A Vacant Turn of Events
Jumping down from the trains dark interior, I peered through the steady downpour. Even as thorough as I’d been about masking my scent, I knew it wouldn’t take the Guardians long to know I was here. To my right I caught a glimpse of something dark slip beneath the shadows of the loading dock.
Good. I thought. The council had decided to get right to the point and not waste my time.
Tipping my head back, I let the rain cascade over my face, water tickling the hairs on my muzzle, the leather on my nose. Each drop supplying me with what I would need for the battle. When I was finished, I turned and headed towards the gravel parking lot.
I’d chosen the open rather than the tighter quarters of docks and buildings to let my opponent attack me. Guardians might be faster than werewolves, but our natural ability to know when and where the enemy will strike often gives us the advantage. As a mage wolf, I was counting on it.
On silent pads I trotted across the lot careful to avoid puddles. Water is a powerful conduit and I wasn’t about to give the Guardian any advantage if I could help it. Between the gloom and the heavy rains I was forced to rely upon my sense of smell, hearing, and taste.
The pungent scent of pheromones told me more about the jaguar than the Councils earlier briefing. Approximately my height, next to one hundred fifty pounds, and female, not male. Interesting! They’d sent a breeder rather than a warrior to kill me. Interesting. Males tended to be less calculating and easier to predict. Female assassins on the other hand-made up for their lack of size through stealth and skill.
I’d calculated on the open space and the assassins knowledge of my impairment to draw the attack to the left, giving me the advantage and letting me use her weight and speed to help carry her up and over me.
I should have listened to my earlier intuition. Instead of landing where I wanted her, she twisted in midair, throwing her body to my right. Then, like a battering ram she used her shoulder to propel me off my feet and onto my blind side, momentarily disorienting me, exposing the vulnerability of my belly to her claws.
But I hadn’t lived this long without learning a few tricks of my own. As she followed me across the gravel, razor-sharp claws extended, jaws wide, I shoved a foot into her open maw and growled ‘avativacn’.
Her eyes widened moments before the implosion.
Once I was back on my feet I shook off bits of rock and animal debris from my coat. Then, picking up the obsidian remains of the Guardian with my teeth, I headed back to the waiting train.
Leaning over, Arturo pried the relic from between my teeth. “Staying or going governor?”
“Staying. It seems there’s been a recent vacancy in the Guardianship that may need filling.”