The Last Ones
New York is a busy city with plenty of dark corners, and even darker secrets. Working the shadiest clubhouses, and running the most cunning mobs, or just simply trying to survive in the least civilized parts of the city's underground are the world's most intriguing beings. They are creatures of myths, lore, and legends, thought nonexistent or long ago extinct. But just as their survival is the greatest secret ever kept, so too is their fight to stay alive. A group of hunters seeks them out in hushed tones and shadowed movements, highly trained to track, capture, or kill the Last Ones.
A Private RP Between [The Black Cat in Your Path] and [shadowfire09].
Nate normally enjoyed the chase part of the hunt, but tonight he was far too hungry. Within ten minutes of leaving Nelson, the vampire had found and drank his fill. With his ever present hunger satiated for the moment, Nate was able to think clearer about the situation. "I need to find that mutt and get some clarification"
He decided. The rain muddied the scents of the city, but Nate was able to catch the stench of the werewolf. "Hasn't the dog ever heard of bathing before?" He muttered to himself as he began tracking.
Locke's head was pounding. He'd tracked Nelson and Freya as far as he could after they'd left the compound, but when the rain started, he lost all scent of them. Not even Nelson's decaying stench stood out anymore. He'd gone on a rampage, scaring people and causing car accidents. Now he was hiding out in a large water drainage tunnel that ran off into the ocean, and holding his head in both his clawed hands. He couldn't change back. For some reason, he was still in his wolf form, even though he wanted to change back to his human self. He just couldn't. Something was barring him. He snarled and banged his head against the cinder wall, rubbing his head against it.
The scent of the werewolf brought Nate to a deserted beach. The sand was littered with waste, and Nate felt disgusting walking amongst it, even though his shirt was covered with the remnants of his latest meal. Locke's scent was everywhere along the beach, as though the wolf had been running aimlessly along it, and Nate could no longer pinpoint the trail. He attempted to search for prints, but the rain pelting the sand made that futile. Sarcastically, Nate let out a whistle and called "Here boy!"
Hearing Nate's sarcastic beckoning made Locke's rage return. That vampire... He erupted from the drainage pipe and onto the sand with a thunderous roar. Luckily, the rain left the beach abandoned by people, and the nearest highway was too far for them to be seen or heard. He grated his claws against a rock and glared at Nate with bright blue eyes. Very slowly, and lost in a rumbling snarl, was the word, "Traaaaaitoooorrr...." He bared a maw full of sharp teeth and lunged at Nate, kicking up sand as he ran after the vampire. It was like he had tunnel vision, and Nate was the bullseye.
Nate spun and broke into a sprint, yelling behind himself as he ran "Must we always play this game wolf?" Thankfully the fresh blood in his system allowed Nate to be twice as strong as usual, and he felt as though he could run for hours. The vampire laughed to himself, enjoying the chase,"If you act like a good dog I will take you to Freya." he yelled again, keeping well ahead of the wolf. It struck the vampire as odd that Locke was still in wolf form, but he shrugged off the thought as he ran, attempting to tire out the beast.
Locke did not relent. He chased Nate full-tilt, with no regard for obstacles like trash cans or benches. Everything he came upon was crushed beneath him. He snarled loudly, gnashing his teeth and swiping at Nate if he felt close enough. Nates goading about Freya only made him angrier.
"What is going on with you Wolf? Get a hold of yourself!" Nate called back at the beast. "I'm trying to bring you both together!" The vampire realized quickly that Locke's rage wouldn't allow him to tire and so he stopped running. He faced the beast and planted his feet firmly. "This isn't going to be fun." Nate thought to himself as he waited for Locke to attack.
Locke was a bit confused as to why Nate was no longer running, but it didn't stop him from taking advantage of the situation. He tackled Nate with the force of an SUV going eighty miles an hour. They rolled and tumbled through the sand on the beach and onto the concrete of the sidewalk before coming to a stop, both of their clothes shredded and their skin broken from the force. He pinned Nate and roared down into his face, foaming at the mouth. His eyes were cloudy, the usual sharp azure faded like he was in a trance.
Nate winced at the roar, ignoring the pain from his body. He was sure the force from Locke's tackle had broken at least a few bones and the wolf pinning him down was preventing them from healing. With all the bravado he could muster, Nate sneered, "Is this any way to treat the man who is trying to reunite you with your love?"
