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[FFH-01] LW-01 Superstition and Legends

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    [FFH-01] LW-01 Superstition and Legends

    Fanfic Hero - Legacy's Werewolves

    500 years ago. Superstition and black powder ruled. It was an age of darkness. A world of fear. It was the Age of Werewolves! Join the adventures of Roger Belmont as he looks for the cure to his most unusual curse in early America.

    [FFH-01] LW-01 Superstition and Legends.
    By David Lee (Black Unicorn)

    Chapter One.

    North America, Boston; 500 years ago.

    Roger Belmont was the last one to get off of the frigate sailing vessel which had just arrived in Boston harbor. Short black hair, dark blue eyes and pale skin is what one would see if they looked closely at this man. He was dressed much the same way as most of the rest of the men of the early 14th century dressed. He had a dark cloak with a hood pulled up over his head. But if someone were to look at this man to find a weapon, none they would discern upon first glance. He knew he shouldn't be in Boston when night fell or death would stalk the streets as it had back in Mother England. He approached a youngster and said, "Young man... Where might I find an inn and tavern outside of Boston near the woods?"

    The male local teenager looked up at the man and said, "Are you Robin Hood or something? There is an inn and tavern that doesn't see much business due to the Indians who bother the place. It is called the Black Unicorn. I could show you the way in exchange for a copper."

    Roger smiled. "I am no Robin Hood, but the money is yours if you take me to the Black Unicorn. Something tells me that the Indians will not bother the place tonight. After you, my friend." And he began following the young teenager through the streets of Boston toward the outskirts of the wooden palisade gates of the city. An armed soldier at the gates stepped out in front of the two and said, "Peter Hawkins! Where are you bound for outside of the city?"

    Peter replied, "This newcomer asked me to take him to the Black Unicorn in exchange for a copper. That money could help my momma quite a bit, sir. I know the way and I would not be staying out there myself. I warned this man about the Indians but he doesn't seem all that concerned about them."

    The soldier looked to Roger and said, "Please do not be leading young Peter off into danger, mister. His mother fell ill after arriving in the new world and our doctors cannot seem to find the cure for her unusual condition."

    Roger said, "Perhaps I should come back tomorrow to see Peter's mother then. I have some minor medical knowledge that I would be willing to part with on behalf of a boy's mother. May we pass now?"

    The soldier stepped aside. "I am sorry I held you both up. Peter, try to return before nightfall. Indians are not the only dangers out there."

    Once the two were moving again and the gate was no longer in sight, Roger asked Peter, "What did he mean by other dangers aside from the Indians out here?"

    Peter said, "Bandits who prey upon travelers to rob and sometimes to kill for not having any money."

    He no sooner said these words when several men in black cloaks stepped out on to the road just ahead holding exposed blades. "Um... them." The dark men approached the two on the road and said, "So, Peter Hawkins leads a lamb to the slaughter. Hand over your wealth and we will let you go on your way."

    Roger tensed up. "Oh Lord who art thou in Heaven! Please protect Peter Hawkins from what he is about to see!" Roger then grew about two feet in height as the tips of his shoes pushed open to reveal wolven claws and then his muzzle began to form and push out from within his hood. His hands changed into the clawed paws of a werewolf. "I think you rogues mentioned something about money. Empty your pockets or beg God for your lives. He hasn't ever listened to me when I have asked favors of him; so why should be listen to you." He then released a howl as he leaped forward and took down the main bandit in the front of their group. Catching the man by surprise, he hit the ground bleeding profusely as Roger turned to the rest of the bandit party. "Who's going to be next?"

    And that's when their pockets began emptying rapidly as Peter saw more money than he had ever seen in his life. Once their pockets were empty which included their blades... Roger said, "Strip naked and start running off into the forest. I will give you a few minutes to put distance between yourselves and me. DO IT!" And their clothes came off rapidly until they were naked and then they fled into the woods. Once they were gone, Peter heard Roger say, "Gather the money, Peter. I will be back. Do not leave this spot." And then Roger picked up the dead man and leaped off in the direction the other men had fled. Near a ravine, Roger dropped the dead man down over the edge into the gorge, before he leaped back in the direction of where he could hear and smell Peter Hawkins muttering to himself. "Sweet mother of mercy... why did you let me lead a beast like that out of the city. I don't want to die."

