The Elemental Cosmic

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3


“Mayor, watch out!!” Alaric yelled jolting up.
The movement sent a stabbing pain that rushed through his abdomen. He grabbed his side, and blood transferred to his hand. Wincing from the agony, dizziness immediately set in, and he crashed back down onto soaked linen sheets.

Daylight filled a foreign room with morning’s warmth shining through the wall of windows that dominated the chamber. Alaric was confused. He looked ahead and in front of him he saw Isaac’s saddle sitting near a fireplace, and beside him a bowl of water with rags. He had been dressed in white shorts with bandages across his shirtless torso that started to seep red.
Wha- Isaac, where are you? Where am I?
Oh, You’re finally up!
Isaac couldn’t contain his excitement, we’re back in Longleaf.
Longleaf?! How— Shit! Ooh, my side is killing me!
Alaric just lay back down, I got Wes, we’re on our way.
Sweat profusely poured out from his body and he started to pant. Wha- What’s going on? Am I sick?
Something like that, try not to touch it or move around too much, okay? You need to save your energy.

Alaric instinctively reached for his chest as he shuffled to get comfortable.
Wait!! He thought frantically grabbing his neck, Where’s my locket?! Shit! No! Where is it?!
Stop moving or you’ll rip your stitches! It’s on the nightstand.
Relief washed over him as he saw the wooden shaped leaf, and faintly, he reached over to grab it.
Isaac… Alaric thought as cloudiness set into clarity upon putting the leaf around his neck, Are you… okay? Malachi…didn’t get you did he?
No, I’m fine.
Good. Isaac, what the hell was that… To do the taboo. To actively split your soul into… I didn’t know we were going up against that kind of foe.

Alaric thought with a mix of emotions swirling within him. All that played through his mind was that of the fight. A recap of what should have’s and fear? Anger? He was bitter. Bitter at the fact that he had his chance and lost it because he wasn’t better.
Malachi… He thought to himself, as the silence was interrupted by a knock on the door. It swung open and Isaac rushed in with raw emotion of pure elation upon seeing Alaric awake.
Alaric!! The wolf said covered in cardboard from head to toe.
“Hey” – What’s— with the get up? He said with amusement as Isaac shuffled about.
My armor?? It’s cool isn’t! He thought taking a step back so Alaric could get a full view as he showed it off. Bill made it for me!
Bill?
He’s the Mayor’s son.
“Whew!” Mayor Wes said walking in, “I thought we were going to lose you there for a second!” He took a seat on the bed and rang out a rag from the bowl. “You’re fever still hasn’t broken, huh? Hmph. I reckon ya feel like shit, uh, try not to move too much.”
“What happened?”
“What happened is you got more fools then sense boy, that’s what happened! If we hadn’t found ya’ll when we did you’d both be dead! One of my men told me you had left and went looking, I figured ya would, but not right then and there. The wood is a dangerous place son, especially at night! Under those conditions there’s no telling what could’ve happened, so I rounded up some of my men to come and get ya. It wasn’t hard to find ya’ll, with the commotion ya’ll were causing I’m surprised the whole damn town didn’t hear. That the fella you wer looking for?”
“Yeah. H-… He said his name was Malachi, that he’s part of the Unigani.” Alaric spit out through gritted teeth trying to get up. “He couldn’t have gotten far, I- we have to-”
“Woah there!” Wesley said easing him back down, “That beast is long gone.”
“Gone??” He looked to Isaac who nodded.
“That night we stormed the cave, and as soon as we did, he attacked us… In all my years I’ve never seen anything like it. We held our own for a while, but…” The mayor’s face grew grim. “He ended up ripping Cassidy’s head clean off and ran out with that wolf of his… that was, hmmm… about five days ago it was.”
“Five days?!? I’ve been out for five days?! Shit…” Alaric eased himself back on the bed as pain took over him. “Mayor,” He coughed out. “Did you guys find anything? Anything you might think was important to what they’re doing, where they’re going?”
“We took everything that was in the cave, yer welcome to look at it if ya like. It’s locked up in evidence right now, the first chance I get I’ll see what we can find, but right now it’s best if ya just rest. We need to change them wrappings of yers, think you might of ripped a stitch with that blood coming out.”
Damnit, what- what did Malachi say we helped him with?
I believe it was something called Fables?
Fable…
“Wes, have you ever heard of anything called, Fables? Before you came he said they were looking for these, Fables, and that attacking Aethrid helped them get one. Get one of what? What are they?”
Wesley scratched his chin, “No… No, I ain’t never heard of no Fables. I’ll ask some of my men. Maybe they might’ve heard something, they get around from time to time.”
“Sir Isaac! Sir Isaac!!” A voice echoed throughout the halls.
Alaric looked at the wolf and then to a small boy that ran into the room.
“Sir Isaac!” He said out of breath, “We need the— We need to get back on the battlefield! Our— Our castle has almost been taken!”
Sir… Isaac?
Mhmm! While you were out, I got knighted!
The wolf said raising his head a little higher than usual.
Oh, did you now?

