Warning, it is a bit graphic. The main character is Huli, a fox shapeshifer who is the middle of five siblings. The family is the royalty of the shapeshifting world that is set up in a matriarchal way. These fox shifters live to be several centuries old, the oldest being a millennium old. Huli was being groomed to become next High Priestess when something goes wrong.
Huligua Gogyou Kouzoku, born to the High Priestess Faia and High Priest Yochi, was raised in the rich shapeshifter city of Byzunia with her two older brothers, Kazan and Gufuu, and two younger sisters, Arashi and Jishin. They all had nicknames they went by, refraining from their “high court” names as much as possible. Huli, Kai, Gu, Ame, and Ji would play in the forests outside Byzunia for hours and hours as children, flirting with the surrounding dangers their parents would chide them about all the time.
|"Byzunia Palace Garden"|
“The humans in those houses would capture and kill you or worse if they saw you”, Faia would say.
“But ma, we could just level their towns with our magicks.” Huli would retort.
“You know better than to do such a thing! Magick is not used to harm, but to heal! Must we keep you in school longer, child of mine?” Faia would sternly say. She was the High Priestess and spiritual leader of the shapeshifting community. To her would come all those matters religious and political. Huli never understood her mother’s shyness towards the humans, or her undying neutrality. Whispers from the clans cluttered her ears and mind. “Soon, the humans would overrun the world and in our neutrality, we would surely be wiped out and our hiding places would be destroyed. Already there were Hunters who sought out our kin and fellow shifters! Are we to stay here and die slowly?” shifters would say, keeping their voices hushed in case Faia caught their gossip.
Centuries past as Huli grew from child to teen, watching the progress of the human world and the equal demise of the shifter world. Clans rose and fell, some becoming old and extinct. Some clans left the “human” plane for other ones to start fresh, tired of hiding. Some of the surviving shifter evolved with the humans, forming new lives with the humans as beasts of burden or companions in their animal forms. Entire families would stay in their animal forms, forgetting their human forms and never teaching their children their history. Some would stay in their human form, forgetting their animal forms and abandoning their magick to live as a normal human, though they always had strong ties to their old form’s animal.
Huli looked on with only mild interest in these minor politics, more absorbed into her study for priestess-hood than the actions of some clans. As the next in line to be the High Priestess, Huli would take control of all the clans and lead them as her mother did, and her mother’s mother before her. She knew it was a serious job, and she tried to be serious like her mother, but sometimes her siblings made it hard to focus.
“Come on Huli! Lets go play in the woods.” Ji begged Huli, jumping around her like a bunny.
Huli ran with desperate haste back to her house. She had fell asleep in her secret place, the Ball Dealg, and it had gotten darker than she had thought, but as she got closer to her house, the worse she began to feel. Something wasn't right; something was off but she couldn't put her finger on it. She was almost home, but suddenly she froze. A terrible shot of fear ran up her back. Huli smelled blood, and lots of it. She bolted to her house, afraid of what she might find, afraid of what she wouldn't.
|Vacation house in daytime. Huli comes in at Dusk.|
Huli burst through the door, then immediately froze. She saw the bludgeoned bodies of her two brothers and her father laying on the floor, massive blood pools surrounding their bodies. She couldn't sense their heart beats anymore, they were already gone. Her father had obviously been ambushed; his sword was still sheathed on his hip. Her brothers had fought hard, but being apprentices, they didn't stand a chance. Tears welled up in Huli's eyes as she bent over her brothers' mangled bodies.
A sickening scream wrenched Huli's attention from her sudden loss. She ran towards the scream, racing down the hall to her parents' room. She exploded into the room just in time to see Ame's throat being sliced open. The shock of the sight left her cold and motionless. Her mind froze, along with her body. She saw a woman lying on the floor, and as recognition slowly trickled into her mind, her mother rose her head up to see her daughter frozen in the doorway. "Huli run! Get away from here! Go! Run!" Huli looked at the only figure standing in the room. It was a young blonde male she had never seen before. The only thing Huli could make out was his dark leather duster coat and his onyx dagger. He glanced at her, then made for the woman on the floor, who continued to make desperate noises Huli didn't recognize, and tried to struggle to get up, but her body was clearly broken into many pieces, unable to support her weight. The man stopped when he reached the woman, and as Huli's eyes grew as she realized who the woman was, the man took the blade in his hand, made a swift movement at her neck, then walked to Huli.
