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    Fantasyboy69
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Drums of War - 4. Equis Camp

He wasn't trying to hide the fact that they were here, which was good for all of us, but I had a very strong feeling the Equis Camp was not holding them because of malice. Don't ask me how I knew, but I knew Rhava was not a man who liked to detain or control others. I could feel it in him. So, in keeping with myself, I just waited until we were out of earshot of the camp and began to question him.

I apologize in advance for anything I say that may cause offense. I am a blunt-spoken man and have little patience for intrigue.” That got a few snorts from the guys and a grin from Phuong.

To the point. Please, I would prefer you to be yourself.” Rhava's eyes flicked sideways at my friends when they chuckled ominously.

Ignore them. They're idiots. Why are our friends and family being detained?”

I like idiots. They keep things interesting,” said Rhava with a grin. It melted away to show a deep sorrow in his eyes. No guile, no shades of meaning. What he showed was one hundred percent honesty. “Several of our numbers have been taken. Lupus, Lunais, Solaris, and Skifter...”

What's a Skifter?” I asked, interrupting him.

Skin Shifter, a shaman shapeshifter.” I nodded my head once. “I can assume any equine form I wish. To answer your next question, there are no true herbivorous Lycans, Dylan...actually, I correct myself. Lycan Pandas, the only fully herbivorous Lycan.” I could hear Colton chuckle a bit at the thought of cuddling a panda. “My family line descends from peoples indigenous to the Americas and Celtic immigrants. Native shamans and Irish druids, their blood and magic mixing to make Skin Shifters, Skifters for short.”

That would account for the powerful aura I felt. “What was with the greeting between you and Phuong?”

He smiled shyly but answered anyway. “A sort of informal formality. By saying she sends a greeting from the wind, I know she is a shaman with a strong gift for air magicks, although I do feel almost equally strong fire and water. A storm shaman,” he said with a bow of his head to her. “My response told her I am an earth shaman with an affinity for wind magic, hence the plains. It also is a way to tell about personality.

By claiming only wind, the Wind Sister here claims she wishes to be gentle and peaceful in our dealings. Had she said something like mist, she would be secretive and concealing, or storm, she would be here for war and we should expect a shifting method to her violence. The plains I claim tell her I tend to be a free spirit. Running free but gentle, yet grounded and a bit dangerous to cross.” All of nodded except Phuong, who understood already.

So it's a magical pissing contest,” said Zeke, and I shot him a look that told him to stuff it. He only grinned.

Rhava only laughed. “Very true, Zeke. It is much like a pissing contest.” He leaned toward Zeke and whispered loudly, “It is a contest few have won with me.”

I felt Quintin's brief flare of temper, but it faded, and he shot back. “You might think you would win, but my bear would give you a run for your money. Dylan would win without question.” That made all us guys laugh, sharing a dumb guy joke.

Phuong leaned over to Colton with a shake of her head. “They're talking about their dicks, right?” Her tone, the universal woman tone that all men are retarded children who need minding, left little to misconstrue. Colton nodded. Phuong just grinned. “I would beat all of you,” she said to a round of laughter.

That I don't doubt,” I said and gave her a gentle shove. “Back to why they are being held.”

Rhava nodded as he led us to the falls. “With the disappearances of our people and unknown Lycans in our territory, my brother stepped in. He is head of security, the same as you, Dylan.” Put that way, I probably would have done the same, although I would have notified the packs that their members were being held and why. “It is a sad time for our people, but I hope you will see that yours have not been treated too harshly.” Rhava's face fell a bit. “My brother is a stern man with little patience or sympathy. I will not condone torture, but he was not gentle in their capture. Except for the missionaries. Even he would not harm those peaceful boys.”

Good to hear, somewhat. I completely understood subduing them quickly, but just how much force was used? I found out as Rhava led us behind the falls to a cave. It was spacious enough for the dozen captive to move about freely, but I knew magic was involved. I could almost see the shield that kept them from escaping. I could see four beds, a few simple tables, and chairs, but not much else. As holding cells went, it was not inhumane.

