Authors: D. L. Harrison
Spirit Sorceress: Book 1
Author: D. L.
Copyright 2016. This is a work of fiction.
Names, Characters, Places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination
or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or
persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner
whatsoever without permission.
The crisp fresh air of morning felt invigorating as I
breathed it in deeply. The scent of my forest was like a warm blanket
over my soul as I ran through the trees. The morning sun bathed my body
in warmth as I crossed paths with the rays between the trees. The sounds
of the birds all around me welcomed the morning, and surrounded me with songs
of life and joy. My muscles bunched and expanded, my paws barely made
contact with the earth as I ran silently toward my destination.
It was the start of another beautiful day. I halted
nearby a stream, and sat on my haunches. My tails waved back and forth
slowly, in anticipation as I waited for my prey. The forest, so alive
around me, spoke to my soul. I reached out and felt the life in the
trees, under my paws, it was all around me and welcomed me like an old friend.
It let me forget, just for a moment, that I was alone.
The feeling of its spirit as it approached was the first
thing I caught, an animal spirit. Pristine, and uncomplicated, with no concept
of good and evil, gods and demons, or magic. Just life, death, predators,
foods, and mates were its simple concerns. The feeling of spirit was
quickly followed by its scent, which set my mouth to watering. My body
wanted to move, to chase it down, but patience was the way of the hunt.
I remembered my lessons very well.
Sound followed after, the crinkling of a single fallen leaf,
dead before it’s time as the forest around me bloomed with life in
mid-June. I was hunched down, completely still, and the wind was in my
favor as the rabbit cautiously moved one hop at a time, and continually checked
I felt no guilt at the idea of taking my meal. It was
the circle of life, and death. Natural.
When the time came, I didn’t hesitate and lunged forward,
pinning the rabbit down with one paw and going for its neck with my sharp
teeth, closing my jaws over its head. I was not cruel, I bit down and
quickly twisted, breaking its neck. I closed my eyes as the memories of
my first hunt came to me, and pushed them down ruthlessly as a whine left my
I would not think about it, though it was a happy
memory. I knew I would have to grieve, let the memories take me one day
until I was cleansed of it, but not now. I couldn’t bear it.
I prepared my sustenance by removing the fur. I
considered briefly changing forms, and cooking it, but decided against
it. I’d hardly started eating when I heard a loud crack, and a
scream. My fur stood up at the pain in that sound, and my body shook, as
if to push it off.
It’d been a human scream. Why was a human in my
forest? Truthfully, it wasn’t really mine, the humans had named it
Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, a forest fairly close to Seattle up in the
state of Washington, and filled with all the beauty nature could provide.
Humans loved to name things, I hardly saw the point.
I chuffed in annoyance, the forest was just under seven
thousand square kilometers, and humans generally didn’t come to this part of the
forest. I wondered if he was lost, and I was sure by the loud cry it’d
been a male’s voice.
Despite myself, I was curious, and I argued with myself as I
finished my meal, and cleaned my muzzle in the nearby stream. I had been
alone for a while now, not long after I’d finally learned to take a human shape
in fact. I knew I should go out and learn, it was what my kind did, but
doing so alone was a rather overwhelming thought.
It’s something I would have shared with my mother…
I growled, at myself, and shook the cool water off of my
body while I once again pushed my feelings down, and locked them away. It
was foolishness, I knew nothing of the human world, and without someone to
teach me I’d be lost. I deliberately turned my back on the direction the
voice came from, and started to move away.
“Help, someone! Anyone! Help!” screamed a male
voice in pain.
I shuddered as the words hit me, as if they had physical
weight, and I looked back reluctantly.
For a foolish human, screaming for help was a survival
To me, it meant something else entirely. It was a
duty, something impossible to walk away from. Human life was important,
and valuable. But one of life’s truths was that everyone died. It
was the natural end… and the beginning of their next turn on the wheel.
My kind didn’t interfere with another’s fate, free will was inviolate, and one
of my kind would never betray that precept, lest Inari turn her eyes from us.
Calling out for help though, was one of the
exceptions. Not only an exception, but it was also a charge, a burden I
couldn’t ignore. An obligation to weigh, measure, and judge. The
foolish human male didn’t know it, but he’d just surrendered his free will,
ceded it to another being in that cry for help. He was now mine to do with
as I saw fit, and I couldn’t help but feel resentment over it.
