Chapter Four: Bitten
When the sun rose up and lit the day, an emergency meeting was held. The town was afraid and rumors about last night’s events had been stirring around. Nobody got much sleep since their minds were filled with questions, questions that would be answered in the meeting. Sylvia held Analiegh’s hand as they walked to the town hall. Ulric and Wes were right behind them, there was a strange tension in the air enveloping them, and only some of it was because of the attack. Sylvia decided to leave it be for now because much bigger things were at stake.
Analeigh was confused and scared. After losing her village, the place where she was born into this world and was raised. Her childhood and innocence had been taken from her. She had seen vile creatures, that will haunt her dreams, and so of her children’s. Now she had been handed over to three strangers, they were nice strangers. She liked Sylvia, she was pretty and sweet, and her hands were capable of calming her down. She Liked Wes, he was supposedly the count, which is a title of bravery. He seemed rather quiet and he always seemed to be looking at Sylvia with admiration. Then there was Ulic, she had only seen him when she woke up, he wasn’t in the house at night when she had arrived. His eyes were also lingering over Sylvia, he seemed to be in a bad mood, perhaps he was scared as well.
“You just have to tell them what you said last night.” Ulric said to Analiegh as he crouched down to her height. “Everyone is to help you if you tell them the problem.”
Analiegh nodded, but she was still intimidated by talking in front of the town. They will surely think she’s crazy for saying that werewolves attacked her village, perhaps they will lock her up. She shook her head from the negative thoughts corrupting her brain. She thought about how Sylvia’s village was also attacked by those creatures. She was going to be okay, she could do this.
When the four entered, Sylvia was wrapped in a hug by Gwen.
“I was worried for your safety.” She said. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, I am alright.” Sylvia said. “I will tell you later.”
Analiegh followed Ulric’s directions and told everyone what she told the chief last night. Sylvia had joined and told that her village was also attacked by the same creatures and she had thought she was going to be deemed as crazy, so she kept her lips sealed. There were gasps and murmurs from the crowd. The chief told them that the king had been informed of the dangers and they would move forward from his orders. A tense silence took over the room, everyone knew the king was sick, and although he was a powerful ruler, and would’ve done everything to keep his kingdom safe. He could not do it now, not from the position he was in now. Sylvia had met the king when she was young and had always heard of his great power. He had been one of the few to know about the existence of Lycans. He had respected their power and let them reside in his kingdom, her parents were in a great debt of the king. Now that he was on the verge of death, Ulric would be the next king. One thing that Sylvia knew too well, was that Ulric was not like his father. He believed in the complete opposite then what his father believed in, they would bicker and argue most of the time, but they still loved each other greatly. Even though he wasn’t showing it, Sylvia knew that he was in unbearable pain ever since his father had fallen ill.
“What is it we do now?” Wes asked as they headed out of the conclave.
“We wait for the king’s order.” Sylvia replied but the doubt in her voice was heard by everyone.
“I’ll head to the castle at dawn, figure out what to do.” Ulric said. “I may take control while my father is ill.”
“Wes,” Sylvia said. “If I can call you that—”
“You can call me whatever your heart desires, love.” he said with a cheeky grin and Sylvia took it down with her glare. “It was for a laugh, what is the matter?”
Sylvia opened her mouth to speak and then stopped when she saw Ulric turned around, Analiegh was standing there, clutching her elbows with her hands.
“Why don’t you two go ahead.” Wes said understanding Sylvia’s discomfort. “We’ll catch up soon.”
Ulric’s foot lingered, but he took Analiegh with him and started escorting her to the town hall. He wanted to be there, curious about what Sylvia was to say. There was something about the two of them, something had changed, and he didn’t like it.
“What are we going to do?” Sylvia asked Wes.
“The werewolves, you and I both know that they aren’t going to stop until they get me. While we wait here for the king’s order, they might attack another village.” She said. “We can’t just sit here, knowing what we know we are just waiting for them to hurt innocent people.”
“You are absolutely right.” Wes said. “I will help you in any way, shape or form, but there is nothing we can do. If you know of something then I will help you do it, but for now, we have to hope for the best.”
Sylvia pursed her lips. As much as she wanted to do something to make things right, Wes was right, there wasn’t anything they could do, at least not yet. Wes patted her bag and they began walking again. Soon they had caught up to Analiegh and Ulric, they were standing outside of Gwen’s house.
