The Dwellers: The Night Life
(~I now take you back to the Story already in progress~)
The Night Life
It was daytime, usually a time Dwellers would rest. The one they called the Dark Son needed no rest, and he was uneasy. Ramon Martiya, leader to his clan of Dwellers, kept watch over his kin while the sun was high in the sky.
He paced the floor of the house, unable to think straight. Something was out there, something even he couldn’t destroy.
Calm yourself, Ramon. He heard the mind-voice of his blood-brother Daniel reaching to him.
Resting usually means shutting your mind down as well. Ramon reasoned sarcastically.
You are sending anxious thoughts to us. I am the only one awake to hear.
Rest at once Daniel. You need the energy for the hunt at sunset.
If you would stop being so nervous over nothing, I would gladly return to my rest.
I am your leader and you will obey me, with or without my help.
Relax, Ramon. Daniel laughed. Do not forget who is older, blood-brother.
When Ramon didn’t respond Daniel sent him another message.
Take a walk to ease your mind.
I cannot leave my kin alone!
We are not alone. Besides, your spells have us safely trapped inside. Should anything happen, you would feel it. Now, go, before I rise and push you out the door myself.
That bit of humor made Ramon smile. Only, it did not reach his eyes.
“Ramon?” He heard a voice whisper his name. He looked toward the doorway to find a man he’d known for years.
“Chase?” Ramon asked. The man nodded. “What are you doing here?”
“Something has happened, blood-brother.” Chase Moondancer announced. “May I come inside?”
“Certainly.” Ramon nodded. “What happened?”
“The Wars for Power are over.”
“No, Ramon. Not wonderful.” Chase supplied. “Celeste and I are trapped in what Braken Joel calls the Underground. He says it is for our own safety.”
“And the boy?”
“Chikité has been stolen from us, only he was not the only one.” Chase said. “Other babes have been stolen by the Maiden for her Army. Celeste and I barely made it out alive.”
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“Had you any true empathy, I would believe you.” Chase replied. “I have come to say goodbye.”
“We will see each other again.” Ramon responded. “We are blood-bonded. You cannot be gone for eternity.”
“Ramon, we are not safe in our own world!” Chase told him. “Celeste pleaded with Lord Guardian to be able to do as I had raising you these years. We are well protected in the Underground, I assure you.”
“How do you know?”
“The Goddess Dana told us herself.”
“Good.” Ramon thought it over in his mind. “You know of the hunger, yes?”
“Yours or my own?”
“You hunger like no other wolf I have known, Chase Moondancer.” Ramon said. “You will need blood from one of us often to stay alive.”
“Celeste will be there.”
“What of the times she is not, and you hunger?” Ramon spat.
“I can take care of myself, Ramon Martiya!” Chase yelled back. “Just as you take care of yourself and your kin.”
“The hunger cannot be curved.”
“I know this. Perhaps Celeste…”
“Celeste is Dweller kin first, understand that.”
“Understand this, Ramon.” Chase replied. “Celeste and I are Bond-mates, and have been for years now. Each of us may have a responsibility to our kinds, but only second to each other.”
Ramon was silent, staring at his mentor blood-brother. To think, Chase Moondancer had been there since he was a small child. The Mountain Wolf taught Ramon how to hunt and use his keen senses to kill his prey.
“My apologies, blood-brother.” Ramon said quietly. “I am sorry.”
“Again with the false empathy.” Chase said, smiling. “I came here for a reason, and not only to say goodbye.”
He pulled a package out of his bag, handing it to Ramon. “This is a Dream Locket. Anytime you wish to visit my world, call the spell with it on and you will be transported.”
Ramon took it from Chase’s hands. Chase caught him in a hug. “I will miss you, Dark Son.”
“And I you.” Ramon whispered, pulling back.
Chase turned on his heel and was gone.
He placed the Dream Locket around his neck as soon as Chase left. Right away, he was urged to use his seeking sensors. There was something out there, something down-right dangerous, and it was searching for blood. Chase was walking out there in his cloak, unsuspecting. In the Cavern, the Dwellers were resting for the night’s hunt. He had a choice to make. Either protect his blood-brother Chase or his own kin.
He had to somehow do both.
Use the Dweller gifts blood-brother. Feel the danger you are in.
I am fine, Ramon. You just worry for me because I am so old.
Your age has nothing to do with the Stalker hunting you.
I am looking, but do not see or even sense.
Stalkers block themselves from their prey. That is how they attack.
Worry for your kin, and I will worry for myself.
You are stubborn, but you are not strong enough to battle this one alone. I will come to you.
Stay with your kin, Ramon Martiya. Chase gave the sharp order. I will be able to –
Chase’s sentence was cut off and Ramon could feel him in danger. The blood-bond they had did that. With the new necklace, he could feel it even stronger. It grew hot around his neck. He grabbed it, only to release it, pulling his charred hand away in pain.
It took two whole seconds for Ramon to heal the wound. Making sure the spells on the building were up and strong, he left to see Chase.
