Author's Note: Hello. For those of you who read my older (and much worse) story Storm Bringer, this is the remake of it. Well, partially. Anyways, Kitty, I'm sorry about kind of stealing your name. It just fit so well, and it's not her full name or anything. Sorry. So anyways, here's the story, enjoy. Ok, timelines. It's set after the end of Xiaolin Showdown and before the fourth (er, tenth if you want to get technical) book of the Night World series by LJ Smith. If you haven't read/watched either of those, I highly suggest it. And for those of you who have, it actually makes a good crossover. Surprising, no?
Disclamier: I do not own Xiaolin Showdown or Night World.
Chapter One - Of Dragons and Blood
The forest seemed to surround the trio as they traversed across the mossy ground. It was a dark forest, but that didn't mean it wasn't still full of life – as was confirmed in the mind of the apparent leader of the group when she saw a flash of orange, striped fur, followed by a raven bursting out of the treetops.
Rhiannon nodded to the slight girl on her right, who finished her already half-finished transformation and flew up after the black bird. After a moment, the golden-haired leader shifted into her own half-form. Better to be aware now that the owner of this territory had been alerted to their presence. And one never knew what a dragon would decide to do.
As her ears lengthened into white furry points, Rhia heard the familiar crack of energy that came with the summoning of a witch-fire. The shape-shifter certinatly felt much more safe now that she was partly wolf, at least she now had the advantage of even more refined senses.
As the last of the snowy fur branched across her body, Rhiannon turned to her friend with a questioning look in her bright gray eyes. Asha nodded in response to un asked question – she was ready with healing and defensive spells once they found a suitable resting place.
A flurry of feathers suddenly dropped through the canopy the land on the ground, and the kestrel quickly transformed into a thin girl with dark brown hair. The only resemblance between the two creatures were bright, blue-green eyes and the same air of "I won't hurt you if I don't have to" that surrounded her.
"There's a nice little clearing up ahead," the bird girl said, talking as if she had already been part of a conversation. "It'll do fine, we're close enough to the mountain now, right?"
"No, Kitty," replied Asha sarcastically, moving a bright red lock of hair out of her face with the hand that wasn't glowing crimson with magic. "Rhia sent you to scout for campground because we're too far from the fortress to set up."
"I was just making sure," the kestrel replied, glaring at the witch. "You don't need to get all sarcastic on me."
"Kittyhawk, Acacia," hissed Rhiannon suddenly, looking pointedly at the two girls who had recently been bickering. "Quiet. We don't know who's listening. "
With a few muffled apologies, the pair fell silent at the use of their full names – this was serious. The group continued to walk ahead, Rhiannon listening, Kittyhawk watching, and Acacia making sure she had thought of everything that was needed.
Within the hour the little group had found the clearing that Kittyhawk had told them about. It was small, but it would do – and there was a small stream running through it, which would be good for defense if anyone decided to attack.
Overall, it was a strange group, and even stranger in the fact that they had all grown up together, which had made sure that they would become a strong and well-bonded faction of the Circle Daybreak force when they grew up.
On the surface, just the fact that three Nightworlder's of different species were traveling together might seem a little off to anyone who hadn't been in on the new appearance of Circle Daybreak and their mission. But this group was made even stranger by that fact that their leader wasn't just a shape-shifter, but half vampire as well.
Rhia dropped her pack on the ground beside the river, and then turned towards Kitty. The other girl was already looking at her expectantly, obviously waiting for the signal from the leader.
"Asha, work on the wards while we're gone" Rhia said, addressing the small red-head before turning back to Kitty. "Now, let's go hunt."
Kittyhawk grinned happily, before transforming. Brown and black feathers crept over her skin with a tickling motion, her bones changing and shifting while her head molded into a sharp beak, all the while the bird girl was shrinking, growing smaller until the only thing there was a small bird. The kestrel then flew into the air with an excited whistle, waiting for her friend to finish her own metamorphosis.
It was almost like a sigh in the way that Rhia dropped onto all fours, a bristly tail sprouting out and ivory teeth sharpening in her newly formed muzzle. With a yawn and a stretch the white and black wolf resisted the urge to give a triumphant howl up at the full moon, and then gave the impatient bird a wink before taking off through the woods, all her senses alert for prey.
See anything good? Rhia thought to Kitty, who was currently flying below the clouds and keeping watch while also searching for food. Being half-vampire had it's advantages, and telepathy was one of them.
Nothing we're allowed to eat…Rhia "heard" Kitty think. Oh- Wait! There's a herd of deer about a quarter mile up ahead.
Thanks, Rhia replied, before cutting of the link. Kitty would find prey suitable for her own species, and while Rhiannon could have found the deer pretty quickly in her own time every second was valuable and must not be wasted.
