PETRICHOR

Rivka, a young female royal guardsman, is tasked with a daunting mission to assist a species known for brutality against her own.

Caine, a prince of a dying race, seeks aid from those his kind feast upon.

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Author's note

This story will include graphic images and attempt at horror. If gore is not something you are comfortable with, I recommend to not read. Certain themes maybe too much such as infanticide and noncon. While noncon will never be described in this version, it will be mentioned as a fact that it does happen. Please steer away if you might be triggered.
AA

3. Arrival of Sheep

“Leave him alone. We aren’t here for a casual snack.” Their leader was speaking she had guessed, Rivka listened as the she peeped through a single hole in the crumbling stone wall. She couldn’t see whoever was speaking as there were too many men in the way. A couple of fomorians gathered around the fire pit where the man that she had slashed looked wide-eyed from the ground, ready to beg for his life.

 

“Caine, see to the human’s essence. Maybe he wouldn’t be missed, even in our current circumstances.” A young fomorian looked to their leader with eager eyes and skepticism, Rivka craned her head to try to see his face. It could be any of their well-known warriors, Draco, Landon, and Aleck were all feared as they led most attacks. Rivka found this situation extremely strange as they didn’t attack in such small numbers, especially around this time.

 

A figure stepped beyond the small group. He was lanky, muscular and lean, different from many of the broader looking creatures. The figure wore plain black and brown attire with no perceivable weapon at his hip and a large furry coat. His curly hair was black, his eyes bright iridescent blue. Judging by his face, he was around her own age, maybe older and she was eighteen. A fomorian as young as him would just barely be old enough to pillage let alone lead a group.

 

The injured man groped at the ground trying to drag himself away as the figure approached him with one arm outstretched as if reaching out to grab something in thin air. Their leader’s face scrunched up with focus, a dark curl of hair falling on his forehead. Rivka strained her vision against the rain, were his irises glowing? She still couldn’t quite tell.

 

            “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt. Do not touch anyone but him.” His voice was calm, almost melodic.

 

            At his permission, four of the closest beasts pounced on the man, his face full of terror. She knew fomorians were nothing like humans but even Rivka had trouble accepting the scene that unfolded before her. The man barely had time to scream as one creature went for his throat, ripping it with his mouth causing liquid noise. Red noise. Rivka turned away. She may have been violent, but anything done at the hands of beasts were inexcusable and barbaric. At least she knew the man that was dying out there deserved his fate. 

             

            As the lower creatures feasted, the others (maybe ten or less) stared hungrily, their eyes wild for violence. It was first come first served she supposed. Each one of the fomorians (besides the leader oddly enough), were carrying a small sword and a wooden shield. Although these creatures appeared human and (some) attractive, Rivka knew it was the use of glamour, a low-ranking ability to disguise their true forms amongst humans. That was how they tricked and raped women, masquerading as husbands or friends to get close. She wanted to vomit as all her comrades with men.

 

            Caine seemed to be just as disgusted although she assumed it was because he was of higher status, it was beneath him. Whatever trick he used to determine the quality of the freshly-dead man’s soul was completely new to her. She had heard of abilities that read emotions, saw visions of possible futures and more but being able to judge the soul of someone was unheard of.

 

            She watched as he did the same motion towards the tiny charred bodies. For a brief second, his face showed burning fury. He glared murderously at the buildings around him. Surely, he knew what the pile of wet ash was made of, he knew that the kingdom took measurements to ensure his kind didn’t win.

 

            Caine lifted a little body still slightly intact, blackened with soot. He stroked the infants face. The other creatures turned their attention from the disgusting feast to his mourning. Rivka couldn’t read their faces, blank and emotionless.

 

            His head jerked upward his nostrils flaring. Thinking they had angered their leader, his companions naturally flinched. Caine appeared confused, as if he was remembering something from long ago, but only the essence of that memory and now he was trying to place it where it made sense. He slowly turned his head towards her direction.

 

            Rivka’s throat clenched, and her stomach lurched. 

 

             How could he know where she was? Could he feel it with his natural ability? Rivka froze in her place praying to God he would ignore her presence.

 

            “Do you smell that?” He questioned, his companions shook their heads confused.

 

            Rivka refused to tear her eyes from the hole, she shook a red lock of matted hair from her forehead. His eyes searched her area, she tried to remain calm, her breath catching in her throat.

 

            Caine himself appeared muddled, “Don’t you smell it? Like blueberry wine and…and…” his eyes searched for something that wasn’t there.

 

Rivka scrunched her nose. What?

