Kage inhaled as she woke, not moving a muscle in order to sense if anyone was with her. She was inside, that much was clear, and someone had been in the room recently, a man, but the only occupant at the moment was herself. She opened her eyes and observed everything around her silently.
Her eyes hurt from the change in them. This part of her saw differently than both the Diemer and her cat. She glanced down to see that there were bandages on some of her larger cuts. Someone had also seared the cut on her hip that she‘d gotten in her animal form, but her furs still remained on her body.
Standing, she padded to the door, placing both hands against the wood softly, she could feel the heat emanating from the other side. Guards? Was she a prisoner? A growl came unbidden from her mouth. Who dared to jail her? Kage walked to the window, ripping the covering down. She was far up, but by the looks of the stones, she would be able to climb down easily.
She felt, rather than heard someone easing the door open, and leaping into the window ledge, Kage took a fighting stance, ready to pounce if threatened.
The man who entered the room found her immediately with his eyes, as if he too could feel where she was, instead of having to look. He had dark blue eyes, cold in their intensity. They remained on her as he came into the room and shut the door softly behind himself.
"Do you remember me?" His voice was quiet, but not soft. Nothing about this warrior was soft.
Kage remained silent, watching as he came closer, but keeping out of range unless she left her perch by the window.
"You are at my keep. Do you remember my daughter? She wishes to see you." The tone of his voice suggested that he thought it was a bad idea.
"Am I prisoner here?" She asked. The words came out roughly as she had rarely used her voice.
"That depends upon your intent." His eyes didn’t leave her face, watching and waiting for something, what, she had no idea.
"Who are you?"
"I am Lord McKenna. What is your name?"
"I do not have one."
"Then by what are you called? Do not tell me nothing, I grow tired of this line of questioning."
She bared her teeth at him, allowing her incisors to lengthen. "Be careful, Lord of the castle. I will rip your throat out if need be. I am not under your dominion."
He moved quickly, gripping her wrist, but Kage was ready for it, grabbing onto his wrist as well with her other hand, then sliding her body up and flipping to land both feet in his face.
Reiyn growled, but didn’t release her. He slammed her down on the ground, his knee pressing hard against her neck. "You will cease fighting me, I am Seeker, as you are."
"You attacked me."
"I did not." He bit out. "A reprimand is not an attack."
"Let me up."
"What do they call you?"
"Soldiers do not address me." Kage was fighting the Diemer that was trying to take over. The man pinning her to the stone floor was triggering her defensive instincts, and her Diemer was the most lethal of anything inside Kage.
Reiyn watched as her mouth opened and she hissed, her eyes flooding silver.
"If you do not release me, it will win and then we are both in trouble." Kage gasped the words out, her voice filled with pain as the Diemer tore at her.
He slowly nodded, loosening his hold and standing back. "If you threaten anyone under my protection, I will kill you without hesitation. Be you ma bracha or not, it will not matter."
Kage remained on the floor until she had control over her body again. When she finally stood, she glanced at him. "I respond to Kage."
"Yet you say you are not addressed? You are so far above the soldiers you helped my daughter and sister escape from?"
Cruelty entered her eyes. "Above them? Perhaps you should speak with your daughter on that subject, as I am not under your command, and have no wish to speak with you at all."
"You are wrong, woman. I have brought you here, and if I wish it, you will remain with me. Whether against your will or not."
Kage smirked. "As you say." She would have no problem escaping, even if she had to fight him to do it. She backed to the window, her eyes not leaving his. "What is this… ‘bracha’, as you referred to me? I have never heard the term."
"Have you not?" He shrugged. "It is no concern, as of yet." He watched as she began pacing back and forth, a low growl barely discernable, rumbling from her throat. "You are a pure-blood." It was a statement, rather than a question. At the words, Kage stopped pacing and glanced at him.
"You have not heard the legend?"
"Tell me of it."
She looked out the window, watching the sky as it darkened. "It tells of a child born of both worlds. She who brings corruption to all and power to many. Wanted by none and craved by all. She will bring down the deserving." Kage shrugged. "My mother spoke of it when I was a child. I must claim that I do not remember most of the words she said to me."
Kage met his eyes. "What is wrong, Seeker? Do you believe me so powerful that I do not have a mother?" A smile twitched along her lips. "My mother was the last of her line. A pure-blood Seeker. A powerful Diemer sought to keep her a captive. She conceived his child before running back to those she called friends." The last of the words were spat out as if hatred remained behind.
"Your father is pure Diemer?"
"He was. She killed him as he slept." Kage shrugged. "Her friends turned against her as she carried me, as I am spawn of the devil. She ran from them as the word spread of what had happened. Seekers were afraid of what she carried, and Diemers wanted to capture her, to get to her child, me. My mother was hunted by both, yet she managed to remain alive, killing any she came across. I was trained from birth the ways of the Seeker, killing our enemies and hunting Diemers."
"Yet you live among the Vagran, of which half-blood Diemers are common."
"Yes, I do." She began pacing again, flexing her fingers into fists over and over again.
"Your cat bothers you." Reiyn observed, taking in the words she spoke. The child of legend, a grown woman. Of course he had heard, but that she knew who she was, yet had remained in the enemy camp, bothered him.
Kage turned and stared at him. She paused slightly, hating to give up what she saw as a weakness, but something deep inside of her was saying she needed to trust this Warlord Seeker. "Yes, she is restless. I stay mostly in that form."
"The longer you go, the easier the cat will be to control."
She quirked her head at him. "You know? Are you a shifter?"
