"Where were you last night?" the elders barked at me as I cringed at their harsh tone. I couldn't tell them that I had deliberately escaped out from the castle walls to meet one of the enemy clan of the Rito; Bird People. The Wolfos clans, my clan of wolf people, were forbidden from ever cavorting with them. Course, curiosity killed the cat, but in this case it saved the wolf.
My mind fluttered back to my first encounter, which was years before. I wandered outside of the castle one night while I was under the influence of my strange "condition," except I would call it more a curse. My people are able to turned into the forms of wolves, hence the name "Wolfos." Unfortunately, my condition alters my form hideously like that of a demon. Even worse is that my mind completely vanishes, leaving pure bloodthirsty and irrational instincts. All human reasoning has left me in this state, which creates an indestructible monster.
On the first night it happened, I escaped and ran into the Rito lands of towering trees and open skies. Unaware of what was happening, I found myself before a Rito boy, who happened to be the black-winged prince, Erik.
I wasn't sure what else happened, but being in his presence returned my mind to me, and panic filled me.
"Do not be frightened, Solaria," Erik said softly.
I tried to speak in return, only go find myself growling in response.
"So this is the dreaded curse I've heard so much about. No wonder they never let you out of the castle. I feel sorry for you."
My hackles raised in anger. "I don't need your pity!" I growled.
Erik's eyes widened in surprise. "How come I can understand you? You were only growling at me just before..."
I stopped cold. Realization shot through me as I noticed I had been temporarily cured. Mostly. I realized then that it was Erik. He was my cure.
Ever since this occurrence, I always find Erik whenever I'm overcome by my curse. It was always such a wonderful, exhilarating feeling when I had my mind while in wolf form. Everything seemed so much clearer. I could see the tiny drops of dew on the grass glistening in the moonlight like tiny suns. I could feel the wind rushing through my fur, almost as if I were flying. I could smell a pig being roasted miles away, and pick out each individual spice used on the meal. It was like I was reborn, but much more aware of everything around me.
During these times of awareness, I began to study Erik more and more as well as the customs of the Rito. For one, no wing pattern was the same. Erik's wings were a pure black, with long, slender feathers. His wings were spread behind him constantly like a cape of a royal. More than likely to represent status, I assumed. Erik also had heightened senses like mine, except his eyesight. He could see every miniscule detail from hundreds of yards away. I always wished I could see through his eyes, to see the world through his view and understanding.
My mind trailed away from the 3 years of moonlit nights we shared together as I concentrated on the council before me.
"Solaria where were you last night?!" the council yelled again, anger flaring amongst their ranks.
"I went out for a stroll!" I said with as much confidence as I could while I swallowed the lie's lump.
"You know it is forbidden to leave the castle grounds after curfew! You can't just take a walk whenever you like! What if one of the Rito captured you?!" Shala, my mother, as well as the grand councilwoman, growled at me.
"Mother it was a full moon! Can you really expect me to stay locked up withing this god forsaken castle when I'm so full of energy?!" I cried.
"I am not trying to keep you locked in as my daughter bu I'm trying to keep all of my people from harm. You dare challenge my authority?!" she bellowed, as her human blue eyes flashed a wolf yellow in anger.
"But Shala, you must remember Solaria's condition," one of the elders, an older woman, stated. Her grey eyes stared through me with such care. This woman was Secheylla, my grandmother. She was born of Rito and of Wolfos blood; a hybrid.
This was a rare occurrence amongst both of our tribes. She was the birth child of a Rito princess and a Wolfos prince, who had an arranged marriage. A long war had been going on, and the leaders from both sides wanted to end it. So they made the prince and the princess wed, and soon after they had their child, both parties became outraged and killed them both, leaving the child to live. That child grew into a strong winged wolf woman, who worked her entire life into the Wolfos society. The Rito shunned her, and wouldn't allow her into their home. The now dead Wolfos prince begged his clan to keep the child and raise her as their own. So they did. Eventually she married and had a daughter; Shala.
Like her mother, Shala also had to work up to her title. Being the daughter of the hybrid, she wasn't accepted either, but as she grew, she showed remarkable talent for leading and fighting. She had decided to challenge the current clan leader, which was a young, swift female Wolfos. Shala easily defeated her, and took her mate in the process. Years later, Shala and my father had me. Even after my father's "accident," Shala still raised me as well as led the entire clan.
The rest of the council looked around like they didn't know what Secheylla was talking about. But they knew. They all knew what happened all those years ago except one, new, stupid, and unsuspecting council member, who just had to ask.
"What condition?" he asked as everyone's now yellow eyes pierced him.
The air in the room seemed to electrify as I could sense everyone's anger and surprisingly some sadness pointed at me. They all looked at me with such hatred and disgust that I began to shake with anger.
