Tales of a Shifter - Broken Bonds (Part 4)

Tales of a Shifter - Broken Bonds (Part 4)

Status: Finished

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Summary

PART FOUR- The Blood of Brandon Blood. It is vital. It is….power. For Brandon it is pain and darkness…and his destiny. The Flame. The power within him. The secrets behind him. The men that want to control him. It is all connected by webs of betrayals and tragedy. The truth is coming out. Too ugly to accept. To powerful to ignore. But new threats intermingle with the truth. Blurring lines. Creating hostility. And as our two heroes struggle with passion, they will find that these new threats are impossible for them to ignore. Jacob, a black beast form Brandon’s past. He was once beloved and now he is a relentless Lion driven by secular and non-secular goals that speak to madness….and grand plans. Jacob has come at the behest of the Alchemists Clan, a mortal organization that moves in the shadows. Powerful….deadly…..mysterious. And Brandon belongs to them. His father Hovel is their Leader. Ezekiel is forced to ask himself who is Hovel of the Alchemists? What does he have planned for Brandon? Brandon will be forced to ask what more is he willing to lose as the darkness from his past threatens to destroy any and all light? Will he be able to accept Ezekiel’s care, compassion and most of all his affection? As old friendships and betrayals take center stage in this part of the Tales…..what will Brandon do to remain free. To overcome his perverted past and dammed future? What can Ezekiel do to prevent more pain? To strip away everything but the burning hunger between them? Can the past be forgiven? Can it be ignored? What will new facts shed light on….Will the Blood and death continue to flow? Our heroes stand at the precipice of their emotions, even as The Blood of Brandon releases insanity and chaos.

Summary

PART FOUR- The Blood of Brandon

Blood. It is vital. It is….power. For Brandon it is pain and darkness…and his destiny. The Flame.

The power within him. The secrets behind him. The men that want to control him. It is all connected by webs of betrayals and tragedy.

The truth is coming out. Too ugly to accept. To powerful to ignore. But new threats intermingle with the truth.

Blurring lines. Creating hostility.

And as our two heroes struggle with passion, they will find that these new threats are impossible for them to ignore.

Jacob, a black beast form Brandon’s past. He was once beloved and now he is a relentless Lion driven by secular and non-secular goals that speak to madness….and grand plans.

Jacob has come at the behest of the Alchemists Clan, a mortal organization that moves in the shadows. Powerful….deadly…..mysterious.

And Brandon belongs to them. His father Hovel is their Leader.

Ezekiel is forced to ask himself who is Hovel of the Alchemists? What does he have planned for Brandon?

Brandon will be forced to ask what more is he willing to lose as the darkness from his past threatens to destroy any and all light? Will he be able to accept Ezekiel’s care, compassion and most of all his affection?

As old friendships and betrayals take center stage in this part of the Tales…..what will Brandon do to remain free. To overcome his perverted past and dammed future?

What can Ezekiel do to prevent more pain? To strip away everything but the burning hunger between them?

Can the past be forgiven? Can it be ignored?

What will new facts shed light on….Will the Blood and death continue to flow?

Our heroes stand at the precipice of their emotions, even as The Blood of Brandon releases insanity and chaos.

Chapter53 (v.1) - Chapter 53

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 17, 2016

Reads: 330

Comments: 1

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 17, 2016

A A A

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Chapter--

 

Ezekiel and his family gathered wordlessly in the front foyer.

 

When he came upon them….Ezekiel was neither surprised nor shocked to see that every single one of the Guardians were strapped down with personal weapons.

 

Mantilo had a giant skiing blade strapped to his thig. Erin and Drin were both carrying blades of varying sized attacked to their belts. Nate was carrying a six shot in his jeans. While Lander and Glen were weaponless. Both of them had always preferred using their claws and fangs in battle

 

Ezekiel, after leaving Brandon alone, had made a stop off in his room to pick up the blade that he had tacked to the wall a few feet above his head board. The blade was the length of his forearm, serrated and polished. It was mostly a decorative piece that Ezekiel had taken from the one time his father had taken the Guardians to visit the neighboring Bird Clan.

