The Beast Within
Caution: This Genie Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Fiction, Tear Jerker, Genie, Oral Sex, Slow,
Desc: Genie Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Blessed - or perhaps cursed - with a magical gift, Bear experiences a vision during his daily meditation. This vision leads him to discover a very special ring, which is tied to both his family history, and his gift.
The boy cried.
Great Bear did not fault the child for his tears. It would be many years still before the boy would learn to stand proud, enduring such pain with a stoic expression of bravery. Now, his tears were the natural expression of a boy with a broken leg.
Calling up the power of the tribal magic, and giving the boy a drink of potion already prepared, Bear waited for the child to calm. When the magic and the pain killing draught took hold, Bear nodded to the boy's father. Fox held his son down, preparing for what was to come.
Bear set the leg with a practiced motion, causing the child to scream out in pain. The flash of agony caused the boy to lose consciousness, which allowed Bear to check and wrap the leg without interference.
Once the wrapping was complete, Bear once again called upon the tribal magic, and his own personal magic, to further dull the pain, and hasten the boy's healing. Bear knew the child would be up once again within days.
"He will require rest, and should not walk for a time. He is young, and strong; he will heal quickly. Return him to me if the pain becomes great," Bear informed the child's father.
Fox nodded in approval, lifting his slowly rousing son from the ground carefully. "Thank you, Dark Beast."
Bear nodded in acknowledgement of the gratitude, not wincing from the title Dark Beast as he had in times past. Though the new name was one of respect and awe, it reminded Bear of his curse. The years had dulled his aversion to the name, however, and now Bear was just as comfortable with his new name as the one of his birth. Having seen thirty winters now since the revelation of his curse, time had brought much wisdom to the Shaman of the tribe. His curse served the people, and the will of the Great Spirit. In light of that, his desires were insignificant.
Seeing all calm in the village, and seeing from the position of the sun that his meditation time drew near, Bear stepped into his teepee to remove his ceremonial garb. Stripping down to only a simple loincloth, the Shaman of the tribe vanished, replaced once again by the man.
Though nearing his fiftieth year, Great Bear was still fit — his frame packed with lean muscle. Were it not for the wisdom in his eyes, and his iron gray, shoulder-length hair, one could easily mistake him for a man of thirty. His family was blessed with longevity and strength, and the man known as Dark Beast was no exception.
The interior of the teepee showed no signs of female habitation, strange for a handsome and respected man in the tribe. Many women still sought to find their way into his heart — young and old alike — but Bear politely brushed the advances aside. Despite the loneliness that gripped him as he lay in his furs at night, he would not expose another to his curse. He chose to let that burden fall to another of his family.
Stepping outside once more, Bear took a deep breath and stretched, preparing for his run. Long ago, the Great Spirit had revealed the place of meditation to him, and the run to reach it was one ofBear's few joys in life.
So Great Bear ran — his strides long and steady. The village shrank rapidly behind him as his powerful legs ate up the distance, easily leaping creeks with banks nearly as wide as he was tall. The path was well known to him, and his body undertook the motion of running without conscious direction. This allowed Bear simply to enjoy the feeling of the wind in his face, and the last rays of the setting sun warming his back.
The steep hill proved to be no more of an obstacle than the tall grasses and creeks between it and the village. Soon, Bear stood at the top, gazing at the setting sun. Just before it slipped beneath the horizon, he retrieved a hide-wrapped bundle from within a hollow of a nearby tree. After tucking the bundle in his loincloth, Bear gathered up wood for a small fire, adding some to the store within the hollow tree as well. The dry wood within would be a boon when next he came to meditate after a rainstorm, when the fuel lying beneath the trees would be too wet to burn.
Removing the fire-starting tools and tinder from the hide bundle, Bear soon had a small fire burning, to which he added ceremonial herbs. Shedding his loincloth, revealing his generous manhood, Bear sat, inhaling deep the scent of the burning herbs, slipping into a meditative state.
