I Will Not Bow: Chapter 3, a short story by HarrySaintcrow. Date added: 2012-03-01. Times viewed: 574.
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Roderick walked in cautiously as he took in his surroundings. His eyes wandered from the walls and ceiling, taking in every detail. Tim closed the door behind him and walked towards the living room area.
“Want something to drink?” Tim asked. He turned when Roderick didn’t answer and found the man staring at his back. Roderick seemed to notice and apologized.
“Something wrong?” Tim asked.
“No it’s just. I’ve heard stories about you; about what you are. I was expecting a little more…”Roderick said looking for the words to finish his sentence.
“More demonic?” Tim offered.
“Yeah, kind of; I just thought you would have wings or something.” He said. Tim chuckled to himself as his wings were folded into what looked like a long black robe now.
“Who says I don’t.” Tim said. “Now how bout I get you something to drink, kitchen’s this way.” he motioned for Roderick to follow him and the young man simply followed at a slight distance. The kitchen was large and open with stainless steel appliances and marble counter tops. Iron lattices with pots and pans hung down from the high ceiling as well as baskets of fake fruit and flowers. Tim opened the fridge and pulled two cokes from it. He slid one across the island bar in the center of the kitchen to Roderick and then opened his own.
“Thank you, you don’t have to be this generous.” Roderick said.
“No, but that’s never stopped me before.” Tim said. “So where is Jocard proposing I meet him?”
“The yards in the village; the annual fights are held there.” Roderick said.
“Fights?” Tim asked.
“We hold a series of fights every year for position in the pack. It helps keep order and keeps us from fighting among ourselves most of the time. Plus it makes sure the fights are fair and we don’t kill each other.” Roderick said.
“I see; so what rank do you hold in the pack?” Tim asked.
“I’m just a grunt really; I run small errands and defend the pack when ever I can.” Roderick said.
So who are Jocard’s seconds?” Tim asked.
“Why do you need to know them?” Roderick asked with suspicion in his voice.
“Because pack leader can change at the drop of a hat and I need to know if I make a deal with Jocard, if it will be upheld by the next leader.” Tim said. Roderick seemed to consider this for a moment.
“You seem to know a lot about our ways, why is that?” Roderick asked.
“I told you, I know quite a few shape shifters back in the states.” Tim said.
“Fine, Fredericks and Jonathan are his seconds and they are loyal to Jocard to the death. They were two of the first wolves that Jocard recruited to the pack after he became leader.” Roderick said.
“Okay, then tell me about Jocard.” Tim said.
“What do you want to know?” Roderick asked.
“Anything that I don’t already know from stories I’ve heard.” Tim said.
Roderick talked for a good thirty minutes about his pack leader. Apparently Jocard was the second leader of the pack after he had killed the last leader. Those that were old enough to remember said it was after the old leader had forced Jocard to kill a human girl that he had killed him. No one knew why but that was just the legend. From what Tim could gather and Roderick confirmed, Jocard was an impeccable leader with charisma enough to recruit wolves to his pack with very little persuasion. He took in mostly those who could not help themselves and helped them along on the island. Most of the wolves were runaways or orphans looking for something better.
Roderick just finished when Kira walked into the kitchen. Her dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail with only her feathered hair piece falling down the side of her head. She was wearing black bike shorts and a red jogging top leaving her back and stomach exposed showing her rose tattoo to the world.
“Who’s our guest?” she asked.
“Angel, this is Roderick, he’s the young man I helped out last night.” Tim said. “Roderick, this is my wife, Kira.” She shook his hand and smiled sweetly to him.
“Nice to meet you.” She said.
“Nice to meet you as well, ma’am.” Roderick said.
“I’m glad Tim was able to help you out.” She said.
“I’m glad to. I don’t think I would be standing here if he hadn’t.” Roderick said.
“Then I’m really glad he was there.” she said. She went to the fridge and pulled a bottle of water from it.
“What are your plans today?” Tim asked.
“Training, I’m going to see if that orb you gave me can keep up.” Kira said.
“I’m pretty sure it can. Just be careful and don’t push yourself too far today. We’ve got plans for tonight.” Tim said.
“Really, what are we doing tonight?” she asked.
“We’re going to the fights.” Tim said.
Kira said goodbye to Roderick as she went outside to the sparring ground set behind the house. The area was raised off the ground giving a nice view of the ocean and docks with seats along two sides of the square. There were slots at each corner so that a canopy could be set over the floor but the sun was high in the sky and a warm breeze was blowing in from the ocean so there was no top. Across her back was a large curved sword that Tim’s sensei had given her. It was a broad blade with an ebony handle and guard. Master Sawyer had said it had once belonged to a gypsy girl who had been a student of his long ago, but she had never asked why he had given it to her or why he had had it in the first place. In her hands she carried a large golden orb the size of bowling ball. Lines crossed the surface of it and the metal gleamed in the sunlight. She walked onto the platform and sat the orb down on one end while she stood at the other.
“Execute work out program, Kira, Swordplay.” Kira said out loud. The orb seemed to open at the lines and lights began to flow out of it. They converged on a single spot and formed a human form, but it was absent any distinct features. The orb was a training device that Tim had made. He’d copied it from the same devices that the High Covenant used to train there witch hunters.