 

And yet even though the blade was far too excessive and expensive to carry around all the time….it was still a deadly and beautiful piece of metal work. It felt appropriate to don it at his waist in a sheath.

 

 In this instance Ezekiel carried the blade for two reasons.

 

Firstly something inside of him felt off about meeting Hovel. Something in Brandon’s warning rung true in Ezekiels heart. The Grand Master was dangerous….perhaps even more dangerous then Jacob.

 

Secondly mortal guns were unreliable. And required precious moments to reload.  Most Shifters shied away from something like hand guns. What good was a weapon that most of your opponents could simply dodge after all?

 

Nate liked them, likening the bullets of mortal guns to arrows, but Ezekiel had always preferred blade and claw and tooth to the devices of man. He and his brothers were experts with most blades that he touched and as a Reaver his strength was as monstrous as any Shifter time’s two. So a blade became a clever in Ezekiels hands every time he swung it.

 

When Ezekiel finally joined his family in the foyer, with the blade at his hip, no one spoke….or exchanged pleasantries. There was a distinct air of business and tension in the air.

 

Jacob, who was standing with Mantilo and Glen cast all of the Guardians strange looks of derision and muttered beneath his breath. “Jezz people…It’s a fucking meeting not world war 3.” The Lion looked completely unfazed by anything around him, his cool cocky smirk front and center at the crack of dawn.

 

He was mostly ignored.

 Before Mantilo tossed the door open, and softly hissed. “Lead the way Lion.”

 

Jacob wordlessly walked out of the door, jogged down the front steps and started marching to the west. Where Hovel would be waiting for them.

 

Hovel and Drin….who were not accompanying them, stood back as the rest of the Guardians filled out of the doorway. Ezekiel was heading out, but the soft call of Erin halted his steps.

 

Ezekiel turned around, and was surprised when both of his cousins captured him in hugs. The shock was fleeting as Ezekiels heart melted and he hugged Erin and Drin back, careful not to crush Erin as he embraced her.

 

Being so caught up in the events of the last few months Ezekiel suddenly realized that he had been neglecting the youngest members of his family. It was only natural in a tension filled time such as this, that the two youngest Guardians would seek Ezekiel out for comfort. Especially since Ezekiel was more than their cousin….for many years he had been a stand in parent and confidant to the young pair.

 

Ezekiel rumbled deep in his chest as he pulled them deeper against himself, sharing the warmth and strength of his Leopard. After a few seconds the mates pulled back. Ezekiel let them go with a smile and a question. “What was that about?”

 

Drin replied first with a reserved smile gracing his young face. “We just want you to careful out there Ezekiel.” He said softly.

 

Erin leaned into Drin and said next. “I’ve got this terrible feeling in my stomach about this meeting. I don’t trust Jacob or Brandon’s father….I’m sure they have something planned!” she hissed. It was surprising to see her looking so stiff and anxious.

Wanting to alleviate some of their worry Ezekiel leaned forwards. He ruffled Drin’s hair and placed a kiss to Erin’s forehead. Erin’s hazel eyes closed for a second as she embraced his touch.

 

Then Ezekiel pulled back. “Don’t worry guys…” He said and tried to uplift them with a smile. “Nothing is going to happen. We’ll all be back in a few hours….and nothing bad is going to go down at this meeting.”

 

 

Not waiting for a response and knowing that he was going to be left behind if he waited too much longer Ezekiel gave Drin a stiff pat on the shoulder, waved at Erin, turned and dashed out of the door.

 

But the smile that he held on his face for their benefit fell away as he raced across the grass field outside of his house. He didn’t believe his own words. What he did believe was that the blade at his hip….was probably going to do more talking at the meeting then Ezekiel would.

 

****

Traveling to the meeting spot was a long thee hour march filled with little talk or joy. Everyone was hyper vigilant and….deeply curious about the dark and dangerous man that ruled the secretive and powerful shadow organization of the Alchemists.

 

For many of the Guardians this would be the first time in their lives setting eyes on another mortal, an alchemist and a Clan Head other than their own father.