How long he sat, lost in commune with nature and the Great Spirit, he did not know. The vision which had come to him was the most vivid he had ever experienced. He knew the place shown to him in the vision, but the nature of the vision was puzzling — a buck with a shiny glint flickering at the tip of the creature's tallest tine. One thing was certain, Bear knew he had to visit this place, the vision nearly screamed that to him.
Girding his loins once more, Bear doused his fire and replaced the hide bundle to its protected niche. Returning to the village at a slower pace, he determined that he would leave at first light. He knew that sleep would be difficult to find this night, as the vision brought with it a sense of urgency and wonder that Bear could not shake.
The next afternoon Bear strode into the small wood, coming to stand next to the spring-fed pool at its center. This was the location revealed to him in his vision, which had filled his dreams and awakened him before the dawn with an anxious need to leave immediately.
Now standing next to the pool in the peaceful twilight created by the thick canopy above, Bear felt the sense of urgency ebb within him. His brow furrowing, he looked about, seeking the buck from his vision, or any sign of deer in the area. Not a single hoof print revealed itself to his keen eyes.
Bear cast aside the feelings of frustration welling up within him, trusting in the vision given to him, but this proved more difficult as time passed and still no reason for his visit here appeared. Shifting his medicine bag, inspiration struck. Bear opened the bag, thinking that meditation might perhaps reveal his need to be here. Perhaps the deer was but a sign not yet understood, and communing with the Spirit would reveal its meaning.
With the speed of a lifetime's practice, Bear cleared a spot near the pool, and gathered wood for a fire. Shortly thereafter, he fed the ceremonial herbs into the fire, shed his clothing, and sat cross-legged in meditation.
As always, Bear was unsure how long his senses were turned inward, but the sound of a snort pulled him back from the world of visions. Opening his eyes, Bear saw the deer from his vision. It was a magnificent buck, and the eighteen points of its antlers seemed to reach for the sky. The creature showed no concern about Bear, the fire, or anything else around it. Bear's eyes widened when he saw a reflection of light winking from the tip of the tallest tine on the deer's left antler. As he looked, a ray of sunlight filtering through the blowing leaves above illuminated the deer brighter, further enhancing the bright spot that drew Bear's eyes.
Somehow sensing the action was appropriate, Bear stood. Part of him expected the deer to bolt instantly, the other part of him knew the animal was here for a reason, and would not leave before revealing that purpose. The buck appeared to be studying him, and so he put his hands out to his side, palms facing toward the deer.
With another snort that carried a nearly human tone of satisfaction, the buck stepped forward toward Bear. A few steps later, man and beast were an arm's length apart, looking deep into each other's eyes. Bear could see intelligence far beyond that of a mere animal within the deer's eyes, and knew that it truly had been sent by the Spirit to guide him in some way.
At last, the buck blinked, and took a single step backward. It bobbed its head once, giving Bear the impression of a respectful nod from a human. The creature then lowered its head, and Bear saw the source of the flickering reflections for the first time, a band of gold with an amber stone.
The stories of his youth — the tales of his family — all returned with perfect clarity to Bear in that moment. Can it be? Reaching up slowly, Bear touched the ring. When the buck made no move to flinch away, Bear closed his fingers over the ring and tugged slightly; the ring slid into his palm.
The deer raised its head, looking into Bear's eyes, before bobbing its antlers one last time and bounding off into the forest. Bear looked down at his closed hand, and then slowly opened it to examine the ring. It was exactly as his family legend described it.
Within her ring, Laresa felt the presence of a human nearby at last. After the difficult emotional parting with Nathifa, Laresa had been content to rest in reverie without a Master, but now she hungered to see the outside world again — for good or ill. Despite the difficulty in dealing with the steadily increasing — and hard to push aside — dark feelings concerning her slavery as a Djinn, Laresa was a social creature by nature, and she could not help but hope to soon meet a new Master.