He could hear Nate's words... he could also smell his fear. As cool as Nate was trying to play it, he was terrified. Somewhere inside Locke's head, he thought of Freya, and he knew she wouldn't like him if she saw him like this... Nate wanted to take him to her... He knew where she was? Of course he did, he was a traitor! He snarled again louder, his jaws dangerously close to snapping off Nate's pretty-boy face. He wanted to so badly, and something inside of Locke was urging him to... like it wanted him to make that mistake. He was being controlled. He heard Zephyr's laughter in his head and suddenly pulled away from Nate, shaking his head with a painful whine and clutching at his massive skull. He wanted to change back, but he couldn't, and it was painful.
As soon as the wolf was off of his body, Nate's bones snapped back into place with a loud pop. He stood, watching Locke in obvious pain. "Alright, wolf time is over." Nate waited, but when all Locke did was whine he realized something was wrong. The vampire searched quickly and picked up a heavy piece of debris. "I've always wanted to do this." He swung the debris as hard as he could into the back of the beast's head, and watched as it crumpled into a heap on the sand. "Not exactly what I had in mind, but I suppose this will work," Nate chuckled to himself before swinging the unconscious body over his shoulder and heading home.
Locke groaned heavily as he started to come to. Being knocked unconscious had really been the best thing for him. It had allowed Locke to shake Zephyr's control on his mind, and the longer he was out cold, the more his body reverted back to its human appearance. By the time Nate got Locke back to the warehouse where Freya and Nelson were, he was completely human. He groaned and opened his eyes, blinking up at the ceiling and watching it spin for a moment. Then suddenly, the familiar zombie was in his field of vision.
"Hey, he's coming around!" Nelson said, his voice garbled in Locke's ears for a moment. "I was worried Nate had hit you too hard.." He gave Locke a sheepish smile. "Hey, uh... no hard feelings about helping Freya escape, right..?"
Locke slowly pulled himself up to sit with a groan, rubbing the back of his head where blood had crusted over. "Yeah... no hard feelings." he grumbled and heard Nelson give a relieved sigh.
Nate had been standing in the corner waiting for Locke to wake up. "Did you have a nice nap?" He jeered. Nate was still nursing a little bit of a bruised ego. The wolf hadn't gotten the best of him like that in a long time. "You owe me an apology"
"Ugh... for what?" Locke asked, giving Nate a confused glower. He sat up on the blood-caked sofa and looked around. There was a fire, and a table, and some chains, but the warehouse was otherwise empty. He couldn't see Freya. "Where's Freya?" He looked at Nelson, who clamped his lips shut and looked at Nate.
"Attempting to dislodge my head from my shoulders by way of your jaws" Nate replied, "you were a very bad dog." When it was apparent that his joke wasn't appreciated, Nate rolled his eyes at his companions. "She's upstairs, trying to sort out fact from fiction. I think it's best we figure out why you decided to make me into a chew toy tonight. I've been tormenting you for years and you've never lost control. Perhaps it's rabies?"
Locke stood up and took a moment to get his bearings. He realized then that he was nude and wrapped in a torn tarp. "Uh, spare clothes..?"
"Comin' right up, chief." Nelson said and handed him a folded pair of clothes from the table. "Courtesy of one of Nate's more recent run-ins."
Locke thanked him quietly and turned his back to them as he dropped the tarp and started to dress. While he pulled on the clothes, he thought about Nate's question. "It wasn't me... I mean, it was, but it wasn't me in my head. I didn't change willingly. And once I changed, I couldn't change back. I just... It was like I wasn't in control."
Nate narrowed his eyes at the wolf, but was silent for once. He stared at Locke for an awkward amount of time, trying to decide how best to continue. The vampire moved toward the werewolf and knelt in front of him, staring Locke directly in the eyes. "I am asking you in one hundred percent seriousness, had you been drinking or anything like that recently?"
"What..? No, I-" he stopped. Thinking back to when Freya was at the compound and before he'd really lost control. His brows furrowed. "Yes... I had a few drinks... but alcohol doesn't usually affect me. I metabolize it too fast for it to get me drunk unless I drink an entire barrel." he shrugged.
Nelson gave a small, ominous, "Oooh... do you think someone put something in his drink..? Like we have a mole in the compound?" he asked lowly, looking between Nate and Locke. "Or maybe Zephyr was able to get into his head easier because he was drunk?"
Nate rolled his eyes at Nelson's comments, but otherwise ignored them. Instead he sharply slapped Locke upside the head. "Idiot."
