A Massing of Moths Ch. 03

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The next morning dawned fresh and clear, the sunlight sparkling through the forests. Raelyn sat up in her bed and smiled down at her pet, her Kira, sleeping soundly on her down-filled pallet at the foot of the massive bed Raelyn called her own.

Stepping silently from the bed, she padded to her private laboratory and performed her morning absolutions. She emerged clean and dry, thanks to a spell she used to dry her long hair. She dressed with care- black velvet pants that clung to her legs and hips before flaring out over riding boots. A hunter’s shirt in crisp white, held in place with a black velvet vest-like bodice. Her hair she swept into a braid, tied with a black leather tie to keep it out of her way. Today she would deal with the intruders, would make them sorry they’d crossed the borders into her forests.

She smiled wickedly. This would be rather fun indeed.

By midmorning, Kira sat, mounted on a rather large elk, easy in the saddle of the creature now, though she was still nervous about its jumping. She’d been given clothing to wear after Raelyn told her of the intruders.

“But Mistress, they’re here to kill me!”

“I will protect you,” Raelyn had said with a cross glare. “Do you doubt that, Kira-mine?”

“No, Mistress,” Kira had whispered, sinking to her knees. “I don’t doubt you.”

“Good, now dress and let us be off.”

The clothing felt odd to Kira after two days of being nude. Unnatural and confining, though there wasn’t much to her outfit. Woolen leggings kept her legs warm in the early spring chill and left little to the imagination, her body outlined by the cleaving green wool. A tunic that reached to her mid-thigh kept her warm enough, its long sleeves flaring slightly at the wrists. A bow had been provided, one of master craftsmanship, elks traced over its arches, a sheath of arrows given in accompaniment, far better then the ones she’d carried before.

The elk she rode, decked in a simple green saddle and bridle, was a deep red hue with large curving antlers. Raelyn had said its name was Ceorin. Kira patted its neck affectionately as she followed Raelyn.

The Mistress of the forests was not seated upon an elk but on one of her own wolves. The creature, large to began with, had doubled in size at her command, becoming about three meters from nose to tail, more then large enough to yalova escort ride on. There was no saddle, no bridle, the creature followed unspoken orders from Raelyn, that much Kira could see.

The elk, Ceorin, seemed to have no qualms about following the wolf, nor did he spook as the rest of the pack joined them, forming a circle around the two women.

“We’re close now, Kira,” Raelyn said suddenly, pulling Kira from her musings. The wolves tightened their protective circle around the two women. Raelyn went on. “Do not speak unless I give you leave to. Even here, meeting these men, you are my slave, my Kira, not their Kirynthia. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mistress Raelyn,” Kira said, comforted by the words.

“Good,” Raelyn said, changing to a side-saddle like position on the wolf she rode, her back ramrod straight. “Let us greet these fools that would tread upon my land without my welcome.”

A fine mist spread out from Raelyn, crawling through the forest, carried by a massing of the silvery moths that followed Raelyn wherever she went. They carried the mist around the small band of men, running trendles of it between their horses.

The men cursed colorfully, using anger to mask the fear they felt over the sudden rising mist. The moths were creepy as well, night creatures fluttering about in full daylight, the sun at its zenith in the sky still.

Kira started at the mist herself but was calmed again by Raelyn. “Do not be afraid, my pet. This is my doing- I do love making a grand entrance. Now watch and learn.”

The wolves seemed to chuckle as she motioned half of the pack out to surround the mounted party of men, driving them to the clearing where Raelyn and Kira now sat atop their steeds.

Howls and wolven growls ripped through the forest followed by the high pitched squeals of frightened horses, the yells of angry men. The howls rippled, one atop the other, making it impossible to tell where one began and another left off, giving the image of a pack far larger then the one Raelyn kept.

She smirked wickedly for a moment before a howl alerted her to their arrival at the other end of the clearing. Composing herself, Raelyn easily slipped behind the mask she wore as the Mistress of the Forest to outsiders- cold, calm and collected. She nodded to Kira and the pair rode forward, though Kira zonguldak escort stayed behind Raelyn to her left side.

