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Note: Toward the end of the installment, one of the characters is referred to as "hir" and "shi." That is not an error, but an intentional use of gender-neutral/combination gender pronouns that I have seen and liked. The moon deity in this story is neither male or female AND both male and female (all at once) but is usually perceived by those in the story (that would perceive hir at any rate, as not everyone in this setting CAN or will perceive any of the deities) as one or the other.
Hunt (part four)
The water that was part of her blood and within the vials reacted with pulses of their own. The dark, mangy, smelly thing loomed between herself and the cobwebbed sheet of malicious ruin that was now between herself and Castle Carrick. The fall had provided an opportunity for thought to truly begin again. Kirsty took stock of where she could go, found the thing to not only be blocking her from the castle, but also the way to the Sanctuary. The other cave she knew of she knew she could not hope to get to in time, and that it would provide no protection anyway, not from this.
She heard more growling, felt something unlocking inside of herself, heard a spectral horn and the baying of hounds from some nearby hunt, and the shifting of the gaze of the moon toward them. With surprise, she then realized that some of the growling was coming from herself. The thing faltered for a moment, unused to prey fighting back or making any indication that it would. The dark canine in front of her howled.
On instinct she screamed as loud and high as she could, stepping forward, raising her arm and feeling the sea rising inside. The canine's ears laid back trying to protect them from the sonic blast, springing forward at the same moment. Kirsty wasn't sure how the wand with Marsali's hair got to her hand, or when, but when she stepped forward her hand and the wand had slashed out as if with a sword, and a blade of magma-hot saltwater erupted above the springing furred animal and toward the thing.
Wolf? Part of herself processed what she was seeing. Most was too focused on surviving to take note. Another howl answered the first from the direction of the Sanctuary, moving fast if she judged right. There were no further sounds of hounds nor horns, the specters perhaps having vanished, or perhaps only heard with the mind.
The thing fell back, avoiding the blow, but only barely. The wolf pursued it, pressing it away from her path back to the castle. Kirsty watched, breathing heavily, unused to unleashing and channeling such a large and desperate burst.
What are you waiting on Girl? That werewolf is giving you a chance to get inside. The other will be here soon. Change so the thing won't be able to feed, or go inside, but you don't have time to catch your breath!
Kirsty jumped at the unfamiliar growls and voice in her mind, raising her wand again and looking for the source. Gold eyes peered out from a nearby bush, a bit of black matted fur visible. Another howl came from the direction of the Sanctuary, answering the most recent from the wolf pursuing the thing, and sounding more angry than curious now. She knew that the coming wolf could smell her fear on the air. What the black mangy canine was doing here was a problem for another time. Maybe the forest god or the fire god had not totally abandoned the water goddesses she was bound to after all, or maybe it was the stray dog that Thomas had commented about befriending before Magical Mathematics. Or maybe it was all a distraction from her true purpose orchestrated by some rival she wasn't aware of.
She put her wand away and changed, becoming a white streak of fur and unnaturally large blue eyes blazing her way for the door. She saw another white streak loping from the trees, toward her, could smell him on the air. Kirsty yowled as loud as she could, still heading for the door and not about to change track.
The castle door was flung open and a woman in green tartan nightrobes came out, wand raised and glaring around with crackles of electricity literally dancing around her. Then the scent of books, pine, ginger biscuits and lemon tea came to her. If Kirsty were nearer, she would have leaped into her arms, likely spouting hair all over. She was not though. Professor McLeomhann spared both of the white animals a glance as the door slammed shut behind her, and then she was off in the direction of the howls.
"Take her back with you and stay inside.” Was all her aunt had to say to either of them as she sped out of earshot.
Kirsty ran past the castle entrance then toward the white wolf, meeting him and leaping onto him instead. He flinched and growled at her claws, but did not snap at or throw her off. Her shivering form pressed close to him, still hissing and spitting, and he grumbled as he began back for the Sanctuary, his hunt interrupted.
If anyone had been there to hear them, their discussion would have sounded very strange indeed, cat sounds answering grumbles and whuffs, each with the occasional sneeze of distaste while Kirsty tried to relate what had happened, whether he would remember it or not in the morning.
The moon deity watched the whole with interest. Shi played with the idea of taking a form for closer inspection. He/she was far better placed to watch all by remaining non-corporeal and non-differentiated for the time being though, so shi remained thus. Hir time for a better examination was coming, and it was not as if shi could not and did not enter their dreams. For now, shi would not meddle too much. Shi risked enough notice by Mara by tampering with Etain's voyage. To meddle too much with Kirstine would overplay hir hand, and any affect on the Hound she was so close to would certainly bring the Huntsman. It was too soon to be talking with the Hunstsman.
Hir little Mara would find out far too early what shi was up to if young David's master got wind of hir. Mara, shi knew, would then throw a fit as bad as when she had lost her lover, and likely would forbid her selkies from dancing in the full moon's light, and the loss of the energy from that would affect magic poorly in other worlds where it combined with others and fell to worshipers of hir own. Diana would only be able to mask her closeness for so long.