Kuekuatsu: Fate of a Lycanthrope
Chapter 1 Part 1: Dreams Do Come True
Sitting upon her skyward throne, the moon shined over a field of grassy plains. Within the center of those plains, stood a boy with dark disheveled hair rippling in the brisk weather of the night. The tone of his skin had the distinct shade of bronze, which glistened under the silver rays of moonlight. His sleeveless black shirt fitted him nicely, while his grey pants had a fine opening for his furry tail to fit through. With two deep brown eyes, the boy stared peacefully at the moon, admiring its magnificent radiance. He then closed his eyes, lightly raised his chin, calmly took in a deep breath, and let out a long echoing howl that traveled across the moonlit plains.
At the end of it, his furry ears pricked up to the sound of grass being crushed, underneath the footsteps that approached him. Slowly, he turned around to face this unknown person, unsure if they were friend or foe. Standing before him, from about ten to fifteen feet away, was a person wrapped in a red cloak, with a hood covering their face. A gentle flow of air rolled downwind, carrying with it the person's scent. With a single sniff, the boy easily picked up on the smell, and realized that the aroma was of a human female. He narrowed his eyes on the girl, after getting the first clue as to who she was.
"Who are you…?" he asked the girl in the red cloak.
Rather than answer his question, she held out her hands from beneath her cloak, and proceeded to remove the hood covering her head. Revealing bright red hair that fell over her shoulders, a light beige complexion, and emerald green eyes which twinkled, as soon as the moonlight had touched them. Another draft quietly brushed past them, causing the girls red hair to flow gracefully with the winds current, while her cloak fluttered along with the gust. He stared at her for a moment, captivated by her beauty, but then shook off the infatuation, and asked again who she was, in a more demanding tone. When she finally answered him, she spoke in a calm soothing voice, saying,
"Save me, Kuekuatsu."
"Save you?" he blinked in surprise, giving her a puzzled look. "Wait…how do you know my name?" he added, with a faint growl seething through his fangs, knowing full well, that he did not address his name first.
"I know, because you are going to tell me, after you save me." Her smile widened, exposing her pearly whites. The winds current subsided, and her hair rippled down her shoulders, while her cloak reverted to a more stagnant position.
"What are you talking about?" Kuekuatsu's confusion was palpable, and his curiosity for the girl's identity grew, as well as his suspicion.
"You don't look like you're in any danger." The boy stepped forward, reducing the distance between him, and the girl in the red cloak. He thought it was strange that she still had not answered his original question. Panning up and down, his eyes examined her from head to toe, seeing nothing, nor sensing anything threatening about her. His senses also confirmed that there was no one else lurking in the surrounding area. The only thing the boy saw or sensed was a girl simply asking for help.
"I will be in danger…" her smile faded. "And you will save me…. you have to." Tears began to fill in her eyes, as she hung her head down to stare at the blades of grass below, which had a small tint of silver on them, courtesy of the moons glow.
"Why don't you tell me who you are…so I can save you…" He said as he got closer to her. Each step he took was casual, as it was cautious. Although what she was saying wasn't making much sense to him, the boy felt compelled to at least try and comfort her. And more than that, he wanted to make sense of the situation.
"I will tell you, but not now…" she looked up at the boy with a sad smile, and tears trickling down her cheeks.
"Why not…?" Kuekuatsu was within an arm's length of her. He reached out to touch her shoulder, but failed when the girl stepped back.
"Because…" She whispered, then with both hands, she reached for her hood and placed it back over her head. "It is not time yet…" Her thin smile was concealed by the hood as she turned away, revealing the embroidered sun shaped rune on the back of her cloak.
A hand reached out and grabbed the enigmatic girl by the shoulder. "Wait a minute." Kuekuatsu said, with a hint of annoyance in his voice. But before he could utter another word, the boy jerked back when the girl suddenly rose up, to levitate about ten feet off the ground.
