Becoming a "Monster"
By: Brittany Odom
What started out as a normal week was quick to become the best, worst, and the most exciting week of her life.
Her parents had sent her and her twin sister, Ookami1, to an annual, weekend-long, camp, so they could get to know the kids where they had recently moved, and she was board out of her mind.
"Hey, Kami," Tala2 said in a quiet voice, as she sat down beside her sister at lunch, "I'm going walking in the forest during free-time after lunch if you want to come with." Kami's black-tipped, silver hair was tied back so as not to get in her food.
"I have KP duty," she replied, regretfully, "but if you wait I'll come when I'm done."
"Sure," she said and, after tying back her own silver tipped, black hair, dug into the camp lunch. As she ate, she heard the kids at the table next to theirs start whispering, but her oddly sensitive ears easily picked up what they were saying:
"It's her, she's perfect," said the boy with semi-spiky, black hair that had a strand that completely covered his right, red, wolf-shaped eyes, "I've been watching her, and she's one with nature. She hates people and she loves forest walks. I'll say it again, she's perfect."
"But she's so," the girl with the short, also semi-spiky, silver hair paused, looking for the right word, "scrawny, and weak looking. Are you sure? I mean I'm not disagreeing with you," she said quickly as the boy–who seemed the leader–glared at her; she lowered her gaze and submissively continued, "I just want to make sure. There could be dire consequences if you're wrong."
"Was I wrong with any of you? And plus, you were scrawny and weak looking before I 'recruited' you."
"Okay, okay I was just saying."
"Anyway," interrupted the girl with waist long, black-tipped white hair, "when are we going to do it?"
"What about her sister?" asked a boy with long white hair, and a long strand that covered his right eye.
"No, she's not quite in tuned with nature, although she strives to be, no, it's definitely the younger one." Then they departed, all leaving together. After they were way out of earshot the leader boy said, "Okay, I know she heard us, and I over heard her say something about taking a walk in the forest." He paused for a second thinking, "Hemming, keep an eye on her until the right time, and make sure she goes to the right place."
"Kay," the girl with the silver hair said trotting off.
Tala sat in the tree, listening to and feeling the wind around her, blowing her waste-long hair around her face. Her odd, golden eyes scanned the forest floor. She had stopped, years ago, trying to convince others that her eye and hair color were real, no one listened to her, and, well, she new the truth and that was all that really mattered. She jumped lightly onto the roof of her cabin then jumped off and went inside. She went to her bunk and grabbed her duffel bag off the top bunk and dug through it pulling out four wooden steaks, for she knew, unlike most, that vampires were real and they could be anywhere. She grabbed a dagger and tied it to the back of her black jeans where her black, leather trench coat covered it, then hid the steaks in pockets hidden on the inside of her coat. Then she threw her bag back on top of her bunk, went to her sister's bunk grabbed the same stuff out of her bag , took off her boots and socks and threw them on her bunk, and left the cabin, climbed onto the roof then into the tree.
"Okay Tala, I'm ready," said Kami walking under the tree as Tala landed heavily beside her. "Losing your touch there? I've never heard you land so heavily."
"Did you see how high up I was?" she replied, discreetly handing her the steaks and dagger.
"Thanks," she said hiding the weapons. "No, how high?"
"See that hole in the tree?" she said pointing to a rotted out hole near the top of the huge tree, Kami nodded, "I was on that branch about a foot above it."
"How have you not ever broken a leg jumping out of trees, especially that one?"
Tala just smiled and headed into the forest pushing a branch out of the way. After a while Tala stopped near a creak and looked at the sky, "We've about thirty minutes left until sports."
"First, I wish you'd stop doing that, it makes me jealous. Second, do you really plan to go to sports?"
"First, ha ha; second, good point." Then she squatted down by the creak and looked at the ground, "I don't like this, it's too quiet. Ever since we came into the forest I haven't heard a peep out of any creatures and I haven't seen any birds flying."
"No, vamps always have a certain," she searched for the right word, "feel when their around, and I smell something funny."
Kami sniffed the air, "Yes, now that you've drawn my attention to it I smell it too."
"Be careful and continuously aware," she said drawing her dagger, Kami did the same. They heard a deep, menacing growl behind them, and they spun around to see a beautiful sliver she-wolf, that was about twice as big as a normal wolf. "DON'T look into her eyes, keep your line of sight below hers." Tala said quietly.
Kami did as she was told and replied equally quiet, "I didn't know there were wolves here."
"There are, but very few." Tala slowly backed away, Kami following her example. "But they're not this big."
"Why is she attacking us aren't they normally pretty docile?"
"Yeah, but she might have pups near here," as they backed up the she-wolf advanced, "or rabies." Then she noticed something, something odd, then the wolf jumped and the twins leapt apart, "She has red eyes," She said loudly landing lightly on her feet.
"What, how do you know that? I thought we weren't looking into her eyes," she grunted picking herself up of the ground and dusting herself off.
"Peripheral vision," she replied in a matter-of-factly tone. Kami grimaced at her and looked for the wolf.
"Where'd she go? I don't see her."