 

And yet as heavy as the moment was….the true shock came in the form of Hovels physical appearance.

 

 

Jacob navigated Western expanse of the Leopards lands with some difficulty. More than once the Lion did have to ask Mantilo to navigate the dim interior of the Western Pines, which clustered across miles of thick spongey underbrush and narrow clearings. Cardinals, squirrels and insects chirped and whistled all around as the strong and airy scent of pine floated across the land,

 

 

They traveled steadily forwards for many miles until finally the canopy above suddenly opened up to reveal a single man, in flawless billowing white robes….standing in the center of the clearing.

 

The moment Ezekiel and the rest of the Guardians saw him, they all paused in the shadow of the forest. Each of them reaching out with the senses of their inner beasts, testing the air, feeling out the area.

 

Looking for hidden weapons…or an ambush from the trees.

 

But as Ezekiel lent himself to the senses of his Leopard and looked over at the strange man Ezekiel couldn’t see anything strapped to his hips or a gun held in his hands. The man was completely unarmed. And….there was no one else hidden in the trees….the Alchemists had come alone to the meeting.

 

This fact was like an instant red flag to Ezekiels inner beast that pushed him to reach out deeper, and scent the wind more intently for signs of danger….but nothing came to Ezekiel except for the despised thick scent of Lion’s musk, the scent of his brothers and finally the scent his parents and the Pine.

 

On top of this Ezekiel could also smell and sense something coming off of the stranger. It was the odd smell…of something burning.

 

This was not a pleasant smell like Brandon’s sharp scent.

 

And yet the smell of burning wasn’t extremely offensive. It wasn’t like burning paper or flesh. The scent of burning….was light like a puff of smoke…or a zing of hot metal.

 

It was odd….and for all that Ezekiel could sense the smell emanated from Brandon’s father as the man stood, arms clenched behind his back, and his clean white robes danced in the soft mid-day breeze.

 

Instantly a small flare of anger flittered across Ezekiels mind as he slowly began to take full stock of the Man that ruled the Alchemist for the first time.

 

And the first time that he would see the Grand Master….outside of Brandon’s broken memories was something of shock to Ezekiel.

 

The most shocking thing about the moment was not the fact that the man had appeared before them alone and unarmed….it was the fact…..that nothing about him had changed much over the years.

 

From the memories in Brandon’s mind, three long years had actually passed since Brandon himself had laid eyes on his father the Grand Master.

 

 And yet….Ezekiel was looking at a stark Hovel was a tall man, with a slim, shoulder, waist and arms. He also had sever sharp features, intense blue eyes which were framed by a pair of slick black rimmed glassed. His face may have been handsome, but it was also made up of something sharp and dark and unpleasant, with a shock of platinum blond hair, that was slicked back towards his nape. Thin lips, pointed chin and a strict posture made up the rest of the man. 

 

Ezekiel shuttered at the thought that this man truly was Brandon’s sire. Ezekiel was completely unable to pick out a single thing in this man’s body that mirrored the beauty and grace in Brandon’s every move.

 

What desperate woman had allowed such a dark spirit to touch her? To give her a child….and what had become of that woman after Brandon was conceived?

 

Oddly enough seeing Brandon’s father blossomed questions about his mother. Questions that Ezekiel decided to file away, seeing as this meeting was more about protecting Brandon, then forcing the men chasing him to reveal their twisted plots or history.

 

The Grand Master himself didn’t look like a man that had come to do much talking anyways. The Alchemist stood in the middle of the forest clearing, stock still, eyes focused on Ezekiel and his family as they arrived.

 

No expression touched him pale face, or hard eyes….Brandon’s father seemed far too reserved to Ezekiel. It was like Hovel was holding back unimaginable rage or a fountain of unspoken words.

 

After a good five second pause, where Ezekiel and all of his family members finally broke away from the shadows of the forest and marched out into the open, no one spoke.

 

And even when Mantilo, Glen, Lander, Nate and Ezekiel lined up opposite the Grand Master, with a good teen feet between them, Hovel didn’t speak….and his expression didn’t change

 

Then without an ounce of hesitation Hovel pulled his left hand from behind his back, and beckoned Jacob to his side. Dark blue eyes moved to encompasses the Lion with a mild sense of recognition and annoyance. But Hovel didn’t speak and he mostly ignored everyone else completely.

