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 Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)

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KokiKariya
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Join date : 2009-11-09


PostSubject: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:47 am

First topic message reminder :

I'm not using my other forum much, and I wanted to get people's input on the story.
Hell, it's probably just this song that's making me giddy.
And paranoid.


A note before you begin: Farine has become Cannan.
~~
When we are children, we are ignorant to the true harshness of the surrounding world. Though we are hinted to it, we are never truly told; therefore we figure it out ourselves. To some, this takes mere years, but to others it takes eternities filled with fragile bliss and paper-thin innocence.
I was one of those children who figured it out early.
My room changed from a sanctum containing dear possessions and wondrous sleep to a wooden prison with walls made of lies. Staying in that dark madhouse made me anxious and paranoid; the wind would tap and scratch at the windows to attempt to lure me outside. I would always obey. My mind knew no better.
And when I was caught in the world outside, I would wander toward the glassy, glittering lake and gaze upon my village from atop a lookout. The teasing wind always blew lightly; the grass was a soft cloud. I would swing my legs over the side of the lookout and smile so innocently that you would never know what was truly wrong with me.
Yet they always came to tread across my blissful paradise.
If monsters do exist, then I have met their original ancestor. This boy, albeit shorter than I, was a hurricane that locked onto me. Nearly every day was a day of bloodshed and bruises, followed by agitated disbelief from my older brother.
I hated Cannan Bane with all of my headstrong heart.
At least my hate came with a reason. His was ethereal; the boy just approached one day, scowled, and swiftly told me that he ‘didn’t like me’. This escaladed into beatings and name calling. And every time he hurt me I questioned his ability to defy our clan’s basic trait of respect for fellow clan members.
Of course, what led me to figure the true world out was not just him. No, it was everything. Everything looked at me funny. Everything avoided me. Everything that wasn’t family hated me.
Besides the lookout above the lake, that is.
I rubbed my eyes wearily, knowing that I had left for the lake too early this morning. The sunlight was a hundred piercing needles in my vision. I shielded my eyes and tried to pick out the details in the marketplace before me: men and women handing over their money and taking bushels of fruits and vegetables, young people playing soothing music for our savage kind, children walking aimlessly through the crowded streets. I wanted to be there, to fit in, I mean.
For now, all I could do was watch in anticipation.
Something rustled behind me. Odd, the wind was too gentle to shake the bushes like that. It whispered for me to run. I wouldn’t run without a reason.
I found one.
Cannan’s rock-hard boot met my spine, sending me plummeting into the waters below. At this point, pain shot up my spine along with a thought unfitting for such a situation.
What are we made of?
If we’re just animated meat sacks, then why do they say we’re made of water? If I was water, it wouldn’t hurt so badly when I collided with the lake’s surface.
The force of the impact reminded me of being hit by an oak tree. I couldn’t breathe or see for a stressfully long moment, and then I was shoved under by the same monster that pushed me. I writhed, pulling him down along with me.
The water that engulfed us slowly grew a scarlet color. Cannan was nowhere in sight. My head was throbbing, stinging. The world had burning black edges. I could only see the sky.
Though my heart was beating rapidly, matching the volume of an erupting volcano, I was still able to hear someone call out my name again and again and again, pleading. The voice was strung with anxiety and feminine. It was unfamiliar.
Did I know this person?
This girl was bringing back my memories. She sounded like my late older sister. The black edges of my vision curled inward, restricting me. The voice was far away.