"Me neither, but where ever she is she's probably watching us so let's keep going and watch everything," Tala said and started heading the way they were going to start with.
"Shouldn't we go back and get out of the territory," Kami said catching up with Tala.
"No, she came from behind so we're probably nearing the edge to the territory." Then they entered an odd clearing, the entire ground was covered with the softest moss either of them had ever felt, Kami sat down and took off her shoes and socks so as to feel it with her feet. Tala walked to the center of the clearing, the sun came down through the leaves so that it looked like a place from a fairy tail. "Something isn't right, I don't like this place, we need to leave, NOW!" Tala said, quickly heading to the other side of the clearing.
"Hey wait for me," Kami said hurriedly throwing on her socks and shoes, but before she could get them on, and before Tala could get out of the clearing five, red eyed wolves jumped out of the underbrush and surrounded Tala cutting her off from her sister. "Tala–"
"I'll be fine just wait for me out of the clearing," Tala yelled back as she was backed into the middle of the clearing that, when she looked down, had an odd ritual circle thing on it that when she surveyed it further she saw a wolf face in the middle and runes around the edge. She looked around at the wolves, they were all about twice as big as a normal wolf, there was one with pure white fur, one with black-tipped white fur, one that had gray and white fur, one with fur of a brown so dark that it almost looked black, and the same silver she wolf they had meet earlier. Then they all howled simultaneous as a jet black, red eyed wolf, that was even two feet bigger than the other wolves surrounding her, walked into the clearing and into the circle. "Well this can't be good," she mumbled to herself.
The black wolf leapt and she dodged getting too close to the other wolves who growled and snapped but otherwise remained where they were. Then as she turned the wolf leapt again and sunk his teeth into the arm of her trench coat almost pulling her off her feet. She quickly slipped out of it (revealing a short sleeve black shirt) knowing the wolf could use the coat to get her off her feet. The wolf dropped the coat and started circling her and she turned with him. He faked right then jumped left, but she was anticipating this move and she turned so that he went past her but what she wasn't anticipating was how fast he turned and jumped again, this time he sunk his teeth into her arm, his fangs going into a main artery. He held on for a second then let go as Tala crumpled to the ground, and as he stood there for a minute as the rest of the pack disappeared into the forest, the white black-tipped furred one paused for a second, looked back at the black wolf, then left. He looked at her once more, carefully licked her arm where he had bit her, and left. Tala, still shaking, rolled over and looked at her arm, her eyes grew wide as, right before her eyes, the wound closed and the bleeding stopped. Finally, all that was left was a fairly visible scar
She slowly stood up and, still looking at her arm, started walking toward the edge of the clearing where they had first come in. As she left the clearing Kami ran up to her asking, "Tala what happened? Are you okay? What's wrong?"
"Huh? What? Oh well, I . . . um . . . I don't . . . I'm not sure," she stammered. "He . . . they . . . I–"
"Calm down, let's go back to camp and you can sit down and tell me slowly."
"Whoa . . ."
When they got back to the cabin Tala's head was much clearer. She went to her bag and took out a syringe, "What's that," Kami asked as Tala injected it into her arm where the bite had been.
"Tetnis shot," she replied, pulling the needle out and hiding it in her bag, "one of them bit me and I just want to be careful."
"Okay so, what happened? And don't leave anything out."
Tala related the story back to her, every detail while they put way their stuff. When she finished they headed to supper, eating in silence, both of them mulling over the day's events.
"Tala Wulf, Ookami Wulf, you weren't at sports today," the counselor said, she sounded mad.
"Well, what're ya gonna do?" Tala replied with indifference, Kami and a few of the other girls in the cabin snickered.
"I'll throw you out of camp."
"Okay," Tala said and sat up in her bunk and started packing. Kami burst out laughing.
"Ookami that's enough, you too Tala. Go to sleep everybody," she turned off the light and left the room.
Tala waited until she was sure that everyone was asleep then grabbed her weapons and climbed out of bed and left the cabin. She ran through the forest to where the clearing was, but when she got there, the clearing was gone. She saw her coat and as she picked it up she saw the same ritual circle but the wolf face was now a half human face, and–for being dug into the earth–it looked just like her. When she looked up she saw the same black wolf staring at her, he walked toward her and she knelt down so they were at eye level. She looked deep into his red eyes and as the rest of the pack surrounded her and him and started running a ring around them. A blinding pain engulfed her and she crumpled to the to the ground in the fettle position. Then she felt her bones melt and reform, she grew larger, fur covered her body as her clothes melted into her skin, she felt her back bone extend, her already callused hands become rougher, and her fingers shrunk, her fingernails sharpened and went into her fingers. Then suddenly the pain was gone, she slowly stood up, but she was shorter. The pack stopped running and gathered round her. They lead her to a nearby pond and she looked at her reflection; her eyes grew wide as she saw a wolf instead of a girl and her eyes had turned from a beautiful yellow to an awesome blood red. Her fur was like her hair had been, black with silver tips. She found herself a beautiful wolf, something she had longed for, for a long time. "Welcome," barked the leader wolf, and she understood him.
