Beyond the Veil

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A fabled wall, adorned with the severed skull of a once great werewolf alpha, stands between Natalya and her prey...

Prologue

 

Cloaked in the black shadows of the night, the men surged from the woods on horseback. When they emerged their faces were two toned; half brilliant white under the moon’s glow and half flickering orange beneath the torches they held aloft. They carried with them an array of swords and bows with arrows that had been dipped in liquid silver as well as daggers, halberds and axes that had been likewise imbued. The force, nearly three thousand men strong, galloped with deadly purpose toward the great werewolf city. 

The buildings towered over the men, rivaling the structures they had built in their own surrounding cities in both their beauty and architecture.

But as they reached them, they dragged their burning torches along the wooden sides. The flames eagerly fed on the thatched roofs and scattered straw as they licked and ate their way upwards. Soon the city was ablaze and the men reared on their horses, swords drawn to the nighttime skies, as they proclaimed their challenge to the vicious savages. They waited, shrouded in smoke for the werewolves to come, ready to meet them in battle with their recently sharpened weapons.

Their declaration of war had not gone unnoticed. In the woods beyond the men could see them; faintly glowing lights that bobbed in the wind, flickering as they paced between the trees or even closing altogether; winking like the moon did as she disappeared behind her cloudy cover. As the men watched, the lights seemed to expand like so many white sunbeams, casting their faces in pale luminescence. They were most certainly getting closer.

“Show yourselves beasts!” cried an elder while the city burned behind him. The men prepared to swing, shoot and strike with their weapons and their war hardened steeds snorted angrily, tossing their heads and stamping their hooves. In their armored barding their eyes and nostrils were naught but shady caverns; only the vapor that rose in the air to meet the trailing plumes betrayed the life beneath the metal.

One of the werewolves flung himself from the trees and onto the elder. A returning torrent of arrows streamed into the woods but the glowing lights only grew brighter. They widened until they became eyes; eyes that were lacking of pupils or reason and their wolfish forms quickly followed. In the night they were black and monstrous, and at the sight of those fearfully glowing eyes the men’s hearts quickened in fear. The battle had commenced.

The beasts slashed at the men with their fangs and vivid horseflesh tore beneath their claws despite the armor. The countless whinnies of petrified horses rang through the air amidst werewolf howling and crackling flame. As more and more horses were pulled down from beneath their riders and the werewolves ripped into the men’s throats, it seemed as if their armies would be slaughtered. But as their jaws closed around the steed’s unarmored legs or reached for their unshielded bellies there was always another rider just behind to avenge his fallen comrade. The humans outnumbered them twenty to one and despite their immortality many of the werewolves came to rest forever on the battlefield, impaled on blades or shot through with arrows that buried themselves in their vital organs. And so the werewolves sought to drive the army from their city but it was they themselves that were forced to flee.

In only a few hours their numbers had been nearly decimated, and the remaining beasts scattered to the woods where they were claimed by the instincts of the untamed wolf. There, some of them found refuge; away from the ones that did not stay to die upon the men’s swords. Among these was their Alpha Sakarr, who faced death with open jaws rather than run to safety with his pack mates.

With every eye and every weapon trained on him, he snarled in defiance as he hurled himself at the elder. As he closed the distance between them his demonic eyes basked the human’s fearful face in ghastly light until the blood drained from his skin and he was whiter than a ghost. Still the elder did not back down. Instead he had jabbed his weapon straight into Sakarr’s heart. At that very same moment the archers had released their arrows, and the others had thrown their spears and daggers in lieu of projectiles.

The Alpha’s broken body had fallen just short of the throat of their elder. It was unrecognizable, stabbed and flayed under no less than ten blades and arrows. The men cheered and celebrated their victory, for Sakarr would never rise again.

And so it was that Celestial Hold, the last werewolf stronghold had burned to the ground. Some of the werewolves that remained went on to form a greater pack though it would never again rise to the same glory as it had under Sakarr’s reign.

His head was severed from its ruined body, and a wall was erected that would forever separate the human’s territory from the werewolves. To drive away any seeds of rebellion, Sakarr’s whitened skull was placed at the entrance, so that all Werewolves who passed would know that they entered Valwood at their own peril.

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