The Blessed and the Cursed

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Chapter Three; The Girl who cried Wolf

“It’s the last day of your trial.” Gwen said at breakfast.

“How do you think I did?” Sylvia wondered.

“I think you were wonderful.” Beatrice said. “I would love nothing more than for you to stay.”

Sylvia smiled at what Beatrice had said, she felt loved, and like she belonged somewhere. She had people who cared for her and she was grateful for that, but deep down she knew that when her true self...no, when the beast she is, is found out, they will forget about their love for her.

“Stop your worrying, you did fine.” Gwen said. “The chief may look stubborn and full of rage, but he is fair.”

“I hope you speak the truth.” Sylvia wished as she sipped her tea.

She hadn’t met Weston since that night. Had he left town? Maybe he is still unwell, or he is avoiding her. He regrets what he said, that must be it. Then all she has to do is say that they don’t matter, even though she refuses it, deep down she was affected by his words. She knew they meant nothing, he was drunk. Oh, how much she wished she would’ve read his mind, then all her confusion would disappear.

“What are we up to this day?” Sylvia asked.

“Not much work, the conclave is held at sundown to decide your fate.” Beatrice said. “Here if you are to waste time, take this basket to Lady Corleone.”

“What’s in it?” Sylvia asked peeking inside, but Beatrice slapped her hand away. “It is sweet potato pie, she is with a child, and this is good for her health.”

“I shall congratulate her.”

“That you should.”

Sylvia headed out, with the basket in hand, she felt refreshed after stepping outside. She hadn;t stepped outside a lot since that night, that is also a huge reason as to why she hasn’t seen Weston, she had been avoiding him. Maybe he had too, and it was better this way. The snow had piled up again over the week, it was up to her ankles, lucky for her she didn’t get cold. As she reached the Corleone house she knocked on the door, and Lady Corleone opened the door.

“Sylvia.” she said with a big smile. “Come, come inside. What is it you have brought?”

“Sweet potato pie, Beatrice made it.” Sylvia said handing it to her. “Congratulations, you are with a child.”
“Why thank you, my dear.” she said as she took a seat. “I already have two toddlers, but I just love children so much, they are innocent and sweet.”

“I can agree with that.” Sylvia said. “I shall take my leave, I have to be ready for the conclave.”

“Of course you do.” She said walking Sylvia to the door. “Send my regards to Beatrice.”

Sylvia waved at Lady Corleone and walked back to her house, she was still on edge about seeing Weston, but her curiosity was eating her up from the inside. She had to know who had fought with and why? It was a question spiraling in her mind, waiting to be asked as soon as possible. She made a bold decision and decided to look for him, after all he was going to be in the town somewhere. She decided to check the town hall, where the men were reconstructing a broken window. Perhaps he was helping there, she thought.

She made her way through the thick snow up to the town hall, she didn’t catch his scent at all, not even close. She was a bit let down, but she kept to her quest to finding him. Next she was to check the tavern, the drunk he was, he would be there. She had to make her way all the way to the other side of the town to reach the tavern. As she entered she only saw two men at the stools, both drunk till their faces were giant tomatoes, but no sign of Weston. As she was about to give up on her search, she decided to go look at the blacksmith shop, that was where she first saw him, her last resort. This time it was a closer walk, but still far away. As she entered the shop, the same bell chimed and echoed through the empty shop. It looked the same from the inside as before, maybe a bit cleaner.

“Sylvia.” The blacksmith said remembering the girl. “What can I help you with?”

Sylvia sniffed the air and was hit with Weston’s scent, he was nearby. “I’m looking for someone.” she said to the blacksmith.

“Who exactly?” The black smith asked and waited for her to elaborate.

“Weston, the count. I’m looking for the count.” She said looking around the shop. “Is he here?”

“You just missed him, if you were earlier than you would’ve caught up with him” He said. “If it is urgent you can leave a message for him.”

“No, it’s alright.” She said as her eyes fell to the floor. “I’ll see you at sundown.” she said to the blacksmith and left the shop, dragging her feet through the snow, which seemed heavier than before she walked slowly back to the house, or her house. She should be able to call it her house. Regardless, she was still disappointed that she was unable to find Weston, perhaps he would show at the conclave.

She went back to her house and pondered the time away, she thought about all the stuff that was contracting her mind, the attack of her village, the loss of her parents, trying to hide her identity, and most recently, Weston. There was something about him, he made her feel a certain way, happy, calm, at peace, she liked those feelings.

Before she knew it the bell had rung, indicating it was time for the conclave. Same as the time before, she was seated in the middle, the chief sitting in front of her. The pews were filled yet again, the kids were told to be quiet, the chief raised his hand, and it was silent all throughout the room.

“Sylvia, it is the end of your trial, I am glad to see that you were on your best actions.” The chief said. “I am allowing you to reside in our town, but you should know that if you are the cause of trouble, you will be punished, like any other person in this town.”