“Ulric and I will go help the blacksmith.” Wes said. “He’ll need help with forging the silver weapons. The traders also need to be told to get a hold of as much wolfsbane as they can.”
“Wolfsbane?” Sylvia questioned. “No, you need more than wolfsbane.”
“What do you say? Does wolfsbane not harm those creatures?” Ulric asked.
“It does, but not by itself.” Sylvia explained. “You need something to harness its power, something sacred. Holy water is your best path to choose.”
“Holy water? We have to place the wolfsbane with holy water?” Wes asked.
“Yes, and then you can use both, the wolfsbane and the infused holy water to harm them.” Sylvia said. “But it will only burn them, not kill them. That’s what you need silver for, the slightest touch will make their hearts stop.”
“How do you know this much about them?” Ulric asked. “They have been deemed to have been wiped off the surface of the earth.”
“After my village was attacked I had found out about this.” She said. “I was scared and alone, I wanted to protect myself from them, so I found out how.”
“That’s why you carry the silver daggers.” Wes said as if it just clicked in his brain.
“Yes, this way I know I am not defenseless.”
“I’m cold.” Analeigh confessed after staying quiet for so long.
“What? You should have spoken up.” Sylvia said and began to head inside with her. She turned around to the guys. “Good luck.”
The two of them gave her a small smile and headed off to help the village prepare for their defense. They couldn’t attack without the king’s order but hey could at least protect themselves. Word had been sent to all of the villages of the kingdom, and each of them was doing the same. Villages that were too poor were given the stuff they needed for their protection, nobody would be left vulnerable to be attacked. Perhaps this would scare them off, for a while, until they find a way to retaliate to their advances. The other kingdoms had caught on to this news and most of them were showing their support, willing to do anything to help. If it was a war the werewolves wanted that’s what they were going to get, and they will regret it.
“Gwen.” Sylvia said with a wide grin on her face and wrapped her in a hug. “How do you do?”
Gwen had taken her sweet time in returning the hug, but after a much awkward wait, she wrapped her arms around Sylvia. “Good.” she said.
“Gwen, are you feeling under the weather?”
“No, I am perfectly fine.” she said and turned to Analiegh and the two began talking.
Sylvia walked over to the kitchen toward Beatrice. “What is the beautiful lady making today?”
“Such flattery, what is it you want?” Beatrice said with a smile.
“Just some food.” she replied.
“Well, then you have to wait.” Beatrice said. “The stew isn’t going to be ready until a while.”
“Why don’t you o chat more with Gwen. I suspect she is meeting a man.” Beatrice said in a teasing tone. “Get her to give up all about him.”
“Don’t you worry. I will get her to spill it all out.”
Sylvia made her way to the bedroom where she saw Analiegh sound asleep on the bed and Gwen reading one of her many books. Gwen always looked at peace when she was reading, like she forgot all the worries of the world, and had been sheltered in the one she was reading.
“I heard you went to see Rowan.” Sylvia said as she plopped down beside Gwen. “Is it true?”
“Yes.” She said with a smile. “I don’t know how Sylvia, I think I have fallen for him. But he had said something strange.”
“Something about weakness showing the true nature and...I forget but he said to watch my back for the people closest to me are the most dangerous.”
“That is strange, perhaps he enjoys poetry. Don’t waste your time on this.” Sylvia said her eyes sparkling with excitement “You are in love with this man?”
“Yes, he is so wonderful, and he makes me feel like I’m running, my heart is always pounding when I’m with him.” She said unable to control her smile.
“Gwen, that is wonderful.” Sylvia said. “You should bring him to the village, let him meet us.”
“I already have.” She said closing the book and sitting up. “He is to come this afternoon.”
“Beatrice doesn’t know.” Sylvia reminded Gwen.
“Yes, I am to tell her right now.” She said.
The two girls slowly got to their feet and made their way to Beatrice, who was still standing by the stew. Sylvia nudged the doubtful Gwen, causing her to stumble right by Beatrice.
“What is it?” She asked.
“Mother, there is—”
“A man that you have fallen in love with, and you have invited him to our house without my knowledge.” Beatrice said. “Yes, I know, why else would I be making beef stew. Well, that and because we have a new girl in the house.”
“Mother, how on earth do you find out about this stuff?” Gwen asked, her jaw still to the ground and her eyes wide open.
“It is because I am your mother.” she said. “Now, go and wear something presentable.” Beatrice said shooing her off with a wooden spoon.
“How did you know?” Sylvia asked out of curiosity.