Ramon shifted to a cheetah, the fastest animal on four legs. His Dweller sensors combined with that of the cat were able to pinpoint where his blood-brother was in danger. He followed them to a dark alley, shifting back to human form.
“Come out, Stalker. I know you are here.” Ramon called into the night air.
He looked, but Chase was nowhere to be found.
“Who dares call me out?” A hissing voice questioned. A man came out of the shadows, pale white face and blood running down his chin. Once he saw who it was, he laughed. “I should have known it would be you, Youngling.”
“I am no longer a Youngling, for I lead the Dwellers.” Ramon told him. “Who have you been feasting on this night?”
“Only a harmless old man.” The man hissed. “His blood had your taint in it Ramon.”
“Where is he, Dram?” Ramon asked. “You did not drain him, did you?”
“How could I with such powerful fluid coursing his veins?” Dram asked. “Tell me, have you heard from your father lately? It is said he now searches for you.”
“Do not try the brotherly act with me, for it will not work.” Ramon said. “You are charged for being Stalker and must be destroyed. Either we do this the hard way or the easy way.”
“How about if I just kill you and take over?”
“I am afraid not, Stalker.” Ramon’s eyes turned harsh. “You are weakened now, while I stay strong.”
The Stalker Dram could say nothing, knowing in his empty heart Ramon was right.
“Kill me now if you wish, but know this. Crucis will destroy you for the act.”
Ramon ignored him, engulfing the lightening in the air to his very system. Using it, he aimed directly at Dram’s heart, destroying it. In seconds, the Stalker was reduced to ashes and no evidence of his existence remained.
One less mess to clean up.
He used the power over the wind to blow the ashes into an existing garbage fire.
Now to find Chase.
I am here, blood-brother. Chase’s mind voice was soft. I am not hurt bad, but I cannot go home to Celeste.
Ramon found his mentor behind a garbage bin, nursing the wounds on his neck and arm.
“I should have followed you.” Ramon said, rolling up his sleeves and tearing a scratch into his wrist with a nail. “Here, drink and I will heal you.”
Chase’s fangs shot out at the scent of Ramon’s blood, and he bent his head to drink.
With the free hand, Ramon grabbed a clump of dirt from the ground, chanting over it. He packed it onto Chase’s wounds before feeling dizzy.
“Enough. Do not drain me, for I will not feed for hours, yet.” Ramon said.
Chase licked the wound and looked up. “My apologies, brother. I could not contain myself.”
“Accepted. Did I not tell you the Hunger would be fierce without one of us near?”
“Do not be cocky, Dark Son.” Chase teased. “I will do the same for you, gladly.”
“No. Save your strength for the journey home.” Ramon told him.
“I must take care of you.” Chase whispered.
“I will replenish myself on some unsuspecting alley rat.” Ramon said. “Call the Chant and return to Celeste. She needs you more than I do right now. I can feel her probing your mind, worried.”
Chase sighed. “As usual, you are right. Once again, blood-brother, goodbye.”
He grasped the Dream Locket around his neck and disappeared, leaving Ramon staring at the spot in wonder.
After finding a couple of rats to feed on, he returned to the Cavern. By that time, the sun had gone down and it was time for his kin to rise for the hunt. The males waited for him to return before disappearing into the night and the females stayed behind, eager to feed Ramon’s hunger.
“Be careful, brothers, there are Stalkers about.” Ramon warned them.
The one called Calcite nodded. “Always.”
“Worry not for us, brother.” Daniel supplied. “We hunt for ourselves, our women and our turned kinsmen.”
Ramon stared after them.
“Ramon, come to me.” A female named Emerald called. “You are weakened from the battle. Let me heal you.”
“I will be fine, Emerald.” Ramon told her sharply.
“Rest and you will be even better.”
“I cannot. Not now.” He said. “Not until Crucis is destroyed.”
At the name, Emerald gasped.
“What is it? Do you know this Crucis Dram spoke of?”
“Dram still lives?”
“Not anymore. I destroyed him today.” Ramon replied. “He threatened Chase’s life and I felt it.”
“As you have since you blood-bonded with him.” Emerald supplied. “Crucis has been around since long before your birth. He was involved in a love triangle with two Watcher sisters. One was his Bonded but the other wanted him to be hers. She wove a powerful love spell, hoping to win his love from his Bonded.”
“Why does he want me destroyed?”
“You are a threat, for you are both Dweller and Watcher, able to do many things neither of us can.” Emerald explained. “First and foremost, you can go out during the day, where he can not. Understand?”
Ramon nodded. “I must destroy him first.”
“Of course, but you must always be careful.” Emerald told him. “Not even you can fight every Stalker in the world alone. They are our kin, turned, and play many tricks to deceive.”
“I have noticed.” Ramon said. “Dram tried to be my brother, but I was not fooled.”
“What did he say?”
“Crucis will kill me for destroying him. I sense he has waited long enough. He will come after me soon, and I must be prepared.”
“As you will be.” Emerald said. “When the time is right, you will be well prepared.”