"Mother!!" she screamed. Huli collapsed onto her hands and knees. Tears blurred her vision and streamed across her face, her body trembled like an earthquake, refusing to move from where it was. The man's feet entered her sight, declaring that the man himself was right above her helpless body. He crouched down, picking up Huli's head to his eye level, making her look him in the eyes. She stared into the deep scarlet eyes, noticing his mouth curling into a sickening grin, a trap of knife sharp teeth. Huli's eyes dilated in fear as he said one, sweet word to her, cutting into her mind like his blade into her mother's neck. One word, the only one she could think of as she obeyed the man unquestioned.
The next thing she saw was the woods that surrounded the vacation house rushing past her as she ran for her life. She couldn't think straight. Huli could sense the man was behind her, enjoying the chase to no end. She found her mind, which had become dead cold with the anger she felt. I will buy time, she thought, I will play a trick on him. She turned her direction, heading for the Ball Dealg. She busted through the thorn wall, stumbling on some roots, then continuing to her destination. She reached a massive oak, put her back to it, then sank into the tree, seamlessly blending in as the tree enveloped her body. She then made an illusion of herself and sent it running off in another direction. The man made it to the oak right then, just in time to see the copy running off. He chased after it.
|Willow tree at Ball Dealg.|
When Huli thought he was a safe distance away, she started to come out of the tree. Suddenly, a searing pain erupted from her shoulder as a dragon tooth knife bit into her. She screamed, realizing that the man hadn’t been alone. This older, scarred man smiled at his catch until a fist connected with his face. A little bit of blood ran out of his nose as Huli ran to the pond. She fled to the only other place she could think of, and fell at the base of the willow tree. She stayed on her hands and knees as the new man continued to hunt her down. She curled up and cried as she understood that this was the place she would die at.
"What is a beautiful creature such as yourself doing crying like it is the end of the world?"
Huli looked up into stunningly dark golden eyes of the most beauteous soul she had ever set eyes upon. A near flawless face gazed curiously back at her, handsome and chiseled. He smelled old and of wine mixed with blood, but he looked no older than thirty years old. She stared into the golden eyes flecked with jet black. "Please, if you're going to kill me, do it quickly. I.. I have nothing left." she sobbed. He looked a little confused for a moment. "Why would I want to hurt you?" he asked. Then he looked up, understanding spreading through his refined features, and disappeared, leaving Huli all alone.
The unknown men walked through the underbrush to finish Huli off, blades visible and eyes burning red. One of them, the young one, pulled her hair back, exposing her throat. He was just about to pull the blade across her neck when he suddenly flew back, blood projecting in such a manner to suggest that his face had hit something rock hard, or more accurately, something rock hard hitting his face. The man smashed face first on the ground a hundred feet away from Huli.
Huli cast her gaze above her, where the golden eyed man had been before he disappeared. This time his features held anger, but he wasn't looking at her; he was looking at the other men, murder spelled in his eyes. The vampire strolled to the older man, moving with the grace of an angel. Huli hear the sickening crunch of bones snapping like twigs as the vampire gripped the face of her attacker. "Destroyer, now you will die." the threat of the words were made more frightening by the sweet tone in which this bronze angel had delivered them, lacing them with honey, malice, and hatred.
The attacker growled deeply, a dark sound emanating from the back of his throat. "Dirty blood-sucker. Scum like you shouldn't walk this earth. I will put your body back in the grave, where it belongs to rot, disgusting leech." he managed to say, then grabbed the hand which was firmly placed on his face. He dug his fingers into the skin of his assailant, then mumbled in a language Huli didn't recognize. Electric blue sparks danced across the angel's skin. The Destroyer grinned wickedly, but faded immediately when he saw the sparks didn't have any effect on his opponent. "Weak human. Small magicks like that won't work on me." the vampire sneered, clutching harder on the Destroyer's head. The human screamed as his head was slowly caving in. The Destroyer then grabbed the arm with both of his, and saying a complex phrase in the same unearthly language, produced blood-red sparks that made the vampire quickly let go. On the back of the vampire's hand appeared a symbol, a snake curled around a down-faced dagger. The human laughed hysterically, Huli's angel snarling savagely at him. Stillness spread across the meadow as the angel put his foot through the man's head. "Silence, Destroyer."
The vampire looked over to the younger assailant, who was obviously scared. The attacker bolted off into the forest, this time running for his life. The vampire followed him, and a few minutes later, Huli could hear his screams. She waited for the vampire to come back, but as minutes turned to hours, she began to realize she was all alone. She curled into herself and wept.