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Nocturnal - Chapter 5: The Burning Soul

Chapter 5 of Nocturnal



It has been seven days since we left. We were attacked a total of 6 times each attack more vicious than the last. If not for Jace, I may not have been able to handle them on my own. The attacks were so frequent and there were many vampires. Some of us are wounded, others on the verge of a mental breakdown, but we finally made it.

Lycan stood before several yards to the side of a giant iron gate set in an enormous stone wall several stories high that appeared to encircle the entire city. The rest of the company followed behind him and in turn Jace brought up the end of the company.

We survived, but still, I can’t stop thinking about that feeling what was it? As the attacks became worse each time, it felt like… Something inside me tugging almost like passing out or falling into a dream. I seemed to still have control, but it was like… I was controlling myself from deep inside a house and only seeing what was happening outside the windows. But I could still control the actions, where to go, what to attack. But I wasn’t fully in there yet. I could recess more let the tugging control a little. But it’s a frightening, wild feeling. It feels very powerful but… Feral somehow, I’m afraid to see what happens if I let it in… or out.

“Lycan”

Lycan was startled a little at the call.

“Lycan you’re out to sea again”

“Sorry Jace I have a lot on my mind.” He hadn’t noticed that Jace had come up to talk to him.

“I know… I just wanted to talk to you about something… those last couple attacks… I felt something. Something weird and frightening… Something… Wild?”

“I know I felt it too. I don’t know what it is yet, but for now just try to resist it. I don’t…”

Lycan was cut off by Jace beginning to speak.

“No Lycan, I felt it from you. This new power you’ve given me, it’s connected us somehow. I can’t explain it, but I felt a lot of what you did I think.”

“I suspected you would, I’ve felt the same. You’ll also find you share a connection with distant kin of ours.”

“You mean the-”

“Yes the wolves. I suspect you are connecting with me first as I am the one that turned you and I’m stronger than they are… You’ve reminded me of something , that feeling I’ve been getting is similar to the feeling of the wolves and… Something else”

“To what else? What do you mean?”

“Nothing, I think it would be best if you found out yourself.”

With a slight look of perplexity Jace turned and departed back to his post at the end of the company.

But still that feeling is like my instincts becoming so intense it almost speaks to me… but all I feel is… kill.

Lycan continued to stand at the gates and pondered their structure as the townspeople passed going into the city. Lycan was glad to note how much better of a defense point this city would be as opposed to the previous town they had resided in, but couldn’t help but worry for the poor people and how they would be able to fend for themselves or find jobs in this new place. It was often difficult for people migrating from one town to another to take up their same trade. If they were not good enough to appeal to the new customers while catching up financially with the others of their own trade, they would often be unsuccessful.

While the rest of the company filed into the city gates Lycan waited to talk to Jace at the end of the line. Jace noticed he was waiting and walked up to talk to him once more.

“Jace, you know these people much better than I do, do you think they will be okay here?”

“Lycan, you worry too much. You’ve done more than enough for me and the towns people, you’ve saved us multiple times and brought us to safety. I think it’s about time you worry some about yourself and just relax for once.”

“Yeah maybe you’re right, but we do have some work ahead of us. If we are going to beat these demons for good we need to find more people strong enough to withstand this power and I was thinking this city might be a good place to start. But, I do think I need to relax if only for just a day or two I won’t be much help to anyone if I just stress all the time. And if I recall correctly you had a good share in protecting these people as well as me and for that you have my thanks friend.”

“Haha you gave me the power to do it so I can’t take much credit for it but I’ll do whatever I can. Now go in the city and enjoy the day, maybe find something constructive to do alright?”

“Haha aye aye captain.”

Lycan stood for a few more moments as Jace departed into the huge gates.

“Now all I have to do is go into town and find a way to not think about the fact that I am 1 of 2 people that may be able to save all human life in this world… Sounds easy enough.”

