A/N: Rewrite 2.0 - Good Lord, my English sucked back then!
Now: more readable, less mistakes, less stupid sounding sentences ... It probably still has some typos, so inform me if you find some.
Summary: There are two sides to each story. Good always prevails, and since the victorious write the stories to be told future generations, no one really asks for the other side of the story. But what is it? Even Evil has its side of the story.
Listening while writing: The crown jewel is Farenheit - Immediate Music; Monolith – Immediate Music; Sun Goddess - Two Steps From Hell; Blasphemy 2.0 - Immediate music.
And at the end of the story I think these two fit the best: Exhumed (No laughter) - Two Steps From Hell; Moving Shadows II - Two Steps from Hell ...
Other than that, the whole story has sort of Moving Moutains - Two Steps From Hell rythm.
CLAIMER: THIS STORY BELONGS TO ME, SO IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, STONE YOURS TRULY ... PLEASE, DO NOT USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION!
CHILDREN OF THE GODDESS
The Silver Light
"So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear. Farewell remorse; all good to me is lost. Evil, be thou my good."
- John Milton
Keeping up with what day it was, was as hard as running away from a werewolf. No month seemed to pass by so fast. It felt as the next fool moon would be the most important one in her life. Jon would go wild again but before that would happen, the whole village took interest in his injury. The bigger the moon became, the worse was his pain.
Tia was aware she was risking her life staying in the village, but silently she waited before she could go back into the forest without raising any suspicion. She had to survive until then.
She was avoiding Jon as much as she possibly could. He came for the wound inspection, but she convinced Vera to deal with it. In the meantime she was trying to make herself look busy so their eyes would meet only on rare occurrences. The terrified part of her wanted to make this month last forever, but none could stop the phasing of the moon.
"You're going already?" Vera asked when she found Tia organizing her things that were usually taken with her. This time though, the backpack was only half as full as normal.
"Not yet, just getting ready." She threw a cloth on the list that was lying on the bed.
Vera already opened her mouth, when the sound of yelling came through the window. They dropped everything and ran outside. The event they saw shocked them into silence.
Five men were trying to get a hold of one person who seemed to be much shorter than any of them. The sixth man was sitting on the base of the statue in the middle of the market outside. He was calmly writing something on the old parchment. She knew him – the village judge, putting death sentence on a paper before announcing it aloud.
One of the bigger boys flew from the cluster, landing on top of boxes that were filled with oranges.
That small gap in the ring of attackers allowed Tia to see who was throwing punches in the middle. It was Jon, but Tia had never seen him like that before. He was behaving as a wild beast. One thing was missing to make picture like any other Tia saw in her life: the shape of a wolf.
Vera was watching situation with shocked confusion on her face. She was smart and friendly in a way, but this was beyond her power of comprehension.
One of the attackers took a step back when Jon snapped towards him. But the werewolf froze before he jumped, roared loudly and grabbed its leg. Tia noticed his bandages were off. The swollen flesh was the mixed color of blue, yellow and red.
Judge finished his scribbling and climbed to stand onto the base next to his assistant. He gave him the parchment to read out loud:
"Jon Smithright, you are accused of a crime against Sun God, lycanthrope, which is punishable by immediate death –shooting by a silver bullet -"
"NO!" Jon roared, silencing the man. "I'm not a werewolf!"
Tia widened her eyes, wondering what other excuse could Jon possibly have to explain his behavior.
"Her!" he pointed his finger at her, panting heavily. Tia's face became pale as much as the color of her skin allowed. "She's a witch! She put a spell on me!"
She should have foreseen it really, and part of her actually did, but she refused to listen to that alarming panic in her mind. She was a perfect target – different from others, mentally and physically, her history plain to everyone. With that claim Jon saved himself by betraying the one person most of the village wanted out of their lives anyway.
She swallowed with difficulty and stared at the senior judge who was coldly measuring her. He nodded once and hunched over the parchment again, writing.
Tia looked at Vera that stared back with huge eyes. The girl was beyond shocked, speechless.
Tia was aware that she won't be sentenced to death only by the accusation of senile old man who was above all, a werewolf. Exile was a different matter, though. She grounded her feet and waited for the charge. The men seemed to have forgotten Jon completely and were now preparing to grab her if she'd turn aggressive.
