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Lords of Autumn Ch 3: Fall of the Forest Prince :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 0 0
Literature
Lords of Autumn Chapter Two: Gathering the Pack
Night came quietly following the meeting of the wildling and the witch. Ren tore himself from his daydreaming as he remembered his responsibilities. Giving the dead unicorn a final, disdainful glare, he shook the dampness from his furred limbs before raising his head to utter a haunting call into the air. Within moments, other voices from various, far-flung corners of the forest echoed back in reply. Ren only gave a relieved snort after he heard the sixth. Good, they were all safe.
One by one, six other wildlings would arrive in the clearing as the sun vanished behind the mountains and cast them into growing shadows, their eyes adjusting easily to the gloom. First came the smallest of them, an eager, tan and brown female with water-slick fur and hair that still dripped as she clicked happily at Ren, her sharp-toothed grin pink with blood and her freckled cheeks still flecked with fish scales.
“Otter,” he acknowledged her with a nod from his post on a nearby rock, tail tucke
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Mature content
Lords of Autumn Chapter One: Silver and Cold Steel :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 2 5
Literature
Best Forgotten
Sing me a song
Of yesterday’s goodbyes.
Let me drift away
With all the could-have-been's.
I’m lost
In thoughts of what has gone,
Of what can never be again.
I dwell
On imagined lovers,
And the faded daydreams they inspired.
Stop to visit all the ruins
That my own hands brought about.
It surely isn't healthy,
Keeping what is best forgotten.
Do they think of me,
Or am I the only one
To sit up in the shadows,
Remembering them in pieces?
Do they know
What they did?
Do they know
How they changed me?
Do they know
That I still can’t let it all go?
They all move on
And so must I.
But in the lonely shadows,
I still wonder.
Did I mean anything,
Anything at all?
Do I cross their minds,
In passing or at length?
Or am I just a memory,
Best forgotten?
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:iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 2 0
Literature
All The Unicorns Are Dead
All the unicorns are dead,
At least the ones inside my head.
All the magic and the wonder,
Burned to cinders, torn asunder.
I’ve run out of fairy dust
And no amount of clapping
Can bring them back.
The looking glass is just
A mirror.
The second star to the right
Went supernova.
The wardrobe is full
Of the skeletons I collect.
All the unicorns are dead,
Leaving emptiness instead.
All the hopes and all the dreams,
Snuffed out, so it seems.
No more dust.
Too weak to clap.
Can’t go back.
The mirror shows a
Tired soul.
The dead star flickers,
A flame before the wind.
Skeletons rattle against the door,
Speaking poison.
All the unicorns are dead.
And the magic and the wonder,
The hopes and  the dreams.
Dead.
No dust.
No clapping.
Gone.
Broken mirror.
Broken.
I let the world break me.
And now all the unicorns
Are dead.
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Literature
[HS] Two Dumbfucks in a Car
"You're driving too fast, Cal!" Jake groaned, clinging to the little handle on the roof of the car.
"Hey! My car, my rules!" his friend snapped back, making a point of putting the pedal down even more. "Besides, we're in the middle of fuckin' nowhere. Nothingness as far as the eye. Can. See."
The Hawaiian native sighed, closing his eyes and praying for his carsickness to go away. He wasn't used to being in vehicles this long…why hadn't he just taken a flight to California? Oh right, he was broke. So very, very broke. But he wasn't going to miss his best bro's wedding! So desperate times called for desperate measures. He had called upon his on-again off-again friend-of-sorts, Cal, since he was the only person he knew on the eastern coast who had a car.
Had there been any other options, he would have taken them in a heartbeat. Hell, at this rate, he was regretting not resorting to hitchhiking.
"Ugh, I'm gonna be sick if ya don't…"
"Oh.My.FUCK, fine!" Cal growled, the car reducing to a mo
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Literature
[WoW] Love, Please Stay My Hand
Jiao Brewsong sat by her campfire with a sour expression, listlessly sharpening her pair of jade-hilted daggers. It was a cold night, the fire and her travel cloak doing little to take the bit out of the bitter wind howling through the valley she was camping in. A crumpled set of orders was catching flame where she'd thrown it, the blaze as eager as she was to have it destroyed. But the order still stood, no matter what she did: SI:7 wanted her to assassinate Kang Goldtree. The Pandaren woman sighed, chewing at her lower lip. How had it come to this?
The Kor'kron had intercepted the order thanks to a particularly talented tracker. Had the subject been anyone else in the whole of Azeroth, Kang would have lost no sleep over his orders to capture the SI:7 operative for questioning and elimination…but such was not the case. It could not be helped, he supposed, this hand Fate had dealt. After running up his tab at the Wyvern's Tail considerably, he slung his rifle over his back and steeled
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Literature
[HS] Protecting Miss Crocker
"Are you ready to go, Miss Crocker?"
Sitting at her desk, the young heiress looked up from a spreadsheet on her laptop. A warm smile spread as she saw that it was Dirk standing in the doorway, his red and black suit cleanly pressed as always.
"What have I told you about calling me 'Miss Crocker', Dirk?" she sighed, closing the device. "We're friends, just call me Jane."
"It's against protocol," he replied with his time-rehearsed response.
"Poppycock, I'll have protocol changed, then," she sighed, arms crossing over her chest.
"You know the Baroness wouldn't allow it."
"Ugh, well someday I will be Baroness and that will be my first action as head of this corporation."
"Really?"
"Yes, I even have a memo saved to remind myself if I somehow forget. I'll show it to you, if you don't believe me."
A rare smile threatened at the corner of Dirk's lips. She considered it a small victory.
"I believe you. Now, the car is waiting outside, are you ready to go?"
"Yes, yes, give me just a moment," she
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Mature content
[HS] Rise From Flames, Mage of Heart :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 16 10
413 Shenanigans by Whimsical-Realist 413 Shenanigans :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 7 3
Literature
we are at war: chapter 2
Roxy entered the room, shutting the door behind her before crossing somewhat nervously to his bedside. The nurses had elevated the back of the bed so he could sit up, his head resting against a pillow and a blanket tucked in around him. She chewed on her lower lip a bit as she sat in the chair at his side; he looked like absolute shit. Someone had run a brush through his hair, but it wasn't styled at all and stuck out at odd angles here and there, reminding her of hay.
To his displeasure, his shades had taken from him on arrival and were kept out of reach along with his duffle bag of clothes in the generic wardrobe in one corner of the room. There were bandages of varying types covering scrapes and stitches, one of his arms set in a cast from the elbow down. Normally having a decent complexion, he was still sickly pale from the loss of blood, the incandescent lights in the ceiling giving him a slightly yellow tint that likely made things look worse than they really were. Tequila Sunris
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Literature
Songstuck: Forever'n Ever, The End
Not even the frigid wind howling by could be heard over the thundering beats pounding out of the truck's impressive sound system. The tinted windows trembled with the sheer force and it was a wonder that the driver hadn't already lost his hearing long before his eighteenth birthday. It was a long, lonely stretch of road guiding him toward his destination, the burnt orange truck racing the sunrise, the crescent moon ever on his tail. He had been driving all through the night, not once stopping to fuel up or even take a leak. He wouldn't ease up, not until he got there.
Dirk frowned, his brows knitting together. Behind his usual stoic mask of  indifference and a pair of shades, it was hard to tell if the teenager ever expressed even the smallest flicker of emotion beyond the raising of an eyebrow. But he was alone there in his truck, trying to keep his mind drowning in the rolling melodies and thumping bass  and there was no one to see exactly how troubled he was. His
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Mature content
Songstuck: Two Moons Hotel :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 16 6
Mature content
Show Your Colors :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 4 9
Literature
Songstuck: Saturday Night at the 413
Like most hole-in-the wall bars, the 413 was a poorly lit affair with a thick miasma of cigarette smoke and casual despair. No one went to the 413 for a good time, they went to wallow with other poor souls weighed down by the chains of the everyday grind. It was most active on the weekends, especially at nine o'clock on Saturday while most of the normal world was at home with their loved ones. It was rare to see any new faces, the place just barely getting by on the patronage of the regular crowd alone.
At his usual spot at the bar was a young man in a well-worn tweed suit with a sad sort of smile and messy black hair who went by the name John Egbert. He was nursing a glass of beer while indulging the mumblings an older, drunken gentleman sitting next to him who was on perhaps his third tonic and gin.
"Shon, can yeh play me a memory?" he asked, looking at his younger companion with bloodshot eyes. "I'm not too shure how it goesh, but it's shad and shweet and I knew it when I wore a you
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Disneystuck: can you f33l the ships tonight by Whimsical-Realist Disneystuck: can you f33l the ships tonight :iconwhimsical-realist:Whimsical-Realist 65 10