Locke winced at the slap, and like a switch went off, he snarled at Nate and his hand snagged his throat, squeezing slightly. His eyes were bright blue now, and he looked on the verge of changing again. "I'm not in the mood to be smacked around by a leech." he growled in warning and shoved Nate away. He kept himself in check though, and with a deep breath, reeled himself in. "I have to see Freya. I have to explain"
"And I need to make sure you will not kill my queen." Nate's voice was calm, yet commanding. "Let's not forget who's territory we are in. i am being respectful of you, and I expect that you do the same." He paused to control his temper. When he finally cooled down the room was silent, but tense. "Change. Now." Nate commanded.
Locke looked at Nate like he was insane. "Change? Why?" he asked. Honestly he was scared. If he changed now, and lost control to Zephyr again, he couldn't guarantee that he would change back or regain control.
"Because the last time you and Freya were in the same room your other half tried to kill her. I need to know that you can control it." Nate slapped him again, this time using all of his strength against the freshly wounded spot on Locke's skull. "Nelson. You might want to leave."
Locke let out a pained snarl at Nate's second slap, shaking his head and breathing, trying to control himself. He knew what Nate was trying to do, but it was a struggle right now. Nelson stood up and backed away as Nate had suggested, not too keen on becoming a chew toy. But while Locke's eyes brightened to their beastly shade, he didn't change. He looked down at his hands and frowned seriously. "I can't... I can't change." he said, sounding dumbfounded.
Nate raised his eyebrows, "well. That's interesting. Shall I hit you again just in case? I'm quite enjoying it." He smirked, but it was quickly erased when he saw the look on Locke's face. "My friend, we will fix it. Fae poison wears off eventually." He placed a hand into Locke's shoulder. "I'm not quite sure it's safe for you to see the queen."
Locke shook his head and pushed Nate's hand off his shoulder. "I'm going to see her, Nate." he said again sternly. "I have to. I have to explain to her that it wasn't me she was speaking to."
"Locke... buddy, Freya is still kinda lost herself. Whatever spell Zephyr had her under that made her think you attacked her only just recently wore off, and she's really confused. I'm not so sure she'll take too kindly to you right now. But... Nate or I can go in there and try talking to her..?" Nelson suggested, glancing at Nate with a shrug.
Nate shrugged. "Unless you've decided to eat her brain I doubt that you're much of a threat. Do what you want," he sat back down in the armchair, watching Locke. "I'll keep an eye on this one until he's housebroken."
Locke gave Nate an incredulous pout, and Nelson nodded. He turned and headed to Freya's room, and knocked loudly but gently, before calling, "Freya..? It's Nelson... can I have a minute?"
Without moving from her spot on the bed, Freya used magic to open the door. "I know he's here. I'm just not ready to see him yet." She was curled up on her side, facing away from Nelson. "You three aren't really that subtle"
Nelson shuffled into the room and closed the door gently, giving her a soft frown. "We weren't trying to hide him from you..." he said gently, moving towards the bed. He sat on the end towards her feet and watched her. "He wants to see you, to apologize for how he acted earlier... he says he wasn't in control though... he thinks someone spiked his drink."
"Oh. I don't care about that, when we were kids he could never control his wolf form. Big deal. What I care about is how much everything has changed." She rolled over to look at Nelson. "When did everything get so confusing?"
"Well, for me it was when I woke up as a zombie with my leg across the room..." he shrugged. He gave her a small smile and scooted a bit closer. "I think maybe for you, it happened when you became queen and realized there was a war going on that none of us even knew about... I mean... now you gotta be careful about who your friends are, and who your enemies are, and every step you take is being watched and judged... There's a lot on your shoulders. Having a boyfriend with anger issues is just another thing, ya know?"
Freya smirked at Nelson's last comment. "Ha. Which one are you talking about here?" She ran a hand absentmindedly through her red locks. "We should just hurry up and end this war so my life can go back to some sort of normal."
Nelson gave her a reassuring smile and reached out to lightly pat her ankle, watching her. "So... which one..?" he asked, tilting her head. When she looked at him in confusion, he elaborated with, "Which one do you choose..? Locke or Zephyr?"
Freya raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips at the zombie. "Why do I have to choose right now? I have no idea who's lying to me and who's not." She stood and began to pace "I shouldnt have to choose at all if I don't want to. I mean, I'm Freya the last. Freya the only! It's about time people remembered that." She stomped her foot proudly. "I'm in charge. No more being the victim. No more following rules that I didn't set. My life. My kingdom. My way." The fae queen gave Nelson a triumphant look. She felt more like herself than she had in years....or what she thought was years. She shot a sheepish grin at Nelson, "Sorry. I know it was just a simple question. Think those two have killed each other yet?"
