Nightfall: Full Moon
Copyright © 2016 by Roland
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
"I'll see you later, Mark!" Colt Harris called out as he left his friend's house, and headed home. He knew he was a little late, but it wasn't that big a deal. Neither of his parents would mind as long as he wasn't too late. He pulled out his cell and sent a quick text to his mother, letting her know that he would be home in just a bit. Moments later he got a reply asking that he pick up some butter from the store. With his father home, they were going to watch a movie, and needed butter for the popcorn.
Colt jumped on his bike and started down the road. It wasn't that far to his home from his friend's house, but with it being night, he was being more careful. Ten minutes later he walked out of the Wal-Mart, jumped back on his bike, and turned towards home.
He was excited about his dad being home for the night, something he and his brother seldom were able to enjoy. His father was a fireman, and was working the evening shift. When they found out that his mom was going to have another kid, his father started working lots of overtime.
The new baby was a complete surprise, seeing as Colt was the oldest of two at fourteen. His younger brother was twelve, so when their parents said they were having another one, it caught both of them by surprise.
Colt couldn't be more happy about having a baby brother or sister. He and Clay had talked about it many times. While Clay was a bit upset at losing the 'baby of the family' role, he was old enough now that he was looking forward to spoiling the new baby himself. Colt was kind of disappointed that his parents wouldn't find out if it was a boy or a girl though. They hadn't done that for the older two, and wanted it to be a surprise again this time. He only had about two more months to wait, so wait he would.
When he got to his house, an older home that sat back from the road, Colt had a sudden feeling that something wasn't right. He stopped and looked at the house, but nothing appeared to be out of place. His father's pickup was sitting in front of the garage, and his mother's car was next to it. His brother's bike was lying on the ground at the side of the house, the normal place for it to be. The lights were on, and nothing seemed odd, but he just couldn't shake the intense feeling.
After a few more moments, he shook his head and peddled his bike up to the house, parking it next to Clay's. Colt took another moment to right Clay's bike, just like he did every night.
He walked up the front stairs, and stopped just outside the door. He smelled something funny, but had no idea what it was. He sniffed again. There was a faint, but sickly sweet scent. He took a deep breath, then opened the door, figuring it was something his father had brought home. "Mom?" He called out as he walked in.
"'''COLT! RUN!'''" He heard his mother cry out, then he heard a slap. He turned to run out the door, but, before he could do anything else, it slammed shut, and a man was now standing there.
"Oh I don't think you want to leave the party yet." The man said with a wicked grin as he lifted his hand, light flashing off a long knife held in his bony fingers. He chuckled as he slapped the blade against his bare hand a few times. "Why don't we go join the others?" The man said, then reached out and turned Colt around by his shoulder, and marched him into the living room.
"MOM!" Colt cried out when he saw she was tied to a chair, blood trickling down her chin. Looking around quickly, he saw his father was face down on the floor by the overturned TV, and Clay was sitting on the couch, crying and holding an arm close to his side.
In the room were four other people, all of them large men that looked rather mean. "Is this the one?" A sixth voice asked as a young woman walked in the room from the back, looking through a bunch of papers.
"You know he is." The first man said with a shake of his head. Colt took the moment to go over to his mother, and no one seemed to care, let alone try and stop him. "Mom, what's going on?"
"Oh she doesn't know anything." The woman's scornful voice answered Colt's question. "I really would have thought they would have told you by now, but…"
"Told me what?" Colt asked, trying to think of something to help get his family out of this situation.
"Told you that…" The woman started to say when they heard Colt's father cry out. They all turned in time to see his father swing the fireplace poker with all his might, hitting the man that had greeted Colt across the side of the face. The man didn't go down though.
Spinning around, the man grabbed the poker with one hand, while grabbing Colt's father around the throat with the other. "I'm impressed." The man said as he lifted Colt's father so his feet were no longer touching the floor. "I wouldn't think a human like you would have the guts to try something that… stupid."