Wes scooped the boy up in his massive arms and introduced him as Bill. The boy, wearing Mayor Wes’s saddle worn hat, looked a spitting image of him with the same blonde hair and piercing baby blue eyes. Bill, in some armor of his own, wore it over a green shirt with dark blue pants and carried a small wooden sword attached to his belt.
Hmm. No shoes? Alaric thought gazing down at blackened callused feet.
Yeah the kid’s an animal! I love it!
“Papa don’t, ya mess up my armor!” He said squirming out of his arms and adjusted the cardboard accordingly.
“Bill, is it?” The boy looked up at the bed to meet Alaric, “What kind of castle do you have?”
The boy unsheathed his sword and swung it high in the air declaring, as a kind would, “I have the best castle in all the land! Kusa Castle! Pa helped me lay each stone himself so it would never fail!
It’s made out of hay, Isaac chimed in.
“And Sir Isaac!” Bill continued, “Has joined me in my quest and together we were just defeating my sworn enemy! You, Nobleman!” He said pointed the sword at Alaric, “I pray you, what is your surname?”
Alaric raised himself holding in the agony and attempted to give the boy a bow, “Alaric Okami, at your service me lord.”
Isaac watched the mayor freeze ever so slightly as he gathered new bandages.
“Alaric Okami, will you pledge your fealty to me and my cause?”
“It would be my honor, Lord Bill.” He said amusingly, “If I may ask, how old is my liege?”
“I’m 6!” Bill said tapping Alaric on either shoulder with the blade, “But in 2 years, I’m going to be…” He stopped to count on his fingers, “9! And a full-grown man!”
“Is that right?” Alaric fought back the urge to laugh, I can see why you like him. He does have a way with words, just needs to work on his math a little. “Please Lord Bill, tell me more about this enemy we’re going to be facing.”
As Mayor Wes changed the bandages around Alaric’s torso, Bill told the tale of sphytocrates. An imaginary cross breed of dinosaur and squirrel, from what Alaric could gather, had rallied their forces to overthrow Kusa Castle. About how the battles he and Isaac had been having had started to weaken their foes forces, and how it seems like the war will finally come to an end.
Alaric was thankful for the boy’s tale; it took his mind off the seemingly nonhealing ever growing black wound from where Malachi bit him. Once it was cleaned and dressed he laid back down and watched a small head of black hair slowly creep into the open doorway, and a golden eye met his.
It was like as if he looked into a mirror, “Who’s that?” Alaric asked, but as he spoke the sound of tiny footsteps echoed.
“That’s probably my daughter, Kara.” Mayor Wes said, ringing out another towel.
“Kara?!” Bill whipped his head around, “She’s supposed to be looking after the castle while we’re gone! Ahh!! The Sphytocrates have probably already attacked and now my plan won’t work!”
“Don’t worry about it.” Wes said as Bill stormed out, “you didn’t do anything. Kara is… Shy. She usually keeps to herself… Even more so now recently.” He let out a long sigh, “Well, that a bout do it, lemme get outta yer hair. You’ve been out awhile. I’m sure you two have some catching up to do. Send Isaac for me if ya need anything.”
“Mayor.” Alaric said and Wes turned to look at him, “Thank you, for saving us.”
“Anytime, Son.” Wes took his leave and shut the door behind him.

***

Night fell.