    Roger cleaned himself just out of sight of the road, then he forced himself to shift back into his human form before he stepped back out on to the road. "You missed a silver, Peter. I am sorry you had to see that. I am under a nasty curse. They didn't have the cure in England, so I came to the new world to see if I could find a cure here. I like you, Peter. I promise that I will never kill you. Just do not tell anyone else you saw my animal side emerge or the stupid fear mongers will never leave me alone. I hope you still want to be my friend, Peter. Peter and the Wolf. Sometimes faery tales do come true. I would never wish my condition on a nice boy like you. Do you still want to be my friend?"

    Peter finished gathering the money and said, "If you cure my mother, I will be your friend and then I want to help you find your cure. You are doing something important in the world. I want to be part of it."

    "My name is Roger Belmont. If you get your mother's permission to travel with me I will share my unfortunate story with you. And I will protect you in our journeys. How much further to the Black Unicorn? Funny, I don't sense Bud around here."

    Peter straightened up once again. "Its another mile down the road. Who is this Bud you mentioned? Is he a nice guy? Would I like him?"

    Roger then said, "There is a legend in my home country about the black unicorn of death. His nickname is Bud. Or Buddy to his friends. Who knows, he might think you are a nice young man to pal around with. I've met Bud once. He said I was good business for him. So you might actually like him. He can be very social. Come, The gate soldier asked you to be back before sunset. It is getting late in the day and I would like to see the inn with Bud's name on it."

    End of Chapter One.


    Chapter Two.

    At the Inn and Tavern of the Black Unicorn, Peter used some of the coins he had acquired to acquire a room for Roger as he told the innkeeper a falsified and believable story of how Roger defeated the bandits by nearly scaring them to death. "Anyway, my friend Roger wants to stay here for a night or two. He said he might be able to help my mother."

    The Innkeeper stated, "Your mother is still ill? Does she still have those weird looking black marks around her ankles?"

    Peter replied, "Yeah, she does. She said she got them while digging up wild turnips. She stepped in swamp water or something like that."

    Roger then came over and said, "That's not a normal illness, Peter. She's been infected with marsh worms. They burrow into a person's body through your skin usually around the ankles. We have to treat her right now before the worms can reach her heart. Good sir, I will be back later to claim my room."

    The Innkeeper said, "If you save the woman's life, you can stay here whenever you like. I will make room for you."

    Moments later, Roger while carrying Peter dashed past the gate guard at the Boston settlement. Once inside, they went and acquired the settlement minister along with the local doctor and they converged on Peter's house. Once they were all inside the cabin, Roger asked the doctor for various medical tools as he made a precision cut in the skin at a spot just below where a black line seemed to start. Then he inserted what would later be called tweezers into the incision as he carefully pulled out what appeared to be a black strand of yarn that was squirming out of the woman's leg. "Don't touch it with your skin nor your fingers. It is evil and deadly. The best way to deal with things like this is to burn them in the fireplace. Fire will kill them instantly. Marsh worms don't give a care about human life." And after the worm was dropped into the fire of the fireplace, Roger proceeded to remove the other black lines from the woman's legs on both sides. Disposal of the worms was swift and they died instantly.The final process of making sure the toxins in the wounds were squeezed out and sealed properly was next and finally, The woman's legs and ankles were wrapped up securely.

    Roger then looked at the settlement doctor and said, "If anyone else develops this condition, you now know what you are going to have to do to remove these vile things. Amputation of the limbs should only be done if the black lines or Marshworms extend from the ankles into the thigh. Most people would not want to live without their legs. So this would be a judgment call on your behalf, doctor. Marsh worms live in brackish swamp water and they are drawn to sources of human life blood. It would be their goal to reach the heart of the victim and fatten themselves on the victims blood like a vampire. At that point there is no saving the victim except to burn the body alive. That way the worms are definitively slain." He then looked to Mrs. Hawkins. "How are you feeling, Ma'am? You should recover now."