His father's face was starting to turn blue, as he struggled to breathe. Colt was just about to rush the man, when he heard Clay scream and charge. The man sensed it though, and with a vicious backhand slap, he sent the twelve year old flying back across the room. It did cause the man to drop their father though.
"CLAY!" Colt screamed as he saw his little brother fly through the air, and crash into the stairway railing. The wood splintered beneath the small boy. Colt was running to his brother before anyone could stop him, but he skidded to a stop before he even got there. "CLAY!" he screamed again as he saw a piece of the railing was actually protruding from the boy's chest.
"It… it hurts... Colt." Clay said breathlessly, as he lay there, blood not only flowing from the chest wound, but from his mouth as well. Colt never even heard his parents screaming, or their struggles with their captors. He especially didn't hear the lady mutter, "Oh shit," very softly. All Colt could focus on was his brother, as his body let go of its last breath.
He didn't know where it came from, but he knew he couldn't stop it. As the pain of his brother's death hit him, Colt threw his head back and let loose an unearthly scream that stopped everyone in the house. Everyone except the woman, who quickly fled out the back door.
The scream of pain and fear turned into one of uncontrollable rage, as he stared at his brother's torn body. As Colt suddenly turned around, he was well beyond any rational thought at this point. The last thing he remembered was leaping towards one of the men, and his clothes suddenly exploding off his body.
Runi woke as the sun slipped behind the trees. He'd only been awake for three nights, and knew that tonight he would have to go out and see what this new world held for him. From what little clues he got when he first awoke, he was sure this time would be the most shocking to his system.
While Runi had drained the last man that woke him, he took his time to see what the man's memories held. Shocking was a word that Runi hesitated to put to it. The word was simply not strong enough. He was able to find though that he had been asleep for a little over three hundred years. It was not the longest he'd slept at one shot, but the world he had awakened to had changed more than in the last three thousand years! He also knew that the three men he had fed from were not going to be enough. Already he was feeling the hunger start deep within him. He knew he needed to go out this evening and gorge himself.
Slowly he got himself dressed, and armed. He knew better than to go anywhere unarmed, until he had a good feel of what this new land, and new time was like. He slowly tied his hair back, and pulled on the long over-cloak that had been given to him shortly before coming to this new land. It was one of the few gifts that had been given to him out of friendship. Most everything he had, was either taken from those he had fought, or given to him due to his birthright. A birthright that he detested. As much as he wished he would never have to rely on that again, he knew, deep down, that he would. It was part of who he was, and to turn from that would be impossible, no matter how much he wished it otherwise.
Climbing from the old well, that had been his resting spot, Runi called upon the memories, that he had taken from the last intruder, to find out which way to go to find food. As he walked, he used an old trick he had learned, to incorporate the man's strange way of speaking as his own, so he would fit in. He passed something that the man's memories told him was called a car. However, Runi couldn't spend the time to think too hard on that. Just the thought of getting into something that big, made completely of metal, that allowed him to go faster than any horse could possibly run, was something that caused Runi no small amount of concern.
He walked for nearly two hours, making sure to stay away from the roads, which the memories told him would have many of those cars on it. No, he stayed to the darkness, letting the woods around him hide his presence. Yes, he could easily have run the distance in almost no time, but he enjoyed the night air and the peace and quiet, as he came to terms with yet another period of being awake. 'Soon.' He thought to himself. 'Soon I will no longer worry about waking again. Soon I will be able to put my burden down, and no longer have to fight. Soon...'
Runi stopped cold when he smelled something. Something he hadn't scented in almost three thousand years. It took him almost a full minute to remember what it was that he was smelling, but once he did, he spun and took off at a full run. He was eating up the ground as he ran, yet managing to traverse the dark woods silently. The smell getting stronger and stronger. Before he saw anything though, he heard the retching, and knew what it was from. When he got to a small clearing, he saw a person, on all fours, violently throwing up all over the ground. The boy was naked, and hurt. Runi could see that clearly in the gloom. Runi was hungry, and the smell of blood was strong. Runi though, knew better than to try and drink from this one, as it was not the blood-smell that had brought him here.