 

Casting Ezekiel a nasty smirk Jacob silently walked away to convene with the Grand Master. No one made a move to stop him, even though Ezekiel couldn’t help but hiss at the Lions swaggering back.

 

Once Jacob had crossed the space, he and Hovel didn’t share smiles or any form of pleasantry…they seemed both disgusted by each other…and determined to cooperate.

 

“Where is he?” Hovel said calmly to Jacob once he was close enough. Hovel cast him a steely glance then looked back at the Guardians as he waited for Jacobs reply.

 

“They are hiding him in the mansion to the far north east of here. As far as I can tell they have been housing him in their Lands for the last few months.” Jacob sharply reported, fangs flashing as he spoke. Neither Shifter nor Alchemist made an attempt to hide what and who they were speaking about.

 

“So you’re Hovel?” Ezekiel said not liking being ignored and not caring that he was interrupting their talk about Brandon.

 

The man and Jacob both cast Ezekiels cold dirty smirks. But it was Hovel that spoke out.

 

 “And you…” He bit off in a smooth and unemotional tone. “You are the vermin standing in my way.”

 

“What the fuck did you just say to us?” Lander loudly hissed, but Mantilo quickly spoke over him and Ezekiel who was seconds from shouting out a threat.

 

Not steeping even an inch away from Glen’s side, Mantilo simply raised his deep voice and easily spoke across the small clearing.

 

First with a dominate growl and a flash of fangs Mantilo spoke to his Guardians. “Calm yourselves everyone!” Mantilo commanded. With a small hiss Lander pulled back and grew silent. Ezekiel also grew silent.

 

Without missing a beat Mantilo turned his attention to the Grand Master. A small mask of displeasure settled across Mantilo’s strong features, but he refrained from hissing or snarling as he spoke.

 

“Welcome to my home Grand Master, Hovel of the Alchemists.” Mantilo formally greeted the man. “I am Mantilo, Clan Head to my people, the men standing with me are the Guardians of the Clan…and this is my Mate Glen” Mantilo glanced towards Glen, then he continued. “Unfortunately…though this is my first time meeting you in person Grand Master…It is quickly turning out to be a very unpleasant endeavor.” Mantilo coldly outlined. “So to avoid any accidents let’s keep this meeting brief? You came her to meet with us about your son?”

 

“You know exactly why I have come here Leopard King and Queen…and I don’t care to play politics with beasts.” Hovel sharply retorted in a tone that only a few foolish men had ever taken with the Leopard Clan Head before. “I did not come here to be interrogated, or compromise with you people…I only have one question for you. Will you give me what I came for?”

 

Showing restraint that Ezekiel could only envy, both Mantilo and Glen seemed to ignore the rude words of the Alchemist, instead Mantilo remained reserved and solemn in his reply.

 

“No.” Mantilo said easily.

 

After his single word Ezekiel swore he saw every part of Hovel and Mantilo’s bodies grow tight with concealed anger and hidden promise of violence.

 

 It was nearly suffocating being in the same vicinity as two obviously powerful…and dominate figures. Ezekiel sensed the powers at paly as he stood in the cauldron with his brothers watching Jacob, Hovel Mantilo and Glen interacting.

 

It was something deadly, and dangerous….and bloody.

 

Neither man was willing to back down, break eye sight….or compromise.

 

Glen and all of the other Guardians must have sensed the shift in the air that spelled out danger, but no one made any aggressive moves, as Mantilo quietly gestured to the Grand Master and kept speaking.

 

“You request that I release Brandon, your son, back into your care, but I simply must refuse you the right of a Clans Man Hovel. I know everything that you’ve been doing.” Mantilo sharply snarled at the Alchemist. Then Ezekiels father pointed to himself and the other Guardians.