She waited only to know her time. How long will she have before she will be hunted. She would cut the given time in half – she knew these people. She was quietly making a plan in her mind. She needed to make her way to the bay – the men were nervous of the open land that was between the sea and the forest. She couldn't hope to lose them in the forest, she was bound to leave a line of broken twigs behind her. They would follow her easily.
Judge stopped his scribbling and gave the parchment to his assistant, who jumped from the base of the statue and passed the group of younger men that followed him enthusiastically to stand in front of Tia. The man began to read:
"Tia Anna Sokanon, you are accused of a crime against Sun God, witchcraft, which is punishable by exile with. You have one hour to pass the city border," he said briefly. "Let God have mercy on your soul. Chief Judge Isaac Goodhope."
She gave a short and slow nod in sign of understanding. So she only had half an hour; half an hour to make preparations and get as close to the bay as she could. She turned on her heels and marched inside the house, trying to ignore all the puzzled people that remained on the street.
It took a few moments for Vera to find the courage before she followed her. "Anna?" she called her by the name they gave her. "This is not true, is it?"
"Of course not."
"But why would Jon lie?"
"Vera, listen to me," Tia said when she swung the backpack over her shoulder. "Stay away from Jon! He's a werewolf." She sighted when she noticed the known, confused look in her friend's eyes. "Promise me that you'll not interfere in these affairs! Promise me!"
She slowly nodded while looking at the blank spot on the wall. "I promise."
There was a fragment of hope that Vera will actually do what she promised.
While she was walking the streets for the last time, she felt heavy under all the stares. They thought it was strange that she wasn't even defending herself; that she wasn't denying it, as if there was nothing to deny.
Finally, she left the village behind and hurried towards the rocks next to the bay. Her fast walking soon broke into running. The setting sun turned the sky red and orange. She could swear that she heard the wolf howling somewhere near.
Jon had been surely let loose, for they have obtained a better prize: the daughter of Moon.
The full moon would arise shortly, if it wasn't on the sky already. Hidden from the light of sun, like some unimportant star it observed the disaster that was coming for her children.
She stopped and kneeled at the water. The low level of it dazzled her. It was so crystal clear. It reflected the sky and the red sun rays and at the same time she could see the rocks beneath the surface. With her palm she reached out and felt the coldness of it. She flinched as her hand touched the level of the water, disrupting it.
Voices. Not far away.
She's straightened herself and saw the group of villagers in the distance. They were loudly coming nearer. Their primitive weapons such as rakes and shovels didn't seem as dangerous as firearm, but they were still deadly enough to kill her.
She picked up her backpack and quickly ran away, up the bay. After a few minutes she passed the spot where she first met Gabriel. After such a long time her thoughts touched his name. She hoped that the Night Hunters didn't kill him yet. She hoped that at least he was safe.
Howling in the distance went silent. The creature had probably felt the closeness of humans and carefully distanced itself. Villagers, however, weren't worried about danger; they ran after the girl as if they were kings on the royal hunt.
She ran next to the shore, using the way of the Ancient Kings of The Night. She stopped just at the foot of a high cliff on top of witch ruins of the once glorious castle stood Only then did she remembered that she took the wrong route. On the right the bay was cutting her from dry land and on the left the tall trees were reminding her that something dangerous lurked within.
She tried climbing the slippery rocks, but she didn't get far before she lost footing and ended up at the bottom again. When she was getting back to her feet, something crashed near her head. She eyed the path and cursed when she saw the villagers cutting her off the road. Some of them collected stones from the ground and started to aim at her.
The pain of betrayal was replaced by emptiness, anger and fear. She was the daughter of Moon and it was always known that children of the Goddess didn't have a heart. Anger took this testimony of Sun worshipers as the truth, because if they really wanted to kill a heartless creature, she will prove that she can be just that.
Her eyes were glowing with hate when another rock was thrown at her – this time it was aimed better. In the endless blood-red above she saw the pale moon that was almost hidden in the blurry color the sky. Orange clouds that stood in its way were like smudges, which were slowly traveling the skies.
She swore that her mother will be the last thing she'll ever see. She locked her eyes onto the white surface and thought away all the pain that would follow.
Her vision was filled by a shadow that appeared from nowhere. It was like it flew down from above. It roared furiously at the villagers that were now stumbling backwards, screaming loudly. Some fell down on their buttocks and others had fled like pigeons when the beast howled again.
