Romasanta: Father of Werewolves (The Cedric Series 2)

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Sister Shaman

The sun had set long before he managed to make it back to the farm. Bursting through the door, startling his wife, Romasanta looked pale from his excursion. Sweat dripped off his bearded chin, he had run the whole way back. The wooden bowl she dropped rattled in their ears as they exchanged bewildered stares. Closing the door, he paused a moment, glaring at his arm where bite marks had ravaged it and magically disappeared. His back to her, he looked at the glowing gemstone in his left hand. Yellow eyes glinted back and he gasped as her hands touched his back.

“What happened?” He was hesitating to turn and face her. “Romasanta, are you hurt?”

“No.” Clutching the red stone hard, he faced his wife’s worried expression, answering her honestly. “I’m not sure what happened.”

Slowly he opened his hand to show her the stone that lay within his grip. It glowed in response to her stare. She reached out to touch it but stopped. Movement inside the jewel made it clear this was not a normal gemstone. He tucked it away in his leather pouch, knowing the motion seen within the stone was Fenrir pacing within his prison.

“What sort of magic is in that stone?” Her whisper was barely audible as her eyes looked up into his, reflecting the same fears. “Its magic seems dangerous. Are you sure this is not a cursed stone?”

Gripping her shoulders, he kept calm as he answered. “I will take it to the Shaman woman. She must know something about this gem.”

Letting go of her, he walked further into the room as he pulled his soiled shirt off. He couldn’t help but avoid her stare. She was full of questions for him, but he still struggled with what had happened between him, Fenrir, and the stone. The pain of the fangs that crushed themselves into his arm still stung at the front of his mind. Even the look in those golden eyes of Fenrir as the stone took him held a heart-stopping terror within Romasanta’s own mind.

“And what of Fenrir?” She prodded for more answers as she picked up the dropped bowl, scooping him a share of the stew, setting it on the table. “Were there anymore signs of him or where the rest of the bull had gone?”

“Yes, Fenrir had taken the bull.” Joining her at the table, he was grateful to take in a deep sniff of the vegetables and meat. “He intended to lure me out to him after all.”

“How do you know that?” She laughed as she turned back to the pot over the fire, scooping herself a bowl of food. “Did he tell you himself?”

“No, but he attacked me.” The ladle hit the floor as she looked over at him. “I would not be here if it weren’t for that stone.”

Sitting down, she could see that Romasanta was not comfortable with being alive as she questioned him. “Then where is Fenrir?”

“Trapped in the stone.” His appetite goaded him to take a bite as he continued talking. “That is why I am going to see Sister Shaman tomorrow. Fenrir and I may not be allies, but no man, beast, or demon deserves to be encased for eternity in a cursed stone.”

“In all of Arcadia, I have never heard of such a stone.” Pausing in thought, Romasanta’s wife made a remark that reminded him that she was a daughter of a Shaman. “At first glance it looks like a bloodstone, but they thrive off the dying. Demons and sorcerers of the dark arts use them for various spells and tasks, including healing. But, they trade life from a sacrifice to do so. Of all my knowledge, none have the ability to trap beings within them without a recoil or payment.”

“Let us prepare for our trip tomorrow.” He had finished his meal and stood up. Standing behind his wife as she pondered over the stone, he placed his hands on her tense shoulders. “Please, my love, let us rejoice in me being alive when I should be dead.”

Her hand reached up to his and she nudged it with her cheek. “Oh, Romasanta, what sort of destiny have you brought down on us with this cursed gem?”

A tear slid down her cheek and his heart lunged against his chest. She may not have been chosen to walk the path of a shaman woman, but he knew she had the gift. Daphne would never tell him if the spirits revealed something to her or if she had dreamed about what was to be next in the unforeseen future. It was unclear if this was something the gifted did by choice or something that had been taught to them. She had made it clear that even if she spoke about it, it would not change what must come to pass.

He leaned over her, kissing the side of her neck. Each touch and suckle of his lips took away more of her tension. As her muscles softened under his touch, he smiled, enjoying the sensation he brought over her. Grabbing her by the hands, he tugged her with him to their bed. Her hands pressed against his chest, insisting he sit on the bed as she kissed him passionately.

Hot tears were falling down her face and he pulled her back, whispering in a tender tone. “What’s wrong?”

The desperation in her face was breathtaking as she collapsed onto him, his arms hugging her tight. “I shouldn’t have let you go… I’m so sorry, Romasanta…”

“Daphne, what have the spirits told you?” She curled tighter there on his lap and he could only enclose her in his bulk. “Dammit, just this once, can you not tell your husband?”