"Not yet... I didn't hear any shouting or destruction, and we both know that they love each other far too much to kill each other quietly." Nelson said playfully and smiled at her, standing up from the bed. He admired her independence and will to be alone. But he personally missed Emily. "Just remember, Freya, that just because you're Freya the Last, or even Freya the Only... it doesn't mean you have to be alone..." He smiled at her sincerely, then motioned to the door. "Do you wanna see your knight in shining armor? Er... fur?"
Freya hesitated. "Yes. But give me a moment." She went to face a full length mirror propped against the wall, "I don't know why he has so many of these. It's not like he has a reflection." She remarked as she examined her appearance. Her dress was torn and stained, her shoes muddy and her hair a tangled mess. "I can't let Locke see me like this," Freya explained to Nelson as she used magic to restore her look back to its former glory. After ensuring she looked as perfect as she possibly could, Freya turned back to Nelson. "That's better. Don't you think?" Freya didn't wait for a response before heading back towards the door. "Let's do this."
"So you do care," Nelson teased as he followed her. He chuckled at her expression, then as the door was opened, he allowed her to step out first.
Locke looked up from where he was sitting in front of the fire, and when he saw that Freya was actually coming out with Nelson, he quickly stood to face her. "Freya.." he said, wanting to go to her, but stopping himself. He didn't want to scare her into thinking he'd attack her again. "Freya, I'm- I'm so sorry.."
Freya rose an eyebrow at the werewolf. "You really should be. You promised me you'd teach me to cook and never went through with it." She grinned at the confused expressions of her companions.
Nate spoke first, "So...you've decided that the mutt isn't out to kill you now?" He shook his dreadlocked hair in confusion. "And unfortunatly I doubt your little makeover is for me." The vampire looked her up and down, and nodded appreciatively. "It's good to see this Freya back. The other one was so boring."
Freya blushed, "it's not a makeover Nate, I just cleaned myself up a bit. Quit drooling." She looked back at Locke, and began to explain. "And no. I don't think anyone in this room is trying to harm anyone. Somebody got into my head and really messed me up. I mean, the fact that Nelson hasn't conpletely decomposed and still looks like a bad Halloween makeup proves to me that years haven't passed yet...even if it still feels like it." She shook her head, as if to get the false memories out of her brain. "That kind of thing takes serious magic...which none of you have. So, I know who I can trust."
Locke visibly deflated in relief, and he moved towards her. He scooped her up into a tight hug and nuzzled her. "I missed you," he whispered honestly.
Nelson fidgeted nervously a moment as he watched Locke and Freya embrace, then he cleared his throat. "This reunion is nice and all.. but Emily is still with Zephyr, probably being tortured. Can we talk about how we're gonna fix that?"
Nate noted a small bit of awkwardness coming from Freya when Locke hugged her, but made no mention of it. "Well, I think our first plan of action should be to reunite with our aquatically inclined friends."
Freya nodded, all too aware of Locke's gaze on her. "Um..Yeah. If I'm even welcome in the base...technically I am the leader of the bad guys." She paused for a moment, and spoke directly to Nelson, "How long have we been out of my kingdom? I don't really trust time right now."
"At least a couple of days. Everything's been kind of a blur..." Nelson frowned, rubbing his forehead. A chunk of flesh came off near his hairline and he examined it in his fingers. "Ow?"
Locke grimaced a little. "The leech has a point... we should get back to the compound and reconvene with Mel and Shea about what to do next. But I don't think a rescue mission for Emily is imminent, Nelson..."
"What?? Why not?! She's our friend! She's Freya's friend! She risked everything to be there for her, and we're just gonna leave her there??"
"She's the only ally we have behind enemy lines, Nelson... it would risk too many more lives to get her out." Locke told him firmly.
Nelson gaped at the werewolf in disbelief. "I can't believe you. You were ready and willing to send in every bit of manpower to save your girlfriend a day ago, but now we're just gonna back off of ANY risk or hope of saving Emily? Why? Because she's human? Because she's weak, like me?"
"It's not about that, Nelson," Locke said, shaking his head.
"No, fuck you guys. Emily volunteered to be sent in there for Freya, and she's done nothing but care for us all since she joined this cause. She's a better and stronger person than any of you, and I'm not leaving her there, even if I have to go get her by myself!" This was probably the first time Nelson had ever showed real anger or hurt. He didn't wait for anyone to stop him as he headed out of the room and down the short stairs to get outside.