"Where…where are you going?!" he asked, awestruck by her ability to levitate.
She stopped in mid-air, and looked over her shoulder to glance at the young man one more time. "When the time is right…. you will find me, and then you will save me." Her red cloak flapped in the wind as she glided away.
"Hey! …wait…Wait!" He called out to her, but she ignored him and continued to glide.
Kuekuatsu could not let it end like that. Not without getting some answers from the mysterious girl.
His furry tail swished from side to side as he walked faster, and then started running, now he was chasing the girl through the grassy field. A few minutes after the chase began, a small quake shook the earth beneath his paw-like feet, causing trees to randomly sprout from the ground, surrounding them as they rapidly grew to enormous sizes. Within seconds an entire forest had come to life. The abrupt change in scenery had left the young man thoroughly perplexed, but he then forced himself to ignore it, because keeping up with the girl was his top priority. While he was still running, the boy's hands dropped to the ground. His limbs became less human-like as they morphed into a more bestial appearance, his face elongated into a maw with a complete set of sharp fangs. The clothes wrapped around his fur changed as well, to fit his new body. Now that he was in his full wolf form, running on all fours had greatly enhanced his overall speed. Although, despite his change in velocity, the distance between them continued widening as the girl seemed to increase her speed as well. Soon she was out of sight, hidden somewhere in the new forest that had erupted to life in no less than thirty seconds. The wolf stopped in his tracks; anxiously looking left and right, hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl in red. Relying on his sense of smell instead, he began to sniff out her scent again. His nose soon discovered that the scent was moving southwest of his position. However, before he rushed off to follow it, a loud echoing roar traveled across the entire forest, followed by a terrified scream. The young wolf remained still as his ears flickered again, searching for the source of that beastly sound, which seemed to reverberate from multiple directions.
"This must be what she meant about danger…" he thought to himself, believing that the time she spoke of had now come to pass. Following the trail of the girl's scent, and the sound of her screams, the wolf ventured deeper into the forest. His search eventually led him to an obscure clearing, where he found the source of the vicious roars. Standing before him, nearly twenty feet away, was a large furry animal standing on its hind legs, holding the girl in the claws of its left hand-paw. Despite the lack of moonlight in the area, Kuekuatsu could clearly see the monstrosity that held the girl hostage.
"LET HER GO!" he roared.
But the monster simply ignored him, and stared at the girl with his piercing yellow eyes. The girls head turned to look at Kuekuatsu with tears in her eyes. She found it difficult to breathe, since the claws were wrapped firmly around her neck, slowly cutting into her skin, drawing out her blood in small droplets. The girl tried with all her might to release herself from the monster's grip, but she wasn't strong enough to move a claw by a single inch.
"..Save...Me" she mouthed the words, and then managed to let out a cry which gave them life and emotion. The moon brightened its glow over the immediate area, illuminating the creature entirely, from the rows of sharp fangs in its maw, to the razor-edged claws on its hand-paws.
"You bastard…!" Kuekuatsu growled, then without a second thought, he immediately started running at full speed toward them. He couldn't let her die.
Two yellow eyes glanced at the charging black wolf. "You're too late…" growled the werewolf, who finally acknowledged the boy's existence, but did not see him as a threat. He raised his right furry arm, with claws open and ready to slice. The girl no longer had the strength to scream; she simply closed her eyes tightly, shed one last tear, and accepted her fate.
"NOO!" Kuekuatsu roared, as the werewolf swung his arm to deliver the killing blow.
"STOP!" he roared again, but they were gone, the forest was gone, the moon was gone as well, and in its place, was the inside of a cave.
"What the hell...was that….?" He whispered to himself, breathing heavily, as he sat upright on his bed of grass. The boy known as Kuekuatsu put his hands to his face and started rubbing his eyes. "Ugh…Was that…really a dream?" he asked himself in a drowsy voice, while thinking over all the events that just took place in his mind. The moon, the grass, the girl in the red cloak, the forest, and of course …the werewolf. He wondered what it all meant, and why did it seem so real. Never before had he experienced a dream such as that one.
