Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Progeny of Huon (Chapter One:Draft One)


It was midnight when I received the call. Albert was on the line. It wasn't often we spoke. Mostly he concerned himself with my father.  I figured that it was the damn time change.  My family's running ground was Paris. I had had a bit of a falling out and had moved to the States after university. 

"Paul, I know you won't want to, but we need you back here."
"Why?"
"It's complicated but the short of it is that your father is in the hospital."

In that instant I knew that I would go, but still I didn't want to.  I left to get free of all the weirdness.  I grew up around it. The old man was some big wig among the strange, I didn't understand it nor can I explain it now.

When I was 15 years old I was nearly mugged by a werewolf only to mention my last name and have him go running into the alleyway.  When I was 7 I was nearly poisoned by fae fruit.  I just wanted to quit all that.  Don't get me wrong the strange is here, but they don't know me. To them I'm just another mundane and that's the way I want to keep it.

I've just been running into the wild things by accident though.  What I know about that world is only the tip of the iceberg.  Running through my mind that day was the fact that beyond the looking glass there are more things than are in my philosophy. If he was hurt there is no telling how it happened. It could have been food poisoning or the wrath of some angry god.

"I think it would be easier to explain the rest when you get here. But with him laid up the world's  gone wrong."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jetlagged and hungry I found my way off the plane.  Albert was waiting, just as I remember, tall and slim with a shaved head and thin glasses.

 "First thing first let me take you to him. I didn't want to get into the particulars on the phone, but he's unconscious. Been so for the last 24 hours.  He's stable. We don't think he'll keel over anytime soon, but that's part of the problem. How much do you know of what your father is?"

"Oh I don't know ."

"He's not exactly human nor am I. Strictly speaking neither are you.  How should I explain it. Okay. In the early days the wild things were wild. I mean really wild. They roamed the countryside doing as they pleased.  Then man grew strong.  Before the mundanes were divided and weak, one warlord fighting for dominion over all the rest. It didn't happen all at once but one by one the wild lands became less so. The odd had more to worry about than one strong man and twenty of his friends with pointy metal sticks.  The strongest of the sentient fae gathered to figure out a course of action. It was decided to grant one mortal power over us. To keep the peace and keep the secrets. That guy was your ancestor. Who passed the duty on to his son and so on and so on until your father. This coma puts us in a fix. Nobody knows what has or should happen now. "

"And what do you think?"

"I have no clue. But due to some promises I made a while ago I felt honor bound to tell you at least that much. In all honesty I'm hoping everyone else will sort it out so I won't have to get involved."

"So why are you?"

"Our world works on one and only one principle. After that all bets are off. We, all of us are held accountable to Alec Huonson."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------When we entered the hospital there were already several people in my Father's room.  Some I knew. Most I didn't but among them I did recognize Meridian. Meridian was dad's best friend and he helped raise me.

"We know the why, but we don't know the who, how, or when." Merry said with a grim face.

"His job, our job, was to police the big uglies. Mostly we let them do what they will and only got involved with the big stuff, the occasional plot to overthrow the mundane, civil wars amongst the unnaturals, someone threatening to blow the whole damn charade. There are a lot of them that want to go back to the days when they roamed free.

"The sons of Huon earned a lot of enemies. Your dad is mostly immortal, hard though not impossible to kill. Even if he wasn't most know that doing so is stupid. The moment he dies someone else becomes champion of your house.  Probably someone bound by blood and duty to avenge his death. Thus the coma.

"The whole system is held together by ancient spells, and nobody predicted this scenario. Back when they were first cast, people who got into this situation mostly croaked.  Before you left your dad was planning on passing the duty on over to you. I have a letter he wrote to you a while back in case he passed, but even if his status wasn't so up in the air things have changed.  If he died would you do this?

"When you left the old man sent the word. Let you go. He always wanted it to be your choice. I always told him what a risk that was. This job needs to be done. He didn't exactly have a plan for his end of days. Why would he? Like I said it's not exactly easy for him to die. We always figured it would be his choice when to go just like it was his father before him.  You were too young to remember the days when you grandfather got tired of the fight.

"I wasn't around in the old days but I heard the stories of terror and chaos. And it wasn't just among the mundanes either. The strong prayed on the weak. The odd isn't exactly unified. It's all just everything that was deemed humanity can't handle. They'll war and feast upon one another if left to it. Hell, some are so removed from man that it's easier to kill them on sight rather than try to reason or negotiate with them, especially the bastards who did this. I have far worse fates in mind for them than the reaper himself could cook up.

"But that's not the point. The point is nobody knows who is supposed to do the job, or how anymore. All of your father's predecessor's had their own way of doing things.  Some were just lone hunters. Others crowned themselves king overlords of the all that was strange. Others were liaisons between us and the mundane.  So much of it was just a fluke of who was in charge. And since we don't know who is in charge right now things are in the air.

"Things are still somewhat under control. There are rumors and whispers in the wind. But nobody really knows about this. But that doesn't answer the question on everybody's tongue What happens now?

