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Chapter One: Bones and Tears
Blood stained the forest floor, small glimmers of sunshine seeped through. Claw marks scattered across ground. There was a medium sized quarry near a rocky patch ledge. It was a shadow stone quarry, an abandoned one… He was in the human territory, a dangerous place to be a dakotian. The humans declared war after the reign of Archen happened and when he forbid bonding to dakotian’s. Now humans hunted them, trophies more like it, prizes. A man was not a warrior until he has slain a dragon… but he wasn’t the ultimate hunter until he killed a dakotian. From the looks of the quarry someone was living there. A thick wall of shadow stone was painstakingly cut with claw marks spreading across it. Someone was training, and training hard… Dakota lay up on the ridge between three trees, months had passed since Dakota fled from his home to train, and now he was the most feared Dakotian alive for his time. His attitude had changed, he was a troublesome teen, causing both trouble in the Dakotian kingdom and the human kingdom. Slice had sent many squads to deal with his troublesome son, but none succeeded. Dakota was in a patch of sunlight, he would stretch a bit as he curled around like a house cat in the warm sun. He gave a small yawn as he opened his eyes to look around, before falling back to sleep. His claws were ruined down to nubs from his training, and many bones in his body were broken or fractured, he was taking a break so he could heal in the sunlight. A small mouse scurried by his face, the movement caused Dakota to swing his jaw open, crushing the rodent immediately before swallowing. Not far from here a man was approaching the quarry, he had gotten reports of a beast living there, and many claimed it was a Dakotian. From tree to tree he would hide as he crept closer and closer till he was just behind a bush with a good line of sight of Dakota. The man’s eyes would widen when he saw the Shadow Stone wall that had been carved. He would murmur a few words as he pulled out his sword “Hmm… This is interesting.” The man would creep out of the bush, but Dakota would fling his head up from his light sleep, and his horns and fur caught the sun, giving away that he was aware. The man, braced himself as he saw the beast snap awake. A deep rumbling growl came from Dakota’s throat as he stood up, his wings somewhat outstretched as he hopped to a lower ledge. “Leave now human…. I am not in the mood, nor do I have the time.” Dakota said with smoke rising out of his mouth. The man smiled and said smugly “You are trespassing on human territory, therefore you either die, or surrender yourself to the training corporation!” Dakota snarled as he spoke, his words almost sizzling as if fire was coated in the words “How dare you, That will cost you your life!” Dakota lunged for the man, his speed was slowed from his wounds, as he neared the human, he would leap up in the air, but to his surprise the man did not lash with his sword, instead he pulled out a bow, preloaded and fired. Dakota would screech as the arrow landed right in his shoulder blade, he fell quickly as it seemed his power was sapped from the arrow. Right as Dakota hit the ground the human swung his sword at Dakota. Dakota used his wings as balance as he spun around, his tail exposed and so was his belly, his tail smacked the man behind his knee, causing him to falter on one leg. As the man was recovering, Dakota took the time to get away, he opened his mouth to launch an attack, but nothing came, his power had been blocked. “Smart human, using shadow stone weapons.” Dakota said angrily as he reached for the arrow in his shoulder. Dakota stopped short as he felt a piercing pain in his foreleg. The man replied with a grin on his face “Yes, it makes it easy to capture and kill.” Dakota reached for his foreleg which now also had a arrow in it, he would stumble to the ground, shadow stone was dangerous, which is why Dakota wanted to train with it, to become stronger. Now Dakota was weak, so the man started running towards him, his sword ready to strike, he would swing it, lashing it right across Dakota's belly, blood shooting out of the wound, Dakota snarled, his teeth showing their deadliness as he crunched down on the man’s arm. The human gave out a grunt as he fought the pain, pulling out an arrow as Dakota’s tail came into view, and he would reach for the beast’s tail as he drove the arrow right threw the tail tip. This caused Dakota to let go as he gasped for breath, letting out a cry of pain before falling on his side. He could've won if he wasn’t already hurt from his training, he told himself as he bared through the pain. Dakota pulled his head away from the man as he reached, but to no avail he still had his snout and neck bound with shadow stone chains. Dakota still had some strength in him, he would rear up pulling his head away as the man yanked back, almost dragging Dakota away. “Come on now, you can’t do anything besides follow, or I WILL KILL YOU.” The man snapped as he threw Dakota off balance, as he would tie chains on Dakota’s legs, clamping them together. Dakota only snarled, he could not speak with the chain around his head, and now he could not walk. The man dragged him for about 3 minutes before coming up to a road, were a horse and a wooden cart that was flat and could fit at least 2 Dakotians on it, and it also had chains on it. The horse pulled it’s ears back, very wary of what his master had brought back. The man would grab Dakota by his horns, heaving him up on the cart, strapping Dakota in with chains, binding his wings and tail. Dakota would thrash, spooking the horse so it moved away slightly, taking the cart with it. “Oh please, don’t even try, many of your kind have done this and it got them nowhere, just save your strength for the corporation, you’ll last longer there if you do.” The man snapped as he pulled out the arrows in Dakota’s shoulder and foreleg and took off part of the chain around his snout.