"Ketsu...are you okay?" asked a boy from a different section of the cave; who apparently had woken up after hearing his brothers scream.
"Don't worry Kogenta…I'm fine, it was just a bad dream" he assured him, with a decent smile and a quick wave of his hand.
"Okay…" he yawned as he rubbed his left eye, before scratching his messy white hair.
Like his brother, Kogenta's skin tone was also a shade of bronze, and his brown eyes were deep and lustrous. The young man's furry ears twitched, and his tail stood up straight as he stretched out his limbs. He dressed himself with a grey long sleeved shirt, with an image of a black flaming skull and cross bones stitched in; and a pair of loose brown pants.
The black wolf laid back down on his bed of grass and tried to sleep again, but it was pointless—he was wide awake—so he just laid there, thinking to himself about the dream he just had, trying to make sense of what occurred during the event. However, that all changed once the smell of something fresh and delicious filled the air, and caught the attention of his sensitive nose. Once again, Kuekuatsu sat up from his bed of grass, and continued to sniff out the delicious scent of food as his mouth began to salivate, while his tail moved with enthusiasm. He couldn't tell which type of meat he smelled, because the scent was shrouded under a bouquet of herbs and spices native to the forest. Whichever type of meat it was would most likely be their usual prey.
"YAY!" howled a little girl from another section of the cave. "Breakfast is ready!"
His dark-brown haired, hyper active little sister Kaylan, was stretching out her arms and legs while happily wagging her tail as she walked toward the mouth of the cave. The youngest of the three lupine siblings wore a shirt dyed in fuchsia, decorated in cascading blue stars and a pair of pants with a lavender color scheme.
"Awesome, I'm starving." his brother yawned after exiting his room, and followed her outside, but stopped when he noticed that Kuekuatsu wasn't following.
"Ketsu, aren't you coming?" Kogenta asked, looking back at his elder brother.
"Yeah," Kaylan giggled, while bouncing up and down. "If you don't hurry up, there won't be any more food left!"
"Okay, Okay, I'll be right out," he told them as he wiped the drool off his mouth.
Kuekuatsu removed himself from his bed of grass, and stretched out his muscles for a moment, to shake off whatever drowsiness that remained, and then followed them out of the cave. But before he reached the entrance of the cavern, he stopped for a second, only to realize that he was wearing the same pair of clothing as he did in his dream, which seemed odd to him, because he never could recall what he wore in a dream, assuming that he wore anything at all. The discovery made his dream even more intriguing, but despite that, he quickly lost interest after the scent of food called out to him again, beckoning the young wolf to come closer, and follow the delicious aroma.
"Eh, I'll think about it later" he muttered to himself with a shrug.
After exiting the cave, he expected to see both of his parents to be standing in front of a campfire, roasting another batch of fresh meat on top of it; however, Kuekuatsu only saw his mother standing in front of the fire, waving at him and his siblings to come hither. Her dark brown hair rippled down her nape, after cocking her head to the side. Her lips curled into a smile, and her furry ears twitched in delight, when she sampled a piece of the meat she had placed over the open fire. Her daughter—who was tall enough to reach her waist—hopped over and gave her a hug.
"G'morning, Mommy!" Kaylan barked cheerfully, looking up at her mother with dazzling yellow eyes. "Your dress looks so pretty!"
"Aw, thank you" She dipped her head down to kiss Kaylan's forehead. "Good morning to you to, Kaylee."
When he saw his mother and sister giggle with one another, Kuekuatsu noticed the red kimono—decorated in black clouds—wrapped around her fur. A piece of clothing of that quality was not something his mother normally wore, especially out in the wilderness.
"Looks like Mom is determined to become a civilized werewolf," Kogenta nudged his brother with a grin.
