Darkness receded and I was a young cub; no this was Tarja it was her memories and not mine. She ran out to greet her parents who had just come back from a hunt to gather meat for the tribe. Her Father scooped her up in his arms and ruffled her hair she curled up and fell asleep with a smile on her face.

I was seeing her entire life up to the point where I drank her blood…as I always did with any sentient being whose blood I drank. I did not remember biting her only falling on the ground.

Tarja was older now and she had been learning lessons that the Princess of the tribe would need to know for her future when she eventually would lead the tribe. She was the youngest of three and her two siblings were brothers. The eldest was out on the hunt with their parents the King and Queen of the tribe and other able bodied hunters. They would bring back food for the Tribe.

A scream came out from the gates the teachers and Tarja rushed outside to see what the commotion was. The Hunters were back and the looked defeated…not all who left had returned. Tears welled up in her eyes as she ran out to find her family. Her brother almost didn’t even meet her eyes and he walked in the gate; he seemed like he’d seen a ghost. She saw her father who looked like he was reliving something terrible and rushed to him.

“Father where is Mother?”

He looked at her and the sorrow on his face told her the answer. He picked her up she was getting bigger but he was strong and could still carry her, “Mother isn’t coming back…she was lost in the hunt tonight.”

Tarja started crying and clung to her fathers brindle fur. She was still young and would show her emotions for all to see not caring what others though. She mourned her loving yet fierce warrior Mother and Queen. Her Father carried her to their home and sat her down so she faced him; he knelled down so they were almost eye level.

“My little Princess,” he said as he ran his big paws threw her hair. “Nobody will judge you for crying tonight, but I need you listen to me.” She looked up at him tears still streaming down her cheeks; she noticed the tears welling up in his eyes. “When you come of age you will have to choose a mate and take over as leaders of this tribe I can only rule in your stead for that long. Do you understand?” She nodded causing more tears to roll down her cheeks leaving her fur wet.

For the Gnolls men and women were equals, but as women could do everything a man could and give birth this meant to them that their lines were tracked threw the females. Tarja was heir to the throne even though she was the youngest.

Soon I was seeing how she’d found her gift in the magic arts of healing. Her family grew overprotective of her since she was the last female of their line. Usually it would be her right to go out in the hunt by now. She was disappointed that her Father and brothers were babying her and not allowing her to go with them. She understood that it was because she was the last female of the royal line, but that didn’t mean she had to like it. She grew into a lovely young lady even though she was shielded from any harm. Inside this tormented her as she wondered if she would have the right skills to lead her pack. She decided when she was sixteen that she didn’t have the right skill set. She was only a healer and had never had any real combat. She devised a plan that took her another year to execute where she would leave a note for her family just after they went out to hunt and leave. She would head to The Hall and learn real combant skills she would never be allowed otherwise in her pack.

She left a note “Dear Father King, I will be back before I come of age to rule. I will be safe, but I fear if I stay here I will have no skills to rule the pack. I must journey out and find my way. Expect me back before my twentieth birthday. Please do not send anyone for me I will not come back before then. Forever love onto you and the tribe you daughter Tarja.” She deemed that reasonable and left that night with the barest of necessity’s and headed to The Hall.

There she got into out group, but hid that she was a Gnoll Princess even from The Hall’s records. We set out; fought the Mage and I saw what had happened to me after she healed me. I’d never had this happen before, losing consciousness, and my eyes changing to blackness. She was frightened. I felt bad, but there was nothing I could do about what had already happened.

I opened my eyes and felt sick… I was ashamed of what I had done to my comrade. I hadn’t willingly fed off of a sentient being since I realized what happened when I did. I felt it was very invasive to them that I learned all their secrets. I’d even remember their life better than they could sometimes.

“You’re awake,” A deep rumbling voice stated and I was sure it was Drog.

I looked around me there was a campfire not to far away and I was laying in the grass. A short distance away Drog was sitting with his axe carefully resting on his massive legs. He stared intently at me, and I wondered what he was thinking. “I’m on night watch for the next hour. You’ve been out since you attacked the Priest about three hours ago it seems to have healed your wounds. Take the next watch if you think you can keep us safe otherwise Zrith is next.”

I sat up and noticed the other sleeping figures around the makeshift camp. It seemed the dead bodies had been removed, but I could still smell the blood. I saw Fay curled around Tarja in a protective manner. “Is she ok?”

Drog seemed impassive, “Seems that way though the Mage thought otherwise. Tarja dolted over you like a mother cat and her kittens. Seems Fay did the same in turn for her.”

My chest tightened and I involuntarily hissed a bit. I knew that when I bit someone to make any discomfort or thoughts of getting away from me my bite felt pleasurable and made them incapable of leaving while I fed even though they wouldn’t try anyways. I had only hoped it didn’t leaver her with some kind of lasting feelings for me.

“Go to bed,” Drog ordered.

I didn’t think I’d be able to fall asleep, but I layed down and tried anyway.

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