Prologue

In the beginning, when the forest of Feilandal was still but a nursery, before the creatures of the sky, before the creatures of the sea, before even the creatures of the earth, wolves roamed the night skies. They were the most beloved of the Moon, her first children. She loved her wolves dearly, blessing them with coats as white and beautiful as their mother and as bright and ephemeral as the stars, their playmates. Every night the wolves would wake with their mother and while their blessing remained the night sky was their playground, then during the day as she slept, they would sleep, leaving the day to the children of the Sun. For thirty nights all was well, all was bliss.

However, all was not as well as it would seem. For the Sun was jealous of his sister and her children, for try as he might he could not create a light as beautiful or as gentle as the Moon’s, nor would his children ever glow like her beloved wolves and stars. Thus, the Sun hatched his bitter plan, a plan to steal the light from his sister forever.

He planned the perfect time to set it all in motion, for he knew his sister’s beauty had come with a heavy price. Unlike the Sun, who was allowed to remain constant, the Moon would be called away from her beloved children once every thirty nights; for the balance of the cosmos demanded that her attention and beauty be shared equally among the heavens.

It was on one such night when the Sun struck. Knowing that without the protective glow of their mother the wolves would be vulnerable to the harsher strength of his light, he sent a blast of fire towards the wolves. Sensing the danger, the wolves scattered. However, the light was too strong, and though it was not a direct hit the blast radius was wide and the backlash was strong enough to rob the wolves of the celestial blessing their dear mother had bestowed. No longer blessed by heavens light the wolves plummeted to the earth, no longer of the divine caste. But the Sun’s plan had only just begun. For the seed of his curse had been planted. All that remained was to wait.

-o-

When the Moon returned the following night, she was heartbroken at her brother’s treachery. Seeing her children exposed and vulnerable on the barren earth below she created the forests of Feilandal and hid it behind a veil of mist, separated from the rest of the world so that neither the Sun nor his children would ever be able to harm her wolves again. That day, when the Sun woke and saw his sister’s wolves were nowhere to be found, he despaired. Worried that his plans had come to naught, he combed the heavens searching for any hint of the glow that would betray the wolves’ presence. Yet he found nothing, and so he relaxed, confident that the plan was still in motion.

Now amused, he approached his sister, “I see you have hidden your children from me, dear sister.”

“That I have, my beloved brother,” she replied calmly, “I have placed them forever out of your reach.”

Though unsettled by his sister’s calmness he laughed, “Worry not sister for I shall never again harm your wolves, for they are as much mine now as they are yours. Despite your efforts to hide your children from me I have already marked them as cursed. Your children now carry within them a piece of me and one day, be it tomorrow, the day after, or a millennia from now, one of your children, whom you have blessed with a coat as white as your beloved light, shall give birth to a cub as black as the night you left them. That cub shall mark the beginning of the end for you, and if he should by chance fail me, a new cub shall replace him every thousand years. Till then, dear sister, may you live forever in fear.”

With that he left, and the earth was blessed with its first rainfall as the Moon cried.

-o-

It came to pass, that as Sun had foretold, the first black wolf cub came into existence. Unwilling to believe that one her children would ever betray her, the Moon turned a blind eye to its existence, and because their mother was not worried the wolves paid it no heed.

However, as the wolf matured it fell deeper and deeper into the darkness of the Sun’s thrall. Wanting to break into the world of day the black wolf ate its mother in an attempt to escape. With their mother’s existence extinguished from the sky the veil fell and, fearing that the children of the Sun would swarm Feilandal and slaughter all its inhabitants, the wolves formed what would be the first pack and hunted down their fallen brother. When they found him they slit his stomach, releasing the Moon from her prison, thus, did the veil rise once again. The children of the Sun would come to know this phenomenon as a lunar eclipse; the wolves would know it as the day of true darkness.

Since then, like the Sun had promised, every thousand years a wolf cub, its coat as black as the sky on that cursed day, would be born to carry on the tragedy of its predecessor. And every thousand years the Clan of the Moon, as the wolves had come to refer to themselves, would be forced to kill one of their own.

-o-

The old wolf, now grey with age, looked out to the sea of white that had stood transfixed while he spoke of the story they all knew. He had been dreading this day ever since he had taken on the mantle of Lore Keeper, a mantle that had been in his family since the first clans.

His sadness at what was to come could be seen in his eyes, heard in his howl, and felt in the bones of all present, as he finally ended the story, the way every thousandth Lore Keeper had done before him.

“And thus, the tragic wheel of fate continues to turn…The cub must die.”

In the back of the pack that numbered somewhere in the millions, a lone wolf howled her grief.

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The creative womb of a storyteller

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