Prologue, Part one: Dead To The World and Chapter One (edit)
Chapter 1 — Updated Nov 14, 2012 — 12,563 characters
DACIA, 1259 A.D.
The figure stood among the trees of the misty forest as the woods became swollen with dusk. He had waited patiently for his moment. He had plotted this act carefully, taking great pains to make sure his deeds would be noticed, the evidence connected to the local werewolves. He watched as the enraged villagers descended upon the Chambers' home. The Parents of Mary Chambers, better know to everyone throughout Dacia as Lady Knight Mary Volknor. He had murdered her years earlier, after she had given birth to a Lycanthrope child. Another abomination the world could do without. He knew that act had made him a marked man and he would be slain without a second thought should he ever be discovered. His mind drifted back to how it all had begun for him. He had a wife once. She had been beautiful, a caring and gentle spirit. That had all changed drastically after he had been attacked by a monstrous creature of dark power, and it passed it's terrible curse on to him. He had fought it off with an axe, and succeeded in finally killing it. At First, everything was wonderful. His senses were improving, and he had begun to believe the stories about how the creatures were warriors, protectors of the people. Then he mad the fateful decision to change beloved. That's when everything went wrong. She had slowly descended into madness, finally going totally insane with her first transformation and attacked him. To his honor, the only way he could stop her murderous rampage was to decapitate her. That's when he had sworn to avenge her and himself against the werewolves and show the world just how dangerous they really were. So he had set out on a quest to destroy them all, one by one. Even if it took until doomsday.
He watched the soldiers bang on the door, shouting death threats to the occupants inside. He heard a muffled shouting reply from within, then the garrison knocked the door down, storming inside. After the funeral of Walter and Mary Volknor, he had began to sow the seeds of destruction by causing chaos and death to the humans, the yelling it was a werewolf attack near the crowd. It had worked. He watched the Roman Soldiers exit the small house, the Chambers in tow, bound by silver chains at the wrist. The figure smiled. His bait had obviously been found. The body of the young woman he had left mutilated beside the river at the edge of town. He had not eaten of her flesh, for to do so would mean giving himself away to the enemy he had plotted to destroy from within. And he could not have that.
She had been at the edge of the wood picking berries when the first scream had reached her ears. Curious as to what was going on, she had crept to the safety of some thick bushes at edge of the forest, watching intently as they tied both people to two tall, individual wooden poles. She was horrified to see her own parents being bound to the stakes. If only Mary and Walter still lived, none of this would be happening. But dead they were. Had been for going on four years. Her sister, her brother-in-law, her newborn nephew, and her beloved Allar had all been murdered. But who and why were still an enigma. Vilaria Chambers stood at the edge of the Black Forest watching in wide-eyed, open mouthed terror as her parents were accused of being werewolves in league with the Devil, murder, and other horrible things. What right did Rome have to judge them or put them to death?
They were from another country and they thought they controlled everything. A torch was set to the kindling, the flames catching quickly, eagerly licking at the wood, engulfing iy. She soon lost sight of them as the roaring conflagration consumed them. She only heard their voices in her head, pleading with her to go quickly, and leave the village. It was no longer safe. Tears ran down her face. She was not even aware that she was screaming outin anguish as her parents' bodies thrashed violently, then stopped moving altogether. The soldier noticed her screams and began heading in her location. She saw them approaching but didn't care. Her parents had been put to death suddenly, without warning, without reason. They were only a few feet from her when the powerful arms, stronger than any human wrapped around her, yanking her from her spot and pulled her into the darkness.
PART ONE: DEAD TO THE WORLD
Nepal, 1363 A.D.
Stytentos watched the scene in horror, his heart in his throat. Another of his people sentenced to die. Just for existing. This time it was a young woman, no more than twenty and two years old, her infant held by the arresting Roman soldier. It was their way of making certain she cooperated. She stood atop the pile of wood, allowing her arms to be tied behind her as she sobbed uncontrollably. His heart went out to her. He desperately wanted to do something, but it meant putting his own life in jeopardy. She screamed out in desperation and fear for someone to help her, but no one moved. The flame of the torch was set to the kindling, the fire quickly roaring to life.
As the flames consumed the wood, it moved closer to the young mother as the crowd of soldiers sneered maliciously at her, delighting in her agony. Stytentos wanted to knock their heads off, leap beyond the burning wood, save the young woman and her baby, then run far away so they would be safe. So, why didn't he just do that? He tried with everything he had to move his legs, but they refused to move, as though his muscles had turned to stone. He looked down at them in horror, clutching his legs. They WERE stone.
Looking up, he saw the young woman wailing and twitching in pain and horror as the flames roared up her dress, up her body. Suddenly, the Roman general tossed the small crying bundle into the flames. The werewolf reached out in a futile attempt to grab the child, but it flew passed him into the raging wall of fire . . .
He awoke with a start, drenched in sweat. Another nightmare. It was like so many of the others that had haunted him. Memories from the past returning to torment him in the form of horrific dreams. He sat up, putting his face in his hands. As he calmed down, he remembered where he was. He was in the temple, where he had been for the last sixty-three years. Had it truly been that long? He reflected on the past, wincing at the ache in his heart.
