Closing the doors behind her she walked through an aisle with many benches on each
side. Her wet footsteps plodded on the stone floor. A short man in a brown habit scurried
up to her.
"May I help you?" he asked timidly.
A loud banging at the doors made them jump. The man headed to it, but Jade grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
"Don't open that door!" she snarled. "Bar it."
"Why?" he asked as she walked away. "What's out there?"
"Evil," Jade walked to the fireplace. A large spear that was used only for decoration hung over the mantel. She took it down and balanced the weight in her hands. "Where's the side door?"
"To your left down the hall," the man puffed barring the doors without rejection.
"Lock the door after I leave, " Jade said walking towards the side door carrying the spear.
Jade listened for the click of the door before walking around to the front of the abbey. The Ayora paced side to side occasionally ramming itself into the abbey's main door. Jade sprinted across the wet grass trying to draw it away from the building.
The Ayora grinned flashing it's long fangs and bounded after her. Back in the woods Jade faced the Ayora and brandished the spear. Unruffled, the Ayora knocked the spear out of her hands and reached for her. Jade dodge away and made a grab for the weapon. With a swift swing, Jade was knocked back to the ground. Jade arched her back in pain and clutched her throbbing side. The Ayora leapt at her jaws open at it's weakened pray. She managed to roll back to the spear and grab it. She held it up as the Ayora pounced at her.
The Ayora landed on the spear plunging into it's chest. It bellowed and rolled over it's side. Jade pulled herself away, disgusted from the form of the groaning animal. Slowly the animal died still grasping the spear protruding from it's heart. Jade sat stunned.
Finally Jade moved towards it and with difficulty she pulled her knife out of it's shoulder. Shaking she wiped the knife on the wet grass and slowly walked to the dirt path. Dazed, she walked along the path stumbling through a mist in her mind. The realization didn't dawn on her until she finally looked behind her at the lump of wet fur laying between the trees.
Jade turned around and jumped when she saw Rinara in front of her. He sat peacefully with a cocked head looking up at her.
"What is it?" Jade asked him.
Rinara quickly glanced at the dead beast behind her then turned and trotted into the woods. Jade walked readily behind him. They quickly made their way through the woods towards another part of the mountains. He suddenly broke into a mad dash vanishing through the trees. Jade ran after him catching quick glimpses of white fur through the trees. She leaped over a small creek and grimaced when she landed as a sharp pain shot up through her leg. She looked up, but couldn't see any sight of him.
She heard a faint whimper on the ground in front of her. She walked ahead until she found the source of the sound and bent down. Four small balls of black fur crawled in a large ring of tall grass. Jade looked at them closely and realized that they looked like small replicas of the Ayoras.
They've bred, Jade thought with sudden fear. She studied them again and relaxed. They're puny; only infants. They whimpered weakly, their were eyes red slits and their tiny ears were folded back. Jade pulled out the rust-colored knife and held it over them. Better make this quick. I just can't let them grow stronger. Jade thought with dismay and swung the blade down at a small ball of fur.
"Evil grows by influence."
The voice was a whisper, but demanding.
Jade stopped and blinked. She looked around her, but she was alone. Shaking her head she lifted the knife brought down at one of the infants again.
"Evil grows by influence!"
The voice blasted around her echoing repeatedly. Jade dropped the knife and covered her ears. She fell on her side shaking. As the knife hit the ground the voice stopped. She cringed and looked at the four Ayoras who seemed oblivious to what had happened. She picked one up and held it in the palm of her hand. It sat on it's haunches squinting at her. It opened it's tiny mouth and chirped. Jade tried not to smile and place it back in it's nest. The others crowded around the one and squeaked greetings.
Jade leaned back and glanced at the knife laying in the grass. Evil grows by influence. Their parents were evil. They need a good influence. She thought out carefully. What would make a good influence? At that moment Rinara walked up beside her.
Jade looked at him surprised, "You?"
He looked at the Ayoras and walked away. Jade sighed lost and confused. She entertained herself by picking up each little Ayora and greeting them until Rinara returned not alone. A pair of wolves stood beside him looking at Jade curiously. One was gray and the other was black. The female was quite large, but the male was still larger than her.
"Yes! They would make perfect parents!" Jade said excitedly.
Rinara placed his large forehead against her shoulder and nudged her towards the Ayoras. Jade nodded silently and took them out of the nest placing them in front of her. The pair of wolves took a step back from the strange beasts. The female, the gray, fell to her stomach and crawled towards them.
The Ayoras were busy playing with each other, but one of them stopped and noticed the wolf watching them. It stumbled towards her and flopped onto it's belly imitating her. It then crawled onto her nose and looked into her eyes. It squeaked at her jumping off her nose. To Jade, the wolf seemed to grin as she looked up at her mate. The male who was watching with interest tenderly walked to the Ayoras and placed a large paw in front of one. The Ayora looked at it with wonder and with a tiny trill it pounced on his paw.
"They're yours to raise," Jade said to them. "Take good care of them."
The wolves cocked their heads at her with interest then turned to Rinara. He sat on the grass like a sentry gazing at the antics of the infants. He stood up and guided the infants towards the pair. The female turned walked a few steps away and looked back. The Ayoras waddled after her squeaking loudly. The male followed without first stopping to nuzzle Rinara under his chin.
Jade watched with silent amazement and then turned to Rinara, "He was right. The dragon knew. He knew I'd have to decide on the fate of the Ayoras." She smiled at Rinara and reached for her knife. With a second thought she stood up and walked away leaving the bloodstained knife in the grass.
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