The street outside the small inn was mostly empty, not good for the quick, unobserved disappearance she'd hoped for. Kri looked up and down the street briefly before darting to the left. "Stupid, stupid, stupid," she muttered under her breath. She cast a glance over her shoulder; Symihr was standing in the middle of the street. He called over to a group, comprised mostly of the canine Frineir, on the walk opposing the inn and pointed straight at her. She didn't need to hear his words to know what he said.
"He knows you, he knows. Kri, how could you be so stupid?" She bolted to the right down a small alleyway between two buildings. "Three years and thousands of Kiloms away and you're found the first week you decide it's safe to be Human again. Skibb!" Feet rattled against the gravel speckled cobblestone alley as she skidded to a stop before the wall. She looked to the right, what she hoped was an alley to the next street turned out to be nothing more than a shallow dead-end that cut behind the building and ended in a door. Desperately she tried the handle, it was locked, she looked back, Symihr had just rounded the first corner, three Frineir, all a head taller than the Human, were close behind. She cursed again and looked above, her luck; an archway roofed half the alley. "Curse Kierr architecture," she backed herself into the dead-end, she wouldn't be flying out of this one. Kri bit her lip and rubbed her left hand nervously, they'd be on her in less than a minute. "Let's just hope they're still a little superstitious."
Decision made she jumped forward and drew her sword. She stood calmly before her fast approaching pursuers who seemed unconcerned by the sword or the one wielding it. She stretched out her empty hand towards them; with a deep breath she steadied her voice. "Come any closer and you're all dead!"
The group came to a halt just tirms away. "Now V--"
"Don't use that name, Symihr. As far as you and I are concerned, she's dead. She died three years ago on Mehm, just as everyone else she knew thinks. I am Kri." She gripped the sword's hilt tighter, it wouldn't help much if they were to charge as there was hardly sufficient room to maneuver the blade properly, but it gave her some confidence.
Symihr looked slightly nervous and glanced back towards the street, which Kri couldn't see as Frineir efficiently blocked her view. He took a step forward, looking more confident, as if reassured by what he'd seen.
"I'm warning you Symihr, one more step and you're dead. I don't care." She forced herself to keep calm; if her emotions were too unbalanced she'd loose herself. It was imperative to stay in control, especially since she'd be facing more than just Symihr; she'd have to think rather than react.
Unheeding Symihr stepped forward again; the Frineir followed suit with their canine ears perked forward, focused on their cornered prey.
"I warned you." In one fluid movement she stepped back, sheathed the sword, and dropped into a crouch. It happened swiftly, at first her frame appeared to shrink, but then grew rapidly, fur replaced clothing and naked skin, fingers grew into clawed wings and a long, thick tail sprouted from her back. The full transformation took but a breath and in the next instant she leapt forward with a deafening roar.
Symihr fell back quickly, tripping over the feet of his companions. Didn't quite expect that, did you Symihr? She thought to herself and charged at the bewildered company.
She had to get to the open space and out of here. As a nearly full-grown Homich Shamien she was not something to be taken lightly. She leaped towards them, prepared to do what it took to get past them. In this form she was as large as a small horse, but more powerfully built, the wyvern was just as capable of running as it was of flying. Kri roared again and barreled into the crumbling living barricade. There was a sickening crunch as half a ton of Shamien flesh trampled over the Human and three Frineir, breaking bones and tearing flesh as she passed.
"Don't let her escape! She's a Shabenay!" It was Symihr's voice that called the command; he'd miraculously managed to escape the worst of Kri's charge, but was still scraped and bruised.
Thank you for stating the obvious. Kri growled under her breath, pushing forward towards the open end of the alley, which was now choked with men, mostly the feline Kierr and more Frineir.
She slid to a stop between the mass that blocked her freedom and the walls that did the same. Looking from one end to the other, thinking frantically of something she could do. Symihr's other men had advanced far enough so they blocked the end of the alley that was open to the sky, not only that, but they were packed tight enough that charging them wouldn't make much difference. Hissing agitation she looked from one end to the other, again, hoping to find a way out she had overlooked. Escape was blocked on one end by bodies and the other by the dead end. Her eyes settled on the walls and traveled upwards, there was the other option. Without further thought she jumped upward and plastered herself to the wall. Claws dug easily into the adobe brick as she climbed upward to a small ledge. She glanced down to see those that stood directly below her scatter and shield their faces from the debris. The others were looking up rather unperturbed, more expectant. She paused to think briefly of the best option before she began to take another form.