This wasn’t anything like death. No, death was painful. Death was regretful. Death was the final end.
This wasn’t death.
Why? Because I felt the grasses brush up against my cheek. Because I heard a soft voice whisper my name with the upward twist that occurs when you ask a question. Because I could see.
I was dizzy and confused, something a hunter should never be. Sunlight seeped through the straight, tall trees, warming my huddled-up, shivering form. My name slipped from her lips again. I turned my head, the motion causing my hair to slip over my eyes. I cursed; pushing my dripping wet bangs from my sight and noticed her shiver at the sound of my voice.
She was a wolf, right? She had to be used to the colorful language we used.
Maybe her family just didn’t use those words often.
I curled the hair around my ears and sat upright, mimicking her position. Her eyes strayed from mine to my clothes and back to my face. She pointed. I lifted my hand to the place she was suggesting.
I felt the sting of an open cut and winced. My fingers had blood on them. Carefully, I traced my finger around the spot that stung and realized what had happened the second it brushed against a smooth, hard surface.
Cannan tore off the skin from my cheek.
I swallowed, unable to imagine how creepy I looked right now. No wonder I was scaring her. I covered up the spot and looked at her.
“You should get that looked at,” was all she said.
I answered off topic. “How do you know me?”
The girl waited a second, and then said quietly, “People talk about you a lot. They say…” She didn’t finish, her eyes trailing off into space.
“…I’m a demon?”
She nodded, knowing that this was a terrible insult.
I shook my head. “Don’t believe them. I haven’t done anything to earn that title, and yet they force it upon me.” I laughed nervously, my eyes trailing away from hers.
“You should get home before that bully comes back,”
Silence followed her statement. I stood slowly, and started to walk away with a monotone, “Thanks,” that meant nothing to her.
“By the way, I’m Christine.”

~~~

The birds sang and the wind whistled and I wanted so badly to scream “SHUT UP!” but I couldn’t speak. Hibernating pain from the fight was surging through me now, along with a newfound fear. I wouldn’t be swimming anytime soon. My hair was determined to blind me and was still dripping wet when I came to the wooden cabin I called my home. I knocked loudly on the window, spotting my older brother who rolled his eyes at my presence. The door swung open a minute later, welcoming me.
“What happened this time,” he asked, “slit your wrists again? Fall down a hill?”
I hated his sarcasm. About the wrists, it wasn’t my fault. That was Cannan with a borrowed knife. He just wouldn’t believe me.
His bored voice echoed again. “You gonna tell me how you got that cut or am I asking for nothing?”
He wasn’t about to listen anyway. I took a shot, just in case. “Cannan kicked me off the overlook. We got into a fight.”
“Riiight. Sure you didn’t just miss with that knife of yours and-”
“You never believe me. I don’t even have a knife.”
“You could borrow one at any time, kid.”
Aaron, my younger brother, sat silently and listened to us. His gaze was focused on my wound. I hoped he wouldn’t cry.
“Can I get a bandage for this? It stings.”
“Not until you tell me the truth, Zane.”
“Jake that is the truth.”
He answered with an uninterested “whatever”, tossed me the bandages and medical tape, and pushed me into my room. He sat on the bed and looked at my wound again.
I fumbled the medical tape.
“Need help?”
I shook my head and applied it while staring into my mirror. I took a seat next to him on my bed.
“You know why I don’t believe you?”
I didn’t.
“Your stories are too outrageous to believe, that’s why.”
“You don’t even consider them to be true. You’re just like everyone in the market.”
He stayed silent, and then said, “Fine. Shoot. See if I am.”
“Cannan pushed me into the water, tried to drown me, and I fought him. He cut me.”
“And why did Cannan do this? What drove him to?”
I didn’t know. He told me that wasn’t an answer. I countered him by saying that he still wasn’t listening. He asked me again. I still didn’t know.
“You always do this,” I said, “You never believe me or fulfill any promises.”
“What promises?”
“You never told me how to shift.”

