Before the Fall

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Summary

Gray is a werewolf who stands out from the human and werewolf world alike. She is a nomad, having separated herself from all personal connections three years ago, moving from place to place wherever the Moon guides her. Also--she is a healer. She has kept this ability secret from all but a select few for her entire life, but when tragic events occur in the forest of the Washington state native pack, the Atwoods, she is forced to reveal herself. As time goes on, it seems that her life is intertwined with the Atwood pack far more than she ever could have imagined... ...perhaps the Moon does know something after all.

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
SPowell6
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
44
Rating:
4.7 14 reviews
Age Rating:
13+

Prologue

Prologue

Some say there once was a time in ancient days when wild wolves roamed freely, the most eminent predator of the land. The catalyst by which the wolf animal became the creature with the stuff of most high predominance is two fold: the pack instinct and the Moon’s guidance therein.

It started like this: traditionally, a number of lone wolves would howl under the lightest time of night, which time only came once a month. A wolf’s howl would signal to its nearby brother or sister wolves that it was ready and prepared for a companion--a mate. Mother Moon would touch the wolves most compatible with a hand of moonlight and guide their paths to the right partners.

Some several hundred years passed in kind, wolves howling and waiting for gracious Mother Moon’s gentle caress to fall upon them to guide them to their mate. Then a peculiar feat of nature occurred, what men would come to call a total solar eclipse. A time when the Moon completely overwhelmed her brother, the Sun, with her full magnificence and power. That day, the Moon was the closest she had ever been to the land where wolves roamed--that is, the earth.

Now, there was one scrupulous wolf who had been waiting for such a moment, a wolf who most embodied the obedience and reverence any wolf could have for its Mother Moon. This wolf waited many years--many lifetimes, some say--for this moment when the Moon would be so strong, so close, that he could nearly leap and touch it with his nose. Upon the pinnacle of this hallowed moment that he had waited for with fullness of patience never before exhibited, this wolf howled.

Seeing the wolf’s diligence and reverence, the Moon rewarded him with the highest gift she had ever given. She swallowed up his howl and sent it echoing across all the land, to find his partner-wolf most lovely for him, nothing constraining, time nor distance. The wolf who was his perfect match.

The wolf’s howl echoed across all the land, as promised the Moon to the wolf. Faintly blowing in the wind did the wolf hear an answering call. A howl that, secret and quiet and small as it was, pierced his soul. The wolf paced under the moonlight many hours, waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

His perfect partner never arrived.

Worried he had done something to offend Mother Moon, the wolf sent up a call of questioning. The Moon gave no answer other than a sweet brushing of peace across his countenance. So the wolf sat in his spot and waited long after the Moon’s Brother Sun arrived and settled its heat across his white pelt. He sat many moons in that spot, waiting. He moved only when his hunger forced him off his feet and into the forest, but he never strayed far or long. He always returned to his spot before the Moon could wax into its full evolution every night.

The wolf did not know how long he waited, how many years he had been tested, but eventually, on one night just like any other, he felt a vibration under his feet. That night, the Moon was not as strong as she was that time when she completely overshadowed her brother, but she was full and strong. It was the once monthly time. When she was at her height, the wolf heard a howl.

His match came bursting through the forest moments later, black as the night around them and small and tired and nigh unto breaking, but perfect nonetheless. The wolf discovered that his match had been just as patient as he, and when she heard his howl under the strongest Moon she’d ever seen, she saw a path laid before her. She had no inkling of how long or difficult the journey would be, but she had faith that it would lead her to the wolf promised to her. She ran and ran and ran. Through heat and snow and rain and hail. She had run for as many moons as had the wolf waited.

That night they communed under the Moon and thanked her with every mellifluous chorus of howling they sent up to her. When Mother Moon saw how faithful and obedient these two wolves were, she thought they deserved more than the simple expectancy of the simple wolf. They deserved to have their hurts healed faster, their eyes sharpened more, their hearing ears heightened, their legs sped quicker. She gave these as well the gift of more sprawling and intricate language able to be communicated subvocally through what she simply called the bond. She gave them all these gifts, and one other.

She gave them the gift of humanity.

She allowed them to savor all the best parts of being the wolf and more; she gave them life as of then never had by any other being. They were werewolves, she told them. Both man and wolf.

More importantly, they were True Mates.

These Mates lived many years and begat many descendants of the same ilk as they. Some of their children were so blessed as to find True Mates of their own, but many did not, as the blessing was hard and special for the Moon to conceive. And after some years, the Brother Sun had children of his own, ones who were not of the same fold as his sister’s, for their forms were only able to house the souls of humans and not the wolf. Because these Sun people were not engineered the same way--were not as advanced of senses, possessed no special gifts--they were easier to be bred by the Sun and therefore more numerous. Eventually, the Sun children and the children of the True Mates came together and the bloodline was diluted. The werewolves became even fewer and further between as the werewolf gene recessed.

The werewolves prospered in culture and family over time, but they remained very few. Over time, the werewolves began to forget the Moon, forgot their ancestors’ respect for her. Despite this, the moon allowed her werewolf children to continue on, let them keep their gifts of advanced sense and bond communication. She even gave the one here and one there a special, unique gift from her to help them preserve their own and improve their collective quality of life, as she saw them suffering as they were forced into hiding. After all this pure kindness, she did save True Mates only for a select few.

It pained her so, that her people forgot her, but she remembered them. She would always remember.

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