It was a long ride, about 30 minutes had passed since Dakota was secured on the cart, when finally the man spoke “Since you're going to be staying with us humans for the rest of your miserable life, you might as well tell us your name.” Dakota did not speak, he only looked away in silence. “Not talking now eh? You’ll speak eventually, My name is Jade, I have killed many and imprisoned many, but I think your worth keeping alive for now that is, so why not just tell me your name?” Jade would look back slightly before looking back forward. “And why should I tell you, not like we are friends, it is not worth it besides If I told you you’d kill me on the spot.” Dakota snarled. “What a shame, I’m sure you will get a new one if you won’t tell us.” Jade said sarcastically. They both went quiet, until 15 more minutes passed and a town was coming into view. “Well, here we are, your new home…” Jade said tiredly. There was a black building on the outskirts of town, with a black fencing over an outdoor area, where young humans were training. Dakota did not notice it, he was looking at the village thinking of how nice it would look up in ashes and flames… before his eyes widened seeing the building, it was made of Shadow stone, a very secure place indeed. He would start thrashing as they stopped right at the doors. A couple of kids came up from a distance and awed at Jade saying “WOW!! Amazing work, I want that one!” Older men came out, shooing them away, they looked professional, most had scars, likely from Dakotians. Jade jumped off almost ignoring Dakota as he threw his fit. “How is this one? Should last a couple of months before we need another.” Jade said, pointing to Dakota. A man named Grim seemed like the leader of this, he was somewhat chubby, his hair was a brown grey, not like a red roan color like jades, and he did not wear armor, but a cape that covered his clothing and his voice was ragged as he spoke “Indeed I th-” He was cut off as a chain on one of Dakota’s wing snapped off, as the wing shot up whacking a kid that came too close. Jade looked back, just barely dodging the flying chain, another was almost off of Dakota’s leg. Jade rushed over as grim secured part of Dakota’s wing, another chain broke, unleashing Dakota’s neck and head, Jade jumped on Dakota’s side, trying to hold him down as he yelled ‘We need more backup!” More people emerged from the black building with chains and sedatives. They surrounded around the cart, one letting the horse loose so the cart did not take off. Dakota twisted his head around, as he latched onto Jade’s chest with his teeth. Jade would pull back, his teeth clenched trying not to show he was in pain. Jade took a syringe from one of the other men and drove the needle into Dakota’s neck, giving him a big dose of sedatives. It only took a few seconds as Dakota dozed off, his eyes trying to fight from going to sleep, and finally he went, his jaw being pried open by Jade as he stumbled backward. Grim seemed winded as did most of them. “We… we got him.” Grim gasped as he spoke. Jade smiled before blacking out as he fell to the ground. Everyone stepped back as they looked at the state of his chest… somehow Dakota managed to tear up his flesh, leaving it mangled into strips. “Take him to the infirmary quickly!” Grim said as he looked in terror. As Jade was being dragged away, Grim would look at Dakota saying “How could he do that, even with all that shadow stone on him” he said quietly before commanding more men to take the beast to his new home.
It wasn’t long before Dakota awoke to a strange dark place, only one ray of light filled the room from a window high up on a wall. He looked around as his vision adjusted, he flinched seeing fellow Dakotians trapped in their own cages, most laying down, some pacing, and others banging their heads on the shadow stone bars. Dakota tried to stand up, wincing at the pain of his body, almost like a massive hangover, some kind of side effect of the drug they gave him, his body was hurt bad from his fight with Jade, and most of his bones were still hurt. Dakota would keep trying to stand up as he heard a voice say “Don’t do that, they gave you a sedative that makes you sick when you wake up….” Dakota gave a puzzled irritated face as he replied “And how would you know that?!” Again the voice spoke “They gave it to me, when I fought back during training, I was so close to getting out of here, but now I see that the only way is to die, it will be any minute now till they come for me… I just know it.” Dakota laid down, his face against the bars as he squinted his eyes looking for whoever was speaking. “There has to be a way out, besides death.” Dakota said reassuringly. The voice gave a chuckle as it said “ehehe… All newcomers are like that….. Might I ask your name young one?” Dakota opened his mouth to speak just when a door opened and lights turned on, He could now see who he was speaking to, an old dull red Windseeker Dakotian, his crests were a dull yellow, his wings were a dark dull red and his flames were a lavender color, his flames were weak, almost non existent, his ribs could be seen, he was old, and from the looks of it dying and he wore a collar that seemed to be choking him. “My name is Geldur, and my time is up, I only wish you the best of luck.” As he finished, the group of men stopped right in front of his cage, one stepped aside and opened the door as the other 2 held out sticks with clamps that could fit around a neck. Geldur staggered as he came out, his eyes were half open as he smiled at Dakota. The clamps on the ends of the sticks went around his neck, he did not fight back, but all windseekers were pacifists, Geldur let them drag and kick him as they moved out of the holding room, most of the Dakotians were watching in fear, a few looked happy for him and some wished that were them. Dakota looked around frantically as he spoke “What… what's going to happen to him?!” One of the older golden horned Dakotians gave a calm voice as tears ran down his face “ They are going to kill him, he is too old and weary to be of use in their training, honestly I feel happy for him, they kept feeding him meat… stupid humans know nothing about windseekers, they got him at an old age, so they used him to demonstrating, but now he is too sick to really do anything.” Dakota looked back to where they took his new friend… he gave a low growl as he started ramming the door to his cage. A bull horn dakotian gave a loud huff as he lifted his head and spoke in a loud rough accent “Don’t even try it, I’m a bull horn, there no way you can break through if I even couldn’t do it. Besides you're going to get in trouble.” He said as he rolled his eyes. Dakota did one more ram, hearing the bars give away slightly as a crack appeared, he stopped as tears ran down his face. Many of the Dakotians gasped, even the one bullhorn, they would all quiet down when two voice could be heard just around the bend. Grim chuckled “No one is going to want to be in charge of that dakotian, sure he may be small but you see what it did to Jade… I bet he will be the only one to sign up for that one.” the other said “Yeah that's Jade for you, he doesn’t back down, seemed the new dakotian doesn’t either, I imagine it will be an all out war against the two. One of the female dakotians said “You… you hurt Jade? Oh that's not good.” she said as she hunkered down covering her face with her paws. “What's so bad about this Jade character…. It’s not like he can stand up to a Shad-” Dakota stopped short as he remembered how scared people were of him. “Nevermind.” he said as he looked down at his paws, he would start fiddling with his dull claws, he had been carving out a practice wall, that he could train on, he would need to wait for them to grow longer before he could start raking away at the bars of his cage.
