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The Path of the Dark Wolf

- by Ptesan-Wi



Slowly the waves lapped at her hooves as she worked her blade over the skin, cutting away the flesh from the hide and preparing it as she had countless hides before this one. The sound of her work and the ocean droned softly in her ears, allowing her thoughts to wander in the dark haze that filled her mind these days. Ptes had always been the quiet sort, often lurking somewhere by herself and doing nothing more than thinking, remembering. Leatherworking went well with her for this reason; the rhythmic motions associated with it became automatic, so that she didn't have to spend much thought upon it. Better to get something done while she was lost in her little trances.

Perhaps it was because of so much time she spent in thought, that things...such as memories...were to strongly rooted for anything to be able to suppress them for very long.

Even the Dark Spirit that watched over the cursed Huntress could not save her from her past.

He had wiped her slate clean, or so he had thought. Slowly, however, her memories were seeping back, like dreams that she had forgotten upon waking, yet echoed within her mind. It didn't take much to start rattling them free; running into Shectar in the Undercity that one night, Ching, the young rogue, who had tracked her down loyally to see how she fared. When these knew so much of her while she knew so little of them, Ptes figured foul play. She had begun to wash away the clouds from her mind, slowly uncovering what the Dark One did not want her to see. Like the waves on the shore, her will eroded the wall he had built to protect her.

Suddenly, she dropped her skinner and grasped her head in her hands...like a tidal wave they succumbed her; every pain of her death, every face that had stared down upon her in hate, the friends she had lost and the love she had found, only to lose it once more. Raising her muzzle to the sky, she screamed out a howl of agony, that made the air around her shudder.

It was not long till she felt a cool sensation on her shoulder, and heard a familiar voice in her good ear.

My little one, why do you insist on suffering? Why do you fight so hard to hurt?

Ptesan-Wi shook her head slowly, looking down upon the hide in her hands.

"Wat else kin ah do, m'lord? Meh memoriehs, dey be all ah 'ave. Dey been all ah eva 'ave 'ad." She sighed, and shook her head. "Ev'ry ting ah eva was given, 'as been takin' away from meh." The huntress blinked slowly, then looked out to sea. "Dere be no 'appiness in dis worl' fo' meh. Onleh tha memoreh of it." The shadow at her side chuckled.

You fancy this the truth?

"Tha onleh troof ah know is tha one fate as shown ta meh." The shadow sat in silence thoughtfully, looking her over with his bright green eyes.

Well, since fate has not shown you anything but a path of fire, perhaps it is time you followed me down the path I had intended for you in this life. Ptesan-Wi perked her good ear and gave him a confused look.

"Dis life...ju not choose fo' meh?" The Dark One laughed softly.'

By the Earthmother, no. A long time ago, between your last life and this one, you asked this of me, to keep my paw from your back so that you may follow the one you loved so much. I warned you, my little one, that the path you chose would be a painful one. You insisted, and I granted you your prayer.

He sighed softly.

I had all the hope in the world that you would be able to last down this path, but alas. It was not meant to be. But...

With a paw, he lifted her chin as it drooped miserably.

But it has made you stronger.

Ptes chuckled weakly and then looked back down at the pelt in her hands.

"M'lord, please tell meh dis, an' ah won't be a botha' to ju anneh mo'." The Dark One grinned widely.

Knowing your nature, my little one, I highly doubt that. But please, go on.

She glanced at him when he said that, but held her tongue.

"Ahm ah...evil?" He raised a brow to her.

What do you mean?

She held up the pelt and shot him a look.

"Ah keel doze who ah share ah form wit'. Ah make aquainten'siz wit ah faction ah not supposed ta. From tha time ah wuz born, dey call meh ah curse. Ah ask ju now, is it true?"

The shadow at her side blinked a bit at her, then looked off into the distance, taking a deep breath. A breeze picked up as he did so, and it swirled his form softly in its motion.

Ptesan-Wi,

he crooned gently after a moment or two,

there is very little of this world that is simply stated in black and white. Spirits...demons...each have their following, their story to write.

He looked over at her, smiling fondly.

I have seen great knights of this world be hailed as heroes, and damned as devils. It all depends on whose eyes look upon them.

The shadow looked at Ptes once more, confusion painted onto her visage. With a soft hum to himself, he got to his paws, and approached the water.

You will be great, Ptesan-Wi, if I have my way. Your fangs will be washed in the blood of your enemy over and over again. Your pack will grow as fast as it has been in this short time, and will prosper and vanquish. When you finally go to your next life, the songs of your people will be filled with the praise of your Pack.

He looked back at her once more, smiling gently.

You are the daughter of an Alphess, and it will show. However.

The gentle expression on his face fell.

You will be hunted, and despised. You will be called a traitor to your own kind, and your name will be dragged through the mud. Those that once held you dear to them, will forget their love for you, and seek to kill you. They will refer to you as nothing more than the daughter of a prostitute and a misborn, and kick dirt your way.

The huntress sighed her ears splaying limply.

"An' dat be wat in store fo' meh?" The shadow laughed and nuzzled her cheek reassuringly.

My little one, it is all I can promise to anyone who wishes to lead, and wishes to be great. As I said before, there is very little in this world that is black and white. The rest, my dear, is a million shades of grey.

He paused, letting her take it in. The huntress went into her pack, and pulled out a folded blue tabard. Tucked inside, she found the dried Darkmoon flower she had stored there, and, looking upon it for a moment, she held it to her chest, her eyes shutting tightly.

Ptes,

the shadow began again softly,

in the eyes of those who know you, you are either a spirit or a demon. It is your choice to either embrace those who love you, or bow to those who hate you. But, unlike so many things, this is black and white. You cannot be the slave of both.

"But sir, which do ah choose?"

Ptes' eyes flashed open and she looked to where the dark form had been standing, but he was gone. He had no reason to stay; this was her question to answer, not his. Slowly, her golden hues traced the land, and came upon two aged graves. The land around it had been well kept, as she had been informed months before. Getting to her hooves, she moved towards them.


Hours later, the sky had grown dark from the storm that had brewed over head. Dirty and soaking wet, Ptesan-Wi dropped the shovel and leaned down, picking up the blue tabard, and the flower with it. Tightly she hugged them both to her chest, then placed them in the bottom of the hole.

"Ah will remembah wat 'appened," she spoke softly. "But tha Ptes whose memorehs ah hold, is dead." The huntress chuckled darkly for a moment or two, then began filling in the hole. The storm itself seemed to be helping her fill it in, for soon her task was done. Taking the totem she had made in like style as the other two to the right, she thrust it into the ground. "Ptesan-Wi tha Misborn, she be gone, keeled by tha Grim. Ptesan-Wi Taurenbane, she was tha one who walked out of dem mountains dat night, doh she didn't know eet."

A howl of the winds whipped at her side, and within an instant, she was gone, swallowed by the wilds that she knew so well.

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