That was something Sylva didn't have the time or courage to keep anymore.
Sylva had been a dashing young Lupe, adventurous, newly wed, setting out to sail every other weekend.
What ever he was now wasn't that. Quite the opposite, if anything.
He hid in the bushes, his steps couldn't make a sound had he wanted them to. He slid between walls and just a shimmer of his now pale-blue fur could make a baby Gelert scream for their mother.
In his mind, he would always be Sylva. But in every place other than that, he'd just be The Ghost Lupe.
Ryan was bored.
That sort of thing happened a lot these days. Nothing to do, but he enjoyed every second of it. He soaked in the sun, the sense of relaxation, the fresh island breeze.
He was home.
Home was a strange word for Ryan. He'd had many. Home could be the base where he stayed when he was on duty as a knight. Home could be where he spent his free time with his pals in The Lost Desert. Home could be the places he explored with his brothers.
But if home is where the heart is, home was right here on the beach, his brothers, sisters, friends and family inside the house, baking a feast.
The family had grown an awful lot recently. Two acaras had joined the bunch, and weren't quite adjusted yet. The wocky, clad with an oversized hoodie, took a liking to Ryan instantly. Then there was the bori, the lutari, the gelert...
It was a beautiful, massive, mess.
RJ needed an escape from it.
He'd been taking classes at the Training School only a few blocks away. Ryan needed to test his skills on something real.
Buckling his weapons around his waste, he headed off into the bushes. Away from the subjective term he used for his “home.”
Meridell's knights were strange about weapons. It's just how they were.
You used your own weapons in your free time, but when you were in training or in battle, you had your own set, given to you by the king. A sword and a shield, every knight's different. You'd get assigned your sword based on how powerful you could thrust, how much you could hold, how quick your reflexes were. You'd be given the perfect weapon for your own skills, and the shield would make up for what skills you didn't have. When you weren't using them, they stayed in your shack in Meridell. Simple enough.
Ryan missed his sword. It was long and light, perfect for quick strikes. The weapons he had around his waste right now weren't like that at all.
No long range weapons. Mostly magic, potions and enchanted items. Items that didn't always make sense, but had served him well.
A rustling in the bushed alerted him. Looking up, he saw sparks and two bright blue eyes. Reaching instinctively for his sword, he pulled up a potion instead.
It'd have to do.
The fight had only lasted a few minutes. It had been a lava ghoul, and RJ had taken it down quickly using some throwing star type objects from the Training School. A bit of magic had also helped, draining it's HP and adding to Ryan's own. The ghoul had dropped an issue of Mystery Island Monthly as it fled, which RJ stuffed into his back pocket.
He continued through the brush. Bushes were filled with fruit, and the air was heavy with bird song.
Ryan's green fur was filled with leaves. His messy black hair was hidden behind his beanie. The scar on his forehead was still visible, but he felt no urge to hide it. It was part of who he was.
Another ghoul was hiding in a tree. He made eye contact with Ryan. Sensing a fight was about to begin, he pulled out his scroll and throwing stars. The lava ghoul floated above his head. It had begun.
The lava ghoul gave no mercy. Throwing down fire balls from above RJ's head, the heat singed the Lupe's fur. He ducked and threw the stars right into the being, landing a solid hit. If you could call an elemental being “Solid”.
Using his enemies distraction, he began to look at the scroll. He'd always had trouble pronouncing these words.
While he was trying to read the strange language, a fireball had been shot straight at his chest. RJ fell to the ground, trying to catch his breath.
Nova de tenebris ad te inimicum ignem... how did you pronounce that?
Another fireball was shot straight at his paws, which he dodged this time, but it lightly burned the scroll.
Suddenly, a coldness fell over the arena. The ghoul seemed unaffected, but clouds covered the sky. The clearing fell dark.
“It's pronounced 'Nova dee teen e bris ahd tay in imi cum ig-num. At least, if you say it sort of like that, it'll sound close enough.”
Ryan had no idea what had produced that noise, but it was his only hope. Anger welled inside of him, and he yelled.
“NOVA DE TENEBRIS AD TE INIMCUM IGNEM!”
Stars of darkness flew from the scroll, directly at the ghoul. He fell, weak. Sinking to a light hover over the leaves, Ryan grabbed one of his potions. Quickly uncapping the bottle, he threw the contents at the ghoul, who dissolved away. The only thing standing where the fire ghoul was moments before was a healing potion, which Ryan uncapped and quickly gulped down. Feeling strength flow back into his arms, he sat on the ground.
He looked around. The clearing was still dark.
Ryan grabbed the copy of Mystery Island Monthly, lightly burned but still readable.
“Thank you to... whoever, er, whatever helped me back there. I hope you'll accept this fine magazine as a thank you.”
Silence. Only echoes of Ryan's voice were able to be heard in the darkness.
A lone bird called in the distance, high above in a tree. The bird was violently quieted during it's call, and a feather drifted down onto RJ's nose. He knew something was coming.
A lupe with pale blue fur drifted into the clearing. His pawsteps made no sound, but the low rumble of his throat revealed his anger. The Lupe's mouth didn't move, but something clicked in Ryan's mind.
“I see you know my name.” The Lupe, who Ryan somehow knew had the name of Sylva, had a rough voice. “Very good. I send it to most, but you're the first who responded.”
Ryan gulped. “Thank you for your help back there.”
Sylva bowed his head. “My pleasure.” His growl seemed harsh and unused, yet silky at the same time. “My question, Ryan Jack, is what are you doing out here?”
Ryan remained calm, despite the fact that he could feel some force reaching into his mind. “I needed battle practice.”
Sylva grinned. “Well, be my guest.”
Sylva backed away, crouching into a battle stance. Ryan reached for his favorite potion, but he knew that the mysterious Lupe could tell what he was doing. Uncapping the potion, Ryan threw it at him, doing some light damage.
“You're going to have to do better than that.”
Sylva pounced on top of Ryan, trying to knock him over. The two began to wrestle, when Ryan felt his energy building up. A massive static shock was released, causing the pale furred attacker to look shocked for a moment as he was thrown away from Ryan.
“Blessed by the faeries, I see. Well, I was when I was in your realm as well. Allow me to demonstrate.”
Noxious fumes suddenly emerged from the air itself, surrounding and trapping Ryan. He could feel the life force dripping away from him...
Grabbing the scroll, he screamed the words the Lupe had taught him into the air.
“NOVA DE TENEBRIS AD TE INIMCUM IGNEM!!!”
Once didn't seem to be enough. Adrenaline flowed through RJ's veins, burning hotter than the fire of the Lava Ghoul against his skin.
“NOVA DE TENEBRIS AD TE INIMCUM IGNEM! NOVA DE TENEBRIS AD TE INIMCUM IGNEM! NOVA DE TENEBRIS AD TE INIMCUM IGNEM!!!”
Stars began flowing out of the paper, which was the last thing Ryan remembered before he blacked out.
When he opened his eyes, he was alone. Alone except for the presence of a throbbing in his head...
I am pleasantly surprised by your abilities. I hope you will accept this gift as a sign of... perhaps, peace. Feel free to come again when you please. We have much to discuss.
A tiny, golden compass was on the ground. Ryan picked it up, carefully opening it.
A beam of light shot into the nearest tree, scaring a bird. The compass seemed to radiate an energy of dreams. Closing his eyes, Ryan could picture holding this instrument and floating on a boat, feeling loved, as a sense of broken heartedness overflowed him. Dreams that had been lived, died, and lived in some sort of ghostly afterlife in this compass.
He set it in his belt.