~~~

Morning came swiftly and I was dragged out the door again by the wind and the azure sky. The cut still pained me, but in comparison to my pride on this day, the pain was miniscule; I had a new weapon to fight Cannan with, and I was expecting him.
I scaled the hill to the lookout and took my place at the top as usual, feeling anxious and unbelievably joyous as I stared out at the sparkling lake. My eyes reflected a glassy sapphire in the water below, and my smile shone even brighter. I kicked my legs and laughed and awaited a shadowy figure that would attempt to kill me again.
I must be a mind reader.
The bushes rustled all the same, and I stood to face the boy that hid beneath them.
Maybe I’m not a mind reader.
She emerged with arms raised as if I had caught her committing a crime. My body slacked, and I questioned her presence. She smiled so sweetly that I was reminded of heavily-sugared plums while she spoke. She had seen me crawl up the hill and kick my legs, I’m sure of it. My ears braced for words that made fun of my actions, but they never appeared. Her eyes shone with kind, unspoken words.
Awkwardly, I said, “Why are you following me? Don’t people tell you all
the time to stay away?”
She nodded, “Yes, but I believe that they’re being too hard on you. You seem nice enough,” The smile broadened.
I was largely contrasting with her at this point. She wore a smile, while my face bent and twisted to hide sadness – the happy sort of sad – and she sat upright while I slumped over. She was the only person I had met that wasn’t part of my family that actually accepted me. Me, with my black clothes and torn jeans, bandaged face and drooping hair.
Her green eyes glinted like a polished knife in the sunlight as a quick silence passed.
The feeling of acceptance was alien to me; I was uncomfortable. The lookout was plain and drab today, as unwelcoming as a cactus is to touch. I excused myself from the scene, descended the hill, and heard her follow me curiously. My defenses were down despite my unfamiliar taste with this situation.
As a hunter, I should always be prepared. However, I wasn’t.
Cannan stood at the base of the hill with his arms crossed, trying to look bigger than he really was. His presence alerted all my senses and my shields were thrown up. My skin prickled and my dark brown hair stood at attention.
I felt Christine’s curiosity peak.
“Well, well, well. Look who got bandaged up.” His words drew me to the new feature he wore both proudly and embarrassedly: a long, spindly scar ran from his forehead down his nose, where it trailed to the right and ended below his eye. When he slashed me, I must’ve slashed him back. He didn’t look too happy.
His eyes swept up and down my thin form, and he concluded that I was as weak as before. He was wrong.
Cannan stepped forward
courageously. “Wanna settle this once and for all, emo kid?”
He was trying to provoke me, I knew, and I didn’t care. Let me be provoked. I wanted him to choke and stutter on his words. I heard Christine move toward him and take in air to protest, but her words stayed unspoken, and she hopped into the treetops and out of the way.
I took that as a cue.
“Y-you’ll be sorry, Cannan,” my voice failed me. I didn’t speak to him too often.
He laughed. “You scared, you little baby?”
His arrogance and surety grated on my nerves. “I’m about as scared as you are.”
Cannan produced strong white claws that jutted menacingly from his fingertips, starting at the nail. They curved a noticeable amount, designed to rip and tear at flesh. I brandished the same weapons, coal-black in color, and braced for his first attack. I almost felt Christine’s skin tighten as he swung at me, missing by a half inch. I ducked and struck a blow to his stomach,
sending him recoiling momentarily in paralysis. I took the opportunity to push
him down.
Not a smart move on my behalf.
He recovered from paralysis and swung out a foot to trip me. The wolf pounced and grabbed me in a headlock. I snarled and decided to show him my power. My jaws clamped down upon his arm and as he let out a cry of pain, my body changed in form. The transformation gave me a thick coat of ash-gray fur and twisted me up until I reached the breaking point. He jumped away, fear crossing his eyes for a long moment.
My ears laid back and I stood at attention, tail down and snout wrinkled in a snarl. I stopped him cold in a dark blue stare. For a moment, I expected him to get up and run, but that was not his nature. Cannan followed suit and transformed as well, his body
crumpling up and growing dark orange and brown fur. We exchanged looks and
pounced again.

~~~

Torn muscles tightened and jaws clenched after each attack. At one point, we both stood bloody and beaten, wearing our wounds with pride. But we didn’t stop.
I lunged for his neck, blood-blackened gray fur dripping and rustling with my movement. In this form, I was an instinct-trained killing machine. He tried to dodge, and I only ripped through the skin of his forearm. I leapt back and recovered from the recoil and
realized that a new spectator was surveying our fight with an angry scowl.
Jake didn’t look too happy that my first duel was with another wolf.
Stop!” He yelled. Taking the cue, Cannan and I both froze in our tracks. A drop of blood trailed contently down the side of my face. He stomped over to my and forcefully lifted my chin so I could look him straight in the eye. The movement hurt, but I knew it would hurt less than his sharp words.
