(Originally from October 2007)
This is a study in free flow writing. It may not make sense when it’s finished. Oh well.
**Mature content warning**
Querin continued to chant, and the writhing wolves began to change. It was slow, almost imperceptible at first, but as Keena watched she could see their legs and torsos lengthening and their heads changing shape. As the strange mutation continued, it gained in speed, rapidly bringing the creatures to their new shape until the space as no longer filled with whining wolves but screaming men.
Keena stared dumbfounded at the changes before her, noting with an almost surprising amount of horror that the dark wolf had changed into none other than the mysteriously returned Torick. He threw his hands over his face, trying to shield his eyes, screaming for Eseldra – who didn’t come.
The men nearest to Querin shrieked louder, and tendrils of smoke curled up from their skin. Dark spots, like bruise colored flowers, blossomed on them. They clutched at themselves, howling in their agony, as Querin’s voice grew louder and more forceful, no doubt commanding them to die.
At the last Keena had to look away, unable to watch their demise. She covered her ears to drown out their death screams, but nothing she did could block the sound. She shuddered noticeably. Tears stung her clenched eyes as the men died. Torick’s voice rose above the others as he continued to desperately scream for his wife.
The last echoes of his agonized voice died away, and Keena opened her eyes in time to see the golden light wink out, leaving the woods in blackness and silence. Unable to resist she drew forward. Querin surveyed the bodies that lay scattered at his feet, each one black and charred, their features and limbs twisted to reflect the agonized frenzy they had died in. Her eyes were drawn towards the darkened figure of what had once been her uncle, his burned mouth still opened, silently screaming for she who had abandoned him.
Querin was soon at her side, his hand on her shoulder. “Come, we have not finished yet.”
She nodded slowly and let him lead her away from the carnage, her head bowed.
As if reading her thoughts Querin spoke calmly, soothingly. “They were no longer human, but something else. Possessed by dark demons that gave them the power to take the shape of wolves. They would have taken the entire village in a bath of blood to complete their spell and free themselves of the demon’s gift.”
Her voice was a barely audible whisper, stating things even she wanted to ignore, “But if they wanted free then weren’t they still human inside?”
He took a moment to answer. “Perhaps. Or perhaps it was the demon’s wish for freedom that drove them. They only like to be trapped inside a mortal body so long and then they want released into the world. They cannot break through the membrane that separates our plains alone, they must use a vessel, a living body as a gateway. Had we left them they would have devoured the village and then the demons would have been released from their prisons of flesh to roam the earth and cause death and destruction.”
She nodded again and fell silent, though it was hard to agree while the memory of Torick’s screams reverberated in her ears, reiterating the humanity he’d still possessed.
Keena had to stop and rest more than once, but Querin was patient with her, always using it as an opportunity to scout ahead in search of Eseldra and the three wolves that had escaped him. They saw and heard the village before they reached it. A low orange glow in the thickly clouded sky told them of fire, while the echoing screams spoke of an attack.
To be continued….
(It’s Eseldra’s fault this isn’t ending… her and her escaping…. damn her….)