The memory felt fresh like it happened yesterday. I sat beside my grandmother on her large rocking chair, which accommodated us with a few inches of space to spare. She rocked us back and forth in her own rhythm. And then, she gave me one of the most precious speeches I’ll never forget.
“My sweet,” she said. “You are special.”
“Why am I special, grandma?” I asked. My voice too mature for my young age of seven.
She smiled and replied, “You are special because you live only to protect those who are innocent of evil. You live to keep a level of peace in the world.” She paused before pushed me closer to her side. “But, my sweet, remember, even if you try to rid of all the evil in the world you must first get rid of the evil within yourself.”
My eyebrow furrowed in concentration to uncover the meaning of her words. But at seven, her riddles were aggravating for me to comprehend. “I don’t understand, grandma.”
She chuckled, understanding my frustration. Yet, she still kept telling me things in a riddle. “You must wholeheartedly see the good in all without looking at who they are, and what they are. Even if everyone tells you they are damned.”
“But isn’t evil, evil?” I argued.
“Anyone can redeem themselves, my sweet. Not all good are what they seem.”
“What does that mean?” I inquired with more frustration.
“Not all the monsters you see are what they are inside. Sometimes those who look innocent are the ones who have evil inside them. In this reality, the monsters are real. And monsters come in the same shape and size as those you trust.” Her words echoed through my mind and heart, engraving them there until today.
Even now, I could still hear the sweet sound of my grandmother’s voice echoing in my ear. In this reality, the monsters are real. I hadn’t understood what she meant. To me, there was one description of what was evil in the world. Lycans.
A man-wolf shifter the entertainment industry referred to as werewolves. Though they were right about depicting them shifting from man to wolf, the rest of the theories about their physical abilities and attributes are beyond their wildest dream. The closest they could conjure up was their size.
Man-wolves that are nearly as tall as a horse with muscled limbs and eyes that glows in the night. What makes these creatures much more frightening was the ability to shift in command, and strength that could contest the gods. These were the monsters both in my dreams and reality.
But the world wasn’t completely defenseless from the damned. Mother Nature found a way to balance out predators and prey. But in this case, it’s predator against a predator.
My people are called Custodian. We are an ancient race of human hybrid, whose main reason for living was one thing - to kill those who damned the world, the Lycans. We were a species blessed between two different abilities.
Firstly, there were what humans called witches. In our community, they are called Curatrix, the casters. They are blessed with the power to use the natural elements: earth, water, wind, and fire. They couldn’t create these elements out of thin air, however, they can borrow its power and weave them into spells that we used to protect and kill.
And then, though not as flamboyant as a witch with powers, there are what humans called hunters. In the Middle Ages, they were called Knights. To us, they are the Kynigans. They have advanced physical abilities that mythology depicted them as demi-gods. Though they have no gifts of magic, their power is from within and their strength might move mountains.
Through the millennia, Lycans grew more controlling because of their supreme inborn gift. In those days, the line between myth and reality is a blur. There was so much death, ultimately Mother Nature set upon a plague that plunged the world to reset. Now, human history hid our kind as nothing but a fable or stories to scare children during the night. At that time, Custodian had slowly risen in numbers and took control. They made sure we remain as stories in fear of Mother Nature and risking the lives of our weaker brethren. The Lycans had learned not to question the Custodian. Thus, a treaty of both races was made.
The main law follows to never reveal our kind to humans or kill without reason. But it only applied to those who are civil. Not all Lycans had agreed to bow down to the Custodian Treaty. It brought about another war, purging the wicked and damned from the face of the earth. It was hidden from human history as stories of the Crusaders and Knights battling demons and the devil himself.
From then on, Lycans lost its presence and power in the world. Most Lycans accepted their place and kept the treaty. But bad blood still flows within the shadow behind the peace. Thus, an internal war between the two mortal enemies continued till the modern day.
I had been one of the few unfortunate Custodians pried by Roués – the term we used for rogue Lycans who were against the treaty.
At age nine, I’ve witnessed my own family murdered in my own home. Since then, I took refuge at the Hunter Mansion, home of the Minister of the Custodian Order. The Order was founded by the ten families who created the treaty. Their primary function is to oversee and execute the peace between the three species: Custodians, Lycans, and Humans. The members of the Order were considered royals by the Custodians. They all regard them with respect and each holds the title of Lord and Lady within our community.
But it wasn’t the only reason why I took refuge under the Minister. I wasn’t merely another orphaned Custodian. I was part of the ten Custodian royal families. I am the last of my line. Rhoane – Roe –Knightley, a Kynigan. A Custodian Royal.
Even amongst the different, I was special. Even amongst the special, I was valuable. My importance made me a cage into a life of no freedom. After nine years, even my own name had slowly lost its meaning to me. Yet it’s worth only grew. Even then, I didn’t lose my will to fight. It is all I have.