The men’s curing halted suddenly as the wolves calls did, their attention turning to the women emerging from the mists before them. A few crossed themselves, eyes wide, though none made move to attack.

“What are you doing here in my forest, sons of man?”

The leader of the group nudged his mount to the front of the group, its eyes rolling wildly at the sight of the giant wolf though it made no move to run. “I am the hunter Broderick and we are seeking a murderer that fled into your forest.”

“I care not for the matters of men outside my realm,” Raelyn said coldly. “Be gone from my land, now, or face dire consequences.”

“No woman threatens me,” a man from the back of the group cursed. He kicked his mount forward, getting a good look at the two women for the first time. His eyes widened when he saw Kira. “You have her! The bitch that killed my brother! I’ll kill both of you!”

“I think not,” Raelyn said with a haughty chuckle. “This is my slave, my pet, my Kira and you may not have her. As for killing me- you’re welcome to try. I dislike turning down a decent fight. You kill me and you can have her.”

Broderick’s arm reached out and grabbed the man’s shoulder. “Nay, Alaric, don’t do this. You’ve heard the stories of the Mistress of these forests, don’t join your brother in the afterlife just for that tramp.”

The wolves ringing the clearing growled angrily, understanding the insult to one they considered to be one of their own now. One even went so far as to snap at Broderick’s horse, making the beast shy, knocking into Alaric’s mount.

Raelyn looked back at Kira. “Tell these men what you told me, my pet.”

“Yes, Mistress,” Kira said with a bow of her head. She looked to Alaric and raised her voice to carry through the clearing. “I did not kill Wroth, Alaric and well you know it. He died from drinking two barrels of that trash you two brew, not by my hand.”

“He was purple- he’d been strangled,” Alaric screamed, wildly trying to control his horse now. “I know you killed him, you witch.”

“I grow tired of this,” Raelyn said before Kira could answer. “She has told you what happened and whether you believe her or not is no concern of mine. Now, be gone from zonguldak escort my forest or I’ll kill the lot of you. Make your choices now.”

The men eyed Roderick and the dozen wolves that surrounded them. “I say we leave,” said one and he was echoed by the rest. “No woman is worth dying for. And Alaric- she could be telling the truth- that stuff you make could kill a cat.”

“No, I won’t leave her,” Alaric said angrily, his pudgy face red. He kicked his horse forward, forcing the beast to charge at Kira. “I’ll kill the bitch on the wolf and then I’ll kill her.”

Raelyn’s voice was clearly annoyed though not angry. “He dies for this- do not try for retribution or you will join him.”

“No woman can kill me,” Alaric growled as his horse charged past Raelyn onto Kira.

“Pet of mine, do as you need to.”

Kira’s bow was already knocked with one of the razor sharp arrows and she loosed it straight into Alaric’s heart though it was Ceorin that delivered the killing blow with his sharp hooves after Alaric fell from his horse.

“Anyone else,” Raelyn asked, allowing her wolf to trot forward, tongue lolling from his mouth. “I advise you leave, now.”

“We have to take her,” Roderick said, his eyes obviously tired. “I just watched her kill a man- I have to take her to our judge for punishment.”


“Yes, Mistress?”

“Shoot them.”

“With pleasure, Mistress.”

Arrows rained down on the men, one after the other, striking true with each shot. The dozen men were reduced to three, huddled on their horses, tears flowing down their faces. The fallen men had been pounced upon by wolves, throats torn out and limbs ripped off.

“Last time- leave.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Said the eldest of the three remaining men. The wheeled their horses about and fled the way they had come, wolves chasing after them. The wolves would only stop once they reached the edge of the forests. They did not venture into the plains that encircled the forest of the Mistress, by both her orders and their own territorial instincts.

Raelyn led the way back to her house in silence, lost in her thoughts. Those men would carry stories of an army of killer wolves, of a demonic woman who controlled them and a wicked hunter who served her, she was sure. A smile curved her lips. It would be interesting to see what stories of her Alex brought on his next trip to her home. He was due in but a fortnight’s time.

The Mistress looked back at her slave and nodded happily. Barely enough time to get her properly trained and ready to serve, she mused, looking forward to the task greatly.

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