So yes, A/N. Promised myself I wouldn't have them, but I guess we all break promises hmm? Here is chapter four, and yes I have changed it in the eight hours since I originally posted it. You see I finished this at TWO AM in the morning before posting and like the dumbass I am I forgot to reread and make sure I didn't drop words or ruined proper grammar from ever returning to my hallowed halls again. So please forgive me if you read this before and saw the plethora of mistakes I missed my first go 'round. Mostly fixed now, and working on Chapter Five. For those of you that have stuck around since the beginning, you'll realize a lot has changed since I first started this novel. That two year hiatus from posting wasn't spend with my thumb up my butt, no sir-ee. Hopefully my writing is better, I know my pacing as grown as well as my descriptions. In the original version this chapter had 20,000 words (I know, I know) and she had already been to their first town and all that before this chapter even started. I hated it, and we are still in the revise revise revise section. This version just didn't make me want to dig my eyes out so I posted it.
Now guys, I really need some feedback. I can see you reading, I watch my views like a fanatic watches Doctor Who reruns (which I also do haha) and I know you're there. I can sense it. It would take two seconds, honest. Tell me you love it, tell me you hate it. Oh god please tell me the parts you dislike or hate and for the love of god WHY so then I know what I should fix. One person messaged me, telling me how unrealistic certain parts were and how they couldn't stand it and guess what? I changed it. And I fucking fell in love with it. Reading the two versions side by side makes me cringe now because I see how wrong I was. I just need the push guys. Please. It will make my writing so much better. Next update should be up on Sunday or Monday. See you then :)


CHAPTER FOUR

It was dark now, and the stars winked at her from their beds in the sky. Someone had built a lone campfire, it's flame warm and calming as she sat hunched over staring in to it. The delicious smell of recently cooked food teased her nostrils and her stomach rumbled. Keelin curled in tighter around herself, wrapping her arms around her knees as she buried her face.

She could feel his gaze on her, could feel in crawling along her skin, but she couldn't look up at him, she refused to. Not with anger singing in her veins, with betrayal and sadness and frustration welling in her throat.

She replayed the last hour in her mind, in learning that he had taken her from her home, had whisked her away from everything she had ever known, from the one place she felt safe.

She hated him for that, a new feeling in the pit of her gut, so heavy and sour.

So much worse though, was the feeling of betrayal from her so called companion, the presence in the back of her head urging her to accept this, to be glad that she was too far home to run back, that they had left her father without a word.

Her heart panged in her chest at the thought of him returning home to find her gone, no trace to tell him where she was.

She had tried to run back regardless, making it just out of the firelight's glow before Moonlight had tripped her and Drew had dragged her back to the fire, kicking and screaming.

His bird was back in his skin at least, if only she could do that to her cat as well. The fur ball had placed herself right beside Keelin, stating that she would keep the girl there until she saw reason. And somehow the animal had kept her there, whenever Keelin moved the cat followed, maddenly matching her move for move until she plopped back down defeated.

It was enough to make Keelin scream, and her arms tightened around her knees as her stomach rumbled again.

He cleared his throat, breaking through her thoughts and she glanced up, glaring.

He seemed unaffected by her gaze, spooning the stew he had made in to a clay bowl, steam rising from the mixture as it moved from the pot in to the dish. "Do you wish to eat?" He asked softly, clear gaze meeting hers.

She couldn't stop her stomach making a noise again and she tightened her arms. "No," she snapped with anger boiling in her stomach with the hatred there. "I wish to go home, away from your madness and a stupid cat that takes the side of a complete stranger over me."

She jumped as the clay bowl cracked in his hand with a loud snap, and she watched with widening eyes as a jagged tear crawled up its side to the rim between his fingers. His eyes suddenly blazed, his voice a whip when he spoke. "You will not say such things in my presence," he spat, but for all his anger he set the bowl aside gently.

She flinched away, curling tighter in on herself, holding her breath, searching for the feeling of safety she had felt so fleetingly after she had woken. It eluded her now, leaving her in this place where the man across the fire stared coldly across at her, anger sparking in his eyes depths when she was the one that had been wronged, not him! She didn't ask to be taken from her home, had tried to drive him away with every breath, had tried to stab him for gods' sake!
"She is your Soul-Sister you foolish little girl, your familiar. Just because you're too stupid to realize what that means, doesn't give you any excuse for insulting her," he continued, his voice a low growl.

Keelin opened her mouth before she thought of what she was saying, words flying past her lips like darts. "If you like her so much you take her you bastard! She's no good to me anymore, leaving me with a madman like you," she said with a sneer, hate making her words sharp.

The next moment she feared for her life as he shot to his feet, fury tightening his face as he rose to his towering height. Shadows flickered over his face as the light from the fire flickered, and the breath whooshed out of her lungs as her mind flashed to her dream.