Back at the infirmary, Jade woke up, and clenched his chest which now had bandages on it. “Ugh, man that hurt.” A woman looked up, she seemed to be a nurse as she rushed over to hold him down and spoke with a soft and firm voice “Jade not yet, you need to stay in bed.” Jade pushed her away as he said “No, I’m going to show that dakotian who is boss, I don’t want anyone else taking him, He will be mine, and I’ll make sure he dies in record time!” he rushed up and ran out the door in a hurry. The woman stood there as she just watched him take off. As Jade ran down the halls, he came across Grim who was with another man. “Ha!! Knew it Grim you old fool, you owe me 50 coins, I knew Jade would rush down here and take the job!” Grim sighed as he reached down in his pocket and pulled out some money and handed it to the man. Grim smiled and said “Fine Jade take him, but don’t get yourself killed, you are our most valued hunter.” Jade smirked as he walked past Grim to a stand that had racks of collars and chains on it. “And Jade…” Grim said again as Jade looked at him “What?” Grim frowned “Don’t kill him, he could be useful and could give us an advantage.” Jade only looked back in silence before speaking in a rather irrational tone. “Advantage my ass Grim! What makes you so sure he could help us, let alone give us the upper hand?!” Grim merely waved his finger at Jade, setting his tone to a harsh hoarse sound as he spoke. “Calm yourself Jade,Think of how that beast broke free from his bindings… and how he managed to mangle you with only a single bite. Learning more from him may prove helpful in taking the fight to them.” His words seemed rational to Jade, but he wasn’t convinced but still he listened as Grim spoke with wise words.”And you found him at a quarry… doesn’t that seem like a good place for him to be? Around all that stone that his kin is weak to, unless he was forced to hide in our land… that could be that he has a high rank in their eh… ‘rankings’?” Grim finished before coming closer to Jade, resting one of his rough palmed hands on the youth’s shoulder. Jade took a few to process what Grim was getting at, before saying with a disappointed tone. “Fine...your words have done it again Grim. I hope you are right. However I will not stand for the beast to go unpunished, as I’m sure you know what happened to my last catch.” Grim released his hand from Jade’s shoulder and took a step back, bowing his head before leaving towards the exit. Jade sighed as if annoyed… he was wasn’t he? After all that beast hurt him badly and he was going to make sure it would pay… it’s death would have to come later. Jade would sneer at the thought of killing the monster himself. He would grab a heavy duty collar made of shadow stone… as well as a thick spear in case things got ugly, which he knew it would.
Dakota kept his eyes and ears open, not letting down his guard even for a second. Most of his fellow kin seemed to not care anymore… as if they knew nothing could stop their torment and that it would eventually kill them, which seemed wonderful to most, to have their suffering ended that is. They way most of them sat or laid was pitiful, if made Dakota want to end their misery lives himself. He didn’t realize he was snarling and glowering at most of them. They would merely turn away to continue their miserable resting. “What the hell is wrong with you, Laying down as if there's no escape, you all make me sick, A pitiful excuse for a dakotian you all are!” he said as he continued to growl as he paced around his rather small cage. The bullhorn was the first to snap, his voice going raw with emotion of fury and shame. “Shut your mouth you welp! If I wasn’t confined to this cell I would gut you without mercy!” His forward curved horn rammed the bars as if showing the young stupid cub what would happen to him if he dare get free. Dakota smirked, taunting him more and driving a nail into the bullhorn’s already aggravated state. “Ha you wish, If you knew who I was you wouldn’t be talking like that, you are beneath my worry lowlife.” Dakota flicked his paw and wing simultaneously as if showing little interest in the fellow beast’s threat. A roar erupted from the bullhorn, baring his small fangs out like an angry bear. One of the other dakotian’s snarled out “Shut it, you both are imbeciles… idiots…. Lunatics! GAHH JUST BE QUIET!” it yelled, the voice sounded very young, perhaps around Dakota’s age maybe a bit older. The bullhorn snorted before circling a bit and laying down, keeping his short tempered gaze on Dakota. “I hope name calling is not too common around here, One as a high stature as me would get deeply upset.” Dakota snorted, holding his dull claws to his chest, with his wings elegantly swooped in a curve. A dull hard to see shadow in the darkness hovered over Dakota’s cage. He did not notice, yet the fellow caged dakotian shuttered as they all pressed their bodies on the farthest wall of their containers. A all too familiar voice sounded off. “Now that seems like an understatement.. But please beast do tell me how high your ranking is… Grim wanted to know so let's just get that out of the way and end your life!” Jade raked a spear across Dakota’s cage, making most of the dakotians grimace or flinch. Yet Dakota did not give Jade his desired response and merely stood there… unmoved by the sound of the spear clanking against his cage. Jade let out a snarl of anger or maybe surprize as the beast seemed like a statue… unafraid.
