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The air sizzled with electricity under the low storm clouds. It was a somewhat usual presence in the air she felt. A sense of presence, perhaps; and one she had become familiar with long before Cyris' ascension. She strode among the low bushes which bent and bowed with the storm winds. Lightning sizzled and cracked in constant strikes, as if masking her every silent step. Above her head the electricity sparked through the clouds and lit Machiavellian faces that peered down at the lands.

Her steps paused, as did the lightning that reached to the ground; no one would ever believe them to be tandem.

Her attacker was close. She knew it was coming. It had been a long time since she blew open the truth and chose a side, making herself the enemy of those she once loved. With them there was no room for grey; there was only black and white in their eyes. Had they only known then how simple it would have been to save the situation, and avoid the loss of resources as they were sent to subdue her. She almost felt pity for some of them that were lesser aware of what they were sent against. She tried to make it quick and painless when she could but sometimes they insisted on struggling.

She paused to reflect on what they had sent before, and wondered what face she would peer into, this time.

There was no smell of rot and decay as had accompanied the first she had encountered. Raised undead which were powered only by the will of the one who raised them and sent them on their way. They had been the easiest to fall; the easiest to avoid and destroy from afar. Their shambling, slow-moving pace making them easy targets. Simple enough to sever from their master and destroy the ability for them to be raised once more. Hopefully they found peace, at last..

There was no smell of sulpher as had accompanied the infernals that had been sent. Winged, horned aberrations of twisted flesh and mind, programed and instructed only to fulfill their purpose. More cunning, more brutal, but still with flaws. Had she learned nothing else from the trials of Eva and Selista while amongst the coven, she learned that creatures summoned from other planes were just as easily sent back with the proper tools. Home for these monsters would not be peace, but it was no longer the hell that was earth..

There was no smell of wet animals. No canine or winged-rodent traversing the storm. They had been summoned, once. Called from the forests in an attempt to subdue her. Lured with promises of fresh meat. Her enemies had never been known for being entirely honest.. Faster than the previous attackers, but instinctual instead of cunning. Even the Kine they sent were so broken as to be dumb to the severity of the situation they were sent blindly into. It broke her heart to put them down, but there had been no other choice.

What manner of assassin had they sent, tonight, she wasn't yet sure. The rain dampened the air around her and made it difficult to hear and smell, but shadows were plenty, and she had time, still...

The coven had tried, once; tried to lure her back with the promise of safety. Foolishly she acquiesced and walked into the trap, but only once would she fall for that trick. She was a match for their cunning and speed, if not their strength, and she was no stranger to using every option at her disposal, which included misdirection. The trap was sprung too late and while they struggled with what they thought was their prize, she abused what little magics she had and escaped through passages so rarely used as to be forgotten to time itself.

"Ravenna" the voice almost purred, causing even the storm to lull briefly as his voice slunk around her. She could never forget that deep, resonate voice; the heady dulcimer tone that melted her defenses.

"He sent you, didn't he.." She knew the answer to her question. If there was one among them that could finish her, it was him; more skilled and dangerous than any others. She spoke his name in a whisper under her breath as she rubbed a ring on her hand; his name having been keyed as the incantation for the spell. The second sight of the spells magic sparked in the depths of her dark sapphire gaze as she turned towards him, watching around him for his assassin companions. "Did he send you to bring me back, or just finish what the rest of his resources could not accomplish?" It was unusual for her to be so disarmed and so on edge as she felt in that one moment as she waited for his answer; for his move...

"You know why I'm here. Lets not parlay on trivial matters." He shifted slightly, adjusting the weight of his thick armor under his dark velvet coats. She had trained with him long enough to recognize even his slimmed-down version of fully armored. He was there, prepared for her to struggle, but he had not yet sparked the aid of the magics he commanded.

"How shall we play this game, then, Andras..." she asked absently, tipping her chin up to catch the rain drops on her face. Her black hair was soaked from the storm, and clung to her features; for a moment she considered how it might hamper her movements.

"Don't make me do this, Raven. Come back. Kowtow to Cyris. Be cleansed of your filth and suffer your shame for what you've done, but don't make me end you." He had donned an almost compassionate tone, but his words were laced; for a moment he reminded her of Zaeran.

She shifted, a slight slump of her shoulders and a lowering of her gaze as she considered his words. She saw him shift again, through lowered lashes. He relaxed a fraction as his words seemed to strike home; he took the bait.

