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The Wolves

A Twilight of Lurra Story

By Matthew FrommPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
4
created with Midjourney

There are things worse than wolves in those woods, trust me. When you hear their howl, run.

Chief Ranger Talin’s warning echoed in her memory as Liv crawled on hands and knees through the undergrowth. Ahead of her, little Tivar crawled with the eagerness of a puppy. If her parents caught her out of bed and beyond the gates...That thought annoyed her even further. Her fourteenth harvest drew near, and yet they insisted on treating her like a child still.

“Just a little bit further,” he whispered, “I promise.”

The boy seemed to vibrate with an energy she envied. Liv was just tired – the journey was leagues longer than he had hinted. She already regretted calling the pink boy's bluff. If she weren’t back by the time Lurra’s twin moons set, she’d banish Tivar to the deepest, darkest depths of Azpimund herself. Night was nearly upon them as it was. They skirted through the woods and climbed up a small white chalk cliff. Liv cursed as the stone dug into her hands.

“Here. be quiet,” Tivar said, disappearing into the tangled roots of one of the forest's massive oaks.

She pulled herself through the bramble, and Liv’s thoughts caught in her chest. The undergrowth gave way to a grassy overlook above a small grove. From what she could see, it was almost a perfect circle. Tivar pressed a finger to his lips and pointed.

Four figures sat silently in blood-red cloaks, doused in light from the great moon Lariga above. In the center of their circle sat an unlit pyre.

The sensation trickled down Liv’s spine. It pierced the silent veil of evening, and Liv jumped. Tivar put a finger to his lips. Eerie yet beautiful, the scales grew within her to a rapid crescendo. She could not see the lute, but it was unmistakable.

Liv’s jaw dropped.

A great bonfire burst to life as the song intensified. Twisting orange and blue flames danced to the rhythm of the lute, yet cast no shadows through the grove. Terror threatened to overtake her as her heart thumped in her throat. A great grin lined Tivar’s face as if they had stumbled upon a cache of sweets. She wanted to run, to get as far away from this place as possible.

A reed pipe joined the lute as the figures began to slowly circle the fire. Liv watched them with disgusting fascination. The piercing, flowing sounds rooted Liv against the dirt, entranced. The flames grew taller and brighter in response to the cacophony, bright enough that she swore they would see the two children. The tempo of the song grew ever faster as the figures circled the flames. The cloaked men stamped circles in the grass as their pace quickened.

There was a firm tap on Liv’s shoulder, and she almost let out a scream she did not realize was holding.

It was just Tivar and his stupidly round face. He pointed at the fire as the music swirled to an otherworldly howl. Her blood ran cold.

The fire was gone, or at least what she had thought was fire, and something evil appeared. What in all of Lurra and below in Azpimund...

Red flames blossomed forth, twisting and spirling until, from their depths, appendages of flame emerged. The limbs twirled in rhythm with the lute and pipe as the rest of the terrible specter took shape. Liv could feel Tivar vibrating next to her, but the specter held her gaze. How could the boy be excited by this? She wanted to run, run as far away as she could from these men and these specters.

Never before had she beheld something so terrible, yet still so beautiful.

The flames bore forth another specter. Foot by foot, arm by arm, it appeared as the red-robbed acolytes completed another circle. The two specters took each other in hand as they danced with their flesh and blood masters. The tempo increased, and Liv felt the energy building within her, hot and terrifying. She wanted to leave, to be anywhere else but witnessing this cursed ritual below.

A surge of bravery overcame her fear, and she reached out blindly toward where Tivar had laid...

and felt only grass.

Shock overcame her fear, and she looked about frantically. There was nothing, except...

Liv traced a small boy-shaped indentation in the forest floor.

The specters and their masters danced on, and the boyish cheeks now forming within the flames were unmistakable.

Liv screamed.

The figure in the flames looked toward where she lay. Had she not been crying, Liv would have seen the specter smile.

The world went black.

As night hung heavy over the village of Dragon’s Eye, Talin awoke to the howl of wolves.

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A/N:

If you've enjoyed this, please leave a like and an insight below. If you really enjoyed this, tips to fuel my coffee addiction are always appreciated. All formatting is designed for desktops. All my works can be found below:

Young AdultSagaProloguePart 1MysteryFictionFantasyCliffhangerAdventure
4

About the Creator

Matthew Fromm

Full-time nerd, history enthusiast, and proprietor of random knowledge. The best way to find your perfect story is to make it yourself.

Here there be dragons, and knights, and castles, and quests for entities not wished to be found.

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Comments (2)

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  • Ashley Shiflett2 months ago

    I completly agree with Daphsam! The imagery was splendid. You wrote this in a way that is very skilled. I loved the flow of the work. It has a very nice creep factor to it, which I enjoy alot! ❤️

  • Daphsam2 months ago

    Wow, very detailed with wonderful imagery. I could feel the tension and hear the chants and the pop of the flames. Most of all, I would be running so fast out of those woods!

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