Roses and Fangs

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[ONE]

It was my birthday a few days ago [17th Sept] and I decided on uploading it then but I was super busy. But I am posting it right now and I hope you enjoy it. There is no update schedule as of now but the books will first be sent to my paid supporters and patrons before coming to Inkitt and Wattpad.

Until the next announcement!


[A HUNDRED YEARS LATER]

Stories we read in books, the ones that our grandmothers recited and ones which we see in the movies, there has to be some reality to it. The big bad wolf, for example.

There existed a realm of the Werewolves. It was a realm protected by thick walls and forests, most of it was on the Earth but invisible to the human eye. The wolfs residing within them were strong and just. They bowed to their king and to the Moon Goddess.

A beautiful temple rested atop a tall mountain. It was inhabited by the witches. The witches didn’t have any realms to themselves but instead worked under different supernatural species and categories. They lived across many domains. While the wolves had a hierarchical system [Alpha King, Alphas, Betas and so on and so forth], the witches were categorised: Pure Witches, Dark Witches, Warrior Witches and Common Witches. A Warrior Witch was only meant for magical combat but did have dark and pure inclinations. No one entirely belonged to one category, most of the witches found themselves on a middle ground, they were the Common Witches. Not all witches were Warrior Witches either. Pure Witches, for example, could be healers or priests or maybe both. Some Pure Witches were simple enchantresses with beautiful magic meant to enthral others.

This story is about one such enchantress, who was the purest of the Pure Witches.

Rosebud stared at the beautiful sculpture of Moon Goddess in front of her. The long luscious hair, the calmness in her eyes and her flowing robes. Rosebud knew she could perfect it even more and brought her clay-covered hand to the sculpture and finessed a few areas. She stepped back and examined her masterpiece again. A soft smile came across her lips. The flowers in the garden sighed, the roses felt envious.

Rosebud walked to the little pond, lotuses and lilies in full bloom, she washed the clay off her hand. Staring at her reflection, Rosebud let herself admire the little mud on her full cheeks. It signified a day full of creativity. Rosebud closed her bright blues and murmured a prayer.

“Dear Moon Goddess, I thank you for the flow of creativity. I thank you for the skill you have bestowed on me, and I thank you for the beauty all around me,”

Rosebud always walked with a deep sense of gratitude and servitude. She never thought herself to be worthy of anything and profusely thanked the Moon Goddess for everything. She was so lucky to be alive, even after being left on the steps of the Moon Goddess’s temple when she was only three months old.

Moon Goddess was her Mother. And Rosebud would never forget that her life was a blessing. A boon bestowed upon her.

Rosebud was brought out of her reverie when she heard some mutters. She quickly brought the sheer veil over her face. As a Pure Witch, she wasn’t allowed to show her face to anyone except Mother Evanora and the Moon Goddess. Pure Witches let their bodies be seen only by their selected mates. And mates were chosen by Mother Evanora.

A few girls entered the garden area. They wore flowing gowns like Rosebud, but their faces weren’t covered like hers. They weren’t Pure Witches and hence they weren’t in the same bindings as her. Rosebud bit her lip, she looked at their beautiful sleeveless gowns with envy. She would love wearing them! They turned towards Rosebud.

“Rosebud,” they squealed and placed kisses on her hand and gently patted her head with affection. All though, the sheer veil didn’t show her face clearly yet it gave enough hints about Rosebud’s famed beauty.

“Mother Evanora calls you,” Salma whispered.

Rosebud nodded and walked into the temple. The marble floors and marble walls kept the temple halls cool at all times. And with the beautiful breeze always surrounding them, it was like spring all year long. The Moon Goddess was indeed abundant in her blessings. Rosebud passed by the main praying hall and walked towards the offices of Mother Evanora.

The large doors arrived when she heard the sound of the Mother.

“We are at the brink of our demise, and yet the Moon Goddess doesn’t fulfil her prophecy,”

Rosebud wanted to stand and listen, but even the thought of eavesdropping on private conversations was a sin.

“Mother,” Rose knocked on the door.

“Come in, Rosebud,”

Rosebud entered the office. It was lined with shelves after shelves filled with grimoires and files and books. Mother Evanora had read all of them, she was a learned witch more than two centuries old. Mother Evanora was a highly respected witch in all the realms. She was responsible for bringing order to the Werewolf and Lycan worlds. Before her, it was ruckus and violence.

A King existed. He still did. He ruled his kingdom with absolute violence. He promoted the base urges in all the wolves, he insisted on them being primal. He was known to be selfish and autocratic. The King killed those who stood against him. He once even killed a hundred Pure Witches because they dared to stand against him.

The Kingdom cowered from their king. They were afraid of who he was.

Maybe that was why he was never given a soul-mate by the Moon Goddess. And yet he waited, despite the insistence of his council he expected and he let himself become more and more wild with each passing day.

Mother Evanora stood up to him. She wanted the Kingdom to do better, and for many years, she tried to peacefully urge the Alpha King to take up a mate, but he didn’t. Mother knew she had to do something, and upon the divine guidance of Moon Goddess, it was decided that the dark and violent King had to be thrown out.

