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   Chapter 2 Siberian Wolf

Hunted Princess By kari Characters: 23173

Updated: 2018-07-15 20:00


Siberia

Hazel eyes tore open as the young girl awoke screaming, ripping the covers off and her claws extending in fear. Her wolf-familiar barreled into her room, teeth bared and snarling, with her mother behind him.

"Siberia, sweetheart what happened?" Mary lit the candle by her night-stand and sat on the bed, but kept enough space as to not frighten the girl any more.

She took a shaky breath and looked at her mother, curling closer to her, "The same nightmare, being chased through the woods but being only a pup and unable to defend myself."

Mary took the shaken girl into her arms and smoothed out her hair, tucking her head under her chin. "Its just nerves little one, August has been working all of us hard these past few weeks for the King's tournament qualifiers. You and Malia have high chances of being chosen, and it's the first time he has had an Askar be considered for the tournament, much less two."

Siberia ran her fingers through her familiars fur, feeling him start to rumble a purr to help calm her. "It just felt so real...what if it's a sign that I'm not ready for the tournament? That I am not going to be chosen?"

Mary pulled Siberia away and looked at the young wolf in the eyes, "You are a powerful Askar, you have not lost a fight and have more kills than any other Askar here. You are more than ready."

She closed her eyes and quelled her fear, letting her eyes burn their bright yellow. "I'm sorry mother, for showing weakness. It won't happen again."

Mary sighed and squeezed Siberia's shoulders, the girl had been through too much already. "It's all right love, I forget how young you are, you are wiser beyond your years."

A horn blared outside, signaling the start of the day and meant to rouse the other Askars for training. The pair could hear the others around them beginning to wake up and dawn their armor for training. Kane's ears flicked at the movement and rose to all fours, nuzzling his soul bond and pressed his thoughts to hers; Come Sia, you have to get ready for the day. August may love you, but even he won't be tolerant of tardiness.

She stood and made her way to the foot of her bed where the trunk containing her training armor was, "Do you know what August has planned for today?"

Mary made her way behind her and began to braid her hair back, "Not really, he mentioned new Askars but I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps sparring to get the new Askars acquainted and test their skills and abilities." She finished the braid and squeezed her daughter's shoulder, leaving her to get ready herself.

Siberia let out a breath and finished wrapping her wrists, her soul bond watching her closely. What is it Kane? I can see the smoke coming out from your ears.

His ears flicked back, embarrassed for being caught, I've been hearing whispers from other familiars, they sense a change is coming, a big one. I feel it as well...and I'm afraid that the frequency of your nightmares-

Kane enough, I don't want to hear about this superstition. I understand you want to keep me safe, but a nightmare is just a nightmare. I don't want to hear anymore about this, do you understand me? He ducked his head down but remained silent, she felt a pang of guilt for being harsh to her best friend and sent love through their bond.

I didn't mean to be so harsh, but I can't lose focus and worry over a feeling that may not happen. Now come, we have a long day of training ahead of us.

The pair walked out of the cottage and into the field that separated the main house from the Askar housing, the others were already falling into ranks awaiting August's arrival. The elder Askars stood off to the side, her mother included, keeping a watchful eye on the younger fighters. Killian winked at her and moved aside so that she could take her place. Siberia rolled her eyes and stood at attention with Kane sitting at her feet. Killian has wanted to court her since she came of age, but as Askars they did not have that privilege, unless they were retired to sire a line and she had a long life in the arena before that happened.

Malia and a few stragglers came running out of the other cottages, quickly joining the line up before August walked out of the main house. Malia's familiar, an eagle, soared out from above and intentionally smacked her with a wing before settling on her shoulder.

Sia smirked and whispered, "You're late."

Malia shot a glare at her, "I couldn't sleep. I was up all night worrying about the qualifying matches...but from what I heard, you didn't sleep well either."

A cold stone dropped into Sibera's stomach, she opened her mouth to retaliate but the door to the main house opened and the scent of citrus drifted out to the crowd. The elders took their ranks as August made his way out to them, dressed in his black armor with the Spark insignia on his chest, and silver hair slicked back. He stood in front of his Askars, eyes taking note of who was present, "Rowan, I understand this is only your first week here, but that does not exempt you from being tardy to formation. Your previous trainer warned me of this and I will not tolerate it. Two week probation with extra duties after training, should you fail even that you will be retired to house servant. Understood?"

Siberia looked to the side where the boy stood, his head ducked low and his fox familiar doing the same.

"Now that the matter is settled, we have news to celebrate! Siberia, as today is your nineteenth birthday, it is my honor to congratulate you for being one of the twelve Askars selected to compete in the Kings tournament." August couldn't hold his smile back as he announced the news.