Zeke! Oh thank Heavenly Father,” one of the boys exclaimed. That had to be Jordan, the brother of the Salt Lake Pack's beta.

Hey, Jordi, you okay?” Zeke moved forward but stopped just short of hitting the shield. I could see where it cut into and across the stone.

Fine. A bit scared, but fine. I knew someone would come, but I didn't think it would be the Alpha's nephew.” That little tidbit made Rhava blink. He hadn't expected that either.

I knew you boys would get here eventually,” came a tired voice from the back. I watched as Gene stood and ambled forward. He looked no worse for wear, any injuries would have healed by now.

How are ya, old wolf?” I asked casually. “How are things?” I was a bit angry, I didn't hide it at all, but I didn't let it rule my mind like I may have in other circumstances. Yay for fucking maturity.

Can't complain. Wouldn't do any good if I did.” Gene, who looked like Sean Connery, only in very good shape, was not a complainer.

Everyone okay?” I could count, and I saw someone missing.

Wallace put up too much of a fight.” Gene's voice was soft, showing his remorse. Wallace was one of my fellow enforcers. It was going to be hard to tell his mate and pups he was dead. “Master Shifter Rhava gave his soul a fine send-off.” Gene bowed to Rhava with obvious respect. I knew I would like Rhava. If Gene respected him, he was everything we had seen and more.

How can we get them out?” I asked Rhava. “We need to get them home before people worry too much more.”

That is, unfortunately, not entirely up to me. I am the spiritual adviser. My brother has asked that a Tribunal decide their fate, I am but one vote, and it will not meet until after the solstice.” Everything I could sense about him was unhappy but determined. He didn't like to hold them, but it wasn't his call.

Then we will wait,” I said with finality. It would put us where we needed to be if there was a chance at springing them. “If this okay with you.” Frankly, I didn't care if it was.

Rhava looked at each of us and nodded. “The Equis Camp welcomes the representatives of the Salt Lake Pack, Homestead Pack, and Rogue Valley Flock. You shall be my guests until the Tribunal has given their verdict.”

Which makes it difficult for your brother to say no,” said Phuong simply. Her eyes were scanning the holding spell, probably in an effort to see if she could break it.

I was about to ask about the solstice when Zeke's head whipped toward the falls. The waters parted briefly, and a dozen men came rushing through the breach. I could feel them holding on to the magic, which meant Phuong could, too. Even as I was dropping my pack to go full furry mode, she was channeling her own magic. Three watery arms with grasping hands snatched three from their feet, slammed them to the ceiling, and froze them there with only their nose clear to allow them to breathe. In those few seconds, I was already ripping out of my clothes and all but my team stared as I roared. I mean, I'm huge.

Stand down,” Rhava called out, but the fighting had already begun.

Zeke and Colton went into action, power and speed working in concert, all fluid grace and no effort. As powerful as magic was, these casters were not fast enough to compensate. Zeke picked up two and slammed them together, their heads crashing together with a sickening thud, and tossed them out through the cascading water as he ended in a crouch. Colton used his crouch to vault over Zeke and tackle another one, hooking his arm and leg and using him as a missile to bring down another one, both toppling to the cavern floor.

Quint went to back Phuong, using a trick that sapped his energy quickly. His hand had turned to paws and claws, a feat not even Pat could do, although Dad could. This way he had weapons they couldn't disarm...unless they literally dis-armed him. One of the other shamans tried to get in close, but he got grabbed and knocked out in about a half a second. Another got a good slash across his arm, and another was tossed to me.

The ones I faced were slowly backing away, scared shitless of the massive bipedal lion, and when I snagged the one Quint tossed me out of the air without looking, they were even more frightened. They tried to scramble away as I used the guy as a club, smashing him into them in a sweeping arc and following it up with a heavy blow from my paw. Not to say I got away unscathed. A few fists of air hit me, but nothing that was hard enough to stop my momentum, especially since the use of magic made me more livid. It was the worst thing they could have done, using magic against me.

