Lycanthrope

(or "The Man Who Became a Wolf")

Chapter 1

© 2001 by Sofía 'Toffee' Francisco

This page was last modified: 2001/08/29


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There are so few things we know for certain, yet I firmly believed that everything had a motive, and thus, the origin of every action and reaction could be found. Perhaps I needed to have faith in this, for me and for Glau; what else was left to us if not?

Angurboda sighed and picked Fenrir up by the back of his shirt, like a mother wolf raising a cub by pulling on the scruff of its neck. I pricked my ears slightly just to hear her scolding him for whatever it was he had done this time. If a wolf's body had allowed me to smile, I would have. A few minutes later he trotted in and sank down beside me, burying his face in my thick fur.

"I don't understand it," he whispered, fingers clutching my fur as he always did when he felt insecure. I whined helpfully, urging him to explain himself. "Why is it so wrong for me to say I hate humans? They left my mother and father to die!"

I growled softly, shaking myself to get him off me. Fenrir pulled back with a frown on his face, and a look of animal resentment on his hawkish eyes.

"It's true!" he cried. My growl deepened... but what could I do? I understood everything he said, yet I didn't have the capacity to answer back. "And you hate humans too! I have heard Glaur talking like that!" I yelped and felt my fur stand on end, ears pulled back as I bared my teeth at him. That was Glaur's own business!

"But that is because we are not human, whereas you are," my sister's smooth voice made us both turn around swiftly. She wore loose leather pants and a thin shirt, her hair was combed and pulled into a thick black braid, but she still looked as animal as always. Fenrir groaned and looked down.

"I'm sorry," he muttered sullenly.

"Sure you are. Mother and Ymir are only worried about you... you are human Fenrir. We hate them because it's the only way we can survive them." Fenrir frowned and bit his lip.

"I don't want to be human..." he muttered. Glaur let out a soft growl and moved her shoulders like a beast about to pounce.

"You cannot change what you are."

"But humans betray each other too, like they did to my mother... so the only way for a human to survive humanity is to hate them too!" Glaur paled visibly, and shivered. I knew all too well how Fenrir's savage eyes could unsettle us. It was like staring deep into the eyes of a forest dweller, yet he was human. In more than one way, he was very akin to Glaur too. Both my sister and I yearned for what we could never have, and the result was our disastrous personalities.

"Fenrir..." but he was already running out the door and into the forest.

I huffed irritably, as if to say "leave him, he'll be back." And he was, of course; a few hours later and much hungrier. His eyes were red from crying too much and his nose was chafed because of the cold wind.

"I couldn't find my way out," he declared coldly.

"Of course not," my mother laughed. "This part of the forest has several wards and spells to make it impenetrable from the outside, and the inside too. We must protect our pack."

Fenrir looked up from the bowl of soup she was serving him. "Why am I suddenly a part of your pack?"

"You have no other... and the humans that you hate... would indeed kill you." She sighed and stroked his face gently. "We saved you, now you are ours." I sat down beside him and licked his face, making him smile and loop his arms around my neck.

"I don't want to go either..."

"Then don't," Glaur muttered around a bone she was chewing. My mother frowned at her unbecoming display but said nothing, she knew that there was no helping my sister or I. Angurboda simply let us be, I think she blamed herself for our faults, even though she was not really guilty. No one was, actually.

But it was impossible to convince mother of that. She was wholeheartedly convinced that Glaur and I were here fault, even though there was nothing she could do. Father had loved her and that was why she married Angurboda, even though he knew she had "messed-up blood", as our uncle Tyr called it.

Fenrir would spend most of his time with me or Glaur, he enjoyed the benefits of both our companies, and we both grew to love his constant company. He was insatiable for knowledge, which I had plenty to give, but given my circumstances it was Glaur who taught him. He was also eager for hunts and savage runs through the forest, which Glaur would have gladly accompanied him on, if he had not preferred me because of my shape and the pack's respect for me. On more than one way, he bridged the gaps between us, that our ill-conceived bodies had forced us to create.

"You see," mother told him one day. "They can't change shape. You have seen me shift from wolf to woman and back to wolf... because I can do it. Glaur and Ymir are trapped in their shapes forever, that's how they were born. Whatever it is that makes me change, didn't come out right in them.."

But Angurboda wasn't perfect either. Whereas true-blood werewolves could shapeshift at will all the time, she was ruled by the cycles of the moon. To her it was not controllable, she just fell into wolf-shape as soon as it was full moon. That was why uncle Tyr never agree to her marrying our father. "She will soil de blood", he had said. But our father loved her and married her anyway... and here was the result. Glaur and I were ruled by that which we lacked. I yearned to walk upright and write and talk... and she ached to be able to feel the wind chill her fur, and run fourfooted through the forest until her lungs burned. We couldn't help it, nature made us werewolves at heart, thus we loved both our sides. But we had been given right to only one...

"Why do they act like the contrary of what they came out as?" Fenrir murmured, staring deep into her grey eyes.

"Because one side is satisfied, but the other will forever hunger. Glaur will never be able to be human because of this, and no wolf would mistake Ymir for something other than a werewolf. They are trapped." She hugged Fenrir and stroked his hair absently. "A bit like you..."

He had looked up at her, yellow eyes narrow and curious, and then he had leaned up and licked her face like Glaur or I would do occasionally. My mother gasped, a hand flying to where his tongue had touched her cheek. Fenrir only smiled and slipped off her lap, running up to meet me. I remember mother's look of profound confusion, and regret.