The pack, including her, ran until dawn, when they ran back to camp, at the cabin door the leader stopped her, "You will be changed when the full light of day comes, after the next full moon you can change when ever you like, all you have to do is believe that you're a wolf and you will be. The pain only comes the first few times and it's less every time. Now go before you are caught out of bed, sit with us at breakfast tomorrow and I'll explain more to you."
She looked into his eyes, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he replied and the males of the pack left while the females went into the cabin with her. Each jumped into bed–wither top or bottom buck (most top)–and they all changed back to human form, all that is but Tala who, crawled into her sleeping bag and went to sleep.
"OKAY! EVERYBODY UP!" the counselor yelled, Tala moaned and curled up in the bottom of her sleeping bag. TALA UP, it's your last day, you can sleep on the way home." Tala crawled out and growled at the counselor as she walked away.
She rolled up her sleeping bag and packed her stuff. Then she went to breakfast. Afterwards she helped with the camp cleanup until a young black haired boy came up to her and drew her into the forest, "You were supposed to eat breakfast with us," he growled dragging her to a circle of five other kids. A boy with long pure white hair with a long strand that covered his right eye, a girl with black-tipped white hair, boy with gray and white hair, a girl with dark brown, almost black, hair, and a girl that had silver hair. All of them had odd red, wolf shaped eyes and small fangs coming out of their mouths. "What happened, why didn't you meet us." She looked at him with half open eyes, "You're not a morning person are you?" She fell forward and her head landed on his shoulder and she fell asleep standing there. "TALA!" he shouted in her ear making her jump awake.
"What? Can't a person get a little shut eye," Tala mumbled, rubbing her eyes. The girl with black tipped white hair snickered.
"I need to talk to you about last night."
"Well," she yawned, "I'm not going to remember anything at the moment, I'm too tired," she yawned again and sat down on a nearby log.
"Give me your phone number and I'll call you later today to meet up with you."
"Okay," she said and gave him the number.
They went back to camp and, with the other campers took all their bags and stuff to the mess hall. A big van pulled up and all of the pack jumped in with their belongings and soon after Kami and Tala's parents pulled up in a truck, they threw their stuff in the bed and jumped in after. They stuck their heads into the back window and kissed their parents hello.
They stood and leaned on the cab of the truck on the way home. When they stopped at a traffic light and the wind wasn't in their ears Kami turned to Tala, "Hey, I wanted to asked you something."
"Yes?" Tala replied turning to her sister.
"Well, why are your eyes red?"
"Uh," she bent over and looked in the rear view mirror, and not only were her eyes red but they were also the shape of wolf eyes. I thought that would go away when I changed back, she thought to herself.
"Also, your teeth are sharper it's creepy,"
As she opened her mouth to speak the light turned green and the car started up again, "I TELL YOU LATER," she shouted.
As they drove they went through a deep pine forest. About mile into the forest a trucker was on the wrong side of the road making their dad swerve. They went off the road and into a tree sending Tala and Kami flying through the forest. Kami twisted in to air and her leg hit a tree with a sickening crack, and Tala landed on the ground sliding into a hole, her face scraping a rock.
Tala started awake, she looked up and saw only black she did not know what was up or down, she reached out a hand and felt only air. Her face felt as if it was on fire. As she let her hand drop she heard a gasp of pain and the entire crash came rushing back to her. She started to crawl forward and realized that she was going down so she crawled backwards, every move making her muscles protest.
She finally got out of the hole and looked up at the sky, she couldn't see as much as usual, it was as if one of her eyes were closed, it was night and the moon was full. She heard a moan and ran towards the sound, she found Kami laying on her back her right leg was twisted in a grotesque way. She ran over and felt it, then went and got some bark and vine then ran back to her sister. She knelt down and grabbed her twin's leg and jerked it, setting it and waking her sister who cried out in pain. "You're leg's broken," Tala said as she carefully put the bark and vines around her sister's leg making a makeshift splint. "How's that feel?" she asked.
"Tala, your eye!" Ookami was looking at her with startlement and worry, "Close just your left eye," Tala did that and everything went black, she moaned, "Can you see anything?" Ookami asked tentatively.
"No, I'll have to clean it out, don't want an infection. Well I'll ask again, how's your leg feel?"
"Well besides the fact that I think my leg's about to fall off," she replied wincing in pain as Tala helped her stand up, incredulous that Tala acted like she didn't care about her eye, "it feels perfectly fine."
Tala smiled and started off toward the road in search of their parents, they saw the truck against the tree and Tala let go of Kami and ran to the truck, she opened the door and her dad sagged against her almost making her fall. She pulled him out of the truck and laid him on the ground, there was blood on his head, she checked his pulse, nothing. As tears came to her eyes she climbed inside the truck to her mom and, as she went to check her pulse, she felt a shard of glass sticking out of her neck. She sat there letting the tears roll down her cheeks.