That was when everything suddenly froze in place. I could see the others just stuck in whatever attack they had been doing. Even the guy I had knocked off his feet was frozen in midair.

That is enough!” Rhava's voice boomed in the cavern. “How DARE you break the peace of this camp! I don't care what orders you received from my brother, you have attacked my personal guests and you will answer to me.” Oh, good, he wasn't pissed at us. The very earth at our feet was rumbling in his anger. Only at our feet, which made it that much worse. It wasn't wild anger, but tightly controlled and directed with a force of will I found amazing.

He turned to look at me. “Enforcer Davenport, I shall release you and your people so you may collect yourselves. Please return to your human forms,” he said, including Quint, “and be at peace.” I guessed he felt some sort of assent from us because we were all freed from his magical grasp. Funny thing I noted was that Phuong didn't change her stance. Had she even been held, or did she just stop out of courtesy?

As I changed back into my skin, scratching at the scar on my chest, Phuong made some sort of gesture. “I apologize for casting on your lands without leave. Please forgive me.” The ones she had frozen to the ceiling were thawed and set down by the same watery limbs that put them up there.

When I was back in my skin, Colton handed me a pair of shorts, knowing I didn't care if I was bare-chested. I did see Phuong's and Rhava's eyes widen a bit when they saw me naked. Silly as it was, it was a nice bit of boost to my relatively small ego. I motioned for the others to stand down and relax, but I could tell they were ready to rumble again at any moment.

Those still remaining in the cavern were slowly freed, and they left with red faces and deep bows. None of them said a thing about how we had handed them their asses. They didn't have to. They hoped to catch us by surprise, but they were the ones surprised.

Sometimes I hate my place in this world,” Rhava mumbled to himself. I understood completely. “Who did that to you, Dylan?” he asked as he pointed to my scar. He seemed to know exactly what it was for.

Who did the deed or who ordered it done?”

Both.”

Those who tried to take my heart are dead, and I never learned their names. The one who ordered it is the alpha of the ECP.” He could tell by my voice that I was in no mood to really talk about it.

If that startled or upset Rhava in any way, he didn't show it. “Do you think he would try it again?”

If he thought he would get away with it, yup. Angus is the biggest shit I have ever met that is still living.” That got a slightly raised brow. “As bad as he is, I could tell you a few stories. Speaking of bad, how is our being here going to work?”

He grimaced. “I'll deal with Rhisi. The others will not come after you again so long as you prove no threat to us, although I will say that for such a small and young group, you are very adept.” There was a lot of admiration and a bit of longing in that.

I grinned. “The old wolf you have in the cage helped with that.” Had to give credit where credit was due. If it wasn't for Gene, and in a very odd way Quint's dead ex-boyfriend, we wouldn't be such a tight group.

I wondered if you were going to remember we're here,” said Gene with a joking tone.

Rhava nodded to himself. “You are welcome to come and go here as you please, provided you inform us of your visit. If Rhisi asks you to bring a guard, please don't make a fuss. He's going to be pissed off at me enough as it is.” Judging by his eyes, the two brothers were often at odds with each other. It looked to be an old grievance. “For now, let me lead you to a place you may refresh yourselves and set up what camp you will. We do not have much room at Equis Camp. It's more a school than a town.”

Good to know, I thought as we made our way out of the cavern. Even with all the stress, I smiled a bit when Zeke pulled Quint onto his back to carry him. That tired? I asked Quint mentally.

Yeah. I can feel you're tired too. He was right. Shifting to and from so quickly was a lot for my body. Grandpa said it was a side effect of the attempted sacrifice. The Tribunal will let them go.

I hoped so. If not, well we'd cross that bridge when we came to it. “Rhava, where should I go during the solstice?”