“I just had a motherly feeling.” she said. “Would you be a dear and grab some firewood? It has gotten cold these past few days.”
“I’m on it.” Sylvia said as she rushed to the door.
“Your coat, silly girl.” Beatrice yelled after her.
Sylvia took the coat and slid into her shoes, and was out the door. She was thrilled to meet the man that had caught Gwen’s heart. Her mind was swimming with her imagination of Gwen’s wedding. The dresses, the food, the dancing, the celebrations, and the smiles. It would be a happy and joyful day, the sun shining brightly. Sylvia twirled and hopped her way to the forest where she looked for dry firewood. Minding her own business she had collected quite a few and regretted not bringing a basket.
A sudden growl made her jump and drop the wood down in the snow. She turned around and looked at her surroundings Her hand instantly fell on her belt right above her daggers, she pressed her back towards the closest tree so nothing could come at her from behind. There was another growl, louder this time, and closer. She slid out the daggers and clutched them in her hand, ready to take out anything. After the third growl, she saw a shadow right in front of her, as it got closer it was a man. He was running towards her, he leaped up into the air. His face turned into a snout, his teeth into fangs, his bones were cracking as he turned into a wolf. He landed on all four paws, on the snow.
“Hello, Sylvia.” The wolf said. “It’s good to see you.”
“What do you want, beast.” Sylvia said, her nose scrunching up.
“I am here merely to warn you.” The wolf said. “If you do not give your consent in five days’ time, we will come and burn this village, and everyone you love, to the ground.”
His pitch-black eyes were fixed on her, slowly he made his way towards her. Sylvia wasn’t fazed by his transformation, she moved forward from the tree and mimicked the wolf’s moves. Time seemed to slow down as the two of them closed in on each other, Sylvia’s fangs were out and her glowing green eyes were reflecting on his black ones. The snow that was falling seemed to fall as slow as possible, the wind was frozen. Another growl, this time from Sylvia as she jumped up and this time the wolf followed her moves. As soon as she made contact with the wolf in the air she put the dagger by his throat and as they fell towards the ground she dragged it across, cutting his back, a whimper echoed through the forest as the wolf fell to the ground. He had contracted back to his human form, lying face down, his blood had stained the white snow. She backed away from the body, her heart still pounding, her mind trying to catch up to what had happened. She saw a shadow move from the corner of her eye, but she turned too late, as a wolf had attacked her from the back, his jaw was clenched around her waist. She yelped out in pain but remained strong before the wolf could bite down any further she held up her hand with the dagger and jabbed it in the wolf. With a whimper, he loosened his jaw and fell to the ground along with Sylvia. She hissed at the pain, it stung, a feeling of shock ran through her entire body. She rested her head back in the snow, and let out a shaky breath. She felt her energy being drained out of her body like it was being sucked away. Her eyelids felt heavy and started to close, but she kept them open. She knew if she closed them now, she wouldn’t open them again. She had to stay strong, she had to stay alive. She stuck her dagger down and pushed herself up, her whole body shook, but she kept pushing. She had gotten herself to her knees.
She was scared to look at the wound but she knew she had too. Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as she thought, perhaps. She winced as she lifted her skirt up, the pain was unbearable, it was clawing at her. Her coat and robes were already painted with blood. She slowly glanced down at the wound and cursed. She could see the mark of every tooth, filled with a puddle of her dark blood. She shuddered at the sensation of the warm, slimy liquid gushing out of her punctured skin. She tried to look at her back when she couldn’t see she assumed the same fate, at least she felt the same pain on her back. She felt lucky that the wolf didn’t close his jaw all the way, if that was the case she would be missing her left torso. She quickly tore some fabric of her skirt and wrapped it around the wound. Then she quickly grabbed her coat and walked away as fast as she could, still afraid of the wolves lingering in the woods. Every step left her wanting to fall right there and then, but she knew better. As she reached the inner area of the village, a sense of security rushed through her, she was safe, for now.
She saw the town as normal for a while, but then black spots covered her vision, everything was spinning, round and round. The small colors she could see beside the black spots seemed to blend in with each other. She felt herself fall backward like she had lost balance. Sylvia braced herself to fall onto the hard ice, but she never did. She felt two hands catch her, she quickly looked up to see Wes, he had a confused look on his face. His lips were moving like he was saying something, but it all sounded like blabber to Sylvia. Her body betraying her, her eyelids fell down on her eyes.