And with a sigh Lycan strode towards the gates of town. Upon entering the town and realizing just how big this city was compared to the previous towns he’d been to or lived in, Lycan had a sudden realization. For the first time in years he had no idea where he was going. After wandering around town for a while, Lycan decided he was done exploring for the time being, and stopped to ask someone and find what he needed. Lycan stood for a moment taking in the crude , yet much more substantial than the previous town’s, buildings. His eyes were drawn in the direction of a loud clanging sound as if metal were being driven together. As he found the source he noticed a moderate sized shop with an area open to the streets, but covered but a straw and mud-glue roof. Under the roof stood a lean muscular man a few inches shorter than Lycan but a good deal older. The man stood holding a large hammer in one hand and an elongated piece of red hot metal in the other. The man was holding hammering the piece of metal against an anvil. A Lycan began to approach the man seemed to have realized he needed something from inside his shop, he set down his hammer and unfinished metal on the anvil, and walked through his shops entrance.

Lycan Shortly followed the man in with the intention of asking for directions.

“ ‘n I help you?”

The man seemed to notice Lycan had entered the shop even though his back was now facing Lycan as he rummaged through crates and bags behind a waist high counter.

“If you need somethin’ made it will be a while I’m a little backed up on orders just now.”

“I’m not here to have anything made I just-“ Lycan began, but was cut off.

“Did ya not hear what I said, I’m backed up if ya aint here for custom work there ain’t much else I can offer right now other’n training blades.”

“I’m sorry I’m not actually hear to purchase anything”

“Well then who just walks into a shop not wanting to buy anything? If you got a weapon already why’re you here?”

“Well I don’t really use-“ Lycan began again, but was cut off again by the blacksmith.

“Don’t use a weapon?!” The dark haired man turned to face Lycan with a disgusted look on his face. And Lycan could now see a long scar across the man’s face reaching from just above the edge of one eyebrow leading diagonally down across his nose and on his cheek under is right eye.

“You ain’t one of those pacifist “all life is sacred even if it’s tryin ta eat me” kind are ya?!”

“Haha well no I used to use weapons but I suppose I don’t quite need them anymore”

“Don’t need em? Whaddya fight with your bare hands?”

“Well I guess you could say that, but I’m not here for that I’m looking for some directions.”

“Well why didn’t ya say so in the first place I got blades to craft. What are ya lookin for?’

“I need directions to an inn and a tailor”

“I see, well, if you go a couple more streets north you’ll find Jimmy’s Inn on the right. About a street east of that there’s a good tailor not much of a name but you’ll know it by the sign. You strike me as a warrior type, you sure got the build for it, you here for a guard job?”

“Not exactly, though I will probably be doing something of that nature, I came here as a guard of sorts for a group a refugees.”

“Refugees? You mean that large group of people I keep hearin about that actually survived their journey? Boy you must be some guard to help get that many people here without fightin with weapons. We only get small groups or just lone travelers through here these days, and if they show up at night the poor saps are used to bait us.”

The smith walked up to Lycan and put his hand out in a more friendly gesture.

“Name’s Garron, “

“Lycan”

Lycan firmly shook Garron’s hand.

“Well if your psychic powers stop working let me know and I’ll forge something for you, for a price of course. But for now I’d better get back to my craft”

“Thank’s for your help”

And with that Lycan departed to his next destination, the tailor. Lycan followed the directions given and and found a small tailor shop marked by a sign, depicting a spindle, hanging above the doorway. Lycan entered the quaint shop to find a white haired women tending the counter while hand stitching a torn shirt.

“Welcome, what can I do you for?”

“Yes, I’m here to have some clothes made”

“Well that’s generally what I’m here for, but I suppose you need something special?”

The old woman looked up from her work with a smile. Lycan, having a good sense of humor, smiled in return at her tease.

“Yes, I was wondering if you can make anything that can... Expand a little?”

“Well now that is something special, how far do you need it to go? “

“I’ve got a set of tattered clothes in my pack here if you could I’d like you to make something using those as a guide to be about my size now but not quite tear apart as easily if at all.”

“That should do let me see em.”

Lycan removed a few sets of clothing, that were ripped and torn from his previous transformation, and handed them to the old woman. The old woman began inspecting them and surprisingly ignoring the blood stains.

“I think I can make something for you, when do you need em done by?”

