I will be posting a word count later in the community. However, I will post this excerpt here since someone has taken an interest in reading it.
The large cat sat under the moonglow, wondering when her next meal was going to be. She hadn't eaten in three days and was getting hungry. She was now to the point where she was grumpy from lack of food. The two forms she had been chasing turned out to be friends of a very nasty looking centaur that the cat would rather not get on the wrong side of. Or at least she looked nasty from where the cat had crouched in the underbrush. She chose to take the threatening look at face value and stayed where she was. She was prowling now, looking for food. A rabit ran in front of her and after checking to see that it wasn't another friend of the centaur chased after it. The cat loved the chase, it was exhilarating, exciting, and altogether invigorating. The cat ran faster, the rabbit darted ahead of the cat becoming more and more frightened. The cat sensed the fear and sighed with satisfaction. The cat dropped back to let the rabbit think it would be safe, then it ran and pounced on the rabit, killing it with a clean break of the neck. This cat didn't like to frighten it's prey too much, sometimes it ruined the taste. She did like the sense of fear, but not the taste of it. Unlike many of her kind, she did not like to kill just for the sake of killing. She did not like death just for death's sake. She was hoping to find another like herself, but so far she had not been successful. She sighed. This would not be enough to do away with her hunger, not nearly enough. The night was nearly half over and she was still not sated.
Zuleka's two gazell-like messengers waited until the werecat was out of sight to sigh with relief. Both of them thought that it would challenge their mistress, and were surprised when the cat did not do anything of the sort. They would have to ask Hugo if this was normal behaveor in a cat. He was a Werecat, he was one, after all, the only one they would trust with their lives. They weren't sure about the origins of this particular werecat, but it didn'tseem to be from around here, the fir was too long and the markings were different. It almost looked as if it had the markings of a mercinarry � or someone used to rough living. Hugo was all silvery white like smoke, or a cloud of fog. This one was the color of twilet shadows, and depening moonbeams. Silvery grey bordering on black. In fact, Jennessa, had sworn she had seen it turn midnight black at the moon's zenith, but she could have been mistaken, for by that tim, the cat had been chasing a rabbit.
"Yes, mistress?" Both Jennessa and Julianne razed their antlered faces to the centor. Both looked at her as equals, not as master to servant.
"Hugo wishes to speak with you, I told him about the cat. He thinks it may be one of his kind."
"It was, Mistress Zuleka, It turned with the moon, or at least I thought it did." Jennessa was still not certain of here eyes.
"Come and elate this to Hugo."
They went into the manner house where Zuleka resided and confronted a tall man who was incredibly handsome. His silvery white hair was styled into a long tail, his eyes were a penetrating grey, and his features could hav belong on the statue of some god. He always reminded them of what he was even when he was standing perfectly stil as he was now. A panther at rest, ever ready to spring into action if needs be. The indolent somewhat boneless grace with which he carried himself no longer frightened Jennessa and Julianne, bt at first it had. They had been afrad that he would move one of the long graceful hands and end their miserable lives.
"I heard you may have seen another of my kind?" His accent reminded them that he was from Kolonda.
"Yes, Hugo. She changed in the moonglow, changed coloring that is. I know it's not the full of the moon, but she was in cat form and hunging."
Hugo had to keep from doing what the tirls most feared. Grabing them and asking them if what they had said was true. He knew only one other beside himself who preferred to hunt in cat form for food instead of having to rely on the humans to provide it for them. "This cat, did it kill swiftly, or did it prolong the chase?"
"It was a female, Hugo, It killed clean after only chasing until it was out of site of us. I smelled the rabbit's fear, and she killed before it reached panic state. Is that usual?"
She? Here? What the hell was she doing all the way out here. The five lands were all the way across the continent from here�dear goddess! She was a merc, he knew, a free agent, but she being all the way out here � it just didn't make sense! "not usual for the kind, but usual for this cat, if she is who I hink she may be.?
"You know her?"
"We have had occasion to work alongside each other. I haven't seen her for several years, however, dthat does not mean she is still around."
