A Forest Cat, Chapter four: Confrontations, part 2
Danash found their trail in the dripping damp forest just beyond the village of Barlow. Now he had finally tracked down their scent, even though it was faint in the drizzling rain, his demon nature helped him to follow their progress effortless. The unfamiliar feeling of the rain falling on his bare human skin, made him uncomfortable and although his progress was quick and silent, inwardly he fumed at his circumstances and occupied himself with devising plans on what he would do to the woman who had summoned him once he was free of her spell. His lips curved into an evil smile in anticipation and the muscles in his hand flexed like the claws would have done before ripping her flesh apart. Birds and animals scattered out of his path uneasily, unsure of what had frightened them.
The last light of the day was fading fast when he was forced to let his human body rest. “Weak!” he spat softly and tried to throw a bolt of fire on the hastily gathered branches. In dismay he looked at his hand, in shocked surprise by the total lack of fire that should have flared from it. With a cry of rage he drove his fist into the forest floor, feeling small branches pricking through his skin. So close to humans, he had not needed his demonic powers but out here in the wild, his inability to command them was another frustration to fuel his rage. Other than his quick reflexes and considerable strength, he despised the physical weakness of his human form.
Venting his frustration on a nearby tree, he stopped beating his fists into it when the blood ran along his arm to stain his shirt. With an effort he fought for control and forced himself to sit down, watching his own blood flowing from the self inflicted wounds on his hands with disapproval. He needed to control himself if he was to survive this unfortunate episode in his existence. He gathered his thoughts and tried to focus on the powers that were still left to him. His strength was still there but he only had his human muscles to work with; his smell was not noticeably diminished and when he concentrated hard, he could still feel the presence of living beings. Extending his focus further, he dimly felt the presence of the two people he was tracking and smiled in satisfaction. Then his smile faded as he focused more closely on the man that was accompanying the girl.
Danash frowned, his momentary human plight forgotten as he contemplated the nature of that man. He knew him, or should know him and the vague sense of familiarity gnawed at his thoughts.
He laid himself on the ground, ignoring the cold that tried to chill his human bones. One moment only to gather my strength. Then I will see what bothers me so. He promised himself and closed his eyes to enhance his focus, exploring the disturbing presence of the girl’s protector.
Danash had underestimated the constraints that his human body forced upon him however, and after one hour, the cold had stiffened his muscles and made his teeth chatter. His focus had drifted from the man to thoughts of fire and heat and once again he made an attempt to cast the flames from his hands. This time, a little plume of smoke sprouted in the dark. His demon sight could see as clearly as it could in the light and grimly clenching his teeth to stop them rattling, he gathered all of his willpower and pushed the fire out of his mind and into the damp branches. They flared, not bright and with great exuberance, but they flared nonetheless. Exhausted by the effort, he fell back but had the presence of mind to pull his cloak around him and stay close to the fire as he concentrated once more on the world around him, passing the hours of rest in a trancelike state as demons do not sleep.