"Yea," He chuckled. "Next thing you know, she might convince dad to find us a place to live in Tora'Cai."
"I'm on board with that idea." Kogenta widened his grin. "I'm already starting to like wearing clothes."
"Me too," he nodded. "But I'm not so sure about dad though…speaking of which, where is he?" the black wolf looked around, but couldn't see his father anywhere.
"Hey mom, where did dad go?" Kuekuatsu asked, while still scanning the area for his absent father.
"Did he have something important to do? I hope he's okay," Kaylan looked concerned; she was already jumping to conclusions as to her father's whereabouts.
"Don't worry," The mother patted Kaylan on the head, then looked up at her sons and said. "Your father went to Tora'Cai to run an errand for me. He should be back in time for breakfast,"
"Okay, but can he hurry up? 'Cause I'm starving" said Kogenta, who rubbed his stomach as it began to rumble.
"Yea, me too!"
The young wolves sat down on a log positioned in front of the campfire, and wagged their tails—which lightly swept the dirt beneath them—as they watched the skewered meat continue to roast over it. Every few seconds, a swift breeze of wind would blow through the flames, giving it more life, and carry the scent of the food into their snouts, giving them a sample of its flavor. It had the aroma of certain herbs or spices that their mother had been experimenting with, and Kuekuatsu couldn't wait to try it. Overcome with greed, he reached out to grab a piece.
"OW!" His mother smacked his hand away and said,
"Not until your father comes back! The same goes for you two," she wagged her finger at them in disappointment, discouraging any further attempt to take the food.
"Sorry Mom," the three pups sighed.
For the next ten minutes, the four of them waited patiently for their Alpha to return. In that time, the mother's impatience became palpable, as she tapped her finger on her folded arms. Her yellow eyes swirled, and took on an amethyst tint as they scanned the forest that stood before their cave. She turned her head, and saw that her pups sat anxiously, with their tongues lolling out of their salivated mouths. Kaylan rubbed her stomach and began to whimper.
Their mother closed her eyes and sighed. "I'm sorry I kept you waiting. Go ahead and eat." when her eyes opened, they had returned to their natural color.
"We love you mom!" the three of them said simultaneously, as they grabbed as many pieces of cooked meat as possible, then savagely sank their fangs into it.
"Hey! remember to chew your food. I don't want any of you choking or biting your tongues" she demanded.
"Sorry mom." They each said with their mouths full, making it difficult to understand. Then they swallowed their food—repeated their apology—and slowed their eating pace. Minutes after they started eating, there was a sudden rustling in the bushes nearby. The mother stepped forward, and sniffed out the scent of the potential intruder. After a few seconds, a deep growl rumbled through her fangs when she recognized the scent.
"There you are!"
The bushes trembled as a nine-foot tall being emerged from them. His fur had the color of snow, mixed in with the shade of clouds. A leather pouch was securely tied to the right side of his leather belt. And a long wooden spear—that matched his own height— was strapped over his back. "Sorry I'm late," his voice was deep, but had a smooth and clear sound to it.
"G'morning, Daddy!" Kaylan howled happily, and waved at him.
"Good Morning Kaylee" he replied with a sincere smile across his maw.
Kogenta and Kuekuatsu greeted their father as well, and then returned to eating to their hearts content. The Mother continued to glare at him, with a look that demanded an explanation for his tardiness. While reaching for his pouch to untie it, the father motioned toward his mate.
"I'm sorry for being late Merida, but it seems I had to wait in line, before collecting my reward from the Tora'Cai butcher shop." He handed her the pouch, which jingled the moment it landed in her hand.
"Well if that's the case, then it's alright" She sighed, before her lips curved into a smile. "But next time, how about you try wearing some clothes, before you enter a populated area," Merida grabbed some skewered venison from the fire, and offered it to her mate.
"I'm wearing a belt, aren't I?" He accepted the offering.
"You know what I mean."
