If this story works, it could be rather unique in the making of an official declaration in the existence of werewolves, as opposed to their always hiding from the public eye.
This is the first segment of an 8-page short story. Comments Welcome.
Only a handful of events can be classified as history in the making. I, Jeroume Preston, witnessed an event which shaped the future of humanity – truly history in the making. I had the privilege to be present during the first official meeting between Humanity and Hybreed. The event was recorded for posterity by several sources, but this account is merely for my own humble memoirs.
On January 22nd, 2148, the Imperial Council of the American Empire convened in closed chambers. Nearly all 223 Lords were in attendance, representing the different Departments of the American Empire. The movement of the audience reminded me of a tidal pool, settling after an invasion of seawater. Most in attendance were dressed in formal Council attire, consisting of official shirts and ties, slacks, and long coats with tails. A few even wore traditional robes. Any variation of the attire was restricted to the female gender. Again, tradition ruled the chamber. It struck me as ironic, since the subject of this meeting was likely to shatter many traditions.
As the traditional ring of the seating bell echoed away, I joined Dad and Chris on the open floor. Dad and I wore Council Attire. Chris, however, was rather self-conscious, though he was wearing a Council Robe. Even despite my experience in public speaking the atmosphere overpowered all three of us standing on the floor, prodding us with intimidation. Rows of seats climbed the walls, their occupants looking down at us. Pompous stares gazed at us from many of the attendees. I could not shake the feeling of scrutiny, like we were a laboratory experiment on display. Dad felt the same, no doubt with a greater intensity, but certainly it was nothing compared to what Chris endured.
Once the attendees were seated Empress Lisa Schall entered. Her ebony skin complimented her blue imperial gown. She took her place at a raised platform on one end of the chamber, accompanied by her personal guard and entourage. With all the leadership, wisdom, and respect genetically imbued upon her she addressed the council, explaining the nature of the meeting. Her hazel eyes shifted, but never pointed. Silent huffs and scoffs announced the underlying protests. The Empress, however, continued by turning the floor over to Dad, and then took her seat. Dad asked me to begin the deliberations.
“Empress, Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen: Department 118 has been vigilant in upholding its mandate. We investigate unexplained phenomena be it paranormal, extra-terrestrial, etcetera. What you will see today will make the importance of our department’s work indisputable. The subject itself, however, cannot be ignored or refused. It must be accepted for the good of all. What you will see will interest some, but will terrify most. It is vitally important to understand you are in no danger. The things you will see are under complete conscious control. You will have the opportunity to approach and examine what we are about to show you of your own free will.
“Dep:118 has discovered the existence of another sentient race, ‘elusive creatures from myth and legend.’ These creatures not only exist, but are in fact flourishing. They have the intelligence and dexterity equal to any human, but the instincts and simplicity of an animal. As living creatures they have the inalienable right to continue living, but we have also verified the purpose of their existence, and that purpose brings into question how we, as human beings, will respond to these creatures.”
Lord Wells respectfully raised his hand, and Dad recognized him. “So you’re saying these creatures are a human-animal hybrid?”
“Yes,” Dad stepped forward and answered, “but they pronounce it differently. They call themselves ‘hybreed’. That’s the chosen name of their species, like how we call ourselves humans. They also use the term for both singular and plural, just so you know.”
The Empress raised her hand next. “Your colleague mentioned there is a purpose for their existence. What is this purpose, Lord Collins, and what are their intentions?”
“Simply put, Empress, their purpose and intentions are to maintain the Earth’s ecosystem, what they call the ‘Earthlife’. That’s it. They aren’t trying to rule or dominate humans. They’re bringing the ecosystem back into balance, and will maintain it that way.” Dad sighed, the trepidation in his shoulders and face becoming much more noticeable. “However, it also means they will require us to submit to their direction, at times.”
“What exactly do you mean by our submitting to their direction, Lord Collins?” The biting implication easily identified the inquisitor as Lord Hopkins, one of the few choosing to wear a full formal robe instead of the compromise of coat and tails.
Dad looked directly at Lord Hopkins, reflecting his animosity. “Figures,” he whispered, then increased his volume for all in attendance. “Alright, this is what I mean: humans as a whole are tenants of Earth. Though we have often declared ourselves the masters of the planet, we are not landlords. The hybreed will eventually become said landlords.” Dad softened his countenance and turned his attention back to all in attendance.
“That will be a difficult pill for most of us to swallow, but the hybreed and by extension their environmental position are vital for Earth’s ecosystem, not to mention every single life on this planet.” He slapped the knuckles of his left hand into the open palm of his right. “It’s imperative that we recognize and accept their position,” he looked directly at Lord Hopkins once again, “whether we personally like it or not.”
