I couldn’t resist taking part in Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt this week. The word to incorporate in a post is ‘ring’ so I brought my witch out to play! Many thanks to Linda for organising the fun event.
Maddison ran through the forest, lungs screaming in protest, legs numb from the relentless rhythm of pursuit. She pushed herself forward, her sights on Riley and the prize. They often made foolish bets, or set themselves punishing tasks to let off steam. His wolf was feeling edgy, so of course Maddison accepted his challenge. Sparring with Riley would have been fun, though messy, so a race was the perfect outlet to his rage.
It was a simple enough bet; the loser had to teach the graduate class, lead them in their first assignment. Maddison would rather face a roomful of Nrikabat demons singled handed. She didn’t do warm, enthusiastic or caring, and according to their mighty leader, those were the characteristics of a good teacher.
Maddison squinted against the growing darkness, caught the shine of Riley’s thick coat and knew her time was running out. She pulled one of the rings from her long braid, and welcomed the hum of magic in her blood. The ring wasn’t an accessory as most people presumed, it had far greater power than a simple adornment. Smiling, and with her eyes narrowed on her target, Maddison let the ring fly. It shot across the clearing, honing in on its victim; only expanding when it was directly over Riley’s head. From there it dropped over the wolf’s skull and settled around his neck like a collar.
Instead of slowing him down as she’d hoped, Riley picked up his speed. The growl which echoed back to her, was a sure sign of his laughter. He knew all her tricks.
By the time she reached him, her legs were barely able to hold her weight. She dropped to the ground, a display of weakness she only allowed because she trusted him, and lay on her back panting in the cool, dry air. The backpack was soft beneath her, providing a cushion against the hard ground.
Riley padded over to her, nudging her shoulder playfully with his snout. He couldn’t shift until she released his noose.
“You look cute with a dog collar,” she said, looking into orange eyes which shone with amusement.
In retaliation he clamped his jaw around her throat, growling low so the vibration ticked her skin.
Maddison touched the ring around his neck so it expanded, and carefully guided it over his skull. “There’s nothing worse than a smug, wolf.” She sat up, shrugging off the backpack so she could throw it at him. It held his change of clothes.
A minute later, back in human form, and wearing only his favoured combat trousers, Riley stretched out beside her. “We could always race back to Merc Hall. If you manage to keep up, I’ll even run the class with you.”
Maddison turned to look at him, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What’s the catch?”
“No catch. I’m just trying to make you feel better.”
For that he got an elbow in the ribs, which didn’t phase him in the slightest.
His grin was unabashedly wicked. “I’ll even remain in human form, though you might do better on all fours on the way back.”
“You’re going to pay for that.” Maddison sent a surge of power into her aching joints. “But if there’s no catch…” She was on her feet before he could react, dashing back the way they had come with a renewed sense of challenge. If she had to suffer the endless questions from junior hunters, she was taking him down with her.
With the sound of Riley’s rumbling approval at her back, and a view of the setting sun at her front, Maddison threw herself into the race. The new game was on.
Thanks for stopping by.