Runi slid to a stop, and pulled his cloak off. "Let me help." He said softly. The boy didn't react to his voice, only panted, trying to get breath to come back into his lungs. Runi took a step forward and draped the cloak over the boy's naked shoulders. That was enough to get the boy's attention. He jumped up, and tried to back away... backing into a tree which stopped him.
"Who… who are you?" The boy asked as his wild eyes darted around. He looked at the cloak he wore, then reached over, took the shoulder, and brought the cloak to his nose, inhaling deeply. Instantly he threw the thing off. "Who are you?!" He demanded again.
Runi for his part stayed calm, making sure his hands were in full sight of the boy at all times. Thankfully he was a bit smaller than this boy, so he did not have to work at looking harmless, much. "My name is Runihora. I am not here to hurt you." Runi said softly.
"Why are you here then?" The boy asked as he looked around wildly. Runi knew this was a very difficult time for the boy, and could become even more so if Runi did not handle this very carefully.
"I heard you, and thought you needed some help." Runi said softly, then added. "You have been injured."
The boy looked down at himself, then up at Runi. As if the boy just now realized he was naked, covered in blood, some of it being his own. It was then that the boy realized that he had four large gashes across his chest. Hesitantly, he reached down, and ran a finger gently along one of them. He gasped as his mind finally registered the pain. "What… what happened?" He asked Runi, as he looked up, his wild eyes darting around, filled with confusion.
"If I were to hazard a guess," Runi started, all the while keeping his voice as calm and unthreatening as possible. "My guess would be that you were attacked." The boy's eyes darted and met Runi's, who held them. "I would also guess that if you think hard on it, you will remember what started it. At some point though, you would have no other memory until you woke up here."
"Clay…" The boy choked, and sank to his knees. "They killed Clay!" Sobs wracked Colt's body until he felt Runi place a gentle hand on his shoulder. Colt looked up into Runi's eyes, and could see the caring in them.
"I am sorry." Runi said simply.
"Why?" Colt cried softly, trying to make sense of what little he remembered.
"The answers are not easy to understand." Runi said as gently as he could. "But I am guessing that Clay was someone close to you?"
"He… was... my younger brother. They killed him." Colt said as he dissolved into sobs again. "Why?" He asked quietly, then threw his head back and screamed again. "WHY!" He demanded of the stars, yet no answer was forthcoming. Runi simply held the boy for a few moments, until he felt Colt start to sniff the air.
Runi pulled back as he saw Colt's eyes boring into his. "That smell…" Colt said softly, yet in a deeper, more-gravelly voice.
Runi knew he only had a few moments before the boy lost his control again. "I assume you are familiar with this smell?"
"The men that… that killed Clay smelled like…" Colt started.
"They smelled like death." Runi stated rather than asked. "That is because they, like I, are dead." Colt's eyes went wide, and Runi started to see the flicker of yellow in the boy's eyes, the flicker that always came before the change.
"Think back to what you remember," Runi said gently. "I was not one of those that attacked your brother, was I?"
After a moment's hesitation, Colt shook his head. "Um, no."
"I know there is a lot going on for you right now, and I promise you, I will answer as much as I know, but please believe me, this is neither the time, nor the place for that conversation."
"What are you?" Colt finally asked.
Runi sighed, then stood up, preparing to flee or fight if needed. "I am what you would call a Vampire."
Colt's eyes went wide, thankfully there was no trace of yellow in them. He tried to say something, but his eyes simply rolled into the back of his head. The events of the night, plus the injuries he'd sustained, finally combined with the impossible statement, his mind simply shut down. Runi let out a sigh of relief. "That could have gone worse… I suppose."
