When the chance had been given him to return home to Sulanet and his family, he'd passed on it, much to the shock of all in Nilusk. While he'd already lived there contently for five months now, none had actually expected the injured warrior to remain. Of course, none had expected what he felt for the young Kalari, whose family had taken him in, or how she came to feel for him. So, when the second year of his residence within the small frontier village came with a proposal, people were more shocked than ever. This was the last thing anyone had expected, and yet it had come about.

Remus hadn't cared that his announcement had caused a stir in the small town, and just went on with his happy life. Everything was perfect. Sure, he didn't have the sea or sword to live by anymore, but he had something new and something better. There was love now, for a sweet girl who had cared for him when others had given up. There was the work of a farmer to be done, and even a scarred man like him was useful considering his strength. He even went as far as to teach the children how to make their own fishing lines and dig up smaller sea animals from the beach to help round out the diet of the farmers. Life was, for lack of a more suitable word, good.

Here he was now, the evening late and the planting done for the day. While he was more than aware that he'd need to go to sleep so he'd have energy for the early morning work the next day, something in the air was keeping the man tense. He was nineteen now, a man in the eyes of the humans of Carodos, and still a hero in the opinion of Nilusk. Two years previous he'd saved them from an attack that he could not explain, but had known he was supposed to fight. And now, the same feeling he'd had in the time leading up to that battle was renewed. It was all unnerving.

For a year now Remus had not been compelled to raise a hand to the claw he wore always around his neck, and had not minded telling his fiancee of the thing either. Suddenly he was here, staring out at the stars with his hand upon the thing, clutching it like a lifeline.

"Remus?" a gentle voice asked from behind him.

The man, who had chosen to leave his hair a bland black and eyes a basic brown while in the village, turned to regard Kalari. She was a beautiful woman in his mind. Yes, her features were plain, yes, her brown hair was kind of mousy, and yes, she wasn't as full a figure as some of the woman seen in the market in Sulanet, but she was perfect. No woman moved through Sulanet with as much confidence as she did, and none dared question her opinion, even though she was only eighteen years of age.

"Why are you out here Remus?" she asked as he turned to regard her. Something like concern touched her eyes.

"I am not sure Kalari. I just feel as if I must be."

"You've been... odd lately. Tense even. You forgot about how to handle Jaso for a few moments and earned a kick for it..."

True enough that was. Earlier, he had been selecting a horse for his plow and when trying to get his normal, the chestnut Jaso hooked up, he'd accidentally let the buckle of a harness strike the beast while he was going behind it and received a very nice bruise upon his stomach for it. Were he anything other than a shifter the incident could have killed him. As it was he'd reacted upon instinct, changing the skin of his stomach to thick hide almost like armor. Still the bruises could have been avoided if he had been paying attention.

"I don't know Kalari. It feels like something is going to happen, and I know I'm not ready for it... Something bad, and I just can't explain it. It's like how I felt before coming to Nilusk. It's how I felt before I found the Slirvorm."

"Then we should tell my father," she spoke, moving to his side to rest a hand on his shoulder. "If you have a feeling then we should take it seriously. Maybe the Slirvorm will take another chance to attack us."

"We should send a message to Darnaw," he said after a bit more silence. He'd been regularly corresponding with his friend in the human fort, and so getting a message there would not be very hard at all.

"Do you think that this is that kind of situation? Must we call in soldiers?"

"Filan... he will understand my worry. We need people here who know how to fight better than the villagers do. If my feeling is right then they are more important than anything right now."

Kalari nodded, "Come then. We'll write your message and send someone with it at dawn. But you must rest."

Remus allowed himself to be lead away by the female, for she had a good point. Yet he could not help but feel as if the waiting might be what he worried most about. What if they came too late?

The morning came though, despite all of the apprehensions in Remus that it might not come at all. The runner was sent with his message marked for the eyes of Filan only. In it the former warrior told his friend of his fears, and mentioned a word his fiancee had asked him about but he'd casually avoided explaining... 'Egsu'. All morning he worked the fields with the others of the village while Kalari set the women about sharpening weapons and preparing new bows and arrows, just in case all of the horrible things Remus sensed truly came to be.

It was at dawn the next day that the fears proved themselves. While others were enjoying their meals and saying their prayers to any number of gods and goddess (but primarily Eleui for she was goddess of the earth) Remus was out in the fields, doing something he hadn't done since he'd been injured. The man moved through the warm-ups with the sword without his previous grace to such a point that he was forced to shift himself a feline lower half to retain his balance while he regained familiarity with the blade. The nondescript black hair and brown eyes had been swapped for hair of poison green and his eyes a feline gold that suited his current limbs. It was as he swept up with the sword and sighted along it he saw the worst thing. There was a cloud of dust rising upon the horizon and a mass of blackness that he could not really describe beyond that.

Remus was never much of a man to swear, but desperate times called for desperate measures right? So he bellowed at the top of his lungs for someone to ring the alarm bell before shifting himself back to a fully human state. With this done the male shifted again, making his skin darker, almost blending with the shades of the ground itself. There was little more than this that the man could do other than wait and hope the town readied itself.

Part 10
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