Jed and I knew that Lakiya and Warrick would want to be back to the house by dawn if they could help it, so when the sky began to change from black to gray we slipped away from the dance ourselves without saying anything to anyone.
When we got home we went into the back yard and watched for them to make their appearance. Lakiya walked out of the woods in her human form, with her fur clothing look, holding an injured, bleeding, Warrick, still in Wolf form in her arms, with tears streaming down her face. Other wolves stood behind her in the woods, nervous about making their appearance.
As we watched Lakiya walk across the lawn our view suddenly changed to a much lower point of view, as we noticed her eyes widen. Then we looked down and spotted our clothes mostly on the ground under us, with our shirts dangling strangely off our necks. I looked over to Jed, whose wolf was gray with the blue hue, and full sized. He was looking at me, in my brown wolf, also having a blue hue, but the size of a three month old puppy.
Lakiya wasted no time, and was next to us before we could fully absorb what was happening, placing our injured brother on the ground beside us. Then she put a hand on each of our heads and calmly told us, “Relax, put the image of your human self in your head, and focus on returning to that form.”
Having watched Warrick go through his lessons, I did as I was told and stood up as myself moments later, forgetting to grab my pants. I was very grateful for having put on a slightly large t-shirt as I bent down in embarrassment to grab my pants.
Jed noted to himself in Thought Transfer we could all hear, “As my hands change, grab my pants, then stand up.”
He followed his own instructions quite well and manged to avoid repeating my embarrassing moment. Lakiya hugged us both. Jed looked down at Warrick’s wolf form, grabbed him up, and led the way into the living room. The Due-Weres stayed just inside the woods, watching everything and listening, but not daring to leave their comfort zone.
When Jed laid Warrick on the couch Warrick started to change forms slowly, I grabbed Lakiya’s blanket and tossed it over him, in case he wasn’t able to do the fur trick in his injured state. Once he was fully human Jed took a closer look at his injuries. Warrick had a bite wound on his shoulder, and a semi deep scratch across his chest. “It could have been worse if Lakiya hadn’t attacked him.” Warrick informed us with his teeth gritted from the pain.
Jed looked at her and scolded, “It was foolish to go running off against the Sheriff like that.”
“I did what I had to.” Lakiya said in a gruff growl like voice, “He was killing my clan, and all for my attention.”
Warrick nodded his head and confirmed, “He definitely has plans and desires for our girl.”
“Where are your clothes?” I asked.
Lakiya turned to me and replied, “In the woods somewhere.”
“I’ll go find them!” I volunteered, excited to try out my new scent tracking ability, as aromas and odors filled my nose that I hadn’t even noticed before.
Lakiya shook her head and informed us, “Only I am safe away from the group. He wants me to choose him. I will get the clothes in a little while, but first we have to talk.”
Jed sat down in his chair. Then he asked the most relevant question, “Why can Riley and I change forms?” after a brief pause he added, “We can’t all be your mate.”
“If I am correct you are Lakiya’s Trusted Adviser.” A voice in our heads stated, as the image of a white wolf appeared in our minds, “And the young one is her Moral Guide.”
I almost fainted at hearing my place in everything. “I don’t think I can handle such responsibility.” I told the wolf in my head.
“Only those meant to be, can be called by the Creator.” A female voice informed us a a black wolf’s image appeared in our minds, “And you have been called. The creator changed you to be like the one you advise.”
“Don’t let fear stop you, get beyond it and get ready.” Another female voice added, as a brown wolf’s image replaced the black wolf’s.
Jed declared, “If we’re going to communicate with wolves, they should at least be in our presence.”
“How are they talking with us, when they can only talk to the form they’re in, and they are stuck in wolf form?” I asked as I went to sit on my chair.
Warrick answered, “Because they are able to communicate with both forms, at all times.”
Lakiya nodded her head in agreement, turned her head and said to the wolves outside, “Might as well come in, the woods aren’t any safer than the house, might even be less so.”
I ran to open the back door. Three of the five elders led the way followed by seven wolves looking around the age of Lakiya’s wolf form, though obviously older since she grew faster than them, and finally the last two elders walked through. The last one being the white male. He turned to me after I shut the door and said, “Thank you for the invite, the one with the valiant heart.”
I stared at him as I asked, “How do you know my name means valiant?”
“The same way I know your oldest brother’s name means friend of the creator.” He said with a smirk on his face as he led the way to the living room where the others waited. Then he informed us, “We have a wide vocabulary of many languages including names, because each receives their name for a reason.”
Lakiya added, “The vocabulary appears to widen with age.”
“Jed’s name means friend of God.” I corrected him.
"Is God not the Creator?" he asked without looking back at me.
“Then you know Warrick’s name means strong leader, or fortress?” Jed asked just to be sure.
They all nodded their heads. The black male wolf stated, “Right now we have more to worry about than our names and their meanings. The Humans and the Due-Weres have a common enemy.”
“And those of us in the middle.” I added.
“That’s it!” Warrick declared as he struggled to sit up, “We have got to have a name for those of us who are no longer ordinary Humans, but are not quite Due-Weres either.”
Jed asked, “What do you suggest, oh great name giver?”