Some of the men found enough courage to throw rocks at the monster. For a werewolf the stones were as annoying flies. They were deflected away with one swing of its paw.
Finally even the bravest lost their battle of wills and ran after their escaping comrades.
"Find them! Find the Night Hunters!"
The beast stooped down and turned around. It looked directly into the eyes of the girl and she immediately recognized it.
The werewolf said nothing. He turned around and jumped into the trees. Tia ran after him.
Gabriel disappeared from her vision only moments after that. She looked up to the tree tops and saw him there jumping from branch to branch like some gigantic squirrel.
They were already moving for at least half an hour. She knew where he was leading her, but she also knew her hut won't stay untouched for long. She stopped at the fork on the road and yelled, "Wait!"
It became harder for her to see as the forest turned darker shade every minute, but she still felt something heavy hit ground. She listened to quiet snarling for a whole minute, before she finally realized she was staring right in the dark eyes of the beast.
"My hut," she said and pointed to the road that was leading away from the one the werewolf was leading her.
The animal growled and turned towards the road he wanted to follow.
"No! Without my notes and ingredients it's all worthless," she insisted.
For a while they were just glaring each other quietly, but then the werewolf nodded, jumped up and disappeared in the tree tops again. She heard he was distancing and ran after him. She always followed the bay road, not this forest one, but she knew they were heading in the right direction.
Hearing loud breathing, she risked one look from the ground. She could see stars light up between the tree branches, but the shining spots were rarer than she was used to.
She followed the blackness until she finally recognized the trees and the bushes around her. She saw the spring, jumped over it, and the flowers next to the bush.
She stopped only when she reached the cottage and started to go through her backpack, searching for the key.
The sudden yelling scared the breath out of her. She jumped backwards, almost falling over the branch behind her.
With a sudden hit something heavy met the ground behind her. Turning around, she saw Gabriel in his naked human form. He got up with a groan, massaging his lower back, then he stretched so all his bones were popping into the right places.
She cursed the cloudy sky and looked at the darkness above her. The moon was completely covered by a black cloud that was like a great cape.
"Damn, that hurts!" Gabriel moaned and tried to adjust his neck vertebra to its rightful place. With a loud crack he succeeded. He opened his mouth to say something, but before the words left his throat, he froze.
In the distance they both heard voices slowly closing. The light from torches was clearly visible through the undergrowth.
"Hurry up," Gabriel whispered silently, his gaze never leaving the glow. He hated fire, he hated everything about it – its heat, its light, its wild nature – but he hated it even more in the hands of the Night Hunters.
He got away from them once, he can do it again – but not if he'll have to take care of the girl, who didn't have night eyes or the ability to jump high.
Tia finally found the key and unlocked the door. She sneaked into the hut and Gabriel followed her.
There was total blackness inside, but Tia still managed to find everything she needed. She collected her notes and vials, even though she was searching them in worst places imaginable – the closet, under bed, on the floor …
Gabriel stood by the window that was covered with curtains and quietly looked through it into dark woods. The light that was coming from outside was a thin strand of moonlight. He looked up, searching for its origin. The cloud was slowly moving away from the Goddess and he could feel the strength growing inside of him again.
"Hurry," he repeated and went to her, so he could help her stuff all the things inside her bag.
"Do I have everything?" she asked herself with panic in her voice, but the moment later she was already walking towards the door.
When she passed the window she stopped on spot. The silhouettes were standing in front of the hut and they were so close, she could make out some of their faces. Many of them were the faces of the villagers, the others were unknown to her memory. Those were scary, full of old scars and in their hands they were holding silver-based weapons.
They were in trouble – in the worst kind of trouble she knew. She quickly stepped away from the window, afraid that people outside could see her. Gabriel stepped closer and looked through the window himself, but he wasn't watching the group in front of the hut, but the sky above it.
After a long silence he suddenly said, "I've got a plan."
They were standing at the entrance of the hut and waiting. The sounds of the night were louder than usual – it looked like there was more than just one werewolf nearby. The moon showed itself from the clouds again and they knew that the transformation of these killing beasts weren't exactly quiet; the loud roaring could be heard from every direction.
