Chapter 1 - Werewolves
The night was calm and the full moon high in the sky, but every single creature in the forest hid in fear of being found by the biggest predators that roam the forest. Its footfalls made no sound as its wicked claws patiently coiled, waiting for the best moment to attack and sink its sharp fangs into some flesh and tear it apart. Multiple eyes shone in the forest as they searched for the thrill of catching prey.
A high wall surrounded this specific forest, so no creature could come or go while the big iron and silver gate was closed. Just in case, outside guarding it, were two soldiers making sure nothing would leave. They trembled in fear when the howls came, but didn’t dare move a muscle to leave their post, because that would be treason and the sentence would be death. Worse still, if they were to leave and something would escape the forest, they would be accountable for it. They couldn’t live with themselves knowing they caused a massive slaughter, so they stuck to their post. Their uniform, a blue and black shirt with a wolf’s head on their chest, a spear in one hand and a sword on their belt, and a crossbow strapped to their back was all they had to defend themselves and the kingdom from the wolves inside the forest.
As soon as the sun came up in the sky, the guards relaxed their posture as the terrifying sounds end and six people of differing height, build, and gender directed themselves at the gate. One man of the group, dressed in elegant, rich clothes of green and brown with short gray silver hair and dark brown eyes shouted for the guards to open the gate making the two-man team outside jump as they hurry to comply with his order. With heads bowed, they whispered a greeting of respect and fear as the group crossed through the gate.
The group directed themselves to the castle on the hill, being greeted warmly as they cross people in the streets of the village that led to the castle. They arrived at a simple throne room where the queen would receive her nobles and villagers. Where she would listen to their troubles and try to come up with solutions. Where she judged criminals and rewarded the just. The only ornament, besides the simple throne, was a tapestry with the symbol of the realm. It is the same as on the uniform of the guards, a gigantic wolf’s head in black.
Anyone who looked at the group would never guess which could be the queen, three were women, two wearing rich dresses but the third wore only in a pair of black pants for riding, a bodice of leather, and a skirt of midnight blue tailored in silk to help movement, a sword rested on her belt in a simple sheath, but the hand guard styled the shape of a howling wolf. A midnight blue velvet cape waved behind her. Leather boots marked her as someone used to long walks and hiking. Years of training shaped her feminine figure and sparked envy in many women. As the group reached the gates, the woman let her hood down, so she could greet the guards, and her almost white hair sparked with the sun reflection, her eyes were her most impressive quality, light brown mixed with green, they held serenity, wisdom, and a touch of wildness. She smiled at the guards and nodded in a greeting, as they walked on the cobblestone street that led uphill to the castle. All talk halted as they crossed the street, a bow here and there a whisper of good luck, everyone in the village wanted to see them and they showed them acknowledgement of the people with a nod of the head, but they were tired and wanted nothing else than to reach the castle to get some rest. The group crossed the reinforced wooden gates of the castle to the main hall, all decoration was simple, some paintings of old kings and queens, the more important ones, the sigil of the kingdom, they followed through a corridor in marble floor directly to the throne room, a simple room with two thrones of wood covered with silks, it was a room only used to received petitioners the group stopped in sight of the throne, as they have done thousands of times, the woman with almost white hair continued in ahead, sat on the throne head high and looked at her companions, “You may go. My friends, we will see each other tonight!” Her voice sounded like a melody but filled with an authority that no one could resist even if she didn’t intend it.
“My Queen!” The rest of the group said in one voice, bowing their heads before leaving the throne room.
As soon as they left, the young woman sighed and made a signal to the servant waiting in the shadows to come closer. A woman emerged, with a simple but colorful dress in strange patterns, long, curly red hair, and bright green eyes filled with madness and wisdom, acquired in strange ways. She came closer and made a respectful curtsy. “My Queen!”
“Arya, how many times do I have to ask you to call me Alexa?” The queen asked with a sigh.
“And how many times, my queen, have I told you that would be unbefitting?” Asked the other woman with a smile on her lips.
“Maybe in front of other people, however, we are alone, so please call me Alexa!”
“As you wish, Alexa!”
“What news do you have for me?”
“I’m afraid that I’m the bearer of only bad news. Dear Alexa, please reconsider your decision about the pack!”
“No! I will not make any new werewolves! My pack and I didn’t have a choice in that matter years ago, and everyone had to deal with this terrible curse because of a decision that my parents made! I will not inflict this on anyone!”
“But my queen, a pack should have at least twelve elements, and yours has only six. That is half of what should be normal! If our neighboring kingdoms notice that weakness in making new werewolves to complete the Pack, they will try to attack!”