In a few minutes the she-wolf stood on the top of a hill, covered by trees and downwind of the deer herd below her. Raising a black-striped muzzle to the moon, she judged how much more time she had before daylight.
She shook her head, unpleased. An hour, maybe two at the most. That should be enough time to get back… Rhia did not want to be in her weakest form alone in a forest where big cats could be found about every three feet. And so she took off, putting one black-tipped paw in front of the other in a loping motion and circling the valley, looking for the most vulnerable spot.
There. Rhia stopped, and then proceeded more slowly, now stalking the weak individual she had found. A female, old enough so that she wouldn't be bearing any more fawns but still young enough to put up a good fight. Rhia crept closer, closer, until she was about a foot away from the doe, but still covered by the tree line.
Of course, she would rather be hunting in a pack as was the wolf's way, but Rhia had grown used to hunting by herself. Besides, she was faster and stronger than a normal wolf, fully able to take on a single deer by herself easily.
The doe walked closer, grazing on the supple grass the grew in the valley floor. Little did she know that she was nearing death at the teeth of a waiting hunter. Suddenly she looked up, startled by a smell that had suddenly blew towards the deer by a stray gust. Struck with deliberation, the female was about to flee when Rhia struck.
The deer dodged the first blow and started running, starting an all-heard stampede. But Rhia had managed to grace the doe's back leg, slowing her down as the wolf kept running, gaining speed and distance quickly, until she was close enough to pounce, and then leap she did.
In the few seconds she was in the air, another transformation seemed to take place. Though this one was not as noticeable, the wolf grew larger, much more fierce looking as extra strength was added and her eyes transitioned into a glowing silver and her front canines grew into imposing sabers.
Rhia had been trying to avoid this stage of the hunt, but the smell of the doe's blood had brought this form out from her control. This was her true shape, a super-powered werewolf with vampire eyes and fangs. She had wanted to stay away from it for a reason, though, when she was like this instinct more than anything else ruled her mind and body.
The kill was swift and easy, and deer crumpled under the weight of the wolf, who ripped savagely into the neck of the animal, taking blood with enthusiasm only found in an animal that had gotten into a frenzy. As the predator cut into the doe's side and pulled out the heart, which was soon demolished by silver fangs, she didn't notice that she was currently being surrounded by several cats of various shapes and sizes.
And when she did notice, it was too late. Cursing herself for getting out of control, Rhia returned to her normal wolf form and not the blood-lusted, berserk one she had planned to reserve. But now she would need to recharge before she entered that again, which could easily be her downfall. Desperate and not knowing what else to do, she lifted her snowy head and let out a howl, which would hopefully alert her friends to her situation.
Rhia caught thoughts of alarm and then a sense of rushing from the nearby Kittyhawk. The other shifter had decided to come see what was the matter, and was soon above the valley and about to fly in when Rhia stopped her.
NO! the wolf yelled mentally at the kestrel, stopping the bird in her tracks. Go back and explain to Asha – I'll be fine, this doesn't intrude on our plans very much.
Our original plans included me coming with you! Kitty protested.
Rhia let out a soft growl of annoyance. I'll be fine. Look, one of the tigers is coming to talk to me now – They don't plan on attacking. Go and make sure Acacia's fine. I can handle the dragon myself.
But you know what we've heard- continued the kestrel before being interrupted.
I don't give a damn about what we've heard! snapped the impatient lupine. Now hurry up and leave, you stubborn idiot, before they take notice and make you come too!
Finally the bird flew off, letting Rhia concentrate on the situation at hand. One of the lead tigers had indeed stepped up, and Rhia noted that he was also a shape shifter, and was giving off vibes that let her know to revert into her human form so they could talk.
So he knew that she was a half-breed. Interesting. Rhiannon nodded her head in agreement and then started the change back, relaxing as muscles swirled and bones locked into different positions, fur retreating back into the black jumpsuit that she had been wearing before transformation.
Rhia shook her head, letting her honey-colored locks stream out past her shoulders. In some ways, being a human made her more free than she was when she was a wolf. Reflexively she let her fangs come out. They were thicker than a normal vampire's and made more for ripping than puncture, but it still made her feel safer and more in control to have them out and showing.
She crossed her arms and stared at the man who now stood before her. He seemed primitive, dressed mostly in furs and built for heavy combat. Rhia also thought it strange how quickly he had transformed, much more swiftly than normal. Also, there was the fact that she got a definite sense of age from him, almost like the sense that one got whenever around one of the elders of the Night World.
This warrior was ancient, but she had seen and even talked to older. Of course, those had been allies and not possible enemies that wanted to kill her, but still.