She pulled away, looking up at him with her watery eyes. “Let us enjoy our last night together.”

Swallowed by his passion and sorrow, he gave her a voracious kiss. She returned with the same appetite for passion. Leaning back, she pulled her dress free as she straddled him. Mustering a smile, his oversized thumbs rubbed her cheeks free of their tears. Her hand cupped his as her cheek nuzzled into his palm. A wave of pure love hit him, his heart swelling over the compassion they shared for one another. Once more, his arms wrapped around her mocha colored back. If this was indeed their last night together, then he never wanted to let her go.

Gasps escaped her lips as he suckled at her breast. The grip of her fingers in his hair encouraged him further as they rolled on their bed. Looming over her, he looked down at her smiling face as she squeezed her thighs around his waist. Laughing, he leaned his weight on top of her, enjoying the taste of her lips as they made love. Gathering her in his arms, her mouth huffed and moaned in his ears. She quivered and he would react with a stronger, more intense movement, hoping of pushing her to the edge of ecstasy.

“Romasanta!” She breathed. “…I love you.”

The sun was peeking through the trees as they lay there together. Neither of them had fallen asleep, but the silence had come too soon. The night had been filled with memories of the first time they saw one another, how they stood firm when they decided to be together. Against all the disapproval, they both had abandoned their roles in the inner shaman caste and left to be alone. Retelling of stories had ran its course before the sun had risen, but today will be the judge of how this union would break.

His ribs ached, whether from her grip or the hours that had passed between them, it didn’t matter. Fear had its hold on her and there was nothing he could do to stop what she knew was coming. She laid across his chest, the heat of her breath tickling him. Neither of them wanted to break this moment of affection as he pondered what would be happening before the day’s end. What sort of things had the spirits shown Daphne that she would want to be in his arms an entire night?

“Come with me.” Kissing her forehead, he broke her from her thoughts. “Perhaps there might be something-”

“It ends the same way.” Her response sharp as she broke away, dressing herself. “But I wish to go with you and spend what time is left with you. Just remember Romasanta, what will happen is not your fault, my love.”

“My fault?” Frowning, he furrowed his brow as she left the hut. “What horrible fate do we have? Why would I think it’s my fault…”

They rode together on the old mare they had, who snorted at having to carry two people. Daphne had remained distant and silent as they travelled down the forest path to the main village. Several times he had tried to start a conversation but she was far from where she sat. The grave look and hazed eyes told him that she was preparing for whatever was to happen. Mulling it over, whatever was coming would be happening to her. Perhaps the stone could stop it, but was it the cause of her inevitable peril? Pulling it from the leather pouch, he stared down at it. As if he could feel Romasanta’s glare, Fenrir’s amber eyes and toothy grin greeted him. How long will he be carrying this cursed stone and its prisoner?

The mare paused and bobbed her head in disapproval. Their pathway was blocked by two warriors from the Shaman’s village. It was still a short ride away, but this was the normal routine and precautions. They would be stopped and checked a few more times before reaching the huts where everyone gathered. Arcadia was a place full of dangers, human and demonic, with and without magic. Animals were nothing compared to their unnatural variants that had lived decades before any man had stepped foot in the Black Forest.

Today was quiet by comparison to the past trips he had made down this road. No signs of wounded men or tracks of animal across the dirt road were in sight. Even the birds above them seemed to be whispering in lieu of singing. Every thud of the mare’s hooves tightened the muscles in Romasanta’s back. His wife was gripping his shirt in fistfuls as they rode ever closer to their final destination. There was no mistaking that Daphne’s visions would soon come into existence. He prayed that he could change the outcome that had sent her in such a frightened state.

It was a relief to reach the huts without any incidents. The village felt as awkward as the forest, adding to the paranoia growing in his mind. He helped her off the horse, pulling her along hand-in-hand towards the Shaman’s house. Every emotion was pulling at him, fearing to let her out of sight. Guards gripped him by the arm, stopping him from entering. The glare he shot made the man flinch, but did nothing to make him let go.

“I am here to see the Shaman.” Jerking his arm free, he pulled Daphne closer as he declared his purpose. “We are going in to see her on a very urgent matter.”

“Only one person is allowed to enter.” Snapped the guard, glaring at Daphne.

“She needs to st-” She tugged her hand from his and caught his attention.

“It’s ok, Romasanta.” It was a half-hearted smile, but her voice stern. “You need to see her. It’s very important.”