Jake didn’t speak, he just stared me down.
I heard Cannan tense and begin to move toward us, trying to end the fight permanently. Jake must’ve felt it too; he turned and snarled at the inexperienced wolf, sending him into a spiral of whines. He tapped the underside of my chin as a signal to get up and follow him.
He always had terrible timing.
He led me along like a criminal to his cell, taking quick strides to purposely drag me home. And home had the same sharp-as-glass feeling as it always did, making me wish I hadn’t opened my big mouth to utter the proclamation of bloodshed.
Aaron sat curiously by the door to his room, a broken toy sporting a white flag in his clutches. I shifted back, still letting Jake drag me through the door, to make sure that I wouldn’t scare my younger sibling.
Jake dropped me in a chair by the fireplace.
After a minute of silence, he unenthusiastically said, “How shall I begin…?” He tapped a straight finger on his chin, “I teach you how to shift, and you attack another member of the tribe.”
“It was self-defense,” I countered.
“I’ll tell you what it was: B-S. Zane, you’re an irresponsible little brat with no friends, and you still manage to get caught up in peer pressure and fights?”
The no friends comment shot a needle through my heart. It triggered the image of Christine looking at me fearfully as Jake took me away.
“I’m at a loss with what to do with you, Zane.”
“It’s not my fault.”
“Then whose is it, hmm? Can’t be Cannan, he was raised by the frikkin’ weapons
general who has that one rule of ‘don’t harm your teammates’.”
Apparently I didn’t make the team.
I stared into the ash-buried fireplace in silence. These ‘talks’ were always painful, especially since I was basically talking to a rock.
He sighed and slapped a hand on my shoulder, saying, “You really shouldn’t mess with that kid. He’s trouble. His family’s trouble too. I don’t wanna see you walk into death, you hear?”
I nodded, astonished that he hadn’t blamed it on me again and carried on for hours.
Soft, padded footsteps crescendoed toward the fireplace where we sat. “Jake?” Aaron piped up, “There’s someone outside…” With that, three evenly spaced knocks echoed eerily through the cabin. Jake rose, carefully, a curious expression dawning on his face. “Aaron, Zane, go to your rooms.”
I obeyed like a good little wolf, dragging my more rebellious little brother by the collar into my room. I left the door slightly ajar, and whispered to Aaron what the situation was.
Jake opened the door cautiously, like it was supposed to explode in his face, or something, and greeted the tall, dark-dressed men in monotone. They explained something to him quickly and quietly, and I couldn’t catch it. Waves of fear grew stealthily in the cabin. I heard Aaron rocking back and forth on my bed. Jake said something like “he’s not here” and tried to shut the door, which was blocked by the darker-skinned man on the right. He stepped inside, and I shut my door, frightened.
Aaron jumped. “What? What’s going on?”
I slapped a hand over his mouth, held up a finger and ushered him under the bed. I then made an effort to get to my door without making a noise so I could lock it.
Just before I could turn the bolt, the door started to open. I snuck behind it, so they wouldn’t see me. I knew it wouldn’t work, why did I make the effort?
Ultimately, they heard me trying to hide my heavy breathing, reached behind the door to get me, and successfully jerked me out by the collar.
Fear took over my body. My fingers went rigged like claws and I stiffened to hide a bit of my physical fear. The darker-skinned man smiled viciously, and that was the moment that I realized I was looking a hardened, skilled wolf in the face.
He turned to Jake. “See you at three o’ clock,” Was all he said. But just before he could push me out the door, my brother started again.
“Wait,” he sounded desperate, “Take me instead,” I didn’t know what was going on. Where were they taking me?
They looked at each other for a moment, and the lighter-skinned one agreed. They dropped me and hooked their arms around my brother. At this angle, it looked like he was crying.
Maybe he was.
Three o’ clock, that’s in ten minutes. I looked outside and noticed that a crowd was forming just a ways away. I sprinted toward my room in a cold sweat so I could warn Aaron of what was happening. I didn’t really know myself; I just wanted someone to stand by if something really went wrong.
Aaron was weeping quietly under the bed, but when he saw that I was still there, he nearly knocked me over. I hushed him and guided him toward the door.
A powerful voice erupted from the other side of the crowd that seemed to shake the trees. “This boy is taking the place of the offender who harmed another clan-member, Zane Zake.” I waded through the crowd. “His punishment is death.”
When I reached the edge of the crowd I saw the glint of Jake’s eyes evaporate as the rope snapped taught around his neck. A barrel crashed. Blood spattered. I found myself screaming in a hole in the crowd with a piece of Aaron’s shirttail in one hand.
The crowd seemed to close in on me, and I got terrible claustrophobia. My legs turned to jelly and my heart shrieked to run far and fast.
They wouldn’t catch me.
So I ran. I ran and ignored the wolves behind me calling my name. I ignored familiarity. I ignored pain.
I ignored the urge to stay awake and the ground rushed up.