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Author's Note/Content Warning: this chapter contains relatively graphic descriptions of an animal being hunted and killed. If you wish to avoid this and continue with the story, skip the content between the line breaks and read from after the second set. You won't miss any critical information, I promise <3


Beneath the shadow of his skull, Ren lost himself for hours, days, even weeks. Time was meaningless. In the back of his mind, he was only faintly aware of the shifting of the seasons as autumn began to wane and the first frost wilted the grass. But in the Great Hunt, the wildlings were no longer themselves but an unstoppable force, their souls woven together by their otherworldly helms as a single-minded entity that spanned the depths of the wood. Crouched in the shadows, Ren could feel six hearts beating as one in his own chest, could hear a crow calling in the north as Otter stalked along the riverbed, could smell the sap beneath the bark of the tree Chameleon scaled up for a better vantage point, and after the sixth week, he felt Lion’s roar from his own throat as he cornered the Prince at last.

===========================================================================================

From all corners of the forest, the wildlings converged on the briar field, taking their places in a ring that drew tighter and tighter around their prize. After so long eluding them at every turn, the great stag had finally tired, his flanks slick with sweat and sad black eyes bleary from lack of rest. At eight feet hoof-to-antler, the Prince was normally an impressive sight: fur patterned to match the trees of the wood, gnarled antlers that bloomed with flowers in spring, and fresh growths sprang to life beneath the tread of his hooves. But after so many days under the relentless driving by the wildlings, he heaved for breath and stumbled over his own legs as he sought a route of escape. The briars served the wildlings well by worsening the Prince’s balance and slowed any progress he could make, wandering deeper and deeper into the tangle as the pack closed ranks and closed their circle further around him.

With the others keeping the stag contained, it was Ren who took point to wear the creature down further, giving false lunges to send him in one direction before leaping over his head to redirect him into another. With any other large prey, it would have a been a simple task of overwhelming it with their numbers and bringing it down with tooth and claw, but this was different: they needed this one fully intact. Not a drop of blood was to be wasted, if it could be avoided, so it would be up to Ren to be the one to deal the final blow.

At last, the Prince gave a weak cry as his leg caught against a jagged bit of rock that nearly caused him to buckle altogether, becoming distracted by the sudden burst of pain. Still, he managed to limp a few paces away before a weight crashed against his side as Ren charged with a wild roar echoed through the other wildlings. Stumbling at the assault, the Prince fought to remain upright as best he could, but the effort exceeded the energy he had left and within moments, he lost his footing and collapsed onto his side. Wailing in panic, he began to thrash his legs, but it was soon apparent that it was exactly what Ren had been hoping for: the more the massive stag struggled, the further he entangled himself in the briars. While making sure the Prince didn’t manage to escape, the wildlings kept to their ring as their leader stood vigil to the creature’s waning efforts. It wasn’t until the stag stopped moving and simply lay there breathing shallowly that Ren crept close again from behind, moving slowly to avoid startling him. Carefully---and ready to leap off if the stag flailed---the wildling knelt at his side and anchored one knee against the back of the creature’s neck, just below his head.



“Be at peace,” he murmured quietly, his voice almost tender as clawed hands reached out to take hold of either side of the stag’s nose.

“Your fight is over now.”



As he did this, the other wildlings came forward at last, kneeling down as well so that a pair was at each of the Prince’s legs to keep them pinned to the ground as Ren began to draw the stag’s head backward towards himself while pushing with all his might at the creature’s neck with his knee. Despite his exhaustion, the stag resisted, trying to pull his nose loose of the wildling’s straining grasp, even though he had no hope of escaping the pack in the end.

Several minutes would pass before the light began to fade from the Prince’s eyes and he huffed out one last whine of discomfort before there came a fatal crack, the stag going limp beneath them. Ren heaved a sigh of relief and reverently lay the creature’s head back down on the ground before standing along with the other wildlings, only then removing the skull from over his face.


=====================================================================================================


“It’s done,” he muttered, the others each removing their own skulls to hold against their chests in a sign of respect.

“Long hunt,” Cameleon commented, but offered a pleased smile. “A worthy prey.”

“He certainly was,” Lady Heron hummed. “What a magnificent challenge. I feared we would never get him worn down.”

“But Ren did the trickiest part,” Otter praised their leader, beaming at him proudly. “His neck didn’t wanna give!”

“My arms are sore as hell because of it,” Ren grumbled, glancing off to the side to avoid looking at her expression for too long. “It felt like I was trying to snap a tree in half.”

“What now?” Bear asked, giving a yawn before snuffling at the crisp evening air.

