I walk into the old broken down shack. The roof has caved in, snow and ash cover the floor. I go over to the small desk and I open the top drawer to find a book. It is filled with papers, the cover is leather with two simple letters engraved on it, B T. I pick it up, find a corner that the snow hasn't reached yet and sit down, then I open the book to start to read. A note falls into my lap when I flip the first page.
To whomever finds this book,
If you find this, it means I am gone and humanity has survived. The following is not a story, this is not a fairy tale, it is my life and the lives of the others like me. The following pages tell the truth about the world, about everything, you humans are not alone in this fight. Please, share this with others so the land will never again be plagued by the cruelties and evils that haunt it now.
This was my brother's journal. He has been missing for thirteen years now and I have been looking for him the whole time. This book could be the key to finding him, or it may just be a dead end, either way I must read more. I flip to the first entry.
December 9, 2451
A war is starting among the humans, the others and myself are going into the western mountains to live with the Tribe. We're just waiting for news of when and where to find them. Dawn and Mist are excited, they'll get to see their family, or what is left of it. They were once wolves, nobles, granddaughters of the former Chief Frost the Great, but Dawn fell in love with a human, so she choose to become a wolflord and her sister did too, not wanting her to be alone. The man Dawn fell in love with left her on their wedding day. She wanted to go back to being a wolf, but it was too late, her choice was made and it could not be unmade. She is stuck as a human for the rest of eternity.
My mother is not going with us, she is still looking for a cure for this curse. Most of us gave up looking many years ago, most of us gave up hope, but she will never give up. I believe that as long as she does not give up she will not fail, she never has failed before and she never will.
December 10, 2451
Today we are going up into the mountains. Finally we can leave this wretched forsaken place behind. Humans disgust me, they are destroying the North. Thankfully, my home will never be tainted with their filth. They live short fleeting lives quiet and cold, which they ruin by causing wars, while we go on living. Immortality is a difficult thing to understand, humans can not comprehend forever, their minds can not wrap around the idea of just going on, of never ending. I can barely understand it myself, the thought of never dying, the thought of invincibility, of being completely immortal, to escape death. But I would welcome death's embrace, for death is the only true cure for this curse, the only true escape. I have seen so much of this world, I don't need to see any more. I have been alive for almost eighteen centuries now, there is no more thrill in this world, just me and my books, poetry, and journals.
My brother, was a poet back in the old days. The good old days, back when I was an assassin, but now there is enough death in this world, I have given up that part of me. My story is a long and bloody one, no matter how many books my brother has written about me they will never get the full truth, there isn't enough pages, not enough time to tell the story of my life, words can not explain what I have seen, what I have experienced, what I've done.
I flip to the last pages, suddenly I smell a scent I know all too well, the smell of blood. On the last entries there is dried blood spattered on the pages, though I can still read the writing.
June 16, 2511
It has been sixty years since we left human society and have been living with the Tribe. Today is the Nobles Feast, I still remember my first one, but I was a cub back then, so I never understood it. I thought it was just eight days of festivities and celebrations, when I become a noble I realized how important it really was.
June 28, 2511
They're here, I can smell them, I can hear them, they are coming for us. It is no longer safe here. There is so much more I want to write, so much more I haven't told, so much I need to tell. They're coming closer, they're only steps away now. If my sister finds this, don't worry, take care of yourself, I love you. They're almost here and they have g
No, it can't be true, he can't be dead, my brother, the only one I trust in this world. No, no, he can't be dead, I must find him. I don't care about finding the others, Stonefire and Mist can find them. I don't care for finding my mother or any of them, just my brother, but first I need to make sure I have enough supplies for the journey. I close the book and put it in my pack. I look inside it to see how much food I have. I find two oranges, about half a loaf of bread, and a small piece of dried meat. I eat the dried meat, then I put everything else back in the pack and close it. I have to go back into the town to get more food or try to catch something while looking for Blackthorn. I look inside my pack to see how much money I have. I definitely have enough to buy food. I'll go into town.
It takes me all day to reach the town. This place is sad and pathetic or at least the government is. The people are starving and they blame the police, who blame the the town officials, who blame the army, who blame the country's leaders. It is just one big mess. The police are supposed to get the food to the people, they're supposed to get food from the the town officials, who keep most of the food for themselves because they barely have enough food for themselves because the army needs fed, and the army sees what is going on in the towns and cities and they don't like it and complain to the leaders of this wretched country. Those who have enough money can buy supplies from merchants from the big cities, who come to the towns and small cities to visit family and friends. They sell the best of everything, clothes, food, medicine, and other goods.