When Colt woke up, he had no clue where he was. Looking around all he saw was a dirt room and he was laying on an old mat. The room was lit with candles, yet no smoke hung in the air. What little he could make out only told him that the room was earthen walled, with no decorations. He turned his head to the side and gasped slightly as he saw three bags that he knew well, one was his school bag, another held his laptop, and the final one was the large suitcase that his parents had bought him when they went on vacation last year.
That of course, caused all his memories to come back to him. Without being able to stop himself, he felt tears starting to leak from his eyes. He quietly sobbed to himself for a long time before he was able to get himself under control. He didn't know how he knew, but he knew that Clay wasn't the only one that had died. He knew, beyond any doubt that his parents were also dead. His parents, and his unborn sibling.
A noise from the other room pulled him from his tears. he took a few moments to pull himself together before he stood up. That's when he realized he was still naked. Slightly blushing, Colt moved over to the suitcase, opened it up, and got dressed in the first thing he pulled out.
Once he was dressed, he moved to the front of the room. For a moment he wasn't sure what he was seeing as he knew this was the doorway, but it was covered with a fur blanket of some sort. He reached out and was about to pull it to the side when he caught another smell that caused him to stop. This time it was something he knew, and knew well. He almost ran out of the room only to stop dead when he saw the source of the scent was not what he was expecting.
Runi turned and looked at the boy with a small smile. "I am glad to see you are awake." He said, then his smile failed as he saw the look in Colt's eyes.
"What are you wearing?" Colt asked as he looked at the clothes this strange boy was wearing, and realized that they were his brother's. What he had been smelling was his brother. Seeing this strange boy and not the brother he expected made things come back to Colt again.
"After I brought you here, I went back to your home. You needed clothing, and I needed to make sure that there was nothing there that they could use to track you down." Runi stated simply while he turned his back to Colt and went back to cooking a meal.
"Why… why are they after me? Who are they exactly?" Colt was fighting hard to keep his emotions in check, but there were things that he needed to know.
Runi turned back around, and met Colt's eyes with gentle ones of his own. "I know there is much that does not make sense to you at the moment. I will answer what I can, but please believe me when I say that after you have eaten it will make things easier to accept. It will not take me much longer to finish this, then we may eat, and I will answer all that I can."
Colt wanted to argue, but knew from the tone of the voice that he would not get anywhere, finally he just nodded and sat down at the old wooden table that was in the room.
"Please forgive me, as it has been a long time since I have prepared food for someone other than myself. I hope you will find it acceptable." Runi said a few moments later, trying to get some conversation going.
Colt snorted with a bit of a bitter laugh. "I'm a teenager, I'll eat almost anything."
"And a lot." Runi said also chuckling. "I know all too well how it is." Runi then turned and looked at Colt. "I hope I am not being rude here, however, I still have not been given your name." Colt actually blushed a little bit, but Runi was quick to settle his mind. "I understand that things have been more than a bit difficult for you, so it is understandable, I just wish to know what to call you."
"Colt." Colt said softly. "Colt Ryan Harris."
Runi smiled, moved over to Colt and offered his hand. "Well met Colt Ryan Harris." When Colt took the offered hand, it was not what he had expected. Instead of grasping hands, Runi moved up and grasped Colt's forearm.
After Runi moved back to the food that was starting to smell really good to Colt, the boy had to speak up. "So… Is it true.... You're a Vampire?"
Without turning around, Runi nodded then spoke. "Yes it is."
"Is that who… attacked me?" He asked nervously.
"Yes it was." Was the simple response.
Runi sighed without turning around. "That will be explained shortly."
Colt wanted to argue, but again, he just knew better, finally he changed tracks. "Okay. Part of me says that Vampires don't exist, but I also know what I saw."
"That is good. Denying what you know to be true is a very dangerous thing to do. It leads many down a path of darkness that cannot be escaped." Runi said as he finally turned around, and brought two plates to the table. Colt wanted to comment on the style of plates, as well as the actual silverware that they were using, but thought better of it.