"My father was." He avoided the question, studying her a long while before speaking again. "You did not remember where you were when you changed. Why is that?"
"The Diemer is separate from me." Kage flicked a glance out the window, where the moon shone down. "She lives differently, and we have never merged. We hate each other. I did not have the information because she refused to acknowledge me, but I would not relinquish control, and for survival, she gave in."
"Then it is your Diemer half that chose to live with the Vagran." Reiyn shifted slightly, and immediately her gaze was back on him. He walked over to the fireplace, sitting in one of the large chairs there.
Kage’s eyes followed his movements, waiting until he sat before answering the question. "You think I would choose to live among those that treat me as an animal?" She arched a brow at him. "As your daughter did not tell you, nor apparently, did your sister, let me enlighten you, Seeker. I--."
"My name is Reiyn, and I would prefer that over ‘Seeker’."
She nodded. "At age 5 I was held captive with my mother. When she died, I remained as Traylen’s pet. He brings in half breed girls and women, hoping to find a breeder. They are trained as Kreifa, and then he has his own assassins, brainwashed and willing to kill their own families for those that have held them, beating them into submission and using their talents to hurt innocent people."
"You are his pet." The words were spoken harshly as he stared at her.
"She does not like him."
"You are her."
Kage bared her teeth at him. "I do not merge with her, nor her with me. Diemer or Seeker, it does not matter, neither enjoys being held captive."
"What purpose did you serve?"
"The girl." Kage corrected. "She is not as I am."
"Okay, your Diemer. What part does she play for the Vagran?"
Kage cocked her head at him. "What makes you think he would trust such as my other half to any position at all?"
"He would be foolish not too."
"There is no give in you, yet you say you were his captive. What hold does he have over you? A warrior with as much strength as you have will not remain a dog in the enemies camp."
Kage began pacing again. "I do not know how he does it, exactly." She took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "It does not matter how, only that he can." Her light eyes locked with his. "It is as a knife would be, twisting at my mind, spreading throughout my body until it immobilizes me. And then when he wishes it, he builds the need for blood in me until I am mindless. He directs me towards whatever he needs destroyed, and I am his personal assassin."
"And you cannot kill him?"
"He stays far from me, knowing what distance he can control me, and what is impossible."
"A true warrior fights it."
"I do more good as a Vagran than hunted."
"What have you done that is good?"
A smile flirted at her lips. "Is your sister being used as a breeder? Then, as she fails, she would be trained as a killer. Your daughter… she is young… perhaps six? Seven? They care nothing of age. Life and death matters little to them, unless it is their own. They would have killed her within two risings. I have seen it done, time and again. The blood of the young prepares you for battle as nothing else can." Silver had spilled into the edges of her eyes and Kage bent over slightly, in pain from the war going on within her.
"You must merge with her if you are to survive the fight." Reiyn stood, walking towards her and stopping. "Do you hear me?"
Kage’s head snapped up and her eyes were silver. A wide smile crossed her face as she reached out a hand towards him. The Seeker had vanished, curled deep as the Diemer, the stronger of the two, wished. "I do wonder, Seeker… would you know me without my mask?" Her tongue ran along her teeth. "The woman knows not of a bracha."
Reiyn knew the Diemer had taken over. He watched her closely, waiting for any move that would be threatening. A Diemer was never to be trusted, but she was a completely different thing altogether, with Seeker blood as well. He would have killed a Diemer by now for attacking him. But she had not moved in a way that proved she wanted to kill him.
Her fingers trailed up his chest.
"You must merge with her, or the two of you will kill each other." He stated again.
Kage shrugged. "I know this, I have accepted it. It is the woman that refuses to trust me." A catlike smile curved her lips. "Odd that I recognize you as I am your bracha, but she does not."
He stood staring at her. "How can you know that?"
"I feel it. She is broken, I am not." She paused. "The woman will never acknowledge a tie to one such as you."
"You wanted me to kill you earlier."
"Yes. Had you done so, we would not be hunted right now."
"Yet you do not wish to kill me, as a Seeker?"
Kage stepped closer to him, leaning up on her toes. Her breath was warm against his neck. "Why would I want such a thing when you can share power with me? Being your Bracha… it does not only benefit you." She chuckled. "And you lied to the woman… you are a shifter… yet I cannot tell what exactly."
Reiyn said nothing, only remained still as she studied him. His instincts told him to kill her now, before she could harm any under his command.
Her tongue ran along the pulse near his neck. "I am glad you do not fear me." She spoke softly, nearly a growl.
"Why fear you when I can kill you easily?" He watched her as she pulled back and circled him, keeping one hand trailing across his chest and back as she did so.
"Fear taints the blood." She came to stand in front of him again. "You will let me go, as I must finish what the Seeker has denied me."
"Where would you go?"
"It is not something you should concern yourself with." She curved a hand around his neck, leaning against him. Her mouth was nearly touching his as she spoke. "I will keep the woman at bay for now. She will acknowledge you when I have finished my task."
Unable to resist, Reiyn kissed her. Fire shot through him and his caution vanished. She belonged to him. She had admitted it, and now he would make certain both the Seeker and Diemer acknowledge her place was beside him. She pulled back, trailing kisses to his neck where she bit down and licked the blood from the wound. "Until later, Seeker. Reach for me, have you need to."
Reiyn hadn’t stopped her when he should have. Blood ran from two small trickles down his neck. In one leap she was out the window and twisting in the air, shifting into the cat. It landed on the ground gracefully and continued at a dead run towards the gates.
Wish you were here!!!
2 weeks ago