the woods at night.
the lunar light…
Type O Negative—Wolf Moon
Masser cradled Secunda, their conjoined light a blood-red hue cast across the field, their powerful pull on his soul unsettling, as the beast scrambled to perch atop the boulder and lifted his snout to sniff the air. He whined, ears twitching, head shifting left, searching for sounds, smells, tastes on the air, flickers of movement in the shadows.
The wind shifted again, and he caught her scent—dragon’s tongue, taproot, mora tapinella, moons’ blood—his mate, and she was in heat. The beast felt something stir inside him, need, and it was so strong nothing but finding her would quell it. Long, powerful arms tightened at his sides, clawed fists clenching. His maw stretched open and he howled into the silent night.
Ready or not, here I come.
He listened; head cocking right, left again, and then she answered. A long, echoing challenge that surely made the humans tremble in their quiet, cozy little cottages outside the woods.
Fast as fast can be. You’ll never catch me.
He roared, pushing off the stone with such force the ground actually trembled beneath his paws when he landed on all fours. He sprinted, hard and fast, racing across the land driven solely by his need for her. He followed the trail of her scent, scaling up the hillside, stopping where the trail branched off. A subtle trick designed to draw out the hunt, but which way had she really gone? Lowering his snout to the ground, the overwhelming scent of her hormones stronger on the eastern path, and so he followed it, creeping up slowly so as to remain undetected when he finally found her.
She’d passed through that way, and recently. The musky smell of her desire was so strong, he could almost taste her. Backing up onto his hind legs, he scanned the clearing and spotted her near the stream just as the winds shifted. She’d been dipping her head down to taste of the clear water, but as soon as she caught his scent, she rose and turned to face him. They regarded one another beneath the moons’ light for a long time, and he could almost hear the distant mutterings of the man inside him.
Beautiful; she was so beautiful. The red light of the moons cast across her auburn coat, green eyes shining like a beacon in the night. His soul longed to be one with hers; had known the very moment he’d stepped into her path that night outside Pelagia Farm just a few months earlier that she was his, and he would allow nothing to stand in the way of his claiming her.
He dropped back down on all-fours to stalk toward her, slow steps she answered in kind. When he approached her space, they began to circle one another, panting, growling in playful challenge.
Come and get me, her eyes said.
His breath snarled out in answer. You’re in trouble now…
It was a primitive and yet well-practiced dance, and when he lunged forward to assert himself, she yelped and feinted back as if he’d hurt her. He knew better; he hadn’t even come near her… yet. He dove in, a mock attack that rolled and tumbled them both to the edge of the water, where he pinned her to the pebbled shore and hovered over her, cold nose lingering just over hers, teeth bared.
I am Alpha, his silent gesture informed her.
For a moment she just laid there, panting, leering, and then she asserted herself, rolling their bodies again, taking advantage of the slight decline in the land to dominate him.
No. She lowered her teeth to his ear and nipped, his yelp of surprise ringing through the clearing. I am Alpha.
The beast felt the muscles in his belly clench and tighten with lustful anticipation, his hunger rising to the surface. He didn’t give a damn who played the Alpha, just so long as they could mate.
His brother said it was savage, giving in to their beastblood that way, mating beneath the moons like wild animals. They ought to be ashamed, and yet Farkas felt no shame when making love to his woman, no matter what form their bodies took. Inside her, he was whole; not man, not beast. He didn’t understand it, didn’t really care. He only knew that apart from her he was empty. With her, he was home.
Sunlight. It burned his eyes behind their lids, clawing him from restless sleep. Curled across his chest, she stirred when he stretched the constant ache from his muscles, lifting her head to look down at him. There were leaves in her hair, smudges of dried mud caked on her skin, the soft pink reminder of fading wounds she’d incurred during their rough play beneath the moons, but they wouldn’t scar. They never did.
Even in that state of ultimate disarray she was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen, and he lifted a hand to grip her chin, drawing her down into his waiting mouth. She sunk into his kiss, moaning softly as he maneuvered her onto her back beneath him and took her again as a man.
They wouldn’t have many more nights like that; not if Kodlak’s plight to cleanse them succeeded, and though he’d never admit it to anyone but her, a part of him would miss mating with her that way.