The door to Dakota’s cage was flung open, and much to Dakota’s surprize Jade plunged into the cage. Jade’s hands seizing Dakota’s neck scruff as he hauled the large creature out of the cage. Dakota growled harshly thrashing, but they did little to help and maybe made it worse, his confusion,hurt and broken body,let alone the side effects of the sedative were making it hard for him to focus and free himself, Just as his neck was beginning to get set free, he felt a hard cold object clamp around his throat, its weight hard and its tightness unbearable. A loud growl found its way past Dakota’s fanged muzzle. Jade would shutter at the horrible sound of the creature’s growl, only to throw the beast to the ground, earning a loud grunt mixed in with a surprised yelp. Dakota flung his eyes shut as he felt the ground rush into his side. He bared his fangs angrily as he stumbled to get up. Jade snapped “Did I say you could get up?!” Jade’s booted foot found its way between Dakota’s shoulders and wings. He would apply pressure to the spine of the dazed creature. Drool was falling to the floor as Dakota lifted his head, baring his deadly teeth more with an intense glare locked on his captor, before speaking in a ragged furious tone “I don’t have to answer to you!” As soon as he finished Jade frowned as he thrust the tip of the spear he had right into Dakota’s wing tip. A hissing whimper of pain shot right out of Dakota’s throat, despite his protest to keep it in. “See that's where you are wrong, you do have to if you know what's good for you… but by all means say that again.” Jade grinned rather happy that he had a reason to hurt it, getting payback for that nasty bite from before. Dakota took a deep breath, before letting loose a small yet noticeable smile, which made Jade even angrier. Dakota went back to a straight more serious face as he kept his hostile glare on the human. Jade merely waited for Dakota’s response, or any signs of defiance. Dakota kept his cool the best he could, all the while slowing inching his tail towards Jade’s back. The stiff furs of the tail tip started to shift into one big blade as they all stiffened close together, letting loose a smile as his tail tip was practically dangling a few inches away from Jade’s nape. “You should really rethink what you’re doing human or shall I say ‘Jade’...” Dakota spoke in a sarcastic voice. Jade took a moment or two trying to process what it could of meant. “What are you ta-” Jade was cut off as he felt something cut at the back of his neck, he would lunge at Dakota, kneeing the beast right in the stomach, before rolling off to the side, one arm clutched against his nape. Dakota let out a winded gasp as he fought to focus himself. His fury would go deeper as he struggled to get up and free his wing. Jade didn’t like that one bit, and would charge. The beast’s gaze would fall upon all the caged dakotians, it made him sick seeing his fellow kin locked up helplessly waiting to die and be free from this mess. As Jade neared Dakota took one move away from the spear impaled in his wing and would launch upward. He would crunch his teeth down on his lower jaw, his wing slipping up and out the top of the spear. Jade would yell a loud “NO!” lunging for the weapon now as Dakota suspended himself in the air.
The room was wide but it wasn’t tall and he was still in reach of Jade. Having no where to get himself out of reach he would roar furiously trying to weave behind a cage for cover. Jade quickly followed. He was fast Dakota would give him that. The creature fought to keep a distance from the human, his body desperately trying not to touch any shadow stone. Dakota tried to focus on unleashing his power, but nothing came… ‘Damn..’ he thought ‘Stupid humans and their stupid freaking shadow stone obsessions!’ With each flap of his wings blood would fly from the small hole at his wingtip, his body still exhausted and his bones broken from his training. One falter of his wing was all it took for him to nearly fall to the ground with Jade just upon him. “Don’t ever try that again mutt!” Jade snapped his tone of voice livid with fury as he grabbed Dakota’s horns and slammed him into the ground roughly. Jade’s hash angry eyes met the creatures bright fiery green… eyes full of hope,anger,fear, eyes that wanted only freedom and ones that definitely spoke “I will kill you.” Jade pulled something from his pouch or pocket… Dakota wasn’t sure what to call it and would say “What's that you got there? A man purse?” Dakota snarled with full intent to make Jade even more furious than he needed to be. A strange 3 holed clamp like object was pulled from it as Jade merely wore a face of slyness. The strange black object fit perfectly on Dakota’s tail tip and it made him struggle more, still Jade ignored him only to pull out 3 sharp rods that looked about the size of the holes in the clamp. “One strike means One rod beast.” Jade spoke as he quickly and roughly shoved one of the sharp rods into Dakota’s tail tip. A snarling cry was let out and it made everyone shudder at the sound, most covering their ears helplessly as they clenched their eyes shut to block the sight away. “Bastard!” Dakota snapped, wincing slightly as he struggled to move his tail. Jade held his grip on the creature, his hands covered in it’s blood from what he had just did. The one female dakotian from before kept her terrified gaze on both Jade and Dakota. “This happened to a fellow golden like yourself.” He said calmly, shooting his glare over to the female who hunkered down trying to get out of sight. “Not much good it did her, but she came around… I assure you the same will happen, so just listen like a good boy and you won’t die as easily.” Jade said his gaze turning back to the creature under him. Dakota followed to where the human’s eyes went to, seeing the female.... The one who seemed very worried that he’d hurt Jade before. Jade snapped his fingers to gather Dakota’s attention, as well as getting all the other dakotians. “I would love to hear your name? Or would you like a new one?” Jade joked as he waited for a response. Dakota remained silent as he narrowed his eyes that were fixed on the being as if he wanted to rip him apart… which technically he did, oh so much he wanted to. Jade took that wrong and let out a snarl before saying “How about…” Jade paused to think of something humiliating. Dakota gritted his sharp fangs together making a strange crunch before snapping “HOW ABOUT NO!” Jade narrowed his fierce eye and balled up his fist, shooting straight down into Dakota’s throat, causing him to gasp and nearly gag. “You have a better name, uh?” Dakota rolled his head back to face Jade his face now more contorted with pain than anger. “Promise not to kill me if I do?” Dakota said, his voice winded from the punch and a hint of sarcasm riddled in it. Jade contemplated for a moment, his eyes quickly scanning the room before resting them back on Dakota. “Fine beast… deal.” He said more calmly. Dakota wasted no time explaining who he was… in fact he wanted to… merely to surprise everyone in the room. “I am Dakota…” He said his eyes quickly looking at his fellow kin after hearing a few younger gasp in shock. “Only born of Slice and Sakura… Heir to the throne.” Some of the older dakotians recognized the names Slice and Sakura, most standing up to try and see if the cub resembled the two current rulers. “Interesting name…” Jade said his mind racing, he was very shocked to find out who and what he captured, even felt his ego and pride rise greatly. “I guess Grim was right.. You will be useful.” Jade said softly, before dragging the heavy beast back into it’s cage. Dakota would struggle, snapping his jaws and making a wolf like snarling sound. This made Jade take Dakota by the horns, getting the creature into a rough headlock as he continued to haul it back to where it belonged. “Release me… NOW!” Dakota hissed trying to wiggle free from Jade’s choking grasp. “In your dreams.” Jade said very unenthusiastically, grunting as he tossed the heavy creature into the cage… more like a failed toss. ‘Lucky he’s not so damn heavy like most we catch.’ Jade thought as he thoroughly check the cage for any weaknesses, stopping his fingers on a decent but new crack in some of the bars. His expression rather impressed and shocked at the same time. Dakota would start to stand up… the movement snapping Jade back to reality as he quickly secured the door, checking it over for any damages. “You’re surprised… and nervous. Don’t think I haven’t noticed, your heart is racing, can’t wait to rip it out of your chest.” Dakota hissed in a low voice. Jade did not say a word as he continued to secure and inspect Dakota’s confinement. This made Dakota snort, his nostrils blowing warm air into the environment, before bashing his tough horns against the bars of the door. Jade winced, pulling his hand back as he held onto one of his fingers. “Son of a-” He snapped cutting himself off to only kick the cage. “You're really pushing it!” Jade scolded, waving his good hand and finger at his captive. Dakota licked his chops, blood dripping from his tongue, he had cut his tongue against his sharp teeth. Letting his tail flick around wildly as he growled back small sparks of embers falling to the floor of the cage. “You think I’m pushing it, no you are mistaken.” Jade backed up a shocked face over took his clever sly grin. “How are you-” He started to say having a bit of a struggle. Dakota saw that his empty bluff was working perhaps, the sparkling embers becoming a small weak flame. “You’d be surprised ‘Jade’ I’ve been training.” He snarled, brushing his snout against the bars tauntingly. Jade kept his distance, he was nervous that the beast could release an attack like that and would think in his mind ‘What kind of training is he talking about?’ Of course Jade wasted no time in leaving the room, the obvious fear on his face, and the sweat on his brow. Dakota smirked as he heard Jade lock the heavy doors behind him, leaving the room back to the extremely low light of the small and only window.