“As soon as you can, I am willing to pay extra if need be.”

“How much do you need? Just a shirt and pants?”

“I’d like two of each for now I may be back later for more if the work is done well enough.”

“Well that’s what I aim for, I suppose for the right price I can get you something done in a few days. Any sooner than that and I’ll need to pay for some help.”

Lycan removed a small pouch of coins from his belt and handed it to the old woman.

“Will this cover it?”

The woman opened the bag and eyed the contents quickly counting to herself.

“That should just about do it. I can get you something simple today maybe an hour or two after sun down. That will be using all my pedal equipment and getting a few people to help. Then I can get you something better in a few days. I don’t like to do sloppy work but you seem to be in a hurry.”

“That should do fine, I appreciate it. My name is Lycan I will be staying at Jimmy’s inn if you need to get in contact with me.”

“Alright I’ll work my fastest. Nice doing business with ya.”

Lycan bowed his head in response and continued on to the inn. When he arrived and entered the building he saw that the lower level was a pub with a small assortment of food and drink. Lycan walked up to the young man tending bar and requested a room and a hot meal. The man behind the bar gave a price and options for dinner. Once Lycan had chosen something to and paid the man. The man handed him a key.

“your room’s on the second floor 5 th door on the right. By the way you look new around here you wouldn’t happen to be Lokan or something like that would you?”

“The name’s Lycan, do I know you?”

“A messenger from the city council came by, said the council wanted to meet with you and heard you might be staying here.”

“I see, did they say why? Never been here before not sure why they would want to talk to me.”

“Didn’t give a reason, but said it was important, you need directions?”

Lycan nodded and the man gave him instructions on how to find the council building. After his meal he went up to his room to leave his belongings so he did not have to carry them around the large city any longer. Only taking with him enough money for what he might need. Lycan had then traveled to the location the inn keeper had given him, finding himself in front of a large two story building decorated to show importance. Lycan walked in and was directed where to go by a clerk on the first floor.

Lycan was then presented before 4 older people, two men and two women, and was asked about the refugees and what had happened to his and their towns . Over the next few hours Lycan retold what had happened over the past couple weeks, leaving out the specifics of what he had gained and exactly what he had gained it from. After learning what they could the council members brought his meeting to a close.

“Lycan your abilities will be invaluable against the attacks. We would ask that while you are here that you work on guard duty for our city. We are very sorry to ask this of you, as you are very new to this city, but we are in hard times, and these things seem to be toying with us. We’ve been able to drive them off with our few ballistae and cross bows. They don’t seem to like the projectiles but we never seem to be able to kill them and they retreat somewhat easily.”

“They’re scouting, trying to find your weak points or guard posts. Trying to see if they can get in easy.”

“Our thoughts exactly, will you accept this duty to our city while you stay within it? We will be more than happy to help accommodate you and pay for your room during this time.”

“Absolutely, I would have it no other way. I will do my best to protect your people and this city.”

“We appreciate your sacrifice for our people. We also have asked your companion Jace if he would assist as well. He too has agreed. We have paid for a room for him at the same inn you are staying in.”

With few more words, the meeting was over and Lycan departed back to the inn. After finding out what room Jace was staying in he departed up to his room. While walking up he found a small package left in front of his door wrapped in brown paper and tied with a thick thread. Attached with a pin was a note that had a small wax seal that displayed the same shape as the tailors shop sign.

“And sunset has just hit, she’s very fast.”

“Lycan brought the package and entered his room. He examined the newly made plain brown pants and cream colored shirt. The make of the clothing was similar to that of chaps one would wear while riding a horse, however, the knit was much tighter and formed in such a way that when he pulled on them it expanded to his desired breadth.

“well can’t argue with that.”

After dressing himself in his new apparel he headed over to Jace’s room with the second set of clothing. He found the right one and rapped heavily on the thick wooden door. Moments later the door knob turned and the door creaked open.

“Lycan, I thought I’d see you sooner rather than later, half because I could feel your presence near, but I did have a hunch as well.”