“I understand, I am grateful to you for providing me a home, a place to live.” She said looking at the chief. “I will not break your trust, you have my word.”

“Good.”

She rose up and sat back to her seat beside Gwen. A small boy came up to the seat in the middle and greeted the chief, he was a young boy. He had a solemn expression on his face. He pursed his lips before speaking, like he was doubting himself.

“I have a favor to ask of you.” The boy said.

“That is why I am here, continue boy.” The chief said as he waved his hand.

“I would like to marry.” he said.

“Who mights thou marry?”

“Gwenevieve.”

There was a roar of laughter from the rest of the people, the boys pale face started to go pink. Sylvia immediately looked at Gwenevieve who slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand. Sylvia could see why a young boy would fancy Gwen. She had beautiful light brown eyes, which made her dark skin look richer and smooth, her lips were plump, making her nose look smaller.

The chief had a cheeky smile on his face. “Gwenevieve, isn’t she a decade before you?”

“Y..y..yes.” the boy said, his eyes to the ground.

“And what does Gwenevieve have to say to that?” The chief ask. “Does she wish to marry you?”

The boy stayed in silence and shook his head.

“How about you wait a few summers, you are young, too young to provide for a woman like Gwenevieve” The chief said. “And I’m sure you wouldn’t want her to live a poor life.”

The boy looked up and realized the unrealisticness of his desire, and with his head still down he sat down beside his friends, who each gave him a pat on the back, and then started to snicker.

The rest of the people had serious issues, especially the farmers. They complained about the fertilizers that were attracting too many insects, destroying their crops in the summer. The chief offered them two solutions, they could make their own fertilizer by summer, or they could start buying from the main city. He said they would revisit the issue when they start farming. A few other, less serious problems were discussed and the conclave was put to an end. Most of the kids headed out in the dark to play, as the night was still young.

“Sylvia.” She heard her name being called.

She turned around to see Weston making his way towards her. Gwen looked back and nudged Sylvia’s shoulder with her elbow, and headed back first, leaving the two to chat.

“Weston.” Sylvia said. She didn’t know what to say now that she had seen him. “How do you do?”

“I must apologize for that night.” He said as he scratched the back of his neck. “I had been served one too many drinks, and then I..I..-”

“Do not worry about the things you’ve said.” Sylvia said reassuring him. “I was well aware of your state.” He let out a sigh of relief, and it came out in the form of mist. “What I must know is the reason you were in that awful state.”

“Oh, that is not your worry.” he said. “Just a friendly argument with a friend.”

“You fought with the prince?” She said Weston gave her a look which was ‘how did she know it was the prince’ “Forgive me, but you don’t seem to have many friends.”

“You speak the truth, but I have you.”

“We are friends?”

“Yes, of course we are.” He said. “Were you trying to not see me?”
“No.” She lied. “I was busy, doing chores, and helping Beatrice.”

“I see.” He opened his mouth to say something else but was interrupted by a blood curdling scream.

“HELP!” the voice cried out. “SOMEBODY HELP.”

Sylvia and Weston sprinted towards the noise as fast as they could, people stepped out of their homes, wondering about the noise. Sylvia ran ahead of Weston, he was following shortly after her. They reached the end of the town where a girl stood, her clothes were smeared with blood, her blonde hair was a mess, she was bare feet on the snow, her face was covered in blood, and tears, she wailed out loud as they picked her up and brought her to the Weston's house, which was the nearest.

“The chief will be here shortly, I sent a boy.” Weston said and closed the door.

Sylvia took a wet rag and wiped the mess from the girl’s hair. She looked to see some of her remedy still left, and applied it to her cuts. “Are you hurt anywhere else?” Sylvia asked and the girl shook her head. “What’s your name?”

“Analiegh.”She said in a whisper, her fingers were brittle form her biting the rough edges of her skin. Her eyes never left the ground, because she couldn’t see anything other than the terror that tore her village apart. She looked up at the two people, standing there, looking at her with worrisome eyes. They kept glancing at each other, like they could talk through their heads.

“Sylvia, and this is Weston. The chief is coming, and you have to tell him what happened.” Sylvia said to the frightened girl. “We can’t aid you if we are left in the dark.”

Analiegh nodded her head slightly, staying silent as much as she could. The loud knock on the door made her yelp. Sylvia rested her hand on hers to make her feel more comfortable, and less frightened. As the footsteps approached them, Anliegh bit the chapped skin from her lips with her teeth. Her hands were nervously fiddling with Sylvia’s fingers.

“What is the matter at such a time?” The chief said as he saw the fragile girl wrapped in a blanket, Sylvia holding her hand. “What happened?”

Sylvia rubbed her other hand on Analiegh’s shoulder, urging her to tell what had happened.