After the murders of Sir Walter Volknor and Lady Knight Mary, the werewolf people found themselves facing a different world. Times were changing for the worst, and the Lycanthrope population realized that their future was an uncertain one. As time wore on, they were no longer held in high regard as they once had been. Their legend as guardians and heroes had become twisted and they were looked upon with suspicion and fear. The werewolf that had once been admired was now thought of as an evil creature of darkness that would attack anything that moved.
They had been hunted to near extinction, killed by means of cruel torture and and brunt at the stake by the churches of the invading Romans. The hysteria had swept through Dacia like wildfire, until it took hold in other lands. Entire families were wiped out, and in some cases, even humans were put to death as the Catholic Church gained total control of power.
Thirteen hundred was a dark time unlike any other for the werewolf people. Nearly fifty years after the deaths of Walter and Mary, the humans they once had protected and called friends had somehow become corrupted and turned on them. In the space of forty years, they had nearly all been destroyed. Only a handful survived the insanity that had come to be known as "The Burnings." No one knew how or why it began. It had left several wolves jaded and disillusioned, Stytentos being one of them. He no longer wanted to help anyone for fear he would be killed. Let them all die. He no longer cared. Let the ungrateful humans fend for themselves.
The entire village of Lupus had been wiped out by Roman soldiers under orders of the Catholic Church, their homes brunt to the ground. Few escaped. Many Romans were killed in retaliation. Tranak, the village that had loved Mary and Walter so dearly, were sympathetic to the wolves' plight, offering protection in their village, and in some cases, hiding them. They paid horribly for it. Every villager was killed in a surprise raid, their village suffering the same fate as Lupus. The surviving Lycanthrope left their beloved homeland to seek safety in other places. They just wanted to be left alone.
Stytentos himself, wanting to escape the tragedy and pain of his past, journeyed to Nepal where he had been living with Tibetan monks for the past sixty-three years. He didn't even know if any of his kind still lived. Oddly, the vampires had watched with silent glee, but not being stupid, they no longer attacked their victims out in the open. He briefly wondered if the bloodsucking bastards had a hand in it all. Tears formed in his eyes as he thought back to long ago. Despair and sorrow overwhelmed him. He felt empty.
He swung his feet over the side of the bed and stood up, feeling the cold stone floor on his bare feet. Going over to the dark red velvet curtains that hung to the floor, he pulled them to one side, gazing out at the mountains surrounding the tempe. Pale sunlight penetrated the room as dawn broke. The view was breathtaking.
Snow-covered peaks jutted up from the earth high above the temple to the heavens, as if to touch God Himself. The surrounding mountains were beautiful and he had traveled up and down their majestic grandness, helping some of the local villagers with their herds. He had even been attacked by a Yeti, but the creature quickly realized its mistake when he changed out of pain and anger. He had let it escape with only a broken arm. Sighing, he dressed the went to the door.
He had been meditating in the prayer area for only an hour or so when a voice spoke to him. "What troubles you, brother Stytentos?"
His eyes opened in a flash as he looked up at the elderly Nepalese monk standing beside him, his gaze focused on the foreigner. Tychook stood there, looking at him, a smile almost perceptible on his features. He had been one of the monks that had welcomed the werewolf into the temple and their way of life. Once he had written an account of Walter's life, some had decided to help rid the world of evil as werewolves themselves. Those monks had set off into the world to build a fortress for his people as a sanctuary, a place of knowledge, a stronghold. A sacred place one of his kind could go in times of trouble, for guidance, for training. They would call this fortress SHAMBALA, after the mythical kingdom of ancient Tibetan legend.
Stytentos was grateful to them, and had learned a great deal from the men who lived in the monastery. They had taught him how to deal with spiritual turmoil, doubt, and anguish. But on many occasions, he had found he still had much to learn from them. He had yet to find some semblance of peace.
"My past. AGAIN," he replied.
"I see," Tychook said quietly.
A long moment passed between them in silence before Tychook spoke again.
When he did, his message was not what Stytentos had expected.
"Sometimes, the past must be confronted in order for us to move on."
"What do you mean 'confronted'?"
"Confront all of the pain of your past to move on with your life. Until you do this brother Stytentos, you won't be able to find your way in life. Or Peace."
Stytentos looked at him solemnly.
His eyes downcast, he said softly, "I've lost my way. I can't move on . . . I have no direction. I don't know where to go, I don't know what to do and I don't even care anymore. . ."
Tychook placed a hand on his shoulder. He had a quiet strength that the werewolf had never known in any human before. "You must find something that makes life worth living again," the priest explained.
"How will I know when I find it?"
The monk smiled knowingly, as if he already knew the warrior's future, destiny, and ultimate fate. "You will know when the time comes."
The wolf sighed heavily.
"Thank you for your guidance," he said graciously.
The man only nodded then said, "Come, breakfast is being served."