Rosebud respectfully bowed in front of Elder Waugh.

“Elder Waugh, if you could give us a few moments of privacy,”

“Absolutely, Mother Evanora.”

Elder Waugh walked out of the office, and Evanora turned to Rosebud. Rosebud removed her veil.

“I am always reminded of the Moon Goddess’ creations when I look at your face.”

Rosebud blushed.

“But what you are on the inside is much more beautiful,” Evanora said, “never lose that, Rosebud.”

“I will not, Mother Evanora.”

Rosebud’s mind itched to ask the questions on the prophecy.

“Mother, I apologise for overhearing. But I heard you t-talk about a prophecy with Elder Waugh,”

“You heard right, Rosebud. We were talking about a prophecy, a significant prophecy,”

Rosebud sat at Mother’s feet and looked up at her with curious eyes. Mother Evanora picked an ancient-looking scroll and unrolled it. Rose wanted to know its contents.

“The prophecy states: When the Evil threatens the realm of wolves and lycanthropes. A soul-mate to the Evil will be born. She would be a bane for his anger and his violence. She will be pure as the lilies and sweet as its nectar. Her beauty will be the subject of many poems. Her heart will be big and made of gold. She would be dewy-eyed, guileless and unworldly. She would turn the Evil into good. But it will be a journey of pain and violence. Every Rose has Thorns, and every Wolf has Fangs. The Innocent will be blessed by the Moon herself, and the Evil will be blessed by the powers of the devil, the Lupus Magus. This is it. This is what it states.”

Rosebud was taken aback by the enchanted words. The Werewolf realm believed in two figures: The Moon Goddess and the Lupus Magus. The Moon Goddess was pure and just while Lupus Magus was the devil. The true devotees of Lupus Magus were blessed with great power and feral wolves. But it was dark power.

“Who is the Innocent, and who is the Evil?” Rosebud asked.

“I don’t know who the Innocent is, but the Devil is Alpha Valdus Maynard Magnar. He is the enemy of our realm, and he wants to rule it! Magnar thinks of himself as the rightful King, and he will not stop until he is sitting on the throne.”

“How do you know he is the Evil?”

“When Alpha Magnar was born, I was in the room, assisting in the delivery. There was no moon that night, but the Devil himself made an appearance. The candles in the room went off. And a heavy shadow cast itself above us. There was a frightening presence in the room, I have never felt like that ever, Rosebud. And despite it being so dark, we could see this figure moving towards Alpha Magnar. He placed his hand on top of his head and a sharp red light resonated out of his tips.”

“Lupus Magus’ red eyes were visible to us all and his glowing wicked wolfish smile. I knew then and there that Alpha Magnar was not ordinary and definitely not good. He is more animal than human.”

Rosebud’s heart was beating fast, she had never heard such a scary story before. She hugged Evanora’s legs and sobbed.

“And now, he threatens to enter the realm,”

“What?”

“Alpha Magnar has mobilised a strong army of outlawed wolves and few other species. He is stronger than us, and I know that we have maybe two more days till he tears down the walls of our Kingdom and marches to the throne, murdering anyone in his path,”

Rosebud gasped; tears pooled in her eyes.

“There is something that we can do! K-King Edward will deploy his forces, don’t worry Mother, we will be strong,” Rosebud tried to cheer Evanora.

“No, King Edward isn’t strong enough. He is not an Alpha,”

“But h-he is just and polite. There surely must be something that we could do!”

“He is everything we need in a King, but he does not possess the strength and brutality which Alpha Magnar has. Our only hope is this beautiful Innocent Goddess. Where is she?” Evanora whispered.

“Mother, our only hope is to pray to the goddess,” Rosebud whispered, “can we please gather in the praying room?”

Evanora nodded and closed her eyes.

It was a telepathic method deployed by the witches to communicate with each other. Mother Evanora was simply sending them all a message. Soon, the witches will be in the praying room. Rosebud helped Evanora on her feet, and the two walked towards the destination.

The praying room was a large circular hall. A huge golden sculpture of Moon Goddess stood in the middle. It was bejewelled and made entirely of pure gold. It was the most breath-taking sculpture. Right above the statue was an opening in the roof. The opening gave a beautiful view of the moon. Rosebud and Evanora sat on their own mats and stared at the moon. It shone so brightly tonight. It gave them hope, all would be well.

Rosebud gave Evanora an encouraging smile.

But their happiness was short-lived. Soon a large cloud covered the moon. Darkness descended in the room. Rosebud’s eyes widened. The cloud was thick, the moonlight couldn’t penetrate it.

“This is an omen, a bad omen. He is coming, Alpha Magnar,” Evanora whispered.

Elder Waugh ran into the prayer room.

“Evanora!” Waugh called out.

Everyone turned to the aged man.

“What is it, Elder Waugh?”

“We will have to move all of you to the safety passages beneath the temple. Now,”

The girls were in a frenzy, they were walked out of the prayer room. King Edward’s soldiers stood outside, looking sombre. They arranged the girls in a line.

“Please maintain silence,” one of the soldiers roared.

The girls did not. There were panic and chaos everywhere.

