Before the Fall

Fanfiction of When the World Falls to Darkness by DragonSoulJess.

The fall has begun. alliances are being formed, and guardians are being rounded up. In a small outpost called Ryoko, a small number of guardians still fight for their freedom.

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23. Killer

 

    Hylla paced inside her makeshift prison, snarling quietly. She was still in the form of a wolf. The other guardians watched her silence as she muttered to herself, cursing the humans. They had left her alone for hours. She was exhausted and her limbs weak, but she was sure that as soon as she slept the humans would come and drag her out. She had no intention of making it easy for them. So she stayed where she was, pacing and snarling, making it clear to the humans that the first one to enter the makeshift prison would die. She howled and raked her claws against the firm wood of the barrier, daring the humans to enter, daring them to try her. She was unafraid to harm them. She was eager to harm them. Let them come. She would tear them apart for what they’d done to her! She had nothing left to lose. Her sister was gone. Her angel was gone as well. It was just her, alone in this horrible, cruel world.

    That revelation should have overwhelmed her with grief, but she could feel nothing but blazing anger. Why bother grieving? She would avenge Kylora and Miel in the blood of humans.

    That won’t bring them back, a small voice whispered in her head. That voice sounded suspiciously like Miel’s. Hylla shook her head viciously, and let out a derisive snort.

    “Hylla,” a voice said quietly from behind her.

    She turned, surprised to find that she recognized the guardian that had spoken. It was Ryder- the young one who had challenged Kylora many times. There was no challenging light in his eyes now, however. They were glazed over with fear and misery. Well now he knew what he had wanted to surrender to.

    “Hylla, everything you’re doing isn’t going to do you or anybody else any good,” he insisted. “You’ll just convince them that you’re a crazy rogue and have to be killed. You don’t want that.”

    Hylla curled her lip into a sneer. “You’re one to talk, Ryder. Didn’t you want to surrender to the humans? Let them win? Well here we are. You’ve lost. The humans have won. Do you feel any satisfaction in your surrender? Did the humans treat you as mercifully as they hoped?” She didn’t let him answer, and kept talking. “No! They didn’t. They kicked you down like an animal, because that’s all we are to them! Animals! Nothing will change that. I’ll show them that even animals can bite back when pushed too far. I have no intent of staying caged. Unlike you, Ryder, I will keep fighting. If I must die, then I’ll take a good number of them with me!”

    “Hylla-”

    Ryder’s words were interrupted by the scrape of wood on wood. Hylla turned, already preparing herself to pounce. The barrier slid open, and Hylla was blinded by the light of many torches. Undaunted, she lunged forwards, intending to tear out the throat of any human who dared approach her.

    Too late, she realized this was exactly what they had been expecting. She slammed straight into a waiting net, which was quickly wrapped around her, and secured with heavy stakes. A human approached, bearing thick iron chains. She howled and thrashed, but she was powerless to stop him as he locked them around her paws. Two more humans held her head still, and they locked a muzzle around her snout. She growled with fury and with humiliation, but the humans seemed to find her efforts amusing rather than terrifying as they should have. The net was released, and the humans dragged her to her feet.

    “Time to make some work of your fighting spirit, mutt,” one of them hissed at her.

    She growled, wishing she could bite him, but the muzzle prevented her from aggression. So the humans guided her through their camp like some sort of awful parade. In the light of the torches, the scene was unreal and blurry, even to Hylla’s sharp canine eyes. She wondered where they were taking her, and then reasoned that it didn’t matter. Most likely they were going to kill her. She had expected that for a long time. She wasn’t afraid. She would make them suffer before they ended her life.

    They led her away from the center of camp, and towards the woods. She frowned. They couldn’t be releasing her. So where were they going?

    The answer became apparent as they reached a clearing that had been cut in the woods. Spears and posts connected to chain nets formed a makeshift arena in the center of the glade.

    Hylla’s guards changed. Now two humans were guardian her, armed only with light spears. There was fear in their eyes, and Hylla felt a savage surge of satisfaction.

    The reached the center of the arena, and the humans around her took up spears, pointing them at her to keep her from escaping. Only her two guards remained. Slowly, one of them reached for the muzzle. Hylla longed to snap his hand off, but she waited. Slowly, the human unclasped the muzzle. His face was white with fear. The other began to unchain her legs. When both had been unlocked, the humans sprung away, weapons out. For a moment Hylla stood there, unchained. Then she let out a triumphant howl and launched herself at the two humans. One swung his spear at her, but she caught it between her jaws and bit down, snapping the shaft in half. The human backed up, but Hylla brought him to the ground. With a savage snap of her jaws, she broke his neck.

    The other human tried to stab at her, but she dodged the pathetic strike and snarled. He didn’t even bother trying to attack. Instead, he turned to run. Hylla crouched low to the ground, watching him go. He paused to look back, and his eyes met hers, and he paled. Then she lunged forwards. In a single bound, she crossed the space between him, and slammed against him, knocking him to the ground. She tore at his chest with her claws, seeking his heart. She didn’t stop tearing, not even when he went still and stopped struggling, not even when her paws were red with blood. She didn’t stop until she found his heart and crushed it. She lifted her head triumphantly. She missed the humans around her laughing. She missed the smiles they exchanged. All she knew was that she was more powerful than they were. She threw back her head and howled to the sky.

 
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