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They left Collin’s suite behind and he heard the man murmuring to tiny boys as they passed. “Mim’da, what happened to him?,” one child asked in concern.
“Cody, open the door to Zeke’s room,” Collin ordered.
“Yes, mim’da.” The boy rushed ahead. When the door was flung open suddenly, Cohone let out a little shriek of fright. Zeke put his hand on the boy’s arm looking like a tiny child next to the Frenchman.
“It’s ok…you are mine, now. Noone can harm you,” the boy said gently. “What is the problem, Brice? Have you brought me a pet?,” the kid asked eagerly. Shadow bucked in protest until Collin nearly dropped him.
“No, Zeke…Shadow is not yours. Settle down,” he soothed brushing his face along the cat’s neck as he hugged him to keep the jerking to a minimum. Finally, Shadow grew still.
“I see,” the boy sighed. “Then, what do you need, Brice?”
“I was wondering if you would allow him to stay here just…” Shadow revolted. “Long enough to get a healer to look at him! Damn it! Don’t you want to feel better?,” he snarled growing angry at his temper tantrum.
The cat turned his head towards the man’s voice. He concentrated hard. “He is trying to talk to you. Let him in.” The boy was powerful enough to feel it even at a distance, he noticed. Collin was powerful, and shielded against mind probes. The cat grew frustrated.
“Alright…Talk. No skimming my memories and thoughts. Just words.” The warning was thick in his voice. Shadow huffed in growing panic. Zeke came closer and touched the animal’s shoulder in sympathy. A sudden blast of white light burst forth from his fur! The animal’s scream was loud in the silence of the room. Shadow’s fear blossomed ten-fold. He struggled until Collin dropped him. “Back off, Zekar!”
“I hurt him…,” the child whispered stricken.
“No…He is Dark Clan! ‘Light cannot touch the Dark!’ Stay back,” he warned.
The cat grew motionless at his words, still terrified and in pain, but daring to trust that they understood what he had been trying to tell them, at last. Collin knelt to examine the newest wound. “He is okay. Just a flesh wound. Some missing hair, and burnt skin. He is fine. You are alright.” Collin stroked his fur letting his scent wash away everything else in the room. “You are alright…” He slowly stopped shaking as the slaver held him. Stroking him. Rocked and soothed him. “Shh. I understand. No healer. I will find something else.” Shadow did not wait around to see what that would be. He passed out too exhausted to be frightened any longer.
He woke with a jolt of surprise. He knew this place. It was where they were kept before Collin had accepted them. There were many voices in the darkness. The sound of a steady drip that slowly drove anyone inside crazy to get out…away from the sound. It smelled of earth and fear. He realized what woke him. Tiponya’s moan. The girls had made it here safely; he smelled her sister. On himself he smelled medicine, but strangely he felt worse. He tried to stand and found out he was bound from head-to-toe. He made a sound of protest. Instantly, a boy was at his side comforting him. “No movements,” he cautioned. “You were hurt very bad.” He turned to the voice almost desperate and concentrated on his mind. The strange boy was like an open book before him. He rolled into his thoughts like an ocean current, strong and swift.
The memory he found there disturbed him. The Death Hordes had swept through his town destroying all within sight. Collin and his armies had surrounded the youngest of the children and shielded them from the destruction. Then, he had sent them all through a portal to this place. They owed him for their lives, but mobilbahis güvenilir mi using them in his whorehouse was just wrong, Shadow fumed. The kid had seen the Death Horde and lived, he mused. Not something many creatures could claim. In his mind, nothing was worse than becoming one of the ghouls that had killed his friends and family. The images in his mind horrified Shadow so much he almost released the boy accidentally. It had been a short assault by the Dane, but…Sufficiently rolled, he changed the view. He turned back time to watch a man breaking his own bones, resetting them so he could heal faster. They had salved the sores, bandaged the bloody spots, and tied him to keep him from shifting his rebroken limbs inadvertently. Disgusted at looking at his beauty ruined, he left the stranger’s conscienceness returning to his own.