    Ms. Hawkins replied, "My husband died during a bandit attack. He had been a merchant. When he passed I had to find an occupation to do here in the settlement. I am feeling better. I am sure glad you knew what was ailing me. If there is anything I can do for you in return..."

    Roger then said, "Your son, Peter, wants to accompany me on my journey. I have vowed to keep him safe to him directly. I have already dealt with the bandits outside of the settlement. If they find a way to return from what happened to them, I would be surprised. May I have Peter as my traveling companion? I promise not to let him die."

    Ms. Hawkins said, "If Peter wants to go with you, then I will permit it. He is old enough to be away on his own. He was staying here because of my condition. But now that you have helped me, Peter is free to find his own path."

    Roger smiled at the woman before he turned to the doctor once again. "Make sure to clean her bandages once a day before redressing the legs. She should not be on her feet for at least a day now that I have removed the infection. If only all infections could be removed so easily..." He then turned to Peter. "Leave the coinage you gained here with your mother. I have permission to bring you on a most fantastic adventure. I just hope you don't regret wanting to come with me."

    Peter then emptied his pockets into a tray next to his mother's bed and there was quite a bit of coinage. "I will now gather my traveling gear and then I will be ready to come with you, Roger. You promised me that story." And he went off to his room to gather his belongings.

    Within an hour, the two departed the Boston Settlement together. Word had circulated that Peter's new friend cured Ms. Hawkin's illness using the doctors own medical tools. No magic nor Indian hoodoo was used. After they were out of earshot of the gate guard, Peter asked, "Why are you a wolf?"

    Roger replied, "I am under a very bad curse to become a Werewolf when angry. Yes, I said a Werewolf. I am not simply a man wearing the skin of a wolf. There is powerful evil magic at work here. I am allowed to be human when I am calm. It may seem like I am under control. But make no mistake... I am a dangerous werewolf. The only clue to my cure is with the Western Triad; if I can find them. And that is why I said, I hope you do not regret coming with me on this journey. Most Werewolf packs travel together; but I choose not to join a pack. A verifiable lone wolf as it were. I just want my normal life back."

    Peter then gave Roger a hug. "Later you can tell me how you got cursed because I thought that would be part of the story."

    Roger replied, "That is a longer story, Peter. But I did promise you the tale as we traveled. This is not something we can talk about when around other humans. The Indians might understand; but those in the settlement would condemn me as a monster and try to burn me at the stake. I am not a Witch nor a Sorceror. I am just an unfortunate man who made a big mistake and now have to deal with this curse."

    Peter remarked, "I trust you, Roger. As long as you will accept my companionship, I will travel with you whether you are a man or a wolf. You protected me from the bandits and you saved my mother's life. As you said... Peter and the Wolf. Sometimes fairy tales do come true."

    Roger grinned. "Lets hope Peter does not join the pack by becoming a wolf. Then I would have to find a cure for you as well."

    End of Chapter Two.


      Chapter Three.

      Within the acquired quarters of the Black Unicorn, Peter rested close to Roger when movement near the window got Roger's attention as he slowly sat up and said, "Friend of foe? And if you want to live, the answer better be friend."

      The window opened as someone came inside and then the window closed. "A fine greeting for your contact, Roger. I had trouble locating you after you left the ship. I got the information on the Triad groups. Here in North America, there are three triads. Here in the East, the Rat Lord, the Pigeon Lord and the Skunk Lord form the Eastern Triad. In the South, the Gator Lord, the Coyote Lord, and the Horse Lord form the Southern Triad. In the West, the Deer Lord, the Wolf Lord and the Otter Lord form the Western Triad. Within the Western Triad, they bicker with each other a lot. Now that you know the triads, what are your plans?"

      Roger reached over and rubbed a hand over the man's shoulder. "You're in Crinos form, Clover. Aren't you afraid that someone will see you? Anyway, you could come with us. I would protect you during the trip, same as I am protecting Peter. I saved his mother's life and I protected him from the bandits that were covering this road."

