Through a Forest of Secrets

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by redwolf, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Astor wandered happily through the forest, the warmth of the sun beating down on his coppery hair. The forest was quiet that day, a fact he was quite happy about. He entered a clearing he was quite familiar with. IT was a place he had come to often as a child and remained to that day one of his favorite locations. A small creek ran by one side of the clearing, and large ancient oaks surrounded the place with smaller bushes dotting the tree's feet. The clearing itself was covered in lush grass and tiny vibrant purple flowers. He plopped down right in the center of the clearing, intertwined his fingers behind his head, and let himself doze off to the music of the forest. He could hear a dozen different birds chirping, the rustle of large and small animals through bush and grass, and underneath it all, the soft murmur of the creek behind him.
  2. Leave it up to me; I’ll go catch us some dinner. I’ll catch a huge fish with only my hands! You wait and see!

    Another day, another promise Dixon would fail to keep. It wasn’t his fault he tried too hard to impress everyone; but people were beginning to catch on he wasn’t everything he made himself out to be. The young man tried his best to be like his father. He was a strong lumberjack who left to work in the mountain weeks at a time. He often told Dixon stories about how he would run out of food and have no choice but to catch fish with his bare hands, or sneak up and attack a bear. While his father didn’t tell him stories like this anymore, Dixon remembered each one so vividly that he could have been told them yesterday. His father was nothing less than an absolute god in his eyes.

    Wandering through the forest, Dixon looked around. Maybe he would gather some berries and show off how well he knew nature. While he was a full young adult, Dixon often thought like a young boy still. He didn’t think realistically and probably would attack a bear if he saw one. His mind was still growing, but his body had already gone through the adult growth spurt. He was tall and muscular, which were all thanks to him helping his father carry cut down trees. He had curly black hair that liked to fall into his eyes and skin that was tanned from all the time spent outside. His nose had been broken during a fight and it showed that it hadn’t healed properly, but it added to his rough exterior. The boy looked like a tough wolf, but acted like a little puppy.

    It felt as though he had been walking for hours. He had only planned on staying out for a bit, but when he passed the rock he marked as his landmark he seemed to have taken a wrong turn and was now lost. He let out an agitated sigh before stopping dead in his tracks. Far in the distance he noticed something with copper hair. He didn’t know why anyone would be this deep in the woods and could feel his muscles tense. Maybe it was time for another fight. Ducking behind a tree, he grabbed a small rock and threw it towards the person, just to see his reaction. If it seemed really bad, he could turn and run like the wind.
  3. A sudden sting jolted Astor out of his dreams. He shot up and peered around the clearing in a crouch, ears straining for any foreign sound. All the scents of the forest seeped through his senses and his cat-like eyes, the color of a starry night sky, scanned for movement. He was tall and lithe, his muscles well toned from a life in the wild. His copper hair fell down just over his shoulder and seemed to shine in the sunlight. He spotted something almost immediately. It didnt seem to know how to hide its presence very well.

    He focused his mind on the image he wanted: a small silver fox. He felt his body begin the change. Salt and peppery fur began to sprout all along his shrinking body. His nails grew into claws, and his ears changed into those of a fox, closely followed by a fluffy tail sprouting out behind him. Within mere seconds, he no longer looked human, instead, he was a fox. He darted into the bushes to one side of the strange disturbance and quickly got behind the thing. He hid in a bush and crept forward until he could see what it was. Surprisingly, it was a human. A young man at that. He tried to remember where the nearest human village was, but the closest one he could think of was quite far away. He made it a point to stay far away from humans. They were dangerous, and cruel. He clawed his way up into a tree and settled on a branch well out of reach and changed back to his human form. He crouched cat-like on the branch and peered down at the human. "Who are you and what do you want? You dont look like a hunter... more like a mouse that ran away from home. So, what are you doing out here? Dont you know its dangerous?" He asked cautiously. His voice was rich and thick with an exotic accent.
  4. Dixon kept his eyes glued on the man. Why was he out there? Was he a threat? His heart was beating quickly and his hands kept balling into tight fists, then releasing for a few moments, then balling up once more. He wasn’t the best fighter; he often got too excited and would make silly mistakes, one that a young boy just learning might make. Still, that didn’t mean he couldn’t throw a good punch and leave a few good bruises.