After that the house was resting in silence. So they waited. For a whole minute there was nothing but tension in their group. That was how they worked. You had to wait for a monster to do the first move and then use it to your advantage by attacking it in the middle of a jump.
A loud scraping of the wood was a clear message that one of the night creatures wasn't far. They focused on the two creatures that were hiding right in front of them.
One of the younger ones couldn't take the pressure so he stepped towards the door. They let him be. He risked his own life and maybe with that he'd make the beast move from the shadow.
The boy reached for the door lock and then all chaos broke loose.
The door was thrown away from the hinges and buried the young man underneath. For the full effect a brown werewolf jumped onto now useless peace of wood and roared with all its might towards the group.
The first man cleared his head and shot. The bulled missed its target and wrung itself in the wood. They were anticipating something fast, so they came to soon enough, but even that was too late as the beast already took off into the nearest tree top.
Most of the men followed the monster, while others stayed behind and walked inside the hut to find out where the girl was hiding. They didn't find her, instead they stopped dumbfound in front of the wall at the back. There was a hole in the wood. At that moment they realized their hunt wasn't like they expected it to be – the thing wasn't running away in a stampede, instead it took actions of wit.
She was running with her eyes always on the treetops, where there was a large silhouette of a wolf with long limbs appearing and disappearing from her sight. Soon she managed to gain her speed, so she wouldn't lose sight of him anymore. Running on the hard floor was much easier than jumping from branch to branch, trying to avoid the fragile ones and thick trunks from which they were growing.
The undergrowth wasn't so impassable here; on the contrary – because of ancient trees, there was little light down here that would allow smaller plants to grow. Still, even if there were no bushes and ferns down here, there were lots of branches that went dry with old age and fell from the main trunk. Tia's legs intertwined in one of them as she kept looking up from the ground.
Gabriel was almost in line with her when she took her boot off and saved her leg from the cobweb of branches. For easier running she took the other boot off as well. Why do these things always cost me my boots?!
She stopped when she reached the loud river taking its course. With frightened look she eyed the other bank and there she saw tall trees. She also saw that the water current was going faster than she anticipated.
Something heavy landed next to her. She turned around and her eyes met with wolf's that was holding his long limb up, with it pointing somewhere up the river.
She eyed that place and in the moonlight she managed to see the rapids and some tree trunks making a natural dam. It was one of the rare places where trees were growing right next to the water. She also saw the first claw marks there. They were on every other tree signalizing the path from the river up the hill into the black forest.
'You can follow the scratches on the tree trunks.'
She nodded at the wolf form, but before she could do one step towards the destination her thoughts were penetrated by a loud bang dangerously near. They turned around simultaneously and saw the light of the torches closing on them through the trees.
Gabriel growled loudly and jumped towards the attackers, but then he changed course, avoiding the shot and disappeared into the trees.
Tia watched the whole thing, terrified. She knew that move, she saw it the first night she met Gabriel. Averting their attention from the weak.
She turned around but didn't run towards the dam. Instead her eyes unconsciously linked to the Moon, to the Goddess. She felt the coldness of water exceedingly close, but she wasn't really aware of anything at that moment.
Her bootless leg stepped forward, but her foot didn't penetrate the water level. It rested right above it, as if there was an invisible foothold there.
She put her weight on it and stepped again …
She strode across the water in an unknown rhythm; her unclear look was locked onto the Goddess, eyes unblinking and milky white. With shut down senses she marched forward, living ripples in water behind her every step.
He jumped on the next tree and hoped that the girl managed to gain enough advantage. A loud bang was heard when a bullet meant for him ended up in the trunk.
A loud yelling was telling him how angry the group really was. Sons of the God – they were always thinking only what was best for them, and their greatest advantage were their numbers. If they didn't kill almost all other sons of the Moon, than maybe they wouldn't be strolling through this forest with such confidence.
He jumped onto the lower branch and hindered there for a while, watching the forms of the group underneath him. They were all trying to make out a werewolf from the forest nature in the dark.
He made their search easier as he jumped lower and surprised the crap out of them. He roared loud enough for the closest man – whose face was only a foot away – to be blown backwards into the arms of the warrior behind him. Both of the men's weapons fell to the ground.
Covered in wolf saliva the human got up, but the face of the werewolf was long gone from their sight.