***

The fireplace in their room casted exaggerated shadows that swayed over the oak panel walls. In the dim light Isaac removed a rag from the bowl and water poured back into the collection as he waited for it to cease.
No. Please don’t. I don’t want another wet towel... Alaric thought with frustration unable to meet the wolf’s eyes, he turned his head away from him.
It will help. Hey! What’s that for? Don’t throw it, we have to try and break this fever! What’s going on with you? You’ve been silent all day…
Alaric’s mind couldn’t shake the recollection of the fight. It’s as if the event was burned into his memory and he sat mulling over what happened, and the situation he put them in ate at him.
I’m sorry Isaac… This is all my fault. I was a fool. I am a fool… I can’t protect you; hell look at him, I can’t even protect myself!! My family, my people. Who am I to think I could defeat someone my own father couldn’t, Godric the Great… Pft. What a joke. Not only did I get you hurt, I got someone killed! Stupid… stupid! Who am I to think—

Isaac roared out!
Standing next the bed the wolf towered over Alaric and pierced him with Ire.
You mean, who are we, Right? Because We are the heir to the Okami name. The birthright. The blueblood. You alone, you if you believe to be alone, are yes, a fool. Alaric the Abandoned. The greatest fool I ever knew! But you’re my fool, and I will not have you forget your pride. Our pride. We lost. I know you just woke up, but you need to accept that right now and move on to what’s next! That’s healing so we can become stronger. We had no idea what kind of foe we were going up against, and yes, we’re lucky to be alive! Be grateful for that. Alaric I’ve been watching you for days not knowing if you were ever going to wake up… If I’d ever speak to you again…That is way worse to me than us losing… but we did accomplish something – We found the Unigani, or well, Son’s and Daughter’s of Erastrad! We found them, and we can find them again and when we do… They’re going to pay. Malachi is going to pay. We’re in this together, you and me. We lose together. We win together. I don’t need you to protect me. I’m the one who protects you! Don’t mull over what should have happened, should have didn’t, but it can, with acceptance.

Isaac’s words made him see reason. He was right after all. Alaric felt what the wolf had gone through. The loss, the anger, and then that of grief. Grief that overpowered everything making it seem like it was nothing. Alaric turned his head as he understood the acceptance and stared at him.
Isaac stood firmly with another rag in his mouth as it dripped into the bowl and Alaric finally broke. He reached out and scratched just below the wolf’s ear with his hand disappearing into a mass of white fur.
“Okay.” He said letting out a nasty cough.
Isaac placed the towel over Alaric’s forehead. The coolness of it wasn’t unpleasant as water trickled down his face.
Tell me about this human that died, this Cassidy.
He was young, and arrogant.
Isaac said walking over toward the burning fire and got comfortable. But smart and good hearted. All I know is that of which the Mayor told me, but he said that Cassidy saw the world in a different way. One of unity between our species and that he was the one who notified him of us in the saloon so he could come help. An orphan boy. No children or wife, who had just joined Mayor Wes’s ranks and was eager to prove himself anyway he could. Wes was against him coming, said that he was too young, but Charlie vouched for him and changed his mind.
Charlie was there??
Yeah. When they stormed the cave, the kid was the one who shot Malachi. He was the first one in and first to die… After Malachi and Jack had fled that’s when Wes gave the order to have the both of you carried back here under his care. Charlie was outraged. Furious, saying that we shouldn’t be looked after under the Mayor’s roof as one of their own after what just happened to Cassidy. Him and the Mayor fought, and Charlie left with half the men saying they could not follow a Muttfucker. Wes Carried you here, and the Cassidy’s funeral was three days ago.
I fear we’re going to owe Wes more than we can ever give… If it weren’t for him— What the hell is this?
Alaric pulled out a small orange stone from underneath his pillow and Isaac raised his head to get a better look and laughed.
Kara has been leaving stones under you for the past five days. She sneaks in here when she thinks I’m asleep and places them under your pillow.
Hmm…
Alaric thought rolling it over in between his fingers and admired the richness of its color. I don’t think it’ll do any harm. He tucked the stone back and winced from the motion, Isaac, why am I not healing?
The perplexity of that question haunted the wolf. Near the week Alaric had been out it had strangled his mind with the mystery of the unknown. As Alaric felt he had let Isaac down, Isaac felt his own course in that of his inadequate abilities.
I’m not sure… Your broken arm mended as soon as I tended to it, but whatever poison Malachi carries I think your body is both accepting and rejecting… I believe it’s creating a standoff with your healing. I’ve been putting my tears on it, but it’s only just been slowing the infection.
“I see…” Alaric said. “Well… Might as well give you a lesson while I’m a vegetable.”
Okay, good. He thought as Isaac spelled ‘Unique.’ Now spell ‘tough’ … No, no, it’s not with an f.
When do I use ‘f’ then?