Nate rolled his eyes, "Well, let's go fetch the corpse" and motioned for the others to follow him. Nelson hadn't gotten very far, and Nate used his vampire speed to catch up easily. "Just what, pray tell, are you going to do about rescuing Miss Emily? You're falling apart, you have no way to get to the fae world, and no way to defeat Zephyr even if you did get there." He stood in front of Nelson effectively blocking his path.
Freya had caught up as well, and placed a hand gingerly on the zombie's shoulder. "It's not that we don't want to help her Nelson...its just that... we... we can't do it alone. We need the other's help."
Nate nodded, "She's also human...they don't tend to survive very long in Freya's world. She has probably already grown boring to Zephyr and he's killed her. It's unfortunate, Miss Emily was a fine example of the human race," Nate licked his lips thinking about her, "but it's what happens. A casualty of war if you will. Now, the best plan of action is to reunite with the others. You don't have a choice."
"How can you say that?" Nelson asked Nate incredulously. "How can you say she's already dead like she means nothing?" He glared at Freya and Locke and shrugged Freya's hand off of his shoulder, pushing his way past them all. "I don't care what you guys say... I know she's not important to you. Every time I bring her up, you guys change the topic. Well, whatever, but I love Emily and I'm gonna get her back, and she'll know who her real friends are." he growled, continuing on and grumbling to himself. "I'll figure it out... I'll do it myself."
Locke sighed heavily through his nose as he watched Nelson walk away, then looked at Freya and Nate. "What if she's not dead?" he asked Nate seriously. "You were there when she arrived, were you not? You must have seen her..."
Nate ignored Locke's question, offended by Nelson's outburst. "Humans are incredibly fragile. They die. It's a fact of life. You are aware that you are a zombie right? You and eat humans. They are food regardless of how pretty they look. The sooner you comprehend that the sooner we can actually accomplish something with this god forsaken war. People die in war you idiot. Get over it. Stop directing your anger at your friends and perhaps start focusing on avenging the poor girl. Oh. That's right. You have more friends on Zephyr's side. You were one of the few who hunted us down remember? Your friends are probably the ones who helped kidnap and torture the poor girl. You were in the group that attempted to kill the girls at that club. Emily is only involved with this world because you and your idiotic hunter pals couldn't differentiate between a human and the fucking queen of the fae. If anything its your fault she's dead. The only reason you are even here right now, on our side is because I decided to make a meal of you instead of leaving you in that office to rot. So don't you dare look at us like we are in the wrong here!" Nate's eyes were red, and his voice grew louder with every word until he was finally shouting. He flashed his fangs menacingly at the zombie, having lost patience with his accusations.
This time, Nelson's stare at the vampire was full of shock. He stood absolutely still and shook his head. Locke sighed deeply and stepped up to Nate, growling at him. "He doesn't remember anything from being human, Nate, you know that. Why would you tell him those things? Both of you are being ridiculous, and you're doing nothing but dividing our cause." he snapped at them both.
Nelson stared at the ground sadly now, his hands at his sides. This was all his fault? Emily's involvement was all his fault? He felt sick. And now she was probably dead, and he did nothing to help. "Kill me... please... someone just kill me."
"Sounds like a plan to me." Nate said, snapping Nelson's neck as he spoke. The zombie crumpled to the ground and Nate heaved it up over his shoulder. "Well. Let's get going." His voice had regained it's calmness, and he sauntered forward.
Freya looked uneasily at Locke as she began to walk as well. "Well. That was intense."
Locke tried not to seem angry. Nate had no tact. He nodded at Freya's comment and whispered, "Don't worry, it didn't kill him. He'll be awake in a few hours." he grumbled. "Nate could have handled it better, though." he said, not bothering to keep his voice down. "We all could have. He was right though... what if Emily is still alive? What could we do to save her?"
The room was dark and cold, and quiet, save for the occasional sniffle of pain and whimper of hopelessness. Emily's wrists hurt. She was currently suspended by her arms in the middle of the room by chains, wrapped around her arms and wrists and cutting into her flesh. Her toes dangled just off of the ground, and if she stretched, she could feel the stone floor beneath them. Her shoulders and back hurt so bad. And it wouldn't have been so bad if she wasn't near nude and freezing. "R-Roland..? A-are you still awake?" There was no answer, and she whined. It was too dark for Emily to see what Zephyr had done to her brother, but she could smell blood, and had heard something dripping all night. "Roland..." she begged again. She didn't know how long they'd been in here already, but it felt like an eternity, and there was no telling when Zephyr would return.