“Haha well right you were, I wanted to stop by for just a moment to drop this off. I had some clothing made for us that I think will be helpful for the transformations. It’s crude but the tailor will get something better quality later. You seem about my size so I thought you could use some.”

“Hah brilliant, if I go through many more of those I won’t have anything left , many thanks my friend.”

“We should probably try and get some rest the council is only really giving us the night to rest since we traveled so far.”

“Ah you accepted their offer as well then, I knew you would. Thanks again for the new clothes have a good one and actually try and rest eh?”

“haha will do.”

With that Lycan departed to his own room and laid himself down to try and get rest. Lycan watched out his window and tried not to think of the problems that troubled him but still could not help but remember the intense feelings he had been getting more and more during his transformations. Lycan began to doze off as thoughts wandered over the subject.

If it feels like those who are my companions… Why is it all that I feel is… Kill

Lycan then found himself back in his old town. His old friends and family running through the streets and screaming. Everything in his dream going as if in slow motion, he turned to see her face. Beautiful blue eyes and long flowing deep red hair, she looked frightened and he knew why. They were all over the town and people were dying and being struck all around them. His eyes locked on her, as he began to run towards her, seemingly not getting any closer at all. Out of the corner of Lycan’s eye he saw a shadowy blur moving towards her direction faster than he could ever run. His eyes still stuck on her frightened face, as she began to turn towards the movement herself. Her eyes widened and face made a strained look as if to brace herself.

Lycan shot straight up in bed.

“No!”

He whispered before realizing he was having a dream.

I felt it again… but it couldn’t have been an instinct to kill then. I didn’t want her to die.

It had been a few hours since he fell asleep and was now fully night and dark outside. While Lycan was looking at the crescent moon in the dark knight sky, he heard a howl in the distance. At the same instant the hair on the back of his arms began to stand on end and he felt a prickling sensation.

“They’re here!”

Lycan shot out of bed and ran out of his room ready to warn Jace, but he had burst into the hall at the same time.

“Can’t we ever get a break?!”

Jace shouted to Lycan down the hall.

“Apparently they just don’t get tired of dying.”

Lycan and Jace ran to the first floor where most patrons were no longer present as many had gone to bed, only a few remained in the pub deeply drunk and most were passed out. Lycan and Jace both could hear more and more wolves howling in the distance.

“There’s a lot of them this time… What are the chances we get here the only night we might get killed.” Lycan said in frustration.

“How many do think they are? I still can’t feel the wolves too clearly.”

“15… At least, and they are moving in fast. We’d better get out there and find them before they find something to eat. Try and stick to the darker areas. We don’t want to get attacked ourselves and we may be able to get a jump on them.”

In the distance the two of them heard a scream and Lycan swore and ran into the streets. As soon as he was in a dark enough area, he transformed immediately. As the transformation completed, Lycan’s senses increased in intensity and he knew where to find the first vampire. His huge form speeding to the nearest scent of decay and blood, Lycan found himself running through a dark alley and soon spotted a woman who lay limp on the ground, a puddle of blood surrounding her. Lycan saw the demon that had felled the poor woman standing on top of the building to his right. Lycan leapt the single story and using his arms to thrust his body up over the roof’s edge. The Pale Creature saw Lycan and began to run. Lycan enraged because the demon murdered the innocent young woman bolted after it. The two jumped from rooftop to rooftop. For what seemed like minutes the vampire raced towards what looked like a dead end for the roof tops and seemed to open into a large clearing between buildings.

It was then that Lycan realized it was strange for the vampire to just run from him without trying to attack first. The vampire seemed to even have a few seconds, before he had noticed him on top of the building. Before Lycan realized it, he had jumped on to the last building in the row when his senses went off. They were everywhere and more than one right next to him. Suddenly his vision flashed, as he was hit down into the ground with such force he nearly flew through the roof. Lycan then felt a shooting pain in his side, as he was slammed with a powerful hit that shot him off the roof to the ground and tumbling to a stop in the center of the clearing. Lycan could feel warm blood dripping out his side, as he tried to stand up.

