“Finally, some time alone...” Randolf thought to himself as he walked through the forest mist. It had been some time since he’d had a moment to himself and he jumped at the opportunity to relax. There was a secluded, small lake not far from his house that was surrounded by trees and brush. The tree canopy opened up over the water to allow the moon and stars to dance on the gentle waves. The day had been relatively warm, but the cooler night air made the moisture in the air condense into wisps of fog. There was no sound other than insects chirping and the gentle sound of water lapping on the shore.
“Can’t believe the chaos that one woman can create!” he continued bitterly. When was he going to be free of that dreadful creature, hadn’t he put up with her enough all these years?
“I’d hoped once she was gone the Forest would finally have some peace...” He groaned and shook his head. He didn’t want to think about it right now.
Taking off his trousers, he waded into the cool water with a murmur of delight. “Ahh...that’s much better.” To this day, he still thought that it was odd that something as simple as bathing was the one thing that seemed to calm him. As he floated for a moment, the gentle scent of Lily of the Valley flowers filled his senses and the image of the beautiful Wiccan came to his mind. She’d smelled just like them... so delicate and beautiful as well. He could imagine her naked with her long silky hair flowing down her back and her bright turquoise eyes alight with passion.
He growled with frustration but his body was already turning into his wolf form. It had been decades since he’d lost himself like that and it stunned him. It was ridiculous, how could he have such strong feelings towards a girl he didn’t even know? And a Wiccan, no less. With any luck, he wouldn’t have to interact with her again. Randolf wasn’t inclined to get to know another witch-like creature in the near future.
Wading out of the lake, he shook his sogging fur to dry off. As he turned to go home, he stopped. “Wait...that smell...” It was metallic, like copper. His heart started to pound as he realized it was the distinct smell of blood. Without another thought, he followed the scent trail through the Forest as fast as he could. Everything was a blur around him. He knew that if he didn’t hurry, whoever was hurt wouldn’t survive.
Randolf reached another clearing and he slowed, seeing a dark figure sprawled on the ground, motionless. He panted as he came to a stop and transformed back into his human form. He didn’t know who or what it was, but it was safer to appear human than otherwise. He pushed aside some branches and his heart stopped. The very woman he’d been thinking about, was laying on the cold ground.
“Oh God, no!” he whispered. Instantly, he turned her over and held her in his arms. She was battered and bloodied and her clothes were in tattered ruins. Brushing back her messy hair, his heart clenched when he saw the large bruise over her eye and sunken cheekbones. Whoever did this to her surely wanted her dead. “Klara, what happened to you?!” he whispered. She gave a tiny whimper.
“R-Randolf..?” she whispered, her beautiful turquoise eyes opening slightly. Randolf sighed in relief that she was conscious. She still had some fight in her.
“I’m here, Klara. You’re safe.” He kept his voice gentle and steady, not wanting to scare her. By all accounts she should have been terrified. The only thing she knew about him was that Gerrone trusted him. Yet, she seemed to relax in his embrace, trusting him instinctively.
“I won’t let any more harm come to you.” he added with determination.
Author: Katie (Crios) Editor: Elizabeth (Eala)