Her ring was in contact with human skin, that much she knew, but it was not yet on the person's finger. Sighing, she relaxed back into her cushions, hoping that whoever possessed her home would discover her soon.
The story had been passed down from his great-grandparents, told only to those of his blood, and never to any other. The silver-haired Djinn, Laresa, had brought his great-grandmother amongst the people, and played a part in bringing them the prosperity the tribe now enjoyed. Bear's great-grandmother, Firetop Bird, had freed her friend from service, wishing the Djinn away to find a new Master, in hopes that Laresa would find the way to attain her own freedom.
The ring in his hand now could be no other. The tales told to him as a youth by his father described it so perfectly that he had been able to picture it in his mind, exactly as he saw it now.
Bear contemplated why the ring would return now to the tribe — to him — and why the Great Spirit had directed him to come here and acquire it. There could be only one answer, but that answer brought only more questions. Obviously, he was to be the genie's new Master — but to what ends?
Again remembering the story, Bear slipped the ring onto his finger. His eyes fell upon the bracelet around his wrist, passed down through the family from Firetop Bird. Bear's mind reeled as he considered the fact that the ultimate mother of his special family had once been enslaved within the ornament. Firetop bird had been a Djinn as well, named Nathifa, but found freedom in part through Laresa's actions.
Though he had little reason to doubt the tales, especially considering the magic the bracelet possessed and his curse, Bear knew there was but one way to confirm the story. "Laresa," he said, and felt the ring warm as soon as the word passed his lips. Now that it was on his finger, the ring, and the genie within, responded to his call.
Misty vapors intertwined with the smoke from his fire, swirling together and congealing into the form of Laresa. Bear's eyes widened, as even the vivid tales told to him could not do her justice. His heart raced, and he fought against the flow of blood rushing into his manhood, only now realizing that he still stood nude from his meditation.
Laresa was surprised to see a man much akin to the very people amongst whom she had last walked the world outside her ring. Though his hair was gray, his body was that of a much younger man, sun-browned and well-muscled. She had a good view, because he stood nude before her, cloaked only in the faint wisps of smoke from a small fire. "Greetings, Master. I am Laresa, how may I serve you?"
"You have truly returned to us, Moon in her Hair," Bear responded to her greeting.
Now it was Laresa's turn to be surprised. Shaken out of her fascination with the attractive man's generous endowment by the sound of her tribal name, she asked, "How do you know that name?"
"It has been passed down to all those of my blood, from when you last walked with the people. I am Great Bear, called Dark Beast, shaman of my people, and of the blood of Firetop Bird," Bear replied.
Laresa could not speak, and could barely think. Never before had she come into the possession of a Master so closely related to a previous owner, let alone in an unbroken chain. Before her stood a descendant of her friend Nathifa, whom she had only left not so long ago.
Seeing Laresa's confusion and unrest, Bear took the opportunity to gird his loins once more while the genie was distracted by her thoughts. The barely hidden curves of the woman's body were quickly overwhelming any attempt to control his manhood's reaction to them. The vest she wore exposed large expanses of her firm breasts, and the strange, thin, billowing pants she wore did little more than hide her most private treasure behind pleats of thicker material.
It took no imagination to know from whence the genie's tribal name had come. The white-blonde tresses cascading down to the Djinn's shoulders truly looked as though they were moonbeams filtering through the night sky. She was truly beautiful, so different from the women of the tribe, and Bear realized he was once again staring at her. Beneath his loincloth, he was fully erect, and so shifted to cause the garment to hang away from him, making the outline less obvious. "The Great Spirit sent a vision unto me, and so I have come."
"I don't understand," Laresa muttered quietly.
"Nor do I. In time, the Great Spirit will reveal all things." Part of the story told to him by his father popped in his head, and Bear smiled as he finished dressing. "I grant you the freedom to choose your own path, as my great-grandmother did before me."
The power of Bear granting her free will washed over Laresa, burning away her confusion in an instant. She shivered and said, "Thank you." Remembering his introduction, she asked, "Should I call you Great Bear, or Dark Beast?"