Roland gave a weak and tired groan from the corner where he was strung upside down by his ankles. His head was killing him. Any longer hung upside down like this, and he knew he'd die soon. "I-it's okay, Em... I'm here..." he grunted, the room spinning blindly around him. "W-we're gonna get out of this."
"How?" Emily sniffled, squirming a little in her own chains and feeling them slice into her a bit deeper, making her cry out. "He's gonna kill us, Roland.... H-he's gonna kill us..." And what hurt her most was how much she had trusted Nate, and Freya, and Locke, and they had left her here. No one had come back for her.
There was a squeak of the door to the room opening followed by small footsteps. The steps echoed around the room as if the feet they belonged to were pacing, and then silence. After some more footsteps and another squeak, the sound of water pouring could be heard, and finally a voice spoke. "Are you alive?"
Emily's breathing was fast and ragged enough to give her away. She was awake, and very aware, and the fact that she didn't know who was in the room with them terrified her. What if it was Zephyr playing another cruel prank on them? Roland stayed silent, but instead gave an angry jerk in his chains.
The voice sighed, and turned off the water. "It isn't right." It gruffed. The voice was feminine, but stiff, as though it hadn't been used in a long time. There was a snap and a little ball of light illuminated the room. It revealed a woman's figure, hunched and ragged. She was holding a jar and as she neared Emily, she spoke again. "This will make your pain bearable." She dipped a calloused hand into the jar and wiped in onto Emily's shoulders. "Fret not. The war will be over soon."
Emily spluttered a little, flinching away from the woman's hand as best she could, but it was hard being suspended from the ceiling. Her face was dirty and had tear streaks down her cheeks. "P-please, please, y-you have to let us out! Help us, please!" she begged through sobs.
The woman shook her head. "I cannot. I must obey my king's wishes, even if he is one of the unblessed." She spat the last word as if it were a curse. "Be strong. It will be over soon. Did I ease your pain?"
Strangely enough, Emily's arms and shoulders did feel much better, but she looked confused and terrified. "Y-yes..." she whispered softly, but she was trembling all over. "I-is he going to kill us..?" she whimpered. She had to know that much.
"He has already killed that one." She motioned to Roland. "He won't last much longer. But you will. I've seen it." She brushed Emily's face. "You are a fighter. But you will see much more darkness in your life." She regarded Emily with a sad smile.
The woman's words did not comfort Emily. In fact, hearing that Zephyr had already technically killed Roland, and they were just waiting for him to die, made her scream. "NO! No, no, no, please! Not Roland! Please!" she begged, even though she knew it was too late.
Roland grunted. "Emily... calm down. It's okay..." he said, trying to fight off the nausea from being strung up for so long. "Emily, calm down." he said again.
"NO! No, Rol, please... please, don't die... don't leave me!" she sobbed, shaking in her chains. She looked at the woman again and said with big eyes. "Bring Zephyr here! BRING HIM HERE! I HAVE TO TALK TO HIM! ZEPHYR! YOU COWARD!!" she screeched.
"It's not cowardice to believe in honor. I can ease his passing. I cannot command the king to come to you just as you cannot command the sun to set. Pull yourself together." The woman was stern, but patient. "I understand your pain young one. I have also lost my family, and my werewolf."
Emily's tears and screams only ceased when the woman told her to pull herself together, but her last sentence made her gasp. "Y-your... werewolf..?" she echoed, her eyes widening. "W-were... you a part of the court? A royal? I thought Roland's team killed them all..."
A sad smile crossed the woman's face. "My daughter is safe. But the past should stay in the past. I'll be dead soon as well. Say your goodbyes to your brother. It's time."
Emily's tears intensified again, rolling hot down her cheeks. She could hear his breathing softening and she strained to see him over her shoulder. She could just barely make him out in the dim lighting of the woman's glowing orb. He was hung upside down against the wall, his wrists shackled to the floor to keep them hanging, and she could see what it was she'd been hearing dripping all night: there was a tube in one of the veins of his arms, dripping blood freely onto the floor, and the word "traitor" carved into his chest. She coughed a heavy sob at the horrific sight. "R-Roland..." She had just gotten him back, and after being forced to leave her parents behind, he was the only family she had left. And now she was losing him, because he had helped her. He just barely opened his eyes to her voice, and she sputtered pathetically. "I-I love y-you... so much, Rol... y-you've been the beh-best big brother e-ever. I won't l-let Zephyr get away with this, I swear. I'll take your body home to mom and dad, I promise." she sniffed, trying to think of things to say to help ease him.