Dakota relaxed a bit, still quite alert and nervous. His expression was riddled with a mix of fear,annoyance,agony, and some anger. “That was an amusing stunt, I expect none the less from a mere cub.” The bullhorn spoke his voice strained with fear and joy which was odd in Dakota’s opinion. Dakota sat down, his wounded wings and tail folded neatly against his body. “You think that was amusing... I rather much be the one being amused, but it seems revealing my status has no effect on lowlifes like you.” Dakota said with a happy somewhat snarling tone. The bullhorn changed his position and sat down. “Noren.” He spoke rather bored of how the conversation was going. “Noren what? Some kind of conversation starter?” Dakota pressed on. Noren snorted angrily, after all bullhorn’s had a short temper fitted with unforgiving rage. Noren snarled at the cub “Are you stupid? Being the heir to the throne you surely don’t live up to the ‘expectations’.” Noren tilted his head waiting for the cub to snarl… growl or even ram the bars. “No need for such angry statements old man, I am merely pulling your chain.” Dakota said, turning his head to his shoulder, letting his hind leg scratch his neck. Noren growled in response “I am no old man, and joking does not do any good here cub.” Noren was now on all fours, scraping his horns against the bars, making an ugly sound that even he winced at. Dakota blow hot air from his nose, and squinted his eyes towards Noren. Noren had a bulky fur on his hide, thick, dense like a rainforest. His fur reminded Dakota of the rich soil down by the palace. A livery color of brown that almost look like it had a mix of blood in it. Noren’s eyes were almost green like Dakota’s but they had a more yellow-gold tinge to them and his horns almost looked the same way but a creamy color with a gold tinge at the bottom. His wings small like all bullhorns as well as his tail. Noren smirked as he watched the youthful cub look at his appearance from top to bottom. “Got a problem with bullhorns sonny?” Noren said in a slithering tone that made Dakota’s skin want to burn itself off. “No… not at all, it's just I don’t see many is all.” Dakota said rather alarmed at the bullhorn’s tone of voice. Some of the other dakotians were not tuning in on their little chat, while others just wanted to claw their eyes and ears out. “What was your spot in the castle too much for you to saunter down and check on your ‘soon to be kingdom’.” Noren spoke in a more amused tone in every second that passed. Dakota shifted about nervously in his small cage, and thus got Noren a bit more interested in the young cub’s story. “Do you really think that I care about anything like that? Not like I got the chance… nor did I feel welcome down there.” Dakota scoffed in a harsh tone, his composure starting to rattle with anger. He would lay down, wincing at the slightest pain throughout his body. “Now ,now kiddo.” Noren said in a calm yet considerate tone. “Don’t push yourself, from the looks of it you were hurt long before the humans brought you in. Now why is that? You mentioned training to Jade did you not?” Noren continued in the calm tone but as he mentioned Dakota’s training he came to a more firm voice. Dakota huffed like an angry tired stallion that had just won a tough battle. Noren did not take much notice and just sat there hoping an answer would arise. Dakota laid down, avoiding eye contact from Noren. Sadly this did not stop the old bullhorn’s questions. “I was starting to wonder how a prince as yourself managed to find your way into human territory.” Noren nearly started a harsh tone in the beginning before calming himself out of his own spite for himself. Dakota lifted his head to glare at Noren, rather unimpressed from that small but controlled outburst. “I left…” Dakota said weakly, his eyes wet and tearful. He would rub his eyes gently with his dull clawed paws as if trying to hide the obvious sobbing. This made Noren stop… he held his word although he wished to say more, thus showing a more gentle easy side of him. About a minute of silence passed by before Noren made a rational statement. “You should get rest while you can, sleep may not come easy as more time passes Dakota.” That response made the cub’s head pop up, surprised he was to hear his name even after so long. But now the more Dakota thought about it almost a year had passed since he left, and the fact that he’d forgotten about it made him shiver and spite himself for forgetting something so important. He nodded his head rather respectfully then his actions from before and this time he spoke like an actual prince for the first time in his life. “Yes, thank you Noren. You’re opinion is greatly heeded.” And with that he laid down not even looking at Noren’s expression. It made Dakota feel better knowing he had acted as so. Eventually his thoughts subsided that he was the heir to the throne and rested itself on the fact that he is being held captive and that he was not the only one. ‘I will not bow, I am a Shadow Dakotian… I will not yield, no one can break my.’ His mine raced and repeated those mere thoughts as he slowly drifted into a sleeping state, not worry on his expression but love, the fact that he had made a few new friends… ones that respected him and also saw him as a rival…