"I guess it helps that I've always loved the Vampire and Werewolf stories…" Colt started then trailed off as he looked first at the food, then to Runi. A slight nod from Runi was all it took for Colt to keep going. "That's what this is all about, isn't it?"
Runi didn't respond, as he wanted to see what Colt's mind was figuring out. Finally after a moment, Colt just started to let it all out. "In everything I've read, Vampires hate Werewolves. The last thing I remember after Clay was… I felt this uncontrollable rage inside me. I knew that the guys were something weird since one of them was holding my dad up by one hand. My dad's a fireman, and not a small person. So the other guy had to be extremely strong, and it didn't look like he was struggling. Then there was the smell. It smelled like, I don't know... something dead?" Runi nodded, so Colt continued. "Yeah it was like something dead. So they were Vampires. That means, if I'm a Werewolf, then it explains why they'd come after me."
Colt trailed off, not sure what to make of what was going through his head at the moment, but the food in front of him reminded him of how hungry he really was. Moments later he was attacking the plate as if he hadn't eaten for days. Runi was more than content to let the boy eat his fill, as the conversation that was coming would be even more trying for the boy than what he had experienced so far.
Finally Colt looked up from his plate and stared at Runi for several moments, then asked a question Runi wasn't expecting. "So, how old are you?"
Runi couldn't help but laugh. Had he asked about being a werewolf, or what happened to his family, Runi wouldn't have been surprised, but asking about how old Runi was, wasn't what he was expecting. "Sorry, it's just you look like a little kid…" Colt stammered out, which actually caused Runi to laugh harder.
After a moment to get himself under control Runi grinned at Colt. "I did not mean to laugh, but that was not something I was expecting you to ask, considering everything else that is going on in your life at the moment. My age is not something I would have thought you to consider important. However, it is not something I mind speaking about." Runi said as he stood up from the table, and took both his and Colt's plate over to the fire that was heating up water. "To be honest, I do not know exactly how old I really am, at least not down to the day, or even year." Runi turned and met Colt's eyes. "I know I have witnessed more than four thousand years. However, I also know I have slept for at least two."
Colt's jaw was on the floor. "You mean… you mean you're more than six THOUSAND years old?"
"Yes." Runi answered simply, then went back and sat at the table. "Remember, Vampire's are ageless. Unless something happens to end our lives, we could live forever."
"Are… are there a lot that are as old as you?" Colt asked still in shock.
"I doubt it." Runi answered honestly, and Colt could see some pain enter into the boy's eyes. "Very few decide that they want to exist this long. For me, I have reasons that require me to not meet my final end yet."
"What's that?" Colt asked softly.
Runi was silent for many moments before he finally shook his head. "Regretfully, that is not something that I will answer yet. It is not that I worry about you having such knowledge, it is simply that there is so much more you need to understand, than to know what I must do before my final sleep."
Colt sighed and nodded. "That makes sense. However, can I ask one more thing before we get into the whole wolfy thing?" Runi smiled and nodded. "How old were you when you were…. turned?"
"Yes turned is the proper term." Runi answered. "I was turned on what you would call the Winter Solstice shortly before my fourteenth year of life."
"But you look younger?" Colt said, thinking that the boy was maybe eleven or twelve at the most. Clay was small for being twelve, yet Runi was wearing his clothes, and they were a bit large on him.
Runi nodded his head. "Yes, I have noticed that humans seem to have become larger as time goes on. To my eye, you look to be on the cusp of manhood, if not already past it. While I was living, you would be expected to do as much work as a man, and perhaps even started your own family."
"Wow." Colt said, but decided to leave that alone before he thought too hard on it. He took a few moments to organize his thoughts, and Runi was happy to give it to him. He was happy to see the boy was a thinker, as it would make the next part come easier. For Colt, thinking was something that his father had taught him from a very young age.
