Author: Dreaming K
Category: Slash, eventually
Okay, I have no clue where this came from. I had something completely different in mind when I started this fic and now I believe a serious word with the muse is in order. It's only the first part of the fic and I will post the others over the next weeks in my LJ.
I love fairy tale fics so I guess it was only a matter of time until I tried writing one myself.
Inner Beauty - Part 1
Prince James of Ellison was strolling through the Woods of Dimar to calm his spirits and enjoy the smell of the trees, the earth and the sun – to enclose himself in the peace of nature. His horse was tied to a tree branch a few hundred yards back at the edge of the woods. Kolai didn't like the forest and always grew very nervous when horse and rider approached so James didn't force the animal to go against its instincts.
It took a long while until the chirping of the birds in the trees and the whispering wind did their soothing magic on his soul. Court had been very hectic today, many lords asking for audiences just to present their daughters to king and prince in hope of catching either's fancy. James really didn't care for all this pretending and flattering at court and definitely didn't see any point in it. He did not occupy the Throne of Princes to enjoy himself or let maidens and boys turn his head. The people of Aquino trusted their ruler to tend to their needs and the prosperity of their country. They didn't care about royal marriages, treaties and proper social formalities, so James didn't either.
The prince took a deep breath, anger already welling up again. There was so much which had to be done, so much good his people deserved, but their king, James' father, didn't see fit to deliver, that James felt a sense of despair. What good or use was a king who didn't take care of his subjects and only catered to his and the noblemen's needs? None. That was why James took matters into his own hands even though he was the the king's son. He listened to the peasants, farmers, the marketeers and general people, sought to help them with their problems and left the financial and diplomacy matters to his father and younger brother who was studying under his father's tutelage.
To escape the uncomfortable part of his duties James left the castle and the surrounding city from time to time to seek solace in the forest several leagues away. The hours, or sometimes days, spent there calmed him and helped him to keep his head and heart clear.
For the last weeks he'd had unusual dreams. Dreams of a big, black cat – an animal he had never seen only heard of from the sailors at the harbor – and a dense tropical jungle, also something he'd only read about in books. The cat was always looking at him, pale blue eyes staring into his soul, then moving further into the jungle, always glancing back to see if he was following. And there was never any fear only a sense of subliminal urgency. He would follow the cat into the jungle and suddenly the feline would start snarling and screaming, racing through the thicket until they reached a beautiful clearing. From there on the dreams got very confusing, only fleeting images. Of the black cat tearing into a snake, a bleeding wolf, a loud mournful cry, a flash of deep, beautiful blue eyes. Then James would wake, disoriented and unrested, pondering the meaning of the dreams.
As James made his way though the woods a whining noise broke through his thoughts. A pitiful and lonely sound that called to his heart. James decided to investigate the matter and see if he could help the sad creature. His ears picked up the sound again and he followed it to its origin. After about half an hour he reached a small creek.
A wolf sat at the bank staring blankly into the rippling water. If a wolf could droop its shoulders and hang its head then this one definitely did. You never beheld a more lonely or devastated looking creature. And neither did the prince. He inched closer to the animal which didn't hear him approaching. A very strange thing indeed as wolves were known for their sharp ears and noses – and fangs. But James did not worry about that. He befriended the beings in the forest and the fields much more easily than he did the humans in the city.
So when the man was only a few feet away from the distracted wolf he spoke gently. “Hello there, my friend.”
He grimaced as he watched the animal jump, whip around and topple into the water as the result of a very uncoordinated move. The wolf – male, he noticed – got to his feet again and stalked out of the creek to shake his wet body. With his fur coat wet and dripping the wolf looked even sorrier and more depressed than he did just seconds ago.
“I'm sorry, my friend. I didn't intend to scare you.” James apologized.
In a swift move he untied his long velvet cloak to cover the wolf with it and keep him from getting cold now he was wet. “Let me help you dry.” Gently he wrapped the coat around the animal and then started to rub the fur dry. The animal didn't move, just looked at him forlornly. Blue eyes...James had never seen a wolf with blue eyes. Strange.Yet, they were beautiful and seemed to beg for help.
“Do not look so sad. Your fur will be dry in no time, you will see.” James just got a soft whine as a response. He stopped his rubbing after another few minutes and then coaxed the wolf to come to a sunny spot a few feet away. “The sun will dry what I couldn't. Lie down and let me take care of you, my friend.” As the sad wolf lay down the prince removed the sword strapped to his back and laid it down next to them. He then went to sit next to his new friend.
“You have pretty fur.” The wolf reared back, fear in his eyes. Fascinated that he had been understood James soothed, “Oh, I didn't mean it like that. I am not interested in skinning you. It's just your fur is this beautiful color. It's not white, but not quite grey either.” He stroked the furry back gently. “Such a beautiful wolf you are.”
The wolf relaxed again and enjoyed the roving fingers massaging and petting him in a loving rhythm. He settled down next to the man so that his lean, strong flank pressed against the powerful, muscular thigh.
“Have you heard of Dimar, the legendary silver wolf? You probably have, perhaps you are even kin. He's said to be neither white nor grey in color but silver. Just like you are.” James' voice drifted off. A nudge against his thigh made him look down. The beast had his head propped on James knee and looked up at him expectantly. “You want me to tell the tale?” James smiled. The furry head nodded his consent and James laughed. “One clever wolf you are.” It appeared as if the blue-eyed wolf was grinning at him.
“Alright, hear the tale of Dimar, the silver wolf...”
James spoke for a long time, relating the adventures of a beast said to have lived in these woods a long time ago. As he finished his story he asked, “So, what do you think, friend wolf?” The wolf's head lay heavily in his lap, eyes closed and his breathing calm. He had fallen asleep. Smiling tenderly the prince rested his hand on the furry head but didn't cease the stroking movement of the other.
“You rest, and I will stand guard for both of us.”
So the prince sat there for hours watching his friend rest not even budging when night fell, covering them in darkness. His sensitive ears tuned into the throbbing beat of the wolf's heart and even as it drew him in it didn't make him loose his grip on his other senses like compelling sounds usually did. He could still hear the night sounds around them, the predators on their hunt for food, could still smell the water, the plants and animals – but the the soft *lub dub* was foremost on his mind.
After a while he couldn't imagine not hearing that heart beat next to him and he was certain that he had found what he had been sent for. This was the wolf in his dream. And as his sharp senses scanned their surroundings he vowed to keep any harm from his new friend.