She beamed back at him and felt the other Askars begin to hoist her up into the air, tossing her and chanting her name. You earned it Siberia, I am so proud of you. August's thoughts brushed hers and left her feeling warm and bubbly.

"Alright enough, enough. Put her down, I need her in one piece so she may actually compete in the tournament. Ranks everyone, back in your ranks." August called out, attempting to quell the excitement every Askar was feeling, "I have four new Askars joining us later this evening, but until then a warm up lap through the woods and then to the main house for breakfast. No shifting! Familiars, with me. Dismissed."

Siberia took off into the woods, flying through, feeling lighter than ever. Killian fell into place next to her, "Well congrats miss chosen one, you've certainly earned it. Imagine how much our pups will go for when you're crowned King's Champion."

She let out a laugh, "You're quite sure of yourself aren't you? Give it up Killian, it's going to be quite a while before I'm retired to sire. And it's not when, but if I am Champion. I am going up against other top fighters, not from just our Kingdom but from the surrounding kingdoms as well. Who knows what their skill level is like?"

Killian smirked as they vaulted over a fallen tree, "You need more confidence Siberia, besides, we're a perfect match for a breeding pair. You're a pure white wolf at shift, and I am silver-grey, our pups will be beautiful. And you really think August is going to keep you in the Arena if you are Champion? I'd say that is a perfect way to end your career. He would make more off you as a sire than as an Askar, no one wants to fight a champion, but everyone wants a champions pups."

She snarled at his comment and poured on the speed, leaving Killian behind easily. Kane, did you hear any of that?

I wouldn't worry about that Sia. Killian is just a dog in heat wanting to mount anything that moves. Even if August wanted to retire you as a sire, he would choose someone much more worthy than Killian. Kane reassured her and tugged on their bond to ease her worry.

Siberia closed off her mind and let her instinct take over, flying through the woods and finishing the lap with no other thought than just running. As she neared the main house, the scent of ham reached her nose and she began to sprint the last half mile until she felt a body slam into her knocking her off course. She tumbled and caught her balance, landing on all fours, searching for her attacker. A low growl came from her left, Rowan slinked from the behind the foliage, teeth bared.

Siberia bared her teeth and stood, "Rowan stand down."

He let out a loud growl, "You should have died years ago." His body shifted and in front of her stood a large black bear. This wasn't the Rowan she knew.

The bear lunged after her, claws swiping and missing as she dodged the attack. She launched herself over him and landed on his back, swiping at his neck with her claws attempting to sever the spine. Kane! I'm being attacked in the woods, alert August!

He bucked up and knocked her off his back, sending her slamming into a tree. A silver wolf flew out from behind her and attacked the bear at full force, followed by large eagle and two lions. The forest around them parted and vines grew from the earth, surrounding and trapping the bear in a cocoon.

"Back away all of you!" August growled, his eyes glowing a brilliant purple, "Who are you? Shift now and reveal your true self!"

A roar left the bear and in the cocoon was now a tan man with dark hair and scars littering his face, "I am no one." The man began convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

"No, no, no, no!" August waved his hands sending balls of magic to save the shifter's life, but they all ricocheted off his body and hit the trees around him. The sharp scent of mint hit Siberia's nose, magic was behind the shifter's death, which means a Spark had to have scent this shifter to kill her.

"Everyone back to the main house." August growled at the Askars around him, all hesitant to leave their Trainer behind. "Now!"

Killian walked over to Siberia and held out a hand to help her up. Kane ran up out of nowhere and growled at him, standing between Killian and Siberia. Tobias, Killian's familiar, snarled at Kane and stood toe to toe with him.

"Enough you two, he just wants to help." Siberia took his hand and pulled herself up from the ground, the two familiars still eyeing each other but calmed down some.

The Askars were all on alert, forming ranks around Siberia to protect her in case of another attack. Killian attempted to talk to her, but she just shook her head, not trusting her voice or the woods until they reached the main house. They filed into the waiting room, murmurs as to what happened swirled around her.

August burst into the room, his magic crackling around him, "Siberia, are you hurt? What happened?"

She shook her head, "No. I was ahead of everyone else, I only had half a mile before hitting the threshold of the house, when Rowan...or whoever that was slammed into me. He said...he said that I should have died years ago and that's when he shifted into a bear and attacked me."

He closed his eyes, magic crackling even louder, "It must be another Askar sent here by a jealous Trainer who didn't get his own fighter into the tournament. From now on, no one is to train in the woods without wards. Understood? Killian, take your trainees and scan the woods. Malia, be my eyes with two other eagles. Jackson, take four bears and come with me. The rest of you in your barracks until I send word."

The crowd began moving around her, but Siberia remained planted in her spot, "August, let me go with you, I caught his scent before the magic covered it, I can track it to where he came from-"

"No. You will not leave this house until I know t

he threat has been eliminated. Siberia you are too valuable to even put yourself in that position." August's eyes flashed.

