A man walked the empty streets of the small town of Shemet. His long coat clung to his body in an effort to block out the cold of the dark night. He journyed to the local saloon, his boot clad feet clopping along the cobble stone road as he neared his destination.
The lights from the saloon cast an eerie shadow across the ally next to it, its light illuminating several pairs of eyes, golden in color, as the silhouettes of the animals dug garbage out of the trash cans. Paying no heed to the creatures, the man entered the bar, its occupants turning to cast him hateful glares as he let in a wisp of cold air.
"Sorry about that, gents." came the man's deep voice, thick with a British accent. He took off his top hat and sat at the bar.
"Wha' can I get ya?" The large man behind the bar asked as he cleaned a glass.
"Oh... umm... yes, I'll have a scotch on the rocks. Please." The British man said as he tried to avoid eye contact with the bartender's lazy eye.
"Comin' right up, sir." The bartender said as he turned his back and picked up a bottle of scotch and a glass.
The bartender was about the pour the addictive liquid when a howl from outside peirced the silence that surrounded the men and made him pause. That one howl was answered by five others. The British man turned his head, a look of bewilderment on his face.
"Wolves!" He stated with excitment, "I didn't think they traveled this far south since the climate here does not sustain suitable food for them!" The man quickly pulled a book out of a pocket inside of his jacket. He opened it and flipped through the pages, "I believe that howl was a call to the hunt."
"A call to the wha'?" The bartender asked as he poured the drink.
"The hunt. You see, the alpha of the pack will call the pack together before they go and hunt. Now, the question is: what they could possibly be hunting here? According to the book, wolves like to eat large herd animals like: elk, moose, and deer. None of those animals live down here, aside from possibly a few small deer."
"It wasn't always like that." An elderly man said as he moved to sit next to the young British man.
"What do you mean?" The young man asked, watching the old man take a seat at his side.
"Aw, lad, don't get the old geezer started!!" A man said from behind him.
"Back in the old times..." The old man began. Whether oblivious of or ignoring the other man's comment is unknown.
"Now look what ye gone an' done." Another man said.
The old man paused and looked around the bar, his dark eyes taking in everyone. "If you don't want ta listen to it then don't; I ain't making ya." Once the room was quiet, the old man turned and looked at the British boy. "You want to hear what I have to say, don't ya?"
"Yes, I would very much love to hear what you have to say. Just hold on one moment." The young man took out a fountian pen and a small notebook, and he quickly opened to a blank page. The old man's eyes took in his every move before he started laughing.
"A young scholar!" The old man said as he took a swig of beer. "Alright lad, you ready to hear the tail of the wolves?" Once the boy nodded the old man took on last swig of beer.
"A long time ago, back to the days of the old, when the first settlers came across this here heap of land, there was an odd tribe of people. Though they were primitive in nature, they where skilled architects. In fact lad, some of their buildings still stand, one could say that they copied the great Egyptians of old." The old man chuckled before he continued, "Now, it was these people who held this tale sacred, for it tells of great, fierce, and loyal protectors.
"As the settlers moved into the land, claiming it as theirs, they drove the tribes back into the wilderness, away from the shrines and homes. The explorers and settlers moved into the cities and took over the peoples' homes. Anyone who got in their way was killed. As the weeks went by, the people from the tribes got together, and their prayers rang across the land as they pleaded to their gods for help in those hard times. The gods' answer came a few months later. Four women each conceived a child. When they were asked who the fathers of their children were, each young lady described the exact same man.
"Don't give me that look boy. I telling ya the story as I heard it from my mother, who was told by her mother, who heard it from one of the girls who watched all this happen."
"So wait... You're telling me that four girls were impregnated at the same time, in a past society? Surely in those times a girl would have been killed for having sex before wedlock, and the man would be castrated or something of that ungodly nature!" The British boy said.
"Lad, did I ever say they were impregnated on the same night? And if ya let me continue with the story, you'll find out why they were not killed. Now where was I... Ah, yes, the women...
"Four women where impregnated by the same man; the only problem was that this one man did not seem to exist. The chief ordered his remaining soldiers to search everywhere for the man, but as ya probably guessed, the man was no where to be found. The chief placed each girl in the hands of their fathers, as it was each man's right to punish his daughter accordingly. The fathers each sent their daughters to death. However, the day they were to be executed, the fathers decided to spare their daughters, saying that the great god Damascus had told them that each of their daughters carried one of his children; children sent to protect them from the foreigners."
"After that day, each girl was housed at a separate shrine, the priest claiming that the great god Damascus had told him to place them so. There, the women lived comfortably until the time came nine months later, and each woman was blessed with a demi-goddess, each baby girl possesing one of the four major elements. The daughter of the cheif gave birth to the demi-goddess of water, whom was named Prayer, the cheif's mistress gave birth to the demi-goddess of fire, a child that she named Adaira, the daughter of the carpenter gave birth to the demi-goddess of the earth who was given the name Mika, and finally, the daughter of the high preist of the great god Damascus gave birth to the demi-goddess of the wind, a girl they named Siobhan.