 

 “WE know what you have been doing in that twisted little base…” Hovel didn’t reply so Mantilo kept speaking. Outlining everything that had been revealed to him, so that there was no room for Hovel to argue or rebuttal. “Torture, rituals, sick experiments….Breeding the Ghouls!? We know it all! Brandon is now and forever under my Clans protection. He will not be leaving with you today. Or any day!”

 

Staunch silence followed for only a few seconds and in those seconds….nothing happened.

 

What did Ezekiel expect from a man he had watched torture Brandon and treat life like it was a toy? Did Ezekiel expect the Alchemist to show remorse? Fear? Anger? Or even a hint of denial?

 

Yes….And how foolish he was to expect these things.

 

Because at the revelation that all of Hovels sins had been revealed to the world; Hovel didn’t even flinch. He only sighed, glanced at Jacob, rolled his deep blue cold eyes and shrugged.

 

“Ah, so you know all there is to know?” The Grand master quietly relied offering no explanation or hesitation. He continued with a cold growl.  “The poor boy, he was always weak. Brandon couldn’t see the importance of what we were trying to do. He never could…”

 

“What is wrong with you….He’s your son!” Glen hissed suddenly slamming her foot into the earth and cutting Hovel off. Her face was clouded in a rare mask of open fury.

 

“You’re disgusting!” Nate rumbled on the curt end of her cry.

 

Apparently unfazed by the verbal lashing and the obvious rage that was being displayed Hovel let loose a chortle, but the laugh was dead and ominous. “Well your aversion to me is understandable. Still if I am disgusting that is in the eye of the beholder. Because I too find you and your people’s existence to be utterly revolting!” Hovel replied sharp and cold.

 

With a small nip of surprise on her face Glen slowly repeated his words. “Our people?” She asked, then she lifted her eyebrows and asked. “You mean Shifters?”

 

As if he was tickled by his mother’s shock, Hovel brushed nonexistent dust from his immaculately bright white robes and scoffed. ““Yes…All of you beasts wearing our skin.” Hovel replied at a nasty tone that was all the more chilling because it was cold and measured and unflinching in the hatred that it spewed forwards. “You Shifters pretending to be more than the filth, beneath humanity….its sickening to see.” Hovel sighed, dropped his hands and shook his head as if in disappointment. “Your kind simply needs to be eradicated!”

 

A small disgusted smirk touched Ezekiels lips as he cast Jacob a cold inquiry.

“And this is the man that you serve Jacob?” he asked the Lion.

 

Ezekiel was not wholly surprised by the hatred in Hovel…Hate was natural. It was what every War in history and every unpleasant feeling amounted to in the hearts of men and Shifters.

 

 But to know that Hovel held such hatred for Shifters brought a new aspect to the relationship that the Lion and the Grand Master shared. Why help a man that you would rather see dead? The dynamic of it all was odd, and their behavior towards one another was more aggressive and passive, then one of companions

 

Jacob sent him a smile that was unpleasant and predatory.

 

“Hey…” He said tossing his hands into the air, as if he was defensive. “I don’t work with him because I like him. I don’t like anyone.” Jacob shrugged dropping his hands, and flashed his fangs. “We are both invested in this….that’s all you need to know Ezekiel.” Jacob glanced at Hovel after that.

 

Hovel glared back at Jacob and rolled his eyes. “Enough of this….” Hovel scoffed, turned and began walking off to the left.

 

“Hey….were not done here! “ Lander snarled and tried to go after him. “Where the fuck do you think you’re goin!”

 

Nate growled and called him back. “Lander wait….” Nate sounded pensive, his nostrils were flared and his eyes were glowing white like two moons. He seemed to have scented =something that was upsetting him suddenly.

 

Hovel ignored Lander, instead he raised his hand, a hand that was disturbingly encased in a sharp black glow of light.

 

Ezekiel sensed a zing in the air….an energy building into the man’s body, that instantly alerted Ezekiel that something was about to happen.

 

“Lander stop! Come back!” Ezekiel called pulling the blade out of the scabbard at his hip and going after him and that’s when Hovel snapped. The sound seemed too sharp, too loud, almost as though it were amplified.

