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Runeheart - A Nine-tails Story

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Dregen

Senior Member

10-07-2013

The long-haired guard pulled Ahri out of the conflux chamber, and though Ahri tried to stand by herself, her legs felt numb with exhaustion. The moment she tried to take a step, she felt herself tumble forward onto the ground. As she laid there she half expected the guard to laugh at her weakness and torment her, but he simply helped her up gently and started leading her out of the lab. This was the first Sentinel, besides Roland, who had shown her any kindness, but Ahri didn't care - she hated him anyway. He was the one who had locked her in the chamber, after all. Ahri tried to wriggle free from his grasp - she didn't want his help - but the man only tightened his grip.

"Don't struggle, girl. You're weak, and I don't want to hurt you. I'm trying to help you, ok?" the man said to her. As they exited the lab Ahri tried to take a look at her surroundings and wondered if maybe there was a chance to escape, but her head throbbed with a dull pain, making it almost impossible for her to think straight.

When they reached the cell the man led her in, then closed and locked the door behind her. Ahri turned to look at him, then crawled forward and grabbed the bars. It dawned on her that she was back again in her jail, trapped and with no way out. Was this really going to be her life from now on? Frustrated, she summoned up what strength she had left and tried in vain to pull apart the bars, but her hands were weak from exhaustion and hunger and slipped, causing her to tumble backwards onto the ground. She grunted in anger and willed herself back up and grabbed hold of the bars again, but the guard came forward and placed his hand around hers, trying to get her to stop.

"Listen, you can't change your fate, but I can make things easier," the guard said. "I'll be right back, ok? You're just hurting yourself."

Ahri could feel tears welling up in her eyes, and she tried to blink them back. As the guard let go of her hands and turned to leave, Ahri reached out desperately for him. "Let me go...please..." she cried out weakly. She didn't care anymore if he was a Sentinel or not. She just wanted to be free. The guard seemed to ignore her, and as he disappeared into the hallway, Ahri slumped back onto the the floor and laid there, letting the tears stream down her face, not even bothering to wipe them away.

She wasn't sure how long she laid there - it seemed like a long time. At one point, she heard the cell door open again, but it didn't really matter to her. If it was the guards coming to take her away, there was nothing she could do, so what was the point? No one came to take her, however, so she drifted into and out of sleep. In her dreams, she could see Lauryn - the last time that she saw her, before she had gone away with the guards. Ahri had been so scared and had begged her not to go with the guards to meet Merrick, but Lauryn just stared back and smiled reassuringly at her.

"My father is alive. I know that for sure now, thanks to you. And that's why we have to survive..."

When Ahri finally woke from her fitful sleep, she got up and rubbed her eyes, clearing away the dried tears that had built up. She still felt exhausted, as if she had not slept at all. She remembered someone had opened the cell door, and looked around to see if maybe Lauryn had come back. What she found instead, laying on the floor next to the bars, was a large plate filled with food. A fresh loaf of bread, a substantial portion of rib meat, an apple, and a large bowl of what seemed to be clean water. Almost without thinking, Ahri crawled forward and grabbed the bowl of water, and started gulping down mouthfuls of the refreshing liquid. Her parched throat stung as she drank the water but she hardly noticed. A wave of relief came over her, and for a moment she almost felt giddy - she hadn't realized how thirsty she had been. Once she had her fill of the water she placed it down, and then suddenly remembered something.

Ashy!

Ahri looked over at the corner and saw him, then looked back down at the near-empty bowl of water with regret. She was so stupid! In all her self-pity she hadn't even given a thought about him. There was no way to know when the next meal would come, and often the guards would not even bother to give them water. She should have tried to ration out the water for both of them, but like an idiot she had drunk nearly all of it, and now there was only a couple mouthfuls left.

Ahri grabbed the bowl and plate of food, crawled over to Ashy, and set the contents down next to him. She grabbed the bowl and put it next to the fox boy's mouth, and let him drink it until it was empty. She then started on the plate of food. A bounty this big should be shared, and so Ahri tore up some small scraps of meat, divided the bread, and set them down next to Ashy.

"Eat, Ashy. Yummy!" she said to the boy encouragingly. To her delight, the boy reached out a hand, grabbed the bread, and started nibbling on it. Ahri picked up a rib herself and started biting into it as well. It had been so long since she had eaten any meat, and it almost tasted strange and foreign at first - all gooey and soft. But the meat was tender and juicy, and with her stomach begging for food Ahri soon began wolfing it down as fast as her stomach could handle. As she ate, Ahri caught the boy stealing a glance up at her, and she flashed a goofy smile at him, but the boy's eyes quickly darted down back to his food.

Ahri began to wonder why they had received such a generous plate of food. Had it been that long-haired guard? She wondered if maybe the guard genuinely wanted to help her. Ahri knew better than to trust a Sentinel, but as long as he was bringing them the food, at the very least, she could afford to keep Ashy properly fed as well as herself. Above all, Ahri wanted to stay strong so that if there was an opportunity for escape, however unlikely, she would not be a burden to Lauryn or Ashy.