Only for certain ‘f’ sounds, but there’s also ‘ough’ and ‘ph’ that make the ‘f’ sound too, so you have to be careful when writing.
I thought you used ‘ph’ only when you wanted to be phancy with a word that had an ‘f’ sound in it. Phor example: Phorward, Phrom.
No, no, you can’t do that. You’ll look stupid.

***

The next morning rose in a rainy gloom.

Isaac had bid Alaric an early farewell to help Wes with his duties around the grounds, and one of the maids had come in to draw the curtains dominating the room.
Alaric welcomed the coldness that seeped slightly through and listened to the pleasant sound of tings as rain battered against the windows. He watched, as abstract art was created from the bead of water succumbing to entropy down the glass before the grassy plains.
To the left of the bed, between him and his view, a huge Victorian style mirror leaned against the oak wood panels. The ceilings were vaulted, and on either side of the fireplace two huge book selves stood overflowing with leathered literature. Logs crackled and Alaric looked back to see that his show had changed, transformed, into sight of the first year’s snow.
Damn, Alaric thought as he watched Bill cling onto Isaac’s back. The wolf jumped, spun, and ran frantically about as the world was quickly being overtaken with white. The kid really is an animal. To be able to ride Isaac like that. There’s no doubt the kid has strength.
Alaric let out a long sigh. His restlessness grew by the minute from his inability to know how to relax, how to rest, and reached for his chest.
Grabbing the wooden shaped leaf, he brushed his thumb across the raised veins of the dark mahogany wood. May it be the fever, but as Alaric looked at the leaf he found a new appreciation for the expert craftmanship that went into it.
He pressed in one of the veins near the top and it caused the bottom tip of the leaf to shoot out just a tiny bit. A triangle portion that he turned clockwise two times over and as he pushed it back in a soft click let out. From the body of the locket two doors split and swung open. On the left side a picture of a white pup resided within the door, and on the right, a girl with blonde hair.
An inscription was written in the middle.

It’s yours and you’ll have it forever,
but you cannot have one without the other.
Invisible, and in constant motion,
even though you can’t see it,
you’ll always feel it.

He brushed his thumb over the picture of the girl as a memory encompassed him—

“Haru, where are we going?” An 11-year-old Alaric called out with Isaac chasing at his heels.
“You’ll see!! It’s somewhere around here… Ah! Here it is!”
The four of them stopped in the forest of Aethrid, and snow began to fall.
“What is it?” He asked looking around as Isaac and Haru’s wolf trailed off wrestling with one another.
“Don’t you see it?? Look! I carved our names into the tree! Now, I don’t wanna hear anything about how we can’t be together forever!”
His heart skipped a beat as he touched the tree.
“Awh, Alaric! Are you blushing?!”
“Uh…No!” He pulled his scarf higher to hide his inflamed cheeks and looked away.
“I wanted this to be special.” She said sidestepping to meet his gaze, “I made you something… Hold out your hand.”
Winters breeze wisped by as the locket was placed into his open palm.
“You made this?!”
“With a little help of my dad, yes! It’s a locket, and there’s a special way of opening it! Look!”
“I don’t get the message…” Alaric said looking at her, “what does it mean?”
“You’re the one who likes riddles, figure it out.”
“Well, give me a hint!”
“Okay!” She grinned and danced around him, “One hint! Depending on how you look at it, two answers lie within one.”
“Haru, is that a hint or another riddle? Riddles can’t have more than one answer.”
“Sure they can! Like I said, it just depends on how you look at it. Whenever you figure it out though, that’s when I’ll… say yes.”
“Wait what?! Hangon! Get back here!”

Alaric repeated the riddle to himself, like he had done so many times before, and sighed. I miss her… His thoughts were interrupted as he heard a creak come out from outside his room. He closed the locket, reached under his pillow, and pulled the rock out.
“Your name is Kara, right?”

Silence met his words.

“I’d like to talk to you about this rock if I could. It’s Selenite, is it not? A magic rock for healing? It’s very pretty.”
He watched a small head of black hair shyly creep into the open-door frame and a pair of golden eyes stare at him. Instead of running away though, this time, a soft voice came out.
“You know… about rocks?”
“Only a little.” Alaric said turning it over, “I wanted to thank you; without your help I don’t think I would have woken up. You want it back”
She emerged and walked into the room.
The girl wore a black hooded cape with pale purple trim around the outer parts of the garment that dominated her appearance. Her hair, which she tucked into her cape reached her lower back. She wore this over a mustard colored cardigan that had white trim around it and a brown canvased overall skirt with lace sewed at the bottom. Kara had on brown leather dress shoes which made no noise as she walked in toe to heel instead of heel to toe.
Alaric placed the stone into her open palm. The relativity of it amused him as the rock was not much bigger than her hand and she slipped it into a large leather front pocket that had been riveted onto her overalls. It made a clanking sound as it dropped, and he gestured toward three sticks poking out of her pocket.
“What are those?”
“They’re… my wands…”
“Are you a sorcerer? May I see one?