She snarled, "I don't care about being chosen, August I want to help. I'm the best fighter you have you said so yourself."

He snapped his fingers and magic swirled around her, trying to put her to sleep, "Sia...it's much more than that."

She tried fighting the effects of the spell, "You...you're...magic-"

August cupped her cheek, "Please don't make this harder than it already is...Siberia sleep."

The world around her went black.

Siberia felt a cold nose on her forehead, and Kane's thoughts attempting to break through the thick fog from August's magic.

Siberia...wake up...Sia come on...it's safe now.

She forced her eyes open and was met with the sight of a tawny snout and golden yellow eyes. She blinked a couple times and attempted to sit up, the world spinning with the after effects of magic.

"Easy Siberia, August was a little heavy handed on his magic." Malia walked into the room, arms crossed and eagle perched on her shoulder.

Kane jumped on the bed and went behind her to help her up, "You think? He used enough on me to knock out the whole team."

"He just wants his little Champion safe, you are the star of the team after all, " wrinkling her nose, tone dripping in envy.

"If you're just here to be bitter about the selection then leave. You know as well as I do that it is up to King Donovan to select whom he wants for the tournament, and his Spark is the one that pulls the Askars from the qualifiers. We're sisters, don't let this petty tournament pull us apart." Kicking her legs over the bed to stand up.

A sigh came from the doorway, "You're right, I'm sorry. August is looking for you, the shifter that attacked you seems to be linked to the Roanoke Clan but he has more information for you. He's in the downstairs study."

She stood up slowly, Kane following her every movement to make sure she was steady. I'm fine Kane, don't worry.

I'm not taking anymore risks with you, I should have been there to protect you against the attack.

Fighting is my life, I would have been fine but he caught me off guard with the way he shifted. I already feel the after effects of the magic wearing off. Rolling her shoulders, she set out into the hallway with Kane's claws clicking behind her. She took her time looking at the hallway around her, never spending more time in here than to collect the new Askars from the guest quarters. Every inch of the hallway had something to with nature, from the various planters with herbs and flowers, to the art that depicted scenery of lavish forests. Most Sparks needed to feel and be close to nature as their magic stemmed from the Earth itself, August definitely being one of those Sparks.

The staircase was at the end of the hall that lead down to the lower level of the main house. This level she was used to, the kitchen and dinning room were located on this level and August was adamant on having "team meals" to make sure all Askars felt more like a family than just individual fighters. Vines with jasmine flowers grew along the bannister of the staircase, the slight thrum of magic in every inch of the house. Turning the corner, she made her way to the office, standing at the doorway watching August yell at a communication orb.

"Cut the bullshit, Jameson, these Roanokes attacked my Askars, one of them being a tournament competitor. And you're telling me that you won't send ANY soldiers to guard my grounds?" His eyes flashed purple, as they flicked up at her, holding up one finger to signal 'one moment'.

A smooth voice came from the orb, "August, you have a small army of Askars, retire some to become guards, you don't need resources from the King as he is currently handling the Clan situation. I apologize for your Askar and hope that she is able to compete. Good Day."

The orb fizzled out and he slammed his hand against his desk, his anger rolling off in waves, changing the scent of the room and making her inner wolf raise it's head, eager for a fight.

"I'm sorry Sia for knocking you out so hard, I had to make sure you were completely asleep before leaving you. I thought it was just another Askar but...it seems our King's troubles have finally hit us." He ran his hand through his hair, waving his other hand to get paper and pen out of his drawer, pen flying across and scribbling down whatever was on his mind.

"The Roanoakes seem to be getting braver, I thought they were just at the borders?" She took a step inside, hesitant to get any closer due to the amount of magic that was flying around.

Letting out a deep sigh, "In theory, but in reality the Clan is only getting stronger and gaining ground, my contacts in the other Kingdoms report the same thing. They have been getting funding from somewhere and are terrorizing everyone who stands in their way. I'm hoping the Lady Arin in Rantock will be willing to move up our trade deal. Sires for her and guards for me. Trust me when I say Sia, she had her eye set on you and wanted to give me 12 of her best guards for just you. But you my dear, will never leave these grounds, I promise you that."

"August why are you trading for more guards? We have plenty Askars here that can be retired for guards." Feeling Kane bump her leg with the news that August would never trade her.

"Extra precaution Siberia, we will be traveling a lot these next coming days. The others will have no issue protecting the house. But these guards are specifically for you. Stirling is not like any other city you have competed in before, it's the capital of Malmore, hundreds if not thousands of people will be flooding in to see this tournament. It's not a risk I am willing to take. And Lady Arin specializes in guards, most of the royal guards came from her training facility. You will have the upmost protection." His blue eyes warranted no argument.