"Em... It's okay..." Roland whispered too, and gave a weak smile. His face was pale, even in the dimness. "I love you too... I'm not out of this yet..."
Emily's face twisted into one of pain and anguish at his words. She watched him close his eyes slowly, and she screamed her heartbreak. "P-please! I have to hold him... please, help me, get me down!" she begged the woman. "I have to hold him when he goes!"
Zephyr was livid, pacing his chambers as he raged. He was alone, unless you counted the seven fae he had mangled beyond recognition in blind anger. Taking their lives hadn't helped, so Zephyr ripped apart their corpses, hoping the sweet smell of fae blood would soothe him. It was to no avail, as Freya was still gone, and the longer she stayed in the mortal realm the easier it would be for her allies to break his spell, if it wasn't broken already.
As if that wasn't bad enough, his top hunter was now in the dungeon bleeding out because of his loyalty to a worthless doe eyed human girl. It made no sense to Zephyr, how could Roland choose that child over his king? After all the work Zephyr had put into molding him from a pathetic little boy into a dangerous weapon.
Zephyr slammed his fist into the back of a nearby chair at the thought. It was well built out of oak, and the force of the punch sent a shock of pain up his arm. He shivered at the feeling, and the sting ebbed the flame of Zephyr's temper enough to allow him to think clearly.
With a sudden calmness, Zephyr opened his chamber doors, startling the sentries standing guard. "Bring the traitor to me. Be quick about it. He doesn't have much time. If he dies before he gets here, I'll replace your eyeballs with beetles. Is that clear?"
Both of the men bolted as soon as the words left Zephyr's lips. The false king smirked to himself, relishing the last bits of their fear scents as their footsteps echoed down the corridor. "It's good to be king."
Emily's pleading broke the woman's heart, and she shook her head sadly. "I can not unbind you. My magic is too weak. The best I can do is put your mind at peace." She placed a calloused hand into Emily's cheek, "Sleep now. And when you wake you will be strong. Do not mourn your brother."
The sound of armor clanking interrupted the woman's spell. She took her hand quickly from Emily's face and whispered hurriedly "it's too late. Emily, they are coming. You need to be strong. Have faith. Your trials will be rewarded soon. Your friends are coming. I've seen it. Be brave."
Emily had been on the verge of sleep thanks to the old woman's touch and whatever spell she'd been about to pull over her, then suddenly it was gone and she was yanked back to consciousness, and fear. And pain. And anguish. She looked up as the door was opened by two guards in heavy armor, and she watched as they began to unshackle Roland's limp body, no longer hearing the comforting words the woman was trying to give her. She whimpered and watched as he was hefted under his arms and dragged out of the room, and she struggled a little as she watched. "N-no! No, don't take him!! I-I promised-!" she yelped. She had promised to take his body back to their parents...
It had taken some convincing, but after a little more arguing the group decided that it would be best to get a good night's sleep and come up with a plan in the morning. Nate and Nelson weren't sleeping, having chosen instead to find something to eat in the city, but Freya was curled up next to Locke, with her head on his shoulder and his arms wrapped around her, finally feeling at peace with the world. He was snoring lightly, and the sound put a smile on her face. Her eyelids were getting heavier, and sleep was about to overtake her when she heard it. A familiar voice whispering her name.
Freya's eyes opened wide, and she stole a look at Locke. He was still sound asleep. "I must've dreamed it." She thought as she nestled back into his shoulder. The voice called her again, and this time she recognized it instantly.
Freya rose from the bed, doing her best not to rouse Locke, and followed the voice. It brought her out into the main room, and there she saw the apparition. The woman was tall and elegant, glowing slightly. She smiled as Freya entered, the same smile Freya inherited all those years ago. "How is this possible? How are you here right now?" Freya asked her. The apparition shook her head, red curls flowing wildly as she did so, "I've missed you so much my daughter."
Freya stared in disbelief, "I thought you were dead mother, what is going on?" She couldn't help but feel this was a trick, even though every part of her was wishing otherwise.
Her mother nodded sadly, "I will be soon, Zephyr and the hunters didn't kill me but they took away my immortality and locked me in their dungeons to fade away." She chuckled a bit and added, "I'm afraid I'm starting to show my age down there."
