Just for my sis Wilddrive. I might post the rest later, but that one will wait A LONG TIME (I plan to edit extensively after this Nano). Also, this was inspired by Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, can you tell? 😀
Edited: Squee! The Rise of the Lycans starts Jan 09!
More under the cut!
Book 1: Ancestries
Prologue: Shadows of the Day
The Gypsy Queen looked up to the sky.
It was a full moon, much like any other, but here, safe on the plains, they could see the moon a long way away. And to be able to look at the moon clearly was what they needed to do so the curse would not follow them. Her people were sleeping in the wagons while she kept watch; the solitary guard sitting on the stone watching over her flock. She even held a long staff in her hand that one could easily mistake for a crook, if it weren’t that this crook was made of ebony and had a short feathered charm hanging from its tip.
The wind blew gently at her. Her jet-black hair flew in the wind, spreading out behind her like a cloak. Her skin was unusually pale for the tribe, so any scars showed up easily. One such scar was a long and thin jagged line from her upper arm to her forearm. That scar could rarely be seen in daylight, but it was more pronounced during nightfall for some reason. The scar did have its uses though. As long as the scar did not itch, she knew that they were far away. If it did, then she would have to investigate who among the many faces of the convoy was responsible. The Goddess had been merciful to her in that manner. She could seek out those who threatened her tribe easily.
Still, she would not put it past the Goddess to treat her like a slave. She behaved much the same way that as the other Divine Beings did; treating everyone like they were pawns until they (the pawns) were about to be captured. They were valuable only as much as they could be useful to the Gods’ plans in some way. NOt even the Goddess though, dared to call upon her people to fight in one of the many wars of attrition that so plagued their country. The Goddess had told the Queen as much; she did not see the need to send valuable “pawns and pieces into battle when there are other ways of waging war.” So far, from what the Queen had seen happening around her, the Goddess was right.
There were long shadows this night, but none of the shadows touched those asleep in the wagons nor hers. She would make sure it stayed that way, glaring at the shadows as though she could warn them just by her glare that they were not to trespass. Either the shadows did really understand her, or the Great Mother was having a laugh at the Queen’s expense, for everyone knows that shadows would not understand you now, would they?
Her tribesfolk, happily asleep, knew that to be different. Everything on this planet has a life waiting to come out of them. That, one of the Priests had told her while she re-supplied and got ready to head back to the native settlement. Life was a struggle. For them, it was a struggle of a deeper kind, the kind that would take your soul. Not for the first time she wondered what in the world was her ancestor thinking when he took that fateful first step. It had begun easily, but it had ended so very badly. Losing the family fortune was bad but losing the respect and trust of the townspeople was worse.
Her ancestor had been a wealthy man a long time ago. So wealthy, even the corrupt ones who sat on the throne of riches would come out to meet him instead of the other way around. Still, all his gold could not help him find immortality, and he did not want to be simply remembered. He wanted to be immortal. Unlike other rich men who simply wanted immortality because they did not want to be forgotten, he truly wanted to live forever. To this end, he had kidnapped a young woman, which turned out to be a fantastically and horribly bad mistake, the kind that your soul literally goes to hell for, regardless of your belief.
Though the man was dead, the woman’s curse lived on within them. The Gypsy Queen’s ancestress had begged the woman to spare them, but by then the curse had already been cast. The young woman had managed to undo part of the curse though, by modifying the conditions, but it did not change the fact that the curse was still in effect. Still, it could have been worse, thought the Queen. Their people could have been sentenced to be frogs instead of the predators they were now.
“It’s a beautiful night to dance, isn’t it, Queen Esmeralda?”
She turned away from the shadows and looked into the red eyes of a sidhe. From the looks of it, he came out of the forest, and it had hurt him to do so. Still, one had to admire his strength in obeying the impulses of the heart. When night fell near their caravans, no one who had their common sense and brains would come near them, for fear that the ancient legends were true.
“Good even, sidhe. What might I call you by?” she inclined her head just a tad.
“Good even, dear Queen. You may call me, Satr.”
“The night is beautiful for dancing, Satr,” she agreed with him, but she would not dance. Her dance was not the carefree type that gave life. It was not the kind that made men mad either, nor was it the kind that made people feel joy merely by looking at her dance.
“You will not dance then, little Queen?” only the sidhe she had allowed to call her that. Any one else who did normally found themselves staring at the edge of her staff with their cheeks nicked by it’s edge.
“No. The watchman cannot dance. But please, I beg of thee, dance in the clear moonlight for me. I can see your feet itches to do so, and I am not one to stop anyone from dancing. That would just be mean.”
“With thy permission then, little Queen, I shall dance in the moonlight for you,” he finished his sentence with a jump and leapt gracefully into the air.
The Queen watched his dance with a critical eye. One knew whether the sidhe was dangerous or not by the way they danced. This one, she could say, was not. His joy in the dance and knowing that she watched him was sincere. It radiated from him and dressed him with careless abandon. More than any other races, the sidhe gave in to their impulses frequently. It was thus, not the ones who danced madly that was a threat, but the ones who controlled themselves.
As he danced, her scar began to tingle. Looking around, she could see that they were beginning to come closer; the rustle of the wind told her that they were aiming specifically for her, and the caresses of the moon’s light on her cheek added that these were hunters who were dedicated to finding her and taking her and her people. Looking up, she called to the sidhe, but the call died in her throat.
Satr was turning into a wolf right before her eyes.
“Arise, children of Izz! The enemy comes!” her voice was booming and awoken all in the caravans, even though she was still looking out towards the plains with the caravans behind her.
They all came out quickly, taking their positions around the ring where the caravans were parked. All of them were armed, the women more than then men with their packets of herbs and knives as the men held staves as she did. Two or three brandished swords that had seen better days. She could hear the children running to hide; they had taught the children well.
“Be ready! Here they come!” she shouted, raising her staff into the air as the grass moved with deep, dark shadows. Satr was nowhere to be seen.
When the first werewolf leapt out of the grass, he was met by a bolt of magic from the Queen’s staff.