Perhaps changed most of all out of all of the packs is this place. It was stripped out of its forested home and now instead lays at the edge of an ocean. The vast sparkling eternity of the water lays to the south of the land, while the rest of the land is made of rocky outjuttings. Gone are the trees, and all that remains for greenery are the short shrubs that dot the paths in the rock, and the moss that grows thanks to the spray of the waves. Further toward the shore, barnacles are a plenty, and look to cut the pads of those who slip on the wet surface. These extend out into the water itself, and the tough land has multiple caverns scraped into it, providing ample dens for the wolves that live there. Depending on the tide, however, the lower caverns may flood, and the vicious swirling water may prove to be dangerous as there is a strong undertide ready to pull unsuspecting swimmers to their doom. Even the tide itself is powerful enough to push intruders against one cliff or another. The ocean does provide, however, plenty of food for those who brave the waters - there are many breeds of seals and sea lions, though the males that protect each of these are vicious and territorial. There are also turtles that come ashore to breed and to lay their eggs - both the adults and the eggs themselves can provide sustenance to the wolves. But they must take care - the water is deep enough to allow sharks to come to shore from the depths below. Those unwilling to venture the waves or wet their paws with the moist sand of the shore can find snakes and hares in the rocky outcroppings, but they must beware the Komodo dragon and other monitor lizards that perch upon the shore - they are swift and move in groups, not to mention they carry venom in their bite that causes immense pain, paralysis, and prevents blood clotting. This is not the land for the weak of heart or the weak at all really. This is Uyaraut - ‘The Diamond in the Rough’.


knives in your back

. . . there is nothing you can do that I have not already done to myself . . .

Conflict had crept into Thackery’s life with the insidious subtly of a long-legged spider, piercing his skin with a sharp bite when he least expected it. The venom of inconvenience—of stress and paranoia and anger—flooded his bloodstream until he could not sleep even when the sun reached its zenith in the wide blue heavens. He could feel its rays warming the earth above his den, compelling him to rest . . . and yet the irritated vampire could only growl as he tossed and turned in his makeshift bed, talons slashing the dirt and furious eyes painting the darkness red. Dropping off Lucaya’s dead son should have been uncomplicated. Thacks had nothing to do with the idiot boy starving himself to death. Hideously bad luck had been to blame for Odin collapsing at the blonde prince’s paws, already halfway gone, whimpering about his mother back in Caidir Olc. Thackery didn’t have to drag his fat carcass back home. He didn’t have to graciously accept the help of a stranger in completing that bleeding-heart mission of compassion. But damn it—he’d marched across Blossom Forest anyway, toward the borders of a pack he had NO interest in joining, all to complete the dying wishes of a lad he didn’t even know. And for what? A run in with that filthy bastard Draven and the simpering leeches that rolled over for Lucaya whenever she barked. Sore limbs and wounded pride. And just when he’d returned to the caverns for some privacy, Thacks had stumbled upon a tiny onyx femme begging for death. Who he hadn’t killed—adding to the pile of bullshit he needed to deal with.

Normally, night would have soothed Thackery’s worries by replacing them with the electric thrill of the hunt . . . unfortunately, the once blue-eyed knight still cringed at every small snap of a branch or unexpected chirp of an insect. Moonlight bathed his golden coat with gentle silver rays, and still his hackles spiked like a cape of needles. Fangs kept retracting and sheathing, the taste of their acid venom slipping over his lolling tongue. “You fucked up, old boy,” he snarled softly to himself, quickening his pace through the woods. “You left one place just to find trouble in another. Clever thinking. Maybe I should just kill that pup tonight? That would erase one little problem . . .” His paws, normally so silent when he launched into pursuit of prey, made sloppy sounds when he padded over the forest floor. Dried leaves left over from autumn crunched beneath impatient pads; scattered roots tore under reaching claws. A few moths had started following the vampire while he traveled, drawn by the continuous glow of his hellfire irises. Thackery snapped at them with childish rage. Everything obnoxious crowded him—including stupid bugs! What was he, a magnet for fuckery?! Giving up on hunting for now, the pretty vampire boy prowled back toward Drylic Cofa with teeth bared and tail cutting the air behind him, prepared to snap at the next living thing that dared get in his way . . .