There were other exceptions of course. I had free will
as well, self-defense, protecting others I had an onus too, both of those were
also good reasons to interfere with another’s free will. Reluctantly, I
turned around and started moving toward him. If I was lucky, he’d be dead
before I got there and I could forget this foolishness…
Guilt struck me before my last thought faded from my mind,
and I picked up my pace. Sound could travel deceptively far out here in
the wilderness, and it took several minutes before I picked him up with my
spirit sense. I corrected my course and wound through the trees
unerringly. Though it was darker here, completely shaded by the trees, I
had no trouble sensing the spirit of what was around me.
I slowed as I got close, and got my first look at the man
who’d disturbed my solitude. A seclusion in grief that I knew had gone on
way too long. Shame filled me, I knew my mother and father would be disappointed
The man’s dark green shirt was in bloody tatters, and his
ripped and stained blue jeans didn’t look much better. He was passed out
on a game trail, his right foot wedged in a root. His leg was twisted
wrong, obviously the snap I’d heard had been the bone in his ankle. He
had dark black hair, and a square jaw. His face was covered with unruly
facial hair, perhaps two weeks of growth gone unchecked by grooming.
He was in his early thirties, and even knocked out the pain
was obvious on his face. His heart rate was too fast, and too weak.
I raised my spirit sight and focused on the man’s soul to read his past.
A dizzying amount of lifetimes raced through my mind.
I ignored most of it, except to note he was a good man, had been for many turns
on the wheel. Guilt struck me, as I felt a certain discontent when I
realized I shouldn’t just end him. I slowed the racing memories down to
review the last few weeks more closely. Him and his wife used to live
near the border of where civilization ended and the beauty of the forest and
He didn’t know why, but his home had been invaded by fifteen
men and woman. He saw them as creepy, a little off, and that they moved
I knew what they really were of course, vampires.
They took him and his wife deep into the forest, and for the
last two weeks the two of them had been feeding all fifteen. Vampires
didn’t take enough blood to kill a human, but fifteen of them feeding on just
two humans was a different story. It didn’t help that they’d been abusive
as well, no doubt turning to cruelty to escape their own inner fears.
He managed to escape, slip his bindings, the vampires had
gotten lax, and they’d been arguing about some kind of shakeup in Seattle he
didn’t understand. Apparently the coven of fifteen had fled Seattle for
their lives. He had escaped, in hopes of finding help to save his wife as
I sighed, and for the first time since my mother’s death, I
reluctantly shifted to human form.
I would need hands.
I looked down aware of the absurdity of what I wore. I
was in a black gi, with a katana strapped to my back. My mother had been
training me in the martial arts, a preparation before taking me into the human
world to learn about and fully understand my human shape, my magic, and the
world we lived in.
Then she died, just days before she would’ve taken me to
Seattle. When shifting forms, anything I carried or wore would make the
shift with me, so it’s what I’d had on that day.
I knew I looked young too, a hundred and sixteen was very
young for my race, my human form was that of a woman on the cusp of adulthood,
I could probably pass for eighteen, if I was lucky. I was short as well,
just five foot two. I was almost amused at the idea of what this human would
think when he saw me. It was deceptive of course, I was anything but
young and helpless.
I shook off those dark thoughts of the past and approached
the man. His name was Terry, at least it was in this life, and his wife
was Sharon. I bent down and touched him, his body was warm. I
didn’t have the ability to heal, or at least, not exactly. I reached out
to his spirit, and numbed his pain before removing his foot from the
root. His breathing seemed to steady, but he was still hurt.
I bent his leg at the knee, and sat on him for leverage as I
set the break in his ankle. I couldn’t heal, but I could encourage the
man’s spirit, or soul, to do it for me. All it would need was a little
infusion of power, and some encouragement. Even then, it would only speed
up the process. What would normally take weeks, would now take
days. I knew the bone was set, and healing correctly, so I withdrew from
When I looked up I gasped.
“Sharon,” I said with a soft whisper, and I wondered if Terry
would even want to live now, or join his beloved.
His wife was dead, and her soul stood before me.
