Eight years ago...
I ran as fast as my legs would carry me into the damp, dark, woods with my lungs burning like coals to a fire. Until I was face to face with them, the Lycans. Their huge frames, standing at over 9 feet tall and more muscular than 10 oxen, I was no match for them. The stench that came from their razor sharp fang filled mouths was enough to make me gag. Covered in matted fur with bits of entrails and previous remains from their former kills they stalked around a grove of trees where they held my parents hostage. One howled and the pack started to converge on my parents. They had tears streaming down their faces, but they looked paler then before and no sound came out of them.
Looking them up and down they were horribly emaciated, clothes ragged and torn, they had cuts, bruises and lacerations all over their bodies. My mothers raven hair was filled with blood, dirt and other forms of debris from her imprisonment. Her limp body shackled to a tree, unmoving. My father, having been strung up next to her, was more beaten and battered by his captors from his assumed struggles and reluctance to be bound. His arm hung limp on his right side, seeming to be broken or dislocated, a big scar down his left cheek from a lashing that was still bleeding, his shirt now turned to ribbons. The Lycans laughed at my shivering form with guttural shrieks and spits, as animal-like as they were, then they slowly took the heads of my parents and ripped them from their broken bodies. I tried to scream but no sound was heard, I tried to run but no movement came, then having darkness take over me, but not before I heard a voice scream my name”ZARALEDA!”
I awoke in sweat and tears, I was panting like a dog, not being able to get the image and voice out of my mind. I hated feeling terrified but that dream gave me goosebumps.
“Stop thinking about it Zaraleda it’s in the past.”
Looking out the window I saw the sun slowly beginning to rise, so with a huff I got out of bed and headed into the bathroom to take a shower while letting the water run and streak down my body to calm my nerves.
As I stepped out of the shower I looked into the mirror, my big blue eyes flecked with gold made them shine brighter than a star. I had nice high cheekbones with a heart shaped face and thick black raven hair that cascaded down my five foot curvy frame down below my waist. I looked like my mother, I thought to myself, at least what I remember of her being only ten at the time of her and my father’s death. They had perished during the massacre, my mother was a witch and because of that she was killed. My father who wanted to protect her suffered the same fate and my nightmare was a vivid memory that I tried so hard to forget.
I sighed and wrapped myself into a towel. While walking into my makeshift bedroom and living room I strode towards my small wooden floored kitchenette which supported only a small stove, table, and an ice box for the frozen game I had stored from last season’s hunt. I felt like I was forgetting something important when it hit me that today was my 18th birthday. Being a witch in your 18th year of living was no good news.
The Lycans had made a law after the massacre that any female child who possessed magic would remain unharmed until the age of potential, (18) but even with the law in place people still gave hateful stares and comments. I couldn’t truly hone my skills as a witch because I had no guidance on how to use it, no teacher, no master, nobody’s footsteps to follow in. I was only able to cast small flames and make small healing potions, hardly even touching the basics but improving upon them whenever I had the chance. There were stories of great witches that could conjure up amazing feats of magic, change stone into gold, raise trees straight from the ground, amass walls of fire against their enemies that would swallow them whole and leave nothing behind but a pile of ashes, my mother was one of those witches. She was a part of the great council that protected the border between the rogues and the city, but the massacre took it all away from me and still witches were sent to the stake just because we were ‘A nuisance’.
I knew this day would come, I couldn’t run away from this because they would hunt me down and make my death even more torturous and gruesome. As I’ve grown older I knew being rebellious was not a good idea, I still have the scars to prove it otherwise, but I still never knew why the former king made the law and I say former because his son had taken the throne after he had become ill. And as I hurried to put on my favorite white gown I heard the fateful pounding knock on my door and I thought all about how everyone treated me so harshly. I never knew why we couldn’t just get along as I walked to the door and opened it and was greeted by three lycans in their human form. Without saying a word I was put in chains and thrown into a wagon with all the rest awaiting death.
As I was walking down to the dungeons to see the new arrivals a scent filled my nose, it smelled of honey and fresh picked lilies. My head began to spin, I couldn’t help myself. I had to know where or who it was coming from. I ran towards it knowing what it might be. Stopping in my tracks when I noticed it was coming from one of the cells. I pushed passed the guards with ease and my curiosity peaked. Walking down to the farthest cell that’s when I saw her. Her beautiful raven hair flowed down her body covering her face in the process. Her now dirty white gown fit her body perfectly, and even with the knowledge of her being one out of the new arrival of witches I could care less, being like my father is one of things I despise the most, but changing the law could give an uproar of chaos from the citizens and my father. But as I looked at her everything that I tried to balance out in my mind seemed to fade away, eased and gently caressed by the sight of this beautiful girl before me.
As I got out of my infatuated trance I said“You, unlock this cell now.” Pointing to one of the guards who looked more nervous than a pig being taken to slaughter, he came over taking out his keys with a fumbling that only enunciated his cowardice, finally unlocking the cell door.
As I took a step in moving closer to her, her scent filled my senses more than ever, and then she looked at me, her enchanting blue eyes shimmering with gold making my heart ache for her. My Lycan half screamed in my head “mate!” I crouched down beside her, and her nervous look made it hard to resist. I didn’t want her to be afraid, so I cupped her cheek into my hand sending sparks of warmth through my body. I knew she felt it too. Her look of shock was mesmerizing. I know loving a witch was going to give me a bad name and make my father want to kill me even with him being on his own death bed that still didn’t matter. I wanted her, no, I needed her. She was my mate and because of that I picked her up like the little princess I saw her for, earning a small yelp from her as I slowly moved my mouth to her ear and whispered into it, “You’re mine little witch.”