Once Ahri had her fill of the food, she set the plate aside, and her mind drifted to the events that had happened earlier. When she had been placed in that chamber...Ahri remembered feeling something strange flowing through her. At first it had almost felt pleasant, even euphoric. At the forest, when she had somehow been able to fight off the Sentinels and nearly kill Merrick, she had experienced the same feeling. She had collapsed from exhaustion after, and it had been the same after the guard pulled her out from the chamber. But Ahri could not understand what any of it meant. Perhaps Lauryn knew something about it? She knew that something about this had to be the reason why the Sentinels were keeping them imprisoned here.

As the day wore on, Ahri began to feel sleepy again. There had still been no sign of Lauryn at all, and Ahri had hoped that maybe that long-haired guard would return and she could perhaps ask him about her. But no one came, and so Ahri said goodnight to Ashy, curled up in her mat, and went to sleep.

Ahri was jarred awake by a strange groaning sound, which she at first thought came from Ashy. When she looked at him though, the boy seemed to be asleep. Then she heard the voice scream out, strained and desperate.

"Please, I've given you everything...Ahhh!"

This time it was unmistakable. Lauryn! She sounded so scared, and the voice was haggard and strange, but it was definitely Lauryn. A jolt of adrenaline shot through Ahri's body, and she picked herself up and raced to the cell door. Was Lauryn in trouble? Ahri looked out, and saw Lauryn along with Merrick right behind her, pushing her forward, and as her form became clearer Ahri let out a gasp of horror.

Streams of red blood ran down Lauryn's face, and all of her beautiful long hair was gone, leaving only a few wispy strands and a mess of bloody skin where Merrick had scalped her. She was almost unrecognizable, with wounds and bruises all over her body. Merrick pushed her forward and let out a big, bellowing laugh.

"Hahaha! Are you done already? You stupid *****!" Merrick threw Lauryn up against the cell door, then opened it and pushed her inside. As she stumbled forward, Ahri went up and caught her and cradled her in her arms. She couldn't believe that Merrick could do this to Lauryn!

"Ahri...I-I'm sorry..." Lauryn whispered hoarsely.

Merrick grabbed Lauryn and pushed her away from Ahri. He stared at Ahri and stroked his burned and mutilated face as he grinned evilly. "You see what I've done, Ahri? Lauryn is just like me now. Scarred forever. I'm going to slice up that pretty face of yours. You're going to suffer the same way I did!"

Merrick grabbed Ahri by her shoulder and pulled her towards him. Ahri clenched her fists in anger and tried her best to push him away, but nothing seemed to faze him - it was as if he had the strength of a hundred men. As Merrick put a hand around Ahri's head and brought her face up to kiss her, Ahri screamed out in despair and dug her fingers into his face. Merrick screamed and pushed her brutally down to the floor, the force of which knocked the wind completely out of her.

"Garghh! Ahri, you little *****! I'll make you pay for this. I'll make you pay for everything. AHRI!"

Ahri tried to get up, but she could barely breathe. Merrick was so incredibly strong...was he going to kill her? As Merrick drew out a knife and roared in anger, Ahri closed her eyes and tried to think of her mother.

Oh mother...I'm sorry...I couldn't protect you...I can't protect anyone...I'm just not strong enough...!

As she waited for the end, she suddenly felt a flash of movement, and heard Merrick cry out in pain. She opened her eyes and saw Ashy on Merrick's leg, his teeth sunk deep into his flesh, and now the fox boy was tearing fiercely at the skin. Merrick savagely retaliated against the boy, beating him over and over to get him off his leg, but impossibly the fox boy held on. As Merrick was distracted with the boy, Lauryn suddenly came up behind him and wrapped a cord around his neck.

Lauryn let out a fierce scream and started strangling the man, pulling with all her remaining strength. Merrick choked and gasped out, and his bloodshot eyes looked over at Ahri, pleading with her to help him, but Ahri only stared back in terror at what was happening. Before long, Merrick collapsed and started moving slower. For a moment it seemed to drag on forever, and Ahri feared that the man would never die, but eventually his struggles stopped and he laid still.

Lauryn unwrapped the cord from his neck and threw it down on the ground, and started laughing out loud. It was only then that Ahri fully realized where she had gotten the cord.

Countless strands of hair, all intricately woven together to form one long rope. All this time, Lauryn had slowly been pulling out strands of her hair and weaving them together to form a garrote. Something thin and flexible enough to keep hidden under her mat or on her person, but strong and resilient enough to strangle a man like Merrick. Ahri began to wonder how long it had taken to do this. How long had Lauryn been imprisoned here?

Lauryn kept laughing, almost giddily, and she looked down at Ahri in glee.

"I've killed him...he's finally dead...Ahri, don't you see? He's finally dead! Dead! Dead! Dead!"


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Dregen

Senior Member

10-07-2013

Reserved for future chapter posts 5


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Dregen

Senior Member

10-07-2013

Reserved for future chapter posts 6


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Dregen

Senior Member

10-07-2013

Reserved for future chapter posts 7


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Dregen

Senior Member

10-16-2013

Thread has been updated and chapter 8 has been posted. As always, the entire story has also been uploaded onto FF.net. Details on first post.

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Dregen

Senior Member

05-05-2014

Updated 5/05, chapter 10 will be posted soon.


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Dregen

Senior Member

05-08-2014

Updated 5/08.


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Dregen

Senior Member

05-13-2014

Chapter 11 posted on ff.net, link posted on front page. I'm no longer posting the chapters to forum.


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Dregen

Senior Member

09-24-2014

Updated story with Chapter 12, posted on FF.net. Check 1st post for link.


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