Bear frowned slightly, "Both are true, though I prefer the name of my birth, Great Bear."
"Then that is what I will call you. Thank you for granting me free will, Bear; few have done so in my centuries of servitude." Looking Bear over, Laresa realized she could see hints of Nathifa in the man's features now, as well as those of Hawk, the Brave to whom her friend had joined her life. "What are we to do now?"
"I do not know," Bear replied. "My grandfather, Eagle Soaring, is still among us. Long has he desired to know the one who delivered him into this world from his mother's womb. In his last days, it would be a great gift to fulfill that wish for him."
Laresa could still see the baby's tiny face in her mind's eye as though it were only yesterday she beheld it. Laresa found it difficult to imagine him as a grandfather, despite her having traveled back and forth through time regularly, and having watched Masters grow old while they possessed her. "We shall grant him that wish, then. I think it would be best if the rest of the village, other than your family, was unaware of my presence, if you do not disapprove?"
"Your thoughts and desires are your own, Moonhair. Perhaps this is wise," Bear agreed. "Come, we shall return to my people."
Reaching out with her senses, Laresa easily found the village, "I can take us there within a heartbeat, if you would like."
Eager to see his grandfather's reaction to Laresa, Bear nodded his approval. A moment later, they stood just beyond sight of the village. Turning to the genie, Bear saw Laresa gazing in wonder at trees she recognized, though they were far larger than when last she had beheld them.
"I have seen places changed by centuries, traveling through time, but to see this place again, after having just left it, is wondrous," Laresa mused. "So little has changed, and yet the changes are so profound. Nathifa and I sat under that tree our first day amongst your people."
"Would that I had known Firetop Bird. I was too young to remember her when she went to join the Great Spirit."
Laresa's eyes were misty when she turned back to Bear. The shaman could see pain and joy in those entrancing violet orbs, reflections of the bittersweet memories the genie held of this place. Smiling, she said, "Let us go grant your grandfather's wish."
Bear found it disconcerting to have the people respectfully greeting him, while taking no notice of the beautiful genie at his side, who was invisible to their eyes. He moved quickly toward his grandfather's teepee, seeing his father, the Chieftain of the tribe, exiting as they approached.
"His time to join the Great Spirit draws near," Bison Heart said with sadness in his voice as they approached. "Those of our blood come to see him on his way."
Bear turned when his father did, and saw that the members of his extended family were approaching. Sadness quickly spread through the village, as the people knew such a procession could mean only one thing.
"Come, he asks for you, Great Bear," the Chieftain said to his son.
Surprised by this revelation, Bear asked, "For me?"
Nodding, Bison opened the flap of the teepee, bidding his son to enter. Bear ducked inside, hearing the footsteps of his family approaching even as he did so. Moving to kneel at his grandfather's side, Bear took the old man's hand. "I have come, Eagle Soaring."
The rest of the family filed inside, filling the teepee and spilling out into the area beyond the flap outside. The aged former chieftain turned slowly toward his grandson, and smiled. "I am close to the Spirit, as my time draws near, and secrets are known to me. You have undertaken a vision quest, Dark Beast."
Glancing at Laresa, Bear smiled, and then turned back to his grandfather. "Yes, and I return bearing the fulfillment of that quest. Always have you spoken of your mother's dearest friend, who delivered you into the light of this world. The Great Spirit has led me to give you a gift, Grandfather."
A ripple of surprise passed through the teepee when Laresa turned visible at Bear's side. Kneeling down, she covered Eagle and Bear's clasped hands with her own. Whispers of amazement buzzed behind them as Laresa said, "I see your mother, and your father in you. So too do I see the babe I beheld on the day you were born."
The old chieftain's words were weak and breathless, "You are as beautiful as mother and father said, and more. They missed you greatly but held hope you would find peace. Always have I wished to behold you, to know you. Now as the Great Spirit comes for me, my life is truly fulfilled."