It was natural, a part of life. It was something I
accepted, it was who I was, what I was. My race had many names, Kitsune,
fox spirit, some of our ancestors were even thought to be gods, but what I
truly am, is a spirit sorceress. A being of legend, even in the
supernatural world. We held ourselves apart, or at least, that was the
goal. Sharon’s death was perfectly natural, and I should simply accept it
as easily as I did the rabbit’s place, which had been to be my breakfast.
The woman would have another turn on the wheel. It was simply her time.
But then why did I feel such a hot anger at her death?
Was I tying his loss to my loss? How ironic, that I desperately needed
the guidance of my elders now. Elders I no longer had. I was sure
now though, I had put off grieving my parents for too long. It had
affected me, changed me, and I needed to purge it as soon as possible.
Although it would have to wait until after I’d dealt with this, I couldn’t
afford to fall apart right then.
Sharon opened her mouth and spoke. There was no sound,
but I had no problem hearing the words and thoughts of her spirit.
“What are you, you glow like the sun, am I dead?”
I reached out with my elemental spirit power and released
her memories, all of them. Past lives, the time spent in the spirit world
between lives, all of it rushed back to her, and the confusion cleared from her
face. I didn’t have to tell her, she already knew she had to move on,
come to terms with this life, and then move on to the next. She gave her
husband a quick look.
“You will help him?”
I nodded gravely, “I will.”
Sharon smiled, a look of acceptance on her face.
Acceptance that was for some reason eluded my grasp altogether. I watched
with sadness pulling at my heart as she seemed to fade, and left this dimension
for the spirit world. Or as I knew it, the Elemental plane of spirit.
I looked down at Terry who was sleeping peacefully now, his
spirit was keeping him asleep at my request. It would take at least a day
before he healed enough to even limp on it. I was strong, but I couldn’t
carry him for more than a mile or two through the rough terrain. I did
pick him up though, and made my way to a nearby clearing with a small stream
nearby, and set him down carefully.
There was plenty to do, I needed to hunt, carve something to
support his leg, and make a walking stick. The knives in my boots were
meant for battle, not whittling wood, but better dulling one of those than my
sword. I blew out a breath and got to work on that, as well as setting up
a crude camp and fire. Without a fur coat, the coming night would be cold
even in June.
I let my mind wander as I worked, there was something freeing
about manual labor and using my hands, something I hadn’t done in a long
time. The forest itself was my ally, it kept an eye on the area for the
vampires I expected to show up at some time to reclaim their meal. The
forest also led me to what I needed, the spirit of a tree told me where there
was deadfall, for both the fire and creating a brace, and another tree that had
lost a large branch in a lightning storm which would make a perfect walking
It wasn’t really speech, and far from sentient, but I could
feel what the world around me had to say. All life had spirit, and I felt
it all around me whispering. I even managed to find a piece of wood to
carve into a crude bowl, which would help when Terry woke up. He would be
thirsty and I didn’t want him moving until tomorrow morning, at least not any
more than necessary.
What most beings didn’t understand, was that life depended
on both spirit and a physical body. The spirit needed a healthy body to
continue life, and the reverse was true as well.
Humans had ample evidence of this fact, but completely
disregarded it. Everyone knew of an old couple that when one spouse died
the other followed quickly. Or of the old man who worked seventy years,
only to die two months after retiring.
They simply label that as she lost the will to live, or he
lost his purpose in life, and then they just shrug it off as unexplainable,
when it’s proof that when a spirit, or soul, yearns to move on and follow their
loved one, the body simply quits. The reverse is true as well, they talk
about people that fight to live, miraculously heal, when those that give up
don’t. Spirit and body, dependent on each other, both for strength, and
The only real difference was that the spirit lived on after
Or maybe it was just obvious to me because of what I was.
I looked around with a sense of satisfaction. Terry
was in a splint of sorts with a staff beside him. I had a fire going with
plenty of spare wood, with a couple of rabbits being cooked. Without any camping
tools at all, that was the best I could do. I sat next to Terry and
closed my eyes to feel the forest around me. Terry would be awake soon, I
wasn’t sure what I should tell him yet, if anything.
My mind wandered to the past, and for the first time I
didn’t resist where it took me…