~~~

I awoke with a blanket of snow wrapped gently around my shivering body well away from the tribe. At first I was scared, but then I was just cold. There were mountains in the distance, but the direction I came from bared no sign of my starting point.
I was utterly alone.
I shook off most of the snow and began to walk, hoping to come across some sort of hollow tree or other shelter. I had to get out of the weather before I froze completely.
Then realization struck; I was a shape-shifter. I could change into a wolf, a wolf with fur.
As I did so, I felt refreshed and free. It was the sort of glee you get from a new toy or book or other item of interest. Something you’ve been waiting a long time for. My animal legs moved quicker than my human ones, so I decided to use this ability to find somewhere I could sleep.
Why were the fields so quiet? My
tribe was at war, and war never rests. Sure, there was a bit of blood here and a scattered, now useless metal weapon there, but besides that there was nothing. I expected some sort of woodland creature in the very least.
I sped up a bit when something felt wrong. Something unsettling rose in the air around me and only me, like a storm cloud bracing for a flash of fiery lightning.
Then it hit me, literally. I collapsed in the snow for a mere moment, unable to move. Slowly, the world faded whiter and whiter until everything was blank and the cold was gone completely. I was suddenly human.
I stood carefully, but the voice that whispered in my ears was enough to knock me over again.
“Look who finally came.”
It felt like my lips were stitched together. I got on my feet again. It was better than lying on the ground defenseless.
“Took you long enough” My shadow slipped out from under me. Out of it reached a dark haired and tan skinned figure that groped for a handhold to pull itself up. It pulled itself clumsily from the darkness and let its hands drop to its sides. It had small horns protruding about two inches above its noticeably pointed ears through hair as black and soulless as the shadow it pulled itself from.
It scanned me with bored, scarlet eyes.
“You’re a lot scrawnier than I expected.”
Each time it spoke, a ragged breath was drawn as if from the wind itself. And when the words formed in its throat they dipped in tone. He walked closer, a sloppy feat.
“It’s almost like you’re malnourished. Put some meat on those bones, kid!” It punched my arm, hard. “You’ll need it where you’re going.”
It put a long finger on my chin and pulled my jaw open, as if granting me the gift of speech.
“Who are you?”
It laughed. “Xavier. But in the simplest form, I am you; or at least a part of you.”
I stood open mouthed and chose not to believe him. He was obviously a demon; the offspring of dragon-shifter and the late bat-shifter. The horns were a dead giveaway.
“You’re wrong. I’m one hundred percent wolf-shifter. You don’t even look like me.”
His features hardened. “And you barely look a speck like your parents, haven’t you noticed?”
He held my surprised stare for a long moment. Xavier stood a bit higher than me, but as each moment passed I found him getting younger. He eventually reached my height, no more and no less. At this point he looked almost exactly like me, only with darker hair, skin, and red eyes.
He looked more like Jake, Aaron, Dad and the rest of my family than I ever did.
A moment passed in silence and he grinned.
“I seem to have stolen your looks, haven’t I?”
“B-but…”
“You don’t get it; do you, Zane Alair Zake?”
He’d used my entire name as if it would add gravity to the situation. Allow me to explain; shifter’s first and last names refer to their human and animal forms, respectively. The middle refers to either their family name or their tribe name.