"My master whishes to speak to you," he said at last, a deep booming voice that was used to reporting information and being a middle-man between two superiors.
Rhia crossed her arms and stared at the shifter, cocking an eyebrow. "And by your master I assume you mean the dragon who currently resides in this area?"
"That is correct," he said, showing no signs of emotion whatsoever – well trained, a good choice for a messenger.
"Might as well get this over with," she murmured to herself before addressing the warrior again. "Very well."
The man nodded and then turned, most of the other tigers disappearing except for a few that surrounded the pair as they walked in stoic silence, Rhia always staying aware and watching for anything out of the ordinary.
Soon the forest began to get less dense, the vegetation growing sparse as they started passing through more and more gaps in the thinning tree line. Soon they broke through it at last, into a shallow valley that was mostly dominated by a mountain.
"…Impressive," Rhia commented softly. And the entrance to the lair was definitely built to impress, fiery doom and death getting the message clear across to any who looked upon it.
If you entered the edifice the mountain guarded, you might not necessarily be coming back.
Rhiannon managed to tear her eyes away from the sight to nod at the guide, who continued to lead her to a hidden path carved into the rock the lead steeply upwards.
It was a relatively short climb compared to the length of mountainside they managed to traverse. A sort of illusion perhaps, maybe the path was built in way so that it really was shorter than it seemed.
Or maybe it's magic, a part of her brain thought suspiciously. Magic that makes the walker think that they are refreshed, when really their body is worn out from the deceptive climb.
Rhia repressed a shiver as she set foot on the entrance's base, staring now into the literal mouth of the peak. She definitely could not show fear, that was the last thing she would anyone, but especially him, to detect in her. Luckily, she had practice with containing it – you wouldn't last long in the Night World if you didn't.
The guide led her to the stone passage, the large door opening inwards with absolutely no sound, which was made even more ominous by it shutting behind them as they entered. Clichéd, yes, but it made its point perfectly.
The room they entered differed so much from the outside the Rhiannon almost thought it was another world. All the black and red of the volcano had been replaced with white and blue, elaborate marble and gentle water creating a very sophisticated and beautiful look. There probably was some sort of metaphor there, but she didn't have time to contemplate.
The warrior bowed to her and the left, dissipating into the shadowed edge of the entryway. Rhia looked around, absorbing everything she could set her eyes on, making sure she had the place memorized.
Then the voice of the dragon filled the room and everything else was forgotten as she focused on the mission.
"So," he said, the voice smooth, clipped, refined. "It seems that the Night World has finally sent a emissary to my home."
Rhia caught a shadow of movement from the corner of her eye. He preferred to stay hidden, then. Fine with her.
"You're mistaken," she said, defiant and not giving way. "I am not with the Night World."
"And a rouge half-breed and her friends just happened to stray into my territory?" he asked, his voice full of a mocking humor. Rhia was a little surprised to find he didn't know about the war – but then again, he probably did, just another tactic to try and confuse her. She couldn't let it work.
"I'm not a rogue," she spat, a hidden like you echoing inside her mind. "My friends and I come from Circle Daybreak. We're at war with the Night World, if you haven't heard."
A low chuckle emitted throughout the room, raising the hairs on the back of Rhiannon's neck and making her want to switch into her half form for comfort. But she wouldn't, she could not show weakness.
"And what, may I ask, does Circle Daybreak want of me?" the dragon queried more, the hinting edge of humor ever present on his voice.
"They wish to know what side you are on, Chase Young," Rhia answered, her voice respectful but wary. "And whether they can depend on you for assistance or if they should send different sort of messengers."
"Yes," he said, and this time he sounded weary, almost bored and full of sarcasm. "I guess as the last dragon still awake, they would want to know that."
And Rhiannon understood the gravity of his decision. The only dragon who had defied the witches, the only one with enough power to resist them when they had put his kin under the spell. She could feel it even now, that great and boding sense of energy that emitted from him. If he did choose to side with the Night Worlder's, if they had been too late, then it would be all over for Circle Daybreak. Every effort to this point would have been futile.
But something about him made her think that he wouldn't choose that. The tone of his voice seemed to say that he didn't really care for anything to do with the Night World at all, that he would rather just be left alone. As if it was all trivial to him, just a small argument among children… But maybe that's what it was. There were some that said this dragon had been around even before the first humans, that he had memories of times when even the ancient Maya and Hecate hadn't been around. To him, this would just be another shift in the balance. Why should he care?
"You will be content to know that I will not be siding with your enemies," he continued, and Rhia knew what was coming next. "Nevertheless, I also would rather not side with you. I have my own problems that I have gotten involved in."
Rhia nodded, that had always been the most likely answer. He was going to stay neutral.