“Will you be ok?” He scanned the village for any signs of danger but found nothing. “Are you sure?”

“Please, it’s important that you do this.” Kissing him, they spent a moment with their foreheads leaning against one another. “I love you as much as you love me, my husband. Everything will be fine. Just remember, it is not your fault.”

“I love you with all my soul, Daphne.” Once more he caressed her face with his fingers, sliding a strain of her hair from her face. “It will be short.”

Nodding at the guard, he was allowed to enter. Another warrior was waiting just within the door and he followed Romasanta to the center of the vast house where he knelt. On a throne of charms, bones, and horn the shaman woman sat eerily still as if made of stone. Not a sound came from her as she waved her hand in the traditional welcoming signage.

“Leave us. I wish to speak to him alone.” Her voice was powerful and authoritative. “It’s been a while, Romasanta.”

Romasanta watched as the guard left out the door and the sunlight fell dark as the leather curtain closed. “What makes today so special, sister?”

“You are a fool, brother.” The shaman stood, showing she was equally as tall as he, pulling off the stag skull mask. “Where did you find it?”

“In a crevasse deep within the Black Forest.” Standing, he began to work the stone out of its pouch. “How did you know I had this?”

“I’m the all-knowing Shamanka Artemis.” Smirking she took the stone from him. “And your sibling. I would think I can tell when my twin brother is hiding something from me.”

“Let’s see how much you know about the damn thing.” Scoffing, he started pacing the floors, anxious to return to Daphne. “I already know it’s not a bloodstone.”

“True. This brother, this is the Eye of Gaea.” Pausing, she looked into its glow. “I see you have caught Fenrir using it.”

“It was not intentional.” Looking over his shoulder, they locked eyes. “I wish to free him. No one deserves that fate.”

“You did not put him here?” Furrowing her brow, the muscles in her face grew tense.

“No. If I did, it was not something I wished to do.” Subconsciously rubbing his arm where Fenrir had torn into him he continued his explanation. “I had just found the gem when he attacked. He had my arm, tearing me to shreds when he disappeared into the gem and I was healed miraculously.”

“Strange.” Fenrir paced within the stone, awaiting the shaman’s reply. “Perhaps Gaea can free Fenrir. Brother, I will be giving you this stone in hopes you can return Gaea her eye. Do not let this fall into anyone else’s hands. I dare not hold this stone any longer than needed. Anyone carrying magic in their veins could wield magic with this gem and do ill-will to all without recoil. Fear its power, for it may intervene again. As long as you do not wish it to act, you will not feel its recoil. You must never use the stone for fear that Gaea will be angry.”

“Where do I start in order to find where Gaea resides?” Taking the glowing stone from Artemis, he held his breath for an answer.

She sighed. “No one knows.”

“Then all I have are fairytales to go on.” He glared down at Fenrir within his prison. “It’s a shame I have no means of asking you if you happen to know anything.”

“They plan on rebelling against me.” His sister’s hands covered up the stone, demanding he look her in the eyes. “I don’t know when, but soon the nomadic Lykaon’s will burn this village to the ground. All I ask is that you do not pursue me or them. It will only bring you torment.”

“First my wife, and now my sister. It’s torture to have no gift to see and hear what you two already know.” Turning his back to her he grumbled on. “All I wanted was a happy marriage, a farm of which to give my heir. Instead, I am told I will lose the last of my family today and be left with the impossible task of not only freeing Fenrir, but returning the Eye of Gaea to its owner.”

Gripping the stone tightly, its glow brightened in his anger. The silence brought no comfort and he started for the door in frustration. Both her hands grabbed the back of his shirt, stopping him. Choking sobs escaped Artemis, a sound he had never heard from her. Not even after the death of their parents and siblings, through all their hardships, had she let herself be seen by anyone shedding one tear. She had been a pillar of amazing strength to him and many others.

Swallowing, he bit his tongue. She pulled at his shirt, whimpering as the tears cut loose from her. At first the words she struggled to say were hard to understand. Then they managed to escape her lips and his heart ached. The words that hit his ears brought a nauseating wave of dread as it lingered there in the air.

“It’s not your fault, Romasanta.” She shook her head against his spine as his muscles turned to stone. “What is going to happen is not your fault. You are nothing but a man. Don’t forget that! You are only a man…”

Closing his eyes, he cursed the world and its spirits. Slowly she let go, pulling her stag skull mask over her reddened face, returning to her throne. He stood, waiting to see if more tears or words would come. None ever came to her lips or eyes. Pushing back the sorrow invading his every nerve, he took in a deep breath and left her alone. His chest grew tight as anxiety gripped at him. Compared to his wife and sister, he felt blind and naïve to the events drawing near. The day was slipping away, building the weight of his fears on his shoulders.