"Yes, I do." He agreed. "But still, I see no reason why we should assimilate with their society. Even though the natives here do not seem to fear or despise us, like the others have." He then buried his fangs into the skewered venison. "We should feel free to live like we always have." He said while chewing.
"Don't be naïve Axel," The she-wolf shook her head. "This isn't Luna'Crest, things are different here."
The three young wolves sensed an argument about to rear its ugly head when their parents withdrew to speak privately, but they did not pay it too much attention. Because they have grown accustomed to their parents getting into an argument every once and a while, and then make up for it later. However, they still felt a level of concern.
"I know…" His voice rumbled. "We are but a mere handful of wolves with a small range of territory in this new country. Nonetheless, we are still wolves. The least we could do is to show some pride in the culture we left behind."
"Our pride hasn't gone anywhere Axel, there is nothing disgraceful about adapting to a new way of life!"
"Merida we've done this before! The first few weeks are always fine, but eventually something goes wrong; forcing us to leave again. I don't see how this place will be any different"
"Coventos is different, it has to be! because I'm tired of promising our children a new home, and then have to look them in the eye and tell them we have to move again!" A shade of crimson tainted her pupils when she blinked.
"I hate doing that to them too, but we have to be prepared for the inevitable!"
"Axel…" Merida sighed, and raised her hand-paw to caress his face.
"Please don't give up. This place can finally be a home for us, we just have to try."
Axel softly grabbed Merida's hand-paw and held it close.
"And what if it's not enough?"
"We have to hope that it is enough…it's all we can do now..."
Axel and Merida quietly embraced each other while their children continued to eat during their absence at the campfire.
"Are mom and dad really fighting again?" Kaylan whispered to her brothers.
"They're probably talking about Luna'Crest again." Kogenta whispered back.
"I wish they'd tell us why we really can't go back there." Kaylan sighed before chomping down on some venison.
"Don't bother Kaylee, they'll just give you the same story they gave me and Ketsu." Kogenta ripped into some more meat before he continued. "Luna'Crest isn't safe anymore, it's a warzone now or whatever, blah blah blah." He rolled his eyes.
"You don't believe them?"
"Doesn't really matter at this point." Kuekuatsu answered. "Let's just hope this place pans out better than the others."
The siblings fell silent when their parents returned to sit alongside them. After some time passed, Merida lightened the mood with some conversation, and shared some ideas she had about life as a civilized wolf. During that time, Kuekuatsu was plagued with thoughts about his dream. No matter how much he suppressed it, three words kept echoing in his mind. "Save me, Kuekuatsu." He didn't have a clue what was happening to him, or why he kept thinking back to the dream he had, and how real it felt. The wolf continued to focus on reality, because after all, it was just a dream. Once they finished their meal, there was nothing but bones left.
Kuekuatsu and his siblings smiled widely and said, "Thank you Mom!"
"Your welcome." she smiled back at them, proud to know that they were satisfied with their meal.
At that moment, the father hugged her from behind, and sneaked a kiss on her cheek. Merida blushed, and lightly nudged him in the shoulder as she giggled.
Kaylan and her mother hummed a sweet little tune, as they buried the bones that were left over from their meal. While the rest of them gnawed on a few leftover bones of their own, and used the broken sharp edges as toothpicks.
"Kuekuatsu," Axel addressed his son.
"Hmm?" The young wolf turned and looked toward his father, giving him his full attention.
"Today we're going to pick up from where we left off yesterday, and work on your defenses." he stated, before picking out pieces meat from his fangs.
Kuekuatsu shuddered, when the chilling memory of his training session from the day before came to mind.
"Hey, umm, how about we…" He paused to search for the right words. "Take a day off?" The black wolf suggested with a shrug.
"A day off?" The white wolf replied with furrowed brows.
"Yea" Kuekuatsu nodded. "And I could spend the day meditating." His lips curled into a smile, which quickly disappeared once he saw the expression on his father's face.