'No matter what happens, you need to keep your wits about you. You need to be able to think. That's what'll keep you alive in a true emergency. No matter what else is going on around you, you need to be able to think clearly.' That was something his father had said many times, and something that Colt tried hard to follow, as he knew how true it was.
Finally he looked up and met Runi's eyes. "Okay, I guess the first thing I need to know is this… werewolf thing. Is it something I can control, or does it just happen?"
Runi grinned. "That is a perfect question, that most people do not ask until much later."
"You mean you know other Werewolves?" Colt asked somewhat surprised.
"I KNEW other Werewolves." Runi said, emphasizing the word knew. "That is some of the history that we shall get into later, but yes, I have not only known other Werewolves, but I have helped train some." He paused and then leaned forward. "The answer is yes; you can control it. As a matter of fact, you must learn to control it, or it will control you."
Runi saw the confusion on Colt's face, so he sat back and thought for a moment. "There are two ways for a Werewolf to have a first change. The best and easiest way is a controlled shift. The second way is a traumatic breakthrough, which is what you have had. The second way is much more dangerous, as there is a chance that one would be lost to the Rage. Thankfully you have already come through that. Now what must be taught to you is control. For if you do not learn to control the Rage inside of you, it WILL control you."
"That's what happened with all those stories of the maniac Werewolves that go on killing sprees during the full moon?" Colt asked.
"That is some of where it comes from, but it can be much worse than just that." Runi paused then smiled. "However, you have someone here that can teach you how to control the shift, so that is not something that you will have to worry about."
"Okay…" Colt said softly after a moment. "What do I have to do?"
Runi smiled and inclined his head towards the boy. "You are not so frightened as to be paralyzed by the unknown. This speaks not only greatly to you, but also to those who were your parents." Colt smiled, even as the tears sprang to his eyes. Even if this boy had a strange way of saying things, he knew what a great compliment that was. "Let us go outside, as you will not want to be indoors when we do this. At least not in this place." Colt looked confused but when Runi looked up at the somewhat short ceilings, Colt grinned and nodded, then followed Runi out of the room, and up the ladder that led to the outside.
When they got outside, Colt spent many moments looking around. They were deep in the woods, so deep that he couldn't even see the lights of the city he knew was nearby.
Suddenly his head snapped to the left as he heard and smelled something there. He stared hard in the dark till he saw a small rabbit scurry away. "You knew it was there." Runi said not as a question.
"Yeah." Colt said distractedly. "I… I could smell it."
"Good. The sense of smell is the first thing that comes to a pup." Colt turned his eyes to Runi with a question, which caused Runi to smile. "To your kind, you are a pup, a young wolf. I am sorry that I slipped into that train of thought. If you would prefer, I will not refer to you as that anymore."
Colt thought it over for several moments. Finally he shook his head. "I guess it doesn't really matter. I need to get used to it I suppose."
"Very well." Runi said as he took a few steps back. "The first thing we will do is help you shift into your Wolf Form. I would suggest however that you remove your clothing."
Colt balked at the idea, but then remembered waking up in the woods naked. Of course it didn't matter at that point, but… 'Just think of it as gym class.' He thought to himself, then started to strip. Trying to distract himself, he looked at Runi. "How many forms are there?"
"You will have three." Runi said as he sat down on a stump. "The Human Form, the one you currently wear. The Wolf Form, which will be the easiest for you to change into. Then there is the Warrior Form, or War Form. That is the one that will be the most difficult for you to learn to control."
"Why's that?" Colt asked now fully naked. In the back of his mind he realized that he didn't feel at all cold, like he should have been.