He continued gripping the stone in his hand as its burden on him became heavier with every step. Throwing back the leather flap, he squinted in the blinding sunlight. Its heat against his face made him frown as his eyes adjusted. The guard returned within the hut behind him as he walked over to the old mare. His gut was tying in knots as he realized Daphne was not there with the horse. Ending his approach, he looked around with caution. The hairs on his arms were standing on end. A realization shook him as there had been no signs of children or the typical village women. In fact, it had been nothing but male warriors the whole ride into the village. Faces he hadn’t recognized, but then again he had always distanced himself.


Heat and light exploded behind him. Stifling back from the explosion, he watched as the Shaman’s hut was set ablaze. Breaking from his moment of shock, he broke into a run.


“Stop right there!” A large man stepped between him and the fiery wall that claimed the building. “Let the witch burn!”

He blinked, his thoughts scattered in panic. Looking down at the spear pointed at him, he realized it was his own and anger waved through him. “Fine. My wife and I will leave and you can do what you will with the village. We have no quarrel with you.”

“That’s not what I hear, Romasanta.” Grinning he nodded for him to turn around. “We have your wife, but you can leave her here with us. You see, we are running low on woman folk.”

Gritting his teeth, Romasanta turned to see one of the large man’s men holding Daphne by the arm. Her face turning red and purple where she had been hit. Something animalistic in him was fueling his fury as he watched the line of blood from her lip drip. Despite the distance, the smell of it was hitting his nose and his muscles ached for him to fight. A strange blend of excitement and rage he had never felt before was rising up from within his core.

“She is taken.” Turning his attention to the man with his own spear, he struggled to keep calm. “What gives you the right to take others against their will?”

“I am the King of Arcadia, Boreas. The king of the Lykaon tribe who are feared for their abilities to bend magic to their will.” Opening his left palm, he set it aflame to make it clear that he had no help from a torch to light the hut on fire. “Rumors say you were the witch’s brother.”

“Rumors.” Huffed Romasanta, standing firm as the muscles in his face twitched with contempt. “I will ask one more time, let my wife Daphne go. You can chase the witch to the ends of the world for all I care.”

Artemis, you knew he was coming. You’re the best magic wielder I know and you are probably gone by now. Was that even you in the house with me moments ago?

“Perhaps they weren’t true.” They glared at each other, each carrying their own dark eyes as the man bellowed his desires to Romasanta. “But I will be taking the girl and that glowing bloodstone you hold.”

His hand tightened around the heat of the stone. Glaring into Boreas’ dark eyes, ignoring all he knew of the Lykaon bloodline, he turned his back on him and marched to Daphne. He had always been a pacifist, another reason why he wanted to abandon his training to be a Shaman’s protector. As he walked away, regrets of not learning to fight were seeping forward.

“Where are you going?” Boreas roared, angered to be ignored so easily. “How dare you turn your back on me!”

A thudding ripped through the side of his back. His feet failed him and he found himself slumping to his knees. Heat poured down across his back where the spear had landed and stuck. Daphne wailed, but his ears could not hear her screams as he looked at her hysterical expression. Confused by the pain that shot throughout him he watched as she broke free from her prisoners.

“Romasanta!” Her voice broke through as she collapsed onto him.

“Daphne…” Looking at her, he was helpless as his body grew weak as the blood flowed from him.

Tears were welling up in his eyes as he looked at her paling face. More pain rattled him as she yanked his spear from his back. His scream of agony shocked the faces around them, except Boreas. Standing, both hands covered in flames, he approached. Daphne held the spear to him, ready to defend him as he fell to the ground.

Dirt struck his cheek as he watched on, his hand still grasping the stone. It shook and pulsed in his hands as Fenrir raged against his prison walls. Romasanta’s death was approaching, but he could not go, not with Daphne needing to be protected. He failed once, but he can’t fail her now. The pain was numbing his senses. Everything was confusing as his ears were failing him. His sight blurred with each stinging throb. Tears rolled the bridge of his nose, the stone burning like a hot coal in his hand.

Managing to stand back on his feet, laying a hand on Daphne’s shoulder, he took the lead in their defense against Boreas. Looking over at him, tears were running down her face as she shook her head in disapproval. Her lips silent as the repeated the motion of ‘please, no’. In her eyes, a reflection of himself with Fenrir’s glowing amber eyes.

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