“It doesn’t matter, Arya! When and if that happens, we will deal with it!” By the tone of her voice, Arya could see that the matter was upsetting her.
“But the people, they started talking. You’re of an age to complete your pack and find a mate, however, you haven’t taken a single step to organize the tournament!”
“Nor will I give any thought to organizing a cruel and savage tournament! I got shivers the first time that I saw one and I have said that I won’t make anyone bear the curse that I inherited!”
“But we always did things this way! It is the pack that comes to the defense of our kingdom. The people want that defense to be effective! It is a tradition that in this tournament selects the Royal Mate! It was like this when your father chose your mother and assured that the throne had an heir!”
“Arya!” the queen scolded her. “What more do you have to tell me?”
“The Kings of Elatre have sent an emissary. He arrived yesterday during the night and he waits to speak to you as soon as possible!” The young queen sighed and lifted her hands to massage her head and looked to the sorceress in front of her, “what did you see in our future?”
“War, blood, and destruction, but I can’t see how it will happen. The trail that leads to this future is foggy. As if it waits for a decision to be made! Maybe, after your encounter with the emissary from Elatre, we will know what the future has in store for us!”
“We will see what the emissary wants!”
“Please Alexa, reconsider your decision about the pack! The vampires are not happy with the sanctions imposed by the Merchant Council after the last war!”
“They aren’t happy, but neither are we! My mother sacrificed herself so that we could have peace, leaving me with the responsibility of an entire kingdom and a pack, when I was still a child! While I’m alive, I’ll try to keep the peace with Elatre and if the Merchant Council imposed the sanctions, I am hardly to blame for them!”
“The vampires might not think like that! I know they don’t see it like that! They blame the pack they always have!”
“Arya, trust me, I’ll be careful with my choice of words when I meet their emissary! Ask Charles and Andrew to escort me to this meeting. I’d rather not show the vampires the full extent of my pack, but I can’t show up alone! Ask them to come as advisors and not warriors. I don’t want to give any reason for them to pick up weapons and break the treaty!”
“I’ll do that! Anything else?”
“No! That is all! I’m going downstairs to have breakfast and I will meet with them in here in twenty minutes!”
“Yes, my Queen! I shall go then!”
Alexa signaled with her head so the sorceress could leave. She got up from the throne and made her way to the kitchens. Though was against protocol, it was something that she had done since she was little. Long before, she had the responsibility of the kingdom on her shoulders. Many of her tutors and advisors over the years have tried to stop her from doing that, but they couldn’t possibly understand the state that she would stay in after a full moon. Her dark and unpredictable humor worsened if she spent too much time alone or in the company of her pack. In those days she craved the company of normal people.
Unlike the members of her pack, she didn’t need to transform under a full moon as a natural and Alpha born she could control every single form of her wolf, her pack members only could assume a half-wolf form outside the full moon and when the full moon rose in the skies they were bound to transform into a full wolf without a choice, their minds became animalistic, more instinct than anything else. As Alpha, she could control them in that state if needed, but it was exhausting so she let them have their way inside the forest and only used her Alpha voice in extreme cases.
The royal family descended from the first Natural Born. A Natural Born can make new werewolves from a regular person to complete or form packs. To make it easy to choose from the people, they organized the Tournament, brutal games to choose from the villagers and noble folk the strongest, the most agile, the bravest, and the best. The first tournament happens when the heir to the throne and Alpha Born transformed for the first time, usually at eleven or twelve years old. Five people that were selected as winners and transformed by the King so they could grow up with the prince or princess through their teenage years. The second tournament would happen when the Alpha Born was twenty-one, and the intent was to complete the pack and to choose a mate for the heir to the throne and ensure the succession of the throne.
Even though the Tournaments were often cruel and deadly and the winners of the tournament received a curse as the prize, no one refused to join. With the curse came the stature of nobility and a life in the castle. So the people pressured and waited anxiously for the announcement of the Tournament.
As soon as Alexa reached the kitchens, she grabbed a piece of fruit and began peeling it. The worried Cook came closer. “My Queen, will you want anything else?”
“No, Zelina, thank you! I couldn’t eat anything more, at least until lunch!” Alexa answered the taste of raw meat and blood still lingered in her mouth from the stag that the pack hunted and feasted on last night.
Sorry guys if there are some misspelled words, English is not my first language so if you find some please comment I’ll make sure to correct it.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as I’m enjoying writing it.
Comment and tell me what you think in any of the chapters I promise an answer to every comment?