I enter the town, the only lights are the ones used to light the streets and the small fires people gather around to fight the cold and snow. One group particularly sticks out to me, a woman, her young daughter, and man in his late forties.
"Mama, have you ever seen Summer?" The little girl asks.
"Yes, I have, but I was a child, younger than you." Her mother says with a smile.
"What was it like?"
"Beautiful, just beautiful." The woman sighs.
"Mama," the child pauses, "I'm hungry."
"I know we all are." Her mother whispers. "Just wait, the Huntsman will help us, if we just wait." This catches my attention.
"He won't help us, he's just an old drunk who sits in the pub getting into fights with the authorities." The man laughs.
I couldn't take it anymore, I couldn't just stand there doing nothing while these people starved to death. I walk over to the fire, take the food out of my pack and give it to them.
"We can't take this, you need it, it's your's." The mother says handing it back to me, but I refuse.
"You need it more than me, please take it. I can get more." I insist. "You," I direct my attention towards the man, "where did you say the Huntsman was?"
"He's probably at the pub with his weird friend getting drunk again, why?" He says.
"He might be an old friend of mine." I say. Actually, he is a she, and she might be my mother.
He just laughs at this. "I don't know which is crazier, that you're giving away food or that your friends with that crazy."
I ignore the fact that he call my mother crazy, mostly because sometimes I think she is out of her mind when it comes to what she does, but even I have to admit there is a method to her sometimes madness.
"Which pub is sh... he at?" I catch myself before I made a mistake. If people knew that the Huntsman, or The Hunter, whatever they call her these days, was a woman and not a man, she would kill me. Well maybe not kill me, but she would make my immortal life a living hell. Wow, Sandfire's right, even my thoughts have become human in some ways.
"Wow, you are new here. He's probably at the only pub in this stinking place!"
No, I'm just old here. Last time I was here, it was before the war, over a hundred years ago, back then there were four pubs, or taverns, whatever they called them back then, I don't remember or care. "Well thanks, I guess." I mutter. "Bye."
I leave these people to go find this pub. I know, I said I don't care about anyone but my brother, but if this huntsman is my mother, she'll help, even though she is the last person I would try to get help from. I still can't forgive her for the past, I don't know how my brother does it.
I walk through the streets, going further into town and I start to see more houses with lights and power, but even here, in the dark alleys, there are people crowding around small fires. I just keep walking. No stopping this time Blackriver, gotta keep going. What is that smell? Paint? No there's something else, wolves. I think I know exactly which wolves it is too. I follow the scent to an alley. I see two teenagers with spray paint, painting something on a wall. I sneak up behind them and grab the hood of their jackets.
"We weren't doing anything, I swear!" The boy cries.
"Relax, I not the police. All I want to know is what are wolves doing in this town." I demand.
"How do you know we're wolves, human!?" The girl shouts.
"Call me human again and you'll find out how not human I am!" I growl. I let go of them. I see their faces and know exactly who they are. "How did I know it was you two morons. Your Ocean and Hawk's pups aren't you?" They nod. "Now tell me what you're doing here, or I'll tell Will and your parents what you were doing next time I see them."
"Fine, just don't tell Will, and how do you know who are parents are?" The girl asks.
"I was there when you were born. And if you're wondering who the heck am I, I'm Blackriver, one of the shape shifters. Now, answer my question."
"Well, you know, the lycans, they think they're better than us." The boy, who I now know is Falcon, says. "So, we were just showing that were better." He adds.
"By painting on a wall. Wow, whatever happened to waiting for the full moon and facing them in a fight?" I sneer. Falcon and his sister, Lily, look at me as if I'm crazy. "Never mind. Where is your pack anyways? I thought trainees aren't allowed to leave the camp without their mentors."
"Um, we don't know." Lily answers.
"How can you not know? What happened?" I ask.
"We would rather not say. Long story short, we got separated from the pack along with Rose and her sister who are around here somewhere. Last we saw them was this morning, we were going to meet earlier, but they never showed." Falcon explains.
"And you pissed off some lycans, got into a fight, and almost got us arrested." Lily adds, staring at her brother.
My mother will have to wait, these two need my help, I owe it to Day and Will for taking me in when I was living as a wolf. "Do you think you could track Rose and River's scent?" I ask.
"Here? Nope, too many scents, too many wolves. Earlier I smelled a wolf near the local bar, but I didn't bother to see who it was." Falcon answers.