He leaned in. “I was trying to escape hell and you blocked me.”
“What?”
Xavier moved back and took a whistling breath. “When demons die – or rather, are murdered – they are sent to the Underworld, just like everything else. But we don’t sleep like everything else. We are locked in tiny cells, still half alive, still able to feel pain and hunger and thirst but unable to die and be rid of it. I got lucky and found a loophole. Escaped too late and became tied to your soul instead of taking you over entirely.”
He looked me over again.
“Somehow, I got the way you were supposed to look and you got how I was supposed to look. Nice hair, by the way.”
I backed up, suddenly cold. He moved in.
“We’re going to have a fun time together, aren’t we?”

~~~

I woke up to soft breathing and a ray of sunlight on my face. The person next to me who had been the one breathing let out a sigh. He moved closer to the bedside and looked me over. For a moment I had mistaken him for Xavier and my eyes snapped open.
“You’re awake, right?”
I managed to cough up a “Yes,”
“Well that’s good. When I found you in the snow I thought for sure you were frozen to death. Good to see you aren’t.”
“Where am I?” This place wasn’t familiar in the least. Even the air smelled different.
“You’re in a little human town named Valarie. It sits practically kissing the base of the mountain.”
A human town; I wouldn’t fit here at all, no, not at all.
“…but you’re among friends.” He added, sweeping my hair off of my forehead. I tried to reach up and block his view of my clan tattoo – that of a wolf’s paw – but he smiled and showed me his own. A weight rose from my shoulders.
“What are you doing here if…?”
He leaned in before he answered. “I was here on a scouting mission for the west,” The west was code for the wolf-shifter’s seaside village. He came a long ways. “While I was here, I received a letter telling me my house had burned down and my family was killed in it. I saw no reason to go home.”
I was about to tell him why I was here, but I was interrupted by a high voice.
“Damien! Is he alive?”
Damien stood up straight and moved away. “Yep, he’s even talking.”
Another person joined us in the room, and Damien signaled to me that she was human. My head sank into the pillow.
“Thank God. What’s your name?”
“…Zane Zake.”
“Cool. This here’s Damien Devilish,” She motioned to him, “And I’m Violet Sarek. Nice to meet you.”
I sat upright. She was a lot… nicer than I expected. I had never seen a human before.
Her dark brown hair settled softly on her fragile shoulders. Her skin was tanned ever so slightly, and shown strongly against the purple slim shirt she was wearing. Her wrists jingled quietly with bangles. Violet’s camouflage cargo pants told me she was a very active person.
Damien’s clothing contrasted highly with his personality. He wore a dark blue t-shirt beneath an open fishnet vest. The sleeves snaked down to his elbows. The tips of his bangs were died red, and he sported black jeans with a red-studded belt.
I looked down at my neon-green and black striped shirt and old torn jeans and felt out
of place. They were also the only things I had brought.
Damien read my mind. “If you want new clothes you’ll have to pay for them. But if you don’t have money, you can work it off like I do.”
He sounded happy.
I knew I wouldn’t be heading home for quite a while. I felt I should stay there for a while. Hell, why not?
“Can I stay somewhere?” I asked politely. “I don’t think I’ll be going home for a while.”
“Sure,” There was Damien again. “You can stay in the guestroom.” He gestured to the
room we were already in.

