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By Katira All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Luna (exceprt)

Be it known as pack or flock or group or family, one should never live alone. Home is that where you are loved, where you are fed, where none can hurt you. Home is that which you are happy. The Pack is solid, unbreakable and fierce. Wolves of Shadow last forever. Or that is what she once believed. Then they came, ravishing the world of everything they held dear. Burning the homes of the elves and fae, slaughtering elk and dragons for sport, enslaving the races that fought back. The creatures look so much like the elves and fae, but they smelled so different. The smelled of death and tar and smoke and it was on the day they raided her home that she felt most afraid. Their ocean of pain ebbed so close to home. Her mother and father could not get out. She was pushed down inside the darkest hole they could find. Hidden from view she watched the brutal slaughter of her entire clan. Her pack was destroyed, not by light or energy or sun, but by fire. She couldn’t watch. She closed her eyes. The same of that would never leave her, but she closed her eyes and any light that distinguished her from any other shadow was hidden, and they didn’t see her.

“Luna” she heard softly much later. Her name. Someone who knew her name. But who? Anyone who knew of her was long dead, were they not? She peered out of her hole to see the bright tearful blue eyes of the Elven princess. Her purple hair and black dress were stained with the red blood of her own people, as well as the soot and grime of fire.

“They burned it down Luna…the whole forest. It was too fast, too hot. None of the others survived. We’ve lost everything.” How strange, the wolf seemed to find it, that a thirteen year old princess could be so calm about it. Then she realized, it must have happened days ago…for her to recover and travel this deep into the woods. She’d come here seeking protection. She would find none. Luna growled lowly at the princes but how could she refuse her? She had lost everything. She had watched her family burn and scream and die. Women, children and even the dragons. Slowly the wolf came out of her hiding place and shifted into her humanoid form, appearing as that of an elf with glowing eyes.

“How did you escape?” Her voice was low, gruff and growling, a direct contrast to the elven princess’s high, childish and gentle voice.

“Pyromancy…they call me the fire queen…I thought it was dumb but it seems like they weren’t wrong. Luna what do I do? The elves are gone…the fae and dragons and goblins and wolves and Elk…everything is gone!” Luna stepped up and pulled the young Pyromancer into her arms and played with her hair.

“First, take a shower. You reek.” She said and smiled at her. “Then we’ll go on a search. They probably have not hit the southern woods yet. You check there, I’ll take the North, and you can meet me at the beach in Lanshair.”

Once it had been agreed where they would go Luna shifted to her wolf form and ran. She ran as fast as the wind could carry her. It was clear the army of the desolation spreaders had been split. The North was being ransacked faster than she could get ahead of it. She spread word with the birds and bees and any creature that would listen. Evacuate the forest. Everyone should get out as fast as they possibly could. Some called her a naysayer, a worry wolf, but she could smell the tar and fire getting stronger and stronger. She was getting close to something very frightening, and it was just past the woods. The closer she got to the edge of the forest the slower she walked until she was creeping, with her haunches raised, to the edge of the trees.

Just beyond the trees was a foul smelling place, with structures of stone and metal. The spewed fire and were loud and noisy and creaked whenever the moving parts around them would shift. “Factories” The owl who landed near her called them. “The creatures of death are known as humans. They look very much like elves but they care not for anyone or anything but themselves.” The creature turned into its elven form and looked out at the buildings. “They reside in those structures and are cruel. They have taken entire hoards and nests for dragons for breeding. Elves have also been taken…The elven prince was last seen taken in there.” He said and Luna looked up at him with a whine. “You will be unable to save him Luna, you mustn’t try.” He insisted.

However she could not sit back. She could not refuse to aide her friend. Her brother was still alive, and if she turned back now neither of them would be able to forgive her. She shifted to a human form and ran, into the human dwelling. She managed to find the line of captives before they were fully led to the holding structure. It was a tall stone structure with no winds, nothing but a circular wall with one door that was guarded by a large man in thick armor. The man was sixteen feet tall with armor thick as dragon scales. He wielded a golden blade clearly crafted in the dwarf mines with probably all that remained of their golden treasure. She could not get in. She would have to wait. Wait until the changing of guard. All creatures must sleep.

Unfortunately the one who fell asleep first was her, because she awoke in a cage, her hands bound together and the prisoners standing before her. In front of them a large pit of lava. One by one they were asked a question. If they refused they were pushed into the lava their screams echoing through the cave walls. That’s right she recognized those sounds. Those reverberations. This was mount Akamarent, the volcano of punishment and repentance. But this was wrong; this wasn’t what it was meant for. What were they even asking them? What fear and darkness were these humans instilling upon her people and those who are her friends.

“Leave them!” she shouted alerting them to her return to consciousness. One of the human men smirked at her and walked over. “Oh I see, the young wolf wants to hear the choices do you?” the creatures voice was nasally and gross and she didn’t want to hear him speak another word, but he opened the cage and yanked her out and pulled her over to the lava. There was another of these foul disgusting creatures talking to the elven prince now.

“Alex!” she called in relief but he didn’t look over. “Will you aid our cause or fall to your demise?” Came the malicious slick voice of the other human creature. “Aid.” Alex answered without a second thought, his voice dull and monotone. To preserve his own life he would do what needed to be done. “Good lad, now explain the cause to the she-wolf.”

“They will begin breeding the shadows, dragons, anything useful they can find. You have a choice to either aid in breeding, or die.”

Luna growled. “Your sister is out there looking for you! Come with me now Alex!”

“You are bound; there is nothing you can do.”

She roundhouse kicked the man holding her and her claw-like nails cut through her binds. “You were saying? Now come on Alex let’s go!” she said reaching a hand out to him. He seemed to hesitate, looking like he even believed he could escape. He reached out and grabbed her hand, then smirked almost as sinister as the humans themselves. “They have offered me something so much greater…I just have to catch the Fire queen. She will come now.” He said and he yanked on her arm, throwing her back against the ledge, pushing her. The last she heard was the cackling of Alex and the malicious creatures he now called companions. All she could think of was the poor creatures yet to suffer at their hands.

The Owl landed on a branch high on a cliff that over looked the forest, the town, the ocean, the whole world that had been known to them and hooted sadly. He shook his head and looked to the moon. Wisdom was all he had to offer. Wisdom was not enough. Still, unto the moon he imparted his greatest insight, and his biggest fear.

~ There is a feeling, an overwhelming devastation, that should only ever be felt a maximum of once in a life time. The soul shattering pain of complete and total loss that comes when everything precious to you is ripped away; when your life is tested to its limits and beyond. At the point of breaking when the misfortune seems endless, the fear and shadows engulf your body and mind until there is nothing. When your soul shatters and you are faced with the task of rebuilding everything from the beginning all over again. The first time can make you stronger, the second can make you bitter, and the third will always lead down the winding and darkened path of vengeance.~

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