ATCv1 #1 of 25

22 02 2008

This is how everything started…
Please note that posts in this category belong to the old, discontinued version and as such will not any updates nor corrections.

Laiva tossed and turned in bed. It was so unfair. Nobody would have
laughed if she was a boy. And then as she stood there, alone, the
whole village laughing at her, her eyes watered and she could not hold
back her tears anymore.
Why her? She was no small girl. After all she was already
eight years old, nearly grown up. It hurt so much. Nobody understood
her, not even her mummy. Then she made a decision.
She stood up and dressed. She would take only a few things
with her. Carefully she opened the door of her room and tiptoed past
her parents’ door. Stairs next. That was the most difficult part; they
always creaked. Slowly she went down stair by stair. Her Daddy’s
dagger was lying on the table as always; Laiva took it and went into
the kitchen, she took some bread and cheese and put it into her
leather bag. Then she went out of the kitchen, carefully removed the
heavy bolt from the door and opened it.

A small figure hurried along the road leading toward the woods. Nobody
else was on the streets; even the village wasn’t safe at this time of
night.
Two yellow eyes followed the girl. Slowly the wolf came out of
the shadows. It enjoyed bathing its dark gray fur in the light of the
full moon. Dark gray except for a thin silver line around the neck. It
had an envelope in its mouth. Then it went to the door the girl had
come from and dropped it in the mail slot before trotting away into
the same direction as Laiva.

The forest was even more scary than usually. Laiva renewed her grip on
the dagger. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea after all. There were
good reasons for staying at home at night, but it was too late; there
was no way back, she had made her decision. If only it wasn’t that
scary. And all those stories about the beasts living in this forest.
There were far too many men who never got the chance to tell their
story. Like her uncle. The grown-ups had been whispering, but she had
heard it anyway; they had only found his gold ring. It was a gift from
the Duke and he’d rather have died than taken it off. And then Laiva
had that feeling. She couldn’t tell why but she knew she was being
followed. And it was far too quiet. No owls were crying, no animals
were running through the undergrowth. Not even the wind was rustling
in the leaves.

They were on the hunt. A pack, a dozen wolves at least, perhaps two.
However, that wasn’t the problem. Werewolves were overrated anyway.
No, the real problem was darting through the trees, far above the
pack. Odd enough it wasn’t attacking; it must have smelled the girl.
She was lost. Nobody to see it had survived long enough to tell the
tale. Then there was the sound of jaws crushing bones and claws
slicing flesh. And again there was silence. The beast was gone.
Forever.

The wolves were approaching; they had surrounded Laiva, but making
fire was easy; she had mastered the spell years ago. Laiva mumbled the
words, being careful not to confuse the syllables; the wolves were
already dangerously close. Laiva’s fingers were illuminated by a
magical glow and suddenly a small flame appeared in her hand. For a
second the wolves were frozen, enough time for her to grab a branch,
lit it and press her back against the nearest tree. Laiva knew she
could defend the semicircle. She had never understood why werewolves
were afraid of fire as if they were ordinary wolves, but it was
certainly a good thing to know. Waving the burning branch in front of
her, she kept the wolves at a safe distance. What next? They weren’t
attacking, but they were waiting. She knew she only had to wait until
dawn, but it wasn’t even midnight. She also knew that she would be
safe on a tree, but the very second she turned her back towards the
wolves to start climbing they would attack. The dagger wasn’t any
help. It was made of the best steel, but she’d never be able to fight
that many wolves. If it was made of silver she’d perhaps have a
chance. Silver… She searched her pocket while still waving the
branch with the other hand. They were still there. She had completely
forgotten about them. The buttons for her new ceremonial dress. They
were made of silver. Laiva did a fast move and something flew through
the air. One of the wolves yowled in pain and for a few moments its
body was shaken by spasms before the death struggle was over. The
buttons had always reminded her of throwing stars. The other wolves,
overcoming their shock, speeded away. Just as she wanted to relax a
bit another wolf appeared. Thick dark blood was dripping from its
mouth. It stopped and wiped the blood away with its tongue. Could the
others have called their leader? It looked different, not really like
the werewolves, but there hadn’t been normal wolves in this forest in
ages; the werewolves had hunted them all down. And anyway, she
couldn’t take a chance. The silver star flew towards the wolf. It
jumped and while turning in midair it caught the piece of silver.
Slowly it approached the baffled girl. It didn’t even seem to be
afraid of the burning branch in her hand. About half a metre from her
it dropped the button and laid down. Laiva didn’t know what to do.
Sure, it was a wolf, but it didn’t behave like one. She bowed down and
took the button, closely watching the wolf, but it didn’t move, just
returned her stare as if wanting to say ‘Don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt
you.’
She put the fire out. It had nearly reached her hand and the
wolf didn’t seem to be impressed by it anyway. It was a risk, but
burning herself wasn’t really an option. The wolf watched her, but
still it didn’t move. Perhaps she should have left it alone, but
something made her sit down in front of the wolf. Obviously the most
stupid thing you could do, yet she couldn’t help herself. It all felt
like a dream and she knew she could trust the wolf; it put its head on
her lap. Laiva couldn’t help herself but gently scratch it behind the
ears. It had soft silken hair. On the neck Laiva’s fingertips touched
leather. The collar was completely hidden by the fur, just below that
stripe of silver fur around its neck. She managed to remove it in
order to take a closer look. It was just a thin strip of leather.
There was no buckle, instead it had been fastened with a simple knot.
Written on it with yellow paint were the words ‘CALL HIM MYNOR’.
‘So you are Mynor?’
Mynor barked.
When Laiva tried to put the collar back in place, Mynor
wriggled his head out of her hands.
‘Well, we’ll have to leave it off then.’
Another short bark.
‘You understand every word I say, don’t you?’
Again Mynor barked.
‘You know, I can’t stay here. I still have a long way to go.
Nice to meet you, Mynor.’
Saying this she stood up. She went to the dead werewolf,
pulled the silver star out of the corpse and started to continue her
way. A few moments later Mynor was next to her. She wasn’t surprised,
had secretly hoped so; she had only meet him a few minutes ago, but he
already was like an old friend and more important he gave her the
feeling of being safe. Perhaps that feeling was nothing more than an
illusion, but Laiva didn’t care. And anything was better than being
alone, at night, in this forest; if you thought about it the whole
thing was pretty strange, after all Mynor was a wolf. On the other
hand he barked and as far as Laiva knew wolves didn’t bark. They
yowled, growled, snarled, but barked? And what about that collar? It
was as if it was made for her. ‘CALL HIM MYNOR’, more an instruction
than anything else. Well, it’s a strange world anyway.

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