years I've walked in the coldest winds
from sorrow and pain I find my strength
the more I hurt, the clearer I see.
He could smell them upon the gentle evening breeze - that distinct scent of death all but potent, even if his mistress attempted to hide it beneath the floral smells she frequently chose to bathe in. Tetradore made every effort to keep those shadows close to him, the very darkened depths of that forest proving entirely helpful as the umbrage so licked at his dull thudding paws. His lanky form all but darted beneath the pale light of the moon and though he was certainly capable of that speed, even he knew that his endurance would run out far before those vampires at his heels. They would catch him, sooner or later, and though the Were-King knew he was performing that task given to him, a part of the man shuddered at the thought of how tonight would end. His mistress had been...relentless of late with her toying, as if determined to break the man when he'd even pieced himself back together, in some meager fashion, after witnessing Tobias' death at his hands. How eager she seemed to push the boundaries on how far he could go and Tetradore was getting tired - the Alpha in some continual freefall back to that dark isolation he'd once worn as a security blanket. His ears flicked at the sound of that saccharine sweet voice and yet, Tetradore was incapable of helping that way his features twisted into a scowl at her biting words. He paused within his own dashing, his emerald eyes turning over his shoulder to stare deep into the depths of that undergrowth. All he had to do was discern what direction the pair were coming from and then that race would be off again - the wind no longer aiding him as it shifted away from the panther.
In that poised, breathless moment, Tetradore was hardly prepared to find himself assaulted by a rogue rock, of all things. The sheer force at which it was thrown saw that surface of the stone all but collide into the Were-King's side, the startling pain prompting a reactionary yelp before the panther was spurred into movement all over again. He hardly bothered to pause to glance at the wound he'd been afflicted with, nor was he terribly attentive to the sliver of crimson that pooled at the surface of that gash. His own senses, admittedly, paled in comparison to that of the undead. Tetradore could hear the sudden crashing of something through the undergrowth somewhere to his right, his ears flicked as he listened intently with each stride he took. The Were-King was aware, vaguely, of the very closeness of those vampires and yet, he was hardly prepared for that awful moment in which Darcy lunged from the depths of those bushes. Those teeth glinted in the darknesses that surrounded them, the man's very features displaying that excitement for blood within the depths of those frenzied irises. The jaguar hardly reacted to those words offered, however, his own lanky figure all but twisting with the help of his momentum to turn sharply within his path and sprint away from the Southern vampire. The growl upon Darcy's lips only furthered the tension that so afflicted the jaguar's frame as he once again reached for his own affinity - the panther utilizing that skill for teleportation to keep his distance between himself and Darcy consistent as he raced forward, his own breath decidedly quick with the effort.
He was all but oblivious of the very fashion in which Darcy so strove to herd him like a damn sheep back to their mistress. Rather, it was the nearly inaudible crack of a small twig that caught the predator's attention, prompting Tetradore to deviate all over again from that path - the man near running perpendicular to the vampires in some effort to keep that 'game' afoot as those deer fled from the commotion. He could hear that increased pace of Darcy's feet upon the ground - the vampire clearly increasing his speed in a manner Tetradore knew he was simply incapable of rivaling. Unfortunately, the Alpha was entirely unaware of Risque herself as she waited with such poise for the darting pair. He hardly noticed the sudden presence of her power as it all but slammed into him until a slight glimpse of movement in his periphery drew his gaze upwards. The very presence of that treehouse caught the panther off guard, his step almost faltering as he continued his rush onwards. With each forward step, his ebony form seemed to draw closer and closer towards that homey little playhouse. It was, however, the presence of a piece of paper taped to the side beneath the window that saw the panther slow at that recognition of his own childish handwriting. His mouth parted, the jaguar's pace more akin to a walk as is vibrant emerald eyes turned upwards towards that very building that had once been the epicenter of his childhood. Vaguely, he was aware that this had to be an illusion - a manifestation of his mistress' own power. He had not run that far...had he? Hadn't it....burned?
As if on cue, the very roar of those fires flickered to life on his right, their flames licking the trees as they lept high into the undergrowth. The Were-King all but flinched from their presence, his gaze near widening as the heat from those flames caresses his features. His irises darted as they crept around him in a large circle, sparing only that very tree that held his precious treehouse. God, how he remembered that night with such painful clarity. The flames had seemed so big then - while he had been so small. He'd been startled to be awoken by his mother and the shouting somewhere outside of his window. The commotion had been so entirely overwhelming to the sleepy child as his parents had tried to evacuate their house. His sister had been handed off to his aunt, the woman all but disappearing out their front door - never to be seen again. He remembered clinging to his mother when they'd finally left their house and that had been the very first time he had seen her. She seemed to be reveling with such delight in the heat of the fire, her movements almost a dance of liquid grace as she grinned when his own ears were assaulted with little more than screams. It was the very memory of those sounds that so seemed to bring them to life in that moment, the jaguar incapable of discerning if it was his own thoughts or truly those voices that echoed through the forest. This couldn't be real. Not like this. Not again!
His tail lashed angerly behind him as the panther drew lower to the ground. He was unattentive to Darcy's form as the man circled widely around him, joining Risque's ethereal figure as so watched over her very creation. All Tetradore was aware of were those flames pressing in on him - and then her. Those wide emerald eyes seemed to focus upon her the very same way they had when he had been little more than a mere boy. He remembered his father's sharp order to run - the baritone voice seeming but a distant echo within his ears but this time, there was nowhere to run. His gaze darted to the side, the Alpha well aware of those flames cutting off any measure of escape. His lips curled in a low growl, that sound almost attempting to seem...threatening and yet it was more out of instincts than any true vehemence. His blatant desire to keep them away all but overwhelming any other measure of logic as the very senses of that fateful evening pressed around him. The were-panther cautiously stepped backward, the mud beneath his illusionary treehouse all but caking his paws with each further step. The illustrious diamond bracelet seemed to glisten in the pale moonlight - the piece of jewelry dangerously close to the grim he stepped further and further into as the fur on his spine stood on edge. He remembered well how this played out. He remembered the way Darcy had all but snatched the running child feet from the base of this exact tree. 'Run to the treehouse'. They had said, before she'd murdered them. Run. How he had ran....and time and time again it failed to matter whatsoever.