Chapter 99 = The Feral Way
Disclaimer: All characters here are of my own invention, but the original idea of Yoshies, Birdos, etcetera, are copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
32nd of Eira, CD 2156; Somewhere in the Crelata Forests
The rest of the journey had gone without problems, the group stopping midway to take a break and bury the bodies of the fallen they had carried from the battle. Eventually finding a clearing, Darkmark watched as they unpacked all the tents and supplies with such speed and precision that anyone could tell they had done it many, many times before.
Darkmark offered his help a few times but was politely refused, eventually joining the sentries watching the perimeter as the less important things were unpacked and spread out. A hunting party was dispatched and came back with fruit and meat for the settlement, but the whole time he was there Darkmark felt like he was being watched. Not that he was terribly surprised; a non-feral with wings and shining red eyes tended to stand out in a group of ferals.
As the food was prepared or cooked and handed out, the ferals thanked Karshina before eating, with some of them sticking around to talk, some mourning the losses of their friends or family, and others heading off to do their own thing, the children staying near the area where the food was to get extra or play with their friends.
Eating mostly from his own supplies, when Darkmark stood up from the gathering of ferals who were still eating and turned to leave he was accosted by the sky-blue feral he rescued earlier, and dragged almost literally into a nearby tent.
“What is it?” Darkmark asked, wondering if she was injured.
She let go of his arm and stood before him, looking into his eyes. “I… I never got to thank you properly for saving me earlier.”
“Really, it’s alright…” he began.
She cut him off by wrapping her arms around him and kissing him firmly, trying to pull him onto the cushions on the floor but not able to overcome his strength, as he resisted her affections enough to push her away…
Marcus gave a muffled command, before putting his hands on Shiala’s chest and gently but firmly pushing her away from him. Still keeping her at arms’ length, he sighed and said, “It’s too soon… I don’t want to just yet, you know?”
Darkmark forced the memory out of his head. “Please, don’t…”
“Why not?” She insisted, gently pulling his hands off of her. “If you hadn’t helped me, I would have died… I should repay you for that.”
“I have… bad memories.” He said sadly. “I knew another feral, but she… she was murdered.”
Blood splashed down Shiala’s front and onto the ground, and her body began to sag as her consciousness started to make the permanent slip into the oblivion that was death…
“Death is nothing new to me, or to any of us.” She replied, moving a hand up and stroking Darkmark’s cheek as she saw him turn away slightly, his features turning into a grimace of sadness mixed with hatred. “You saw it… we healed the wounded, picked up the bodies, and moved on for our own survival… yes, we carried the bodies, but we buried them after awhile and said farewell and kept going… that’s just how it is.”
“My hands are stained with blood, and the darkness is coming for me… so many deaths I have had to avenge… so many lives I have taken… I know what I must do, but whether I can do it when the time comes, I do not know…”
“It’s… I don’t… I can’t think that way.” Darkmark mumbled. “I… I guess I’m still naïve like that.”
“You know it’s a problem, though…” she whispered softly to him, putting her arms around him again. “Some way or another you have to change the way you think, you have to move on, to accept what others offer you…”
“Like this. Doesn’t this feel good? If you feel good or happy, you can forget easier. But if you get depressed and feel down, then you’ll dwell on the past. I believe that’s one of Manny’s proverbs; ‘Those who live in the past are unprepared for the future’.”
“I think I can help you get over her. If you’re happier, then you can move on easier, right?”
“What you’re saying is right.” Darkmark whispered back, closing his eyes and trying to ward away the memories flooding back to him. “I know it is. But I… I can’t…”
“You have to try anyway.” She said in a low tone, moving up close to him once more. “Don’t say you can’t if you’ve never tried… of course you’ll never be happy if you don’t look for happiness… and if you don’t let people make you happy…”
Darkmark opened his eyes and looked at her. She had to be a bit older than he was, but was still the typical feral – strong and powerful, yet caring to her friends. “Why… why are you doing this?” He asked. “Why are you trying so hard to help me?”
“Because you helped me. You saved my life.” Came the reply. “I don’t have much to offer you… just my words, and my body… but you’re troubled. To think that someone who helped me is so troubled bothers me as well, and if I can do anything to relieve that…”
She felt no opposition this time as she pulled him down onto the cushions, rolling up on top of him and whispering into his ear-hole. “Anything… if it’ll relieve your mind, if it’ll make you happy… if only for a little while…”
Darkmark put his arms around her body, closing his eyes again. The warmth of her comforted him a little, but… he hardly knew her. He didn’t even know her name. But then again, it was the feral way… and if it would make him happy, there was nothing to lose. Whatever he might be, Saviour or Dark God, Fabled One or just Traveller, he still needed to be happy…
He felt her lips at his again, and he offered no resistance, lost in thoughts and memories and pleasurable feelings and moral conflicts, trying to decide what to do…
Have I fallen so far as to resort to this for pleasure? For happiness?
But it gives me enjoyment and nothing is wrong with it…
But it is empty… empty pleasure… but pleasure nonetheless.
Is this really the only way I can achieve happiness?
No… but it is readily available, you can take it right now…nothing is wrong with it… it harms nobody…quite the opposite…
It won’t make me happy.
But I don’t know that…
As her hands danced across his skin, deftly removing his equipment, he sank back into the cushions and submitted himself to her, for a single night forcing away all his troubles and problems and forsaking his worries for simple, fleshly pleasures…
Forgive me, Shiala… he thought absently at one point, sometimes I just want happiness.
To be continued…