From below a bowstring released, sending a single fine-tipped arrow upward. It hit the mark. Kri shrieked with rage and pain. Concentration broken the transformation was abandoned; she was still a Shamien. Caught entirely off guard by the attack her full weight slammed down upon the ledge, which cracked and started to give way. She grabbed for it desperately, sending bricks and mortar showering on those below her. "No!" She shrieked. Unable to find a solid hold, she lost her grip on the crumbling ledge. Pain pulsed through her shoulder followed quickly by a relaxing and paralyzing of her muscles. She fell, screaming her rage, and lost consciousness before she hit the ground.
A crowd gathered around the commotion that originated from the small alleyway. Symihr cursed himself for drawing so much attention to his work, but he knew they would have lost her otherwise. She would have disappeared and there wouldn't have been any way of finding her again, except for maybe the scars, which were readily apparent in her Shamien form as well.
Iren had taught Symihr much of the Shabenay while he worked for the Hunter. With experience they could learn to hide the Marks that showed the rest of the world what they were. It appeared as if Kri lacked this ability, given that hers were plainly visible through her fur. They could change their shape within a blink if they were powerful enough. Out of everything on Kashian, the Shabenay had to be the hardest prey to both track and capture, but Iren was the expert. Iren had been hunting Shabenay for well over fifteen years and had gained a strong reputation during that time.
From down the lane Symihr heard Iren's voice with the familiar Frineir accent calling out orders as he made his way through the gathering crowd. "Go on! Noth'ng's hir, it's just an animal that escaped from the docks. Boys, would you kindly escort thes' pe'ple out of her' b'fore someone gets hurt? Thank you." Heads moved aside to make way for Iren as he strode purposefully down the alley.
Symihr stood up as the grohne Frineir approached. Iren was a good head taller than Symihr, the Grohne were of the three tallest of the Frineir races and averaged at least a foot above most Human heads. Iren was shorter than most, but he still exemplified the characteristic wolf facial features, though the eyes were larger and wider spaced and the muzzle slightly shorter than their feral four-legged counterparts called Tsihr. The fur of the Grohne tended to be shades of grey and tan, but Iren's was a reddened brown with a bleach white chest, muzzle, and arms.
Iren's eyes scanned the large body of the unconscious Shamien lying in a heap on the crumbled bits of brick and mortar. His gaze settled upon the marks that adorned her right arm and left hand. "Onlih thre', it's another young one." Iren muttered, then he spoke louder. "How'd you find it?"
"She was in a bar, I recognized her Human form."
"You know her?" Iren questioned, somewhat suspiciously.
"Knew is more like it, Iren." Corrected Symihr, not particularly wanting ties to a Shabenay, coincidental or not. "She used to live in Murn, Tierluh, where I'm from on Mehm. They found her out shortly after I joined you. She'd been rumored dead for almost three years. I saw no need to question it . . . until today."
"Ehven accurate news has a way of b'ing disproved when it comes to the Shabenay." Iren knelt down next to Kri, picking up the large hand that extended into the Shamien wing. "I've s'en this one b'fore." Iren whispered; his thumb rubbed the black Mark that encircled Kri's left hand, closely resembling a stylized drawing of an eye.
"Hmm?" Symihr looked down at his boss. "What was that?"
"Noth'ng." Iren said, stood up, and turned his attention towards the rest of his men. "Alright, where's that cage? You know this drug only last for just over a Kut! Symihr, k'ep an eye on her, if she twitches hit her with another one to k'ep her under. I don't want her awake until after w're out of this city." With that Iren strode down to the open end of the alley, shouting orders and making sure they were followed quickly and accurately.
It was twenty minutes before the large wagon creaked and rolled its way in front of the alley and backed in. The ramp dropped and several Kierr climbed down behind it. They gathered around the unconscious Shamien form and firmly bound the wings and hind legs. It took six of the Kierr to drag the massive body down between the buildings and to the ramp where they employed ropes and pulleys to drag Kri the rest of the way up the ramp into the cage.
The door swung noisily upwards and slammed closed.