While he was jumping from a tree to the tree, he tried to keep his mind in order. It didn't work. He met the Night Hunters for the second time in his life and they almost ended him the first time if it wasn't for Tia. He took off towards the part of the river for which he knew that the trees were growing right next to the water. He had already done this in the past – he could jump the gap.
When he was close enough to the river his eyes searched for the girl again. He expected to see her on the dam, trying to get across, or at least on her way there. He almost missed the branch when he saw the happening on the river. He stopped as fast as he could and blinked like he couldn't believe his eyes.
And he didn't!
The girl was almost on the other side of the waterway, but that wasn't the surprising part. The woman was walking on the water! Ne never met or heard about any kind of being able to do that. Tia's eyes were looking up and glowing in the color of their Goddess.
As he stared at her with fallen jaw, he heard the voices dangerously near – right underneath him. He dashed ahead – towards the river.
She closed her eyes, shook her head and then opened them again. She dozed off?
No … but …
She turned around. Behind her was a river, on the other side of it she saw the fire of torches and people that were yelling at something in the tree tops.
She tried to get herself thinking and glanced angrily towards the moon doing so. The moonlight covered her in silver and threw frightening shadows onto the ground. She was too far for any weapon to reach her, but that didn't mean they couldn't see her.
She strained her eyes looking at the other side and finally saw him.
He jumped the gap between trees and then disappeared in them again. He was moving towards the tree was the last one that grew right next to the water. At the moment that he was in the air the shots could be heard, but none of them hit the target and Gabriel was closing the river fast.
She turned around and saw the claw marks on the trunks of trees above her head. They were leasing inside the forest where the moonlight didn't reach. She knew the way and even though her head was telling her she should go on ahead, she stayed and waited for the werewolf.
On the last branch he hindered a while longer and then he shot himself upwards with strength that made him flew across the river in such a grand arch it made her stare. He was only a silhouette against the moon above.
She exhaled with relief. But then a loud bang was heard from the amazed group on the other side.
The shadow jerked in flight, but it was already too far over the river to not fall on dry ground. A heavy body hit the earth and stayed there, unmoving.
"Gabriel!" Tia yelled and ran to him. His chest was shaking with pain as he breathed. She could see the blood leaving the hole in his back.
She ran around his big body and tried to calm the wolf down by touching his face while he wheezed pathetically. When her hand touched his fur the wolf opened his eyes and snapped at her.
There was a moment of pain. She jerked her hand away and held it at her chest. A few drops of blood and wolf's saliva fell to the ground.
The wolf saw her face and its mad look became sorrowful. It knew the girl and she wasn't the enemy, like the beast inside it thought.
Tia kneeled next to him and stroke his forehead. Angry voices from the other side of the river meant nothing to her. She smiled to her friend but in her eyes tears made her look blurry. She felt his heart pounding in his chest. Pounding slower every second … until it stopped.
Her tears fell down her cheeks when she realized the cruel truth.
Very slowly the creature started to change. The hair was being pulled inwards and becoming rarer by the second, the snout changed into the human face, the limbs became shorter and claws became nails. In front of her there was naked Gabriel in human form.
She nodded with dizziness, got up and looked at the moon that was still shining at its full light. It was weird seeing Gabriel as a human in this brightness of full moon. It simply wasn't right.
Than what is right?
She looked at her bleeding hand. It was only scratched on surface but she already felt something in her blood that wasn't there before. On this day one month from now she'll be what Gabriel once was. Part of him was flowing through her veins … the cursed part.
She glanced at the moon again; the people were already getting on the dam. She then turned around staring in the darkness of the forest. There was light in her eyes that came from nowhere. She saw farther than before, she saw the trees inside darkness.
She had the formula and the ingredients, with the exception of one. And she knew the way and the place where it was growing. Her chance was there, waiting.
If they must die, they will take with them as much of Sun's children as they could. For she was the daughter of the Darkness; the daughter of the Moon; the daughter of the Goddess.
She clenched her fists and stepped into the darkness between the trees.
Darkness of the night was wrapped around the forest land, and cold that it brought with it was that of the night. Darkness
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that was given to us."
- Gandalf (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
A/N: And so ... it ends? If you wish for something longer, WAR OF WINGS I: THE SILENT VOICE will start uploading in 8 days. Every 8 days (so I can figure out which day is the best for viewing :P).
And this is where I'd put my reviews ... IF I HAD ANY! :(