      Clover smiled as he shook his long ears so they popped up above his head. "What a pair we make. A Werewolf and a Were-Rabbit. Among the natives, when you are in Crinos form, they are friendly and they show respect for us. Only the white men try to kill us. Oh humanity is so overrated. Your boy is cute; have you claimed him yet?"

      Roger almost growled but he knew this was Clover's style. "No I have not claimed him. I do not want to share my curse with him but he does want to hear my full story. He might even want to hear your story. Peter Hawkins is a nice lad. I like him. But I will never make him become part of my pack. And you do not have a warren."

      Clover grinned. "True; I supposed I should come along to help forage for food and to smooth things over with the natives we meet. You never said where you wanted to go, Roger."

      Roger grinned. "Since I know about all three triads now, I will speak to all of them, one at a time. Perhaps someone will know how to lift my curse. You were born with your condition, but mine was applied. And I am not happy about the way it occurred. I had to leave Europe once I was cursed. I cannot even help the family business in hunting vampires."

      Clover smiled. "Then you are in luck. Vampires have also been migrating to the new world to evade your family's business. And if you remove a few of these undead blights to society, you will make the new world a better place to live for everyone even if they cannot ever repay you."

      Suddenly from Roger's base where he had been sitting upright, Peter asked, "Why is there a rabbit man in our room, Roger? Is he one of the native spirits? He is really good looking."

      Clover said, "No, I am not a native spirit, Peter Hawkins. I am a Were-Rabbit who deals in information. Roger asked me to find information on the American Triads for him. He invited me to travel with you guys. My name is Clover Elfdown. I come from a warren in England that got wiped out. I was spared by not being at home. The Owlsa guard I had been with, when he saw the massacre of our warren, told me to go to America and locate my cousin Cloud Elfdown. When I asked if he was going to come with me, he said, I failed my king so I now I must hunt the killer. I may die from this but it is duty and honor over personal desires. One of us should live through this. And that someone should be you, Clover. So I got passage aboard a frigate heading for Boston and in the hold, I met Roger. I won't tell his story but to make this short, I agreed to help him learn about the American Triads."

      Peter smiled. "Since you're coming with us, you may as well come on over and get some rest with us. Roger will protect us. I've gotten to see his wolf once."

      Clover looked to Roger. "He asked, my friend. Do I have your permission to lay near him? I promise to do nothing that would cause your promise to keep him safe to become untrue."

      Roger sighed. "No one should sleep alone. Get over here but let Peter hold you from behind. He will be between us."

      Clover slowly came over and when he got in bed, Peter realized that unlike Roger, Clover was naked but totally fur covered. Peter was stripped to his shorts himself but Clover was in the buff. Roger placed his arms around the rasbbit's torso and lowered his head back down into the pillow which he made room for Clover's head as well.

      "Where are your clothes, Clover?" asked Peter.

      Clover smiled. "They are dedicated to my body so when I transform, the clothes make the change with me. I can dedicate your clothes to you if you would like. It would save you a lot of tailoring later. I did this with Roger's clothes aboard the ship. That is why he doesn't rip his clothes to pieces when he wolfs out."

      Peter smiled as he rubbed a hand over Clover's belly fur. "You can do this for me in the morning. Your fur smells cleaner than I thought it would smell."

      Clover grinned slyly. "I have a trick for staying clean. Maybe someday I can teach it to you." Roger then growled a little. "Get some sleep; We have to travel at first light."

      Peter quietly chuckled as he allowed one hand to slide down Clover's tummy to his groin where he felt the were-rabbit held to guide his hand to this own sheath where Clover helped the boy to play with something nice. Clover's other hand slide down into Peter's shorts where the boy got the favor returned with a furry hand.

      Roger muttered, "I swear... worse than rumored to be. Foxes and Rabbits only have one thing on their minds."

      Clover replied, "Are you saying that you would rather be a fox?"

      Roger growled a little louder now. "Will you please keep your mind out of the gutter and get some sleep?" Thankfully that ended the talking for the night and the wolf would sleep in come the morning while Clover dedicated Peter's clothes to his body. Afterward, Clover shifted into his human form and he woke Roger up. "Its first light, Roger. We have to go."