“We rest for tonight, gods know we deserve it,” was Ren’s reply, finally smiling a touch at his pack. “In the morning, I will carry the Prince back to the witch’s domain and be done with it.

“We cut it a bit close, I can feel Winter’s touch tonight,” Hyena chuckled. “I do hope he won’t be cross with you for a late delivery.”

“It’s not late yet, not until---” he began, but stopped as a sudden snowflake fluttered down to land on the tip of his nose, the wildling blinking at it in a cross-eyed manner that left Hyena doubled over in a fit of laughter.

“Just get a fire going, scavenger!” Ren snapped at them, but the wildling only grinned at him fondly before doing as they were bid. “We will take turns keeping vigil over the Prince, I won’t see anyone or anything take our prize before I can deliver it.”



Once the wildlings had a fire crackling merrily in a clearing not far from the briars, the Prince was carried to rest beside their makeshift camp as they settled in for the night. Despite exhaustion creeping up on him, Ren took the first watch, his thoughts still on the hunt. Honestly, he had wanted to begin the trip to the witch’s domain that very night, before the stag even had a chance to cool off and stiffen, but he knew his body would never have cooperated. He could put the skull back on and ignored the pain, but they had been warned by their elders to never wear them for much longer than a month or they would risk perishing; the witch and his prize were certainly not worth that risk. Some hours later, Chameleon relieved him for watch and Ren curled himself up in the spot the other wildling had just left beside Otter. Sleep claimed him quickly, just as soon as he closed his eyes, and the wildling did not so much as stir again until it was early afternoon the next day.



(( ))o(( ))o(( ))o(( ))o(( ))



Cursing himself for being lazy and sleeping in longer than he’d intended, Ren instructed the others to spend the day recovering from their hunt, promising that he would take care of himself after the Prince was delivered and the spells removed. Bear and Lion hefted the buck from the ground and arranged him on Ren’s shoulders, only letting go once he had given them a nod of confirmation. Without another word, the wildling slipped off into the wood, able to run in short bursts but eventually he stamped down on his impatience and kept to a steady pace that he was able to maintain. Thankfully, the sun was warm enough to chase away the frost and the few flakes of snow that had fallen the night previous hadn’t even managed to stick to the ground in the first place. By the time the sun had begun to set, he stepped from within the safety of the trees and into a clearing he had never seen before.

Held within the sizable ring of cleared land were several gardens and plowed spaces for crops to grow, but these were nothing to pay much notice compared to the massive willow that seemed to have grown up through the roof of a cottage. Or were the two fused as one? Either way, the tree was easily thirty feet tall, its cascading branches dangling down over the cottage with glass baubles holding candles tied to them here and there that lent it the illusion of being visited by massive fireflies. Standing uncertainly at the edge of the unknown, Ren startled as a figure appeared off to the side of his vision. Stumbling slightly, he blinked a moment until recognition crossed his features at the sight of a human with bright orange hair. Yet, something was off . When last they met, Hux had short hair that he had kept slicked back, but now it fell in gentle waves to his shoulders. In fact, the hard edges and stern posture he distinctly remembered about the man were also absent, the witch’s features seeming softer somehow and he lacked any sort of footwear despite the cold night descending upon them. The witch raised a hand in greeting, though kept a respectable distance.



“Your hair...grew,” Ren found himself muttering awkwardly, frowning.

“Has it?” the witch replied, a brow raising as a playful smile tugged his lips, lifting a hand to toy with a stray lock. “I suppose I should tell you a secret: it has been known to do that.”

“Hair doesn’t grow that much that fast, idiot,” Ren snapped, gesturing angrily at the witch’s hair. “ That’s what I meant.”

“Well, I admit, my hair was shorter at the start of autumn, but---”

“That’s what I just said,” the wildling interrupted with a growl.

“No, you said that it grew ,” the witch corrected with a laugh. “At most, it may have grown a knuckle’s length.”

“You’re full of hog’s shit!” Ren huffed.

“Hardly, there’s no room for it between all the bones and blood and---”



“Just shut up already and take your stag,” the wildling grumbled, hefting the Prince from his shoulders to carefully lay on the ground between them.

“Oh! This is the stag you promised to get for us?” the witch turned, gesturing for Ren to follow him. “Here, come, let’s get it to the house.”

“I’m not carrying it any further until you undo these spells on me,” Ren replied with a shake of his head.

“Well, that’s a tricky situation to put me in, isn’t it?” the witch replied, turning to face Ren again with an apologetic smile. “I can’t.”

“What...what do you mean you can’t ?”

“I meant exactly what I said: I can’t undo them.”

“That was part of our arrangement!” Ren shouted, fingers curling into fists at his sides.

“No, not ours ,” the witch replied. “Just a minor bit of confusion, that’s all.”

“A minor ---?! You will remove these spells, witch!” the wildling commanded fiercely, advancing on the man a few paces.



“Now now, calm down,” the witch urged, holding his hands up toward the wildling. “There’s no need to shout. As I said, I can’t undo them. Only the witch who cast the spells can undo them.”

“But you did cast them!” Ren shouted, sounding more frustrated than genuinely mad at this point.

“I think I would have remembered doing that,” countered the witch with a chuckle.

“I’m going to tear your face off like I should have done weeks ago!” the wildling snarled with bared teeth.

“Oh? Will you really? That’s a bit odd, don’t you think?” hummed the witch, nearly in a sing-song tone that only made Ren want to make good on his threat all the more.

“What are you talking about?” he asked, tail lashing in agitation behind him.

“Wanting to tear my face off, of course,” the witch replied, eyes crinkling and he seemed dangerously close to laughing.

“How is it odd?”

“Well, if I understand correctly, you have a tranquility curse cast on you.”

“Yeah, you put it there so I wouldn’t attack you. But you know that already!” Ren blurted.

“Feels like you swallowed sunshine and took a nap in the soft summer grass, doesn’t it?” the witch pressed on.

“Something like that, I guess? So what ?” the wildling hissed, clearly reaching the end of his patience with the witch’s games.

“ I don’t think someone who swallowed sunshine and took a nap in the soft summer grass would be standing there threatening to tear my face off. Do you ?”



A long pause followed as Ren stared openly at the witch, who was smiling politely as he seemed to be waiting for the wilding to sort through his thoughts. Things weren’t adding up, and from the start of their conversation, he had had a sense that he was being played with...not in an unkind manner, but the witch had chosen his words carefully to keep the ruse going. But now he had the last piece of the puzzle that he had needed: the effects of the curse hadn’t activated because he wasn’t actually close enough to the witch who had put it on him. That would only mean...



“You aren’t Hux,” he concluded at last.

“Correct,” the witch confirmed with a nod.