As she cried her tears out she remembered that she could now change whenever she wanted, she crawled out of the car and walked over to Kami, who was on her side as curled up as she could get but with her broken leg out straight. "Ookami," Tala said kneeling down beside her sister, "you remember asking me about my eyes?" Kami looked up and nodded through her tears. "Well here's why," she shifted as the pain engulfed her again but not as bad. When the shift was complete she looked up to see her sister's eyes wide with fright and amazement. "I'm a werewolf," she barked and Kami jumped, I guess she can't understand me. She tried again and formed the words slowly.
"What? How? I–" she couldn't understand.
"I tell you on the way hop on." Kami grabbed the scruff of Tala's neck and pulled herself to her feet then swung her broken leg over her back and pulled herself up. Tala staggered a little under the weight but quickly recovered and started off in the direction they had been going in.
"So," Kami said still slightly confused, "have you seen them since?"
"Well, think about it, we've been together since the end of camp when I last saw them, so . . ." Kami stuck her tongue out at her and Tala took off running almost knocking Kami off. The sun was rising on their eighteenth birthday.
"Well this is one sucky birthday," Kami said as they arrived near the hospital around midday. Tala laid down to let Kami off her back then shifted back. "Okay, let's go get your leg fixed."
"And your eye" Ookami replied.
They walked around to the front of the hospital and Tala helped Kami into a wheel chair and rolled her into the lobby, "Yes," said the receptionist, "how can I help you?"
"My sister's leg is broken, I set it but I just want to make sure and we need a better cast. Oh and I think I might be blind in one eye," Tala replied.
"Where's your parents?"
"Dead, but were eighteen."
"Can I see some proof of that?" Tala got out her license and handed it to her, "This says you're seventeen."
"Well since I've spent the entirety of my eighteenth birthday–today–walking from the place where our parents car crashed and they died, I haven't had a chance to renew it yet."
"I can't take that validly, you could easily be telling me a lie."
"Okay, well you take care of her and I'll go get my license renewed."
"I can't do that."
"Fine, come on we can both go," she said turning Kami's wheelchair and leaving quickly. "Well, I'll take us home then we can renew our licenses get your leg fixed then tell the cops about our parents."
"Okay, that sounds good," Kami replied. Tala pushed her around back, turned into a wolf and Kami climbed onto her back and they ran, for the rest of the day, home. Tala, not able to get inside, went around to the barn and laid her in the hay and curled around her. She lied awake the entire night.
Kami started awake and Tala, still in wolf form, laughed, "Morning sunshine."
"What time is it?" Kami asked, siting up and rubbing her eyes.
"I don't know, we're in the barn."
"The barn?" Tala nodded, "Why the barn?"
"I don't have opposable thumbs so I can't turn the doorknob, and I didn't want to wake you up so I just decided we could sleep in the barn."
Kami yawned and stretched, "I'm surprised the horses aren't freaking out."
"That's what I thought but then I remembered something I read about how animals and young Homo sapiens can see through magic and mirages."
"So, this is just a very good illusion."
"No, it's magic."
"Well, that's interesting," Kami said standing up and stretching as Tala did the same, changing into human form.
"Well, let's go get washed up then go get our licenses renewed."
"Sounds good," Tala helped her to her feet and onto a horse to take her the long way from the barn to the house. After they washed up and changed, and Tala put disinfectant on her eyes and redid Ookami's leg cast, they set off, on horses to the DMV to get their licenses renewed. They got there, renewed their licenses and headed off to the hospital.
"See, I told you I was eighteen," Tala told the same receptionist that was there yesterday.
"Okay, fill out these forms," she said handing her a clipboard with some papers on it, "The doctor will be right with you."
She took the papers, wheeled Kami over to the chairs so she could sit down, filled out the papers, and turned them in. They read for about an hour waiting for the doctor to call them, but the hour felt like minutes with the books to keep their attention.
"Ookami and Tala Wulf," They stood up and walked in, the doctor X-rayed Ookami's leg and cat-scanned Tala just to be sure. Nothing was wrong with Tala but her eye, which the doctor cleaned out and patched, confirming that she would never be able to see out of it again. Ookami's leg was broken in two places. The doctor congratulated Tala on the setting and casting as he recasted Ookami's leg.
"Well my mom's grandma was a doctor and she taught my mom and my mom taught me the things you can do if you're by yourself and far from a phone, and something happens," she replied. They left and rode home, when they got there they called the cops and told them about the crash. They went through all the cop stuff and funeral arrangements. The funeral was boring and sad, lots of weepy relatives and friends. After which Tala and Ookami went on separate, very long, rides through the forest, both needing to be alone for a while. On the way back she found Ookami lying on the ground next to a maimed, dead horse. She jumped off her horse and ran to her sister's side, "Kami! Kami wake up!" she said. Shaking her twin. She checked her pulse; it was there but weak. She lifted up her sister, she was strengthened from being a werewolf and this was now easy, and laid her across her horse. She rode home as fast as the horse could go and called an ambulance when she got there, the doctors did everything they could but it was to late. She had lost too much blood the doctors told her.
She walked half the distance home then turned into a wolf and ran the rest of the way, tears streaming down her fur covered face. She gathered food and books then went to her stables and got her fastest horse. She rode him to a teacher that had become her friend and had always dreamed of owning land and horses. She told him he could have their house and horses if he wanted, and that the place was completely paid off. He agreed and before he could say anything she told him directions to her house and left.