“What right do they have to take this position?” Lady Hatada did not wait for her raised hand to be called upon.
“The same right we had to leave it, my lady; the same right we had when we became masters of the planet instead of caretakers. But, please understand it doesn’t mean the hybreed are masters over humanity. They have no interest in trying to rule us. They are, simply put, driven to look after and maintain the Earthlife. But if they need to protect planet’s ecosystem from humans, they most definitely will. So I ask all of you: do they need to protect the Earth from us?”
A hushed murmur made its way through the crowd. Empress Schall listened intently, but made no facial expression to expose her thoughts, though her hazel eyes narrowed with interest.
I'm looking forward to seeing how you portray the emperess. I also appreciate getting to see this scene played out as I recall it was something you eluded to in previous posts. I'd write more, but it's late and I have work tomorrow.
“How do you know that is truly their intention?” Lady Worthington asked.
I answered for Dad. “Dep:118 has found several hybreed communities and established a dialogue with many of them. We’ve confirmed these intentions in every single community. In fact, my lady, our research indicates their need to protect and care for the Earthlife derives from their instincts, and is honed by training and teaching.”
Dad stepped toward Lady Worthington’s location. “I know it’s difficult to be convinced by mere words, my lady. That’s precisely why we sought out multiple communities of these creatures, and verified by their claims not only with their words, but their actions and interactions. We wouldn’t be bringing this issue before the Imperial Council without certainty.”
“What do these creatures look like?” Lord Wells asked.
Dad looked at Lord Wells and smiled in excitement, innocent wonder glistening from his green eyes. “Would you like to see?”
Another wave of murmurs washed through the crowd, stronger than before, and Dad’s expression grew firm with anticipation of inevitable events.
“Empress, Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen; what you’re about to see will terrify many of you, and will question your personal definitions of reality. If there are any here who cannot show restraint over their fears, if there are any who cannot represent humanity in a mature and respectful fashion, then there is only one thing those individuals need know: the exits are clearly marked. We now give a moment to make use of them.”
Dad turned to join Chris and I as three individuals left. Loyal support beamed from his emerald eyes to Chris. “You ready?”
Chris shrugged. “Ready as I’ll ever be. But it’s not me I’m concerned with.”
Dad put his hand on Chris’ shoulder, empathizing. “The Empress assured us you won’t be harmed. It’ll be just fine.”
“I’m not worried about her either.” He scanned the audience. “I can feel the tension in the room. I can practically smell it. All it will take to turn this into a riot is one bad move on my part.”
Dad removed his hand. “Well, then, don’t make a bad move.”
“Seriously, Chris; if you get any inclination of things getting bad, let me know.
Whether it be the audience, or the Empress, or me – doesn’t matter. Let me know, ok?”
Chris nodded, took a deep breath, and stepped forward.
“Hi; my name is Christopher Hansen, and I’m hybreed. I can shift my physical form from human to hybreed and back. Most of my people can’t do this; they stay in hybreed form from birth to death. Only a few of us can shift form, and no one knows why we can do it. Dep:118 is trying to help us find that out.” He took another breath, exhaling in a puff, and cocked his head in concession. “I will now shift to my hybreed form.”
A hushed silence filled the room to the point of becoming tangible. With slow determination Chris removed his robe. Under the robe he wore a white cotton tank top and a pair of black cotton shorts. The attendees sat nearly breathless as Chris gradually dropped to his knees. He closed his eyes as he mentally invoked the shift. Seconds later his eyes shot open. “Here we go,” he said with a groan, and fell forward onto his hands.
His skin began to visibly redden, followed by an exponential increase in brown hair on most of his body. Bones and muscles writhed in shape. His face contorted from the pain, but as he later told me, his nervous system kicked in and blocked the sensory input. Nevertheless he continued to twist and stretch in response to his body changing form. The balls of his toes became pads to walk on as his thighs shortened and his calves, shins, and feet lengthened. The tips of his fingers widened and hardened, making thick pads. His thumbs did the same, but not to the same extent. Both palms grew out to match the pads of his fingers, and his nails increased in length and thickness, almost at a perpendicular angle to his fingertips. He flexed his fingers, and his newly formed claws expanded and retracted, softly tapping the hardwood floor. Ripples from skeletal restructuring bubbled throughout his spine and torso. A tail sprouted from a prepared slit in the back of his cotton shorts, growing hair as it lengthened. His nose and mouth elongated to a short muzzle. The outer rim of his ears lengthened and flattened. As his skull receded, the angle of his ears shifted, taking a position near the top corners of his head.