“So, you’re--?”

“My name is Clan,” he explained, nearly in tears from restraining his bemusement. “Hux is my brother.”

“Oh gods, there’re two of you?!” Ren groaned, and Clan finally burst into laughter that was more than evidence enough that this wasn’t Hux.

“Now, let’s get inside, Hux is waiting for us,” Clan turned again to start toward the cottage. “Hold a moment, though, I need to clear the traps for you.”



Ren stood in embarrassed anger for a long moment before he reached down to grab hold of the stag and strained to get him back over his shoulders. If it had been a regular deer or any other dead animal, he might have been tempted to simply drag the body along out of annoyance at the trick that he had just endured, but he held more respect for the Prince than to give in to that whim. Lost in thought, he very nearly fell backward over his own feet as for a moment when he saw the witch engulfed in a burst of flame. But it was part of a spell of some sort: as Clan swung his hooded cape up over his head, it blazed bright for a moment and in the witch’s wake, a brilliant orange fox stood. Dumbfounded, Ren took a step toward the creature, which was closer in size to a wolf than any common fox he had ever seen. Clan turned to look at him with deep blue eyes before giving a laugh-like bark at his expression and bounded off, hopping up here and there along a pathway that the wildling could not see. Whenever the fox landed, an iron trap snapped shut just a split second after he had lept away again.

Quietly wondering exactly what he had gotten himself into, Ren slowly followed after the fox, stepping around the disabled traps and was careful not to stray from the path Clan was creating for him. It took several minutes, but soon they reached the cottage and the fox’s form burst apart once more and reformed into that of the witch, who politely opened the door so that Ren could pass inside. Hesitant for a moment, he finally sighed and ducked beneath the frame and stepped into his first human dwelling. The smooth stone floor was warm against the pads of his feet and almost instantly, the swell of summer’s sun bloomed in his chest and worked its way up to his head. Following after the wildling, Clan closed the door behind them and motioned for Ren to follow him from the entryway and down a nearby hall. The air was thick with the smell of drying herbs, unfamiliar spices, leather and honey, fruit that was no longer in season, and roasted meat. Everywhere he looked, there were tables lining the walls laden with scrolls and tomes, pedestals holding crystals, feather pens and ink pots, labeled bottles and jars, candles and trinkets that glittered in the warm light.

From what he had heard of witches, Ren had expected a much more somber and, perhaps, grizzly abode. True, there were bones and containers of animals parts floating in a kaleidoscope of colored liquids on many of the shelves, but somehow even those managed to be pleasant to the eye. No pools of blood, no rotting bodies strung up on hooks, no shambling minions reanimated from the fallen...the witches’ home was warm and inviting, though he briefly wondered if that wasn’t just another trick of the curse. Clan brought him to a parlor of some sort with a large slab of black stone that had been carved into a primitive table, and standing beside it was the other witch. Hux smirked as they approached, his expression akin to a cat that had finally caught a mouse, sending a faint chill up Ren’s spine despite the warmth in his chest.



“Well well, you managed it, after all,” he chuckled, arms laced behind his back as he looked from the wildling to the buck draped over his shoulders. “And with much more grace than the unicorn, I see. Which, I must say, is impressive...you barely left any of that unfortunate creature behind.”

“We did get a nice horn out of it,” Clan reminded his brother, though the other snorted with a sharp look to the wildling.

“Oh yes, no one is debating that, brother, it was a lovely horn. I just find it quite curious that one wildling could consume the entirety of a unicorn in one night on his own,” Hux riddled, lips drawn into a sly smile. “Don’t you?”

“I’m sure Ren simply took what he needed back to his home. You think too much,” the other witch sighed, moving back to the wildling. “Now come, help me get the Prince from his shoulders so he can rest, I’m sure it was a long trip.”

“He isn’t our guest, Clan, he’s an errand boy at most,” Hux tutted, but stepped forward as well to assist Clan in lifting the buck up and over onto the stone table. “And I’m certain he would like to be on his way.”

“An errand boy is still a guest when you never have visitors. Besides, night has fallen and it’s cold, the least we can do is let him stay with us for the night after the trouble of bringing the Prince all this way.”



Hux narrowed his eyes at his brother, who only offered a sly smile of his own in return. As the two witches seemed to be occupied arguing with each other over what to do with the wildling, Ren idly studied the room. Unlike the hall and the entryway, this space had dark red walls and ornate metal containers billowing scented smoke lined the various shelves over wooden workbenches that held knives and other tools the wildling only vaguely recognized. If he had to hazard a guess, this room was used for some sort of rituals. His eyes fell to the floor and the curve of a channel that was carved into it that wound its way to link with several that ran down along the sides of the table at the center.



“What will you do with the Prince now?” Ren asked, eyes growing heavy under the combination of incense and the tranquility curse.

“Would you like to stay and see?” Clan asked hopefully, earning a reproachful glare from his brother.

“I think so,” he agreed with a nod. “Then you can remove your spells and I’ll leave.”

“The sooner the better,” Hux sighed, looking a bit put upon but it was already decided. “Very well, sit in the corner on a cushion and keep out of the way. Don’t touch anything and try not to bother us with questions.”

“Ignore him. I like questions,” Clan countered, giving Ren a wink before padding over to one of the workbenches to begin sorting through the tools.



Bristling faintly at the gesture, the wildling moved to seat himself in a corner of the room that had been piled up with various silk cushions, brushing a hand over the fabric idly to admire the cool texture against his rough skin. While part of him railed at his decision to linger instead of returning promptly to his pack, Ren couldn’t help but to feed his gnawing, insatiable curiosity. Having only crossed paths with humans in passing, this was really his first---and perhaps only---opportunity to learn more about them. At the very least, the witches seemed to be much more fascinating than the common villagers or king’s men he had seen in the wood, and he wanted to be sure that the Prince received an honorable ending and not turned into some game hunter’s trophy while the rest of the body went to waste.

...besides, what could it possibly hurt to rest there for a bit before he was on his way?
Night came quietly following the meeting of the wildling and the witch. Ren tore himself from his daydreaming as he remembered his responsibilities. Giving the dead unicorn a final, disdainful glare, he shook the dampness from his furred limbs before raising his head to utter a haunting call into the air. Within moments, other voices from various, far-flung corners of the forest echoed back in reply. Ren only gave a relieved snort after he heard the sixth. Good, they were all safe.

One by one, six other wildlings would arrive in the clearing as the sun vanished behind the mountains and cast them into growing shadows, their eyes adjusting easily to the gloom. First came the smallest of them, an eager, tan and brown female with water-slick fur and hair that still dripped as she clicked happily at Ren, her sharp-toothed grin pink with blood and her freckled cheeks still flecked with fish scales.