"In other words, you want to sleep all day." The Alpha growled at his eldest son, who folded his ears back while averting his glare.
Axel sighed in disappointment. "You need to start taking your training seriously, my son."
"Ugh…Yes…I know that, but I don't understand why you are so stubborn about it. There's hardly anything out here that could be a threat to us." he said, with a faint growl in his voice.
His Mother sat next to him and said "It's true, we haven't had any real trouble since we arrived here. But you know as well as I do that things could change in an instant."
"We're not moving again." The black wolf declared, making eye contact with both his parents.
"If that's how you feel, then you must be prepared to defend our home if need be." Axel replied firmly.
"Alright," Kuekuatsu sighed. "I promise to focus on training more often."
"Good, you can start by sparring with me this afternoon" A sharp grin appeared on Axel's maw.
"Damn it…." His son thought to himself as he hung his head down.
Merida reached over and put an arm around her son, then held him close as she started scratching behind his ear.
"Now that that is settled, I need you to do me a favor"
"Okay, what is it?" His furry ear twitched as he looked up at his mother.
"I need you to collect some Kazcuza berries for me. They will be the main ingredient for the pie I'm going to cook tonight"
"Wait, what the hell is a pie?"
"It's a pastry dish that humans like to make. They mix together eggs, dough, and other ingredients, then bake it in a heated container called an oven"
"Sounds delicious, I can't wait to try it!" Kogenta barked.
"Why bake when we can hunt?" Axel scoffed.
"Axel!" Merida shot him a glare, and he merely rolled his eyes.
"Where'd you learn so much about human food, Mommy?"
"The local bazaar in Tora'Cai," Merida chimed. "The merchants there are very informative."
Kuekuatsu released himself from his mother's embrace, and stood up straight as he stretched his arms. "Alright then, I'll go pick them up now."
"Good," His mother nodded. "While you're gone, I'll go to Tora'Cai and gather some supplies. "Would you care to join me Axel?"
"I'll pass." He folded his furry arms. "I've had my fill of being around humans for the day."
Merida sighed, annoyed by her mate's response.
"Can I go?" Kaylan raised her hand.
"Of course, you can." Her mother smiled.
"Yay!" Kaylan jumped for joy.
"Well, looks like I have nothing to do" the white haired Lycan stood up. "I guess I'll go back to sleep then." he chuckled as he walked back toward the cave.
"You stop right there!" The young wolf shuddered, when his father growled.
"Your brother isn't the only one who has training to do." Axel said, with eyes focused on his son. "You can start by doing five hundred push-ups."
"F-five hundred what?!"
"Whoa, wait a min—"
"Okay, okay!" Kogenta surrendered.
"Come on Axel, that's a bit harsh" Merida disapproved.
"Fine, he'll do Six hundred and Fifty." He declared, and his mate agreed with a nod saying, "That's better."
Kogenta's jaw dropped.
Kuekuatsu chuckled at the sight of his younger brother doing what he was told while muttering to himself. Seeing no further reason to stay, he waved his pack good bye then turned to walk into the bushes, but his mother called out to him.
"I'll need about a dozen Kazcuza berries." She tossed him an empty leather pouch.
"Got it" He replied after catching it.
"Remember that tonight is a full moon. So, don't be out for too long okay?"
"Full moon…?" Kuekuatsu blinked in surprise. Forgetting what time of the month it was. His brown eyes panned up to the sky and gazed at the blazing orange-yellow orb that dominated the world above. He blinked again, and for a moment, the sun turned silver. Once more, three words echoed.
"Save me Kuekuatsu"
The black wolf snapped out of his trance when his mother yelled his name. He placed his attention toward her and said. "Yea Mom, I remember. I'll be back soon." He waved again, and then dashed into the woods.
"Just what in the hell was that…?" he thought to himself. "Am I…Am I going crazy…?"
Even though he remembered the task that was given to him, the only thought on his mind was how far and how fast his feet could carry him.