(The events of this chapter take place after those in Faerie Bound's "Wizard")

That night, for the first time since I had awoken,  I dreamed. It was raining again, and a thick mist hung in the air like a damp, clammy curtain. The remnants of a fire smouldered a short way off beneath the boughs of a tree. I approached the ashes slowly, scenting the air carefully for any sign of intruders. A sound caught my attention a short way off, and I skittered backwards away from the fire, back into the cloak of rain and mist. A low growl resonated from my throat as I crouched low, flattening myself almost to the ground.

Then, it hit me. Magic. Unbelievably strong, concentrated magic. I should have been able to sense that from a mile away. I scented the air, honing in on the source. It was familiar, very very familiar. Hunting instinct kicked in, the muscles in the back of my legs and shoulders tensed, ready to spring. I flexed my taloned fingers, digging gouges into the damp ground. The scent grew stronger as a figure emerged from the mist, squatting down by the fire with a dejected sigh. A spark sprang to life in the damp logs, and by the light of the fire I saw the face of my prey.


It was Morgan. She looked different to how I remembered her, as if the few weeks we had been parted were like years. She seemed weary of something as she knelt by the fire, hudding close to its warmth. Even in this gloom, I could see the tear tracks on her face. Another instinct roused itself amidst the killing urge, a deeper, more powerful desire. This prey was not for hunting ... this prey was for an entirely different purpose. I flexed my talons again, licking my teeth with a long, black tongue. I wasn't supposed to kill her. I was supposed to mate with her.

What am I thinking! I can't do that, she's not just some random female! I can't attack her, I just can't! Stop thinking like this, stop it now!

I forced myself to relax, clamping a taloned hand over my nose to try and block out the smell of her. Since the change I had become ever more aware of my senses, even the tiniest of creatures could send me whipping around in alarm if I did not know its scent. But even this couldn't stop me seeing her, or stop the urges in my mind. My body was telling me to do something my mind didn't want to do ... well, most of my mind.

Morgan looked up, as if something had caught her attention. I forced myself to be still, pressing my forehead into the dirt to keep from looking at her. I had to stop thinking about her, blot her out completely, maybe then I could bring myself back under control.

"Where are you?" Morgan's voice was scarcely more than a whisper, but I heard it as clearly as if she had been standing right next to me. She sounded exhausted; exhausted and weary of everything.

I bit my lip, my teeth soon drawing blood. I wanted to go to her, I wanted to hold her in my arms again and apologize for everything I had done. I didn't want to stay here, lying like some mindless hunter waiting for its prey. Reluctantly, I stood up, my skin slowly changing colour to match the grey whispy backdrop of the mist rather than the deep greens and brown of the boggy earth where I had just been lying.

I don't have to let her see me. I can just walk away now, while I still can, leave her to her dream. She doesn't have to know what's become of me - no-one ever does.

I began to creep away slowly, watching Morgan carefully out of the corner of my eye and hoping the mist was thick enough to hide me. However, as I slipped past the ring of light from the fire, I felt something crunch beneath my foot. Morgan whipped around, wet hair flying out behind her, instinctively slipping into a fighting stance. Our eyes locked, and for one moment we both stood there, transfixed in horror. Then, with a shriek, a blast of wind shot through the air, knocking me backwards with a snarl. Morgan's free hand went to a pendant around her neck, fingers closing over it as if for protection. The air wall shifted before me, blowing away the mist and leaving me, exposed, before her horrified gaze.

"Ash?" she whispered, face white with shock, "Is that you?"

The End

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