“Otter,” he acknowledged her with a nod from his post on a nearby rock, tail tucked up around the front of his legs. “Good hunt?”

“Very, very,” she hummed, beaming at him a moment before turning to investigate the unicorn. “The river is heavy, storms always bring out the big fish. But look at you, you got a silver horse.”

“It was hardly worth the headache it caused,” he grumbled, earning a inquisitive look from the other wildling. “I’ll explain once the others come.”

“Unlike you,” another voice observed, a greenish-brown wildling appearing from the tree above Ren, skin covered in moss and scales rather than fur, his tail coiled into a spiral. “To regret a hunt. Must be big news.”

“Chameleon,” Ren muttered, glancing up and watching the other hop from the tree to join Otter, checking her for injuries until she hissed at him and whapped him in the nose with a palm.

“Silver horse!” crowed a third wildling as he bounded into the clearing, losing his footing in his enthusiasm and tumbled to the ground, rolling through the grass until he came to a halt thanks to one of Chameleon’s feet flicking out against his forehead to stop him.

Easily twice the size of Ren in muscle weight, this wildling was white from head to toe, boasting thick fur, wicked-long claws, and a stub where a tail had once been that accounted for his poor sense of balance. He blinked up at Chameleon with pink eyes a moment before giving a loud laugh.

“Easy, Bear, you graceless oaf,” Ren snorted, clearly amused as he smirked a bit.

“I thought I smelled a delicacy,” crooned another female voice, though far more aged than Otter.

A thin, somewhat frail-looking wilding with clouded amber eyes stepped carefully into the clearing as she held to the arm of a black-maned wildling that walked with a gnarled wooden cane. While she was cream and grey with a pointed nose and feather-like patches of fur, he was tawny-furred, battle-scarred and had a slight limp. Patting his arm in thanks, she stood away to crouch and accept a hug from Otter as she skipped up to her, smiling at the younger wildling’s affection.

“And how is my little imp?”

“Full of fish, Lady Heron!”

“Been a while since we had silver horse, yer kind to share, Ren,” the maned wildling said, the volume of his voice a bit louder than necessary.

“Better than wasting it, Lion,” Ren called back, rising from the rock to await the sixth and final member of his pack.

Finally, the last wildling arrived, slipping quietly into the clearing as the first stars began to appear in the night sky. They were taller than any of the others, long hair falling into their face and thin fingers clasped together over their stomach, boasting brown-spotted tan fur and a charming smile as they saw the others gathered together. Unlike the other wildlings, they wore a tattered poncho that they had stolen from a human’s laundry line, preferring to keep it draped over their narrow shoulders and chest.

“Hyena, there you are,” Ren greeted, rolling his eyes as the other playfully bowed at the waist to him. “That’s everyone, then.”

Ren’s pack were an odd bunch, as wildlings generally did not live in large groups, preferring a solitary life or the company of only one or two others. When he was young and on his own, he had struggled, often going days between meals and being reduced to scavenging when larger predators---even other wildlings---would bully him away from his kills. One summer, he stumbled upon a pack that had come to rest beside a lake, several of the younger members playing in the water while the older wildlings kept watch. Approaching cautiously, Ren was greeted by the Alpha, a grizzled old female with silvery fur and kind green eyes.

In time, he came to understand that the pack had formed out of necessity, each wildling present possessing some manner of disadvantage that was overcome by forming a unit. The Alpha explained that no one wildling could do everything on their own, but as a pack, nothing was impossible. When her time came years later, she chose Ren as her successor, trusting that the young but passionate wildling would do right by them. Of the original pack, only two of the elders remained, four others having joined after the passing of the former Alpha.

“Anything of interest in the wood as of late?” he asked, settling now that his pack was together again.

“All is calm on the edge of the wood,” Hyena replied. “Though the humans have built a new wall. Iron spikes along the top, they’ve learned to fear our kind.”

“There’s a new pack of wolves prowling at the base of the stone slope,” Otter chirped, settling to sit beside Chameleon in the cool grass. “Scrappy things, I don’t think they’ll pose a threat.”

“More scouts,” he supplied as he ruffled the smaller wildling’s hair playfully. “Just looking, mapping. No hunts, but they carry weapons. Will continue to watch.”

“Lion found a dragon’s scale by the south lake,” Lady Heron explained, perching herself on a nearby log after her companion led her to it. “No other signs, so we hope that it was merely passing through and stopped for water.”

“Did you tell him about the scale?” Lion loudly asked, causing her to laugh softly with a nod as she pat his leg when he sat beside her.

“Autumn’s waning early this cycle,” Bear offered with a yawn, flopping onto his back in the grass with a pat to his round belly. “Gathered up lots of nuts and fruit for the winter cave, checked the water spring. Everything should be ready for us when the first frost comes.”

Ren took his time circling through his gathered pack, making certain that each was in good health as he listened to each wildling’s report, pleased to find everything in order and nothing of great concern to address. Sighing, he hopped back onto his rock and ran a hand through his hair, tutting as a finger snagged on a tangle.

“I’ve called you all in for your share of my kill, but also to tell you of a new...problem,” he began, already earning a look of concern from Otter and a raised brow from Lady Heron. “Do you see the trap there? Beside the unicorn?”

“I had wondered,” Chameleon agreed with a nod. “You wouldn’t take easy prey from a trap.”

“No, I wouldn’t. I was chasing it down and got my own leg stuck. It isn’t like the ones the humans use with sharp teeth. Cold iron and engraved with runes, it’s a witch’s trap.”

“Witches? This deep in the wood?” Otter blurted, eyes wide.

“A witch,” Ren corrected, looking a touch embarrassed after admitting his mistake. “A male one. He had been baiting the trap for the same unicorn that I had been tracking, and unfortunately, our paths crossed with me at a severe disadvantage.”

“And what could have possibly inspired a witch to give up a unicorn and a wildling?” Lady Heron hummed, intrigued by the unfolding story, eyes crinkling with a sly smile.

“I made a deal with him. And that’s where my problem lies…”

“Our problem,” Hyena corrected with a chuckle. “Nothing we face we face alone. So, what did we offer the witch in return for your life?”

“The Prince of the Forest,” Ren sighed, flinching as Hyena burst into laughter.

“But that doesn’t make any sense, you---” Otter began, but Chameleon shushed her with a pat to the head.

“We hunt the Great Stag!” Bear cheered, sitting upright in his excitement, clapping his hands together.

“That’s quite a task you’ve taken on,” Lady Heron said, blind eyes lifting to the sky. “I remember long ago when I was young, I saw the Stag. More like a bolt of lightning, he outruns even the wind. Do you really believe you can catch him?”

