She hesitated briefly, every so briefly; breath hitched in her moment of reluctance but like the slight widening of her eyes, it passed almost without notice. Except of course, it was noticed.
Carmine eyes slanted in her direction, they glinted as though they understood there was some lingering doubts. It was not that there was doubt, but rather a soft, questioning feeling of whether this was right. But they were both of the Earth, they both knew the underlying precepts of life. Expression and free will was paramount, or so humans had told her.
It's unnatural she would hear from their soft pink lips (but what natural being has pink lips and pink skin?) that something dictates their life goals to them, their purpose. But the Dream didn't dictate- it was for the good of all (and they didn't even HAVE a Dream...)
A hand reached out to her, drawing her closer, enveloping her softly within the folds of an intimate embrace. Gently, almost reverently, a hand stroked her head, wiling away the feeling of question.
The path resumed, stretching forwards into a dark tunnel. Bio-luminescent lanterns lined the pathway with a slightly eerie but comforting overtones of vermilion and deep amber, with a small hint of amethyst and sangria lying below her spectrum of sight.
“I found them, you know, where they should not be. I put them in the pens back here, where we keep the hounds. Out of the way where they could not possibly hurt us. These things are just so destructive, are they not?”
Attention regained, she licked her lips and caught up. “Should we really? Why not just take them to the edge and leave them to go back to where they came from?” Bright, sea foam orbs looked towards those carmine pools. Trusting them to see it her way; it was okay, was it not, to let them go for once?
“My dear, my sweet, sweet dear. You are of the Night Cycle, you know our secrets are needed. Remember, these low things, these unnatural things- they crawl about the Earth and Land and spoil it. This will allow them to contribute to life again! Think of all the growing and the living and the nurturing we can make with their help! They came here to ruin, to desecrate and we cannot let that happen!”
The honeyed voice plied her sensibilities well. There was a point, a very good one. She knew all too well the awful and evil things they had committed against the very nature that birthed them. Well, nature birthed her but she was not so sure nature had birthed them. She oft had wondered if they were some minion of an entity Other than nature.
Slipping back into the words coming from beside her, she began to comprehend again after collecting her thoughts, slipping a little on the forest floor as the hand tugged her forward more insistently.
“Is not tonight a most auspicious night indeed? The rest of the world is so consumed and obsessed with that Mad King of theirs; here we may ply the work of Nature alone, uninterrupted and to the fullest extent and potential that can be obtained!” A small silence before, “Ah we have arrived.”
Whimpers reached her ears, tickling at the soft ferns tucked into her lobes. Wrinkling her nose, she reflexively closed them to muffle the sound. It was pathetic, the crawling, the whining and whimpers. They truly did behave like an ill-bred fern hound. Mud and leaves caked them, looking awkward and ruinous upon their clothing, woven from butchered fiber and skins. So brutal and so unforgivable.
“I have always thought their dressings to be so brutal and unforgivably cruel to animals around them.” She whispered, drawing close to her companion in a small reach for comfort.
“Shh, we'll fix that. They will soon be helping us give life to this grove. We will bring paradise to this land- land they have been so wasteful with. This is far from Mother, but even here, oh yes, our reach will grow. Our Dream will come to fruition no matter the cost...” Delicate gray hands grasped hers and drew her closer, prompting them to crouch down to the ground, close to a male watching them warily.
“Yes, our Dream. Nature must prevail. We shall grow the largest, most beautiful boughs of life and green and wonder...” Agreeing, she watched as a hand snapped out, grasped the creature and dragged it forwards, into the middle of the alcove. The stones had already been placed, with runes for earth, water, air and fire etched into the cardinal points and the center holding nature overlaid on top of sacrifice, drawn in blood of some kind. Likely she mused, from a fern hound that was not a prime candidate for training.
“Now, my love, as the moon reaches the zenith, we will strike, and bring life to this corner of Ascalon. The most beautiful strawberries will grow here- imagine it. Here in this dump that those Charr have abandoned, with their metal workings and poisonous fires, we will grow the biggest strawberry patch anyone shall have the luck to find!”
Again, that niggling hesitation made her nibble at her lip. “But... it is so violent.”
“You would do anything to see your Dream, your Hunt come true?” The soft voice plied.
“Then look at me.” A hand drew her face closer, their noses almost touching, so close... “This is for all. We will bring the very Earth to the far corners; peace, tranquility and a never ending life of no conflict for all shall be one.”
“One. Together.” Their lips drew together, a soft touch, then an almost eager questing for more. She had always wanted the questions, the chase and the thrill. And she had been the perfect complement, always seeking the answers.
“Yes...” Faolain's soft hand held hers with the knife and before she knew it, sliced below. Blood pooled beneath them, seeping around them as they knelt in the soil, interlocked in an intimate embrace. Crimson blood from the undesirable creature reached each cardinal stone and the circle flared to life. Almost instantaneously, the very land around them erupted in deep forested plantation, soft grass carpeting the floor beneath, and even a river of water creating a tiered waterfall cascaded down, bringing the very life-blood of nature to the whole area. And the sweet scent of strawberries filled her nose, like a song almost. Perfect...
And barely perceptible, under it all, a dark maniacal laughter floated beneath her world, her world clutched tight to her in the lover's embrace. It slipped in lightly, but deeply- the darkness penetrating the light of the full moon on the night that humans, like the creature underneath them, called Halloween. A terrible darkness- and Faolain laughed with delight.
“Do you feel it Caithe? This is Life! This is where we come from! This is what we were meant to BE!”
Entranced and bewitched, the horror grew in her very skin. Something else was here.
And Caithe was terrified.