 

All the other creatures stared at him blankly, no agreement no disagreement. Maybe they think he is crazy, she thought.

 

There was a pause, Caine seemed to consider the rain trying to listen to the pattering, observing the puddles. He turned away from her area of hiding and motioned for his group to reform. Fomorians covered in blood rose from the fresh corpse licking their lips, angrily mumbling as they hadn’t had their fill.

 

She may not have gotten any information as to their untimely appearance, but at least she could escape through the alleyways and report to her king. She sighed in relief, finally breathing as she ought to.

 

As she let air escape her mouth, Caine whipped around.

 

He heard me…

 

With inhuman speed, he sprinted towards the wall. Rivka flinched falling backwards into the mud caking her backside. To her relief the hood remained over her head concealing most of her head and face. She dragged herself backwards through the mud as he leapt over the wall and stood in front of her grinning wildly.

 

There was a pause and silence as he stared down at her. She didn’t know if he knew she was a girl, or if he wanted to kill her, (surely, he wanted to). Rivka couldn’t figure out what he was thinking.

 

“Hello small human, mind if I ask you a favor?” Caine smiled sickeningly pleasant.

 

Rivka shook her head wildly in response, she sat there in the mud watching him.

 

His smile didn’t falter at her response, but she could see impatience in his eyes. He sniffed the air again and looked at her curiously. Could he smell that she was a woman? He had said he had smelled dirt and blueberry wine. Why were those smells important? She wondered to herself, he could be smelling anything in this village, why did those scents strike out to him.

 

“I suppose that I should explain myself. I didn’t think anyone of importance would witness our little snack, but your village is better off without him. He was a horrible human being!”

 

His smile wavered a bit, uncertainty finally reaching the corners of his mouth. Rivka remained silent, she knew her fear can be shown on her face. She could try to take him alone, but he had company.

 

Taking a small step forward, he put his hand out to help her up. She hesitated glancing at the group next to them. Was this a sick game they play with their food?

 

As she had no other options, Rivka did not take his hand but spoke as deeply as she possibly could to mask her feminine voice.

 

“What do you want from me?” She strained with effort, her voice cracking as if she were a young boy rather than a royal guardsman.

 

Caine smile grew wide, “I just need an escort to the castle. I have urgent business with the king I want to discuss.” He turned to his men, “you may go home, I have found who I need.”

 

Rivka watched with disbelief as all the fomorians, equally as shocked, shuffled the direction they arrived, looks of dismay and annoyance. As she watched them go, she felt two hands grab her by the arms and lift her up with ease setting her back on her feet. Panic erupted at the closeness. She stiffened, broadening her shoulders to appear bigger than she was.

 

She narrowed her eyes at Caine, hoping the sudden and unwanted grabbing didn't reveal her. He observed her as she took two steps back, his eyebrows furrowing in curiosity.

 

“You are oddly smaller than most human warriors I’ve encountered, I didn’t know they let such young boys into the royal guard. I suppose the lack of men has brought Craedel down to enlisting children!” He chuckled and reached out to her, she shied away again.

 

Caine shifted his feet, “look, I swear I mean no harm. If I wanted to kill you I would have done it already.”

 

Rivka was sure she heard nastiness seeping into his grinning console. He must be used to getting his way, pushing and probing for what he wants.

 

Rivka returned his wide grin with a slightly less convincing curl to the corners of her lips. She spoke with matched malice in her soft yet stone-cold retort.

 

“Excuse me while I consider my options.”

 

Rivka spun on her heel, and slowly started making her way back to Moondancer. If she was going to die at least it wasn’t as a traitor. She heard Caine follow her, his steps sloshing through the rain.

 

He cleared his throat obviously exasperated, “I don’t think you understand.”

 

Rivka ignored him, she shivered with violent excitement. If he incited a fight, she wouldn’t be able to have the good sense to flee or ignore him.

 

“Listen to me. Hey....” Caine was borderline, less control with every word. Rivka kept walking, not sure what else she could do.

 

“Listen to me, damn it!” Caine whined furiously.

 

Rivka felt her coat rise to her neck, her head naked to the rain and cold as Caine yanked her hood away. As her weight shifted Rivka unsheathed her sword swinging it angrily at Caine’s stomach.

 

He side stepped her just in time, but Rivka regained her balance just as easily and charged at him, her boots digging into the mud. She grimaced in frustration as she slashed at the air. He was fast.

 

Rivka paused to look up at him. She was completely exposed, her hair, her face, her assumed vulnerability. Caine stared back wildly in disbelief and softness as if meeting a familiar face.

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