What he needed was food! What were these people that they did not feed him? De ‘Vorga leaned down beside him. “You are hungry. How do I know that?” Probably the same way Shadow knew he was half dragonette. The mental melding leaked little bits of knowledge back and forth. “Can I help?,” the boy offered with just a trace of fear. “Can you feed from a palm? I can’t risk a wound anywhere else.” The cat moved nearly crying at the prospect. “Open your mouth.” He did. The boy didn’t trust him enough to drop his hand between his teeth. Instead, he sliced a deep cut into his palm and directed the flow onto his tongue. The cat licked swiftly drinking in every drop. He was purring before he even recognized it. It was De ‘Vorga’s laughter that made him aware of it. As the cut closed, the boy let his hand drop closer until Shadow could lick the last traces away. He laughed again. “That tickles!,” he protested. Then, he drew the hand away flexing it to test the remaining soreness. “Feel better now?” The cat continued to purr. He could feel his body absorbing the liquid into his starving cells. It spread like the finest, aged scotch through his bloodstream.
For just a second, he saw a smooth, long, feminine-styled face framed with rich brown hair. It was curly, and dark streaming around his beautiful face like a cascade of color. He hadn’t caught his eyes in the brief flash well enough to remember what color they had been. He mourned not knowing. De ‘Vorga was unusually plain for their race, but still quite stunning when compared to a human. A race Shadow had spent countless centuries watching. “Collin asked me to stay by your side, but I must leave you in a second. I’m due on stage…”
“Yes, well…at the moment,” the doctor advised, “I would be more worried about your newest friend. There is something very badly wrong with him. Until you discover what it is…he’ll remain crippled. I know how badly you hate that!”
“I’ll take you back, doc.” Collin’s voice had lost all trace of warmth. Shadow perked up in warning.
“Now, now…Don’t get all bitter! I have known you for over fifty years, mi’ lord,” he teased in amusement. “Never once in all of that time have you left a creature broken beyond repair. This one wasn’t even your doing! You had no hand in it…yet you feel responsible for him. You will try to heal him.” The doctor patted Collin’s arm in an old-fashioned gesture as he stood. “No need to protest, I know your standard excuse! It is no use to you broken…I know,” he sighed. “Still…,” he broke off fondly. Collin gave up on the old gentleman. They left the room. Shadow moved. He kept crawling until his face hit flesh. The owner jumped startled, but allowed him to come closer. He sighed happily. It was a very small child. He slept with the tiny thing clutching him in fear.
He didn’t recognize mobilbahis the language the child spoke, but it was clearly telling him something when he woke up. He snuggled closer and felt another child holding him too. There were two of them. Both so very young, and alone. He nudged one young mind curiously just to be certain the two would be able to survive here.
He recoiled away in sheer terror! He stumbled back away on his shaking legs. The two were…he sat in shock. Where had Brice Collin gotten them from?, he thought furious. They were not supposed to exist any longer! He had been on the quest to exterminate their species. He had been one of the people to slaughter men, women and children. It had been his job, and he had done so without asking questions. He should have asked…
One of the two began to cry. He felt like a heel. The one he had connected to for that brief second sat watching him. He didn’t want to do it…but he edged slowly back towards the smell of terror and tears. He was shaking from the amount of courage it took him to return to them. He remained tense. Paralyzed by his own fear, but the crying began to slow. The boy touched him gently, petting him carefully to keep from frightening the cat even more. Shadow pushed his nose into the boy’s bare stomach and inhaled his scent deeply. He held it memorizing the smell. This done, he turned to the other one. It was a girl, and not related by her smell, he thought in surprise. Did Collin mean to capture a breed able pair? He looked up and licked the girl’s face. She had a classic cat nose and pointed ears and the usual furred face…just as he remembered their race. So cute, so sweet, so gentle…and he had helped to eradicate them from all of the planets. All because they had befriended and hidden a known, rogue ancient. They had loved him, accepted him, and paid the price. The gentle creatures hadn’t deserved the slaughter, but the ruling council had declared them overly dangerous. They had been breeding with him. That ancient male…Too late now, he thought sadly.
He waited until the two children slept and he moved silently away. He felt dozens of hands stroking his fur as he passed…all small. He eventually found someone not interested in touching him. This creature was huddled into the wall away from him. He heard the chains move, and knew that the stranger saw him. It was awake. But it made no movement to reach out. It was afraid and cautious. He pretended he didn’t know the creature was there, using his blindness to his advantage as he stumbled across the creature’s feet barely held out from his body.