A single tear rolled down Laresa's cheek, "You need not go so soon, my power can restore you."
Shaking his head slowly, Eagle said, "No, the Great Spirit calls. My time is done, and I am content." Turning to Bear, he said, "Your quest is not ended, Dark Beast, your feet are but now on the path. Walk with you on this path..." A tremor passed through Eagle Soaring's body, and at first Bear believed his grandfather would be unable to continue. The old man's eyes filled with determination, however, and he spoke once more, "Walk with you on this path, must Moon in her Hair. In each other shall you find answers, though you shall know pain. Trials are before you. I have faith in you — blood of my blood."
With that, Eagle's eyes closed, and his breathing slowed. Bear, his father, and two other men carried Eagle outside, so that he might pass from the world beneath the sky. Eagle soaring opened his eyes, and from above, all heard the cry of his namesake. Looking up, they saw an eagle circling above them, as though awaiting the spirit of the man named for it. A few short breaths later, Eagle Soaring passed from the world, the faint edges of a smile on his face.
The mourning of the family — and indeed the entire village — was profound. Tassels and ornaments were cut from clothing, and the men blackened their faces. Wails of grief resounded well into the night. A place was chosen atop a hill near where Great Bear meditated for Eagle Soaring's burial the next morning. Through Laresa's power, he was lifted high into the boughs of the largest tree, there to rest until nature reclaimed him. Once again, an eagle soared overhead as the family bid farewell to the wise old chieftain.
Laresa was treated as a member of the family, and for a time she was able to forget her slavery as a Djinn. While the people buried Nathifa's son, she was simply another grieving woman. Upon returning to the village, the family returned to their teepees and their chores. A beautiful young woman stopped Bear as he neared his own teepee.
"Eagle Soaring will be missed, Great Bear." The woman reached out and touched Bear's hand, "I grieve with you."
Bear nodded, "My thanks unto you, Sweet Water. He dwells with the Spirit now."
Laresa could see longing in the woman's eyes, and she could feel torment in her Master's soul as Bear passed Sweet Water, entering his teepee and pulling the flap closed once Laresa was inside. Laresa debated silently whether she should ask the question in her mind, but decided it wasn't her place at the moment. Bear knew her only from the stories passed down through his family thus far, and so she felt she shouldn't be prying into why Bear denied his feelings for the young woman.
"I can prepare you something to eat, if you would like," Laresa suggested, "You could tell me about your family, and about life in the village now, if you don't mind talking. I can hide your voice as I do my own, so that none will think odd of you speaking to yourself.
"Thank you, Moonhair. Speaking of my blood and my people would honor my grandfather. Perhaps it might lighten the burden on my spirit, as well," Bear responded, sitting down on the floor of the teepee.
Laresa manifested a plate with a steaming hunk of venison, and a generous cake of cornbread. Bear examined the cornbread curiously, and then took a nibble. His eyes widened in delighted surprise, and then he started telling his tale in-between bites.
Some hours later, Bear completed his tale. Laresa asked, "So, Nathifa's bracelet still holds its magic, enough even to transform your uncle as it did Sees with a Hawks Eye?"
Bear's eyes darkened, "That curse now resides in my family's blood, not within the bracelet."
"Curse? But, that magic has protected your village all these years, and allowed your people to prosper. Surely it is a blessing, and not a curse," Laresa said cautiously, seeing and feeling the pain in her Master's bearing.
Bear's eyes were distant as he responded. "For the village, it is a blessing. For me, it is a curse, as it was to my uncle before me. Even as he withdrew into himself, so must I. I will not burden a child with my blood, nor will I bring danger to a woman with my hands."
Laresa nodded, not knowing how to respond to that. A call from outside brought Bear back to reality, and he stood to open the tent flap.
"The sickness grows again," said a worried woman outside the tent.
"I will come," Bear told her and turned to retrieve his medicine bag when she hurried back to her own teepee. He sighed as he picked up the doeskin satchel.
