The first thing that made sense to his muddled brain was sound.
The hoots of owls, birds chirping and little critters scurrying here and there.
A low throb along his entire body was the next to make itself known, heavy eyelids parted marginally to scan his surroundings. A snow-coverd forest floor met his gaze, the grassy smell of trees filling his nose. Blinking several times to focus as a stream of sunlight assulates his eyes, the young prince tries to remember anything. Nothing aside from blourry images comes to mind, his attention shifting when he catches the scent of old copper. Head tilting downwards he finds blood coating his fur, his eyes roam along his grey-black coat in search of injuries. What look like slashes decorate his belly, his body tenses completly when he gets a good look at his hind legs.
It's oddly twisted and smelled of rotten flesh. Byrce noses at it gently and jolts back when it sends a wave of agony along his spine. Curling his lip in distaste the young prince tries to get to his feet, this forest wasn't familiar and it set him on edge. Slowly turning into his belly -a soft whine escaping him when his wounds touched the cool earth- Bryce locks his muscles and pushed himself upwards. Hallway up his legs qievered and gave out, Byrce falling ungracfully on his side. He lay still then for a few moments, every breath he took in or released felt like it was being forced out of his lungs. The world spun dangerously as he lay there, every muscles quivering just beneath the surface of his fur.
It was a long while before he tried to move again. Finding a tree that he could use as a guide, the young prince twisted onto his belly and began crawling toward it. Reaching it after having to stop once to catch his breath, Byrce felt his teeth and slowly hoisted himself upwards once more. He leaned heavily against the bark as he finally managed to stand upright, his chest heaving for air. Swallowing conclusively to keep the bile he could taste from leaving his mouth, the young prince shook his body once before taking a slow step forward. Two more and Bryce had to stop to keep himself from tipping forward, his stomach rolling unpleasantly.
He wouldn't make it home this way. Tipping his head back and inhaling carefully, Byrce released a long howl. Grey-black tipped ears flicked as his howl echoed in the air, the breeze that had picked up seemed to carry it further. No response had Byrce huffing a breath, his jaw locking as he placed a paw forward once more.
Night brought with it another threat. Hunger had crept up on him sometime ago, he had ignored it in favor of making progress. Now that he'd stopped at a small river for a drink, his forgotten hunger returned with a vengeance. Ears flicking at the sounds of far off heartbeats, he thought of his options. Head lifting to catch the scents on the air, Byrce stilled when he caught the scent of fresh blood. Turning in the direction he slowly made his way toward the smell, pain constantly running along his body. Stilling when a soft sound met his ears, Byrce lowered himself instinctively onto his belly. A female doe lay curled beside a large oak tree, a new fawn hungrily nursing at her side. Ears and nose working in synch to make sure she didn't smell him, Byrce closed his eyes and relaxed his body. A second later he was lunging forward with his jaws parted, pain forgotten as the need to eat filled his mind. Sometime later Byrce found himself at the edge of the forest, nose quivering as he tried to pick up any scents.
A small village lay before him, finding no new scents besides the faint smell of cattle Byrce moved forward. His ears flicked forward and back as he neared the closest cottage, golden eyes scanning the barn he found beside the darkened home. Finding a bundle of hay near the end of the barn, Byrce moved toward it and heavily collapsed into it.
"Look mama! A doggy!" A shrill squeak awoke Byrce from his slumber, a soft gasp altering him of someone else within the barn. Eyes squinting at the sunlight that shined directly in his eyes, Byrce found a mother and her child. Both had different expressions on their faces, the girl was curious while the mother was wary.
"Lily that's not a dog- No!" The mother shouted as her daughter -Lily- lunged toward him, she managed to catxh the excited child around her waist. Byrce watched as Lily squirmed in her mother's hold, his ears listening to their hearts. He rose slowly and couldn't help the growl he released in the silence, both stilled at the sound before Lily began to squirm once more.
"Its hurt mama! Look at it's leg!" Lily shouted, Byrce paused at the words. He'd been curled up and had made sure to keep his injured leg hidden, how had she-? His head whirled backwards to check on his leg, only to find blood freely pouring from the gash he couldn't see because of his fur. The sound of whimpering had Byrce turning back to face the two still standing by the barn doors, Lily's mother looked paler then a few moments ago.
"Baby girl that's not a dog, I can't help it-" She began, only to pause mid-sentence when Lily finally escaped her hold and ran outside. Byrce remained standing, though every part of him wanted nothing more then for him to lay back done. The sound of thundering feet indicated Lily's return, what had Byrce tilting his head was the weird thump, thump, thump
that accompanied her.
"Then I will!" Lily shouted as she appeared once more, a large wooden box dragging behind her. He had to give her credit, she was a strong-willed girl. Seeing no threat besides a little girl wanting to help him, he lowered himaelf slowly into his belly once more. Eyes closing as soft whispers filled the air, Byrce focused on ignoring the prickle of the hay against his cuts. His head snapped up when he caught the smell of chicken, the mother was crouched before him with the piece hanging from her fingers.
"I'm not going to hurt you. I know a thing or two about patching up animals, take this as a piece offering?" She asked with a dark brow arching, Byrce shifted his gaze from her to the chicken. He could smell it now that she was closer, her scent was mixed with herbs like the healer he knew from the kingdom. He moved slowly and took the offering from her fingers, watching as she relaxed minutely. "Let's see what I can do, Lily should be back soon with more food." She said before opening the wooden box, Byrce huffed a breath and settled in to eat his chicken.
Twenty minutes later, Byrce was fighting to stay awake. Lily's mother -who he found out was named Isis when a neighbor arrived with Lily- had cleaned and patched up his wounds. He'd been given several treats while Isis had been working, Lily seeming not at all botherd by the fact that he was twice the size of a normal dog. When the medical kit was closed and Isis was washing her hands, Byrce decided that leaving now was as good as any. Rising to his feet, he moved forward with stiff movements. "Wait! You can't go! We helped so you gotta stay here now! Right mama?" Byrce merely shook himself and exited the barn, pausing long enough to bow to Isis.
He had to get home now.
Taking off down the road, Byrce ignored the sobs he could hear from behind him. He had felt a pulse of warmth while getting treated, it was the first time since he'd woken up yeaterday that the Pack bond had flared to life. Two days later found Byrce standing atop the mountain that overlooked both kingdoms. As he's traveled to get home, the memories of what had happened had come rushing back. They'd been kidnapped and held hostage, though why he wasn't sure. Reaching the bottom of the hill he pushed his aching muscles forward, his mind focused on getting home and warning his parents of what had happened to him and Thea. Just as he reached the main gates, a strange and painful jolt traveled up his right hind leg. He ignored it and opened his jaws to bark, only no sound came from his throat.
Another jolt and darkness swam along his vision. Another and it felt like his head was about to explode. One last jolt and a gust of frigid air left his body, a howl left his throat as darkness swallowed him whole.
The last thing he heard were rising screams.