"Let us worry about the Wolf Form first, trying to explain the Warrior Form would just confuse things at first." Runi said, slipping into teacher mode. Colt nodded then looked out into the woods, letting his senses take in what was out there. "The first thing you need to realize is that your senses have been increasing lately. Even more so now, since you have changed. That is the focal point that you need to bring forth, the Wolf. Humans have been taught since birth to ignore the instincts that run around inside of us. For you... you need to bring them forward. You need to listen to them, embrace them, but not be ruled by them. They are there to guide you, but only that. Listen to the woods, smell the trees, hear the animals. Allow them to take you to a place that Humans cannot go. Allow them…" Runi's voice faded from Colt's mind as he felt himself slip away from the here and now.
In the distance he saw the same rabbit from earlier, dash from behind a tree. Before he even knew what he was doing, Colt took off at a dead run, on four legs. He wasn't trying to catch the rabbit, but run with it. Had he been thinking clearly, he would have known that the rabbit shouldn't be playing cat and mouse with him, but it was.
The rabbit went under a downed limb, while Colt jumped over it. The rabbit turned one way, and Colt the other, only to meet back up down the path a ways. Freedom, that's all Colt was feeling. Never before had he felt so alive, so free, so real. Time had no meaning to him at that moment, all he felt was the need to run, the need to be free, the need to feel, as the air rushed past him.
When Colt slowed he was in a clearing, he had no idea where, but the rabbit wasn't there anymore. What was there, when he looked up, was the moon. Colt threw his head back and howled, crying out to Luna, the moon, the untold happiness he was feeling inside.
Colt's head twisted when he heard movement beside him, and for only a moment, wasn't sure who the boy standing there was, but then it came back to him. "You learn quickly, but now you have to let it go." Runi said softly. This was the most critical point of the shifting. If Colt couldn't put the Wolf away, he would never be able to change back to his Human form. "From now on, your Wolf is always there, waiting to run, but you need to remember that Colt is in control, not the Wolf."
Colt snarled at Runi, the Wolf didn't want to go away, not after just having been allowed to run. The Wolf snarled one more time, but then stopped as Colt took control back. Runi saw it in his eyes the moment it happened, and smiled. "That is right, remember who is in control. Think about the boy you are, the face you know as yours, remember and bring it forth."
Colt hesitated a moment, as once again he got the urge to feel the air rushing through his fur, but what Runi said made sense. He would get the chance again, but he needed to learn control first. Control was always the most important thing.
He felt himself huff through his long snout, then concentrated. Colt had felt worse pain before, though he wasn't sure when. The really weird part was that while it was painful, it wasn't at the same time. Like it was something his body expected. Feeling his bones rearranging themselves, the fur that had exploded all over his body, suddenly retreating back inside. The worst though was his tail. When he finally stood up straight, he looked back, expecting to see it, but there was nothing there. He rubbed at the top of his butt and shook his head. "That's wild." He said as he grinned at Runi. "I've never felt anything like that!" He rushed on as he looked around the woods they stood in.
Runi laughed as he nodded. "I have heard that from every pup that I have seen change to their Wolf for the first time. It is one thing that I wish I could experience, but that is not my path."
Colt sighed and smiled hearing the pain in Runi's voice, but also not able to let go of the euphoria he felt inside. "So what's next? You say it's the Warrior form?"
Runi smiled but shook his head. "No, that is for another night. Now, we need to head back to the well. The sun will be rising soon."
Colt nodded as he looked down at his body again, then up to Runi, questions clearly showing on his face. "Why didn't that hurt?"
Runi stopped and looked not sure what he meant. "I felt my bones crack, I felt things rearrange inside me. Why didn't it hurt?"
Runi shook his head. "I am not sure, to be honest. Not being one of the Wolf Folk, I do not know everything about them. However, I have heard it said that it is different for everyone, some have a harder time of shifting, a more painful time at first, and others, well they do not. I assume it has something to do with how much you fight the change, but, again, I am not sure."
Colt was silent as they walked, mulling over what Runi just said. "It makes sense I guess." He muttered to himself after a few minutes, then looked at Runi. "So what next Master Yoda?"
