Wolf and Lamb (Ch2: Once Bitten)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: NEWBIE NEW HOUSE
The realm of Panhestia.

Submitted: December 22, 2018

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Submitted: December 22, 2018



She ran through the forest, limbs whipping her face and scratching her arms and legs. Tears streamed down her face. She could still hear the screams of her friends and family in the distance as she ran deeper and deeper into the forest. Her father had taken up a pitchfork and attempted to hold off the council soldiers as her mother scooped her up into her arms and ran. She could see over her mother’s shoulder, though she wished she couldn’t. Her father blocked the road against one of the soldiers. He held his ground for a moment, jabbing at the soldier to keep him back. She had choked on a sob as another soldier came up behind him and impaled him with a spear. He fell slowly to his knees and the soldier he had been facing laughed and severed her fathers head. It was then she buried her face in her mother’s neck. She didn’t want to see anymore. Didn’t want to know anymore. Her mother stumbled once, then a second time. The girl looked up just in time to watch an arrow arc through the air and plant itself into her mother’s back where there were already two more protruding. Her mother finally tripped sending the little girl rolling across the dirt. She rolled onto her side, confused and hurting. Their eyes met. Run! Her mother silently mouthed as her eyes closed and her face fell into the dirt. She was on her feet and running within seconds, the trees and safety of the forest right in front of her.


She had no idea how long ago that had been but it was almost dark now and her legs were beginning ache and her lungs were on fire. She didn’t know how much longer she could continue. Her pace began to slow and she began to notice her surroundings. The forest was thick with vines and hanging moss. All around her she could hear the chirps and cries of the forest creatures all around her. She ducked under a branch and froze mid stride. Liquid fire rushed through her veins. She wanted to scream from the pain but she couldn’t. She tried to move, to get away from whatever was causing the incredible pain but she was paralyzed. Out of the corner of her eye she could see a flower. It was beautiful. Its white spear-head petals pointed out in eight different directions. At the center of each petal was a streak of florescent purple that ran towards the center of the bulb. Along the edges of each pedal she could make out tiny teeth, hundreds of them. All a bright red. She felt something warm running down her her arm and back as she fell into darkness. She just kept falling, through the darkness. It was so peaceful to her. She wasn’t sad anymore, wasn’t scared. Her legs didn’t ache and her lungs didn’t burn.


She stopped falling. Something wrapped around her. Not something physical like a hug, or warm water. This was something different. A warmth filled her, though she could not feel it. A light shone, though she could not see it. She was on the ground again. Not the cold hard ground of the forest though. She was laying on something soft and warm. A bed maybe? She felt a different warmth. On her face and the skin exposed by her torn dress. A beautiful song drifted through the air. The song of a bird. She could hear the birds happiness in the song that it sang. It was high pitched but it was soft and cheerful, in her mind it stirred memories of her parents reading her stories before bed. She could almost hear her mother’s voice in the birds soft song. The she saw her mother’s face, illuminated by the warm glow of a fire. Her mother was smiling down at her. The warmth of the fire was sucked away, leaving a cold gray light, and her mother’s face contorted in pain, blood ran from the corners of her mouth as she reaches forward. The girl screamed and scrambled across the forest floor, trying to escape, trying to run from the memory. She backed into a tree and sobbed. When she had cried all her tears, she looked up from her knees, which were tucked against her chest. She was in a forest, but not the same one she had been in before. This one was bright, bathed in a warm orange glow. The trees were thick with leaves but the ground was open and free of underbrush. Then she saw the woman. Her tall and slender frame packed with slim, tight muscle. The woman stood barefoot at the base of a nearby tree, wearing armor that was a strange mix of plate metal and animal hide. The long cloak draped over her shoulders fell to her ankles.


“The memories,” the woman said, pity on her face, “they hurt you?” The little girl nodded. “I am sorry to hear that,” the woman said as she walked towards the little girl. “Who are you?” the little girl asked. “I am Panhestia. I rule over nature and all the wild beasts that call it mother,” She replied extending a hand to the little girl. Helping the little girl to her feet, Panhestia asked, “And who are you?” The little girl smiled, “my name is Amaranth…,” she trailed off before she said her last name, as images of her parents flooded her mind. Her head hung low and the smile vanished from her face. “Amaranth. That’s an unusual name,” Panhestia remarked, gently stroking the girls head with a gloved hand. “Most people just called me Ammy,” Amaranth said to her feet, her voice quiet and sad. “Ammy. It’s cute. But, since most everything that calls this realm home is an animal, how bout we call you Lamb, so you’ll fit in with the others?” Panhestia asked. Ammy looked up, her eyes bright. The idea of making new friends brought the smile back to her face, “I like that.” Panhestia smiled, “come then, little Lamb. Let us go and meet those that call nature mother, I’m sure they’ll find you positively delightful.” Off they went, hand in hand. The Goddess and the Lamb. They walked through the twilight lit forest, meeting creatures both large and small. They swam with Collard Alcrons, rolled and played with Veil Stalker cubs, scurried through giant webs with Silk Weavers, sang and danced with Satyrs. They listened to the stories of old Minotaurs, and rode across the plains on the backs of Centaurs.


Every bit of fun they had was tinted with shared knowledge. Knowledge of the Balance. The way in which all things serve to keep the world in a state of harmony in which all things could live. The plants feed the prey, the prey feed the predators, the predators feed the plants. Everything grows, everything lives, everything meets the Twilight. All things feed the ebb and flow of the Twilight, but sometimes, things upset the Balance. When this happens, it must be corrected. Panhestia usually creates a champion to go back to the world of the living and restore the balance, and to be rewarded greatly when they return to her realm. With the coming of the humans however, the Balance has been so disrupted that none of her champions have been able to correct it. “Unfortunately little Lamb, you cannot stay here. What happened to your family, your village, to you,” Panhestia sighed sadly, “it has upset the Balance in so many ways. Only those who leave the world as balanced as it was when they entered it may make their homes here with me. That is why you have seen no humans in my realm. They only disrupt the Balance, never help it.” Lamb’s eyes filled with tears as her eyes fell to her feet, “it’s my fault,” she said as the cold tears rolled down her cheeks and fell from her chin. Panhestia held Lamb close to her side and whispered, “no, little Lamb, it is not your fault. Sadly though, it will still fall to you to correct the Balance. To right all the wrongs done in your life time. Once you have done that, you may return here if you wish, and live among all of your new friends.”


Lamb looked out over the Twilight Forest. She was sad because she knew that she could not do what Panhestia was asking. She knew that once she was sent from her new home, she would never see it again. As if reading Lamb’s thoughts Panhestia whispered, “you will not be alone little Lamb. Never again will you be alone. I am sending the spirit of the wolf with you. I wish for you to know the love that I am showing to you little Lamb, for this is not just any wolf. He is the first of his kind. The model after which I made all others. His love for the hunt is second to none. His loyalty is so fierce that nothing will stand between him and that which he loves. He loves this place. He has run these forests for millennia, and nothing will stop him from returning to his home. In turn, nothing will stop you from returning to me.” Lamb hugged Panhestia tight, “I am afraid.” As she said this a massive gray wolf plodded to her side. A deep, growling voice echoed in her head, Fear not little Lamb, I will guard you, and guide you home. Together we will restore the balance, and together we will return to the Twilight Forest. Never again will you alone. Panhestia hugged Lamb tightly before stepping back from her. “Be brave little Lamb,” she said as she tapped Lamb’s head. Lamb fell into darkness.

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