“If anyone can, it’s Ren,” Otter huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.

“How long do we have? Until the witch wants payment,” Chameleon asked.

“Winter,” their leader grumbled, moving over to poke at the unicorn’s head with his foot. “The witch didn’t exactly require it, but suggested it pretty heavily. He can keep an eye on my whereabouts, so I would prefer that our gatherings be brief and far between. I don’t want him to know about the rest of you.”

“But we are a pack, we do everything together, as one,” Hyena hummed, wiping a tear of humor from their eye. “That breaks our rule.”

“I’m still your leader,” Ren countered, kneeling down at the unicorn’s side to begin butchering it for his pack, Chameleon and Otter soon joining him to make the work easier while their older packmates rested. “It’s my duty to protect each of you. But that said, I can still count on you each to play a part. The wood is too vast for me to hunt the Prince alone, after all. I’m certain I can take him down, but tracking him, flushing him out...that’s what I need help with.”

“Anything you need, we do,” Lady Heron offered, Lion looking to her for a moment before glancing back to the others by the unicorn.

“I know,” he replied with a half-smile, handing the heart to Otter, who wandered off to give it to Lady Heron. “We need to work quickly, I don’t want to have this...thing looking over my back any longer than I have to. So tonight, we rest and make ready, we’ll begin the hunt tomorrow.”

“Plan?” Chameleon asked, taking the liver from the other wildling’s hands to offer it to Lion.

“Starting at first light, we divide up again and begin combing the wood,” Ren explained, handing off a sizable hunk of meat to Otter as she returned, sending her over to Bear with it. “Lady Heron, you and Lion will take the north. Bear and Hyena, west. You and Otter take south and I’ll start in the east. Call out if you find any signs of the Prince and we’ll work on running him to exhaustion and cornering him someplace. Drive him to the briars if you can, even he can’t prance through them as easily. Get him tangled up, surrounded, and I can finish him off.”

“Sounds fun!” Bear laughed around a mouthful, cheeks slick with silvery blood as he grinned eagerly at their new hunt.

“Can we wear the skulls, Ren? Please? It’s been so long, and this is as special a hunt as they come!” Otter chirped, Chameleon smirking around a mouthful.

“Gods help the poor humans if they see us. You remember what happened last time we wore them,” Lady Heron chuckled, though even she offered a sharp grin. “We became legend.”

On very special, rare occasions, the pack would gather to don blackened skulls and armor made of bone before tracking their quarry. Ren found that these trappings heightened their senses and tapped them into a deep, primal energy hidden inside all wildlings. These artifacts had always been part of this pack as far as he knew, his own passed down to him when the former Alpha passed. When not in use, they were kept in their winter cave, and he was ultimately the one who decided if and when they would wear them.

Ren wished he knew more about where they had come from, but there was no recorded history: they just were. New packmates would first prove their worth before being taken down into the chamber in which they stored the skulls and armor, and only when they had found the one that called to them would they be given a name that was usually based on the skull that had chosen them.

“Let them spin their rumors, any of them that get in the way will learn the truth for themselves,” Ren grumbled, looking over his fellow wildlings and he felt his spirits lifting already, even beginning to get genuinely excited for the hunt. “We’ll wear the skulls.”

“I haven’t been on a Great Hunt in eons,” Hyena sighed, looking wistful. “This will be fun.”

“You do realize the ripples this will cause, however,” Lady Heron spoke up, turning her unseeing gaze to Ren with a somber expression. “In claiming the life of the Prince, you vacate his crown. It would leave the wood vulnerable, not to have a leader.”

“The witch wants the crown, what he chooses to do with that responsibility is none of my concern once the task is done,” Ren growled, nose wrinkling slightly. “We keep to our own, I don’t see why I should worry about anyone else being vulnerable.”

“Still a stubborn pup,” Hyena scoffed, teeth showing in their wide smile. “You would pass that burden to someone else.”

“Someone who wants it!” he snapped back, earning laughter from the other wildling. “The witch lives in the wood, so he knows how things work. He would have refused my offer if it wasn’t something he was after!”

“Is it wise to let a witch be the new Prince? I’ve not heard pleasant things about them,” Otter inquired, brushing at her scale-sprinkled cheek with the back of a hand. “What if he’s a cruel ruler and banishes us? Or makes an alliance with the human’s king and lets them chop all the trees down and hunt unchecked?”

“You worry too much,” Chameleon snorted, earning a smack to his arm by the small wildling.

“I worry just the right amount! The humans already push their boundaries, all quiet and sneaky,” she huffed. “If they take over the wood, we lose our home!”

“I would never let that happen,” Ren assured her.

“Well, then I hope you know how to fight a witch if you need to,” she concluded, arms crossing over her chest as she stared at him firmly. “Because I don’t trust someone you had to cut a deal with to avoid getting...eaten? Do witches eat wildlings?”

“I think he mentioned using me for ingredients…” he admitted, flinching when she glared at him. “Alright, alright! I get it. I’ll be more cautious. Like I said, we get this done quick and never have to deal with him again.”

“Unless he starts causing problems for us,” Otter added sourly.

“Yes, unless he starts causing problems for us,” Ren sighed, trying not to look sheepish at her scolding.

Seeming faintly satisfied with his reassurances, the young wildling gave him a nod and returned to eating while Ren looked skyward to study the stars. Bear was right, autumn was already beginning to fade, which gave them much less time to track the Prince. If winter came before they could find him, it would not only become increasingly difficult to pick up his trail, but the witch would surely be on his heels to make sure he made good on his end of their bargain.

Grumbling to himself, Ren got up from the rock and sniffed at the air. Damp leaves, a flowing river, the unicorn and his pack...nothing else of note that he could pick up on. Not that he didn’t trust the other wildlings to be able to take care of themselves, but he was always on-edge, taking his responsibility as their leader quite seriously. Nighttime in the wood could be unforgiving, and now knowing that there was a witch living someplace relatively close by, Ren wasn’t going to take any chances by letting his guard down. Tail twitching behind him, he had the urge to go to their hibernal winter cave tonight, if only to give himself something to do other than thinking.

“Go,” Hyena chuckled with a fond grin. “Even Lady Heron can see that you’re restless. We won’t go anywhere.”

“Will keep watch,” Chameleon offered. “Fetching the bones?”

“Yeah, fetching the bones. Should only take me a few trips. I’m just anxious to get things going, I guess.”

“Race the wind, may as well practice!” laughed Bear from the grass.

“Exactly,” Ren snorted with a grin, taking one last look at his pack before slipping off into the shadows.

