A Curse, Ever-Changing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts
Written for a challenge from the BoMoWriCha House.

Submitted: October 04, 2018

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Submitted: October 04, 2018

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A Curse, Ever-Changing

For centuries the Kilgorans and the Hannigans had lived together. Maybe not in peace, but they respected each other’s territories, never over-stepping the boundaries. To do so would have been to face untold danger, and an all-out declaration of war.

Both families, or clans might be a better way to put it as they spanned so many generations now, were accomplished shape-changers. Every bird, beast, every water-creature could be nothing more than it appeared to be, or one of the people, morphed and changed in to being something else. Only those within the same blood-line seemed to be able to distinguish genuine from shape-changed. Better just to go elsewhere than to risk eating some high-ranking family member from the other clan.

And it worked out fine until Rory Kilgoran set his eyes on Julia Hannigan. They were both in their true human form at the time, and to say that the attraction was instant would be putting it mildly. Both Rory and Julia felt as though they had come home; that they had met their true and forever soul-mates. They had stepped over the boundaries, both of them, embracing and never wanting to let go.

Birds flew, deer fled, a wolf and a lynx sped off in different directions. Within minutes it seemed that the couple were surrounded by an odd assortment of birds and beasts, in varying stages of becoming human again. One thing the Kilgorans and the Hannigans shared was anger. How dare these two off-spring risk generations of peace for what was simply a case of animal attraction?

Unsurprisingly, magic accompanies shape-changing in a big way and both clans had their own very accomplished magicians. They did not converse with each other, at least not in the usual way of talk and answer, but they shared a secret meeting of minds. It only took them seconds to come up with a solution to stop this love affair before it even started.

Simultaneously they uttered curses. The Kilgoran magician cursed Julia at the exact moment that the Hannigan spell-caster struck Rory. The couple did not even have time to drop their arms before Julia changed in to a white cat and Rory into a mouse.

Both feline and human impulses battled inside Julia’s brain as she flexed her claws, found her paw reaching towards Rory, who was now a hastily retreating field mouse.

From now on, whenever you should set eyes upon each other you will change to become natural enemies,” announced the Kilgoran magician.

One will become predator, the other prey,” continued the Hannigan spell-caster. “You will have no control over these changes.”

That is your curse!” the two finished speaking in perfect unison.

Julia sat licking a paw but then the true meaning of those words filtered through to her human brain-cells. She and Rory would never be allowed to be together; would never again feel the true home of each other’s arms. They were being made in to the Romeo and Juliet of the Shape-Shifter world. It was just too much to bear, so she turned and fled up the nearest tree, where she remained over-night.

Rory had fled in to the forest. Once away from Julia he had quickly returned to his human form, and spent the night, miserable and shivering next to a moss-covered tree. They had only just met and already they were destined to be forever apart. He wouldn’t accept it. There had to be a way.

Julia hung on to her cat shape for most of the night. Several of her family appeared up in the tree in various guises, but she saw through them all and batted them away. How dare the family meddle in her love-life! They would find a way to beat the magic.....somehow.

Both Rory and Julia felt compelled to stay close to each other, and spent as much time as they could close to the border between their lands. It was torture so much of the time, for whenever their eyes met the change would be instantaneous. He would become a hawk while she would become a vole; or she would become a fox and him a rabbit.

Over and over again they found themselves being morphed, having to fight against the natural instincts that accompanied their physical changes. They were faced with a real hunger, a physical need to devour each other which was taking it’s toll on them from the resistance of fighting against it.

In their times away from each other they resumed their human forms and continued to try to find a solution. They belonged together – there had to be some way that they could be without one or other of them resisting the urge to tear out the other’s throat.

There was only one thing that Julia could think of and that was to seek out the Hannigan spell-caster, to beg that the curse be lifted. She hated travelling so far from Rory, worried that she would never be able to find him again. It was a pointless worry though, as he himself, had had the same idea and had gone in search of the magician.

They were met with reluctance, and with resistance. It was a love that could not be allowed, a romance that could never be permitted to flourish, not around this area because once the borders were crossed there was bound to be wide-spread, if accidental killings, between the clans.

There was one solution, and one solution only. Much discussion was carried out between the elders and chiefs of the families and the magicians. If both Julia and Rory were permanently turned in to a species that lived far from the clan-lands, then maybe they could be permitted to stay together. But what species? And would they really be willing to sacrifice all of their humanity for each other.

From a distance, Rory looked at Julia, and Julia looked at Rory. The instant their eyes met, their gazes held, the decision was made for them. What ever the cost, they belonged together. There followed an hour of tearful farewells, for all knew that neither would ever be seen again.

Stand well back.” The Hannigan spell-caster warned.

Make sure the path to the North is clear, for that is where they will head,” the Kilgoran magician continued.

The next thing they knew, two massive white polar bears stood side by side. They turned to each other, nuzzled each other, then with one last look behind them began their long trek to the frozen wastes that would now forever become their home.

 

(1097 words).

 

 


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