"As each girl grew, they were all drawn together. They played with each other everyday outside the temple of Damascus, and their lives were filled with joy and happiness, as was expected. But their happy times did not last long. On their eigth birthday, during the time of day or night that best represented their power, they were forcibly shifted into wolves. Not just any wolves-- the demi-goddess of air became a wise white wolf, the demi-goddess of earth shifted into a stong gray wolf, the demi-goddess of water shifted into a sly black wolf, and the demi-goddess of fire shifted into a beautiful blond wolf. The change was short-lived, and each girl soon resumed their humanoid form, but after that time, it was not uncommon to see four wolves playing in the fields."
"Hold on old man."
The old man eyes darkened in annoyance at being interupted... again. He looked at the young man next to him.
"That's just not possible; humans can't turn into wolves... and demi-goddesses? The whole thing is kind of far fetched..."
"You wanted me to tell ya the story, and that is what I am doing now. Sit down and be quiet. Next time I am interupted, you won't hear the end of the story." The old man paused as he waited for the young man to be quiet. "As I was saying, it was not uncommon to see four wolves playing in the fields. The grandfather's watched cautiously, and an obvious gap appeared in the small pack between two of the girls. Prayer and Adaira were constantly at each other's throats, mostly because Adaira did not believe Prayer was the right alpha for the pack. This made the chief very angry, and he would constantly punish the demi-goddess of fire for her behavoir towards his grand-daughter. That, in turn, made the rift between them even greater. By the time the girls where sixteen, the gap had grown so much that the fights happened everyday, and the day when they would need to protect the tribe came closer.
Oh, shoot... I forgot to say something earlier." The old man said as he took a swig a beer. "Each girl had a chosen fighting style, but that'll be more relevant later in the story... The demi-goddess Mika loved archery, therefore, she became the archer of the group. The demi-goddess Prayer loved sword fights and became a master swords... uhh... what's the word I am looking for...... she became a master sword fighter... we shall just go with that. The demi-goddess Adaira preffered hand-to-hand combat, and she therefore mastered daggers and sais as her weapons. The demi-goddess Siobhan loved all the spells and curses that the priest taught her, so she became a mage. There, now that that is out of the way, I can continue.
"The day finally came for the girls to protect their tribe. The foreigners had marched to where the tribespeople were taking refuge, deep in the center of the forest. As the army of strangers approached, the leader demanded that the land be handed over to them. The tribespeople said nothing as the four girls stood between them and the invaders. The demi-goddess Prayer stepped forward and told the foriegners to leave and go back to where they came from. The men just laughed at her, though some of the soldiers went as far as to yell that she would be a good slave when the land was taken over. And so, a battle ensued. The four demi-goddesses and every available warrior charged the invaders. The enemy soon learned that the girls were not what they appeared. Men screamed as they were burned alive, enveloped by quicksand, entraped in blocks of ice, suffocated to death, or were mauled by a wolves. The battle was long, and it only ended when the invaders began to frantically retreat.
After that day, the girls lived together for a few more years, but not so very long after that, Adaira challenged Prayer to a fight for the Alpha position. The fight was made into a huge event that the whole tribe came out to see. The two girls started out using their weapons, but they soon shifted into their wolf forms. A few hours later, the demi-goddess Adaira was deemed the victor, as Damascus had chosen to smile upon his eldest daughter that day, while Prayer, having lost, received nothing, and forfeited the position of Alpha that she had taken for herself all those years before. And so it was that with a broken heart filled with thoughts of betrayal, she left.
"As time went on, the three reamining demi-goddesses met three other wolves and invited them into their pack. Those wolves, too, were like them in that they all had humanoid forms. One of the new comers even became the alpha male when he took the demi-goddess Adaira as his mate. Eventually, the tribe moved to a new land, far away from the foreigners, though the pack had decided to stay behind in the land of their father. However, after a long while, the demi-goddesses also disappeared, taking with them the wolves that had migrated to their home over the years to be their followers. They were never heard from again."
The bar was silent as the old man finished his story.
"But there are wolves here now." The young British man said.
"Yes, which is very... " The old man paused as the door to the bar burst open, and six people entered the room.
A couple entered first, the man at least a head taller then the girl whose shoulders he had his arm draped around. His light silver hair, streaked with gold, seemed to dance in the dim light, and his silver eyes glanced around the room, narrowing at anyone that looked at the horrid scar that went from his forehead and trailed down to somewhere underneath his shirt. The girl leaned up against him, her hair multi-colored red and blond moving about like a flame in a breeze, her eyes the most unnatural thing about her, the left blue, the right silver. The twin-like pair that followed them in were the shortest of the group. The first girl looked normal, with blond hair and green eyes, but the girl holding her hand stood out the most from the group with her long white hair and golden eyes. And finally, following them came a man that was about the same height as the girl with the multi-colored hair and eyes. Unlike the others, his hair was black, and in the flickering light, it seemed to reflect green. His eyes, like the multi-colored girl's, were also unnatural. Though they were the same color, they were the shade of ivory, and they had no pupils. it could have been that he was blind, though the way he walked disproved that theory. The one that entered with him was another simple girl, her brown hair up in a pony tail, swaying with every step she took, her hazel eyes looking curiously at each face in the room as the group made their way to a table away from all the other occupants in the saloon.
The old man watched as the pack sat down, his dark brown eyes never leaving the odd bunch.
"It makes me wonder," The old man started, "why the wolves are returning now..."
His eyes met the multi-colored eyes of the group's leader, and she raised an eyebrow at him in amusement as he bowed his head in respect as he whispered,
"Welcome home protectors of the Srala people..."