 

 A sharp lash of air blew off of him and hit Ezekiel in the face, the strong smell of burning hit Ezekiel in the face as well. Like….the air itself was in flames.

 

 And suddenly with soundless flashes, there were swirling circles developing in the clearing, giant black holes opening all along the trees to the far right and immediately behind Hovel and Jacob.

 

The air died out, and as Ezekiel grabbed his brothers and hauled them backwards, closer to Walter and his father…..he heard it. Scratching….movement….breathing. Lots and lots of heavy breathing

 

What the fuck…is that?

 

He thought to himself….then the smell hit him. A greasy, heavy smell of excrement urine and decay and with a sinking feeling Ezekiel quickly realized that the foul stench was pouring out of the dark and deep ovals somehow hanging in the air suspended by nothing.

 

And even as the hairs all over Ezekiels body began to stand on end he caught sight of the claws, and the faces moving in the depths of the dark portals in front and beside his family.

 

 Then as if given some unseen signal the bodies slithering in the black hole…started reaching, and clawing out into the world. Like slugs or rats clawing up out of crack in the skies, claws, long gangly arms and long fang filled moths filled with fangs, started ripping into the clearing. From all sides.

 

The Ghouls seemed to struggle to push past the black swirling essence, their bodies wriggled and thrashed, as if pushing against some unseen pressure, or swimming against a current.

 

Then a sound like the slap of water or a pop of something thick and meaty hitting the floor, the Ghouls lunged forwards out of the darkness, body after body surging into the world from the darkness.

 

It was like the black holes in the sky….were Portals of some kind…or gateways. Whatever they were the openings in the sky were allowing countless Ghouls to effortlessly invade the forest. In seconds the shocked Guardians were completely surrounded.

 

Are they really Portals?  Is this Alchemy?

 

Ezekiel thought to himself as he spun on his heels next to Lander and counted more and more hideous Ghouls frothing forwards from the dark tears in the sky.

 

The sound of feet and hissing and cackling was deafening for a few seconds….and then….everything stopped.

 

In the blink of an eyes the tears in the sky, the Black Portals, snapped shut. The intense and unpleasant smell of something burning gusted across the area mixing with the repugnant smell of Ghoul and rotting pine needles.

 

And left standing was….a small army of long gangly dangerous bodies standing all around the Guardians…and Hovel and Jacob. Hovel was staring at the Leopards as he stood a few feet to the left…and Jacob was smiling at the Ghouls as if he were looking at his newly arrived playmates.

 

An outraged and deadly roar from his father’s lips barreled across the area as the large man grabbed Glen, pushed her behind himself and locked bright yellow eyes on the Ghouls and on Jacob. Daring wither of them to come closer to him or his family.

 

But oddly enough the Ghouls….didn’t instantly attack the second that Hovel called them. The tall beasts paced back and forth in the forest perimeter. Climbing up the trees like gangly monkeys.

 

Slithering, snapping and clawing and stomping the earth and marching across each other like mindless blind beasts. Looking like a swarm of unnatural insects or demons they salivated and cackled and hooped and snarled, but they did not make a move to attack…yet.

 

Like a boiling mass they bubbled and shifted about, dancing all around Ezekiel and his family…..waiting. Waiting for their Master Hovel to give the signal.

 

Possibly trying to diffuse the deadly fight on their horizon Mantilo barked at Jacob and Hovel in open disbelief and vengeance. “What foul Alchemy is this!?”

 

A sharp look of disgust touched Hovels face as he looked at Mantilo and pointed a finger at him. A finger that was swirling with black light. “This is not Foul Alchemy….this is power you fool. Power deserving of you Shifters respect and fear. This is divine retribution Leopard King.” Hovel spoke with suck emphatic passion that spittle touched his bottom lip. He dashed it away as he put his hands up towards the skies. The unnatural black lights dancing across his palms. “This is the gun that shot the first bullet of War!”

 

His words were cryptic and strange, they niggled at Ezekiels brain, but seeing as he was facing a serious threat, Ezekiel couldn’t spend time internally analyzing the words of a mad man.

 

Mantilo also seemed less concerned with what Hovel had said, then the threat that they were facing, because he snarled back at the Alchemist.

