Citrine’s Monsters: Chapter Seven | Wreak Havoc
“Where have you been?” I asked them, weaving my way between them, my fingers stroking fur, sliding over scales, rubbing wet noses, and touching feathers. I checked for burns, my concerned eyes examining them one by one. “I worried the fire had captured you in its wrath while you slept. This is my fault, I will never talk about you again, I will never open my mouth, even if it is to one I think I can trust. He betrayed us all.”
I murmured and cooed as the beasts danced around me, seeking attention, staring at me with their reproachful eyes. They never said a word, just stood, letting me know they were there.
My pets were not full grown yet, which gave me reason to fear for their survival. I bent down to stroke Zaul, a lizard-like creature with green scales and a row of long teeth like a crocodile. He’d come from the river, the first beast in my collection.
I touched the thick, sharp fins of Ava, my fingertips sliding off her slick scales. She had a neck like a serpent and a face like a wyvern while the rest of her body curved into a mix of scales and feathers like an eel. She had four clawed legs and stared at me with large reproachful eyes.
Their eyes were all the same color as mine. Lemon yellow. I didn’t know what brought them to me, but our similar eyes bound us together and allowed me to ask them to serve my wishes. Never harm another was the motto I taught them, and as anger boiled through my veins, I realized that motto failed me. Do no harm, but allow yourself to be burned and broken, driven out into a nasty forest with a temper bigger than my own.
Reaching up I patted the fur of Grift who stood as tall as a horse with the body of a lion, and the face of a great eagle-like bird, the Xctas. He had great wings folded on his back. I cursed myself to restricting my pets to my garden. Perhaps with freedom and plenty of pasture, they could roam free. A fierce determination to protect almost overcame me and a lump in my throat made my eyes prick with tears which would never be shed.
Ava, who was the smallest, slunk around my legs, giving off a sweet keening sound, her grumpy thoughts filtering through mine. You could have warned us. What happened?
“Hansel,” I whispered, the red-hot anger of betrayal vibrated through my body. “Never you fear,” I told them, locking my gaze on each of them. “I have a plan. I do not forgive the villagers for what they did. You should never fear what others will do to you. From now on, you will wreak havoc in my name.”
Grift pawed the soft dirt near the riverbank, causing streaks of mud to flicker out behind him. Swishing his white tail back and forth he bent his head toward mine. “Is this forest our home now?”
“No, I will find you a home,” I whispered.
The lull of the river and the sound of splashing made me turn back to the bank.
Zaul, Ava, and Grift growled, readying themselves for combat.
“Wait,” I held up a hand, watching the waters flicker. “It might be a friend.”
Morag rose out of the water, droplets dancing around his scales as his long neck hung over the water.
“Where were you?” I demanded. “A panther attacked me, something a quarter of your size. Where is your bravery?”
“It was a test,” Morag hummed, his great voice coming from the depths of his being, like a hypnotic song on a breeze.
My anger did not recede, but I took a deep breath before I explored. “My pets came to my aid, no thanks to you!”
“Nay,” Morag slung his long neck back and forth like a lullaby rocking a child to sleep. “It was a test to help you find your beasts, which you have, and to prove who you are.”
“What do you know of who I am,” I snapped, accidentally biting my tongue and cursing as the sudden jolt of pain swept through my mouth.
“You are the one who tames the beasts, we come when we feel you are in great need.”
“We…” I trailed off as my anger receded and I examined Morag.
He leaned down, bringing his monstrous face closer to mine, and I saw the sheen of his wide eyes, bright as the Green Light in the sky.
“If you will have me, I will join your collection. I heard you call my name in your heart, I have been searching.”
“Searching for me?”
“Aye. Will you have me?”
My limbs trembled as I lifted a hand, reaching up to touch the great snout of the beast. When my hand reached his nostrils, I felt a familiar stir and click within my body, the alliance I swore to each one of my pets. My beasts. “Morag.”
My heart was thumping when I turned to my beasts. “This is my promise to you. I will find us a home, and we will add others to our number. In the meantime, go through this wicked forest, look for others, and wherever you go, wreak havoc.”
“Wait,” Morag cautioned. “I must take you to the Master of the Forest. Follow me.”
Studying his eyes, I nodded in agreement to the odd request.
A hiss. A growl. A roar. My beasts scattered into the underbrush, the forest shaking under their movement.
Download the full version of Citrine’s Monster’s here. | Copyright 2018 Angela J. Ford