Xenos: Under His Protection
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Stormy blue eyes, blonde tousled hair and a scowling scowl. He is the king of the werewolves. He is the man who would change her world.A man who intends to keep her.Xenos..." | felt the blood on my fingers and the cool, double-edged blade on my throat. His head snapped towards me and his blue eyes glowed in the darkness. He was just an animal, just a wolf. Burning, outright rage that made his whole body tremble. "No one... hurt... my... Arya", His chest heaved violently. "No one". Stormy blue eyes, blonde tousled hair and a scowling scowl. He is the king of the werewolves. He is the man who would change her world.A man who intends to keep her.Xenos..." | felt the blood on my fingers and the cool, double-edged blade on my throat. His head snapped towards me and his blue eyes glowed in the darkness. He was just an animal, just a wolf. Burning, outright rage that made his whole body tremble. "No one... hurt... my... Arya", His chest heaved violently. "No one".
Father was right. It was a stupid idea to come here - stupid, impulsive, and thoughtless. Still, it was honorable - at least from my point of view, not my chief's. I'd never had much to do with werewolves, in fact, hated them for a time in my life. But I was only five years old then, couldn't tell the difference between rogue werewolves gone berserk and normal werewolves, only listening to the words of the only family member I had left. Even after all the 17 solar orbits that have passed, my father still despised them just as much.
I took a deep breath, straightened my shoulders, and straightened my short leather skirt as I stared at the heavy wooden door in front of me. Maybe it wasn't the kind of thing you'd expect from a chief's daughter, and maybe I should have let my best friend know what I was planning to do - just in case some of those werewolves decided I looked delicious anyway. I rolled my eyes at my own ridiculousness. Whether it was the right decision or not, the fact was that if we refused to submit to his control and rule, the demigod named Serdas would unleash a massive army of demons upon us. So basically, there was no choice - I either sided with the Lycan or my tribe would fall into the hands of the masochistic demigod Serdas.
I shouldered my bow, which I had slung around my back, opened the door, and stepped into the meeting room. “Inform all your soldiers and give them specific instructions on what to do,” the Lycan said as he stood in front of a large ebony-colored table around which a whole pack of werewolves and angels had gathered. Faced with determination and scowl, Aramis continued, “If we all stick together, we'll stand a chance, Serdas won't defeat us again!”
I closed the door behind me without making a sound and approached the crowd. The fine, small, white-haired she-wolf stood close to the Lycan, and I recognized her immediately - Zaira. Next to her was the only Gi that was left in this room besides me. There was hardly a Gi who didn't know her - after all, she was centuries old and had a great knowledge that even our elders in the tribe couldn't hold a candle to.
“We follow you unto death,” a grimly uttered oath of unspeakable loyalty.
A shiver ran down my spine, and my eyes instantly found the werewolf to which the deep, hoarse voice belonged. He stood with his legs apart, his arms folded across his chest so that his muscles bulged and bulged. He was quite a bit wider and more muscular than the Lycan, exuding dominance even I could feel. Who was this man with the gorgeous sapphire blue eyes and blond hair? As soon as this thought flitted through my head, I startled myself. In Gaia's will, what was I doing here? Staring at a wolf like the pubescent girl I never was. I shook my head and straightened up. Such distractions were for Rowtag, not me. I was a warrior, chief-to-be. I nodded. Exactly.
I cleared my throat loud enough to get the attention of the wolves next to me and continued, raising my voice to get the whole room, “Zeris atek Zeris!" The crowd dispersed, and all eyes were on me, but I felt a certain pair of eyes in particular. My whole body was tingling, and my whole being was screaming at me to shift my gaze to the left and look at him.
I looked to the right at Aramis. “Arya, what are you doing here?” Zaira took a step forward and looked at me with wide eyes.
“Demons have now attacked Gi tribes as well, and I understand that Aramis is not linked to Serdas. I don't agree with my tribe, I'll fight with you,” I said and searched the faces of the surrounding soldiers to see if they had understood my message - they had. Pfff, I didn't know why Rowtag kept saying I needed more practice either. I knew the language of the werewolves perfectly - almost, at least. Aramis nodded. Then he threw his arm in the air, his hand clenched into a fist, and roared, “Zeris atek Zeris!” I smiled inwardly as the entire room followed our example and yelled out the martial oath. Blood for blood. Oh yes, Serdas would burn in hell.
“Arya, how are you?” Zaira asked me, grabbing my arm as I started to leave the room with everyone else.
My body automatically stiffened at the physical contact. I hesitated for a moment because I couldn't find the right word. “Good.”
The gentle werewolf smiled at me, and I wondered if she really wasn't mad at me for being so suspicious of her days before, or if she was secretly cursing me. “I'm glad you changed your mind after all.”