A howl calling his name. A summons, wavering with notes of genuine desperation. Thackery entered the clearing just outside Drylic Cofa right as the stranger finished his keening song, looking like a gargoyle carved from stone. Thackery knew at once this was no vampire: the soldier’s eyes did not glow with that telltale crimson flare, and he could detect the other brute’s feverishly anxious scent like steam from a hot meal. Thacks licked his jowls greedily, tilting his head like a curious bird from the deepest parts of midnight’s shadows. “I don’t know who you are,” he called out conversationally, hoping to draw the male’s attention toward where he stood. The image this gladiator would find would be a pair of lurid irises smoldering out from the woods, the handsome edges of Thackery’s face etched in stark relief while the rest of his body remained submerged in darkness. “Did I consume one of your loved ones, perhaps? Is that why you traveled all the way here to cry my name like some forlorn bitch in heat?”

That obviously wasn’t the case—if it had been, Thacks was sure this hessian would already be lunging at his throat, screaming pointless words of vengeance. No . . . something else was wrong. The stony man appeared to need help. But why the hell would he ask THACKERY? Cautiously, the blonde monster shuffled from his hiding place, gradually allowing the moon to spill over his spine and reveal his full form to the stranger. He lifted his elegant muzzle to snuff at the air, drawing in all the sensory information he could from the large fighter. The fresh salt air of the ocean. Wet stone. A female . . . blood. So much blood. Pups. New life. Death. Thackery’s lips drew back from glimmering knives as if he’d smelled something disgusting, ears pinning flat against his skull. “You . . . you smell like . . .” The toffee-hued beast recognized that perfume—the feminine one clinging to the brute’s robes like a lover. Perhaps his ACTUAL lover . . . or mate? The individual scent of pups and the stink of birth was also mixed into the stormcloud soldier’s attire, as if he’d recently run from a birthing den. Oh. Shit. Pieces fell instantly into place and Thacks let out a bitter, barking laugh, backing away from the male. “I’ve forgotten the harlot’s name, but I think I know where that scent comes from. Your mate in trouble, pal? That’s a shame. Can’t figure out what the fuck that’s got to with me, though. It’s like you want me to pay back a debt or something. But that can’t be it . . . because we don’t know each other.”

Instinct demanded Thackery turn tail and run before he pissed off the brute so badly he tried to attack. The bloodsucker could feel the desire to escape like a physical leash yanking harshly at his neck. So why did he stand his ground? Why did he find himself relenting, grudgingly, pulled harder by the curiosity that familiar perfume sparked to life? I know her. From where? From when? And how does this jerk know to come for ME?

“Better run fast, friend.”

Thackery shot the stranger a wicked wink—and bolted forward, passing close enough to the thundercloud male to stir the hairs of his robes. He did not require the other knight to show him the way: Thacks breathed in the sour tang left behind by the man’s travel, that stench of a dying fae and her squirming pups and the cool breath of the sea. Soon the vampire had to pause—skidding to a halt as if hitting an invisible wall—because he had finally reached the border of a pack. Glimmering carmine eyes narrowed mockingly at the stranger, waiting for an invitation, before darting like a sunlit arrow into a land of stone and waving grasses. His fangs retracted fully, sparkling bright. His unusually slow heart rate throbbed faster, his bloodlust gaining force. When Thackery at last reached the whelping den, he dove inside with a low snarl, wearing a feral smile that seemed to split his face in half. The picture that met him was an exhausted obsidian wolfess, curled around a brood of pups still somewhat slick with the blood that drenched the packed earth. Thackery licked his jaws, chuckling darkly. “I hope your mate knew what he was doing when he invited me in.”

And with that—he threw himself at her, paws slamming into her shoulder to hold her down while his teeth fastened into the side of her neck.

. . I never wanted to dance with anybody but you .
. .

⦃ Without a Home – Heartless – No Legacy – Spawn of Draven – xathira ⦄


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