During the transformation a few attendees called out in alarm. Dad and I assured them there was nothing to fear, everything was under control. The Empress watched the transformation with silent awe, her mouth gaping with astonishment; but fascination gleamed in her eyes.
I was pretty pumped to log in here after roughly twenty thousand years and see a post from Grayle.
Good work, friend!
Hey Niktoma! Nice to see something from you again. Please keep in mind the first-draftedness of this story, but it's good to know you appreciate it. How are the Kolaks doing, by the way?
Next segment follows.
As the change finished, Chris shook the stiffness out of his limbs like a dog emerging from water. Then, with complete self-awareness, he crossed his left paw in front of his chest and bowed to the Empress.
“He’s a werewolf!” Lady Stanhope cried out.
“Hybreed, my lady,” Lord Collins corrected her. “Remember, they prefer the term Hybreed. But for all intents and purposes, yes, the hybreed are werewolves.”
I once again looked at the Empress, who was slowly nurturing a smile upon her face.
“Lord Collins!” Lord Hopkins stood as his accusing tone reverberated through the chamber.
Dad gritted his teeth behind an insincere smile, composed himself, and then looked up at Lord Hopkins. “Yes, my lord?”
“These creatures are mindless beasts known to slaughter humans. How do you justify putting one of these things in the same room as the Empress, let alone the rest of us? I demand you explain yourself, sir!”
Another wave of murmurs washed through the crowd, accompanied with a few protests adding validity to Lord Hopkins’ reservations. Dad took two steps toward Lord Hopkins and waited for the noise to dissipate.
“Look at him, my lord Hopkins. Take a good, long look.”
Blue eyes of a panicked human met brown eyes of a docile hybreed as Dad continued.
“I agree, my lord, most legends are rooted in fact. Standing right beside me is a werewolf. Obviously that part of the legend is fact. But as you can plainly see, the legendary disposition is totally inaccurate. That is exactly one of the things Chris has come forth to prove, and all you want to do is try to rub his nose in it! I think you should explain your self!”
I saw no reason to allow the tension building in Dad, fueled by the animosity between he and Lord Hopkins, to undermine our efforts. I asked Dad if I could address the council, allowing him a chance to calm down. Dad agreed. I stepped forward to explain one of the things I observed about Chris and his people during the last few years.
“Empress, Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen: please take the following into consideration. A werewolf is a merger of man and wolf. Wolves are not bloodthirsty monsters. They hunt when they need to, they run when they need to, they attack or defend when they need to, they play when they need to, and they even discipline when they need to. They are social animals with strong family values, much like man himself. The nature of the wolf is to exist in its pack, its family.”
Lord Tidwell raised his hand and I acknowledged him. “How do you explain the occurrence of lone wolves?”
“That is a very good question, my lord. Lone wolves are rare, and are simply in search of a pack to which they can belong – whether one already existing, or one they establish. Their actions are still driven by the instinctive need for family relations. The outcome is very similar with hybreed, because their instinctive sources on both sides of the equation.”
Lady Worthington asked the next question. “So where do they get their vicious reputation?”
“Unfortunately we have no precise information on that cause, but likely it derived from hybreed defending themselves or their loved ones from human overreaction toward a misunderstood phenomenon. Is not an angry human mob often a component in any werewolf legend?”
A hum of agreement filled the room, thankfully pacifying much of the tension.
“And yet, when wolf and man merge, legend says it will automatically become a mindless raging beast, slaughtering innocent victims because it's now their nature. Is that consistent with wolf nature? More to the point, will we treat these creatures based on the stereotype we force upon them? If you really wish to know the truth of these creatures, then here is your chance.” I gestured to Chris, who had already broke his gaze with Lord Hopkins and sat on his hind end, panting.
Dad raised his hands wide in a disarming gesture. “Chris has come before us of his own free will. He wishes to show all of us the peaceful, caring nature of hybreed. He wants to dispel the lies, and show evidence of what his people are really like. And now everyone here needs to decide how we, as individuals and as a people, will treat our brothers of the Earth.” He moved his open palm toward Chris.
A hushed whisper floated through most of the audience, yet still no one made any movement toward the floor.
“We promised the opportunity to approach and examine the facts, now here’s your chance. If any wish to show the trusting nature of humanity toward this new species, feel free to do so.”