She left the horse in the fields and went to her room, she grabbed the swords and knives off her wall, and the few daggers on her dresser and went to her dad's workshop. He made swords and knives for a living and he had taught her how to make them. She melted down the swords and the ornamental knives–intending to keep the rest–and made two, four-foot long swords out of the melted weapons. The swords were barbed backwards so they could easily go in then rip to shreds coming out, the handles were leaping wolves. She made sheaves and slung them across her back. She grabbed her food and books that were in a duffel bag and left the house and shifted back to wolf form, even the swords "melted" into her skin, and ran, non-stop, to the hole where she had landed after the crash. She stumbled into it and fell, immediately, asleep.
"I can smell her, she's near. Sandulf4, Faolan5, go that way, sniff her out." The wolf with gray and white fur and the wolf with pure white fur went east. "Hemming, Ylza6, go that way," the silver furred she-wolf and the she-wolf with dark brown, almost black, fur went west. "Wolfram7, come with me," the she-wolf with black-tipped white fur went with the black furred wolf giving orders, they went north.
"Here her sent goes into this hole," the black wolf, let out a howl calling the others to them.
"Yes, we finally found her Raoul8," Wolfram said.
"Don't get too excited, she could have left by now," the black furred wolf said, sniffing the ground near the hole. "The sent leaves and comes back many times, although, I'm pretty sure the freshest sent seems to be going in."
The rest of the pack arrived and they crawled in. Expecting to see a small space barely big enough to stand up in they were surprised to see a enormous cavern, they came out near the top and at the bottom they saw a she-wolf with silver-tipped black fur, she was gorging on an half-eaten deer. "Tala!" Raoul barked.
She looked up then dashed off down a large tunnel. Raoul growled and jumped down to the bottom landing heavily, and took off after her, the rest of the pack following. When they caught up with her she was standing in the middle of a small cavern, glaring at them. Suddenly she let out a howl disturbing the bats in the cavern. They swirled around them, blocking off their vision. When the bats cleared Tala was gone. "Man, I thought she would be glad to see us," Raoul growled. He bounded to the middle of the cavern to sniff her out but found no trace of her, instead he found a small spring with little streams leading out of it into small tunnels. "Spread out, go to each tunnel," Raoul barked. "Hemming go to the entrance and make sure she doesn't leave." They all leapt off in different directions.
Tala dogged left into another tunnel. Man, I wanted a lone life. I don't think I can handle getting close to anyone for a while. She dogged down another tunnel, which lead to a huge underground lake. She jumped in shifting as she did. She swam to a small underwater cavern. She was sure they wouldn't find her now as she swam to the top, got air and went back down to the not so deep bottom, pushed against it and jumped just far enough out of the water to grab a small ledge sticking out.
She pulled herself up and scaled the wall emerging into another tunnel. She shifted again and ran through the tunnel in to the first cavern. She pulled out her duffel bag, now only filled with books. She leapt on a series of ledges that lead her to the entrance. She crawled out and came face to face with Hemming.
Hemming howled and Tala tried to jump away but Hemming shifted to human form and grabbed her so she couldn't move in human or wolf form. Tala wiggled, growled and snapped. Finally tired, she drooped and whined, hoping to get away with pity.
The rest of the pack arrived, alerted by Hemming's howl, "Tala," Raoul began to try and reason with her, "I understand your want to be alone, I heard about your family and I'm sorry, but the first few months of being a werewolf are crucial and you need a pack, then you can leave. Will you stay?"
She glared at him then reluctantly growled agreement, Hemming released her and she jumped around and snapped at Hemming who jumped away quickly. "Well, I'm hated," Hemming, said as the rest of the group shifted, Tala did the same.
"Tala, this is our pack. "Sandulf," a boy with gray and white hair (wearing a black and gray hoody with the hood up and black jeans), " and Faolan," a boy with pure white hair that went down to his mid-back and a long strand that covered his right, wolf-like red eye (wearing a long sleeve white shirt and silver sweat pants), "that's the boys. The girls Hemming," the girl with short, semi-spiky, silver hair (wearing a gray T-shirt with sleeves that went down to her knees and baggy blue jeans), "Ylza," a girl with dark brown, almost black, hair (wearing a camo, long sleeve shirt with a hood and camo sweat pants), "and my mate, Wolfram," the girl with black-tipped white hair (wearing a white short sleeve shirt and black jeans).
"And you are?" Tala asked, still glaring at them.
"He," Wolfram said walking over to her mate with semi-spiky, black hair with a strand that covered his right eye (wearing a long sleeve black shirt with a pocket in front and holes in the sleeves for his thumbs, and baggy black jeans), "is Raoul."
"Okay, so let me get this right, you're Raoul, which is French for wise wolf," he nodded, "Your Wolfram, which is, if I'm not mistaken is German for Wolf-raven and a male name," Tala raised her eyebrows.