"Yeah, well I think I know who it was. I'm pretty sure it was Dawn, you know the wolflord." I explain.
"The one who was going to be chief, but fell for the first human she met?" Falcon asks.
"Is there any other Dawn who is a wolflord?" I ask.
"Okay, fine, there isn't, but why would she be in this dump? Isn't she a High Noble?" Falcon questions.
"You're Nobles, what are you doing in this dump?" I respond.
"Good point." Lily answers. "Hey, if you're not busy, could you help us find Rose and River?" She asks.
"Why do you think I asked whether you could track them or not? Come on you two, you're coming with me." I tell them. I take wolf form and they do too. "Stick to the shadows, most people will think were just big dogs, there's a lot of strays around here."
"Why not just stay in human form? Wouldn't we be less suspicious?" Falcon questioned, almost in a growl. I could tell by his tone, he was used to giving orders, not taking them. I was like that when I was training too. I was used to being the leader, I never listened to my mentor, only Shadowheart. I continue to walk forward, the two wolves follow.
"Because your senses aren't the best when you take human form, duh." Lily sneers.
"Exactly." I say.
"Oh, I didn't think about that." Falcon sighs.
"When do you ever think?" His sister teases.
"Don't start you two. I had enough of that from Mist and Stonefire." I order. Then I hear something, so I stop. Falcon almost runs into me, he obviously was paying more attention to his sister than where he was going.
"What?" He asks in a whisper.
"Listen." I answer.
"For what?" Lily asks.
I hear someone, something, breathing heavy and the sound of feet running. I realize the noises were coming from the alley behind us. I turn around, so do Falcon and Lily. "That." I state. We watch the tall wooden fence as something climbed over it. It's a young girl, then she turns into a wolf. Nope not a girl, it's River.
"Hey guys, could you help me out?" She pants.
"With what?" Lily demands.
Then two men climb over the fence. "Them." I point out.
"Where'd she go?" One of them asks the other.
The other man was staring at us. "Dunno, but I think we gotta get going." He motions towards us.
I bare my teeth and growl. "Stay doggy, nice doggy, stay." One of them stutters. Doggy, really, I don't know which is more insulating, them calling me doggy, or that they told me to stay like I'm someone's pet pooch. I'm not in for a fight though, and I can see the others aren't either. I let them slither past us.
"Why were they chasing you?" I ask River. She must have done something, humans don't just start chasing each other around like how dogs chase squirrels.
"I don't know and why does it matter?!" River growls. She stares at me defiantly . "They're gone now. We need to go find my sister." She ran into the street, the others followed, but I linger.
I'm not going to follow her around like the other little pups, who are too stupid to follow their own path. She used to being the leader, being daddy's perfect little daughter, and getting whatever she wants. Then again they might as well be pups, I can't leave them now.
I run to catch up with the young wolves. River leads us to a pub. "Wait, your sister is in there?" Falcon asks with a snide tone.
"Maybe, I saw her go by here a couple times. She said that she smelled wolf here." River begins. "I told her that was just her smelling herself and me, but she...."
"I know why she smelled wolf." I interrupt.
"Really? How?" Lily asks.
"It's Dawn, remember, I already told you this." I state. "My mother is in there too."
"Is that why you're in this town?" River questions.
"No!" I snap. "I came here get supplies, so I could go find my brother, but then someone told me the Huntsman was at the local pub. She might be able to help me find Blackthorn."
"Then why bother with us?" Falcon asks.
"Because I owe it to your parents to help you." I answer. "And so I can keep you out of trouble. If anyone believes that wolves still exists, we'll all be in trouble with the tribes."
"The tribes don't care about us, we're rogues now, remember." River shouts.
"Your grandfather cares about you." I state.
"If he cared about me, he would make my father the Next, like he should be." River growls.
"That's not his fault. If you want to blame someone for that, blame Mud, or Dust for making his brother the Next instead of your mother or Fire." I tell her.
"Hey, my mother always could be the Next of the Red Fangs."
Falcon whispers to himself. "And I'm her first born, so then I'll
be Chief one day." Sometimes I think he was dropped on his head
as a pup, then again, I know he wasn't, I was the one who had to
watch them as pups.
"Mom would have to be a pack leader, you moroun." Lily corrected him. "Besides, Daisy is more likely to be the Next then mom. At least she is actually Maple's daughter."
"If Maple is going to choose anyone as Next, it's going to be my father." River states proudly. "It is the tradition that the chief's first born becomes the Next."
