"They're coming?" Tara repeated my words in confusion. "Who's they?"
I spun around towards her, my body alert and focused as their smell got closer. "Brenna, Valdor, Damon and his girlfriend...and a few others."
Her eyes grew wide. "What do we do? We only have a few halflings and Hayden and Ebony are gone...." She began to hyperventilate.
"Tara, you need to stay inside this tent," I warned, getting up and moving towards the entrance.
"What?" She screeched. "You expect me to just sit here while you fight?" She shook her head. "I don't think so."
I let out a long sigh. "Please don't argue with me right now. I want you to be safe. I don't think I'd be able to bear seeing you hurt. Plus you don't even know how to turn yet, and the first time is extremely painful."
Tara's eyes grew sad. "Jack you don't think that I don't want you safe in this tent too, instead of out their fighting? And now's as good a time as any to transform, don't you think?"
"I'll make you a deal." I grabbed her hands in mine. "You go and find Ebony and Hayden for me, and then bring them back. I'll try to hold them off until you get back."
Tara stared deep into my eyes, looking for any sign of a lie. She bit her lip.
"Ok, but please be safe."
I pulled her into my arms, embracing her tightly. As I released her I kissed her on the cheek. "Be back soon, and please be careful."
I didn't get to see her nod, because I was already out of the tent, focusing on the horrible. I felt everything change, and then I was a wolf. I howled, bringing attention to the halflings, who also sniffed, then noticing the danger too, they took their stances. I turned to see Tara coming out of the tent. She didn't look at me once before disappearing into the forest. I licked my lips, the smell almost unbearable now it was so close. And then they emerged one by one. Brenna came first, then Valdor, then the red headed girl, and then Damon. Then there was about ten strays, all in their wolf forms.
"Well, well, well, nice to see you again Jack." Brenna's voice was high pitched.
I growled deep in my throat.
"I haven't come here for a fight mongrel," she snapped. "I've come to make a deal." Suddenly Brenna sniffed, then snapped her fingers. Damon and the red head ran off into the forest. She smiled an evil grin that made my furr ripple across my back. Then in only a matter of seconds, she was a wolf too. Her furr was the color of mahogony, and her eyes were a sharp red. I could feel mine change to red as well.
You stupid boy.
Her voice was in my head. And then I heard her snarl internally.
Did you think that now you're a werewolf, you can beat me and my group? You're not strong enough Jack. But you could be, if you came with us.
You can't fool me, I responded in my mind. I'm not as stupid as I look. Your side will lose, like it should have.
Like it should have last time? Yes, yes I'm sure it shall win this time.
Don't mock me, I snarled out loud, and a replying growl ripped from between her teeth. Why would I betray my family?
You're family? Or who you think is your family? Think about it Jack. The Devil wants us to live in piece. Us creatures can never live in piece, with all the humans trying to rule the world. They don't want us in their world. They don't want us anymore than we want them. But our side...we can help get rid of them so that we can live without murder. We won't have to share this world anymore.
I hesitated. She noticed too. Something of a smile appeared on her wolfish lips.
Yes, now you're thinking about it. You know it's true Jack. Live, don't die. And maybe, just maybe, you're little girlfriend can live too.
As her words ended, I heard a struggling scream and looked up to see that Damon was holding Tara's arms behind her back, while the red head pulled at her hair. Just then Hayden and Ebony came through the bushes. Their eyes were alight with fear as they witnessed what was happening. Brenna turned to look at Hayden, and after a few seconds he roared in anger, pulling his lips over his teeth.
"How dare you!" He yelled at her. "I will never do such a thing."
Another few seconds and then he got into a fighting stance.
"I will not be doing any type of negotiation Brenna. I'm not here to reason, I'm here to kill." He snapped at her, his fangs glinting in the sun. "I want to rip your flesh between my teeth." Then he looked surprised. "Jack?"
At the sound of my name I looked at Brenna again. She turned to look at me.
I'll let your girl go free if you come with us. That was my negotiation. Hayden said no. But I won't fight him, I'll fight you. She smiled again. Feel that anger in your bones Jack, feel it pulse through your veins. I was the one who captured your girlfriend. I know that you're the one who wants to rip me apart. She paused. Don't you?
More than anything, I snapped. Then I lunged. I connected with her full on, and I could hear Tara's startled and frightened scream.
My teeth cut into Brenna's flesh, and I pulled, taking a chunk of her with me. She howled in pain and kicked me with her hind legs. I skidded to the entrance of the tent, and then got up, spitting out the piece of flesh in my mouth. Brenna's shoulder was bleeding, the blood mixing in with her dark furr. Then she charged. I let her slam into me, but I stood my ground. Her red eyes flashed in my head, and her glinting teeth seemed to pull me apart all over. I remembered howling and snarling and screaming, and spit flying everywhere.
Then with all my strength I shoved my nails in her stomach and shoved. She didn't go far, but it was far enough for me to get up and contain myself before she charged again. I could feel the blood running through my furr, but I didn't have enough time to think about it before she slammed into me. I fought back, both of us lifting onto only our two hind legs. I slashed at her face with my paws, and bit at her neck and arms with my teeth. I wasn't a very skilled fighter, and Brenna was way beyond the basics. She was better, but I was stronger. She shoved me to the ground, snapping at my furr and tearing me beneath her teeth. I howled in extreme pain as I felt her break my arm, but I wouldn't let the pain hold me back. I heard screams coming from where the audience was, but I couldn't tell who from.
Then Brenna slammed me in the face, knocking me back into the tent. It collapsed beneath me, and I moaned, not being able to stand up. I opened my eyes to see Brenna charging for the final blow. But then something blurry whizzed from the sidelines, slamming into Brenna and knocking her a few feet. There were howls of pain and terror, and then the attacker was thrown off. The wolf stood up. This wolf was snow white, with black paws and a black muzzle. The wolf's eyes glowed a deeper red than the rest. Tara. It had been her screams of pain as she transformed for the first time. I wanted to yell at her, but at the moment I was glad she had intersected.
I slowly got up, careful of my paw and then limped over to Tara's side. She nuzzled me and for a moment the pain went away. But the pain was so bad that I fell to the ground. I felt myself changing back into my human form, my body too weak to take on the wolf form. I heard Tara whimper as I groaned, cradling my broken arm to my chest. I shook my head and stood up, sweat covering my whole body.
"Stop," I moaned. "Please don't hurt her." I gulped back some blood that was coming up my mouth. But I ended up spitting it out. "Just take me already. Just don't expect me to obey."
"We'll make you." She was already back in her human form. Her shoulder was bleeding, and she had a few bruises up and down her arms. "And my negotiation was really just a lie. I'm taking both of you."
I felt arms wrap around me, and looked to see Tara human again, her eyes bronze as she looked at my face.
Brenna looked at Hayden and Ebony. "And if you send anyone or yourselves to get them, I'll kill them without hesitation." She laughed. "I'll be waiting to see your pitiful army at the battle."
I searched the faces and found Tony near Ebony and Hayden, his eyes in wide shock. I shook my head at him, warning him not to come after us.
Brenna made a pouty face as she came up beside me. "Let me fix your arm." She ran her finger the length of it, and suddenly it felt better.
"But you're not-"
"Werewolves have good healing powers. You shoud have been able to heal it yourself, but you didn't know. Now you do."
I wiped the blood and sweat from my face, my breathing heavy. I held onto Tara roughly as they took us, leading us deep into the forest towards their camp. I turned back to see Hayden and Ebony watching with hurt and angry eyes. I saw Hayden lunge, but he was stopped by Ebony. But she was telling me something in her eyes.