Kara stood pigeon toed giving her a weak, but cute demeanor, and wouldn’t look at him. Keeping her head slight down or looking around him she pulled out one of the sticks and nervously fiddled with it in between her hands.

Time ticked by as the question lingered awkwardly in the air and Alaric thought he might have overstepped his boundaries with this. She eventually handed it over and Alaric faintly grabbed it letting out a raspy cough that started her as the silence was disturbed. He twirled the wand in this hand examining it.
“Did you carve this yourself?” He asked looking at the corkscrew whittled into the handle.

Kara nodded.

“It’s really nice. Why do you have three though? I thought a sorcerer only needed one.”

“Well.” She said fiddling with the other two in her pocket. “They’re for, uh, different types of magic.” She pulled out an all-black one that was fatter around the handle and smoothly narrowed down as it got toward the tip. “This one is for levitation, and this one.” She said, taking out a brown one with a black handle, “This one is for transfiguration.”

“What about the one in my hand? I’m not going to explode if I wave it, am I?”
Alaric caught the slightest smile flash on her face.
“No… That one is for making things disappear.”

“I see.” He said as he handed the wand back to her.

Even though she would not meet his gaze she could not avoid that of Light. Day had brought out the fierceness within her yellow casting an amber sun that burned bright.

Hmm, Alaric pondered. Her eyes… are just like my eyes. “Kara, how old are you?”

Loud shouts exploded from outside that broke Alaric’s attention. He turned to see what the commotion was about to find Bill hurling snowballs at Isaac, who was batting them away with his tail.

“Your brother and Isaac seem to have gotten rather close while I was out. Did you not wanna go out there and play with them? Kara?”

Oh, she’s good. Maybe that wand does work after all, I didn’t even hear her leave.

***

Dawn broke the next day in a bright bliss of glistening ice.

“This is the storm you were helping Mayor Wes prepare for huh?”

Yeah, but I didn’t think it’d be this bad. I can’t see a thing.
Isaac stood peering out the wall that opened the room to the outside wonderland. The warm air exhaled from his snout started to melt the verglas.
Wes mentioned that when first snow breaks things tend to shut down for a couple days, but this is insane, it has to be six feet high.
I guess we’re stuck here for a bit then.
Alaric thought as he watched him.

I love storms like this. Isaac thought.
I know, I don’t know how you stand it.

The white wolf grew with excitement of the idea of having to stay inside. Say it be a choice taken away. Where you can reside outside of the malicious weather and watch from the inside out. To the gloominess of a dark rainy day to from the blizzard that came their way. Isaac cherished the coziness he always felt from a sheltered storm, and the strange sense of its own adventure it brought.

Light taps came on the door and both of them looked over to see Kara standing in the way.
Damn, she really is quiet. Alaric thought.
Yeah, Isaac said looking at her inquisitively.
“Yes, Kara? Come in.”
“…Sorry…”
“I can’t hear you girl, speak up.”
“…Sorry… I was wondering if I could grab a book to read while we’re having to stay inside…”
“Oh yeah? What kind of book do you want? I haven’t had the chance to look at your library yet, but it’s impressive. A lot of old looking books.”
“I’m not sure.” She said to the floor in her black cloak and fiddled with the same three wands poking out her pouch.
That’s the most I’ve heard her talk since I’ve been here…

Well I can’t help that you’re scary.
Scary?!
Isaac huffed at Alaric which made Kara jump.

See what I mean!

Isaac walked over and the girl froze as he towered over her. Like a lion, the wolf let out a light rumble within his throat and looked down. Kara stood only up to just below his back. He thought it might have been his size that scared the girl, so Isaac laid down beside her bringing himself to her eye level. She stared at him in awe, or that of petrification.

“Isaac was wondering if you’d want to get on his back like how Bill has been riding him so he can help you reach the books that are too high.”

