Let's Get Ready To Rumble!
Willow nervously wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans. She slowly
followed Richard, Jamil, and Shang-Da deeper into the woods of rural
Myerton. Their destination was the lupanar of Oak Tree Clan.
Willow distinctly felt the need to leave a trail of bread crumbs
back to their vehicle. This really was the middle of nowhere.
Willow gave a gasp when she finally spied the lupanar. There was an
enormous, ancient oak tree. It regally sat as sentinel in the
middle of the clearing. Willow felt small and insignificant in the
presence of that majestic tree. That tree had stood long before she
was born and it would continue to stand long after she was gone.
Oak Tree Clan had already assembled by the time they had stumbled
upon the lupanar. Verne gestured for them to come forward to be
announced. The pack parted before Richard. He was flanked by Jamil
and Shang-Da. Willow brought up the rear. She nervously shot sly
looks at the crowd as they passed into the center of the circle.
Verne gave Richard a big bear hug. He reciprocated in kind. Verne
then turned to face the pack. "Our friends, Thronnos Rokke Clan,
do us a great honor by visiting us. We have long known their
Ulfric, Richard. May our clans both thrive and may our friendship
flourish." The pack comes in closer and more greetings were
Marianne then approached the gathering. A hush came over the crowd
at her approach. She raised her voice, "An official challenge
has been issued. Combatants come forward. This contest will
continue until one combatant submits. If one of the combatants
shifts fully into wolf form, they forfeit the challenge. Clear a
space for the combat."
Willow realized that this was her cue to come forward. Shang-Da
gave her a small encouraging smile. At least, she had convinced one
of the guys about her abilities. She stepped forward and faced
Marianne. Lucy joined Willow's side. Marianne then signaled for
combat to begin by stepping away from them both.
They began to circle each other slowly. Both of them were looking
for an opening. Lucy graced Willow with a smug smile.
"You're going to submit or succumb to the change. You
can't help it. You're weak."
Willow snorted with derision. Lucy smirked in response. She then
held her arms aloft. Willow could see Lucy's arms elongate. Her
hands curved into claws. Willow wondered if that was considered
cheating. She didn't ponder for long as Lucy charged forward.
Willow backpedaled quickly away from Lucy. Lucy closed the gap.
She swiped her right hand claws across Willow's midsection.
Willow felt first her shirt giving way and then the searing pain.
Lucy's claws gouged out four long furrows in Willow's abdomen.
Willow doubled over in agony. Lucy towered above her. She held
back from striking. She obviously thought that Willow would concede
at the first sign of pain. Willow gritted her teeth. She wasn't
going to give Lucy the satisfaction.
Willow felt the frantic battering of the beast within. It begged
for release. Willow tapped the power that resided within her
beast. She concentrated and felt a partial shift of bones in her
hands. She straightened up and held a clawed hand to her face. She
had succeeded in a partial transformation. It was now her turn to
Lucy looked on in shock at the sudden change in Willow's
demeanor. She had been absolutely positive that Willow wasn't
alpha enough to attempt such a feat. She froze with indecision.
Willow capitalized on Lucy's hesitation by savagely backhanding
her. Lucy spun around from the force of the impact. She fell face
first into the dirt. She struggled to her hands and knees. She
turned her head to the side and spat out a few teeth and some
blood. Her jaw immediately began to swell. Lucy let out a snarl
and surged towards Willow.
Willow felt the air rush out of her lungs as she landed on the
ground with Lucy on top of her. Lucy was scrambling to get a clear
shot at Willow's jugular. They rolled around on the ground.
Clothes ripped and the wet sound of tearing flesh was heard. The
pack became agitated by the smell of fresh blood.
Inhuman growling and snarling erupted from the two combatants. This
was no cat fight. They were mauling each other. They had been
consumed completely by animalistic rage.
Willow managed another vicious blow to Lucy's jaw. She then
tossed Lucy off of her and several feet away. The only sounds to be
heard were labored panting breaths from Lucy and Willow.
Willow painfully assessed her injuries. She had several bad cuts
that continued to bleed. She had dislocated her right shoulder.
She was sure that she had several cracked ribs. It was hard for her
to breath. She didn't think that she would be able to stand let
alone defend against further attack.
Lucy was in a similar state. She was having difficulty seeing. One
eye had swollen shut from Willow's continual blows to Lucy's
head. She couldn't continue the fight but she knew that she could
outwait Willow. Willow couldn't possibly halt the change. She
was too new a wolf. Her inner beast would break free in order to
Lucy couldn't help herself. She had to taunt Willow. "Come
on! Give into your beast! You will die if you don't shift."
Willow ignored the taunt and concentrated on breathing. Calmness
descended upon her. She had an epiphany. She wasn't just a
wolf. She was a witch. She doesn't need to shift to heal her
Willow began to chant. "Goddess Eir, I invoke thee. Help thy
Power deep from within the earth welled up into Willow's body.
She shrieked and arched her back off the ground. It was too much.
This felt too intense. Her beast gloried in the sensations. The
power spread out from her body's center to her extremities. Her
bones re-knitted, her shredded muscles rebuilt, and her skin closed
over the wounds.
She couldn't contain this much power. She had to release it.
The power escaped from her fingertips. A shockwave of power rippled
through the pack. They gasped and reeled from its intensity. Lucy
gave a shriek also. Lucy's injuries were healing rapidly.
Lucy slowly crawled to Willow's side. Willow fearfully looked up
at Lucy's appearance above her. Willow's fear diminished as
she gazed at Lucy's expression. Lucy was in awe of Willow's
healing of her injuries.
Lucy spoke with quiet reverence, "Willow, I submit. You are
dominant to me."
Willow quietly nodded her reply. Lucy helped her to stand. Silence
reigned around them. The pack was astounded by Willow's display.
They couldn't help but stare at Willow as she made her way back
to Richard's side.
Richard had the same star struck expression that graced most of the
pack. He hadn't expected that. She had healed without shifting
and without calling the munin. She had relied upon her own innate
magic to heal. She was going to be a powerful alpha.
Willow stumbled and Richard caught her. She gave him a tired smile
"If one of you guys wouldn't mind carrying me, I don't
think I can make it back to the car on my own. I think I need a
Richard bent down and swung Willow up into his arms. He gave her a
dazzling smile. She would have melted if she had any energy to
spare. He turned around and led them back to the car.