"You say that with too much confidence, you know?" Lily says. "Just because you're guaranteed to be a future Next doesn't mean you're better than the rest of us."
"Yes, it does." River sassed. Yeah, she is way too arrogant.
"You know, Lily's right." I express. "Just because you are most likely to be a chief one day, does not mean you're better than them."
"Can we just find Rose already!" Falcon growls. "Isn't that what we were doing?"
"Yeah, isn't that what we were supposed to be doing?" Lily asked. "So, lets go back to doing that now."
I've just lived through the most pointless conversation in my life, and I've lived a long time.
As the wolves continue to argue, I take human form and go into the pub. Even though the place was filled with mostly just men, I didn't stick out. There is someone else who sticks out more than me, my mother. As always, she is acting like a man, a drunk one. She's a good actress, but I know for sure that she's not drunk. It is impossible for us to get drunk, no matter how much we try to drink, our bodies just destroy the alcohol as soon as it gets into us. I never really understood why, something about the venom in our bodies. The same goes for wolves, but not lycans.
Now, I get it. This place is full of lycans, no overrun with them, but I also realize it's not just lycans. There's more wolves in here too, and it's not just Dawn. It turns out I'm not the only woman in here, in the back corner, there's was two women, one couldn't be older than seventeen, the other maybe thirty. I walk over to them. When I get close enough, I realize who the older one is. It's Rain, Chief Mud's sister, and a wolflord.
"Is this seat taken?" I ask.
Rain looks at me. "Yes it...." She pauses as she sees my face. "How many of you are here?" She asks in a sarcastic tone.
"Honestly, I don't know." I answer.
"Well sit down already." Rain tells me.
I sit down in the empty chair. "So who's this?" I question, motioning towards the girl.
"I was about to ask the same about you." She sneers.
"Zarah, you should give more respect to your elders." Rain scolds. "Blackriver, this is my granddaughter, Zarah. She's a wolflord."
"I sensed that." I state.
"Okay, so you know who I am, now who are you? Grandma called you Blackriver and I know that's not a wolf name, but you sensed that I was a wolflord." Zarah sasses.
Is she always like this? "You're, right I'm not a wolf, but your grandmother is right too, I am old and my real name is Blackriver, but around here, or at least around humans, I go by Bree. I'm a shapeshifter." I tell her.
"What do you mean "a shapeshifter"? What the heck is a shapeshifter?" Zarah demands.
"Don't you read or go to school?" I ask.
"Yeah, I do read and I did go to school, so?"
"A shapeshifter can take different forms. I can take four forms other than my true form." I answer.
"So what is your true form?" Zarah questions.
"Do you always ask so many questions?" I sneer.
"Do you?" Zarah growls.
"No, and I haven't asked that many." I sass. "The answer to what my true form is something you wouldn't know anything about. You've read about wolves in your little textbooks, but what I am wouldn't be in them."
"Zarah, she's right, you don't need to ask so many questions, especially when you don't want to know the answers." Rain tells her. "So, Blackriver, I suspect you're here because of your mother."
"Sort of, it's a long story." I reply.
"We have all the time you need to tell it." Rain smiles, maybe
not Zarah here, but I don't think your story will be that
"Okay, so basically I came here to get supplies, so I could look for my brother, because I found his last journal, or at least the last journal that I know of, but then someone told me that the Huntsman was here, so I was going to see if it was my mother, but then I came across some Black Nobles' pups, who needed me to help them find their pack and Rose and River, but then River told me that Rose smelled wolf in here, so we came here, and that's how I got here and they're outside right now, or at least I hope." I explain in about four seconds flat. I take a deep breath to calm down.
"Wait, did you say Black Nobles' pups, what are they doing here without the pack?" Rain asks.
"I don't know, they won't tell me." I state, still slightly out of breath. "And not exactly pups, trainees, Hawk and Ocean's pups and Day and Will's daughters."
"Their parents must be worried sick." Zarah expresses.
"Do you even know who the Black Nobles are?" I ask her.
"No, but from the name, I guess I wouldn't want to meet them any time soon." Zarah replies.
"Actually, the name comes from the term black nobles. Most of the time it is used to describe, exiled, rejected, or runaway nobles." I state. "In fact they are sometimes more kind than the tribes. Day, their leader, is actually related to you."
"She's right Zarah, you and Day are kin." Rain says. "Okay, so Day's mother, Mist is your second cousin, so you and Day are somewhat related."
"Okay, I guess." Zarah sighs.