Freya took a step towards her mother, "So you're alive?! I will come rescue you mother, I won't let you die!" The queen shook her head sadly, "I'm afraid that won't be possible. I'm using the last of my magic to be here and to protect your friend Emily. When I leave you, I will pass on."
Staring in shock at her mother, Freya let out a sob. "No. No...You can't...I..I need you. Please." She fell to her knees, and her mother placed a comforting hand onto Freya's shoulder. "You haven't needed me for a long time my child. Now, listen to my words." Freya nodded, and her mother continued. "Emily is in danger. She is Zephyr's captive, and she won't last much longer. I've been using my magic to keep her comforted and to heal her when I can, but I am running out of magic. Zephyr is getting suspicious and it's time for you to save her. If you do not succeed you cannot win this war. Emily is the key." She ran her fingers through Freya's tresses, and a single tear fell down the woman's cheek. "I am so very proud of the woman you have become. Save the girl. Unite the kingdoms and destroy Zephyr. You will sacrifice much, and for that I am so very sorry, but it will be worth it. I love you my child. Never forget that."
As the last word was spoken, her mother vanished, and Freya's eyes opened. She was back in Locke's arms, and tears were streaming down her face. She sat up, disturbing Locke's slumber but she didn't care. "How was that just a dream? It was so real.."
Locke groaned a little and sat up, rubbing his eyes. "What is it..? Are you okay?" he whispered softly, trying not to be so groggy. If there was an emergency, he needed to be on alert at the snap of her fingers, but he was so exhausted from earlier the day before.
"I didn't mean to wake you. It's just...." Freya buried her face into Locke's shoulder, "My mother." Freya cried for a while, trying her best to calm down, but she was too shaken, and she clung to Locke as she sobbed.
"Your mother?" Locke echoed worriedly, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and rubbing her back, trying to soothe her. He knew there was little to no comforting he could offer her, but he had to try. "Shhh... I'm here for you, Freya... It'll be alright." he whispered.
Minutes passed, and finally Freya felt like she was able to breathe again. She regained her composure and pulled herself away from Locke. "My mother was here." She said it quietly, still not quite sure she believed it herself.
It took a moment for him to process this, and the confusion was evident on Locke's face. "H-here? How? When?" he asked, looking around as if she might still be there, lurking. "Why? What did she say?"
Freya ran a hand through her red tresses and sighed. "She was in my dreams. I... I thought she was dead, but she told me she's watching over Emily in the dungeons.... This can't.. it couldn't be real could it?"
Locke was always the voice of reason. But here he wasn't sure what to say. He rubbed his eyes again as he thought how to answer, before a sigh left him and he shrugged. "I suppose it's possible. Anything is possible." he mumbled. He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, staring into the darkness of their room. "She said she was watching over Emily..? Does that mean Emily is alive?" Nelson would be happy to know that, at least.
Freya nodded. "I think so....but...what if it's a trap? I mean...it's exactly the sort of thing zephyr would do. He'd expect us to rush in to save her, and we'd easily be overpowered." She sat lost in thought for a few moments, her brow furrowed in concentration. Finally, the queen spoke, "But, what if we brought our army instead?"
"You mean attack? A full-out war?" Locke asked skeptically. "Do you think our army is ready for that? Would Shea agree?" He shook his head solemnly. "We have to go back to the underground and talk to them. And we need to hurry."
Freya yawned, but nodded. "Just one night of sleep is all I ask." She chuckled, "who knew saving the world would be so exhausting."
Locke watched her with a warm smile and gave a nod of agreement. He shifted to lay back, pulling her with him, and nuzzled into her hair, his arms tight around her. "Freya... Can I please kiss you?" he whispered. "Just one more time?"
Freya smiled at her companion, but said nothing. Instead, she wrapped her thin arms around his frame, pulling him in close. . She could feel Locke's breath against her lips, and an impish gleam flashed in her eyes as she pulled away suddenly, giggling like a naughty child. He was still leaning forward, waiting for her, as she laid back down, pretending to fall fast asleep.
He opened his eyes and immediately withdrew his puckered lips when he didn't feel her kiss him. He blinked at her, then protested, "Hey! That's not nice! I know you're not sleeping!" He tickled her sides, in that spot he knew very well, just under her arms. "You better kiss me!"
Freya held her breath, resisting the tickles. Finally, when she could hold her breath no longer she gasped for air and erupted into a fit of laughter. "Stop! Mercy!" She cried, "You're cruel!!"
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