Despite loving their company, there were times when it could be overwhelming to be subjected to so many voices and scents all at once for extended periods of time, and Ren needed space to himself. There was an indescribable lightness when he pushed himself to his limits, air howling through his hair and even the sting in his eyes...it’s what he imagined birds and other flying creatures must have felt all the time, though no matter how fast he went, it was never quite enough. He could never leave the ground like wings would allow, and soon enough he would grow winded and need to slow down or stop altogether to catch his breath.

It reminded him briefly of the forced contentment that the witch’s curse caused, still able to recall the odd sensation of having warm sunlight in his chest. It had been...nice, which only served to confuse and piss him off, driving the wildling to run even faster. Nothing about the witch was nice, from his smug face to his unnaturally clean clothes, it all just made him want to shove him down into a bog and drown him in the muck.

“Would serve him right,” he hissed to himself as he bounded effortlessly over a fallen tree, pushing deeper and deeper into the wood.

Come morning light, the great hunt would begin, and then he could wash his hands of the whole affair forever. At least, that had been the plan...
*eats cheesecake with a light-up Indiana Jones spoon from a cereal box at 1am when she has work at 7am* I ADULT GOOD!?

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Soggy leaves shuffled themselves away from polished leather boots and the hem of a grey cloak that both remained untarnished by the damp earth they moved across as easily as if the forest floor were instead paved in stone. A storm grumbled far off on the horizon, barely visible over the crown of trees and soon it would be completely lost on the other side of the mountains after having spent most of its energy on the valley several hours ago. Despite its passing, it left the area with a fresh charge, the vacant, gnarled branches glistening with raindrops that continued to drip as the figure passed beneath them, untouched.

There was no discernible path, yet the figure walked along with a practiced ease that spoke of previous visits to this particular part of the forest. It wasn’t until the trees began to thin and a clearing lay just ahead that they even gave pause, head tilting back to catch a scent on the breeze. Beneath the pungent petrichor and bouquet of damp leaves, another note had risen and it left the figure scrunching their nose in disgust as they stepped out into the open and saw the source.

Laying in a heap beside an iron trap was the fresh corpse of a unicorn, its white coat smeared with shimmering silver blood that gave off a faintly sweet scent with an undertone of oxidation as it met the open air from the wound in its side. It was only after observing this unfortunate situation that the figure finally turned to address the second creature present, the one with its leg caught in the trap intended for the unicorn that it had apparently intended to make a meal of.



“I have been baiting this unicorn for months…months,” the figure grumbled sourly, pulling back their hood to reveal himself as scowling, ginger-haired man. “And instead, I caught you.”



Glowering up at him, the creature was one of the various half-humans known to inhabit the forest. Without a scrap of clothing, the creature was at least covered in thick patches of a black fur that almost looked like feathers in some areas, primarily featured on his shoulders, waist, forearms, and the lower portions of digigrade legs that ended in clawed toes. The hands were mostly human as well, though the nails were long and black, still wet from the unicorn’s wound as were his lips that were pulled back from a snarl of warning. A long, chord-like tail lashed against the grass like a perturbed cat’s, the tufted end a tangled mess from the rain to match the wild mane of hair atop his head. Even his long, pointed ears were pinned backward, giving the man the distinct impression that this creature was more feline than human at the moment. But the distinct features at least allowed him to identify what he had captured: a Wildling.



“Take it, then,” the Wildling hissed, narrowing expressive brown eyes up at the human.

“It’s of little use to me now that you’ve let it bleed out all over the clearing, Wildling,” he retorted, arms linking behind his back as he somehow managed to look equal parts disgusted and bored. “I can still take the meat, the bones, and the horn, but most of the hide is ruined and I originally needed it for its blood.”



Blinking up at him, the Wildling looked confused for a long moment. For him, a unicorn was a considerable source of food, their meat well-known to help with various ailments and the marrow in their bones could mend minor wounds if you applied it directly, but this human was fixated on the blood alone. To his knowledge, only other creatures ate unicorns, while humans hunted the more simple beasts for their own needs…in fact, he was certain that unicorn blood was toxic to them, so why would—-



“Witch,” he spat with a renewed snarl, skin crawling in his realization as the man above him gave a satisfied smirk.

“So the Wildling does have a brain after all,” the witch teased, eyes crinkling in his amusement. “Fascinating. Perhaps this isn’t a complete waste after all, there might be use for your parts, instead.”

“I am not parts! I’ll rip your head from your shoulders, witch!”

“From where you are, I highly doubt that. In fact, my trap all but ensures my safety,” the witch explained, gesturing to the contraption that had clamped itself onto the Wildling’s leg. “Cold iron, reinforced with runes. It’s strong enough to incapacitate a dragon, if one were stupid enough to step right into it like you have. But unfortunately for you, you’re one of the sorts of creatures that is drastically weakened by iron, so any idea you have of prying it off to make good on that threat is laughable at best. So, Wildling, that leaves me to decide what to do with you now…any suggestions?”

“Ren,” the Wildling supplied, not showing any sign of fear in his posture, but his eyes did betray his unease.

“Pardon?”

“My name. It’s Ren. Stop calling me ‘Wildling’.”

“That is what you are, however. I don’t generally refer to my ingredients by their chosen name. Why should you be any different to me than the unicorn beside you?”



Tail lashing against the ground with a few wet thumps, Ren grit his teeth as he thought carefully about his options. Obviously he wasn’t going to get out of the trap on his own, already feeling considerably exhausted just from sitting with it on his leg and he didn’t know the first thing about undoing runes, anyway. So he would have to offer the witch something more valuable than the unicorn he had deprived him of and the possible parts he could utilize from a Wildling.



“You’re using traps to hunt, so you don’t get your hands dirty,” Ren began, earning a scowl from the witch. “It just means your magic is your strength, not physical. But there’s a creature in the forest you won’t catch with traps that would be of much greater value than this common unicorn or even myself.”

“Go on, I’m listening,” the witch hummed, a brow raised but otherwise his expression remained neutral.

“The Prince of the Forest,” Ren continued, hopeful that his offering would be enough. “A massive stag nearly as old as the oldest tree, swift of hoof and flowers bloom wherever he treads. Surely such a creature would be priceless to a witch, and more than enough to buy my freedom from your trap and ingredient hoard.”

“You’re claiming you can bring me the Prince,” the witch repeated, struggling to repress his curiosity and a streak of excitement. “He’s regarded as the god of this forest, the humans in this region all but worship the idea of him, but you, a simple Wildling, are able to not only track him down, but successfully kill him? I don’t believe you.”

“Fine. Don’t. But I’m the only one who can,” Ren shrugged. “Without me, it’s a prize you’ll never have.”