I nodded, remembering Father's disapproving expression and harsh words. I pushed them aside with force but couldn't stop the crunching undertone. “Sorry I didn't believe you.” Zaira made a dismissive hand gesture. “No thing. I don't blame you, after all, we hid from you who we are.
The Lycan stepped up behind her, apparently playing carelessly with her long hair as if he wasn't even really listening, but I couldn't help noticing the quiet, masculine possession in the gesture. She was his. And woe to anyone else who touched her. Zaira didn't seem bothered by his possessive behavior and leaned into him. “You have yet to be briefed on all plans and information about the war.” She gave Aramis a challenging look over her shoulder.
Without taking his eyes off her, he said, “Xenos will go through the plan with you and fill you in on everything.” I followed Zaira's gaze and landed on him, and just before he turned his eyes to Aramis, they were on me. It was like I was electrified all over my body - like I was live. Those sparkling blue eyes that had a depth like parts of him weren't accessible to anyone. As if they were so far below the surface that no one would ever see them. Then he turned away from me and stared at Aramis, and with that, the short spell that had cast a magical spell over me and made me forget everything else was gone.
I gritted my teeth and once again reminded myself why I was here. We were at war, Arya, for Gaia's sake! I was so deep in my thoughts that I didn't catch the silly banter between the trusted friends. Only when Aramis, Zaira, as well as Reah had left the room, and I was left all alone with him, was I catapulted back into the here and now - and realized that I was still staring at him.
“Teeruk! How many times for Gaia's sake did I have to remind myself what was at stake here. This was a disgrace,” I thought. Trying to regain my control, I focused my attention on the map that was spread out on the large solid wood table and walked over to the table. “So what's the plan?” I asked.
He moved slowly, confident and dominating, knowing he was the most dominant predator in the room. While I might not have had much to do with werewolves, I still knew how dominant and submissive animals behaved. I raised my eyes and met his without any shyness. His eyes blazed, and a low, dangerous growl rose in his throat as he inched closer and closer, closing the distance between us - yet I didn't take my eyes off his intense gaze. “Haven't you been taught how to deal with dominant werewolves?” He was standing in front of me now - only a few meters away. It wouldn't take much, and we would touch.
I didn't back down. First Arrow would not be intimidated. And goodness gracious, he was intimidating. His broad shoulders, over which his white linen shirt stretched, blocked my view of the Door and I thought I could still hear a faint echo of his growl, as if the wolf in him hadn't completely disappeared. I lifted my head to continue looking at him. “Why should you?” Instead of answering me, he looked at me closely. His eyes studied my face, traveling down to my lips. Then suddenly he raised his hand, very slowly, and placed it on my cheek. Rough fingers ran over my skin, stroking individual strands of my face behind my ear. I couldn't take my eyes off him as the blood pounded in my ears and my heart pounded faster and faster. Something shimmered in his expression, something unintelligible, as if he himself didn't quite understand what he was doing here.
“How long have you been alive, Arya?”
Special question for someone you just met. At any other moment, I would have pointed this out to him, but I couldn't think of anything else - just looked at that striking, masculine face, felt his fingers on my skin.
My throat was tight, but I answered anyway.
“Twenty-two orbits of the sun.”
“Twenty-two.” His pupils changed. Became longer. He tilted his head. “Where do you come from?”
My breathing hitched as he got closer to me. “Tribe of Retani. South of border.”
His face was now hovering almost directly in front of mine. Only breaths of air separated us. I felt warm, and suddenly there was a tugging in my diaphragm that I couldn't explain. I was drawn to this man. I wanted to touch him, wanted to run through that silky brown hair and pull him even closer to me.
His jaw muscles tightened, and his nostrils flared. He slowly lowered his head, approaching my neck, and all I could do was just stand there and wait to see what he did. My mind had said goodbye; I consisted only of feelings.
His nose gently brushed the back of my neck, and I could already see his upper body vibrating with his inner growl. “You smell of sweet flowers and fresh spring.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, he sat up abruptly, as if a bucket of cold water had been spilled on him. The elongated pupils from before turned back to their normal shape.
I stared at him, but my heart warmed. After flowers? Me and cute.
He cleared his throat. “Well, I don't have the best sense of smell in the pack anyway. Chances are you don't smell all that good.”
My brows shot up. Either my understanding of their language really was as atrocious as Rowtag used to claim, or he'd just told me I stank.
Suddenly his mine became grimmer, and he ran his fingers through his hair a little restlessly. Realizing what he was doing, he stopped mid-movement, pulled his hand out of his hair and put it in his pocket. Then he took a deep breath, closed his eyes briefly, and opened them again.
“Let's discuss the structure of the army.” I bit back a laugh and bit my lip. Somehow he wasn't even that bad, this man.
