tagNonHumanFondest Dreams Ch. 07

Fondest Dreams Ch. 07

bylilgirlsix©

Written by lilgirlsix and Archangel_M

Edited by Doctime

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lilgirlsix: This is the darkest of the chapters so be forewarned. Anyone who has read The Destruction of the Vlkolak knows what has to happen.

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Archangel_M: :'(

The music suggestion for this chapter is "Book of Days" by Enya. The English version, not the Gaelic version.

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Glossary:

- Amor enim et iustitiam! -- Latin -- "For love and justice!"

- Verdammt -- German -- "Damn it!"

- Scheißdreck -- German -- "Bullshit" (literally: "shit dirt")

- Kriegszauberstäbe -- German -- magical battle-wands (literally: "war magic sticks").

- Mithral -- Dwarven -- truesilver [see Chapter 1 glossary]

Stück Scheiße -- German -- "piece of shit"

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{Language Note: Hungarian dialogue is in plaintext, <and German dialogue is in carrots.> Thanks once again to Fräulein Anne for her help with the German!}

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September 26, 1858

Zsálya knew that her time was running very short. The moment she entered her dream, the demon wolf was waiting, growling and looking at her with those beady black eyes. Not even a few minutes' reprieve anymore. He would come for her in the waking world, very soon.

Gritting her teeth, Zsálya marshaled her courage and focused as Wilhelm had taught her. She bent her will upon the large tree the wolf was standing under. With a thunderous 'crack' it broke at the base, toppling onto the demon wolf and crushing it into the snow that shrouded the forest. This is becoming easier, she thought in relief.

Then she heard a low growl from behind her. And from her left. And from her right.

Zsálya's heart sank as she turned to see three of the evil Werewolf, advancing on her like a pack hunting a doe. What was this? There had never been more than one of him before. It made no sense. Still, she thought with sudden resolution, I will not be a victim anymore, not in my own dreams. He may be destined to kill me in the waking world, but this is my place, not his!

She was beginning to focus, in order to destroy these new tormentors when the sky above her went dark, and a chorus of new growls came to her ears. Black storm clouds blotted out the sun, and giant forks of lightning struck the distant mountains. All around her, Zsálya saw a vast pack of identical black wolves stalking from the trees, advancing across the meadow from all sides.

Her courage failed her, and she sank to the ground, sobbing. It really is time. I... "I do not want to die!!!" she screamed to the heavens. "I want to live, I want to stay with Willi!"

The black wolves came closer. She could smell their rancid scent, and felt hot breath on the back of her neck as they savored her fear. Zsálya squeezed her eyes shut, waiting to see if their attack would send her back to the waking world or if she would have to stay and suffer.

A circle of leaping flames sprang into being around her. The heat was so intense that Zsálya instinctively shifted and curled into a ball, her eyes squeezed tight against the inferno. She was so confused and scared, and she retreated into the depths of her own mind, hiding behind her wolf.

"Amor enim et iustitiam!!!" a very familiar voice boomed across the meadow.

Willi? Zsálya's heart leaped, and she opened her eyes a bit. Sure enough, there was her love, silver armor shining and sword in hand. His eyes glowed with that strange blue light, and this time Zsálya and her wolf rejoiced instead of feared. Our male is here, her wolf exulted. He will protect us!

As if to give the truth to Zsálya's wolf, Wilhelm conjured a ball of flame in his open left hand and threw it at a cluster of wolves. It exploded with a hellish roar, sending roasted chunks of flesh flying everywhere. "<Come and die, dogs! There are not enough demons in Hell to take my love from me!>" Wilhelm roared, his voice echoing from the woods and skies. "<Burn and die!>"

Zsálya watched through the curtain of flame as her knight in shining armor hurled himself against the army of Werewolves. His sword seemed an extension of his arm, he hurled balls of fire from his hand like so many pine cones, and jets of molten rock burst from the ground at his whim. The demon wolves fell before him in droves, and Zsálya and her wolf rejoiced at every one. Her beloved seemed more a force than a human, untouchable and invincible, and all of his power was meant only to safeguard her. The sensation Zsálya experienced as she watched her lover literally moving heaven and earth to protect her was indescribable.