“And I should just trust you at your word that you can hunt such an elusive creature? Why haven’t you already done so and claimed his crown for yourself?”
“I’ve no need or desire for it. Well, not until now, when his death buys my own life from your hands.”



Pacing away from Ren, the witch began to think the offer over carefully, leaving the Wildling to relax momentarily with the knowledge that he might just get out of this intact. While the loss of a crucial ingredient from the unicorn had been highly disappointing, claiming the crown from the Prince was a critical stepping stone for moving up in the world. It was a clever move for the trapped creature, that was certain, and he could appreciate that, but he wasn’t about to simply turn him loose on his word that he would make good on the promise.



“A few conditions must be met before I consider this any further,” he finally concluded, turning back to face Ren with a smirk that in no way comforted the Wildling.

“Which are?”

“Firstly, I will need to place a tracking rune on you, so that I know you haven’t tried to escape the region altogether once I set you loose,” the witch began.

“Fair enough, I wouldn’t trust you, either,” Ren snorted. “What else?”

“Along the same vein of not trusting you even remotely, I will place a tranquility curse on you before I remove the trap.”“Curse?” Ren growled, knowing the term never meant anything good.


“Just a term for a spell that affects someone against their will in a way they might perceive as negative, don’t get so uptight. What the tranquility does is instill a sense of calm in you that will only be triggered when you are near to me. That way I don’t get mauled the second you get your feet back under you, which I am sure you were at least considering.”

“It’s like you can read my mind,” Ren grumbled, glaring at the witch. “Fine, do your stupid tricks so I can leave. The sooner I’m done with all of this and you, the better.”



Chuckling, the witch couldn’t help but to grin as he stepped toward the Wildling, pulling the glove off of one hand before offering it down toward Ren as if to help him up. Hesitantly, he reached up to take it, but stopped short with a suspicious pause.



“You will undo all this after I bring you the Prince, right?” he asked. “I don’t want you keeping tabs on me forever, after all, or making it easy for you to hunt me if you felt like being a total pissant.”

“Yes, yes, of course, I’ll undo the curse once you bring me the Prince,” the witch sighed impatiently, giving a grabbing gesture with his hand. “Let’s get this over with, I have other affairs to attend to today, if you don’t mind.”



Huffing, Ren snatched hold of the witch’s hand, intending to use it to help himself up with but was rendered immobile by the contact as foreign magic pulsed into his body in waves. First and foremost a warmth bloomed in the center of his chest, as if a single ray of summer sunlight shone against it, the sensation flowing upward until it began to cause his mind to slip into an unnaturally calm state. Once this had effectively taken hold, the witch pushed his spell to inscribe his rune into the skin at the base of the Wildling’s neck, the orange symbol pulsing in time with the beat of Ren’s heart.

Work complete, the magic receded through the creature’s leg where it snapped the trap open, leaving his ankle rubbed a bit raw and bruised, but without even a fracture to the bone. Unsteadily, Ren rose to his feet and let go of the witch’s hand, blinking at him in drowsy confusion; whereas moments ago he wanted nothing more than to run away or rip the smirking man’s face from his skull, now he had no inkling to leave or so much as raise a finger against him.



“I feel…drunk?” Ren finally managed.

“You’ll feel yourself again when you aren’t close to me,” the witch assured him with a snort. “Best I get going before I change my mind.”

“You didn’t tell me your name.”

“Should I have?”

“I don’t know, but I want it.”

“Names are a dangerous thing, Ren. I imagine you didn’t even give me your true one.”

“No,” the Wildling admitted uncomfortably. The witch was right: if someone knew your true name, they held a substantial amount of power over you.

“Well, in the interest of you not calling me ‘witch’ with such disgust every time you utter the word, you can call me Hux,” the other supplied with a nod. “There, now we’re acquainted. Bring me the Prince before Spring, Ren, if you can manage it.”

“What about the unicorn?” he asked, glancing down at the creature that had gotten him into much more trouble than he could have counted on.

“As I said, I mostly wanted its blood. Leave whatever you don’t need for yourself here and I will collect it later,” Hux instructed rather dismissively. “No sense wasting all of it, but in the end, it was your kill.”



With his terms given, the witch turned on heel and began to stride away back toward the tree line from whence he had emerged, pausing only for a moment to look over his shoulder at the Wildling before drawing up his hood and vanishing into the gloom. Ren waited, a minute passing before he felt the warmth snuff itself out in his chest, a clawed hand raising to explore the now cool skin with knit brows as his mind emerged from its fog.



“Of course he added another term to the agreement afterward,” he growled, glaring down at the unicorn he hardly felt like eating anymore. “Witches…”
Lords of Autumn Chapter One: Silver and Cold Steel

A sly witch lays a trap, hoping for a unicorn, but instead captures a creature that claims he can deliver him a far greater prize. 

Nothing is quite what it seems, nor is anyone quite who they claim to be, but that is just the way of the wood.

Neither trusts the other, nor should they, but despite their best attempts at trickery, they will soon find their lives tangled inseparably together.
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First chapter of ??? and the first fic I've worked on in several years...

Man, I feel rusty AF, but I'm eager to get back on the horse!

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Whimsical-Realist
Kristen
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
Interests
Well, I'm making steps toward coming back.

I hit a major artistic slump and haven't done much worth posting in...several years? It's a bit depressing to put that into writing, honestly, but a step forward is still a step.

Hopefully soon I will be back with actual content, so for those of you still out there, thanks for sticking with me this long!
  • Listening to: the radio
  • Reading: Cracked.com articles
  • Watching: Markiplier playing Outlast 2
  • Playing: DragonVale World
  • Eating: baby carrots
  • Drinking: Vahalla Java

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:iconthepurplemonster:
thepurplemonster Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for the favorite! :) love your screenname btw 
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:iconwhimsical-realist:
Whimsical-Realist Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks~! :3
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:iconantonioneves:
AntonioNeves Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hello! Thank you so much for the watch
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:iconwhimsical-realist:
Whimsical-Realist Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're most welcome! I love your work :)
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:iconfogdark:
fogdark Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks for the :iconfav3dplz: :D
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:iconkaypikefashion:
KayPikeFashion Featured By Owner May 31, 2014  Professional Artist
Thanks for the :+fav: On my Waldo photo
1 A Day: Where's Waldo Cosplay at FanExpo Regina by calgarycosplay
Its part of my 1 A Day: aka Get Over Social Anxiety project so it means alot!
IF YOU EVER SEE WALDO GET A PICTURE AND SHOW ME! ttys
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:iconr-12artwork:
R-12artWORK Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for fave..
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:iconmavko:
Mavko Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav :D
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:iconwhimsical-realist:
Whimsical-Realist Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Most welcome!
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