She drew her sword with her right hand held it at waist level with the blade across her stomach. The shade seemed to take a moment to analyze her stance and took one of its own. It stood with its back straight and its hands held out by its sides. Two short swords formed in its hands, only a foot and a half in length. It stood there for a moment before its entire body changed shape. Now Kira stood facing a woman about the same height as her. Her face seemed oddly shaped with many sharp angles and smooth ivory skin. Her dark hair was a sharp contrast to her skin and her outfit suggested a pirate or buccaneer. Without warning the girl leapt at Kira and cleared the gap between them in almost an instant. Kira saw the attack and moved to the side with a simple twist then used her momentum and the weight of her sword to try and take the girl’s head off. The girl landed in a crouch with only a second to stop Kira’s blade, but that second was all she needed to bring one of her swords over her shoulder and block Kira’s attack.
From then on it was nothing but a series of slashes and stabs that met nothing but air or steel. Kira moved in graceful arcs and spinning motion that kept her opponent moving and guessing. Her opponent used her own movements and extra blade to keep Kira on the defensive, using speed to overcome the odd angles Kira kept presenting. The fight was hard but Kira kept up pace using this as more of an exercise in endurance more than actual skill. During one of there sparring sessions, Tim had mentioned that her style was aggressive and would be hard to overcome in the short term, but if someone could hold her off, eventually they could over come it. He’d proven it then by keeping her moving and eventually she couldn’t even bring her sword full swing. She continued to move leaping and flipping over her opponent’s blade pushing her even harder than the last time.
At one point they crossed swords trying to push the other around. Kira expected to see some sort of frustration in the girls face, but there was nothing. Just a dead stare. It unnerved Kira some and she had to let the struggle go. She fell backwards, grabbing the girls sleeve and putting her foot in her stomach as they tumbled. She flipped the girl onto her back while she leapt to her feet. As she was in mid air, she spun her body with her blade running vertically to her body. Without a sound the girls head left her body as Kira landed on her feet.
The clapping came immediately after and startled her to the point that she almost launched herself into another attack at the man standing at the edge of the platform. Roderick stood there with a look of amusement on his face as he continued to clap. Kira turned and sheathed her sword as heat began to rush to her face.
“Please, I didn’t mean to disturb you. I heard the fighting and had to see if you were alright.” He said.
“I’m fine; just a little training.” She replied. She gathered the orb and a towel and began to wipe the sweat off her body. “Now what are you really out here for?” she asked. Roderick looked confused until she smiled again. “I know you didn’t come out here to check up on me in my home; so what are you really after?”
“I guess maybe honesty would be the best policy with you, wouldn’t it?” he asked smiling.
“Yes, yes it would.” She said folding her arms across her stomach. Roderick looked a little lost for words. Almost as if he didn’t know exactly where to start. Kira decided to take the initiative. “Why don’t you walk with me?” She said and motioned for Roderick to follow her.
As they walked through the garden isles Roderick took in all the scents of the flowers around him.
“So are they true?” he asked.
“Are what true?” Kira asked.
“The rumors.” Roderick said.
“You’ll have to be more specific than that, which rumors are we talking about?” Kira asked, knowing which one Roderick was referring to.
“Look, I’m just going to come right out and ask it. What exactly is he?” he asked. Kira stopped for a moment and stared into Roderick’s face, studying every inch of it. He was handsome in a boyish kind of way with barely any stubble or facial hair to speak of. His eyes were bright and hopeful, meaning that he really hadn’t experienced a lot of pain in his life.
“There really isn’t a word for what we are, but I can tell you for certain, he’s no demon.” She said.
“We?” Roderick said with a questioning lilt to his voice.
“Yes, we. Tim and I are bound together in more ways than you could possibly imagine.” Kira said.
“But the stories that surround him, just the few I’ve heard are the stuff of nightmares. How could you love a man like that?” Roderick asked. Kira stopped for a moment and turned so suddenly that her long ponytail actually slapped Roderick across the face.
“Because I didn’t fall in love with rumors and gossip, I fell in love with the man.” She said with anger bubbling in her voice. She knew that this was what most people who knew of Tim’s reputation thought of him and she couldn’t blame him, but it hurt her to see Tim at night bearing that burden all the time. She knew at times that a lot of the people that he’d helped had treated him as a monster and feared him.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to upset you. I just really want to know this man. He literally saved my life and all this time I thought he would be some monster come to kill us all.” Roderick said.
“Maybe some day you’ll learn not to take everything at face value.” Kira said. “You should go now, I’m sure you’ve have more things to do today.”
“Yeah, I should. I guess I will see the two of you tonight.” Roderick said before he gave a slight bow and walked away. Kira watched him leave.
“Nice, boy that one.” Tim said. Kira jumped slightly as she turned to see Tim sitting cross legged on one of the walls slightly above her.
“God, I hate it when you do that.” Kira said with only slight annoyance in her voice.
“I know, but I get a kick out of seeing you jump.” Tim said smiling.
“Asshole.” She said smiling.
“I know. So what do you think of the werewolf?” Tim asked as he jumped down to stand before her.
“He’s young, hasn’t had much experience except what he’s picked up here on the island. Definitely a follower, but he’ll only follow what he believes in.” Kira said.
“My thoughts exactly; you’re getting good at sizing people up.” Tim said.
“Seem to be getting better with practice.” She said.
“Well, looks like we’re going out tonight.” Tim said.
“Where to?” Kira asked.
“The Yards; Jocard wants to meet there tonight. Possibly might be getting closer to flushing out the big bad vampire running these smaller groups.” Tim said.
“Good, then we can get to that wedding you promised.” Kira said.
“Just a matter of time, angel.” Tim said. Kira walked around him and made her way up the steps leading to there bedroom.
“I’m going to get some more exercise in before we leave.” She said. Tim stood there for a moment looking out over the ocean when Kira put her arm around the corner. She motioned for him to follow her.
“Oh, those exercises.” Tim said smiling like the Cheshire cat.
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