How long he fought Zsálya could not tell, but it seemed forever. No matter how many matte-black wolves Wilhelm slew, more always came forth, a pestilence that came bounding out of the forest from all sides. Though he did not tire as he would in the waking world, and not a single foe managed to harm him, Zsálya could feel Willi's mounting annoyance. At last his temper snapped.

"<That is it. Everybody dies!>" Raising his sword-point and open hand to the sky, Wilhelm closed his blue eyes, ignoring the baying horde coming at him from all sides. Before Zsálya's astonished gaze, the black storm clouds overhead all rushed inwards, swirling together into a massive vortex centered over her.

Then the lightning came forth.

Massive thunderbolts rained down all around, striking some wolves dead and tearing the rest apart with their overlapping shockwaves. Zsálya's mind nearly shut down and she froze in catatonic terror. She knew she should have been destroyed as well, but something kept the thunderclaps from slamming into her and muted the apocalyptic noise to a dull roar. It didn't matter. This was the end of the world, and she was going to die. She curled into a furry little ball and buried her face in the snow, waiting for the end.

Zsálya was deep in shock when strong arms gently picked her out of the snow, and was only dimly aware of soft kisses laid on her forehead and behind her ears. She did notice when the noise and the flashing lights stopped. Her body went slack with relief, and she knew no more.

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Zsálya awoke in stages, drifting up towards the surface of consciousness. As she floated higher, the little wolf realized she was lying in a soft bed, with a warm presence and a pleasant scent all around her that she instinctively found comforting. Specifics were fuzzy, distant things, and she did not pursue them. She was content to revel in the peace of the moment as she gradually drifted out of the deep chasm into which her fear had thrown her.

When her blue eyes fluttered open, Zsálya beheld walls of black stone, tapestries and paintings, and dark wood furniture. It took a moment for her mind to recognize this place: Willi's bedroom, in his family castle. She tried to roll over and realized that she was still in her wolf form, and that Willi was cuddled up against her back. He had an arm draped over her, and was idly stroking her belly.

"You are back," he murmured, seeing her blue eyes moving. "Guten Abend, mein kleiner Wolf."

Zsálya shifted back into human form and turned to face her lover, kissing him slowly and deeply as she wrapped herself around him. "You came for me," she whispered when the kiss ended. "You saved me."

"Of course I did, my love. But are you alright? I feared that I had frightened you to death." His strong arms wrapped tighter around Zsálya's slim body, cradling her as he pressed his face into the crook of her neck. "I am so sorry, Zsálya," he whispered. "Four Below, I am so sorry!"

"Willi," she protested, pushing him away so she could look into his gorgeous blue eyes, "you protected me from an army of evil Werewolves. You have nothing to apologize for, my darling." To make her point she 'thought' his clothes away and pressed her naked body against his, running her nails lightly along his back in the way she knew he liked. "Thank you. Thank you so much!"

Wilhelm laughed and rolled onto his back, bringing her up to lie on top of him. "You are most welcome. No," he chided as her hands began to stray, "no frisking, meine Liebe. The time for secrets between us has passed. You will tell me what is happening."

"I have told you... I cannot speak of these things to anyone outside the pack. It is forbidden."

Willi cradled her face in his hands and just stared at her.

"I cannot!" Zsálya's anguish was obvious.

"I did not want it to come to this." Wilhelm sighed. "Zsálya, my love, you will tell me what is going on or I will pry the knowledge from your mind."

"You can do that?"

"Yes, I can. It will not damage you, but if you resist it will be extremely painful. And I know that your wolf will resist. Please tell me, mein kleiner Wolf. I hate to cause you pain, but this has gone too far. My duty to protect you is now more important."

Zsálya looked down at the love of her life, tears leaking from her eyes. Willi seemed not to notice as the salty droplets fell upon his cheeks. He just stroked her cheeks and looked at her, giving her time to think, to decide.

Her wolf was insistent that they keep their silence. The Alpha has ordered us! We cannot disobey, even for our male.

What does it matter now? Zsálya responded. It is too late for him to try to interfere, and you know that he will make good on his threat to pry it out of us. We have suffered enough. And Willi deserves to know!

The wolf did not like it. At all. But she stood aside, retreating into the back of Zsálya's mind and curling up.

