Chapter 1

The Boy in the Forest

Sunlight glistened on the brilliant white bark of the birch trees, and the dancing shadows gave the illusion of many movements in the forest. What belied this was in fact a rather slow line of activities. The sun was too hot, and the air was too dry; flowers wilted, and rabbits hid themselves in their barrels to preserve the coolness that they had managed to achieve. Even the fishes in the various cooling ponds were not their usual selves, for even their homes were slowly evaporating into the hot, dry, dusty air of the afternoon.

Under the shade of an overhanging cliff, a boy of about fifteen or eighteen years of age frowned. A mere 'beautiful' would have failed to describe the boy's delicate frame. His boyish features hinted that he was in fact younger, but his bearing, height, lithe muscular body quickly hinted at another age. It was hard to determine how old he actually was- in fact, the boy didn't know himself. As far as he could remember he had lived in this forest. It was his home. And as far as he could remember, he had never seen such dry and hot weather in the middle of Septdi, the beginning of fall. His frown deepened, and his silver gilt eyes darkened to a storm gray.

Suddenly, the boy's ears pricked up, and he dodged to the right. A gust of wind swept by ruffling his shadow black hair- hair that held no gloss because it reflected no light. You're improving, Rafe the boy said, a grin lighting up his serious features; his eyes settling to a cobalt blue.

A young, and lean black werevine- barely a young adult, retracted his forelegs, and stalked up to the boy. The werevine were close relatives of wolves, except that they are even bigger, faster, and a silver horn grew on the base of their forehead. This particular werevine bared his fangs, and gave the boy a playful nip. Watch it Luc, one of these days I'm going to get you.

Lucius's grin widened as he heard his friend's comment echo within the realm that was theirs- a realm where no one else could intrude upon if not invited. He didn't understand it completely, but it was a place that he was familiar with- a place that he could reach when he followed the threads that made up the present world. He called it the Knot, because it was a place that seemed to exist where the threads ended, and like a tapestry where the final 'knot' is tied. Can't wait for that day to come. With a quick twist, faster than the human eye could follow, Lucius had Rafe in a neck lock and on the ground.

Mercy, I give up, Luc Lucius let him up, and Rafe gave his neck a lick. This wringing hot weather has even us, the werevines, resting in our dens .

The grin vanished from his face, as Lucius was reminded of the unusual weather, and the strange disturbances that had been wearing on the northern edges of the forest. All playfulness out of the them, the two friends headed deeper into the tangle of trees, deeper into their sanctuary.