    Letting out a soft gasp, he watched as the man jumped up and slowly changed himself into what looked like a fox. It was hard to believe Dixon had just witnessed that. Shape shifters were often talked about in negative ways. Men would talk about how they would kill them if they had a chance, while children would take turns playing hunter and shape shifter, pretending to change into some sort of animal and then running around until the hunter caught him. They were getting less and less seen though, and Dixon was beginning to believe they just didn’t exist anymore. That was pretty hard to believe any more, though; trying his best to keep his eyes on the fast moving creature.

    While he looked around to find the thing, he heard a voice up above and behind him. He turned to see a human high up in a tree. His hands tightened into fists and he tensed. He would kill this shape shifter and bring it home, so he could impress the village. “I could kill you in one hit, mutt.” He said, brows forming a frown. “The name is Dixon. Come down here and talk to me like a real man.” As he looked over the other male's body, he realized he may not be able to kill him. Maybe running wouldn't be a bad idea... Taking a small step back, his body relaxed a bit, and his eyes showed a tiny hint of fear.
  5. Astor's eyes narrowed into mere slits as he glared at the human. They were all the same, always trying to kill his kind. At one point in time, shapeshifters had roamed everywhere and anywhere they pleased. They were abundant, and left the humans alone, for the most part. Then the humans started attacking them, killing them, and now there were so precious few of them left. "I'd like to see you try, you hairless ape," he growled. He'd never fought a human himself, but his parents had taught him how to fight, while they were alive that is. His skills had been further honed on his own through fights with various wild animals and even a few territorial shapeshifers. If he could take bears and wild cats down, he was sure he could take on one measly human.

    He jumped down from the tree, landing lightly on his feet, still crouching. His eyes never left Dixon. His nails grew into claws "I'm not like the rest. I'll never fall to a human. Ever." He had grown up fearing humans, it was one of the reasons he stayed so far away from their dwellings. Now that he was faced with one, however, that fear was replaced by anger. The fear on the face of the human brought a smile to his face. And he thinks he can kill me? Astor scoffed to himself. ​ Ridiculous.
  6. Oh he would not let that furry creature talk to him like that. Hairless ape? The man should wish to be like him! Dixon forgot all about worrying and resumed his angry stance. He was ready to fight, forgetting the fact he was lost in the middle of nowhere. If he happened to get hit a bit too hard, it could be fatal for him. That wasn’t even a thought for him, though. He wanted to fight and that was all. “I’m down here waiting. You’re the one hiding up in a tree!” He said with a snarl of his lip.

    With that, the red-haired male jumped out of the tree and landed easily in one swift motion. Dixon watched and just clenched his fists tighter. He could beat this guy, or at least give it his darn best try. He lunged forward and began the fight.

    Well it didn’t last long. Dixon was knocked on his butt within a few moments. He had given the man a few good hits, enough to make him hurt, but it was obvious the shifter had won the battle. Dixon had wounds that were beginning to seep blood, and he felt like a herd of cattle just ran him over. Not enough strength to pick himself up, he stared up at the other male with pure embarrassment. He knew very well he could be killed in a few easy movements, but it didn’t look like that would happen. If he was going to kill him, he would have already… right?
  7. Astor stood over Dixon, staring down at him. There was no look of triumph or pride at his victory, just dark neutrality. The human had been a fool to challenge him to a fight. A small voice in the back of his mind told him to kill the human, or he'd regret it later. The human would come back with reinforcements, it kept saying. The small voice may be right, but Astor wasnt a killer. He never had been. Other shapeshifters often told him that his refusal to kill other people would be his downfall someday, but he didnt care. He shook his head and focused on the human again. He didnt appear to be able to move, so unless he got help, he'd be stuck out there for who knows what to come and get him. He let out a frustrated breath. He didnt really have a choice, now did he? He changed into a horse and lowered himself beside the human. He nudged him with his muzzle. Get on, he sent the thought directly to Dixon's mind through telepathy.
    With a little work, Astor was able to get Dixon on his back. He set off towards the human village at a walk. He didnt want to go too fast or risk knocking Dixon off his back. He didnt want to have to get him back on again. The sooner he was rid of the human, the better. The walk to the village took only about an hour, but to Astor, it seemed to take forever. The closer he got to the village, the more nervous he got. He could smell the reek of the human village, and before long, the first building came into view. Astor froze, unwilling to go any closer. His ears strained for any threataning sounds, and he kept looking around him as if the humans were going to jump out at him at any second. He backed up a bit until he was hidden from view, then layed down and let Dixon off his back. He stood back up and looked down at him. Dont get lost again, the next shapeshifter you run into might not be as merciful as I am. He sent the warning to the boy, then turned and started to walk away.
  8. Dixon felt nothing but confusion, with maybe a bit of pain mixed in there, all due to that darn shape shifter. Why had he helped him back to the village he belonged to? He knew very well that humans weren’t fond of him, yet he risked it to help Dixon home. As sad as it may seem, it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him, besides a few things his family had done for him. The people in his community saw him as a good for nothing fool, and their opinion would only get worse after today when they saw him limping in with wounds from head to toe. So, the shifters act of kindness left him with a unique emotion he couldn’t quite understand. Before he could even think of the words to thank him, the man had turned around and was walking away in his horse form.