Zsálya lowered her head and kissed Willi, no longer trying to control her tears. "I am going to be murdered," she whispered, almost too softly to hear.

"WAS?!!"

She laid a finger across his lips, quieting him. "Orsolya and I... we see things..."

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There were several minutes of absolute silence once Zsálya finished her explanation. Willi listened to her with rapt attention, holding her body tightly against his. His expression was completely blank, and his eyes were like two chips of ice. She had no idea what he was thinking. At last, he lifted her and set her ever so gently on the bed before rising to his feet and walking to the far side of the room. His head was bowed, and he seemed to be deep in thought.

When he turned, his eyes were shining with a jumble of emotions. "Verdammt, woman!" he barked, visibly struggling to control himself. "Let me get this straight: you take one of the most powerful men in Europe for a lover, and do not tell him of a vision of warning such as this?! Is there anything at all in your pretty little head, Zsálya?"

Zsálya recoiled as if he had slapped her, wrapping the covers around her naked body. "Willi... my father... he is the Alpha. He ordered me—"

"Scheißdreck." Wilhelm stalked around to Zsálya's side of the bed, towering over her. When he reached for her Zsálya let out a little shriek, thinking he was going to hurt her. But he just lifted her into his arms and fairly crushed her against him with the force of his hug. "Four Below, girl, do you not trust me?"

It took a minute for Zsálya to find her voice. "It is not about trust. A wolf cannot disobey her Alpha."

"And yet you have just done so."

"What? I—"

"You possess free will, just as humans do. You can disobey your alpha, as can your wolf. The fact that few Werewolves ever choose to disobey such orders does not make this less true."

"None of that matters. I have seen my own death, Willi." Zsálya's voice broke. "It will come to pass." She began sobbing into his shoulder.

"Nein. You will not die, Zsálya, not before your time."

"There is nothing you can do."

"Of course there is. I shall come and get you."

"What? When?"

"Right now. I shall wake and set out immediately." Willi began to set her gently back onto the bed.

"No! Please, do not go, Willi! Do not leave me!" Zsálya wrapped her arms tightly around Willi's neck and clung to him, consumed with fear that he would be hurt or killed if he tried to interfere with the prophecy. "This is most likely our last time together," she whispered. "Stay with me, my darling. Hold me. Love me."

Wilhelm set her on the bed and gently pried her arms loose. "You know I cannot do that, my love. I will not sit idle while you are in danger." He bowed his head for a moment, then clapped his hands twice.

To Zsálya's astonishment, the door opened and towering figures in shining metal armor began to file into the bedroom. She squeaked and pulled the covers up to cover herself again.

"I will maintain the dream until you wake. The... evil should not be able to reach you here," Wilhelm told her. "These guards will protect you if it does. You can go anywhere and do anything you wish, of course."

"Please, will you stay with me?" Zsálya whispered. She looked truly pitiable, curled up in his bed with tears streaking her pale cheeks.

Wilhelm's heart nearly broke, but he held firm. "I am coming for you," he told her simply.

Zsálya's gaze dropped. "Then... goodbye, Willi. I love you."

"I love you too, my little black-furred angel," he told her, leaning down for one last kiss. "And I will not say goodbye. I will see you soon." He stroked her long hair and laid a final, loving kiss on her forehead.

Then he straightened up and vanished.

Zsálya stared at the spot where he had been for many minutes, shaking and feeling the tears burn their way down her face. Finally, she turned to the tall figures standing mute, faceless behind their helms. "Could you all... wait outside, please?" she choked out. Amazingly, the guards complied, filing out of the bedroom.

When the door closed behind them Zsálya collapsed into the warm, soft bed, pressing her face into Willi's pillow to inhale his scent. Huge, shuddering sobs wracked her body as she cried and cried.

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"<The hour is late. Where are you off to, Master Wilhelm?>"

Wilhelm turned and glared at the figure standing in the corridor behind him. "<Hungary,>" he replied shortly, turning and striding down the corridors towards Schloss Helsing's Southeast Tower. Wilhelm had donned his Order battle-dress, enchanted chainmail from neck to toe topped with a white tabard and cape, both emblazoned with the Order's blue dodecagram. His swordbelt was girt about his waist, supporting a holstered revolver and three Kriegszauberstäbe in leather sheaths, as well as his enchanted blade. He was checking his throwing knives and slotting them into wrist sheaths as he walked.