With a cry she flinched, her hands reaching up to block her face as a broken wail built in her chest, panic filling her. Pain grew behind her eyes and she closed them, an image flashing across her mind's eye-flickering torches lining the walls with him sitting in his golden throne, his giant hands tight on the arms, with his chains tightening like living things around him. Gods, she was back there, in that horrible place, with those eyes, those horrible soulless-
Softness was rubbing against her face, fur tickling her nose as a low purr came from the small beast worming its way in to her lap.

It jerked her back to the present, the presence in her mind growing, calming her heart and lungs.

Without thought, her fingers were digging into the fur, reaching skin and scratching.

The motion calmed her more, until her mind was a haze of the other presence, forming around her until it coated every thought.

She felt fingers through her fur, felt the contentment and joy from that touch alone, felt the purr build in her chest as she basked in the fire's warmth. She was safe, her tail wrapping around the hand that stroked her, her eyes opening to slits so she could stare at the Fur-less one across the fire.
It was strange though, her vision black and white with no color, and everything was sharper than before, the darkness clearer. She could see through the shadow to the Fur-less ones face, could see as his expression shifted from fury to something close to worry, to guilt.
And then she looked over her shoulder, and again saw herself, her eyes closed as fire danced over her skin, but her features blurry, though the stars behind her were clear and sharp.

She came back to her body with a snap in her chest like a wet towel, drawing breath into her human lungs, the cat in her lap mewing softly as she opened her eyes, drawing in the sudden color, reeling with sudden confusion.

"What was that!?" she gasped, her lungs tight and heavy, as if a stone sat on her chest. Her fingers stilled in Moonlight's fur, bunching it as she sank into her skin, the air on her skin heavier than before, the sound of the crackling fire louder, sharper. Moonlight hissed slightly in complaint, moving out from under the fingers that dug too harshly into her skin, leaping from Keelin's lap and shaking herself off. She looked back at her Soul-Sister, eyes slitted as she stretched, her hindquarters raising into the air, claws spread. With a yowl she was off, running towards the horse that had returned after the fire.

The giant horse was asleep, and didn't even shift when the cat curled up at its side, her eyes narrowed at Keelin one last time before she buried her face in her tail.

Keelin missed the cat's weight in her lap before her heart hardened, reminding herself that she didn't care about the animal anymore, that Moonlight had betrayed her. It still hurt her heart to think of it, but Drew tore her from her thoughts with his next words.

"You bonded with her," he murmured as he moved around the fire to her side, kneeling so close to her she could reach out and touch him without trying. She tensed to find him so close, but her eyes stayed locked on his face, at the knowledge there, hate temporarily forgotten.

Then his large hand was holding her face, turning it towards the light and she gasped at it, fighting for only a moment before his fingers tightened slightly, forcing her gently.

"Dilated pupils, face flushed," he thought aloud, his voice clinical as his fingers moving to the side of her neck, pressing. "Heartbeat elevated," she felt power touch her soul, brushing where the beast within slumbered and she felt it stir. She jerked away, breath heaving, reaching up to where in shifted in her heart, fingers digging into her skin as she shoved it back, away from her body. Keelin couldn't seem to breathe properly, her lungs tight, and she needed control, needed it now as the world seem to spin.

For the first time it eased, settling down as she closed her eyes in relief. Something released in her chest, and she could breathe finally, the first time since that morning, before all this madness happened. She gasped in big breaths gratefully, feeding her starving lungs. "Power recharged," he continued as if she hadn't moved, grabbing her face again, forcing it to face him.

She looked at him, eyes wide but panic fading, calmed by the fact that for the first time since the fire, she had managed to reign in her inner monster.
She felt steadier after that, more in control and her shaking eased, until she glared back at him again, anger rekindling.

His eyes searched her face, looking for what, she didn't know, but she did not like one bit being manhandled like she was a doll for him to play with. She jerked away again, hissing at him before she stopped, realizing with shock what had just passed her lips.

A small smirk crossed his lips at the sound, eyes glittering. "And still connected to the bond on a subconscious level. Maybe there's hope for you yet," he told her, and she wanted to smack that look right off his face, her palm itching with the need.

Her hand was up before she realized what she was doing, sailing through the air, but he caught her wrists easily, his smirk growing. "It would be best if you didn't slap your teacher little girl," he warned her softly, amusement coloring his voice.

She hissed at him again, some small part of her liking the sound before she jerked her hand away, shooting to her feet, and whirling away.

Just before the edge of the fire's glow she stopped, looking back at him still kneeling there, and she saw it in his face, saw that he knew she wouldn't leave, not with curiosity mixing with her hate and anger, muting them.

She hated him even more for that knowledge alone.

Keelin couldn't stop herself from asking though. Her curiosity had always been her downfall. "What do you mean bonded to her?"