 

“How dare you! How dare you invade my Home!?” Mantilo snarled with enough force to make the air vibrate around them. “What are you doing!? You’re trying to kill us just to get your hands on the boy? This is madness! If you attack my family en-mass like this…You will be declaring War with all of my Clan! You will be breaking the Sacred Law!”

 

A frigid laugh fell from Hovels thin mouth as he raised his left hand to his eyes and tapped on the bridge of his glasses, pushing them up the bridge of his nose. Unnatural black swirling runes and lights. His body thrummed with a cold outward power, it nearly shimmered across him…like a black shadow. Something dark, and unnatural and powerful.

 

Oddly enough….Ezekiel felt a small and strange kinship between the power that Hovel was demonstrating…and the energy that thrummed inside of Brandon. He sense a small recognition inside….

 

Hovel squelched his dark chuckling a moment later only to look at Mantilo and shout “Please spare me the threat of Sacrilege! The Sacred Laws of your Lizard Kings mean nothing to me! And I am not doing this just to get to the boy. I was going to kill all of you all anyways….” Hovel said and with that he whistled sharply between his lips and teeth.

With a deafening pitch of snarls, screams and chittering a single Ghoul detached from the mass of howling, scratching, shoving bodies and went over to him.

 

 “Consider this a declaration of War if you survive Leopard King. A declaration against you and all of my enemies. Man or Shifter that would stand in our way! Beware the Alchemists!” A sharp mane of joy speared across the tall man’s face as Hovel looked at Mantilo and with a shiver of recognition Ezekiel realized what he  was seeing was pure insanity at work.

 

“Please…Don’t die too soon Leopard King….” Hovel chuckled, before he reached out and caressed one of his long crème colored fingers across the corded pectoral of the Ghoul panting like a dog at his heel. “Some of these guys need the exercise of a good hunt after being cooped up in pins.” Hovel seemed to admonish with a shake of his head, then he looked back at Mantilo. “Especially now that Brandon’s running days are over!”

 

 All of the Guardians hissed back at him, but Hovel ignored the hair-raising and violent sounds as he turned his back on everyone and started walking off into the wood. “Finish them Jacob. “ Hovel sharply commanded over his shoulder to the Lion. “It’s time to clean up this fucking mess! I’ll be waiting…” Hovel told him ominously.

 

Then with hands completely covered in swirling black light Hovel snapped his fingers once more and a single oval of darkness tore out of thin air.

 

Without another word Hovel walked past Jacob and with the Ghoul lumbering beside him, he stepped into the black hole. There was a small moment of resistance, as if the man was pressing against an invisible wall, then with a small sharp pop, Hovel was out of sight.

 

Ezekiel snarled in anger and took a step forward. He felt the Reaver in him boiling to the surface. He was seconds from racing forwards and diving into the black fathomless hole after the man that was attempting to hurt his family. This time Lander pulled him back.

 

“Hey!” he hissed in Ezekiels face. His sharp tone somehow broke across the curtain of rage in Ezekiels mind.  “Are you crazy…don’t rush off halfcocked!?”

 

Ezekiel saw the wisdom in his words a moment later as the black hole in the sky snapped shut, with a gust of displaced air, and the acrid smell of something burning.

 

All that was left was Jacob, Ezekiels family….and a small army of Ghouls, salivating, twitching and snarling for blood. Ezekiels brothers and mother all let the Shift take them, their eyes bled over to that of their Leopards. Fangs flashed. Deadly talons grew from their fingertips, and blades were pulled from belts.

 

“Lander. Ezekiel. Fall back!” Mantilo sharply hissed as the tension grew and grew. Seconds from exploding into violence.

 

Lander cursed as he quickly began to skirt back towards the other Guardians, until he stood next to Nate, whose handsome face was hard and pinched with dark emotions.

 

Ignoring the call of his father Ezekiel didn’t pull back. Instead he took a step further away and barked at Jacob, sensing that things were rapidly declining for him and his family.  Thy madness in all of this….was staggering.

