I know it’s been a while since I updated this story. I’ve got two full chapters finished and ready to go, but if you want a refresher (or you haven’t read this tale yet,) here’s an easy link to the beginning of the story: Ill Met By Moonlight
And now… Chapter Twelve
The two wolves aligned themselves with shadows, stalking between the bristling pines and admiring the occasional cast of the fleeting moonlight against their fur. He crept just over her left shoulder, trying desperately to ignore the feral attraction he felt to her. As wolf, she was more beautiful than Aela; her coat a crimson shade against the stark white of the world around them, he had to steer himself several times back to the task that lay ahead of him.
It made him feel awful, how much he wanted her, and the dangerous scent of her mate—a scent he knew as well as he knew his own, should have deterred him, but it only made him want her more.
She should have been his from the start, but he had missed his opportunity. Driven her away with his own fears, straight into the arms of the only person other than her he never wanted to hurt. The beast knew no such reason. Only what it wanted, and that was the greatest danger of succumbing to its nature.
As they skulked through the thick copse of pines surrounding the camp of the Silver Hand, bodies so close her heat set the skin beneath his fur afire, he could almost hear the undercurrent of Kodlak’s voice in the deepest recesses of his mind ticking off the list of dangers that came with the monster that lived inside them all.
The monster did not care about blood bond, and though it put the pack above all else, the rest of the pack was not was not there to remind him of his place. There was only the red wolf with the brilliant amber eyes who paused hunkered down amidst the shadows and gestured with a sway of her head toward the two archers posed lazily atop the old stone fortress.
Two guards posted in front of the torch-lit doors, he understood her meaning. She would take out the archers and when the bodies dropped, he would attack the guards. Mouth agape in a vengeful leer, the wolf nodded and then watched with narrowed eyes as his companion skulked through the trees, around the shadows that hid the eastern side of the fort until she disappeared entirely. He watched for signs of her, waited for a signal to attack and then it came.
The first body dropped in a spray of red, the severed head of that still-writing corpse landing at the guard’s feet. With a startled gasp, the man backed up against the wall and his partner surged forward to peer up with stunned and gaping mouth toward the roof. The second body fell atop him, knocking him into the blood-spattered snow and that was the moment Vilkas chose to surge out of his hiding place.
Snow crunched furiously beneath his paws, the wind carrying him forward in a haze of blinding snow. His claws swept through the air, tearing through tender flesh and throat. Blood gurgled through the man’s throat, his eyes wide with horror as the scream of warning he attempted to pass onto his companions died before it was ever uttered. Luthien dropped onto the man still writhing beneath the corpse and tore into him with tooth and claw like a savage creature from another time.
Only when the last spasm of life settled in her victims body did she rise and perch on all fours, lift her glistening muzzle toward the absent moon and howl terror through the night.
She was… beautiful. Fierce and unrestrained, the hint of madness that tainted her mind suited her in ways he’d never imagined possible and the lust he felt inside intensified tenfold.
Lowering her face, she tilted her head to look at him and he knew in that moment she’d felt it, that she understood, perhaps for the first time, why he treated her the way he did. He swore the thoughts she sent shuddering through him were meant to be a punishment, a cruel reminder that he’d had his chance as she passed through memory after cruel memory of all the ways in which he’d pushed her away, berated her, made her feel… unworthy.
And then the stiffness melted away from her figure as she turned toward the door with certain resolve and shattered the wood in a single blow, sending splinters and shards bursting through the entrance hall to announce their coming.
The Silver Hand was caught off guard, and the two wolves raged through their hall and fort with swift vengeance. Blood painted the walls, the stench of piss and offal tainting its scent as one by one they fell to avenge Kodlak. Vilkas lost himself to the moment, let the beast take him over as he followed in the shadow of perhaps the fiercest wolf he’d ever had the pleasure of killing with. There was no guilt, no self-pity or woe. It was exhilarating, almost new again, the way it felt when he and his brother first took the blood.
There was only the beast, and the beast would not stop until every last drop of blood had been spilled.
Deep in the bowels of Driftshade Refuge, they found what they were looking for. The leader of the Silver Hand and the stolen fragments of Wuuthrad. Vilkas charged impulsively into battle, Luthien striking right and taking swiping blood-stained claws into the chest of their mage before it had chance to summon fire, then spun back inward with a roaring vengeance to grab onto the warrior at her back and toss him into the stone wall with such vigor the man cracked his helmetless head. His brains spilled into a puddle on the floor, Vilkas watched it, distracted by her, by the display of violence around them, that he missed the swordsman that whirled in from behind and drove his silver blade through fur and flesh in a painful twist that forced a desperate howl from his throat.
Luthien acted instantly, leaping over stone and banister to topple the man at his back and send him skittering across the floor. Vilkas did not turn over his shoulder, but hunched forward, dropping onto his knees as his body underwent the unexpected shift back into his human skin. The pain was intense, burning through him in dizzying pulses that forced him forward. Barely bracing himself with his hands, he could hear the wolf still shredding enemies at his back, but he didn’t turn around to watch the final battle.
He retched. Repeatedly. Unsure if the sickness was brought on by the pain or the guilt that finally won him over, his head swam and his body wavered.
There was so much blood all around him, on his hands, on his naked skin, painting the walls and stone floors. The world swirled. Vilkas spun with it, wavering unsteadily as the muscles in his arms turned to jelly and spilled him onto his shoulder. Cold stone pressed into his cheek, the world blurring through squinted eyes as a strange curtain of darkness began to drop.
In that final moment, he swore death had come to take him, that when next he opened his eyes he would be running in the Eternal Hunting grounds, prisoner to the great white stag.
Lament… but then, he probably deserved whatever Hircine decided was fair punishment.
And then he felt no more.