There was no time for thought from that moment. Every muscle had to move on instinct and rote as they coiled and sprung the trap. Anything else and she would miss her mark and meet her fate, though in the back of her mind she knew this fight would be her last. She moved in a blur of shadow and shade, the flash of steel as it came free of it's sheath. Using the shadows to shield her movements, she only had as long as it would take for him to speak the words of the incantation of sight; that was all she would be allowed.

She overestimated his reaction and instead of finding him stunned by shock, she met him with a stake drawn and poised to strike and a spell on his lips. All she could do was dodge, and even that was too late. He missed his mark, but only barely, sinking the wood into her shoulder until his hand pressed against rain-soaked cloth. Blood rushed forth from the wound as she jerked aside, snapping the stake where his hand still gripped it and falling back to the muddy earth.

The rain fell slowly as she watched him move over her, blocking her view of the storm overhead; faces still peering down in malcontent smirks. He sighed and shook his head as he looked at the stump of wood in his hand before tossing it away in discontent; apparently he had thought only one stake would have been enough. He carefully plucked the blade from her hand as he knelt to finish the job. There was no remorse in his features; only a look of vex.

His spell had paralyzed her muscles. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply; one last breath of air, he had to allow her that much. The air was laced with smells that creeped through her mind. The smell of earth, soaked to mud. She smell of blood as it seeped from her shoulder. The smell of his cologne as he knelt beside her. She could even smell the lingering trace of his wife's perfume where she must have hugged him before he left for his hunt. Another smell lingered under them all, faintly; the smell of animals soaked by the rains but lingering in the shadows to avoid the confrontation perhaps.

His hand moved over her face, brushing the hair away that was matted against her skin. "I had wanted to make this quick," he whispered quietly, just over the sound of rain. "But you leave me no choice." His hand gripped her mane and pulled her head back in an even motion. He held her there a moment before she felt the edge of the blade.

There was some kindness that the blade was sharpened and cut easily through flesh. He made a slow incision across, first, then began again, this time pressing deeper. The life she clung to drained slowly, numbing her limbs first, as the world spun and ceased to spin at the same time. Shadows grew long and darkness crept into places long since forgotten.

A shadow moved from behind the man who knelt over the lifeless figure in the mud. He had been so intent on his prey that he had not sensed it's presence until a dark body hurled itself into him. Both bodies tumbling into the mud, over one another. Mud covered both figures as they separated; Andras dislodging from his attacker and rolling one direction while this stranger went another. Andras rolled to his knees in the mud and paused to survey the situation. The body still lay lifelessly in the mud and his attacker was rolling to his feet just out of reach. The monster lumbered, rising massive shoulders into the night air. Mud clumped and matted the fur of the werewolf as he stepped into range.

Knowing his attacker was the step he needed to change his tactic. With a word he could sunder the living prey and bring both back as a prize. He began the spell and realized, with a moments shock, that he had been duped.

His new prey sneered wickedly as he lunged into attack. Andras rolled back under him, moving with the flow of force to throw his attacker by using his own weight and inertia. The wet earth gave way to the weight of both monsters.

The wolf went over Andras easily and rolled to his feet, spinning for another attack. Andras growled soundlessly and struggled to pull himself out of the mud, rolling back to his feet to tangle with this beast toe-to-toe.

Amber light sparked and illuminated the surrounding forest, he saw the portal out of the corner of his eye and knew the truth of the trick. He turned his head enough to view two figures carrying the third through the magical opening to a destination he was not close enough to determine; they had stolen his prize.

Annoyance was written plainly on his face as he turned his complete attention back to the wolf; too late, it seemed, as he had sparked a portal as well.

The effects of the silence spell faded as the portal closed and he howled in frustration, the sound echoing through the night. It would be a sound the villagers in nearby towns would talk about for months to come.

@}--`---

The portal closed behind Andras with a slightly magical sizzle as he stepped into his private sanctuary. He closed his eyes and summoned his mate as he moved towards the corridor that would lead him into the Coven's throne room. The mud caked to the soft soles of his boots made a slightly rasping noise against the stone floors as he moved.

Behind him another portal opened, the sizzle of magic almost loud in the silence of the hall. She stepped through with haste, and small, heeled footfalls quickly brought her to his side. They exchanged no words, only moving slowly through the darkened corridors.

Andras stopped at the final double doors to the throne room, a hand on the latch. He turned his blue eyes to his mate with a calm expression. "No matter what, know that I love you."

She reached her hand to his briefly, lowering her gaze in acknowledgment.

