Chapter One: Duckling

"They are born knowing nothing of the world outside the pond they are hatched in. Ducklings are fragile, ignorant and deeply possessive creatures. With no other option, they will bond with the first thing they see. They see this as their caretaker. They will follow them off the edge of the cliff and plummet to their death on the okay of their caretaker."

At first, Fenris had thought that the agony was terrible during the ritual. Oh, how wrong was he. Over the days, his condition only got worst as the pain took its toll on his body. He could not talk and he barely moved. If anything touched his skin, he would howl out as the feeling intensified. He could not even sleep. The pain kept him up all hours of the night. He would sit and leaned against the wall, throbbing in pain. Sometimes, if he could summon the strength, he could lie down on the floor and curl up into a tight ball. Master had placed him in a small room only two doors down from his own. Fenris had spent the last five days in this room. His only visitor was the human girl whose name he had not learned yet. Impatient, she would force feed the ill elf so his condition would not worsen. Fenris did not like her visits in the slightest.

Before he knew it, Fenris had spent an entire week in this room. It was a terrible feeling. He could only sit there and think about the pain he was in. There was nothing else to think about. His thoughts consisted of the pain and the surroundings he found himself in. The room was so small. The ceiling was low enough to touch his head when he stood. The only light in the room was his markings. They would glow constantly. As the hours ticked by, Fenris found himself yearning for contact. He wanted the man that presented himself as the master. That was the only person that seemed to care about him in this lonely and dark place. Master was the one to take him out of that painful room where he had received his markings. Master was the one to speak to him delicately. Maybe if he was good, Master would take him out of this room. That statement brought him a smile.

Comfort was a foreign feeling, so when he woke up, Fenris began to panic. He did not feel the familiar cold hard floor underneath him. Instead, he felt something soft and warm. And his markings touching this did not hurt. The markings were pulsating weakly, but other than that there was no indication that they were irritated. Fenris opened his eyes immediately and he was greeted with several new colors and senses. He saw yellows and oranges and reds. The colors and shades came from all directions.

Scared out of his mind, Fenris just screwed his eyes shut before he went to curl up into his ball. After he did this, he heard a deep laughter. Flinching, Fenris opened his eyes to look for the source of the laughter. Seeing a lone blue in the sea of warm colors, Fenris saw the fuzzy image of his master. He blinked his eyes a few times before he saw his master sitting in a chair near him.

Daring to, Fenris spoke to his master without being spoken to. "Where am I?" he asked. He turned in his position and pulled himself up. He rubbed his tired eyes and went to take in the surroundings. He realized that he had been lying on a bed on top of several blankets. The top blanket was a peachy orange color and was soft to the touch.

Looking to Master, Fenris was able to see the man's position. Master was sitting in a red leather wingback chair. He was reading out of a black book that looked worn with use. One hand held this book while the other held a glass of a purple liquid. His eyes were focused on the lettering in the book. However, his attention was drawn to Fenris as the slave awoke and began to speak to him. A smirk formed on his face as he looked at Fenris. Unsettled, the slave looked down at the blanket, believing he did something wrong.

"Ah, so you are awake, my little one?" Master asked, ignoring Fenris's own question. He sipped some of the drink in his glass. He then placed the glass on the table that was placed next to the chair. With a chuckle, he closed the book with a soft thud. He placed the book up as well. He stood up from the chair and walked over to the bed. "I thought you would enjoy a good night's rest," Master told him. Fenris, unsure, did not respond to his master's statements.

That was a wrong choice. As the silence lasted several seconds, Fenris saw his master's hand rise. He felt a terrible sting on his cheek as Master hit him across the face. Fenris cried out as he put his hand to the warm cheek. He looked up to his master, bewildered over what he had done to warrant the hit. He must have done something wrong to deserve it. Yes, he must have deserved the hit.

However, Fenris was not given a reason why Master hit him. The man simply stayed quiet as he looked at the slave. With a trembling in his voice, Fenris asked, "Why…why did you hit me, Master?" Instead of answering, Master simply looked at him with the blank look in his eyes. Looking at the hand that had harmed him, Fenris saw it begin to move. Wary that he was going to be hit again, Fenris began to go through his mind. Perhaps he did not respond in the proper way. Maybe he should have said something when his master was speaking to him before. What could he had said? Well, Master had said that he had hoped he slept well. Maybe…maybe 'thank you' was the response he should have said. "Thank you," Fenris said, quickly. He tensed, unsure if what he saw was wrong. But with a sigh of relief, Fenris watched as Master hinted a smile on his face. That was a close one.

"No need to thank me," was Master's response. This confused Fenris to no end, however he did not respond. "I thought it would do better for you to have a comfortable night…" After the pause, Master continued, "But if you continue to bleed on my blankets, you will not have another night like this." Wondering what he was talking about, Fenris looked down to see that the marking on his arm had started to bleed. The blood trickled down from the healing marks and had collected on the blanket he was sitting on. Fenris pulled his arm up and he put his hand on the leaking wound. He began to mutter his apologies, hating that he was not making a good impression on his master.

Master stood up from the chair and walked over to the door. "Come, boy," was his command. And without another thought, Fenris followed after his master.