      End of Chapter Three.


        Chapter Four.

        Stocking up on jerky and carrots along with a canteen for water, the three departed the Black Unicorn. They would encounter no more bandits until they reached New Orleans. But for now, they traveled along farm lands and quiet forest trails. The hunting and foraging were good being careful not to let humans see the werewolf take down deer and wild boar they came across. They were always sensitive not to kill a fellow were. Thankfully they didn't encounter any. Four nights after the Black Unicorn, they had their first peaceful encounter with the natives of the land. They were almost offensive when they saw Peter, but Roger and Clover were right there the moment Peter said, "Natives." The People were not as surprised to see a man become a wolf man and a man become a rabbit man. For two oddities to be traveling with a white boy, that night was spent in the natives' camp. Their medicine man examined Roger when he heard that wolf was a man under a powerful curse. "Buck Spirit and Otter Spirit will be able to help you. Wolf Spirit would want to remove the man from the wolf. So you avoid him. We no understand why you three travel together. Wolf and Rabbit make no sense. How does white boy fit in?"

        Peter replied, "The wolf removed an illness from my mother's body and the Rabbit mended my clothes the other night. I rubbed on his fur as a thank you. The wolf saved me from bad white people who only care about shiny circles." He was hoping he had used the right words. He didn't think they knew nor cared about money. "My family name is Hawkins."

        The medicine man smiled. "Now it make sense. Wolf protect hawk; hawk protect rabbit." Peter wanted to remark, 'If you say so' but he thought that would be inappropriate.

        The next morning, The three were escorted to the borders of the natives' home territory and then they were on their own again. "Hey Peter!" exclaimed Clover. "Catch!"

        Peter turned in time to catch a ripe red apple which Clover had just picked off of an apple tree. "Thanks Clover. Nice find."

        Roger grinned. "Do I get one, too? My human side can still eat apples." And then he was catching an apple as Clover found a good one to toss to him.

        And then a few extras were picked and stored within Clover's backpack. "That should be enough. When we meet a prey were-animal the next time, an apple will make a fine gift. Not to mention a fine friend. You never know when an act of kindness will return to repay you with a kings ransom."

        Eventually along a road they had found, Peter asked, "Are we there yet?"

        Roger glanced over his shoulder. "Don't you start being as annoying as Clover can get. Your feet hurt, don't they?"

        Peter was embarrassed as he said, "Yes, but we have been moving since this morning. Is there somewhere we are trying to reach before sundown?"

        Clover replied, "Yes and we are almost there. The robin I spoke with which I gave a worm to told me about a collection of barns and out buildings that the farmers abandoned some months ago. They ever left their livestock behind. We could be sleeping in a nice warm hayloft or even a nice bed tonight. Even though I am a were-rabbit, I get tired of sleeping on the cold hard ground. Not to mention, the animals and plants in the area are giving off the signs of an incoming storm. We don't want to be out in the open when that starts."

        Roger muttered, "I hate getting wet. Not to mention wet wolf fur stinks."

        Peter said, "So lets focus on getting to the barns."

        Clover then said, "your feet may be hurting, Peter, but I climbed those trees this morning to get the apples. My legs are tired."

        Peter said, "You're light weight, right?" As Clover said, "Yeah. What of it?" Peter got behind the Were-Rabbit and bent down and stuck his head between Clover's legs and lifted him up on his shoulders before trudging on forward to keep up with Roger.

        Clover said, "I will owe you for this, Peter. I promise you that I will repay you for your help."

        Roger glanced aside to see what Peter was doing for Clover. "At least we won't be leaving you behind with you sitting right there, Clover."

        Clover said, "From this higher vantage point, I can see the farm gate just ahead, guys. We are almost there."

        Roger then glanced skyward as they moved ahead. "And not a moment too soon. Those clouds are looking heavy and dark."

        Clover said, "Smell the air. It is going to be wet tonight."

        Peter said, "Its a good thing you spoke to that Robin this morning. We really don't want to be caught out in a storm at night."