“My village/” She started in a small tone. “It was attacked by these beasts.”

Sylvia’s blood seemed to stop in her body as the girl finished her sentence. Had the same thing happened to this poor girls village.

“What sort of beast?” the chief now concerned asked.

“You wouldn’t believe me.” She said. “They were, people, like us, nut they turned into wolves and ripped my village to shreds. I was by the forest so I climbed up a tee to stay hidden. I saw them turn to wolves with my own eyes. When I returned to the village it was all gone, houses were burned, ashes were left. People’s hearts were gone from their chests.”

When Analiegh finished telling her story, Sylvia could feel her shaking.
“Werewolves.” Sylvia said. “They were werewolves.”

“Werewolves have been dead for a long time.” the chief said. “How can you say that?”

“Because my village was attacked by them too.” Sylvia finally admitted. “I didn’t say because I would be seen as crazy, but I know for certain that they are not dead. They still reside on this earth, and they are finally coming out of the shadows.”

“This is something worrying.” the chief said. “I will send a messenger to the castle, by morning we would have news of what to do.”

“We should be quick about this, chief.” Weston who had been listening silently pitched in. “they’ve already attack two villages, ours could be next. What’s stopping them?”

“Yes, indeed, there is nothing stopping them.” The chief said. “Sylvia, I know this isn’t proper, but stay here with the girl tonight. It is dangerous for you to go in the dark. Attend to her wounds, and run her a bath, we wouldn’t want her wounds to get dirty.”

“Yes, chief.” she agreed.

Weston offered to drop the chief off, Sylvia assured them that she would be fine. After they left Sylvia drew a warm bath for Analiegh. She hadn’t talked at all, and was expressionless. The only time she showed an expression was when Sylvia said that her village was attacked. Sylvia didn’t push her much, because she had faced the same sorrow as her, the same loss, she had felt what Analiegh is feeling now. As soon as Sylvia had cleaned and bandaged her wounds, Analiegh fell asleep on the bed. Sylvia could see the dried up tears beside her eyes as she draped a warm blanket over her shivering body.

Just as she made her way out of the bedroom she heard the door shut, and Weston enter. She was going to attempt to lighten up the seriousness of their surroundings, but then she saw the anger in his eyes.

“What has happened?” She asked. “Why are you letting anger take over you?”

“It is you.” He said his voice cracking. “You lied about the attack on your village, if you would’ve spoken up about it then we wouldn’t be taking care of a girl who lost her village, because she will have her village.”

“You know nothing about why I lied.” Sylvia said, distraught by his anger. She had never seen him like this, so furious.

“You lied, and you could be lying about other things.” He said. “Maybe you are a spy, a werewolf, trying to find our weaknesses—”

He stopped when he saw the tears flood down her cheeks. He instantly regretted being mad, his anger had taken over his logical part. He felt pain in his chest as her tears fell to the ground. How could he have hurt her? She meant something to him, he didn’t know what exactly, but in the two weeks she had been in his life, he felt happy. He was mesmerised by her actions, the way she would take control of the situation, the way she showed no fear, yet here was the same girl, and he had broken her, made her cry.

Sylvia wouldn’t call herself sensitive, or someone to cry easily, but ever since she had met Weston...no ever since that night, her emotions had been running wild when she was with him. Everything was heightened, the happiness,the delight, and the sadness to go with it.

“You don’t know anything about me.” she said stomping her foot on the ground. “Nothing, you know NOTHING.” her fangs had whipped out and her glowing green eyes were fixed on Weston. His eyes widened, but Sylvia didn’t give him time to react. “I know it’s all my fault, If I were not born to this world, this wouldn’t have happened.”

She saw the fright in his eyes and backed away whimpering, she realized that she had shown herself to him, to the one who hated her. “I am not a beast, not a monster.” She kept repeating to herself as she fell to the floor. She braced herself to be attacked by Weston when he moved closer. She didn’t expect to be engulfed by his arms, which gently wrapped around her. “I’m sorry.” he whispered in her ear until her tears dried up and she looked up to meet his eyes.

“Your not afraid, or mad any longer, why is that?”

“I know I have a good grasp on who you are, and even though you are a werewolf.” He stopped after saying the word, it had somehow become taboo after they had been declared gone from the world. “I know you wouldn’t hurt people.”

“I am not to be called that.” She said with disgust as she stood up on her feet. “I am a Lycanthrope.”

“I am yet to hear of that word.” he said looking at her skeptically.

“I have a simple way of explaining.” She said sitting down on the blankets. “Lycanthrope is a family line, it has been passed from women to women since the beginning of times. We had been blessed with powers, to survive the rough edges of the world. Fangs were given to us for our defence, our senses were improved, better than the mortals, better hearing, sight, smell, and even taste. We were blessed by the moon, as we are stronger when the moon is full and weak when it is thin. We act like it too, cool and calm. Werewolves on the other hand were cursed by the sun, they act rageful and are driven by their anger. Their curse is passed down to generations of men, turning into wolves when they please, their only weakness is iron, even a single touch of the metal poisons them so deeply, they wither away to their deaths.”