One window was all that let the light in, thought it was small it had a great effect when the sun shown itself for the next day. Dakota had his eyes slowly open into a half lidded state, just barely awake and yet no eye contact was made between Noren and somehow he knew the youth was awake. “Morning kid, damn you can sleep. Didn’t you hear them come in and drag a few of us out?” Noren scoffed loudly, and in turn a few still tired dakotians groaned and merely glared with pitiful eyes. Noren seemed to not be staring at Dakota himself, now that his head came around to look at Noren. “What's that look for Noren?” Dakota spoke… his voice somewhat asleep and hoarse. Noren fidgeted slightly before starting to say. “They haven’t fed you yet, and well I th-” He was cut off as the sound of the only exit doors opened and in came a scrawny looking human, maybe still a kid himself and one who seemed to have the job of feeding since there was a chunk of fresh animal meat in his gloved hands. Noren licked his chops but looked away slightly as if he knew he would not have it. As if on cue every single dakotian stood up and watched longingly… they wanted the food but all acted as if they knew better then to ask. The human was shaking as he neared Dakota’s cage, who was still laying down glowering at the human kid. “Hey.. e-easy n… no-now.” the kid spoke his voice rattling as his hands did. As his hands and food come between the bars, Dakota would watch waiting for the boy’s hands to venture closer. “You… you w-want this?” he asked his hand that held the meat went up slightly as if signaling that it was his. Dakota would lunge for the boy’s hand, earning a surprised but expected yelp as he came within inches of crunching down on the hand… ‘if it weren't for this blasted cage!’ Dakota thought a growl sounding off as a sign of annoyance. Another man came storming from the entrance, his face obviously told how irritated he was. “Damn it boy… just feed the damn beast, he won’t hurt you!” The man yelled, his eyes drooped from lack of sleep and his face covered in a dark beard that matched his hair. The boy scrambled away as he came storming over… harshly grabbing the meat as he neared Dakota’s cage. Harsh dragon like growls rumbled from the creature's throat, his eyes sparked like they had fire in them… the will to not give in. Dakota’s fur stood on end making his build somewhat larger as he leaned down low keeping his hellish gaze on the man. A hand would come fearlessly through the bars with the meat, and would cause Dakota to jump and lean against the farthest end of his cage, thus making the young human boy yelp as he held his hands to his mouth. “Stop you’re worrying kid! He won’t hurt you, he’s all bark and no bite!” The man yelled as he continued to reach the beast. At this point everything seemed to slow down, dakotians watching nervously, the man reaching closer and close, and the boy leaned against a wall watching in fear or shock. Right then the man’s gaze left Dakota, his eyes forwarding to the boy as if trying to show and teach him to have no fear in a caged helpless animal. This caused Dakota to snarl ‘All bark and no bite uh?’ he thought fiercely, deciding to lunge. His growling shifted into a snarling roar bark as his mouth agape as his fangs neared the man’s arm. Some of the dakotians yelped in fear as well did the boy, but the one sound caused most of them to stop short. The sound of bones crunching beneath the jaws of a angry caged beast, and the painful cries of a human. The meat dropped to the floor of Dakota’s cage, and yet he ignored it, forcing his jowls down harder making his victim wince in agony. The boy seemed to have bolted out the door, but Dakota did not care… he had want he wanted and he didn’t intend to let go. The man’s cries and struggles made Dakota get slightly excited and would cause him to thrash like a crocodile, twisting the man’s arm against the bars earning a contorted face and cries of pain from the arm’s owner. It happened very fast as the man stumbled to his knees as he chest and head come right against the bars. Dakota saw this as well as all the dakotians, with a few realizing what was about to happen causing Noren to yell out “STOP! Kid don’t you dare do that if will only end ba-” He was cut off short as the man’s struggles ended, his air cut off leaving a satisfying gasp, well satisfying to Dakota. The jaws closed in on the man’s neck, his eyes setting his harsh glare into the dying man’s eyes. “May your soul never rest!” Dakota snarled, and with that a loud ‘crunch’ sounded off as the eyes of the human flew shut. Dakota let his jaws come undone from the neck he’d so violently crushed, his stocky head coming up to look at the faces of his fellow kin, they were scared. Noren gave the youth a disappointed scowl, one that reminded Dakota of his dad. “Don’t look at me like that Noren, you’d have done the same, he deserved it… they all do!” Dakota snapped, his mouth and chest covered in the man’s blood. “I did my whole kingdom a favor, one less human to deal with.” Dakota scoffed in a laughing tone his eyes narrowing on the body. Noren had no words, none were needed, he knew this would surely end bad not just for Dakota.