"Why? Why does everyone look at me like that? WHY?!" I howled, as I fell to the floor, clutching my head.
Everyone in the council stood to see what was happening.
"On the nights of the full moon," Shala began, as I fell to the ground, "Solaria takes on a transformation much more different and gruesome compared to our own."
My body and bones popped and contorted painfully as I writhed on the ground. It felt like my rib cage was being pulled open as my arms felt like they were being stretched to the point of tearing flesh. I was changing into my demonic-like wolf form, as a large, blood red horn split through my skull. The front of my face protruded outward, creating a snout with hundreds of razor sharp teeth. Back and white fur began to cover my body as my hands and feet formed large paws, armed with sword-like claws. I howled like a demon and my consciousness ebbed away, leaving the animal instincts.
"She turns into that of a demon, who no longer has feeling!" my mother cried as I was apprehended by guards. "A demon who killed my husband!" Shala screamed as the council watched in horror as I bellowed like a beast and fled.
I ran on through the night in the fields between the Wolfos and Rito lands as the moon hung high in the air. Suddenly, a great mass of black feathers appeared before me. Erik, the Prince of the Rito, stood before me.
He placed his palm on my monstrous head as he unfurled his black wings. I could feel my humanity coming back to me as I howled in happiness that someone as beautiful as Erik could bring this hideous demon back to life.
"Solaria, are you there?" Erik asked me.
I nodded my head as my long, matted black fur swayed in the breeze. His hand rested along the side of my horn on my head.
is something wrong? I can feel the fright just pouring off of you. Did something happen?"
"My mother Shala realized that I wasn't within the castle last night. She made me stand before the council in trial, interrogating me about where I was and if I was running around with the Rito
Suddenly Erik was knocked down and surrounded by 12 large Wolfos, growling angrily. One of them opened their jaws wide over his neck, hovering dangerously close to his jugular.
"Make one wrong move, and his head comes off," one of the Wolfos guards growled.
I could feel myself fading back to instinct as Erik struggled beneath he heavy paws of the guard. The other one looked up at me and realized what was about to happen.
"Quick, seize her!" he barked.
I was pile driven by six guards as Erik cried out. He pushed off the guard and drew a sword.
"LEAVE HER ALONE!" he bellowed.
Erik charged, sword in hand, when he was knocked down by a thrown Wolfos, blood streaming from their split neck.
I started slaughtering them, one by one, as Erik stared, horrified. Any Wolfos that tried to run was killed immediately, even those begging for mercy.
"Solaria, stop!" Erik screamed.
I made a hollow howl that ripped through the night air, alerting the coming armies on the horizon where we were. Armies were sent in search for us both, as Erik had disappeared mysteriously in the night as well.
Both sides charged at one another, fangs bared, swords raised, and battle cries screeching. Amongst the confusion, Erik and I were both captured by the Wolfos army.
"Kill the Rito prince for slinking around with the princess!" a Wolfos cried.
The Wolfos flooded around Erik, kicking and spitting at him as they tied him down. A cry of pain ripped through the battlefield as his wings were cracked with a deafening sound.
Suddenly, a blanket of quiet covered the crowd as a large axe was brought forth. Erik's eyes went wide with fear as the axe bearer crept closer and closer. He struggled for escape beneath the ropes as the Rito army roared in anger. They tried to get to their captured prince but the Wolfos army created a wall around him, stopping any hope of rescue.
The axe bearer grinned at Erik as he positioned the axe high above his neck.
"Any last words, little birdy?" he smirked.
Erik turned his gaze towards me, my demon still raging. His eyes held a heartfelt goodbye as they met mine. He breathed slowly then closed his eyes, smiling weakly.
"No," he breathed.
"Time to say goodbye!" the Wolfos bellowed as he began to bring the axe down. My mind roared to life as I freed myself from my captors and raced with all the speed I could muster to Erik. I stood over him, taking the blow, as the axe sank right into my spine. I tumbled to the ground as all the Wolfos as well as the Rito stayed frozen.
no," Erik said weakly.
Everyone's eyes grew wide and Erik gasped as my body began to change into a normal, beautiful looking wolf.
"E-Erik," I stammered, "you broke my curse
"No, Sol, you were always beautiful," Erik said quietly, tears streaming down his face as I closed my eyes for the final time.
Erik brushed his hand through my fur, thinking quietly to himself, lost in his thoughts. A pall of sadness fell over the battlefield, as Wolfos howled in mourning cries and Rito bowed their heads in shame.
Erik lifted my body and using all of his strength, he lifted me into the air and began to fly. A chorus of howls followed him as my spirit flew with him, on his beautiful black wings.