The doors opened easily, sliding on soundless hinges to allow the pair entrance. Andras moved with a dedicated determination. Kalisto followed behind pensively. Littered around the hall were members of the coven, dressed in their finest. Zaeran in his shadowy shroud; he looked up from his reading with a casual interest. Garrick in his blood-red armor; he seemd to hold his breath in anticipation at the sight before him. Hypereum stood proudly in his leather ensemble; he did not seem as interested in what news Andras brought. Eva lounged languidly on a divan to one side, wearing as little as she could get away with; she watched with some trepidation, the tip of her tail twitching anxiously.

Cyris sat contently in his throne on the dais, draped in his velvet coats, Selista half curled on the arm of the throne, her fingers twined absently in his dark mane, on her lips that smile. "From your appearance, she put up quite a struggle." Selista chided tenderly, her voice lulling through the small crowd easily. The sound of Zaeran flipping a page in his book the only other sound in the hall.

Kalisto had stopped where she knew she must; Andras must step forward alone. Andras stepped to the base of the dais, his velvet coats ruined with now dried mud from the tangle, draping rigidly and rasping softly across the floor as he knelt and bowed his head reverently. "I have no proof of her destruction, Sire."

"I neither expected nor required proof, Andras. Merely results." Cyris responded calmly, adding absently "With your return I can assume the matter has been handled." He turned his attention towards Selista, running a hand over her thigh which she so eagerly offered.

"Sire," Andras interjected. He hesitated as he considered his approach to the situation. Behind him he heard Kalisto steal a breath as she realized the weight of the situation before her. "The task was unfinished. The body stolen before I could sever her head from her shoulders. Someone knew and warned the wolves. Three came for her. One more solid strike and I would have been finished but I assured that there was no way for her to heal from my attack."

Cyris rose from his throne swiftly, staring down at the bowed figure before him for a long moment. Long spindly fingers slowly closed into a ball of frustration at his side as he schooled his expression, turning to slowly move across the dais on solid footfalls. He stole a long, slow breath as he turned and paced back the opposite direction, his voice barely breaking a whisper, "The task was unfinished..."

Some of the gathering made noises at this revelation; Garrick's armor shifted squeakily, Eva's tail ceased it's pensive twitching and curled around her once more, and even Selista, slightly dislodged from her perch, made a soft scoffing sound as her smile turned into a smirk. Another page flipped through Zaeran's fingers.

"I sent you to rid me of a simple nuisance. A woman; a filthy, worthless female who has sullied our honor by her actions. A task which you assured me you could complete without assistance, and you dare to return to me in failure." Cyris continued to pace, not looking down to the still kneeling figure. There was no rise to his tone, no hint of anger or annoyance; he was calm in his reaction - a frightening response.

Selista rose to her feet, swaying her hips softly as she moved forward on the dais; the scent of cinnamon suffocating the air around her as it often did. "Now, my love... Andras did as much as he could, and we have earned much by this . . . failure." Her tone tauntingly shifted between amused and sincere. "If what he says is true, then surely that lycan held her in his arms as she died. I don't think even he would be foolish enough to mix his blood with hers. A man with a broken heart fights blindly, and without cause. The rest of him will follow her soon enough." She shifted, placing a balled hand casually on her hip. "And if the rest of what he says is true, then someone has spoken with the Lycans. Someone among Discord is not to be trusted.."

Tension hung in the air; silence sundered only by the soft sound of a page shifting through Zaeran's fingers.
What started as a simple fan-fic piece to explain how a character of mine (Ravenna) ended up the way she did, that took on a life of it's own. Sheer Pride in every move.
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:iconendorell-taelos:
Endorell-Taelos Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010   General Artist
That is so cool :)
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:iconmycothropist:
Mycothropist Featured By Owner May 15, 2010
Accidently had I clicked this written deviation, meaning to delete it. And naturally, I read a bit as I moved the mouse towards the back button. Your words interested me, and I ended up reading the whole thing. Captivating.
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:iconwinterflightdesign:
WinterFlightDesign Featured By Owner May 15, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much!
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:iconmycothropist:
Mycothropist Featured By Owner May 16, 2010
You're welcome. It was worth the time to read.
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:iconwinterflightdesign:
WinterFlightDesign Featured By Owner May 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*smiles* I wish others would take the time to read it as well. :)
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:iconmycothropist:
Mycothropist Featured By Owner May 16, 2010
Well, maybe they'll accidentally click it instead of deleting it, or skipping over it too. :aww:
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:icondogmatickerr:
DogmaticKerr Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
... incredible :heart:
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:iconwinterflightdesign:
WinterFlightDesign Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Many, many thanks. :)
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:icondogmatickerr:
DogmaticKerr Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
:bow:
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