        Roger then picked up Peter around his waist. "Clover, hang on to my neck. I feel water droplets in the air. I am going to make a dash for it." And he took off sprinting while carrying his friends securely in his grasp. Entering the farm yard, thunder was heard and then the rain dropped out of the dark clouds as the wind picked up. And then Roger cleared the open barn door and came to a stop near the doors to a stall where he released the grip on his friends as they landed on the straw covered floor. And then Peter noticed the two draft horses and the donkey in nearby stalls. "Hello Guys. A storm was about to soak our group; I apologize for our barging into your barn like this."

        Clover came over to see who Peter was talking to and then with a smile, he pulled out the fresh apples and he fed one each to the draft horses while he had Peter feed the donkey the other apple. And then without warning, the Donkey said in English, "I told you we weren't the only nice folks left in this area, guys."

        End of Chapter Four.


          Chapter Five.

          As the two draft horses finished eating the apples, they both glowed as a dark shroud pulled off of the two of them and they both transformed into an adult male human and an adult female human. The Donkey then said, "And now their curse is lifted. A witch changed these two into draft horses for not giving her a ride along a farm road. They were also stuck inside this barn. She also cursed the farm itself to always receive rain and never grow crops. The only way to lift the curse was if they both could eat a ripe fresh apple and since the farm could not grow crops, it seemed impossible until you kind folk showed up with ripe red apples. Where are you bound for anyway?"

          Peter replied, "Our friend is under a curse himself, but alas, his is not lifted so easily. He is seeking out the Triads to get their advice on how to lift his curse. But what curse are you under, Mr. Donkey? I mean, you are speaking English, yet eating an apple did not restore you to normal."

          The Donkey seemed to smile as he said, "I will tell you later, lad; its a bit silly. But perhaps the Butler family would permit you to use their buggy on your journey... I can pull the buggy and then you could get to places more easily. I rarely get tired and I want to help you people to fulfill your mission. You did help Mr. and Mrs. Butler. It is the least I can do in return."

          Mr. Butler said, "I learned my lesson in being polite to strangers. I will permit you kind folk to take the buggy and Jack with you on your journey. Ah good, the rain part of the curse is finally ending. Perhaps now my wife and I can get this farm back up to fully functional condition." He then hooked up the covered buggy to Jack and after watching the group get aboard, the married couple headed off toward their farm house.

          Jack took off at a trot pulling the buggy away from the farm as quickly as he could.

          Peter said, "What's the rush, Jack? I know you said you rarely get tired, but you are going pretty fast.

          As Jack got the buggy outside of the farm's property boundary and on to a main merchant road near the coast, only then did he slow down as he traveled South. "Sorry about that quick ride, guys. I think it is safe to look back now that we are away from there. I had been stuck in that magical illusion ever since I tried to rob their farm house and they told me that the whole farm was part of a damnation curse they were suffering from when they ran over a Witch rather than to give her a ride. Their normal livestock and horse died instantly and they were cursed to relieve the curse until they were shown kindness a hundred times. My curse is that I have to help a hundred people with any tasks they are doing for free. Perhaps worse, I was changed into a Were-Donkey; and until you people came along, I didn't know there were any others like me around. I can change between Donkey Boy and full donkey at will. But the curse removed my human form until I fulfill my quota. I had only completed one task before you people came along. For the record, lad, I am actually your age. As you heard, my name is Jack. Jack Cutler, formerly of the Hartford colony."

          "Peter Hawkins, formerly of the Boston colony. I am a normal human."

          "Clover Elfdown, Formerly of Elfdown Warren. I am a pure-born Were-Rabbit and Information Broker. Roger hired me to find information on the Triads."

          "Roger Belmont, Vampire Hunter of Austria. I am a Cursed Werewolf. Cursed by an evil Druid in Europe and sent to America to find my cure from the Western Triad. But since then, I have learned that the Wolf Spirit wants me to stay Werewolf; like that's going to happen."

          Jack said, "And here I thought my curse was bad; you have it off far worse, Roger. Well, you guys can count on me. The Eastern Triad lives in New York. It may take us several months to get there. But I will get all of you there."