“Please, Mother Evanora. Handle your girls,”

Mother Evanora raised her hand, and pin-drop silence ensued. All the girls circled Evanora, their faces smeared with tears. Rosebud even hugged Evanora from behind, she wasn’t letting go. Raw panic and fear were surging through her body. She had never felt like this before, all Rose knew was peace and calm and joy.

“Girls, let us all listen to the soldiers. Our panic and fear are only making us weaker. Keep taking the Goddess’ name and follow them to the passages.”

The witches of the temple formed a line and started to follow the guards. They had never been to the passages. This would be their first time. The soldiers lead them to the basements and then opened a trap door, it revealed a ladder. Slowly, one by one, all the girls began to climb down. Rosebud and Evanora were the last ones, followed by the guards.

The trap door was shut. Evanora clicked her fingers, and soon, the passage was illuminated with torches. The fire crackled, and Rosebud instantly felt soothed by it. She held Evanora’s hand tightly.

“Moon Goddess will take care of us, right?”

Evanora didn’t answer; instead, she turned to Waugh.

“Why are we here, Elder Waugh?”

“Magnar’s army has broken down the walls of the kingdom. They have entered the city,”

“What? But I thought… we still h-have a few days for that!” Evanora sputtered.

“We thought the same, King Edward is on the ground with his soldiers, we have also asked the other realms to send us as much support as they can,”

“DO you think they will be able to send us troops in such a short notice? By the time they arrive, Magnar will be on the throne again, and we will be burnt to crisp. My girls are not used to this violence, Waugh! We have to do something before they reach the temple!”

Evanora held Rosebud tightly. Rosebud wiped her tears away. Sometimes she wished she was a Warrior Witch; their power and magic are so much more useful. But she had to be a Pure Witch. They were nothing more than a burden.

“There is one way,” Waugh whispered.

“What is it?”

“You can go to the kingdom of Fae! They will never stop the devotees of Moon Goddess.”

“And how should we do that?”

“A spell, you will have to disappear!”

“Are you crazy? Most of my girls here are less than twenty-five! Rosebud is just nineteen! They are not developed enough as witches! Disapparating takes years to gain expertise in!”

“I have nothing else, Mother Evanora!”

“Mother,” Rosebud pulled Evanora’s robes.

“What is it, Rose?”

“You l-leave,”

“What!”

“Mother, he will not let y-you live!” Rosebud sobbed, “please escape while you can!”

“And leave you here! Are you out of your mind?”

“I am not. How w-will you defeat Alpha Magnar if you are dead? How will you save this realm?”

“Rosebud,”

“Please, Mother! Go!”

“Where will I go, Rosebud?”

Rosebud pulled Evanora to her level and whispered in her ear. Evanora’s eyes widened, but she nodded.

“I will leave but not now. I will stay here until the Magnar army arrives. But not for once think that I am abandoning anyone. I promise each and every one of you, I will return, and I will defeat Alpha Magnar. He is not going to rule us, I will not let that autocratic ruler into our realm again!”

The girls huddled around Mother Evanora; Elder Waugh had a sad smile on his face. There was an air of fear and a feeling like they were probably together one last time. Rosebud didn’t enjoy this feeling at all.

“I want each and every one of us to be together forever,” Rosebud sobbed.

One of the older girls embraced Rosebud.

“We want that too, Rosebud,” she said.

“Let us all stand in a circle and hold a prayer, our collective voices will reach the Moon Goddess. She will never turn away from her loyal devotees!” One of the girls came forward. Everyone agreed with her suggestion and formed a circle. They held each other’s arms and closed their eyes. Beautiful hymns began escaping their lips. Their hearts were all one into the prayer, each syllable was enunciated with so much devotion and purity. Their joined hands began to glow, a beautiful silvery glow almost like the moonlight.

“Look at them, Waugh,” Evanora whispered, “how can I even think of leaving them here?”

“You will have to, Evanora. You are our only hope…”

“No, Waugh. I am not. These girls are the hope of our realm. They have kept the fire alive in their hearts. I was almost losing my faith… but Rosebud and the girls were all so confident in the Goddess,” Evanora sniffed, “look at me. I started to doubt the Goddess the moment I faced adversity.”

“Now, don’t be so hard on yourself. Let these girls be your talisman when you seek a solution for the Mad Alpha. And Evanora… let that solution be permanent.”

Evanora understood what Waugh insinuated.

A loud horn blared. The prayers stilled. A voice boomed in the air.

“King Edward has fallen. Alpha King Valdus Maynard Magnar has taken his rightful place. Those who shall not surrender will face his wrath, bow down!”

Rosebud whimpered. Fear seeped through every cell in her body. She had never experienced this before. It was paralysing. Her body was shaking like a leaf, and her eyes held her tears. She wanted Evanora to hug her and never let go, but it was important for Evanora to leave.

“Go, Mother Evanora,” Rosebud sobbed, “please leave. Do not make me repeat it.”

And with that, Evanora snapped her fingers and disappeared in the thin air.

They stood in silence. Nothing moved, there was absolutely no sound. But in the distance, they could hear loud growls, the paws hitting the ground and the vicious roars.

It was the beginning of the end.


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