Men came running in, their voices in panic as the boy showed himself first pointing at the body and Dakota, not saying a word he would back up and wait. Jade was there… ‘Of course he’d come’ Dakota thought, letting a loud snarl show on his face. Jade didn’t look furious, he looked sad, ashamed or maybe just scared, not that Dakota could tell. Most of the fellow humans alongside Jade stood motionless, absorbing the scene, black sticks and chains in their hands. And all too soon they rushed the cage, a few snagging the body that was practically lodged between the bars, almost getting rushed away by angry snaps and snarls from the creature. Dakota felt sticks pushing him away, their somewhat sharp ends cutting up his hide, until his eyes set on Jade as if baiting him or warning him that the same will happen to him… someday. Noren let out a snarl as he did not approve of the commotion and he too would get jabbed a few times only to soon quiet down like the rest of the dakotians. “Get away, you want the same to happen to you?” Dakota’s voiced sounded hoarse and filled with absolute anger. Eventually the sticks and other forceful weapons had Dakota pinned right up against the gate of his confinement. Jade seemed to snap out of his stillness and stepped aside as a heavy duty cage was wheeled in and was attached to Dakota’s own barred prison. Blood from the beast’s face dripped with every movement he made, his tongue flying out to lick up the irony tasting liquid. The gate behind him was opened an odd way, it slid right up the roof or so it appeared, and the prodding and jabbing worsened as he was forced into the unfamiliar and stronger cage, all the while snarling and growling his ass off. A few hands dared to come close, his jaws snapping furiously to keep them at bay. Now fully in the new cage Dakota would resort to pacing as the door to this one closed on him, his dull claws now looked longer but not much and would leave low scratch marks on the flooring. He kept his tail close, keeping it tucked nearly to his side, jerked it under him as humans tried to reach for it. “If only you knew what would happen if you weren’t special to us.” Jade said, crossing his arms as he too frowned like his father Slice. Dakota would growl louder as he appeared to hate it, and if it couldn’t get any worse Jade appeared to strengthen his scowling face. “Wh-what about his food sir?” the young boy asked, holding it between his hands, that were still trembling. Jade did not look at the child… only at Dakota before saying. “Don’t feed him, this stunt will cost him deeply.” Jade said his voice trying to be calm, hints of anger seemed to make it rough and unforgiving. “Y-yes si-sir!” the boy said hurrying off, giving the cage a wide girth as he did. “You’re next kiddo.” Dakota snapped as the boy passed by...only causing the child to sprint away. Grim almost got trampled by the boy as he swiftly swerved around the child. Dakota took note of the plump man’s agility, making sure he wouldn’t forget anytime soon. “So, I heard you are the dakotian king’s son.” Grim spoke as he kneeled down to Dakota’s level, his voice treating Dakota like a kid, which he was. Dakota would lick his bloodied chops in response, his eyes narrowing and his wings rattled. “You don’t look like a royal heir.” Grim pressed, causing Jade to roll his eyes, and Grim shot a quite look towards the young hunter. “I need not to talk to you scum.” Dakota spoke, again his voice sounding like he was a prince. Grim let a small grin and chuckled escape his lips as he spoke “Yet you do, however you are far too important to us to kill you, but you will not go unpunished cub.” This made Dakota hiss, small sparking ember would flood his mouth, burning the blood as it fell to the floor. This got Grim to stand up and back away, as well as Jade he moved by the door from behind Dakota. “Interesting you are. How can you do that child?” Grim spoke softly only with a hint of nervousness and hoarse sounds. “No worries Grim he can’t or hasn’t gotten far with that, seems sparks is as far as it goes for now.” Jade intervened quickly. “There is no need to back away then.” Dakota joked, which he knew they would not listen, taking chancing would be deadly. Dakota seemed to taunt them as he rubbed his body against the bars, leaving some blood stains that were still on his hide. Dakota cut his teasing when the voice he listened to, trusted, and heeded spoke to him. “Careful now Dakota, this would prove bad if you keep up your anticas, give in for now, lure them into thinking you are tame.” the voice echoed in his mind, causing him to pace again, his tail flicking violently as he replied aloud “Now why would I do that?” Dakota sneered after finishing the question, still pacing in a circle, no longer paying attention to the puzzled humans around him. Jade looked a Grim with concern and a bit of annoyance. “Why would you do what beast?” Jade yelled, his tone firm and confused. Yet Dakota continued to ignore them “Ha funny, still telling me what to do, look where it’s got me.” Dakota snarled loudly, he’d stopped pacing and changed directions, walking at a faster rate. One of the men poked Dakota in the thigh causing a roar to shoot out. “Don’t interrupt me mortal.” Dakota’s voice echoed in a demonic tone, his eyes with a slight hint of red. Dakota shook his head responding back in a normal calm voice “Don’t do that.” Grim perked his brow rather confused at the sudden change of the cub’s talking. Jade walked closer sounding off “What the HELL are you playing at!" Jade hurried over, giving the wheeled cage a shove, his sudden action cause most to dive out of the way. Dakota let out a snarling yelp as the mobile cage that kept him slammed into the wall and knocked him off his feet. Dakota laid there for a few seconds before standing up, like it never happened, his gaze set upon the group of humans. His green eyes stared at them with absolute blankness, the slight hint of red in his eyes appearing as Dakota snarled. “No, no don’t do that, I hate it when you do!” He snarled as his paws reached up to clutch his head, eyes squinted shut as a few tears ran down and hit the floor. Grim took a step forward, raising his arm as he started to speak. “We’ve heard enough of him just… just take him out of here.” Holding his hand to his temples like he was trying to search for an answer of why the creature was acting as such. Jade stormed off before Grim could even say anything else, his glaring eyes on Dakota as he left. “Dakota…” Noren whispered “Whats going on with you?” He pressed his face against the bars as he spoke calmly but with a clear sign of worry. “Get back!” Dakota howled, his voice hissed with embers of fire. His claws dug into the hard flooring as he rammed the bars, a black sizzling smoke rising from his hide. Once again jabs and pokes of sharp sticks tormented him. Dakota let out a loud roar, its noise alone caused every being in the room to stop what they were doing and clutch their ears trying to hide from the agonizing noise. The noise alone made the building rattle, bars of cages began to shake. Some cages started to crumble, a few bars making openings but not much. Dakota’s cry stopped, his gaze on Grim and Grim alone. His green eyes had turned somewhat red, the black pupils replaced with a fiery blood color. The noise had attracted Jade back to the room, his face laced with fury. Dakotians started to claw and ram at some of the weakened cages, with Noren being the first to snap a few bars off, his hard horns raking through with every force. “Get some help!” Jade snapped, pushing a man to the door, who didn’t hesitate to run off. Noren was almost free by now, his bullhorn blood made it quick work, his body crashing through the broken bars as he hissed a growl holding his ground, waiting for an opening. Another dakotian got itself free, not hesitating and running for the exit, it’s eyes filled with hope as it’s freedom lay just beyond that door. A quick weapons made it way towards the dakotian trying to flee, the spear lodging into the side of it’s chest as the tip came through the other end. A sly face came across the man who had struck the beast down with a single blow. Noren roared, his fury and bad temper made him like a tank as he charged his fellow kin’s killer. Jade saw the bullhorn charge, and he drew his sword as it neared. Jade hold his ground next to his fellow humans, most of them having their backs to each other in a circle, while some struggled to keep the rest of dakotians in their cages. Noren’s wings were out, keeping him balanced as well as his tail, he kept his head at an angle so his horns would gore anyone in is path. Dakota kept up his fighting from inside the cage, his hisses and growls became louder and more annoying by the second, a spear would come plunging in, but Dakota’s quick reaction caused it to miss, his deadly jaws clamping down on a hand that was beginning to pull away as the spear hit the ground. The owner of the hand howled in pain, clutching his arm with his free hand. Some of the humans rushed to help him, desperately trying to pull him away from the creature’s death grip. Dakota would not have that and twisted the hand along the bars earning an ever so satisfying snap on bones.