Warrick looked to Lakiya who shrugged her shoulders, then around the room before replying, “Were-Mutts, that’s what we are, Were-Mutts.”
Lakiya laughed, and stated, “Another perfect name.”
We all agreed. “Now that that’s out of the way, can we figure out how we are going to defeat that Were-Wolf creature that killed off all the Due-Weres except those in this room?” One of the young wolves asked.
Lakiya went to sit by Warrick, having to step carefully around the many wolf bodies filling the floor space. Just as she sat down Jed turned his head towards the window. “Who wants to hear some music?”
I didn’t wait for anyone to answer or question the suggestion. I turned the radio on a local country station, and turned it up enough to drown out the noise, but not enough to hurt our heads, which with our new super hearing wasn’t as loud as one would think. Lakiya changed forms and Thought Transferred, “This is a much quieter way to cover our conversation, without raising suspicion since we aren’t sleeping like everyone else.”
Moments later only wolves could be seen in our house, and the radio was quieter, but still not off. “You saw what he did to the Humans and the wolves last night.” Warrick stated to those who had, and brought a mental image up for Jed and I. I trembled in my little wolf body at the carnage now burned in my mind. “We’re no match for him in either form, and I doubt we will be by tonight, even with outnumbering him, only so many can fight at once.”
Lakiya turned to me and said, “Try your suggestion.”
I furrowed my brow and asked, “What suggestion?”
“The one you made to Jed.”
I laughed at myself and turned back to human, keeping the fur as a funny looking outfit, and my teeth, without meaning to I also kept the darker blue eyes of the wolf. After a minute or two I turned back into the wolf.
Warrick declared, “We must practice the art of balancing both forms, until tonight, those unable to do so can hopefully learn something from watching the others.”
“But first we eat!” Jed announced just before changing back to human. “We need fuel to keep us going, and besides I still need to make the dish for Lakiya to bring to dinner tonight.”
When the rest of us Were-Mutts turned back to Human Lakiya noticed that Warrick was almost healed of his wounds. “Something about the transfer must speed up the healing process.” she noted.
“Speaking of wounds,” Warrick pondered, “Wonder how well Sheriff Bruce’s ear has healed from last night’s encounter, since he can only change once.”
While Jed made dinner the male black wolf stated, "I think it is time to tell all who are here: the story of the day the Creator made the Due-Weres."
"God made you?" I excitedly confirmed.
The gray male wolf answered, "He made everything, even the devil."
Jed pointed out, "You know of concepts that Lakiya had no knowledge of until we told her."
"The council of five wise was created to hold the secret of all that has passed." The female brown wolf explained, "As well as guide the tribes until the one not wanted, but badly needed came to be."
"So, how did you come to be?" I asked anxiously.
"You know the story of the garden with the Adam and the Eve?" the black female wolf checked. After we all nodded she continued, "What you don't know is that there were two wolves, a mated pair, who watched the snake talking to Eve, and did nothing to interfere, or protect her."
The white wolf added, "Later another mated pair watched as Eve talked Adam into joining her in sin. Again they did nothing to interfere, knowing the creator would punish them."
"After the Adam and the Eve were kicked out of the garden and the snake lost his legs the Creator called the two mated pairs to him." the black male informed us, "He asked the two pairs, 'Why did you do nothing to stop those you serve from listening to the words of evil?' the second pair answered, 'They are to be together and she had already done that which you punish.' the first replied, 'It was not our place to speak.' The creator did not like this answer."
"What did he do?" I asked as Jed handed me my plate of food.
The gray male answered, "He told the first pair, 'Since you knew my wrath would be great, and still turned your back allowing sin to enter man you shall walk like a man, through all your days, and all nights except the three with the fullest moon. On those nights you will return to your natural form."
"Were-wolves." Jed exclaimed, "You mean you knew of them all along, and have done nothing about them?"
"Only the leader of all can fight them." The brown female explained, "It would have done no good."
"Okay, that explains Were-Wolves, what about Due-Weres?" Warrick asked firmly.
The black female replied, "The creator told the second pair, 'Since your hearts were torn as to what was the right thing to do you will only walk like those you serve on the three nights the moon is at its fullest.' They bowed their heads and accepted their punishment with grace."
"The creator then noted that since their were two punishments being handed out to the wolves he didn't know which to give to the rest of their kind." the white male informed us.
The black male stated, "The second pair requested, 'Please do not burden any others with our curse, for it was us alone who failed to serve you and them."
"The Creator looked on them with favor, and so the first pair quickly agreed, 'Do not curse all for us either." the brown female announced.
The white male then divulged, "The Creator told them, 'Since you have made this request, only you and yours will bare the curses placed on you.' Then he turned to the second pair and told them, 'Since you asked out of love: one from yours will change your curse so they and theirs will be able to protect some who will come from Adam and Eve.' He then turned to the first pair and told them, 'Since you only made your request to gain the favor you felt the others receive: those who come from you will be hated and feared by those who come from Adam and Eve, and whenever they are found they will be hunted by them, unless they learn to care for more than themselves."
"So, when you said that I am to lead all, that didn't include the humans." Lakiya concluded.
"Correct." the white male stated, "Even though you partly come from them, you best serve God or the Creator by protecting humans from were-wolves, and other evils."