She was hesitant.
She doesn’t seem afraid. Isaac thought, just more like she’s nervous, unsure.
Kara reached out and clumsily climbed on grabbing fistfuls of fur.

Ouch! Ouch! Easy, easy!
Oh, hush up, it doesn’t hurt that bad. Don’t be a baby.

She settled herself, and when Isaac rose, Kara let out a little yelp. She clung on with the grip of life, but shortly, she was laughing. A true smile spread across her face that broke the shell and warmed their hearts. Isaac walked over toward the bookshelves and paced back and forth before the fire while she gazed up at all the gold gilded titles. He welcomed her weight and her cape draped over him giving them an aura of mystery. The more he paced, the more comfortable she became.
Kara branched out grabbing for books here and there, would read a view, then placed them back in her quest to find the perfect one.

“You know, Isaac is a bookworm himself, or at least is trying to bed.”

She looked down and pat the wolf’s head. “Can he really talk? Can he read?”

Alaric couldn’t help but smile. “Yes.” He said, “Isaac can understand everything however he can only speak to me. It’s a certain bond that my kind forms with a wolf. On a smartness level, and I don’t want his head to get too big, but Isaac’s brain works faster than mine does. He’s more understanding, thoughtful, and just overall intelligent. Our wolves learn how to read when their still pups, around 6 months, however… special circumstances happened, and well, he wasn’t taught. We’re fixing it now though, and he’s picking it up fairly quickly. In fact, he was wondering, if you didn’t find a book you were interested in, would you want to help him with his reading?”

Clear shock spread across Kara, “So, he can really understand everything I’m saying? Yeah?” as if to test it she whispered into the wolf’s ear, “Can we go over toward the window?”
Hmm, Isaac thought amusingly, I don’t think she trusts you very much.

“Ah!” She said looking out at the view, “I love when first snow breaks, it’s so pretty! I’d love to read with you Isaac, what book do you have?”
“He says ‘The Cat in The Hat’ that’s in our saddle, but he needs to go get your father to tend to my wound and break my fast.”
With that, Isaac bowed, and Kara slid off his back. He walked over and grabbed a not in his mouth Alaric had written. Please tend to anything he needs while we’re here, for the both of us.
Isaac nodded and took his leave.

Kara continued to stare out the window and placed her hand on the glass.
“Are you in school?” Alaric asked breaking the silence.
She nodded. “I go to school here. Daddy has a private teacher for Bill and I. We used to go to school with all the other kids, but daddy thought it’d be best to put us in advanced placement.”

“Do you miss it?”

She turned around leaving a tiny heat print on the glass and looked at him with a piercing gaze. “No… I got made fun of for my clothes, my fascination with magic, my eyes, I don’t miss it. It’s not good to be different, to be smart, but here it is. Professor Susan is a good teacher. She gives us the coursework we need and lets us branch out into our individual interests. Bill misses it though, he has so many friends.”

“I see. Well, if it means anything I think you look cool, and you shouldn’t hate your eyes. I have the same ones, see. They’re pretty, and if anyone else who says otherwise, oh my side is killing me, they can go to hell.”

Kara covered her mouth and snickered, and Alaric felt his fever set deeper.
Beads of sweat rolled down his face. The heat from the covers, and the roaring fire in front of him were starting to become too much. His breath shortened, and he shifted a leg out from underneath to try and escape hellfire.

A new wave of coolness washed over him, but he watched Kara shift her eyes from his and onto the scars that wrapped around his leg. Just below his kneecap, a jagged discoloration about an inch in width ran the circumference. He saw her expression change to that of worry.

“It doesn’t hurt anymore.” He said, “I have one on the other leg as well. I got them long ago when I was no bigger than you.”
“What happened?”
“Oh…uh, well… they uh, got chopped off.”
Kara rushed over and examined the scar. Touching above and below the damaged tissue as if an attempt to see if it was his actual skin.

“Ouch! Yes, I can feel that.”
“Humans don’t grow back limbs.”

“Whoever said I grew it back, or that I’m human? That is true though, you can’t grow back limbs, and well, neither can I. There is a trick to attaching it back though if you know how, that’s where Isaac comes along. I don’t possess the accelerated healing abilities the other two kinds of werewolves do, but with my dire wolf, Isaac can help the process go quicker.”

“You’re lying.” She said as she pinched his lower leg.
“Ouch!”

“Good morning baby girl, morning Alaric.” Wes said coming in with a plate of food and new bandages.