~~~

The next couple of days went by fast. At the same time, it felt like I’d stayed in this new town for eternities; what made it seem so long were the dreams and thoughts that haunted me. Xavier was turning sleep into a chat session. Every night I would end up face to face with him.
The first night I spent in Valarie was rather peculiar. He wore a different form than the darker form of me. In its place was a creature with massive paws tipped with equally large claws, big bat ears with larger horns beginning behind the ear and rounding around it until there was nothing left. He had a set of wings that sprouted from his back, though they were torn to the point of looking skeletal.
He was looking at the backs of his claws when I first saw him like that.
Upon my entrance, however, he shifted back and approached me like a cautious animal.
If cautious animals wore big cocky grins.
“So we meet again.”
“I’m going to be seeing a lot of you, am I not?”
“It’s sort of to be expected, isn’t it? I’m sort of tied to your soul.”
“Then we’ll have a lot of time to talk,” I sat cross-legged on the floor. He followed, like a shadow, a mirror.
At first there was silence. His grin had dissipated.
“What do you want to know?”
I thought for a moment, and asked, “Why didn’t you talk to me earlier?”
He looked around and ran a hand through his hair, messing it up. “Couldn’t; It was your decision.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know, I just couldn’t,”
“I have a feeling that you escaping late wasn’t the only factor that didn’t let you take me over.”
He ran another hand through his hair and looked around more nervously. He even got up and paced a bit. “Look, I know I’m not the strongest damn demon but what happened just wasn’t fair. She-“
I woke up to Damien, who was shaking my arm telling me it was time for work.

~~~

Xavier wouldn’t respond to the question after that. No matter how many times I asked it, he looked at me with sunken eyes and told me to move onto another subject. One night, I got smart.
“Who is ‘she’?”
“What?”
“Who you were talking about a couple of days ago.”
“…you really are thick.” And that was how the conversation ended.
Work was normally easy. It was just manning a stand and making sure no one stole anything, or helping rebuild a house, etc.; nothing special.
In the afternoons, after work finished, Damien and I would head into the forest and
talk. Sometimes Violet would join us, sometimes she wouldn’t. Her parents were very volatile on that.
I’d talk to Damien about everything. He’s do the same. Conversations would last for hours on morphing subjects; work to Valarie to humans to mountains to war, even religion. I’d had a deep talk with him on that.
“I’m not so sure.” I’d say.
“About what?”
“The Gods. If they were real, why don’t they end this war? It’s killing everyone.”
“…you just have to trust it.”
I’d paused. “I can’t put trust in something with no face, no form.”
He’d looked at me funny. “How can you not believe it, Zane? They’re everywhere! Sage is guarding us this very second!” He was referring to the comforting cocoon-like embrace that the trees created around us. Sage was the Goddess of the Earth and Moon.
“But why doesn’t she guard the soldiers on the fields? Neither Amber nor Sapphire ‘protects’ us. None of them seem to even care.”
He’d paused there. “…even if you don’t believe, I do. I believe in Thunder and Amber, Sage and Sapphire, Sara and even Silver.” He’d listed them all: God of the Sky,
Goddess of the Sun, Earth and Moon, God of the Water, Goddess of the Underworld and God of Emotion, respectfully.


A few days after that, Damien and Violet had this wonderful idea to go down to the river near town and go swimming. One problem: after my assault with Cannan, I was
deathly afraid of large bodies of water. And even more deathly afraid of admitting it. I came anyways, saying I’d stay on the sidelines.
They splashed me. A lot.
I’d worn swimming trunks with nothing special on them in comparison to Damien’s. I swear he was able to take anything, add a chain to it, and pull it off. His were
black with neon green flames and a neon-lined chain hooked around the pockets. Overboard as usual, but he made up for it by being so nice.
Violet wore a plain purple swimsuit. She’d gone for ‘nothing special’, just like me.
Only she could stand water.
Eventually, Damien thought he could coax me into the water to show me it was fine. He’d crept out when I was distracted and pushed me in. A swirl of emotions came over
me as I went under. Fear, anger, sadness…
I groped for a handhold on the shoreline and found one. After a long moment of remembering where I was, I shook myself off like a dog and ran back to the cabin, feeling sick.
As I laid my still-wet head on the pillow, I drank in the scene that I’d left. Violet was
wide-eyed at my reaction, Damien visibly shaken. I felt sorry. I shouldn’t have gone with them.
That evening, Damien didn’t speak a word to me.