The shaman's face was both wary and happy. “We've a few other Solaris here. Not only lions, either.” Now it was my turn to raise a brow. Grandpa had told me there were other species, but never really went into them. “You should speak with them. While I am the spiritual adviser, I am not the leader and I do not claim leadership over anyone.”

I will. I mean, a few days, and I won't be such a nice guy.”

He nodded. “Thrice I have come upon the turning of a Solaris child.” He showed a scar on his shoulder, four perfect puncture marks. “Once was enough to know to keep as far away as my eyesight will allow.”

I looked at it closely. “Solar canine?” I asked. It looked like a bite from a Lupus, a big one. Big enough to rival Papa Travis.

Solaris never cease to amaze me. Were it a true canine, it would be a yellow Labrador.” His grin said that the Lycan in question was probably close enough to hear.

I have told you a thousand times, I'm sorry, Ra,” came a very contrite voice from the path ahead. “Must you show everyone?” He didn't sound all that unhappy, and there was no mistaking that this new guy, like a blonde Adonis, absolutely adored Rhava.

Yes, I must. This is my best friend and soul mate, Marcus. The only man who will ever share my heart and my bed.”

Aaaand there went Phuong's chances. Looks like my nose was way off. Even if Rhava were bi, she did not seem to be the poly type, and Marcus didn't seem to even glance her way, or any of our ways, come to think of it. Yeah, he looked at us, but there was no scent spike of arousal, just curiosity.

After introductions, which were almost too formal between Phuong and Marcus, the new arrival turned to me. “Once you're set up in your camp, come find me. I will tell you what needs be done, my Solar cousin.” I nodded, and Marcus wandered off with a smile only for Rhava.

Thanks to Timothy for his editing awesomeness, and to all of you for your patience. My comp died, had to get a new one, and I lost everything on it. Had to rewrite what I had.
Copyright © 2018 Fantasyboy69; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

Nice little fight there at the camp.   It seems there is some drama at the equis camp between the brothers.  It sounds like Angus and the east coast pack are up to more no good.  Thanks for the new chapter.  

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Excellent chapter, the writing was crisp and the flow was great.  Good battle scene, I have a feeling that this may not be the only one; but not sure who the real enemy is going to turn out to be.  Can not believe that Rhisi would turn out to be that stupid, really an amateur move on his part.  Not sure who would win in a fight between Phuong and Rhava, but sure that neither would come out unscathed.  Can't wait for the next update, keep up the great work.

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Interesting fight, intriguing outcome, the group is powerful and intuitive but no match for Rhava. I get the feeling with Rhava’s introduction of Marcus that Phuong is not quite out of the running (?) 

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I have a theory about Marcus, Rhava and Phuong. I won’t put it here, but if I’m right I’ll certainly say so!

 

Rhava + Marcus = yum yum

 

Also, if Rhava isn’t the leader, is there one at all?

Edited by Geemeedee
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So much deliciousness in this chapter, but like most of the other commentators, what struck me were the words that closed the previous chapter about Phuong & Rhava juxtaposed to these words at the end of this chapter:

 

“Yes, I must. This is my best friend and soul mate, Marcus. The only man who will ever share my heart and my bed.”

 

...& he didn’t say “person.” Hmmm...

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Ok. I've worked my way through the series and I love it. Please hurry it up with the next chapters. I get very impatient and bitchy when they don't come out fast enough. <<tap tap tapping of foot>> yes, I'm looking at you Wesley!!!!!

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Hmm... Phuong was so curious about the crisscrossing attractions in the group, so maybe she's not against the idea of poly? No need for Marcus to be into her or vice versa. Rhava could be the focal point. 

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I like unexpected, and the way it can energise a story. Especially when woven so cleverly into the plot.

Good plotting and good writing.

Edited by Wyndham
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As much talk about a triad relationship here, so far nothing has come of it.  It would be fun if it finally happens.  I can easily see Phuong, Marcus and Rhava together.  Won't that be a shock for the Alpha of RVF!  🤔:gikkle:

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