Noren neared the group of humans, his head still low, extending his deadly horns towards them, as he wore a determined yet sly face. A spear was flung at the charging bullhorn, just grazing Noren’s side. It did no good to stop the beast. Noren may have not had his powers but his horns would be more than enough to make up for it, and just like that one of the humans was caught between both horns of the raging monster. Hands quickly seized the sharp horns, trying to pry them away from any vital spots. A spear could be felt on Noren’s side, sharp and painful as it sliced up his wing. The jaws of Noren quickly found their way around the trapped man’s chest, sinking in deep. A shuddering scream erupted from the man trapped between the jaws and horns of Noren’s wraith. Just as fast as jaws trapped the man, hands and spears poked and stabbed Noren harshly. The bullhorn’s jaws loosened as he felt chains encage his body, and hands forcing his head away from the injured human. This caused Noren to roar, only to have his muzzle wrapped in chains. He struggled harshly trying to free himself from the chains, to no avail. ‘DAMN!’ Noren thought as he stopped his futile struggles to catch his breath. Jade smirked, his victory cut off all too soon as he heard a cage snap, yet he did not turn around to look, the expression on his fellow human’s faces said it all. Some of the fellow humans backed away from Noren, grabbing any weapon near them. Jade’s eyes narrowed as he spun around, to see a gruesome sight. Two more people were dead, lying motionless under the young cub called Dakota, one still entrapped in the harsh jaws of Dakota. Deep breaths arises from Dakota, his eyes closed for a few moments as if to calm himself. A human sought to get revenge and that opening was all too tempting. A sword dove for Dakota’s neck, causing the beast’s eyes to fly open… green eyes with red pupils, his fur smoked with black fog that was barely noticeable. The sword that was aimed for his vitals missed horribly as the creature reared up on his hind legs. Even though Dakota was still a cub and that he was small his sized still dwarfed the human that dared attack. Jade pulled out his sword just as he realized what was about to happen, he started to lunge, his one thought ‘I must protect my friend!’ Everything seemed to slow down as he dashed towards the two, but all too soon it ended with a loud crunch, jaws easily found the neck of a human. Jade stopped in his tracks, eyes wide with fury and fear, his sword shaking in his hand. Jade dropped to the floor dumbstruck as he watched the cub mercilessly thrash and ragdoll Jade’s friend, all the while keeping his hellish eyes on Jade. Dakota had released the now dead corpse of a human, his eyes fluttering towards Noren who looked on with fear as well. The cub spread his wings menacingly as he spoke in a tone that too had fear laced with fury in it. “That's three....care to be number four?” Dakota scoffed as he took a slow step towards Jade. To Dakota’s surprised Jade dared not move, ‘oh this is too easy!’ Dakota thought gleefully as he came closer. Jade lowered his head, obvious tears fell to the ground. “Oh, I’m sorry… was that a friend of your’s?” Dakota lowered his head, forgetting their were other humans in here, but they seemed occupied with keeping the other dakotian’s in cages and chains. Noren choked as he spoke “You… you’ve gone too far cub!” But his voice came out muffled and barely audible do to the makeshift muzzled around his head. A glance was all it took for Noren to shut up, a glance from Dakota it was, making Noren look away in shame, not for himself but shame for Dakota. Jade dared look up at the beast, a harsh glare filled his hazel eyes, which caused Dakota to snarl while grinning proudly. What happened next surprised everyone, except the one who did it… Dakota staggered to the side, he could feel something in the nape of his neck, it was heavy. He turned around to look at a spear shoved into the back of his neck, the red pupils fading. Dakota started to feel woozy and it was hard to keep himself standing let alone his eyes. “Damn…” he whispered in pain before falling unconscious, whatever was coated on the spear made short work of Dakota’s consciousness, he was out like a light. A shadow that belonged to Grim hovered over Dakota and Jade. “You alright?” Grim spoke softly, which caused Jade to look up and say with a shocked voice “He… He killed my best friend!” Jade’s eyes looking over to the corpse of his friend, and he stood up, glaring at Dakota and Grim before continuing “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THING GRIM!” Jade shoved his hands on Grim, sending the old man reeling back. Noren tried to roar, but it came out muffled, his struggled resumed only to die down, as he felt spears prodding and stabbing him. Most of the Dakotian’s now were confined to either cages or chains, most given up and lay there helplessly while others still struggled to get free once again. “Jade easy!” Grim said holding Jade’s shoulders tightly, trying to remove the pissed off hunter away from Dakota who laid there completely out of it. Jade let Grim drag him away, his eyes looking down with pure red fury, he wanted to kill Dakota so bad, revenge was justice in his eyes, but he knew Grim would make sure to have his ass handed to him if he dared to kill the cub. A long sigh came from Jade and Grim let on a small smile as he knew Jade was calming down. “Get some new cages in her, and mend the broken ones.” Grim said waving a goodbye gesture towards all the other humans. “Oh and please remove the cub from this place, put him alone in another room, make sure to put chains on him.” Grim said before he continued to drag Jade out of the messy holding room.