Their beastblood had brought them together, though he’d known before she took the blood he couldn’t live without her. Aela had dragged her halfway across Skyrim and back on a violent rampage fueled by vengeance and hate, but when Aela returned to Jorrvaskr three weeks later without Luthien, Farkas had gone off alone to find her. He’d tracked her scent all the way to Winterhold, where she’d holed up in a cave just outside Fort Fellhammer. He followed the trail of troll blood into the depths of that cave, where found her huddled, shivering, naked and alone, nearly mad with grief over the atrocities she and Aela had committed.
“I’ve come to take you home,” he held a hand out to her. She’d just stared at it, feral eyes unblinking as if she didn’t even recognize the gesture. After a few moments, he’d knelt beside her and tucked the blanket from his pack around her shoulders, drawing her into his arms where she’d given into her grief and just cried for hours.
“I can never go back,” she told him when she’d finally calmed enough to speak. “I’m so ashamed…”
“There is nothing to be ashamed of, Lu,” he soothed her, soft hand stroking through her hair. “Aela said they murdered Skjor… No one blames you.”
“I blame me,” she told him, edging her way out of his arms and rising from where they’d crouched together. “The things they did… the awful, wretched things… I never knew the world was filled with such hate. I… I don’t know if I can ever stop killing them.”
“You can.” He rose too, stepping toward her and gripping her by the shoulders. “You just have to learn to control the beast, or it will overpower you.”
“It already has.”
“No, it hasn’t. You’re here now.” Reaching up he touched her face, tilting her shame-laden eyes to meet with his. “I’m here with you, and I won’t let your beast have you. We’ll get through this.” She’d nestled her cheek into his palm then, closing her eyes as the tears dripped down her cheeks.
“I’m not strong enough to fight it.”
“Yes,” he lowered his forehead to hers, lips brushing across her brow. “You are.”
He hadn’t known how it happened that night, it just had. He’d been comforting her, and she’d fallen into restless sleep curled up against him in that cave. Every time the nightmares rippled through her, he woke her, and held her as she cried. At one point she’d lifted her face to his, trembling lips seeking his in the dark, and when she found them all the strange tension that had been building between them since they’d met exploded.
It shouldn’t have felt right, a part of him was actually guilty and afraid he was taking advantage of her in that broken frame of mind that consumed her, but even when he tried to stop it from happening, she wouldn’t let him. She needed him, she’d whispered across his lips. Wanted him, ached for him, couldn’t live without him.
And in the morning when he woke with her there in his arms, she curled into him and though he’d never been a deep thinker, his mind was overwhelmed. He’d been with other girls as a youth, all in good fun, but this was different. Her body fit perfectly into his, her arms around him made him feel warm and safe and whole. The mere thought of her ever leaving the comfort of his embrace terrified him, and when she lifted her head to look down at him he could see that same fear in her eyes.
“Everyone is worried,” he’d said. “We should go home.”
“I am home,” she told him, lowering her head to his chest again. “Wherever you are, I am home.”
Maybe it was stupid, but he almost cried when she said those words. They were true, and he’d felt it all along; he just hadn’t known what it was he’d been feeling. Love. Completion.
They’d made their way south to Riften, after stopping in Windhem to send a courier to Whiterun with word that he had found her and she was safe. They were married before the week was out, and the rest… well, that was still history in the making.
It had only been a couple of months since then, but in that time she’d learned to control the beast inside her, and now they were off to slay the Glenmoril witches, who’d cursed the Companions all those years ago. Kodlak believed taking their heads would give them the power they needed to cure their beastblood forever; it was something Farkas still wasn’t sure would ever work.
Standing up, he watched her slip into the stream to wash the dirt from her skin, dipping beneath the water and coming back up, hands slicking through her wet red hair. The beads of water glinted in the sunlight as she turned over her shoulder, beckoning for him to join her with little more than a look. He walked across the rocks, into the rippling water, and together they frolicked and played like children, splashing, laughing, coming together again to explore the never ending need to know each other’s souls.
He lifted a wet hand to brush the damp locks of hair from her face and knelt to kiss her.
He knew Vilkas was right. To live as a beast was no life for a man of honor, but Farkas couldn’t lie to himself.
He would miss hunting with his mate, catching the musk of her scent on the wind, tracking her through the woods, tumbling and gnashing at each other in playful domination before mating with her beneath the moons. But they would always have those memories, and he was glad.