The man moved swiftly to catch him from falling, telling him many things. One, he was considerate of others. Two, he knew the cat was injured badly. And three, he cared. The strange man lifted him as he caught him. The chains were loud as he moved. He was careful to hold him gently, preventing accidental injuries. So he knew his bones were frail. He nuzzled the shoulder he was drawn against and licked in warning. The stranger tensed but didn’t drop him like he had expected. So he sank his teeth and drank and drank. The man held him tighter without thought and Shadow made a sound of protest. It had hurt!
“Sorry,” the man whispered relaxing his hold forcibly. It was a little known language he spoke. Very old. He licked the wound closed sealing it shut as he backed away lazily. “You don’t seem to be a prisoner here,” the man mused softly. “You have free run of the place. What do you think? I know you are blind, but…How can you stand it?” The cat turned to face him solemnly. “You understand me, don’t you? They are babies…Just babies! How can you stand to do nothing, mobilbahis giriş knowing what he intends to do to them?” Finally, he understood what the creature was asking. Pedophiles disturbed him. Shadow blinked repeatedly.
How could he explain that it didn’t bother him the way it did most people? Their race was born steeped in sexual atmospheres. It brought out their instincts, magical abilities, and bound their ties ever closer. It was how everything was done! A virgin of their kind was a weak creature no matter the age…It wasn’t so much when a child was taken that disturbed him, so much as how it was done. Done badly would scar an individual for centuries or longer. Done well, would increase the individuals ability to survive and grow powerful. They were not human! Since when had their own race began to think that they were so frail! Their kind reacted differently to such things. He had been initiated into the pleasures of the realms of sexual satisfaction before even turning two. How could he complain? It had been wonderful! There wasn’t a moment in his life that he didn’t think about it. For him…the terror had come later! “You don’t disapprove…Do you?,” he asked the cat in confusion. “Why?”
He growled irritated that he needed to weld his mind to another person so soon. This was becoming a very big habit!, he snarled. He sought the creature’s mind; it was difficult. The man was old. When he finally penetrated the natural barriers that seemed to solidify as they aged, he found a willing mind. Fortunate, since he wouldn’t have been able to do it, otherwise! He drew the creature into a distant memory. Time had blurred the faces and features into generic shapes, but the impressions were clear.
A man had adopted him from right after his birth. He still had his parents, but this man was closer than even the bond he had with them. The man was allowed to do with him as he pleased no matter what. It was once their way. A companion had more right to the child than anyone save for their mate. He hadn’t mistreated him; he had grown very precocious. He had adored and trusted his companion in every way imaginable…at the time. He had been content, happy, and spoiled by the man. Loving his place in life. And why not? Why would he protest being adored and loved and sexually seduced? He hadn’t once been hurt, disapproved of, or made to feel inferior! Why would he protest children finding the same? He did disapprove of it being forced, however. Just not it being done.
“My Gods!,” the man whispered when he came back to himself. “You are one of the original Clan! Not one of An’dunn Iere’s little freaks! You were a Vampire before he moved the survivors to his lands to protect them. No wonder you didn’t like those kids! You lived on the same planet with them when they ran wild; when they were screwing that damn heathen! Before the planet revolted into utter chaos and destroyed itself. You are old, my little cat…You are one of the few to even understand why An’shion was NOT a god, but a wicked creature steeped in sin. Very old…” Shadow stared at where he guessed the man’s face to be and gave him his coldest look. “As old as Antonie? OR older?” Older, Shadow thought remembering. He remembered the Sieve Gadoma’s birth. A sight few living could remember. He had actually been there at the moment he had entered the worlds.
But there was NO WAY IN HELL he was telling anyone that! Especially not this creature before him!. He didn’t see himself as an ancient; even though, he was too old to count his age. And Antonie was known to all as The Ancient of this Age! He also didn’t see himself as very powerful. Yet he was older than a Guardian. And initiated into sex at an early age. He had been very powerful when he walked the worlds as a child, so he must still be…yet…Yet, he was just a shadow! Not a player…He didn’t want anyone to see him, or notice if they saw. He wasn’t an ancient walker…He was simply Shadow! And he liked it that way…
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