Vol 4: Chapter 2, Part 2: Freedom & Binding

Shianne felt the tension in the room thicken as father and son met eyes for the first time in many turnings. Hoping to diffuse the moment of tension, she held up her arm and made a face at the Commander.

“If it’s not too much trouble, Commander, I’ve had just about enough of this gaudy thing.” The lamplight flickered on the gold and jeweled cuff, catching both Wolves attention. Mission accomplished, Shianne thought as she felt the tension in the room break.

Commander Rollstad beckoned her forward,

“Yes, yes, you’ve fulfilled your end of the bargain.” He said, roughly jerking her arm forward, studying the cuff. “Part of me wants to deny you this freedom, for all you’ve done.” His eyes met hers and she saw the naked malice in them. “I could do that, you know.” The Wolf said, releasing her arm.

A feral grin transformed Shianne’s face, and she leaned in close,

“And I could fill you with daggers before you could even cry out for help.” She hissed.

Regaining her composure, she stepped back, “But let’s just keep the unpleasantness to a minimum, hmm?” she said with a cackle of laughter.

Rollstad gave her a flat look before unceremoniously placing his paw on the jeweled cuff just long enough for a soft click to break the silence in the room, causing the cuff to fall to the floor with a heavy thunk.

Shianne blinked at the bright orange fur of her now bare wrist for a moment before she rubbed it greedily, relishing the feeling of her fur.

“Annalose and Ardra, that feels good!” she murmured with glee. Turning away from the desk and the Commander.

After a moment of bliss, she looked up to see Ragnon, his eyes cast down to the cold, stone floor, and she remembered the consequences of that bracelet falling away. Her mind raced; two guards outside the office door, then two more by the entrance. There has got to be more guards than that, she thought moving to stand with Ragnon.

“You’re well then?” the Commander said, breaking her concentration and the silence. Shianne grinned at him,

“Quite well, thank you so much for asking.” She replied sarcastically.

Commander Rollstad’s face twisted into a snarl,

“I didn’t mean you, you insolent kit! Your work is done here. Be gone.” The Wolf growled.

Shianne turned to look at Ragnon, wishing they had taken the time for a last-minute discussion on how to get them both out of this room — this building, before they’d come inside. She knew she could get out alone, even if Rollstad’s letting her leave was ruse, but getting them both out of this fortress, that she was certain was well-guarded despite the few Wolves they had seen on their way in, was an entirely different and more difficult matter.

After meeting Ragnon’s eyes, she felt her gut twist, and knew from his resigned look that he was going to be staying, and she needn’t bother trying to make any last-minute plans to free him.

“Ragnon…” she said softly, reaching out to touch his forearm. The Wolf tried for one of his trademark toothy smiles, but it came across forced, and faded far too quickly.

“I’ll be fine, Shianne. Get out of here before that bastard changes his mind.” He said with a sideways look at the Commander.

She hated leaving him there. But it wasn’t her choice anymore. Pulling him into a gentle hug and expertly turning him out of earshot of his father, she whispered,

“We’ll break you out. Count on it.” Ragnon gave her a grim nod before gently breaking the hug and taking a couple of steps away from her, towards his father.

Shianne flashed the Commander a grin,

“Until we meet again.” She said with a bit more edge in her voice than she’d intended, and then she left the room. A guard escorted her out of the building. As she walked past the two Wolves guarding the entrance pathway to the fortress, she pulled up her hood.

“Can’t believe he’s letting her leave.” She heard one of the guard’s snarl, as she walked away, crossing the wet cobblestone street. As she slipped into an alley she thought to herself, me either.

To be continued…

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