He stood, arms crossing over his chest. "Are you going to stay standing there all night or come sit back down and talk civilly?"

She stood there for a second more, internally debating, and it physically hurt her to move forward, her stomach cramping at the thought of doing anything the man wanted. She could still feel his fingers on her face, could feel where they had wrapped around her wrist so easily.

Keelin sat down on the other side of the fire slowly, warily eyeing him for movement, but he didn't come closer as he had before and she felt herself relax slightly. She felt safer with the fire between them, a small barrier, but there all the same.

He stared at her for a moment, his eyes calm and accessing, and her skin itched under his scrutiny. She didn't like the weight of his gaze on her skin, liked it less than she had his hands on her face, felt as if he were weighing her, finding her lacking.

Keelin felt awkward, strange in her own skin as silence fell and she waited for him to speak. But he just kept staring, and the weight of is eyes pressed her down, making her small and she shivered remembering feeling small before, her eyes sliding away from his, back to the fire she had lost herself in earlier. It was distracting, the fire, hypnotic and peaceful. It didn't remind her of fear, of her dreams, or her powers. It just was, warm and bright.

She felt her body calming with it, relaxing until her muscles were no longer locked in place, until her chest eased and she felt almost like herself again.

It was only then that he spoke, as if he had waited for her to relax.

"You bonded with your Soul-Sister in the way thousands of others have before you, sharing her mind, her feelings, looking through her eyes. She can do the same with you, but that comes later, when you've fully accepted the beast within." he paused for a moment and she looked up, tearing her gaze from the fire to see him shifting, sitting down with his legs folded in front of him. He reached over for a small branch beside him, throwing it into the fire before speaking again. "Your bonding differs from others slightly though, and from what your familiar has told me, I can only guess it's because you rejected your bond for so long."

He looked back at her again, his eyes judging, his mouth in a thin line.

She felt another sting at the thought of what else Moonlight might have told him. "So glad to see that you and her have become fast friends," she countered sarcastically. "Have you compared killing preferences yet? She likes to rip the heads off of rats before she eats them, might work for you."

His eyes glittered at her, catching the fire's light, making them darker. "After eight years of silence from her bonded one its a surprise she hasn't gone mad," he argued. "And I think any sort of contact from another would be welcome, especially from one that doesn't use her as a mere tool for escape!"

Keelin flinched at his words, at the guilt they brought. He continued, ignoring her movement. "She is the other half of your soul you foolish little girl, and you refuse to see it! I know you feel the bond, no matter how new it is formed, I know your instincts are there. She is no mere house-pet," he spat the word, hands slicing through the air as anger overtook him. "She is magic incarnate, your connection to the Earth Mother, to your power, to everything that makes up your little stunted world. And you're too stupid to realize what is right in front of you, to realize what the gods have given you!"

Her head snapped up, and her eyes blazed. "The gods abandoned me!" She screamed back at him, her voice hoarse. She stared at him a moment as he sat silent, jaw clenched. Something in her cracked at his gaze, a well of buried emotions streaming forth, filling her mind with the truth she had shoved away for so many years, had trained herself to turn away from at the first sight of it. Tears were building, swimming in her eyes, and her voice choked, barely passing her suddenly tight throat as she remembered just how alone in this world she was, just how cursed. "They left me here with a beast inside my skin that hungers for blood," She said, her voice breaking and her nails were biting into her arms, self-hatred boiling to the surface. "I have prayed, and prayed, and prayed, for years to wipe my memories, for them to take this monster in my body away. I don't want this!" She breathed out, shaking her head as tears fell from the corners of her eyes. The words were wrenched from her, coming from somewhere deep inside her that she had ignored for years, had buried deep inside. "I want a life where I don't have to live in fear, where I can be normal, not stuck isolated from the world in the woods with nothing but a cat for company. Where my father," Her voice cracked at the world, at the burning behind her eyes and she closed them, rocking back and forth. "-doesn't fear me, doesn't look at me and blame me for the hardships we've had to suffer. All my life I've been alone, and for what?!" Her eyes flashed open, pinning him in place. "Because your precious gods decided to curse me with this?!"

And suddenly he was holding her again as she sobbed, as she curled into his chest, hating him, hating herself, and hating the safety she felt in his heartbeat. "I hate dreaming of fire, and magic, and shadows," she confessed, words spewing from her mouth like water. "Of waking up so afraid I c-can't breathe." Her hands were wrapped in his shirt, clutching at it for strength. She didn't think how he had moved so quickly, one moment across the fire, the next holding her. "I want to g-go home, where I can draw, and forget, and never have to dream of the Shadowmaster again."

He tensed at what she said, arms tightening around her, but she continued, uncaring of the difference.