"I ran from this."

"And run again you can. Sprint to the farthest corner of the earth. But before you do I ask that you at least read Alec's letter.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meridian drove a jeep down a dirt trail through the Ardennes, speaking of about the how he was planning the search.

"We've been thinking about how to go about finding out who did it." said Merry. Among the strange there are seers, beings that are privy to privileged information. We were hoping you would come along with us to talk to The Three. They have a certain allegiance to your father and we're hoping it might extend to you.

"The Three?"

"Among the legends they're sometimes called gods and sometimes witches, but in truth they are unique. There is nothing else like them so we just call them The Three. They are the most powerful among the beings that divine truth." Albert clarified.  "I can't go with you.  Me and them have some old grudges and I don't think my presence will be of any help to you. But I can offer some advice. As Merry knows your father classified the odd into five categories based on their relationship to the mundane. The Three, depending on your luck and their whim, fell into categories three or four. Three means they have no allusions of being a part of humanity, but they understand human concepts and morality. Four means they're still sentient, but too alien for any interaction with them to be meaningful. My point is that they may help you, they may toy with you, they may even attempt to do you harm?

Meridian stopped the car and started unpacking.

"This is as far as we go by car. We've never really figured out where they live apart from in these woods. Generally if they want to find you they will. It takes a lot of effort to speak with them, but I think it will be worth it. Our best chance is to wonder around in the forest hoping they get curious. Don't worry I tagged the car so after it's all done we'll be able to find our way back but we're going on a bit of a camping trip. Maybe it will give you some time to get your head straight after seeing your dad like that, I know I could use it."

Around dusk we started to make camp, not far from a river. Merry had said that he would take first watch, and allow me to get some much needed rest.

That night I dreamed I was thirsty, I walked in the woods for hours but unusually I found no water. No rivers, or ponds. I finally came upon a clearing at which there was a well. Pulling a bucket from the well there were three women, each of them surprisingly tall, also each of differing ages. One was seemed like an old, woman, the second a young girl barley out of grade school and the third in the peak of her life.

The two younger ones seemed annoyed as though they had been taken from something else they would rather be doing but the eldest spoke to me.

"Long ago we decided not to intervene in fate. There are times where we have regretted that decision.  After much deliberation we have decided to compromise. We will not directly intervene in the coming events, but we will tell you some of what is to come.  We cannot change what is to come and have seen that to even tell you changes very little. He who guards you may think this an ordinary plot, but be aware that this affair will change our world. Oberon's oath has not served all of us.  Your father in particular had a penchant for interfering.  As Meridian has told you plots to break the oath are common. There are many paths and whether this plot succeeds or fails we can not say for certain for in truth it is not our concern, what we have seen is not the shattering of Oberon's oath but a shattering of a different sort. Soon Huon's Son, the mundanes will know. They will know of the dark things that hunt them. They will know of the what they can not unknow, and our ways, your ways and their ways shall be forever changed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clasping my mouth Meridian kicked me awake. He nodded his head towards the trees and unclasped his holster.

"We didn't expect to see you Merry." A voice said in my mind.
Merridian shot into the darkness

"Only my friends can call me that and you are no friend, lycanthrope." Not, taking his eyes of the tree line he said, "I forgot tonight was the full moon."

"Indeed you did."

"You know who I am. You know who I serve. You know that even if I am devoured, my master will hunt you and your pack to a man. You think I am the prey here you are wrong! And despite your pride my master is a better hunter than either of us."

"Maybe, but you do have it coming."

There was a howl and then we saw them, two black wolves charging us. Meridian fired hitting one of the wolves, but terror had over taken me and I ran.

"Damn it. That's the worst thing you could have done." Meridian said as he chased after me

We heard another howl and suddenly three wolves were coming at us from the left. We swiftly swerved narrowly avoiding them.

It continued that way howling and more wolves, for what seemed like hours. As we were running Meridian said, I can't do this forever. I want to make a stand, but my first duty is to protect you.  I nodded.

What happened next is difficult to describe, it happened so quickly. A large gray wolf with one eye charged into the Meridian fired, but was out of bullets. Then a smaller wolf that looked almost reddish attacked it. The gray wolf was larger, but because of its eye it was at an obvious disadvantage to the much swifter red wolf.  The red wolf managed bit into the left leg of the gray, snarling as it's teeth entered flesh.

"Andre, what the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Just hunting some foxes, Annabelle."
"Right."
"Merry, excuse me it is the only name I know of yours and I have more important things to worry about. Why are you in my woods?
"I needed some information and this seemed like the best place to get it."
"From one of mine?"
"No, I was here on an unrelated matter when your wolves attacked me."
"Andre?"
"He is one of Huonson's men. In fact it was he who took my eye."
"Huonson, huh."
"Maybe I should have let him have you, but the night is young and I want a simple hunt right now. I am not in the mood for a beast that bites back."

The wolves retreated into the forest. "Werewolves?" I said.

"Yep. Andre still has no goddamned impulse control."

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