It's my two year anniversary on Fictionpress! YAY! :D *fires off confetti cannon*
Anyway, a longer author's note will be at the end of this story, but as a celebration, I wanted to revise the first short story I ever posted "Fur and Silver."
I have kept the original story intact, and only added extra content or made minor changes, so if you would like to read the original story first... please do so! Especially if you want to see how far I've come in two years (hint: it's a lot)
I hope you enjoy the story! :D
Berwyn ran through the forest with his eyes glued to the ground, looking at the massive footprints that were imprinted deep into the mud. Werewolf tracks….. He thought, thinking back to the contract he'd been hired to complete.
It was simplicity in itself. A werewolf had been terrorizing the villages around the kingdom and he'd been tasked with hunting the beast down. The beast had even left his tracks in the mud, which hopefully would lead to his lair.
The half-elven hunter swerved around trees and leapt over rocks mentally running over his equipment: I've got my silver sword, my crossbows with silver arrowheads, my steel dagger, and some poisons….that should be enough. His only other gear was a light leather jacket, but it was protective, despite the many stains and tears that adorned the material. Given his job, which was to hunt monsters for coin, the leather clothing seemed inadequate against the defenses of the monsters he was hired to kill but it had served him well for many years.
The leather had also faded to a dark green color, blending him into the forest. His footfalls were quiet and left no imprint in the mud, and his hands were flexing around his weapon hilt. The silver blade was more than enough to deter a were-beast of any kind, but he'd never fought one before…The coin they were offering was more than enough to make him try though.
500 gold, just for the beast's head….. Berwyn mused as his jacket stretched with his arm movements I'll finally be able to repair this piece of cloth I can call my only protection…..heck I'll have enough to get a real suit of armor!
He paused as the tracks became further apart, and his golden eyes narrowed as the tracks led up to a cave…a cave that smelled heavily of blood and gore.
"Must be the place….."
He drew his silver blade and advanced cautiously letting the darkness swallow him whole.
A figure sat, huddled in the cave and surrounded by dead animals and blood splatters. His body was wracked with uncontrollable shivers and his face was in his hands. "Control…..must gain control…..Must."
His mutters echoed off the cave walls as his brown eyes stared into the darkened corners and shadows, the tattered and ripped clothing that clung to his body offering no protection from the terrors in his mind.
He was a monster….he'd killed sheep, cows, deer…..all in an orgy of uncontrollable bloodlust.
He was a man…..He'd guarded a princess against every villain under the sun, she loved him
But she'd hate him now, so that's why he ran…..he was a monster….no one loved a monster.
And with this monster in his heart, he couldn't be a man.
"I'm being tracked, but he'll go away if I can gain control….." He promised himself, wringing his hands anxiously "I'll gain control… it's easy, I just need to stay calm."
Despite his attempts to control his breathing and keep himself calm, he was being tracked by a dangerous man…A man armed with silver.
His blood began to boil as the hunter came closer, and as he entered the cave he could hear the man's heartbeat and his quick labored breaths.
The figure cursed and stood up, knowing that the hunter wasn't going to leave him be… so he'd have to die. Then he could finally calm down.
Sweat poured down his body as he started taking deep breaths, letting his transformation begin to occur. Moonlight shone through an opening in the cave's roof, bathing him in the light as he fell to the ground.
His bones began to contort and expand. His leg bones stretched and began to grow becoming thick, his feet elongated and his toes fused together to form claws. His chest became broader as his heart doubled in size and his arm bones began to thicken, with his fingers growing and melding into claws. His shoulders and hips changed shape dramatically and his facial features jutted out, becoming more like those of a wolf. Finally thick and long black fur sprang from his clothing and he let out a massive roar as his transformation was complete.
He lowered down to all fours and his red eyes narrowed as he sniffed the scent of the hunter…..the prey that had entered his domain. His boiling blood coursed through his veins and he rushed forward, towards the mouth of his cave, and let out a low growl.
Berwyn stopped, hearing the growl that seemed to echo off of the cave walls and intensify until it practically vibrated his ribs. He held his blade in both hands and walked forward slowly, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness until he saw a pair of glowing red orbs.
The Werewolf walked forward, stretching out to stand on two legs and letting his growl become louder….warning the hunter to back off. Despite this, Berwyn advanced still matching the beast's steps until finally, both warriors stopped, each one finally aware the other wasn't going to leave.
It was to be a battle then.
The Werewolf let out one final howl before he charged forward, swinging a massive claw directly at the hunter, fully prepared to rip his prey limb from limb.
Berwyn ducked the swipe and lashed out with his sword, but the Werewolf jerked his arm upwards avoiding the blow with a slight whimper.
Silver must avoid…..Silver….. The Werewolf backed away from the hunter keeping his red eyes on the glowing blade. If that silver touched him, he would be hurt very badly…
Berwyn held his weapon between himself and the monster, with his mind taking in the tactics that the beast employed. He fights like a monster, yet dodges like a man….
Berwyn lunged forward, propelling his body into a twirl as he aimed for the head of the beast with his sword, cursing as the Werewolf ducked the blow, slashing his claw at the hunter's exposed torso. As he completed the spin that would take him away from the werewolf, the tip of a claw caught his side, ripping the jacket and tearing at the skin underneath.
He growled and clapped a hand to his wound, pulling it away as he released it wasn't serious, the sting in his side was painful, but thankfully it wasn't bleeding.
One drop of blood could set this creature off….. Berwyn thought, knowing that the werewolf would sense weakness from the wound and move in for the kill. The smell of blood would only make him a fiercer opponent. He moved forward again, slicing and feinting with his blade, as he began backing the Werewolf into a corner.