“Serda's army has been sighted further south from Anifeira, here.” He tapped a spot on the map, and I was about to let him know that I already knew this part of the coming war as he drove on. He explained the entire procedure to me and gave me all the important information. A razor-sharp mind that had registered everything down to the smallest detail - this man was not to be underestimated. I was also impressed with the Lycan. His plan was good. Maybe even very well. The majority formed the middle, which consisted of the upper ranks of the pack hierarchy - i.e. The best soldiers, arranged in three units, would encircle their opponents, including the demons. “The last unit consists of archers, who should weaken the warriors from hell, while the rest go on the attack. You'll be right here.” He pointed to the small fissures that were arranged in several rows and touched the last of them.
My forehead bulged. “What?”
“This squad,” he began slowly and clearly, pointing explicitly to the back chain, “are for-”
“I get it,” I hissed, trying to pull myself together.
He cocked his head and cocked an eyebrow as he eyed me closely. “Good, that settles it then.”
“No good.” My hands gripped the tabletop. Was he kidding me? “You want First Arrow Retanis in the back row?”
He straightened back to his full height and crossed his arms over his chest. Another fact that was meant to intimidate me and yet it didn't. He didn't have the same disparaging twinkle in his eyes as the elders, nor the disapprovingly twisted lips of my father. “Yes. Your place in the army is already fixed.” Ah, how dare he! I snorted and wanted to hiss at him. Instead, I lifted my chin and narrowed my eyes. ‘Nothing set here yet. Aramis will decide.”
Dark, glowing navy blue hitting me and a harsh growl. He leaned down closer to me. “Aramis has no objection to my raising the army.”
“Well, we'll see.” With that, I turned and headed for the exit.
His growl grew louder and I heard his footsteps behind me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I quickened my steps. “Doesn't a gi understand that as a soldier you have a job to do?”
I had already taken a step into the hallway when I spun around. “I know everything a soldier's job is!” Raw anger boiled up in me. Then I thought to find a man who was different from my father. “Don't you know how to show respect?”
“It has nothing to do with respect.”
“All his respects! How can you hate Daughter Honaw's war art and spit on it?” Didn't he know who I was? Hard-fought first arrow, best warrior in all of Retanis, and budding chief at that—at least that's the last part I hoped for. I was here to fight, to protect my tribe, and to honor Gaia by protecting her land. And this wolf wouldn't let me fight properly? What was he imagining!
I stomped down the aisle to the whoops of the celebrating soldiers who were in the common hall celebrating ahead of tomorrow's battle.
Suddenly a hand grabbed me before I could disappear into the crowd. Now we stood at the end of the hall. “I didn't say that!” he thundered, pulling me towards him.
“Oh yes? So I just imagined it all?” My hands were balled into fists and I glared at him.
“I was just following the building of the army!” His eyes blazed up and his teeth were clenched with suppressed anger.
I tried to tear myself out of his grasp. “And then you want me in the back row!”
“Nobody knows how well trained you are, how am I supposed to put you in a different position?!” he yelled, then let go of me and threw his arms in the air in frustration.
“Ehsa,” I pointed to myself and glared at him boldly, “I his first arrow te Retani! I belong in the front line.”
“Not in this army!” he snarled, standing in front of me.
"Not until I've seen you fight myself," I said.
He moved dangerously close to me and bared his teeth. "The King of the Werewolves," he said.
I snorted. "King. King of what, please?" I crossed my arms and challenged him openly. "I don't give a damn. Don't you be my chief."
His jaw twitched and his fists clenched. But then, he studied me as if he didn't quite know what made me tick. His anger and dominant aggression were still there, but there was something else in the air.
Suddenly, he grabbed my armpits, lifted me up, and pinned me against the wall. His lips were on mine, and I groaned in surprise. We kissed passionately and wildly, and I wanted more.
But then, a loud whistle interrupted us. "Take a room, kindly!"
We both startled apart, and I blushed for the first time in my life. I looked away, slightly embarrassed. I touched my lips where I could still feel him and dared to glance sideways. Bright blue eyes looked at me closely.
In that moment, I knew deep in my heart that I would never forget him. This man with those incredibly beautiful eyes. It was as if his name had been burned into my soul.
Deep within the rock, the tunnel walls vibrated as stone after stone tumbled down the sheer cliff face, causing a tremendous crash and rumble as they poured into the gorge. The stone walls trembled, and the cold, hard ground shook, making her scaly body tremble and her eyelids flutter open. She smiled. Her thousand-year slumber had finally come to an end.
My black hair, some of which was braided into pigtails, flapped wildly in the air as I hissed faster and faster through the nearby trees, deftly dodging them. The tap of bare feet on damp leaves, the breeze of a swaying liana, and the rush of the wind filled the endless jungle. Adrenaline shot through my veins as I unleashed my strength and summoned a vine to me. With full force, I swung myself up the nearest tree and ran over the narrow branches that twisted at my request. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two nimble shadows scurrying beside me. They were fast, moving just as nimbly and silent
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