          After that, Peter and the others bedded down in the buggy as best as possible; Roger was in the front seat and Peter and Clover were in the back seat in each other's arms. Jack continued to travel since he was accustomed to traveling day or night.

          The next morning, Peter peered over the edge of the front seat and he saw what looked like a bird perched on Jack's head. "Um... is that a pigeon?"

          Clover lifted his head up and he looked to where Peter was looking. "It sure is. He is a long way away from the city, I can tell you that."

          Roger sat upright at the mention of a pigeon. "Jack? Is that the Were-Pigeon Lord from the Eastern Triad on your head?"

          Jack replied, "Yes, he was waiting for you boys to wake up."

          Roger remarked, "We're awake now, sir."

          The pigeon flew over into the front of the buggy where he transformed back into his short pudgy human self. "My name is Guido. We were told that youse boys were coming to see us but we were not told as to why. Perhaps youse can shed a little light and a few bread crumbs on the situation, yes."

          Roger opened his pack and he unwrapped loaf of bread and he cut off a nice niced piece of it and handed it to Guido. "Best I can do, sir. It may be a little stale, but there won't be any mold because if there is, I won't eat it."

          Guido sampled the bread and said, "Seasoned bread. Youse have good taste. Now for the story."

          Roger then said, "Pay attention, Peter. Remember when I said I would tell you my story; this morning you get your wish."

          End of Chapter Five.


            Chapter Six.

            Roger glanced up at the sky for a moment before he looked back at his friends in the wagon once again. "Several years ago within the older countries of Europe, my father was a vampire hunter of renown within Austria; he was so good at his task, he often brought family members with him on his jobs. One day, he was to vanquish an elder Vampire lord who had been controlling villagers throughout a fief of a larger kingdom. He had brought me along to learn the trade; to him, this was just to be another common vampire slayers outing. However, at the entrance to the vampire's lair, we encountered what looked to be a pony sized wolf. This beast was huge in comparison to most wolves. And worse, this one could talk. He lifted his great head when he saw us approach the entrance and he said, He whom you seek sleeps within but mark my words, hunter... he has been awaiting your arrival. My father turned to me and said, I do not want to kill a wolf, son; take this beast off into the woods where he will be safe and then return to me. The wolf then said, If you enter this lair, you will not emerge alive, hunter. As I said, he has been awaiting you. As for you, lad, touch me not for permission you have none. Defy the laws of nature and learn to walk as I walk and hunt as I hunt. only then may you seek the forgiveness of Luna to be as a man once again. My father said, The wolf only speaks what his false master bids him to say, son; take him into the woods or I will have to kill him to enter the lair. I do not wish to do that; nature deserves to live. I then approached the wolf and said, My father has dealt with these fiends before, noble wolf. Once you are away from the vampire's aura, you will gain your rightful mind back. And before the wolf could say anything more, I grabbed his fur around his neck and pulled him toward the woods. He put up little resistance and as we entered the woods, the wolf suddenly gained almost superhuman strength as he grabbed me and lifted me in mid air before him and that was when I saw that the wolf was actually a Werewolf Druid wearing clothes and the holy icon of Luna. He then said, A shame you are so obedient to your father, Roger. But when a Druid gives you a warning, you heed that warning. You will never see your father again; the vampire lord has been preparing for his arrival. I was tasked by Luna to save your family's lives; yours specifically. Luna stated that you were important to nature's way. As I warned you before, Roger, you must learn to walk as I would walk and to hunt as I would hunt. And when you have suffered this life enough, then and only then may you seek Luna's forgiveness to be as a man once again. This Druid's Curse is now upon you, Roger... Werewolf of Luna. Behold the full moon and feel the bane of what you have brought upon yourself."