"When I turned eighteen I changed it and I had always wanted to be a guy, so . . . you know," Wolfram replied and leaned on Raoul's shoulder.
"You are Sandulf, a Gothic name composed of the Germanic elements meaning True wolf," he raised his eyebrows impressed, "You're Faolan, um," she thought for a moment then snapped, "Little wolf it's Irish/Gaelic," he winked. "Ylza, it is a Scandinavian name derived from Old Norse meaning she-wolf, that's cool I like Scandinavian/Old Norse names," she smiled her, "and you," she turned to Hemming and growled a low, humanly, imperceptible growl, but Hemming heard it anyway, "Hemming is a Scandinavian name derived from Old Norse meaning shape, it is also a male name," Tala raised her eyebrows at her but didn't wait to hear the reason, "I like your name . . . not you. So, what do I do?" she asked turning back to Raoul.
"Well first we have to go to this country's Werewolf Den, which, fortunately, is close. Come, let's go," Raoul said, changing, along with the rest of the pack, and Tala, into wolf form. They took off running east, towards the rising moon, away from her home, all of them but Tala who looked over her shoulder towards her home, then glanced at her cave and took off after the rest.
They arrived at a cave near dawn two sleepless nights later. They went inside and about a half-hour later they stopped at a small hole invisible to the human eye. They crawled inside and almost immediately were meet by a sentry, who like Raoul was a foot taller than the rest of the pack. " Hello Randwulf8, we have a newby," Raoul said, Tala snorted.
"Cutting it a little close aren't we? It's almost daylight," Randwulf said sniffing them as a precaution.
"Well we've been running two days, non-stop to get here, I'm not about to wait around outside all day with a newby."
Randwulf let them pass and, as they entered a cavern that was so big the ceiling disappeared into darkness, Tala trotted up beside Ylza, "Is it just me or does everyone's name here have a meaning that has to do with wolves?"
Ylza laughed, "If, when a new werewolf comes in, their name has nothing to do with wolves or is against wolves their name is changed."
"So I'm good, I get to keep my name, right?"
"We're never sure if one's name will be changed or not, they kept my name but him over there," she nodded to a young boy with gray hair that covered his eyes, "his name used to mean wolf but they changed it to another name that means river of the wolf."
"Well I will not be called by any other name," Tala said resolutely and fell back to the end of the line.
They walked for a while then a small white wolf, not even half a foot tall, and a silver one ran up to them, the white one jumped on Faolan's shoulder and the silver one jumped on Hemming's head. Then a dark brown, almost black, cat with feathered wings (slightly smaller than the wolves) flew up to Ylza and landed on her head. Tala gave Sandulf a quizzical look, "This layer, bred them magically, so that we could have companions."
"Then why doesn't everybody have one?" Tala asked cocking her head.
"Didn't want one, doesn't have time to bond, haven't been called to bond, stuff like that. I never wanted one myself."
"Ah," Tala went back to her silent plodding.
They walked for a while longer then came upon a black and white wolf with huge, black feathered wings. "This is the elder, the oldest werewolf alive," Raoul told Tala.
"How does he have wings, and how do I get some?" Tala asked.
"No one's really sure." Tala snorted, "You do that a lot." Raoul smiled at her.
"Only since that day at camp," she replied as they walked up to the elder.
"Greetings Ingolfr10," Raoul said. "We have found a new werewolf, " Tala stepped forward, and drew herself to her full height. "This is Tala."
"Welcome young one," the elder said. "Come walk with me, I would get to know you." So they walked, Tala told him her life's story, at the end of which she asked him about his wings, "Well, I really like you, become my apprentice and I'll tell you."
"I'm only here until I can leave so I'm good, no thanks," Tala said and walked off, leaving him standing there confused.
"Okay so I've been wondering," Tala said walking up beside Raoul, scaring him, "why are you a foot bigger than the rest of the pack?"
"I'm full werewolf, the rest of you are only half, if you bite some one they'll turn into one of those creatures on TV that only turn at full moon, are ugly looking, and can't think, so they just kill randomly," he replied.
"Ah, so no biting, okay then, so do we have anything to do with the full moon?"
"Yes, normally you can change anytime you want, but after your fifth full moon, you are in wolfen form the entire time of the full moon."
"Okay," Tala said as Ingolfr silently flew up behind them, "hello Elder," Tala said calmly, not turning around, Raoul jumped.
"Whoa, how did you know–"
"That's what I would like to know," the elder said, walking around to get in Tala's view, she stared straight into his eyes.
"Well, I saw your shadow," she begun, "then I heard your wings flapping, finally I heard your claws against the stone."
"Ah I see, well, it's time for the ceremony." And he walked off.
"He will introduce you to the rest of the pack," Raoul explained, following the elder, "and if he decided to change your name then it will be changed now."
"I will not go by a different name," she said, and followed him.
Ingolfr took Tala up on a raised platform; he went through an old ceremony then said to the pack, "From now on Tala Wulf shall be know as, Ulrica11."
Tala stepped forward, "You can call me, Ulrica, but I will not pay attention to you, my name is Tala Wulf, and that's what I answer to." She jumped off the platform, walked through the crowd, and left.