Siberia nodded, "That's understandable I think...when will I being training for the tournament?"

August smirked, "We leave in one week to begin the tournament tour, ending with the reveal ball. Then a week of training, and then the tournament begins. New armor is being made for you, along with a gown for the ball. Now before you complain, it won't be a normal gown, you will still feel comfortable. Gwen will take you to try on the practice gown so you can get the feel of it and will teach you proper etiquette for the ball." He grabbed his things and placed a hand on her shoulder as he went to leave, "I have faith in you Sia, you will learn quickly."

A mousy girl with red hair appeared at her side, she bowed her head, "Lady Siberia, if you would please follow me."

She blinked at being called 'lady', "It's just Siberia, I'm an Askar, far from a lady. Who are you?" The pair left the study and went back up the stairs to the room Sia was in.

"Apologies miss, I am a lady's maid from the palace. I help the Queen prepare for public appearances and train other lady's maids. August brought me here to help train you to be a proper lady." She stopped, eyes widening when she realized what she said, "Not that you aren't a lady miss, I just meant-"

"I understand what you meant, fighting is what I do and it's what I'm good at. Being presentable for the King is definitely not my strong suit." She cut off the maid from her flustering apology. They entered the room and she froze, eyes immediately laying on the three gowns on the bed.

Gwen made her way to the bed and pulled the first one up, a lavish gown with an armor bodice, flowing golden skirts and a golden circlet with wings. "This belonged to an Eagle competing in the previous tournament. She was about your build; this should fit you, perhaps a bit snug. Shall we try this on miss?"

You're supposed to wear that? Kane sat by her feet, cocking his head at the dress.

Apparently. "Must we start with that ridiculous thing? Can't we go over etiquette first?" She took a hesitant step towards the maid, afraid to look at the other gowns.

She giggled and put the golden gown down, "Well miss, in order for me to teach you the etiquette you must have the gown on first to learn how to walk in it. Perhaps this one is a bit too much for the practice. How about this one?" She held up a red and gold gown, a large lion on the bodice with the tail wrapping around the skirts of the dress.

Well that's not better, but it's certainly not worst. "I suppose..." Sia stepped closer to the girl and she began to take her armor off until she was left in her underclothes.

Gwen held the dress out and Siberia stepped into the skirts, immediately feeling restricted by the skirts. The bodice was pulled up and Siberia nearly attacked the girl when the laces of the corset were tightened, managing to only snarl at the girl and dig her claws into bannister of the bed.

"I'm sorry miss, have you not worn a corset before?" The girl continued to pull at the laces for a moment.

"Never, corsets are not very functional when it comes to fighting in the arena." She growled out. Kane huffed out a laugh and settled down his amusement coming through the bond.

"Corsets may not be functional but you do look beautiful in that gown." A voice came from behind her.

Oh no. "Killian, what are you doing here?" She turned to face him, hiding her embarrassment with anger.

Killian's face flushed and arousal came off of him, "August sent me to guard you while you practice out on the grounds."

She bared her teeth, "How kind of you, but I don't need protection. Come Gwen." Could you smell that? Disgusting.

I can't entirely blame him. But if he does anything, he won't be able to sire any lines. Kane let out a little growl.

She tried to storm her way out of the room, only finding that she was having trouble moving with the immense amount of fabric around her legs. Gwen ran up behind her and gathered her skirts giving her a little more freedom to make her way down the stairs and out onto the grounds.

The bustle of the others training stopped as all eyes laid on her, arousal coming from most of the men and awe coming from the females. She was an Askar, she was used to the eyes of hundreds of people on her, but she had never felt more uncomfortable in her life.

Gwen whispered in her ear, "Shoulders back, head tall, and be confident, miss. Believe you are a queen."

She straightened herself as if she was preparing for a battle and stared at her comrades around her with a fixated gaze. She still felt uncomfortable, but she was able to hold her own. Her inner wolf rumbled at the attention, she felt like an Alpha.

August turned and smiled, "Alright enough everyone, back to your training." He made his way over to them, "Good starting work, Gwen. I like the look of this dress from the top, but the skirts and silhouette is all wrong for you Sia...don't worry I have something in mind for you." He waved his hand and her hair flowed around her, breaking free from her braid. "Hmm, definitely better this way, make notes of this Gwen for when we style her for the ball. Carry on, I shall meet with you both later."

Siberia looked at Gwen, "There's more to learn?"

She gave a sheepish smile, "Oh yes, miss. We have to teach you how to walk, eat, and dance like a lady."

Killian snorted behind them, "Teach Siberia to be a lady? You're better off teaching Kane how to fly. She's a warrior, she does not know how to be gentle."

She growled at Killian, "I can do it, how hard can it be?"

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