            Roger took a breath before releasing it. "He then swung me out into a clearing in the woods where I noticed the full moon in the sky and that was when pain gripped my body. Never let anyone tell you that a Werewolf has to penetrate your skin to share their curse with you. Simply touching them without permission will do it. I transformed painfully upon that moment. As I lay on the ground on all fours, I never became aware of when the Druid released me from his grasp as my body became as wolf like as his own. I then heard him give out the final instructions, Go to the new world and seek out the Western Triad council member known as Wolf Spirit. He will try to convince you that being a wolf is the ultimate blessing. But you must resist the call to go fully beast. If you seek to be a man again, ask him of Luna's quest. As a spirit lord, he must answer your question. Mind you, he will only speak to you when you have released your werewolf side. He will not speak to you when you are a man. And then the Druid loped off into the woods -- wolf style. And I never saw him again. I spent the rest of the night learning how to work with my new body. And sadly, how to hunt game as a wolf; how to remove the fur to get at the meat and how to eat as a wolf. Alone."

            Roger then looked to Guido once again. "Come the morning light, I shifted back into my naked human form; I had to make my way back to the Belmont residence in the nude without being seen nor caught. Upon entering, I retrieved spare clothes and got dressed once again. Remembering the druid's words, I began to make plans for embarking on my nature's quest to the new world. I didn't know where to seek the Western Triad. Within the nearby village, I got word at a tavern of an information agent who was actually quite good at his craft. But he lived some distance away in Elfdown Warren. And I then set off to find Clover. I wasn't sure what kind of person Clover would be with a name like that but I needed information for my quest."

            Clover then said, "And herein begins my tale for which Roger would join with me as I was hired to assist him. Days before his coming to seek out my help, my warren was attacked and wiped out by an enemy clan of Were-Fox hunters. Were-Foxes and Were-Rabbits were sworn enemies although I was never sure as to why. We all served Luna. I had been away performing my profession and when I returned the day before Roger's arrival, I found the Warren in ruins. Only those who were away from the warren survived the onslaught. Most of my kind were gypsies by trade, but information gathering was second nature for us with Luna's blessing. After gathering what goods I could salvage from the warren, I left my former home and entered the closest village where I took up residence within the loft of the livery stables. And that was where I encountered Roger."

            Roger said, "I had been muttering to myself that I would never find Clover the Information Broker and all of a sudden, he emerged from where he had been resting and spoke to me. After introductions, I told him the truth about what I used to be and of the curse that had been placed upon me. After making a deal of convenience, he agreed to accompany me on my journey gathering information for me so I would not fail in my quest. Of course, we never expected to encounter Peter and to become intertwined with his cords of fate in my quest. And later, having Jack join us in our quest as well. I am not sure how Jack will fair once we have to enter the wilder lands to the West. We are all fond of him already in the short amount of time that we have known him. And now you have left your city to come meet with us in the Massachusetts countryside. Is my quest for Luna really so important that you have left the safety of the city to come meet with us?"

            Guido ate some of the seasoned bread before saying, "Youse have no idea, Roger. I am to guide youse boys along the safest route into New York City. With a Triad representative in your party, no other were-beast will challenge youse the right to make the journey."

            Peter said, "When I met Roger, I was raising money as an escort to places throughout Boston to assist my sick mother who had been infect by marsh worms of which Roger knew how to extract and kill from my mother's legs. The bandits on the road to the Black Unicorn Inn and Tavern befell Roger's wolfy side and he gave the money they had been carrying to me which I made sure my mother received after Roger healed her. She then gave me permission to continue to be an escort to Roger. I knew his secret and I wanted to travel with him."

            Roger smirked. "Peter and the Wolf."

            Jack then said, "When they arrived at the farm where I had been stuck and cursed to stay as a Were-Donkey, it was Peter who showed the kindness to feed fresh apples to the two cursed owners that enabled my freedom to occur to leave the farm and they gave the use of their covered wagon to the boys as well which I agreed to pull for them. I had been a thief before I ended up as this shape. Luna has me performing a hundred good deeds to earn my restoration to my human form. However, I am beginning to wonder now if I will still seek to be returned to normal after I perform these good deeds. I like traveling with Roger, Clover and Peter."

            Guido remarked, "The completion of a quest is rarely the end of a journey, Jack. Only you may decide what your life will be in the end."

            Clover then said, "In other words, Roger may not seek to become human at the end of his journey if he sees the good for which his cursed gift grants him."

            End of Chapter Six.