Wolfram found Tala reading in a hole after going through a maze of tunnels. "You really don't want to be here do you?"
"Why would I, you people seem intent on changing me. I don't want to change, I want to be alone," Tala replied glaring up at her.
"Well, I guess I can understand that. I would let you leave, but if you're not around werewolves for the first month or two of being a werewolf then you can loose this gift, it's happened before, and in some cases they die, as soon as two months are gone you can leave."
"Okay," Tala said and went back to her reading. Wolfram sighed and left. Tala came out the next night, refreshed and ready to deal with annoying werewolves.
"Time to train," a young gray and black wolf said bounding over. "Come on, come on." Tala growled at him and he scampered off.
She walked over to her pack, "What do I do now?"
"You go with the group of newbies," Hemming said, nodding to a group of youngsters gathered around an older wolf counting them, Tala glared at her, "It's time for ya'll to start your training."
Tala turned and left, walking over to the group. They trained in fighting in wolf form, then in human form, without weapons. Tala was top in the class even above the full werewolves that were normally stronger than the halves.
The next day they had made weapons for everybody, according to what they liked to use. Tala asked them not to make her anything, but they did anyway so that she didn't kill her opponent with a sharp blade. They trained with the weapons and again Tala was at the top of the class, and again, even above the full werewolves. Then they learned something Tala never suspected they could do, the teacher, now in wolfen form, stood up on her hind legs, her body shifted so that she could stand comfortably, her legs remained the same, but her back straightened in a way that a regular wolf could never do. Also her arms became more human-like so that they could hang down at her side comfortably, but they retained the fur and paws, although the toes got slightly longer so that they could hold something. "All you have to do students, is stand on your hind legs and, just like normal shifting, you have to believe that you look like this." The students shifted to wolf form, making sure that, as the teacher told them to, they were holding (or in Tala's or anyone that had sheaves for their weapons cases, wearing) their weapons, as they did the weapons melted into their body. Then they stood and shifted, and Tala, although in human form normally shorter than every one else, was almost a foot taller than everyone else was except for of course the full werewolves who were also in her class.
"Okay class next we do something even stranger," Tala cocked her head interested. The teacher put her paws together and slowly pulled them apart, a black light appeared stretching from one paw to another. Then the light shaped into the teacher's chosen weapon, two steel fans. "Now, class it does not always happen this way. Sometimes, like if you use two swords," she looked at Tala then to a few other students who also used two swords, "or two whips" she looked at a student who used two chain whips that had been Tala's hardest opponent, "it may become just one. Now this is like moving, I can't teach you how to do it, you just do, it's easier for the full werewolves but it normally only takes a few tries. I've only had two or three get it on the first try and they were full. Okay so go ahead and try it out."
The students tried it out, Tala and the girl with the whips (who was also half), were the only two to get it right on the first try. Tala's two swords became one but it was twice as big as one of her swords, same as the girl's whips. They trained together until more weres (as Tala started calling the werewolves) got it right then they trained with them, again no one beat Tala, not even the full weres. At the end of the night Tala went back to her hole, while in there, the same young gray and black wolf that had ran up to her yesterday walked into her little cavern. "What?" she said, annoyed, she was reading, her back turned to him.
"Um, I, uh," he cleared his throat, "I was hoping, since you got it right the first time I was hoping, since I couldn't get it, I was hoping you would help me."
"Why would I do that?"
"Well, no reason I could think of, but I was hoping you would."
"I'm not the only one who got it right the first time."
"Yes, well I asked the other girl, but she drove me of. So I'd thought I'd give you a chance."
Tala snorted, "Okay, I'll give you a week, but that's it." So she trained him, during her free time. It took him about six days to finally get it right.
Then she spent the rest of her days there, training with her strongest foe, the girl whose name was Guadalupe12 (lupe for short), or reading. The elder often asked her to be his apprentice, but she declined him every time. Finally on the day that she was finally allowed to leave the elder walked up to her again as she got ready to leave, "No, I will not be your apprentice," she said as he walked up behind her. She was in her half-wolf form, he was, as always, in wolf form.
"Do you know what Ulrica means?" he asked walking around to face her.
"Yes, wolf-power," she continued packing.
"Do you know why I wanted to call you that?"
"Nope, don't really care either."
"I realized that you are a very powerful werewolf. Your almost a half a foot bigger than the rest of the halves and you can beat all the fulls in your age group. I think you are the one from the legend. That is why I wanted, no, want, you to be my apprentice."
"Tell you what," she said looking up from her packing into his eyes, challengingly, "if you can beat me in a fight, I'll be your apprentice. If I win then you tell me how to get wings."
"Deal, now no weapons and stay in full-wolf form the entire time."
"Okay," Tala said shifting into full-wolf form. "Anything else?"
"Then let's go," she walked briskly out to the main cavern, Ingwolfr hard on her heels.
When they got into the cavern Ingolfr flew to the platform, all the werewolves immed-iately quieted. "A challenge has been issued. Ulrica, or as she would rather be called Tala Wulf, has challenged me. The stakes: if I win she becomes my apprentice, if she wins, I tell her the secret to my wings."