 

“Jacob why are you doing this!” Ezekiel implored of the Lion. He found this moment to be absurd and unnecessary. Why did they want Brandon so badly!?

 

“ME….I’m not doing anything. “ Jacob denied as he tilted his head and hunched his shoulder. “You didn’t listen to me! I told you that this was going to end badly for you people.” A strange emotion filtered across his face as Jacob brought up his hands, and scrubbed violently at his eyes as if he were exhausted or upset. Then the Lion chuckled and dropped his hands, looking at Ezekiel his gaze was lost….and dead. “First Brandon and Nora. Now the Leopard Clan. You all keep trying to screw over Hovel and you just end up dead for trying…. History repeats itself today….” He said softly.

 

Unwilling and unable to care about what was driving the Lion to speak those strange words….or act so bizarrely Ezekiel tried to compel the man to see some reason.

 

“But you know…” Ezekiel hissed gesturing to towards Jacob and holding his gaze.

“I know you know what’s going to happen to Brandon if you do this. Your sick experiments are destroying his mind….He…..he’s damaged. After everything he went through and after Nora’s death he is drowning in guilt!” Ezekiel shouted, hoping that he words would reach the Lion. “Brandon’s going to shatter if you take him back to that place. More torture and pain are just going to make him worse!”

 

A sharp spike of sickness and an influx of undeniable hatred swarm across Ezekiels soul when Jacob only laughed back at him.

 

“Trust me boy…” Jacob snarled, casting Ezekiel a clod sneer. “Brandon’s soul isn’t like the rest of ours. It’s strong.”

 

Nearly melting into a puddle of impotent rage Ezekiel clenched his hands at his sides until he felt pain registering in his palms.  “What are you talking about you fucking psycho!” he roared at Jacob in frustration.

 

Before Ezekiel could completely unravel, Glen was speaking past his shoulders. Her voice raised with intent and authority carried easily across the heavy breathing and cackling of the Ghouls

 

“Jacob think about this…..” Glen said, her big green eyes locked on Jacobs face and her small body strait. She didn’t look the least bit bothered by the fact that she was facing a small army. “Hovel is trying to kill a Shifter Clan Head and his entire family!” Glen softly snarled, six small, but deadly fangs flashed in her mouth and her eyes began to glow in outrage. “Do you know what the Elders will do to you for this? These acts that you are undertaking will result in your downfall!”

 

Jacob shrugged at her.  His eyes burning yellow with blood lust and joy.

“Didn’t you hear Hovel Leopard Queen?” Jacob asked and smiled and looked up at the sky. “This is War! We don’t fear your Elders or their Kings. We will rage war with the Heavens if we must!” Jacob lifted his hands, palms to the skies as if he could reach out and caress the clouds.

 

 Whispered words fell from his lips, far too low to be heard by anyone except for Ezekiel who was standing the closest to the Lion.

 

“Finally….” Jacob murmured as he closed his eyes as if praying to the sky. “I guess it was only a matter of time before you knew the truth….wasn’t it Kail?”

 

Kail? Why does that names sound so familiar?

But before Ezekiel could even grasp that thought, Jacob looked back at them and raised his arm.

 

“All right boys…..sick em!” Jacob savagely commanded the Ghouls.

 

Jacobs’s voice releasing an epic and bloodthirsty roar, stole all of the thoughts from Ezekiels mind and in disbelief he watched Jacob wave at Mantilo in the universal sign of “Bring it ON”

 

Nothing else needed to be said.

 

The forest exploded in chaos as the beasts surrounding them. The Ghouls piled in like a storm. Ghouls crashed in from the left and the right.

 

Ezekiel was nearly thrown off his feet as his mother and father both roared, Shifted into leopards and broke away from the group.

Ezekiel got a half second glimpse of his mother and father tearing off into the wood, chasing behind a giant red and orange Lion.

 

But Ezekiel only had time to register that his parents were going after Jacob alone, before the Ghouls fell on him and his brothers like a mountain.

 

Blades flashed as they were pulled out of sheaths, the rapid and deafening “pop” “pop” of Nates handgun being fired and the snarls of beasts swallowed the world.

 

 

 


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