The Werewolf moved backward, keeping his body out of reach of the blade, the painful….painful….blade. He felt his back press into the cool stone of the cave wall, and he pushed off the wall with his feet, locking a massive claw around the hunter's sword hand as he began to squeeze.
Berwyn groaned as his sword arm was jerked above his head and the silver blade flopped about uselessly, with him unable to jab it downward. He groped for his dagger with his other hand, seizing it from his side and jabbing the steel blade into the Werewolf's shoulder.
The roar of pain the beast let out was so loud it deafened Berwyn for a brief moment, and the Werewolf jerked his shoulder, ripping the blade from his flesh and sending it into the far wall. The Werewolf's eyes narrowed as he lashed out with his claws, too angry to even give a conscious thought to the silver weapon or the pain it would cause him.
Berwyn rolled backward as the monster dropped him, lashing out in anger and roaring with rage. He began to parry the claw swipes with his sword as he struggled to reach his dagger, hacking away as he struggled to find an opening that would allow him the chance to retrieve his weapon. The yowls of pain as the Werewolf's skin met the silver filled his ears as he ducked claw swipes and the beast's snapping maw. Still, both duelists pressed on, neither giving up.
Berwyn kept his blade up as the odd duel continued, wondering what would make a Werewolf use this tactic in a fight. Werewolves didn't often use their long claws as swords, preferring to instead rip and tear at their prey until it died… this beast was fighting less and less like one, and more like a man.
His thoughts were interrupted when the beast head-butted him, and when he fell backward the werewolf clamped its jaws on his shoulder and bit down….hard.
The Werewolf tasted blood and he bit down harder, ready to crush his prey beneath his strong jaws as he shook his head, fully intent on ripping the arm from the socket and hinder his prey from fighting back…. After all, no one liked eating anything that squirmed.
Berwyn gritted his teeth as he fought the pain, using his leg to drag the dagger across the floor, kicking it up with his foot as his other hand dropped his sword and caught his other weapon.
He brought up his free hand and began stabbing at the werewolf's face, trying in vain to get the monster to loosen his grip. His attacks made deep cuts across the face of his enemy as he felt the grip loosen ever so slightly…
The Werewolf suddenly released Berwyn's shoulder, licking the blood from his lips, and letting the metallic taste coat his tongue and drive him wild. His eyes narrowed to become red slits and he growled again shoving the wounded hunter backward and away from his accursed silver weapon.
Berwyn groaned, the bite had punctured the skin, and although his shoulder wasn't unusable, it hurt like the underworld. Seeing his silver blade was now behind the werewolf, he held his dagger in his unwounded hand, using his wounded one to reach into a pouch on his armor.
The Werewolf sensed that his prey was weakening and moved in for the kill, which was just what the hunter was counting on.
Almost screaming with the pain of the movement he hurled a vial at the monster's head, a vial that contained a mixture of water and wolfsbane.
The beast roared as the vial shattered and the herb began to burn his eyes. He clawed at his face, attempting to get the mixture off of him as his eyes squeezed shut, and tears began to form from the pain. Berwyn lunged forward, stabbing at the monster's torso with the dagger, as he seized his silver blade.
The cave quickly filled with the smell of burning flesh and hair as fumes began to rise from the Werewolf's eyes. Must smell…..Must hear…. The Werewolf thought as he moved forward, swinging his long arms blindly as he tried to use his other senses to hone in on his prey.
Berwyn danced around the clumsy strikes, cutting the monster's arms with his sword as he did so. He smirked to himself despite the pain of his arm, if the fight kept up like this, the fight was going to be over soon…
Until it turned against him.
The Werewolf's hearing had finally kicked in and he was able to swing his arm like a club, painfully colliding it with the hunter's ribs.
Berwyn flew backward into the stone wall, and he fell to the ground, coughing up blood. That last blow broke a rib! He concluded as his hand wrapped around the hilt of his sword, thankful he still had a good grip on it. He saw the Werewolf moving towards him in a blind rage, claws raised and ready for the kill, and Berwyn struggled to get to his feet and raise his sword.
Both hunter and monster ignored the pain that wracked their bodies as they let out a rage filled cry, charging towards one another to kill or die.
BONG, BONG, BONG!
The sound of bells clashing and clanging together, amplified by the echoes of the cave, drove both warriors from the charge. Berwyn stumbled backward a bit, gasping for breath as the sounds pounded in his skull. Bells this loud could only come from the Castle nearby…..the same one that hired me to hunt his monster down….Sounds like an alarm.
The Werewolf fell to his knees and clamped his paws around his ears, letting out a pained torturous howl as the bells and their echoes battered his senses like waves of knives. As they intensified he whimpered and clawed at the dirt, and his mouth began to open and close violently as if the air itself was his enemy.
Berwyn lowered his sword, stopping himself from finally killing the beast as his brain spun, racked with pain and adrenaline from the fight. From what I hear werewolves aren't affected by loud noises that humans can hear….at least not noises like these….he is in pain for a different reason.
The Werewolf kept up his whimpering and whining as the bells continued to toll, only ceasing when the last echoes of the long dormant bells faded away.
For a long moment both hunter and monster, man and beast, stood still, perhaps letting the silence they had taken for granted truly be appreciated.
The cave was suddenly filled with the cracking and shifting of bones as the Werewolf began to transform back into becoming the man again…a fully clothed man who slumped on the ground with his hands over his head….a man with terror in his eyes.
"Hang on," Berwyn said, sheathing his weapons and holding up his hands "I won't hurt you…..Don't be afraid."
The man's fearful eyes peered past the hunter's shoulder staring outside the mouth of the cave….the fear was not meant for the hunter, but rather for what lay beyond the cave. The fear of what the bells symbolized.