"Thank you," she said, using the same calm and well-mannered tone. "I'm sorry to have disturbed you."
Rhia turned to leave, the door already being open for seemingly that purpose, and just as she was exiting he called out to her with one final word.
"However," this time his voice seemed to echo throughout the chamber. "If anybody comes here looking for a fight, they will find it."
The door shut behind her. Rhiannon whirled around, staring at it, but there was no hint of any clues on the solid stone surface. Blinking a few times and sighing, she turned and walked out on the rocky path and down the mountain, heading back towards base while she thought about the dragon's last warning.
And it was a warning, not to try and convince him otherwise to join to fight, but also a bit of a reassurement. If the Night Worlder's came here, and knowing them it would probably not be peacefully, then he would intervene. At least there was a small speck of the world the Circle wouldn't have to watch over.
The forest closed in around her again, and Rhia started a light jog, keeping to her human form. If she ran, she wouldn't have to think, she could just let instinct take over and not have to worry about anything at all…
Daylight had come by the time Rhiannon broke into the clearing, and she came upon a very strange sight. Her teammates were not looking out for her return as she had thought they would be, instead they were huddled at the edge of the camp, trying to stay unnoticed.
And it wasn't for no reason – the strangest set of humans Rhia had ever laid eyes on were currently in their former base. A group of four teenage humans of different races in red and black outfits were arguing with another wimpier looking red-haired human, who was… Flying, with some sort of mechanical device the resembled a jetpack merged with a helicopter. Weird.
She edged around to the opposite side, keeping to the tree line until she came to the place were her friends were sitting.
"What the heck is going on?" she asked them, making Acacia jump a little bit as they both turned around, smiling.
"You're back!" Kitty whispered excitedly as Rhia sat down beside them. "How did it go?"
"As expected," she murmured, and the duo nodded contently. They all knew it could have been a lot worse.
"As for what's going on here," Asha continued. "We have absolutely no idea. They just sort of, er, popped up about a minute ago."
Just then something shiny caught Rhia's eye. It was hidden in the roots of the tree next to her, just a sliver of silver that was buried underneath the dirt. The pulled it out, curiously, to find it was some sort of artifact.
The base was silver and curved, almost like a handle and easy to hold. The end point was a bright green flower, with a yellow middle that had holes very similar to a watering can. In fact, that could very well be it's use, though there seemed to be an aura of energy surrounding it.
"What in the world is that?" Kitty asked, Asha also looking at it strangely.
"It's some sort of… Thing," Rhia summed up, ignoring the "No, really" looks on their faces. "I just pulled it out of the ground, but it seems to have some sort of magic-"
"Hey!" interrupted one of the humans, noticing their presence for the first time. "There's the Wu!"
All attention was drawn to Rhia, or more specifically the "Wu" in her hand. She stared back at them, wide-eyed, not knowing exactly what was about to happen.
That was when the robots appeared as if from nowhere. Asha was right, they really did just sort of pop up, one minute they weren't there and the next they were. Now Rhia was starting to wonder if this was all just some sort of rather strange dream.
That was when the more pathetic looking human commanded the robots (which he called "Woodbots," how stupid was that?) to attack, and they did. At first Rhia was unimpressed, until she noticed that they where shooting wood at everyone in the clearing. She immediately tried to dodge for cover. Both wood and silver could hurt her, though maybe not as much as pure vampire or shape shifter they could easily kill her.
But it was too late. A single shard of wood embedded itself deep into her chest, barely missing her heart but still doing enough damage to knock her backwards. Rhia could feel its poison burning through her veins, the pain was utterly horrible. The object had fallen out of her hand to be snatched up by the black-clad boy, who left. Black spots started to swim in her eyes as Acacia appeared above her.
"You need blood, Rhia," the witch said, urgently. Rhiannon tried to discourage her, but soon she felt her friends wrist against her mouth as a trickle of blood dribbled onto her tongue. Unable to resist, she sat up and took the blood more fervently, noticing that she was bleeding pretty rapidly herself where the splinter had broken the skin.
She let go of the arm, and though Acacia looked a little pale she still smiled before examining the wound. Rhia let herself fall back, her eyes closing in peaceful bliss. Thanks to the lifeblood, she was much more likely to survive, but Asha would need a better place to start the real healing process. As she let the blackness take her, Rhia heard Kitty asking someone for help. But why would she ask the humans? That was weird…
Then the world around her blurred and grew dim as Rhiannon passed out.
A/N That's it! Sorry for any grammar errors or anything like that, thank you for reading. I'm not sure when I will be updating this, I'll try my best to keep it constant but I'm not promising anything. Please review and tell me what you think. Bye!