"Yoda?" Runi asked clearly not getting the reference, which just made Colt start laughing.
"Never mind." Colt said when he could control himself. "Sometime I'll explain it. What I meant was, what are you gonna teach me now?"
"Well, I think, as we walk back, it is time for you to learn some history."
Colt groaned in imagined pain. "History… That was always my worst subject in school."
Runi smiled but shook his head. "I think you will find this more than a bit interesting, as it is the legends that explain who and what we are."
"You mean Werewolves and Vampires?" Colt asked as he and Runi began to walk.
"Yes." Runi said softly. "But also how it relates to what has happened to bring us to the point we are at now."
Colt stayed silent as he let Runi gather his thoughts. Finally, though, Runi started to speak. "In the beginning, the Wolf Folk, and the Vampires were made to balance the Humans. As you should know, nature desires balance in all things. We were created to balance out the Humans. Not to be better than them. Not to lord our power over them, but to bring balance to them. The Wolves bringing life, and protecting nature. The Vampires, death, and rebirth. We were supposed to stay outside of the Human Culture, not interfering more than needed."
Runi fell silent for several minutes as he was transported back in time by his memories. It wasn't until Colt spoke that he spoke aloud again. "What happened?"
Runi shook his head as he was brought out of his own thoughts. "My apologies Colt. It is not often I think about my early years." He took a deep breath then continued. "I am not sure when it started, as I was sleeping, but the Lord of the Vampires, the Lord of Twilight, decided that Vampires should be the rulers of the supernaturals. When the Wolf Folk did not agree, he ordered the destruction of all Werewolves. The fighting was fierce for several hundred years. Mostly since Wolf Folk are nothing if not physically more impressive than any but the oldest of Vampires. However, Vampires have one thing that the Wolf Folk don't, the ability to make more of themselves.
"No one really knows how or why, but even if two of the Wolf Folk were to mate, the chances are better than average that the child would be a normal human. Yet, two normal humans could breed, and a pup would be born. Thankfully it is not till they get close to maturity that the Wolf becomes available to them. By that point, the other Wolf Folk were usually able to find them, and help them through the changes. But when the war came, what was later called the War of Rage, the Wolf Folk were not able to find their own, and those that tried to stand together, were wiped out.
"The toll it took on the Vampires was extreme though. Even a pup, when changed, could easily defeat a handful of fledgling Vampires, and survive. A Wolf that had reached the title of Elder was truly a frightening sight to behold. While I have never witnessed a true Elder in combat, I have heard it said that it is like watching a true force of nature come to life."
"Wow." Colt said breathlessly. "So I'm like some sort of fighting God?" While he may have said it with a joke, Runi did not take it as one.
"No." He said simply. "You may be faster, and stronger, but one thing I have learned is there is ALWAYS someone out there who is stronger and faster than you are. While you may be one of the Wolf Folk, you are not immortal. I will do everything in my power to help you, but I have no wish to meet my final end yet." Runi stopped as they were outside the well that he had used as a lair for the last three hundred years.
"You are being hunted, even now. The Lord of Twilight has his agents scouring the Earth to find and kill those Wolf Folk who are close to changing. That is why your family was killed. If you wish to make it so their deaths were not in vain, you need to learn all you can to survive."
A night's worth of joy left him in one moment. Colt felt himself sink to his knees as Runi's words struck almost as if they were physical blows.
Runi also sank to his knees and pulled the larger boy close to him as he started to sob. "I am sorry to have said it like that, however, you need to know the seriousness of the situation. As I said, I will do everything in my power to assist you, and that is not an inconsiderable amount. However, we both must be careful."
Colt looked up into Runi's eyes and nodded, he knew he couldn't speak. Together they sat there both lost in their own thoughts. That was until Runi felt it getting close to sunrise. Without saying a word, he led Colt back down into the well, so they could both find their sleep.
Do you think you might like this story? Let Roland know: firstname.lastname@example.org