A cold, awkward moment passed as heads glanced from one side of the room to the other. Still, not one person came forward. Then suddenly, as if he appeared out of thin air, one man began to descend the stairs. Every step was solid, deliberate. Hazel eyes focused directly on Chris, the man showing no fear or trepidation in his face. Everyone in attendance automatically poured their attention upon him as each step brought him closer to the floor. Then, just as his right foot rose from the final stair to meet the floor, someone spoke.
“Lord Crayne, wait.”
All eyes, including the descending man, Lord Crayne, turned to the speaker.
Empress Schall stood, her gaze fixed on the hybreed sitting next to Dad.
“I will be the first to meet this fellow race of Earth as the duly-appointed leader of the American Empire, and I will do so with open arms.”
The Empress began to make her way down to the floor. Many, including a very fervent Lord Hopkins, protested as she made her descent. When Lord Hopkins blocked the aisle and refused to stand aside, she finally looked him in the eye and addressed him directly.
“Lord Hopkins, I appreciate your taking devil’s advocate in the name of the Empire. However, I am convinced there is no intention of deceit or threat. Instead, I see an opportunity to establish a foundation of peace and understanding for our two peoples. Any who stand in my way stand against the Empire. Where will you stand, Lord Hopkins?”
Defeated, Lord Hopkins respectfully lowered his head and stood aside. Other members of her entourage, and especially her personal guard, escorted her to the floor. Lord Crayne had been all but forgotten. I do not recall what happened to him after that moment, or precisely when he left the room.
The Empress insisted on approaching Chris alone, and none of her accompaniment objected outwardly. As the Empress slowly approached, she looked at Dad for assurance. Dad smiled and gestured toward Chris.
“Empress Lisa Schall, I’d like to introduce you to Christopher Hansen. Among his people, he is known as Graman.”
“Graman,” she repeated, looking at Chris. Apprehensively she held out her hand. “It is an honor to meet you, sir.”
Ever so slowly, ever so cautiously, his closed mouth approached her hand, and licked it twice. Chris then slowly lowered his body to the floor and rolled over onto his back.
“It’s a custom of his people,” Dad explained. “He’s exposing his vulnerable underside as a sign of trust and respect, also acknowledgement of your position.”
“W-what should I do?”
“Well, usually the approaching Alpha will sniff his belly and crotch to get his scent, and if he approves of Chris, he would put his face next to Chris’ mouth so Chris can lick his cheek.”
The Empress looked at Dad in alarm. “Is there perhaps some other….?”
Dad smiled and laughed quietly. “In this case, I think just rubbing his chest would do.”
With utmost caution the Empress kneeled and reached out toward Chris. He leaned his head back. She brushed two fingers against Chris’ shirt, and then explored the soft fur on his chest with her open fingers. A repetitive thumping announced his wagging tail. Slowly Chris rose to sit on his hind end, and the Empress proceeded to stroke the top of his head, mesmerized by his lucidity. Her smile widened into a toothy grin as she choked on a laugh.
Chris curved the corners of his mouth upward, opening his mouth and displaying his panting tongue. As he later described it to me, this was a true, honest smile in the fashion of his people.
“Keep in mind, Empress, that the man you saw standing here earlier is still right here, just in a different form. He is fully aware of everything we are doing to him, and what he is doing to us. In this form, though, his instincts often cause him to act more like a wolf.”
As if in response, yet of his own accord, Chris slowly stood on all fours. He pushed up with his front paws and rose to stand on his hind legs, a third of a meter taller than his human form. He offered the Empress his open paw. She took his paw in her hand, and they both shook.
Then, after letting go, he yelped in pain and fell to the floor, convulsing.
Last edited by Grayle (2012-06-14 18:29:48)
Damn! Don't leave me in suspense! What's happening to Chris during this critical moment?
Well, in that case, I'd better post the final segment. Remember, this is a WIP, so any Comments are encouraged, any critiques welcome, and curses will be downright rejected for ethical reasons.
The imperial guard surrounded the Empress with immediate action. Most of the crowd stood, many of them storming the floor. As I battled futility in bringing order to the situation with my voice, Dad instantly fell to Chris’ side, not bothering to ask what was wrong, but consoling him. Only when the convulsions subsided did he ask what happened.
With a complicated mixture of sounds and gestures, interlaced with whines of pain, Chris described the situation. Unfortunately I was not fluent in the Hybreed language, so after the crowd was sufficiently calmed I asked Dad about the goings on. With a gentle hand on Chris’ arm, Dad did not turn to me but leaned over Chris to inspect his back. He reached with his free hand, coursing his fingers through hybreed fur.
