the thought by destroying something. He used to resort to carving wounds into himself, but Silas threatened to stop him—physically—and so Kavik was forced to stop. He turned his blind, broken fury onto branches, old carcasses, dirt, grass, anything. Claws raking at the earth’s surface until his pelt hung thick with mud. Old bones snapping between his jaws until they ached. Teeth sawing into bark until his gums bled. And always Silas watched over him, prepared to intervene if needed, a ghost cloaked in the brilliant shades of sunset and piercing eyes like venom. Like chemicals. Like a drug, one fleeting glance enough to send Kavik’s nervous system into a firing frenzy. STOP LOOKING AT ME, the young dragon wanted to roar. He wanted to turn his talons on Silas’ calm, understanding face and make him portray the hatred and ridicule he surely kept inside. For wasn’t that what Kavik inspired in others? He didn’t understand the way strangers thought, couldn’t, but he knew loathing when it glared his way. People thought Kavik was a mistake. Maybe Silas was just better at hiding this than the rest of them.

Air lurched raggedly in and out of Kavik’s lungs as he threw himself at the oak, claws shredding over its thick dry skin until it splintered to reveal yielding white flesh. And he ripped at it again, and again, finally using his fangs to pull a strip he’d torn completely off the trunk. He’d thought of Silas that morning, by accident. This time he’d been musing about the bizarre softness in the soldier’s face as he presented Kavik with yet another scrap of food. Aren’t you tired of me yet?! A wordless snarl thundered from the dark dog’s throat. He’d worked himself nearly to the point of exhaustion, but he continued his one-sided assault. I won’t say thank you. I won’t. I won’t. Why. Won’t. You. Just. LEAVE ME ALONE!!! Unholy noises howled from the lithe demon. When he finally dropped back to all fours, sides heaving haggardly and paws damp with blood and sweat, he pivoted from his inert victim with a savage growl and sprinted into the forest.

He hadn’t glimpsed Silas in a while. Usually his temper tantrums would have drawn his self-proclaimed guardian angel close. Anger—misplaced an inexplicable—drove Kavik onward. Abruptly he discovered that the path he charged down held Silas’ signature; he’d been unconsciously tracking the alabaster dragon, driven by a pure and childish rage. The helmeted fighter always stood within barking distance—why leave him alone now? THE NERVE! When he found that smug red-faced bastard Kavik was going to get right in his stupid beautiful face and—

And do nothing. As quickly as Kavik’s ire combusted, it fizzled. Hellfire portals blinked in shock at the sight that literally lay before him: Silas curled up in slumber, mostly hidden in the massive gnarled roots of several ancient close-growing trees. The boy’s heart started to gallop. When was the last time he’d actually seen Silas in this vulnerable state? Usually the older beast took watch when Kavik’s eyelids drooped; the young Czar hadn’t thought his stalker capable of sleep. As if in a trance, the dark chocolate laird crept forward until he was less than a tail-length from the white warlock. A weak whine fell thinly from his lips, afraid to wake Silas, desperate to know if he were truly dreaming. When his guardian gave no sign of stirring, Kavik—pulse a scorching thunder in his throat and trembling in dread—stretched out his neck to brush his muzzle feather-soft across the russet canvas of Silas’ hood.

.:.child of Malignant – son of Queens – lover of none- LSVK.:.


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