“Good morning sir,” Alaric said as Isaac took a seat with the Mayor by the bed.

“Ya doing alright this mornin? Don’t lie to me boy fine by my ass, yer burning up! I can feel you from here! Let’s have a look at it.”
Wesley started snipping off the linen that wrapped around Alaric’s torso and Kara turned her head as it became exposed.

“Isaac thinks it might be better if we cut the stitches. He believes that the poison from the bite is getting locked and not able to flow out of my body as if it would if it were open.”
The mayor thought about this for some time before he finally agreed. He took the stitches out and the wound began to ooze black. Wes made a solution of warm salt water, placing the soaked towel gently over it and repeated until it stopped. When he finally removed it the darkened serrated skin that remained had black veins branching out. Alaric looked down and pinched his lips.

It’s growing.

We don’t know that Alaric. It doesn’t look good, but maybe it just has to run its course. Here, let me.

Isaac stepped in and tilted his head over him. Nickel sized tears rolled out dripping over the wound and as soon as they touched his skin smoke started to rise with a light sizzle. Kara looked at her father who had no emotion to this, but her eyes widened with amazement! Moving her head in awkward positions in order to get a better look. She saw some of the veins disappear but overall, it took no effect on the healing or discoloration of the injury. Wes dressed his wound once more over the groans and aches Alaric made and placed another towel over his forehead.

“Thank you Wes.”

“Anytime, Son.” He said and then looked at Kara, “Whatcha up to baby girl?”

“I was looking for a book and talking with Alaric and Isaac.”

“She was going to help Isaac with his reading, if that’s alright sir?”
“I reckon that would be.” Wes said with a smile patting her on the head, “Imma be out dealing with this snow, send someone to holler at me if ya need anything.”
Kara grabbed a book off the shelf and sat down on the rug in front of the fire.
“This is called, Letters to a Loved One.” She said, “It’s a collection of letters that were sent during the 3rd world war. It’s a pretty difficult read, but I believe we can get through it, and it’d be much more interesting than The Cat in the Hat. It’s one of my favorites.”

Isaac circled around her and laid down positioning his side so that it would give Kara back support. She cautiously leaned into the living pillow and Isaac flung his tail around enclosing her in as she opened the book.

“Dear Kathrine,

Today I have looked into the soul of the hollow. I have seen the pit. I have led my men to victory here at God’s ear, but now wonder what price I must pay the toll for my soul. I sit and spot the moon. I see it, and it sees me set upon open seas. Through reflection of still and wavering waters, the unpredictability of the present situation shows. However, looking up I meet the cold hard stare of the past and future looking down at me. The definiteness of it cannot be overlooked for it has seen all, both the known and unknown. It is said that Odin gave his eye to acquire such an ability, I on the other hand have no such desire. To have an all sight extinguishes the possibility of possibility. To endeavor, and the feeling of hope - forever lost. I see what I must, but only desire to see you. I pray this reaches you in good health. Do not fear for me. My men and I have packed well for this journey, and if the winds are on our side, we should reach Eecon within a fortnight. I’ve been informed that our home base has been moved there. Please be mindful that winter is quickly approaching us. I’ll write as soon I can when we land in Eecon.

Love, William.”

They read slow, and it wasn’t long for her to stop Alaric from relaying the many questions Isaac had.

“If you need to say something, if you have a question, here.”

She left, and shortly came back with a board and some chalk placing it in front of the wolf’s head. She would stop when he had questions and make him write out the word and then the definition to it. Kara proved to be a good and thorough teacher, putting Isaac’s mental fortitude to the test. They started off with something difficult and then branched off to easier reads that he could manage himself. Alaric laid and listened to them for hours as the two of them buried their noses into the wall of literature behind them.

Isaac finally collapsed laying his head down as exhaustion overtook him. Whew! He said, I thought Bill was an animal, this girl is something else!

“Kara, I think you might have broken his brain.”
“You need a break?” She asked resting herself over the wolf. “Awh, we were just getting started good! Yeah? Well, you did really well Isaac! I’m going to quiz you on what you learned tomorrow.”

Isaac groaned, and huffed. His mouth tasted of chalk, and the thought; Well, there were no thoughts. Kara had pushed his brain to the point of mindless existence. An overload of information circulated. It was difficult, rigorous work, but he enjoyed it. The transportation of the mind through source of literature fascinated him and he wanted to learn everything there was to know. Isaac looked forward to becoming literate, and to passing his first test tomorrow.


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