The ways of the Fox King could do nothing but enchant, as he was a spinner of powers that I had only dreamt about as a child. And as he now looked down upon me, his snout long, beautiful and grinning, and his golden eyes aglow in the dark of the forest, I felt the beating of all his nine hearts pounding in my ears – so ready and willing – as the roaring hooves of the approaching Huntsmen broke the weaving magic, and like a red scarf the Fox King slipped into the wind, leaving me staring into the fogged wood like I had seen nothing but a ghostly wisp of my imagination.
“Lady Ashes!”, Felix’s shout was mixed with fury and relief as he swiftly rode into the clearing from seemingly out of nowhere, grasping me by my arm before I even had the reaction to turn to him. Though I knew him to be alleviated upon finding me, his look was menacing.
The Huntsmen Riders came promptly behind Felix, who quickly ordered them to search the surrounding wood to make sure the Fox King had fled. In a momentary flurry of stomping, circling, whinnying, and snorting of the steeds and men shouting orders they fanned out into the trees, their sounds slowly fading and dissipating into the forest silence, leaving me only with Felix who had not let go of my arm nor removed his steely gaze from the top of my head, giving me the sickening feeling of being viewed as a bad child. He breathed a sort of groaning sigh, and I lurched my arm defiantly away, him giving me a infuriated tug before releasing me. I crossed my arms looking away from him, notably sulking. I could feel his eyes on me.
“You know better.” he growled bluntly, and a long pause from both of us followed these words. I was inflamed with anger, and I was the first to break the silence as I could not bare to wait for his scolding to begin. My cheeks were hot, as was my speech.
“You cannot continue to treat me like a child,” I said in a low tone, “nor, can you keep me from this world, nor deny me of this earth!”
Upon my shouting at him he swung off his horse and grabbed me roughly by the shoulders, forcing me to look into his face; the sweat on his grey brow and irate eyes that I had looked into so many times.
“This is not a game, Ashes! You have been inveigled by an evil hand, and the dark forces now continue to pursue you! How am I to keep you safe if you continue to make things so easy for them!” the last was not a question, as his hands had moved to my face, as if he was trying to will me to trust him. “Should the Masquerades take you again I have doubt in my abilities to bring you back!”
I found myself once again trying to wrench free, but this time he would not have it. So I was left to glare into him as I spoke defiantly.
“All my life I have been taught nothing of the Mystics other than their wickedness. But in my times when I have been taken by the wing of their magic and have come to their calls I have seen them to be less wicked then you or I!” I tried once again to pull from him but without much success, “You can no longer spoon-feed me lies of the Beyond World when I have seen it! And no matter how hard you try you cannot beat out the powers that flow through my very veins and the drums that drive my feet to the paths they were meant to walk!”
By this time I was now writhing in Felix’s clutch, as he fumed and pulled me to the horse, his touch burning hot with anger. He roared at me to silence my madden babblings as I started to shout at him to release me, him wrestling me into his arm as I swung and kicked. My feelings had at last erupted, I could no longer allow myself to walk through my life in an obedient haze, and right before a foul smelling cloth was shoved over my lips I screamed for the Fox King, my voice booming into the air and echoing, so unexpectedly so that – it frightened me. In both our hesitations, our startled reactions of the loudness of my call, Felix quickly then swept my small wrists into his fist and buried the bitter cloth into my mouth, practically gagging me. As my limbs ceased to have feeling I felt Felix release me, the cloth slipping free, as the world tilted into a racing ascension, and then all went to dark.