"HEARD AND WITNESSED," shouted all the full werewolves simultan-eously.
With that Ingolfr flew down and dived upon Tala who jumped into the attack. She snapped at his neck but he pulled out of the way. She landed lightly on her feet and twisted to watch him land. They circled for a moment then Tala faked right then attacked left and he barely dodged her, but before she could attack again he spun and jumped on her back biting hard into her neck. She growled in pain and rolled over on her back trying to knock him off, but he held on. She fell to the ground exhausted. He let go of her neck and stood up.
Lighting fast she flipped over and kicked him in the stomach throwing him back. Startled, he landed on his back with a loud THUD. She jumped up and leapt on him, but he quickly scrambled out of the way. He ran at her but she dodged and bit into his tail as he passed, yanking it hard. He yelped then growled at her for making him show pain in front of his Lair. He flew up, but she held on. He flew to the top of the cavern flying through the stalactites trying to knock her off, but she held on digging into the flesh, he growled. Then suddenly she let go he saw her fall and dove after her. He flew under her to catch her about ten feet from the ground, he spread his wings breaking his momentum, but she twisted in the air and landed hard on his back knocking him to the ground. He gasped in pain, "Fine, you win," he growled.
She let him up and he turned to her, "Come, I'll tell you the secret as you pack."
"Okay," she said and walked to her cavern to pack. He explained that she had to go to Japan and where in Japan she had to go, then he explained the entire ritual. She thanked him and left.
As she got to the entrance to the lair, her original pack came up to her. "Tala, I bid you farewell, and I hope you visit," Wolfram said.
"I'll miss watching you fight, you have the most unique fighting style I've ever seen," Sandulf said.
"Thank you," Tala said, "my sister was the only one that could ever beat me," she said sadly, then turned to Hemming. "Sorry we got off on the wrong start. I realize now that you were trying to help."
"Thanks for saying," she said walking up, her mini-wolf on her head.
"Goodbye everyone," Tala said with a quiet smile, and, with a last look at Ingolfr, who was standing on a high up ledge watching her, she left.
She worked for three years to save up money for a trip to Japan. During that time she found that every other full moon she was drawn back to her layer. On the first trip there she learned that Lupe had become Ingolfr's apprentice, and had been magically made a full-were. The second time she went, she witnessed the mating ceremony of Raoul and Wolfram, as soon as Ingolfr finished the speech they "hugged" each other and a white light engulfed them then formed into a wolf with wings, which flew up then crashed into them. When the light faded Wolfram, although she was a half-were she was just a big a Raoul. Tala congratulated them but before she left she was drawn to the birthing grounds for the mini critters. Although most were born live there were a few eggs. Tala couldn't figure out what critter came out of the eggs. Then one egg started shaking, then cracked. A mini-wolf nose poked through and sniffed the air. Then it pushed it's head through and looked at Tala. This thoroughly confused Tala because she had actually seen the mini-wolves born live. Then it grunted and the egg burst into pieces and the mini-wolf spread its dragon wings and started licking them dry, then cleaned its black tipped silver fur. When it finished it wobbled over to Tala who picked it up, "Hey girl," Tala said scratching its belly. She growled contentedly and kicked her leg.
The two bonded quickly, and soon they developed a telepathic link with each other. In her travels Tala often used Ookami (she had named it after her sister because they acted just alike and they both had the same black tipped silver fur/hair) for scouting.
When Tala finally got to Japan, the first thing she did was find the layer in that country so that when she was drawn to a layer every other full moon she would know where to go. She then spent many years trying to find the hard-to-find, expensive items needed for the ceremony to get her wings and the money to buy them. She made many friends at the layer. And one fateful day meet a very interesting vampire.
1Ookami-Kanji–Japanese dialect–word for wolf
2Tala-Native-american for Stalking Wolf: female
3Hemming-Scandinavian name derived from Old Norse hamr, meaning "shape." The name may have originated as a byname for a "shape-shifter" or "werewolf." (Hem-ing) male
4Sandulf-"True wolf." Gothic name composed of the Germanic elements sand "true" and ulf "wolf." male
5Faolan-(Faolán): "Little wolf." Irish/Gaelic name composed of the element faol "wolf" and a diminutive suffix. Male
6Ylza-Scandinavian name derived from Old Norse úlfr, meaning "she-wolf." Female
7Wolfram-"Wolf-raven." Germanic name composed of the elements wulf "wolf" and hramn "raven." Male
8Raoul-French from of German Ralph, meaning "wise wolf." Male
9Randwulf-"Shield-wolf." Anglo-Saxon name composed of the Old English elements rand "rim of a shield" and wulf "wolf."
10Ingolfr (Ingólfr)-"Ing's wolf." Old Norse name composed of the name of the fertility god Ing and the element úlfr "wolf."
11Ulrica-Feminine form of Norman Ulric, meaning "wolf power."
12Guadalupe: English unisex name borrowed from a Spanish place name, itself from Arabic wādī al-lubb, meaning "river of the wolf."