"He burned that man alive, burned him for no reason, and I felt his power, and it was just like what I did, so evil and dark and thick over my skin. I was s-so afraid, but it was just a dream, like all those other dreams of fire and pain, and gods I hate it. I hate it ." She shuddered deeply, biting her lip until she tasted copper. "I just want my dreams to end."

Her breathing was so loud in her ears at the face of his silence, and her fingers tightened in his shirt. Slowly the heart pounding in her ears calmed, and her emotions drained away, leaving her slightly shaky and tired.

With clarity came a low burning in her gut of shame and embarrassment. Instantly her fingers were away from his shirt, clenching into fists.

She couldn't stop the hiccup that rose from her crying and her face burned as her embarrassment rose higher. He was so silent, his arms still holding her though so still it seemed like death, though she had felt his heart beat just under her fingers just seconds before.

Keelin moved away quickly, off his lap and out of his arms to the hard ground in front of him, her head down as she hid her face. "I-I don't know why-"

"Fáidh uair," he whispered so quietly she almost missed it. Her gaze met his, so dark as he stared at her, his face suddenly haggard and worn. She opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but his look silenced her instantly.

"You see the past and present in dreams," he stated quietly, his eyes boring in to her. "The ability to travel thousands of miles and transcend time while asleep; watching others in a state of unbeing. While asleep, natural defenses crumble, and that what before was impossible is possible." He paused, and his hard expression cracked, just a little, and she thought she saw wonder color his eyes. She had a sinking feeling in her stomach as he spoke again. "There hasn't been a Fáidh uair in generations, and you cross my path just as I was destined to die."

Her eyes slid closed as sickness crawled its way up her throat and she fought down a scream. Yet another power from magic she wanted no part of, yet another part of her that wasn't natural, even to a mad man such as Drew. Yet another part of her she didn't know, had no knowledge on how to control.
There had been dreams before, dreams she suppressed and ignored come daylight. Every year on the same night she would have a dream, different from her others, sharper, real. Feeling just as the last one did, with cold at first and then magic skittering along her spine. One with fire and pain and death is every moment. Each time replaying the incident from her childhood, but from a different person that she had killed. And before that, before the incident, she remembered hazy dreams that she would tell her father were "different", that she hadn't been sleeping, but seeing.

And now she knew they had been real, not just nightmares from her past come back to haunt her. Her stomach rolled at the thought that the pain she had felt had been real to those people, all their terror. All caused by an eight year old that had never learned to fear the monster in side.

But she did now.

She opened her eyes to look into the fire, her face grim. She didn't want to hear him anymore, didn't want to know what else was inherently wrong with her, what the gods had cursed her with. In that moment all she wanted to do was curl up and sleep for years.

Keelin was so tired from this day, exhausted down to her bones, to her very soul. She just wanted to sleep.

But Drew's voice wouldn't let her, coming soft over the night air again as he continued and she fought the urge to cry.

"I found you for a reason, a reason only the gods can truly guess," he told her. "And you may be just the hope my people have looked for all these years, you may be the key to finding the Fated One."

Her eyes flashed fury as her gaze swung back to him. "Your people," she spat. "Not mine." She swallowed at the scratchiness to her throat, to the roughness of her voice. "Your gods," she continued, shaking her head. "Not mine. If you aren't going to take me home, at least let me sleep."

She hated how her voice sounded begging at the end, but gods she was so tired and would give anything to have Drew be silent, to not have him look at he as if she was suddenly a person when before she had been but a lump to yell at.

Keelin expected him to argue, to push when she felt so close to breaking, but maybe he sensed that.

Without another word he grabbed a blanket beside them that he must have grabbed before he had held her, handing it to her with a pensive face. "Sleep near the fire, it will keep you warm and safe from bugs," he advised and she almost snapped at him again but wisely held her tongue.

She wouldn't have to worry about warmth or bugs if she was home, laying safe tucked in her bed with her father just scant feet away. She wouldn't be afraid of whatever lurked beneath her skin, of having another dream more horrible than the first.

Keelin shivered at the thought and drew the blanket around her shoulder. Gods she hoped that would be the last dream for a long, long time. She had never had two on the same night, but it seemed this day was fraught with new things.

She followed his advice despite a deep part of her wanting to be petty, to sleep farther away and show him how angry she was. But even she realized how foolish that was, and if she was ever to escape she would need her strength and rest.

Keelin moved around to the side of the fire away from Drew, wrapping the scratchy wool blanket around her as best she could. It was thin, but tightly woven, and helped greatly with the cold. Even so, she moved closer to the fire, the night's cold nipping at her ears despite her warmth. The ground was hard and freezing even through the blanket at it was long moments before her shivers subsided enough for her to rest her head on her arm and try to sleep.

She had a last thought of how she hated everything and everyone in that moment before she began to fall in to slumbers sweet embrace. Her last sight was of Drew, staring in to the fire with his eyebrows drawn, a frown etched on his features.