“There’s one, Chris. I need to find the other one, hold on.” He continued to search the fur, and seconds later located the other half of whatever was hurting Chris. “This might sting a bit. Ready?”
Chris nodded with a whine.
Dad repositioned himself to Chris’ back, took hold of his quarry, and then pulled swiftly. Chris yelped, but was no worse for wear. Dad stood, put both of the found items in his right palm, and showed them to the Empress and all others nearby.
The Empress widened her gaze at the items. “Shock darts.” She looked at Dad. “He was tazed.”
With steady emerald eyes fixed on the Empress, Dad nodded. “By someone in this room.”
A fierce determination engulfed the countenance of the Empress. “Seal the room!” Her entourage followed the command with swift response. She looked down at the hybreed lying on the floor, and then addressed the attendants still in her presence. “I want a list of those who left since I shook Graman’s hand.” She turned to Dad. “Lord Collins, words fail to truly express my grief over this incident. I pray this does not affect our reputation in the eyes of the Hybreed.”
Dad looked down at Chris. “Chris, you holding any grudges?”
Chris huffed and painfully raised himself to a sitting position, his hind legs diverted to one side. He shook his head as best he could.
A guard approached the Empress. “From the time her majesty shook hands with the…” he looked down at Chris and back up, “Hybreed, seven left the hall: an attendant to Lord Hopkins, Lord Crayne, and Lady Hatada with her entourage.”
“Intercept them immediately. As for the rest of the attendees, they will be interviewed and inspected before leaving this hall.”
Chris nudged Dad with his paw. Dad turned his attention to Chris, and Chris conveyed something in the hybreed language. After he finished, Dad smiled and turned to the Empress.
“Chris says no hard feelings – except for the pain, which is dissipating. He asks you not to retaliate against his attacker too much. His instincts are pushing him into seeking justice against his attacker, but he’s choosing to show restraint. He wants to show that he has control over his instincts regardless of whatever their intensity might be. I think he’s still trying to impress you, Empress.”
The Empress looked at Chris with what I could only describe as the epitome of respectful admiration. “Then, not only am I impressed, but I will follow his example. I do not believe I have ever been so graciously honored in light of an assassination attempt.”
Dad cocked his head in much the same way as Chris did at the same moment. “Excuse me, Empress; assassination?”
“Perhaps. As Empress I am nearly always a target. Therefore the possibility exists Graman was attacked in the hopes I would be victim to his lupine instincts, or his reflexes at the least. In so doing, the assailant would rid the Empire of my rule and discredit the Hybreed in one stroke. However, Graman kept all aspects of his behavior in complete control – dare I say, in better control than any human.” She turned to Chris. “Regardless of your assailant’s intent, I am greatly indebted to you, Graman.”
I found it most noteworthy that the Imperial leader of the American Empire chose to address Chris by his hybreed name, not the one given to him by humans. Later on Chris also showed great appreciation for her decision.
Chris used his paw to dismiss the idea. He then made a gesture which in ASL translates as ‘thank you’ – something he learned from Dad’s adopted son, Jake.
Surprisingly, the Empress recognized the gesture. “And thank you. I hope this is the beginning of our peaceful coexistence.”
Chris slowly returned to standing on all fours and bowed.
The Empress turned to those in attendance as they were filed into waiting lines by her attendants. When she called for attention any and all hustle and bustle ceased.
“This is a decree from the Office of the Empress. The American Empire recognizes the Hybreed race as a self-aware, sentient species of the planet Earth. They will be treated accordingly. I appoint all contact, research and case study of the Hybreed to Department 118, under the leadership of Lord Raymond Collins. Any other departments who wish to learn of these creatures must collaborate under his supervision.”
“The Empress has spoken!” called out one of her attendants. Attention redirected to the waiting lines, and the interviews began.
Later that day, much to the relief of the council attendees, the source of the attack was identified as the attendant of Lord Hopkins who left as Dad inspected Chris. He was found dead two days later in the lower levels of the council hall. Upon further research, the individual was never employed by Lord Hopkins or Dep:89, and surveillance records show he never had contact with Lord Hopkins until introduced before the council meeting by his secretary. The secretary never returned to Dep:89, and at last report the investigation of both the attendant’s identity and the secretary’s whereabouts continues.
What I have written here is merely what I could remember. Much more discussion and debate took place that day, but either I did not take note of it or it was irrelevant in my opinion. The most important thing to remember is that this day marked the recognition of the hybreed by humanity, and began a chain of events which defined the future of Earth, humans, hybreed, and the right to be who and what a person chooses to be.
And I was a part of it. I was there. As Dad might say: Cool.