Holding his side, he began to stand and Jace soon came crashing down a few yards away. From the darkness in front of Lycan, they began to hear sinister laughter. As the laughter got louder, Lycan could see a vampire walking out of the shadows several yards in front of him.

“Hahaha fell right into the palm of our hands. You’ve killed enough of us wretch , now it’s your turn to die.”

As the raspy voice ceased speaking, Lycan saw and sensed a large number of vampires coming out of the darkness. Lycan began to feel his instinct welling up inside him again. Kill, it seemed to whisper to him. He looked to Jace and knew he could feel it as well. Lycan began counting the number of them in his mind.

“…20…”

They were surrounded and both of them were injured. As the circle of vampires began to move slowly closer, Lycan could feel the instincts more intensely with each step they took. He could feel himself receding inside himself more and more. It became more and more, as if he were inside a small room looking out the window of his eyes, as if he were losing himself. Then the image of his dream popped in his head once more and he saw her face and felt his instincts push harder than ever against his consciousness.

It’s not kill, It’s… Protect

Lycan finished the thought out loud and knew there was no longer any need to fear it. Jace still not knowing what was happening, felt overwhelming emotions coming from Lycan. Jace could not control himself. He knew that if Lycan let himself be taken in it, he would lose himself as well. Jace quickly transformed back to human form not knowing what else he could do to prevent losing himself to the intense aggressive emotions.

At that instant, almost as if he knew Lycan let himself go letting out a ferocious and terrifying roar that both frightened the vampires and caused them to start the attack. Immediately Lycan's senses increased to incredibly heights. He was able to smell and hear the smallest movements in the vampires posture, which told him where they were even when behind him. Lycan began controlling himself from inside the tiny room but with only basic urges and feelings.

Lycan leapt with lightning speed towards the nearest vampire. The demon had no time to react as Lycan’s clawed hand drove straight through it’s chest and emerged out the other side. Lycan drove it into the ground and ducked, as a vampire behind him swung at his head with no success.

Lycan then brought his arm with the first vampire impaled on it up towards the one behind him making a fist and both punching the living vampire and knocking the previous one off. The two vampires flew nearly 35 feet away from him. Another vampire tried to attack Lycan's wounded side moving as fast as it could. Lycan sensed it and moved so fast, as to make it seem like the vampire had moved in slow motion. He opened his large jaws and caught the vampire's shoulder and rent it in two. Lycan instantly dropped the dead creature and stood up straight. Lycan quickly straightened his arm slanting slightly upward and caught an attacking vampire, who had leapt at him, by the neck. He then slammed the vampire into the ground with such force it cracked the cobblestone underneath and beheaded the creature. Lycan fought this way until every last vampire was dead without a doubt.

Jace still lay on the ground awestruck at what he had just seen. After the hulking black furred beast destroyed the last vampire, he stood as the sky began to lighten. Jace was staring at the Giant heavy breathing bipedal black wolf, it’s fur matted and claws dripping with blood in a circle of bloody vampire remains, with new found respect and revere.

Lycan transformed back to his human form and fell to a knee breathing heavily. He looked over to the startled Jace lying on the ground.

“You must have killed 30 or more… and didn’t even take a hit. You were… Feral, it was like you weren’t even human anymore. You were just a machine of slaughter.”

“But I had you to back me up right? Couldn’t have done it without you.”

“But you did… Your emotions were so intense I transformed back to my human form because I didn’t know what it was yet. It’s safe then I take it?”

“For me it was, I just couldn’t think of anything else but protect. I thought it was just a murderous instinct at first but it’s not. It’s a protective instinct. I can push very far in that feral state, though I’m pretty tired now”

“After what I saw, I have no idea how you’re not passed out on the ground right now.”

“Well you know me, I can’t seem to get any sleep even when I try”

Jace chuckled and felt the mood lift slightly. Lycan strode over to offer Jace a hand up.

“They know about us now. And now one way or another they’ll know we were able to take on this many even when trapped. We need to find more allies.”

“Any Ideas where to start?”

“I think the blacksmith is a good place to start. But we need more than that and we need to test them somehow.”

“Well while we think of that why don’t we actually go get some sleep?”

“you said it.”

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