Laresa asked, "What is wrong?"
"Running Wolf's sickness cannot be healed with my magic. I have tried, but always the sickness returns."
Laresa stood and said, "I will come. Perhaps my power can help him, if you wish me to?"
Bear nodded his head in thanks. "Running Wolf is the last of his blood, and the sickness takes him without a son. Many shaman and chieftains have come from his blood, and it would be good that it continues."
Laresa smiled somewhat mischievously, "I can perhaps help there too."
Bear chuckled at that, his mood lightening. He stepped out of the teepee, and Laresa followed, still invisible to all save Bear and his family. When they reached Wolf's teepee, his wife stepped out of the tent to let the shaman work his magic.
Laresa swelled with pity when she saw the man. It was easy to see he had once been a strong Brave, but now had wasted away to nearly nothing. She stepped ahead of Bear, opening a channel to her power without a word. Reaching into Wolf, she found the source of the wasting sickness, and through her power eliminated it.
Wolf's eyes opened in surprise, his mind clearing and some small part of his strength returning. Bear assisted the man to rise, and Wolf said, "Dark Beast — I feel my strength return."
He will recover quickly. I will use my magic to ensure it. He will soon regain his full strength with good food and exercise, Laresa mentally informed Bear.
Hearing her husband's voice, Wolf's wife stepped into the tent, calling his name. Wolf opened his arms and she immediately fell into them, weeping with joy.
An amused smile decorating her face, Laresa added, Considering what I feel from them, I have little doubt his bloodline will extend shortly as well.
"Thank you, Dark Beast," Wolf's wife turned to say, tears running down her cheeks.
"Praise to the Great Spirit for this blessing, and thank you as well, Dark Beast," Wolf agreed.
"Praise to the Great Spirit," Bear said with a nod, "I will leave you to each other."
Laresa and Bear stepped out of the teepee, and Bear thought to Laresa, If I remember the stories well, you can see my thoughts.
Yes, Bear, I understand you.
Thank you for your magic. Running Wolf was as a brother to me before the sickness felled him.
Laresa smiled and laid her hand on his arm, I enjoy helping others, and giving them pleasure. It is one of the joys I can take from my servitude.
When Bear heard the word pleasure from Laresa's thoughts, coupled with her soft hand on his arm, he felt a stirring in his loins. He quickly stifled the thought, knowing that the genie would likely be able to sense the emotion if he let it grow too strong.
He was too late, however, as Laresa had already caught the hint of desire from her Master. Memories of him nude when she had first appeared from the ring returned to Laresa, and her own arousal sprang to roaring life within her. It had been a very long time since she last lay with a man whom she found attractive, and who she wanted to touch her. Here was a man who desired no children, the main reason she had avoided the Braves when she had last lived in this village. She felt it unfair to steal the affections of the men from the women of the tribe, when she could offer the Braves no children to continue their lines.
Laresa's storm-tossed emotions related to her slavery as a Djinn evaporated before the flame of pent up desire inside her. She could give him a gift as well. He feared to get close to anyone because of his curse, but he could not possibly hurt Laresa in any way. Not that she believed the magic would ever harm anyone who did not intend him or the tribe harm. He believed it, and that was all that truly mattered.
It would mean waiting for the right moment, however. If she simply pressed herself on him, he would withdraw, leaving them both wanting. Following Bear back to his teepee, she knew there would be a time and place.
She hoped it would be soon, as her sex tingled and her stiff nipples throbbed in turn with her fast beating heart.
Laresa concentrated on locating and transporting various implements of the Shaman's trade to replenish Bear's stores. While he enjoyed the treks to locate the various herbs, talismans, and other paraphernalia, he felt guilty about leaving the tribe without his magic while he was absent. When he lamented a missing herb, Laresa's suggestion that she might acquire the things he needed proved a welcome one to him.