“What about you? Are you hurt by silver?” He asked worried.

“No, only weakened.” Sylvia admitted.

“What does the legend have to do with them attacking?” Weston wondered out loud.

“That is my fault.” She admitted and it caught Weston’s attention. “It is very rare, but sometimes a Lycan is born who has powers. I am that Lycan, I was given the ability to go through people’s minds, but I do not like violating others like that. Just like Lycanthropy is in our blood, this power of mine is in my blood. You could say I have magical blood, and it can do one other thing.”

“Which is what?”

“It is an ingredient in this ancient spell, if the spell is cast, the werewolves will lose their weakness, and their powers would be twice as strong. That is why they attacked my village, they had warned me that they would attack every village until I agree, because the spell wouldn’t work until they had my consent.” Sylvia said. “They would be unstoppable, running around, creating havoc upon the world.”

“You should’ve told me sooner.” Weston said as he let out an exasperated sigh.

“I barely knew you, I still don’t know you that well.” Sylvia said. “I thought you would execute me, I am still a beast.”

“I will protect you from everybody who dares to lay a finger on you. You are no beast, you are sweet, polite, strong, and everything else good in the world.” he said. “and to me, to me you will always be the girl who helped my drunk as—”

Before he could finish his sentence Sylvia kicked him in the shin. “You are not to say such indecent words.” she said wanting to sound serious, but her smile slipped out on her face when she saw him chuckle. She had paid notice to the indents on his cheeks when he smiled, the way his right eyebrow would lift. She noticed these little things about him without wanting too. She was glad she had told him the truth, a weight had lifted from her shoulders. Now another one has replaced it, she had to find a way to stop the werewolves, if she were to go with them, the world would be doomed, and if she didn’t go to them the world would face the same fate, but at least they had a way to be stopped. As she tore away from her thoughts she noticed how close she was to him, she could feel her breath on her lips. She thought she imagined his face getting closer to hers, but after looking clearly his lips were getting closer and closer to hers.

“I am weary.” she blurted as she abruptly stood up and walked into the other room.

Weston watched the flustered Sylvia wobble up to the room. He didn’t know what he was doing until she stood up. He ran his fingers through his hair as he leaned back in frustration, he had to grasp himself. He couldn’t go around doing such things. He wondered if he had ended up liking Sylvia, which he did, she was his friend, but he didn’t know to what extent he liked her. He fought with Ulric about her, he had felt something when Ulric expressed his feelings towards her. Maybe he didn’t want two of his friends to be together, because then he would be left alone. He couldn’t think of this right now, they had bigger worries in the pile to worry about. And he had to add Sylvia to that pile, making sure that her secret isn’t found. Now that people were going to be aware of werewolves they will hunt her down once they learn the truth. No wonder she was so scared, he thought. She could’ve been dead if she told the wrong person. He laid down while he kept his thoughts and straightened his legs on the couch and covered himself with a blanket, and rested his head on a pillow.

Sylvia jumped up to the sound of clattering, she made her way to the front where the noise was coming from. She saw a shadow by the window, it was someone who had gotten in. Sylvia grabbed the nearest thing she could find, the item just so happened to be a broom, and whacked the shadow with it. After a few yelps Weston woke up, and turned on a lantern. He cautiously made his way to shine light on the shadow.

“Ulric?” Weston said with a frown on his face.

“Wes. It’s me, what has gotten into y—” Ulric stopped when he looked up at Sylvia.

She was still holding on to the broom, her white slip was short, with thin straps. Sylvia was confused as to why Ulric was staring at her, and shrieked as Weston threw a blanket at her. Finally understanding she quickly wrapped the blanket around herself. She was glad it was dark, because her cheeks were yet again red.

“Wh...what is she doing here?” he asked hoping that what he was thinking was not true.

After looking at his expression Wes understood what he was thinking. “No, it is not what you think.” Weston sighed. “Come, I’ll tell you.”

Sylvia leaned against the table as Wes explained the events of the night to Ulric. “What is your business here?” she asked once they were done talking. “Weren’t the two of you in a quarrel?”

“It was a friendly fight.” Ulric explained.
“Don’t lie to my face.” She said taking a step closer. “I saw the bruises. What was it you fought about?”

“Nothing.” the two said in unison.

Sylvia gave up, knowing that she would never find out. Maybe they were telling the truth, maybe it was just a friendly fight. Guys fight all the time, so why would this be an exception.“Try to be quiet.” She said as she headed back to the room. “I’m laying down for the night still left.”

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