    It took a bit for the young man to heal. He refused to tell anyone what attacked him, because that would mean there was a chance they would go after the shape shifter and that was the last thing Dixon wanted. Luckily, his mother just cleaned him up and didn’t ask any more questions. He got better quickly but the bruises remained for a while and the stiffness was most definitely still there. Still, he was better than before and his mind was set on finding that shifter. No, not for a rematch, actually the opposite. He wanted to thank him and possibly get to know him. Something about him just made Dixon feel drawn to him.

    About a week and a half later, Dixon wandered back into the forest. He purposely took wrong turns in an effort to get himself lost. He found the clearing where he had first seen the copper haired boy and looked around, hoping to see him. “Hello?” He cupped his hands around his mouth and called out as loud as he could.
  9. After returning the human to his village, Astor cast him out of his mind. He had managed to deliver the human and get away safely. His first destination had been a patch of forest so thick and overgrown, he had to change into a small bird to get inside. Once in there, though, he was able to relax freely. That patch of forest was far away from all the human villages. He stayed there for a couple days just relaxing, sleeping in the sun, and the occasional rabbit or bird when he got hungry. That grove of forest was one of the few places he felt completely safe, and after venturing so close to a village, that was a feeling he needed for a bit.

    He finally ventured out a couple days later and headed off aimlessly. Living in the forest, catching his own food, he never had to worry about a job so his days were spent wandering the forest, usually. He was walking along a river when he heard a voice call out. He focused on where he was and looked around. He was at the edge of his favorite clearing, the same clearing he'd met that human in. He ducked behind a tree and peered out at the clearing. Not far away, he could see the same human standing there looking around. Astor tensed, his eyes scanning the rest of the clearing. He'd come back. There was only one reason a human would seek out a shapeshifter. He couldnt see anyone else, but he felt positive that they had to be there somewhere and were just waiting for him to emerge. He backed away from the tree he'd been sheltering behind, his heart beating loudly in his ears. He thought through a list of creatures he could escape as. A bird could be shot down, and a mammal was too large a target. The chittering of a chipmunk came to him. Chipmunk! That was his best option. He backed up another step, his foot slipping into the water and making a small splash that seemed entirely too loud to Astor's agitated mind. He froze again, the image of the chipmunk firmly in mind.
  10. Dixon knew that the chances of seeing the same shifter were one in a million. The forest was very large or perhaps he was a traveler. He could already be in a far off land, and not a single thought of Dixon in his mind. This saddened the male; he wanted to properly say thank you. He had never been the type to stress his manners, but there was something just gnawing inside of him. So, he called out once more.

    There were a few thoughts poking Dixon in the back of his mind. What if he ran into a different shape shifter, and he was less than friendly? The shifter had warned him about other shifters, and maybe Dixon was just asking to be killed. Well, he was already there and vulnerable, he might as well wait around and try to find the male.

