Cursed Under the Full Moon

Dedicated to Johnny Zhang, for the inspiration

Prologue

Catherine stood in the middle of the still woods. It was full moon and yet, the misty rays could not penetrate through the eerie trees. She did not know what had brought her to this place and neither did she know where 'this place' was. The only thing she knew was that she was waiting for something. She could just feel the tension in the air as it came near. Then, a handsome figure stepped out of the trees in a hooded long cloak. He walked towards Catherine with such grace and power that made her wonder if this was an angel. The figure knelt down on one knee and extended a pale hand to place on her baby bump.

"Catherine, you shall bear the next and the most powerful heir to my throne." He spoke in a low voice while a green flame licked up from his hand, onto Catherine. "He shall be named Daren" He said again looking at Catherine in the eyes with piercing red pupils.

Catherine screamed to find herself in her own bed, covered in sweat, yet again.

9 months later

It was a calm misty night, the full moon shone in the sky with unusual brightness. A soft breeze ruffled the trees which made a few dry leaves twirl to the ground. A raven, with piercing red eyes like that of its master stood on a branch and gazed intently into the bedroom of Queen Catherine. It was not startled nor did it blink when it heard the queen scream.

"Ma-Lady!" it heard another young woman cry out. "Where is Father Joseph! Someone! The queen is going to give birth!" she cried out, running down a dark corridor.

Later, the young woman led an old priest into the bedroom, wheezing and gasping for air. The rest was a series of agonized screams from the queen then finally, the child was born. The little whaling creature was handed to the priest for blessings but suddenly, the old man started shaking horribly.

"Father Joseph? What is the matter?" The young woman asked, concerned.

He extended an ancient finger and unsteadily pointed at the baby in her arms "Th-that mark! He bears the twin serpents!" He cried out frantically in terror. "Th-the legends have come true! On the 666th year of the 666th full moon a b-boy bearing that symbol be born. When this boy reaches adulthood, the greatest evil shall rebirth in h-him."

An awful silence fell in the room

The Queen covered her mouth in shock. "N-no no! This cannot be true!"The Queen said hysterically. "That man in my dreams! My child, my child is cursed!" she wept.

"My Queen, we must dispose of this foul creature now! Kill him!" The priest shrieked and lunged at the young woman carrying the infant.

Panicked, the young woman instinctively stepped aside and the old man fell on the floor. "Father!" She gasped and knelt down beside him, but he was motionless.

"Ella," The Queen said suddenly, turning to her with desperate eyes. "I-I cannot bear to see my baby slaughtered" She sobbed heavily into her hands. "Please Ella, could you help me hide him?"

"My Queen, I-"

"Ella, please, I beg of you. He's the most precious thing to me!" She pleaded with her eyes. "Promise me that you will take my child to the far reaches of this land and raise him as your own son, never letting him know of his true identity"

"But….his mark!"

The queen looked down gravely, "when the day he reaches adulthood…b-burn him, make sure n-nothing is left…no one shall know of this" she replied shakily. "At least this way…my baby will have a chance to live…even if I cannot be there to see him grow up…" She said with a broken voice, her eyes streaming with tears.

Ella looked at the little baby looking up at her with his big eyes and her eyes welled up as well.

After a long, tense minute, she said, "Yes… I-I'll give you my word…"

The queen stroked the baby's cheek lovingly and kissed his forehead. "Farewell…little Daren" the queen whispered.

Outside, the raven had already flown off towards the full moon.