Bear sat meticulously crafting an amulet from a smooth river stone, looking up every so often to rest his eyes and hands as Laresa put each new object she teleported to the teepee in its proper place. The sounds of a loud argument broke the tranquility of the village, and Bear immediately stood, recognizing one of the voices as that of his father.
He stepped through the flap, and found his father standing defiantly before a Brave Laresa didn't recognize. By his dress and regalia, Laresa assumed he was of a different tribe. The conversation quickly confirmed it as they approached.
"You starve us with your magic," the man accused.
Shaking his head, the Chieftain disagreed, "We take no more from the land than we ever have. It was not we who broke the peace. Your father may return to us at any time, and share in the bounty of the joined tribes."
Puffing out his chest and squaring his shoulders, the stranger spit out, "We will not cower like the rabbit before your laws."
Bison Heart maintained his passive expression, but Laresa could feel the disappointment and sadness flowing from him when he said, "The laws bring our bounty, and were made by all. Your grandfather smoked the pipe with me when the law was made."
"There was no choice. This will come to war," The Brave responded, his voice dropping into a low, ominous tone as he said the last.
Reaching them now, Great Bear said, "Does your father send you, Storm Cloud, or do you speak with his voice without his knowledge?"
"My words are not for you," Storm Cloud said without even looking at Bear. "We will not starve. There will be war," he then said, still staring intently at the Chieftain.
"We seek it not, but we will paint our faces if war seeks us, and the Great Spirit will bless us." Bison's words were even and measured, but his sadness deepened to Laresa's senses.
"Once we ran together, Storm Cloud. We were as brothers," Bear said laying a hand on the Brave's shoulder.
Jerking away from Bear, Storm growled, "No more." He turned and walked away, but suddenly darted off to the side, grabbing a girl by the arm. As he pulled her away from the village, drawing a bone knife and keeping the frightened girl between him and the people, he shouted, "You will return what you have stolen from us!"
Laresa began to gather her power, but Bear stepped forward first. The transformation was so swift that Laresa didn't even see it happen. One moment, the Shaman was taking long strides toward the retreating Storm Cloud. The next, a roaring black grizzly charged the stunned Brave.
Distracted and frightened by Bear's transformation into both his namesakes — the Great Bear, and the Dark Beast — he was unprepared when the girl bit down on his arm and spun away. In the moment he turned to try to grab her again, the grizzly was upon him.
A single swipe of the transformed Bear's paw sent Storm Cloud hurtling to the ground, and rolling across the grass. Before the agile brave could gain his feet or bring his weapon in line, Bear was once more upon him, rearing up and roaring. Yellow teeth and claws bristled through night-black fur, and there was death in his eyes.
Storm Cloud's knife fell from his nerveless, trembling hand. Knowing of the transformation Bear underwent was one thing, seeing it was quite another. His belly fluxed, and he nearly soiled himself as certain death loomed over him, in the form of a man he once called brother.
The grizzly growled, shaking its enormous head, and then its paws lowered. In the blink of an eye, the bear blurred once more into the weary looking form of Great Bear. His voice husky, full of pain and anger, Bear said, "Go. Come amongst us no more. You shame the people with such acts."
Scrambling back across the ground away from Bear, Storm Cloud found his feet and ran, as fast as his legs would carry him. Bear hung his head, and then fell to his knees. Laresa approached, but the little girl was the quicker to reach him, being closer.
"Thank you, Dark Beast," she said in reverent tones.
Bear turned to her and took her hand, "You were brave. Your mother and father will be proud, little sister."
Bowing her head, the little girl hurried into the arms of her weeping mother. Laresa saw that Bison Heart was encouraging the people to return to their teepees, knowing how the transformation affected his son, though it had happened only twice before.
Laresa laid a hand on the shaman's shoulder, thinking to him, Bear, are you hurt? Can I help?
The curse is mine to bear, he thought back to her, and then rose to his feet. Laresa followed him back to his teepee sensing little more than a dark void in her troubled Master's mind.