    Suddenly there was a splash which sounded loud compared to how silent it had been a few moments ago. His head turned quickly and he saw the boy he was looking for. It was hard to forget his unique hair. Dixon began to trot over to the man, watching him transform into a little chipmunk. “Hey, wait!” He called. “I don’t know if you remember me…” He walked up to the small creature and instantly felt awkward, towering over a chipmunk and talking to him. “I just wanted to thank you for saving my life. I probably would have died out here.” He gave a sheepish smile, knowing his cheeks were probably a red color. No one liked to admit they were wrong or the underdog, but Dixon especially hated it. He was stubborn and it felt like he was speaking a foreign language, apologizing like this.
  11. Astor crouched low to the ground, watching his approach, his muscles tensed and ready to flee at a moments notice. Then the human shocked him again. He didnt pull a weapon, or call for reinforcements. Instead... Was he thanking him? Why? He was just doing what was right, wasnt he? And since when did humans thank shapeshifters in the first place? Astor backed up a little, then shot up into the nearest tree. Once he felt he was up high enough to be safe, he changed back into his human form. He crouched on the branch, staring at the human like he was some sort of alien. He cocked his head to the side. "Why are you thanking me?" he asked suspiciously. "If its some sort of ruse to try and kill me it wont work."

    He didnt understand. Most humans would have killed him on sight, or brought others with them to make the job easier. They might even use traps or poison to get him, yet this boy did none of that. There was no scent or presence of other humans around, nothing at all. Why? The word kept echoing around Astor's mind, desperately seeking an answer. He had to know, or he'd never be able to rest easy. He slipped down to the branch below him, his sharp, cat-like gaze scanning every inch of Dixon as if that would give him the answers he sought. "Why?" he whispered half to himself.
  12. Dixon’s eyes followed the little creature. During their first encounter, he thought that trying to keep track of a fox was hard. Well a chipmunk was about ten times harder. He was so small and quick! It wasn’t until he heard shuffling in the tree next to him that he realized where he had gone. Dixon watched as he transformed back into a human. He had a brief moment of morbid curiosity; wondering if the boy were to jump, if he would land as gracefully as he had before, since he was up quite a bit higher. He quickly forgot about those thoughts as he heard the shifter speak.

    What a weird reaction. Did it look like Dixon was trying to kill him? He could kind of understand where he was coming from, considering how much shifters and humans were supposed to hate each other but… did he really think Dixon was smart enough to come up with a plan like that? Maybe that was why he thought there would be others; he had no clue that everyone viewed Dixon as a useless fool. He probably couldn’t have brought reinforcements with him if he had tried.

    “I don’t blame you if you don’t believe me, but not a soul knows where I am.” Dixon said, staring up at the man. “I felt horrible for not thanking you. I was the one who started everything and when you beat me fairly, you didn’t leave me to die like anyone else would have. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me in a long time, maybe in my entire life.” He had begun to ramble and the last parts weren’t exactly supposed to slip out of his mouth, but he couldn’t stop it now.
  13. Astor hesitated. He found no trace of lies in Dixon's words. The more he listened, the greater his curiosity was to learn more about him. This might be his only chance to learn more about the humans. He had always thought they were interesting. They looked almost exactly like shapeshifters, yet they were stuck in only one form. Had they been cursed to remain in that single form years ago? Had they forgotten how to shift? Or were they really just a different creature from shapeshifters? The questions bounced off each other in his mind. They were all theories he'd heard other shifters speak about, but none of them knew for sure. Astor didnt know what to think of them. All he believed for sure is that they were a completely different creature, despite appearances.

    He slipped down a few more branches before jumping to the ground, his landing just as fluid as before. He stood up straight in front of the human, finally believing that they were alone. "You dont have to thank me, I was just doing what was right. Besides, didnt I warn you not to come back out here? You should have stayed close to your village. Even the most aggressive shifter stays away from human settlements." He leaned back against the tree and crossed his arms. Dixon's rambling words giving him pause. He'd said something very similar only a few years ago. "Well... if you put it like that then... you're welcome. Mother nature offers no kindness, only neutral acceptance of all things, so its up to the creatures to give that kindness." He pushed away from the tree and began wandering back up the river. "Surround yourself with creatures who will give you that kindness, and you'll be able to thrive." He told him without looking back.