Senzir, the Schloss' butler, matched Wilhelm's pace, staying a respectful step behind. He cut an odd figure, his unearthly violet hair and vivid purple eyes contrasting with his very traditional and normal butler's attire. Formerly a demon, Senzir was exquisitely effective at keeping the Schloss in order, but was not pleasant company. "<Finally off to meet the woman you have been pining over?>" he asked, openly needling Wilhelm.

Master Wilhelm responded with a blast of kinetic force that knocked Senzir back a step. "<She is in grave danger,>" he snarled over his shoulder as he walked away, <and I will protect her.> He felt no guilt about attacking the butler; Senzir was nigh-indestructible, and Wilhelm knew that he hadn't even caused him pain. It was a useful release, though, and it helped him think.

"<What shall I tell your father?>" Senzir called after Wilhelm as he dusted himself off.

"<The truth!>"

In his agitated state, the climb up the tower's long spiral staircase was as nothing. Finally emerging on the flat top of the tower, Wilhelm took a fraction of a second to feel the pitch-black night around him, gauging the wind and the weather. Satisfied, he shifted into his eagle form and launched himself off the tower, his brown-feathered wings beating the air powerfully and launching him out over the turbulent waves of the North Sea. He set his course south-southwest.

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September 27, 1858

Wilhelm's awareness was a symphony of pain as he streaked southwards down the course of the River Elbe, the rising sun on his left. Every muscle in his avian body screamed its fatigue, begging to be allowed to rest. Eagles were meant to effect long journeys by soaring, but that was not nearly fast enough. Wilhelm's wings and shoulders burned like hellfire as he beat them in a steady, powerful rhythm. Pain was nothing. Fatigue was nothing. Zsálya was everything.

The young mage took a moment to wish that magical teleportation was possible. That would have saved him a great deal of time and pain, but the Earth's ley field destabilized any local Gate before it could even finish forming. It was possible to make a Gate to a different plane of existence—to Heaven or to Hell, for instance—but even a mage of Wilhelm's power couldn't make one by himself.

Wilhelm thrust these idle thoughts aside. All that mattered was to get to Zsálya, to protect her. Even if he dropped dead afterwards like Pheidippides, it would not matter. That predator, that böse Wolf, would not harm a hair on his beloved's head. Not while he drew breath.

But all the determination in the world would be for naught if he could not reach her in time. Snapping his beak in frustration, Wilhelm drew even more magical power from the wind and from the flow of the river beneath him, channeling the energy into his muscles to keep them from failing. He redoubled his wing beats, tearing across the sky like an arrow from a bow.

<I am coming, mein kleiner Wolf,> he thought. <I am coming!>

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<Almost there. Almost there.> The single idea repeated endlessly in Wilhelm's tired mind, his thoughts bent upon Zsálya's. He had first touched her mind two hours before, and was heading straight for it with the speed and surety of a thunderbolt. It was much harder to read her in the waking world, especially at this distance. Still, Wilhelm had thought he felt arousal, punctuated with bursts of ecstasy. <Her sister and her mate must be making love again,> he thought, his first bit of levity since the previous night.

And then it hit him like a knife in the soul: terror, a horrible sense of violation, desperation to escape. Frantically, Wilhelm reached out, trying to let Zsálya know that he was nearly there. But he could not make himself heard over the 'noise' of her fear.

Screeching a battlecry to the heavens, Wilhelm drew in far more power than was safe, pushing his aquiline form past all mortal limits of exertion. The landscape below was now very familiar. Cresting a rise, his eagle's eyes spied two black figures moving against the snow, half a mile below.

Wilhelm tucked his wings tight against his body and dove.

Now he could easily recognize his angel as she ran, fleeing from the matte-black wolf whose echoes he had slain in her dreams each night since meeting her. Again he tried to get through to her mind, and again he was rebuffed by her raw terror.

He saw her heading for the cliff.

Wilhelm's screech echoed up and down the valley as he watched the love of his life plunge to her death. He tried desperately to catch her with his magic, or at least to slow her fall, but he was much too tired and still too far away. Blackest despair enveloped his heart, and he had to look away from Zsálya's huddled, broken form.

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