~~~

I woke up early that morning and spent some of my funds on a new gray shirt with three black lines running diagonally from the bottom right to the top left and a
cheap knife. I changed into it and headed into the forest to train.
It wasn’t a work day anyways.
Damien found me after a few hours had passed. I was hungry, tired, and a bit cut up
but I didn’t want to stop. I had rolled up my jeans to allow faster movement and my legs were damaged from it.
He went back and brought me some bread and stayed to watch me train.
After a while, we headed back into town. I was going back to get a fresh pair of pants
and a shirt to change into after I took a bath in the stream, but we ran into Violet and my plans got changed. She insisted I bandage my legs and hands.
I left without taking her advice.
Damien cornered me on my way back, followed by Violet, who took my injuries into her
own hands, muttering about how I could get infected if I didn’t so anything.
I’d missed having people worry about me.
My parents were the first to die in my family. My father was killed in war, but details of
his death were never really released to us. Some said he’d been murdered by another soldier who happened to be one of his old friends. Then my mother died by poison a year and a half later. At this point I was six years old and paranoid about everything.
Jake was softer back then. I guess it was because Alice was alive. They were the same age – 11 – but Alice was very mature compared to the other eleven-year-olds. They acted as guardians to Aaron and me.
Then Alice was kidnapped and killed on the birthday she shared with Jake. He became noticeably colder and cared for four-year-old Aaron and seven-year-old me. He’d sneak out late at night to train. Alice’s death had hit him the hardest out of all of us. At this time, I started to go to the lake.
Jake’s death drove me out of my village and into this one. Only when I was fully
established in Valarie did I realize that I left Aaron all alone. But I couldn’t bear the thought of returning to a place filled with memories of death. The memory of Aaron and the house was tearing me apart.
It was a week before I accepted my theory that he was dead. I had to move on. The past was behind me, there was nothing I could do.
I swallowed those bland lies like they were the only things I could really trust anymore.

~~~

I took another day off to train. It kept my mind off things and helped make me stronger.
Violet found me, winced at how cut up I was, and took a seat on the grass to watch. I had to tone down my anger with her there.
The second I slowed down to catch my breath was the second she started making conversation.
“Why are you out here?”
I didn’t respond. I thought it was obvious.
After a moment, she sighed. “You’re very antisocial aren’t you?”
I looked at her.
“More socially awkward; where I came from, I had no friends. I don’t really know how to act in front of them.” I jabbed a few more times at a tree.
She tilted her head in an interested way, expecting me to explain further.
In reality, though, I just kept on punching.
“…what about the water thing? I sounded like you were drowning.”
I didn’t respond.
“Zane,”
I was supposed to be the one who got annoyed since she was the one asking questions. I flipped open my knife and shoved it into the bark and walked away without looking her in the eye. As I left, I heard her breathing settle back to a normal pace.
She came to watch me train the rest of that week. Whether it was the waning hours of night or the hazy dawn, she was there. Damien would spar with me sometimes, but it was rare.
She’d always try to talk to me. Most of the time I wouldn’t answer because when I did
it felt like I was confining secrets to her which wasn’t right. Violet was still human. No matter how close we grew that would never change. The same could be said for me.
One night I wandered out to the usual spot and sank down in front of the tree I used as a target. It was beaten and bruised, scarred and bleeding. It was a very comfortable spot. Violet came, right on time, but instead of sitting in her usual spot she took her place alongside me.
“No training today?”
I nodded.
“What’s up?”
I shrugged.
“Why don’t you ever talk? I don’t bite.”
“…I’d prefer if you shared more about yourself than try to get things out of me. I’m not too proud, you see. If I was…”
“You’d be more open?”
I shrugged. The night air was cool and it wrapped its tendrils around our shoulders and each hair on the back of our necks.
She shrugged herself and told me about her life here in Valarie.
“…and when Damien found you face-up in the snow I was sure you were dead,” She paused and looked at me. “But then you woke up and I was so glad-” She’d cut herself off. I didn’t really understand why, but she’d sort of laughed as she did it.
“What about Damien? How long have you known him?”
Another shrug. “Two or three years, I suppose. When he first came here he said he’d only be here for a short while and that he didn’t want to grow close to anyone because goodbyes were always painful, but he ended up staying a lot longer than expected.”
“You sound like you get a lot of visitors.”
“We do. A lot of them are soldiers that ran out of rations and they need more. Then they raid the stalls of all our cloth and weapons, so we have to make more.” She sighed. “Between you and me, I don’t think the army is all that useful. I mean, they get rid of those damn dogs but not as often as we want. The other part of the time they just mess around...”
I stopped listening at ‘damn dogs’. Friend or no friend, Violet was still human.

~~~

(To Be Continued)

(Update: 4-25-10)


(Allen, please move this to Online Stories. Thank you)


So, comments, questions, critique?

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:04 am

Still think he's hot? haha


Entire update: LETS GO SHOPPING~

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:51 am

Hmm...
maybe.

Also,

SHOPPING WITH ZANE AND DAMIEN, NOW THAT'S EPIC.

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:41 am

ARGH
Update.
Also Xavier's demon form.






















































































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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:23 pm

Nice.

Also, Lol at tha last picture.

He doesn't really look that scary :/

Lol.
A nine year old works.

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:59 am

I'd imagined a conversation between Zane and maybe Damien about how similar demons were to headcrabs.

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:12 am

Ni~ice

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:34 am

I was listening to this throughout the entire update.
I think the song leaked or something.

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PostSubject: Re: Shift Beast - (Actual Story, spoilers included)   Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:07 pm

I would've fleeped out at her at that point.

But that's just me being Cho-ish.

Also, Lol to song. C:

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