"She nearly got us, hugo," Julianne spoke for the first time, "If it hadn't have been for Zuleka �"
"She does not want to get on the wrong side of the Lady Zuleka. If I remember correctly one of this cat's gifts is foresight, and if it showed her that she and Zuleka would be crossing trails, she would not want to offend the one who's path she will be in by killing off her friends."
"Is she nice, like you?"
"She's a bit of a mouth, but she's tolerable."
The two girls side. Tollerable meant that once she figured out that the creatures were frinds of Hugos' she wouldn't bother them. Tollerable also meant, however, that they would have to be a little guarded with their speech at first until they knew the limits to which the werecat could be trusted. That was enough for them. Just as long as they knew they wouldn't be making the next meal � just as long as they knew they were safe. Hugo had never led them wrong, never�not in all the time they had known him. There was no reason to think he should start now.
She stands, not as a cat, but as a human. Her eyes are black. They swallow all light. They see all your secrets, you can hide nothing from her. Her hair is black It shines in the sun, and then swallows all light.
She walks through her domain checking to see that everything is in its place. Her face is stone, a mask for the heart she has in her. She is a respected mercenary among her kind, though she is not the captain of the current company in which she finds herself. She is a highly skilled musician, and considers herself to be a self-made bard. Those who know her say that this is true, that she can truly work magic through her singing. She is tall, nearly six feet and her motions remind those around her of a cat in motion. She is graceful, quick and often deadly. Her form is that of a statue of a goddess. Her face is the picture of beauty, her hands the very escence of grace. Even when she stands still as a statue, the grace is there. Nonchalant, everpresent. She is a beautiful woman, but those who know her can close their minds to that beauty.Some also call her handsome, which she would sometimes take offense to. "Men are handsome," She would say, "Women are beautiful."
None know her name save the captain of their company. None know her half as well as the companion who travels with her everywhere she goes.
This companion is a horse granted the runner's gift. You can tell she is a runner by the coller of er main and tail. No one quite knows that she is a runner, however, for the respected mercenary rides her as a common horse. The maine and tail are red, the eyes are a soft brown. They are full of the intelligence of a human, however, and the werecat is able to speak with her mount by means of telepathy. Their mind link is strong. It is so strong that the only way it can be broken is if one of the other of them is killed. Again, only the captain knows the name of the companion on which the werecat rides.
They have been together for a very long time. Ever since they were children. The werecat played guard for the runner, and the runner played messenger. Their childhood games became more and more real duties as they grew older.
"Scout?" It was a burley man with a thick red mustache, "The captain wishes tae see ye."
The werecat and the runner ride back to the captain and the rider nods to the captain.
"We are stopping for food for two hours, will that be enough time to indulge yourself?"
The werecat nodds and smiles evilly. She will hung this day, and she will hunt well.
"If you are not back in two hours, we will be �"
The impossibly beautiful woman holds up one hand, "If I am not back in two hours, I will find you. I am good at such things." Her voice holds a mix of accents and is a rich melodeous contralto. It sends men into fits and the women envey her for it. She knows the controlling of it, but she still cannot rid it completely of the affect. She does not like this. She is uncomfortable with the fact that she could be controlling people just by speaking with them. She is afraid that her voice is the only thing keeping some of the newer male members of the company here to fight with the captain despite reassurances from the lady herself. She knows, however, that there is nothing she can do about this.
Some of the men gasp. No one else would be able to get away with speaking like that to the captain.
The captain sighs, "One of these days, faithful scout, that mouth will be your undoing."
"Until then, faithful captain, I will continueto use it as I always have."
The runner chuckles. She is the only other who knows the riders ame, and the rider is the only other who knows the name of her runner. She sits easily on her horse, not really having to shift her weight at all to keep her seat. The company stops then and the werecat dismounts her horse and grooms her thoroughly before leading her back to a shaded area. There the werecat shifts from human to cat, and the runner shifts to human. The red hair now flows in a crimson waterfall down to the girls feet, and the girl strokes the cat's head before allowing the cat to pass her. "Good hunting sister, and be careful."
Enjoy and happy writing to those who are my fellow NANOers