Of course she knew what we were doing. Raising a human child among our kind... it was nothing short of blasphemy. And Fenrir yearned to be one of us... and we -the fools!- let him.

He was a good hunter too, despite his few years. He learned fast and early training affected his malleable human genes, making him develop surprising eyesight and a keen sense of smell. He wasn't as good as I was, but he could certainly beat Glaur anytime. He would lean down and sniff the ground when he wanted to know who had been there, and before a year had passed he already understood the deep ululating messages carried in the howl. But there was always something odd about him...

"Gunpowder... close by."

I had whined at the thought of a human hunter breaching out wards. Fenrir and I had taken the pack on a reconnaissance trip, having heard through the web of the howl that humans were inching a little too close to our territories.

"Too close to the Wards if you ask me..." the levelled tone of his voice made me shudder and I knew the pack felt skittish. Fenrir had been with us for three years now, and at nine he was nothing like the defenceless child we had brought in. There was power and animal force in him, to a point that the pack respected him as a leader as much as they did me. But up to now there had been no affairs with humans, and I wasn't sure how he would react.

Glaur had been adamant on not letting him go.

"Ymir! These are humans we are talking about! His kind!" I had let out a soft groaning huff. What could I do? We couldn't shield him forever, we couldn't make him something that he wasn't. And if he found in them what he was lacking of in us... then he should leave with them. Glaur knew this all too well, but neither one of us was willing to let of of Fenrir.

He was ours, wasn't he?

"Wolf hunters," Fenrir's angered hiss made me start slightly. I looked up into his eyes and found no mercy, or curiosity. Pure hatred shone in thos amber orbs. Hatred towards... what he was. I licked his hand, trying to wamr the cold fingers and make him react. But how? To what?

He only gave me a strange look, then hunched down to prowl closer to the hunters. The pack followed him quietly, eyeing his moves carefully to follow his plans. Very soon, we had the hunters surrounded. I looked up at him again, hoping to see a trace of something human in him, recognition even, but there was none. He coiled himself, legs tense and ready to pounce at any given time. The hunters looked around nervously, feelings death breathing down their necks.

He just jumped in and killed them, the pack following his lead like a frenzied beast as he took out a dagger and gutted the hunters. They didn't even have time to fire their guns, but their eyes... I still remember the look of absolute terror and incomprehension as they were slashed open by a child of their own kind.

Glaur was furious when we got back, but one look at our blodied bodies made her go silent. She tried to pick Fenrir up in her arms, but he refused. Her dark eyes fell on mine, pleading for an answer I didn't have. She lifted a stained hand to her nose and sniffed. I saw her pale visibly; yes, it was human blood and not Fenrir's.

"Ymir... what?" She whispered, but Fenrir's warning growl cut her off.

"There were wolf hunters too close the wards."

"Human... wolf hunters," she murmured, trying to gauge his reaction. There was none.

"Yes, human. Dead humans right now," and there, just beyond his hatred and calmness, there was an whisper of pride in his voice. A glow of satisfaction in his vulpine eyes, accentuated by the sight and the stench of blood that clung to him like a mantle.

"Oh.. Fenrir..." Glaur hated humans, but she was too smart for her own good. We both knew we were making a mistake here, by having allowed this child to transverse so far into out domain and into our psyches. But it was too late by then. "Come on, you have to bathe yourself."

Angurboda didn't say anything, but I could smell the sadness in her. Fenrir's happiness was a grating truth that jarred on our nerves, and yet... we couldn't truly regret it. We had wanted him to stay with us, we had wanted him to be one of us.

After dinner I slipped into his room and curled up beside him on the furs he slept on, licking his neck as he shifted and mumbled something uninteligible. He turned around and warpped his arms around me, burying his face in my thick fur as he had been doing for years.

And he cried.

What are the true limits of insanity? We raised him to be one of us, yet be constantly reminded him that he wasn't. Life taught him to hate that which he was, as we did, yet we chastised him silently for what we had brought upon him ourselves. We has trapped by our subtle loves and hates, bound to our lives as if he had been truly born inside our family. Yet he knew, as we knew... that he had not. And none of us ever forgot it, fot better or for worse.

Uncle Tyr didn't take to our mother's little project either. He came to visit us on the winter of Fenrir's tenth birthday. The howl had carried news far, he said, and he had been told of a strange event that was unfolding in the midst of our family. Mother cowered visibly when he showed up at our door, instinctively recognising his leadership. Glaur was pale and furious, but said nothing.

"So.. is it true that you have a human here?" he demanded, and mother looked away.

Tyr had never liked her, and after father was killed by a group of hunters he had all but banned her from the clan. Our welcome into our family group was barely existent. Father had been of noble blood, the fact that he married one with messed up transformations was scandalising enough. Glaur's and my birth had brought Tyr no joy, for he and his wife prided themselves in the purity of their lineage. He would have thrown us out of the family, but he resepcted father's last wish that we be treated well. Or at least... ignored.

"Yes, he..." Tyr cut mother off with a violent sweep of his hand.

"By Odin Angurboda! Are you out of your mind? What on earth possessed you to have done this?" he cried, lips pulling up to show his sharp teeth, despite the human shape he was in.

"He is harmless Tyr! And he respects our rules, and he..." she stopped talking under the intensity of his gaze.

"He is a human, and like all humans, he is a danger to us. Think, Angurboda! What use is he of?"

"We love him Tyr!" Glaur cut in, eyes flashing with animal fury that he could barely contain. Tyr's growl of distaste made my hair stand on end.

"If I thought your existance was dishonour enough to our line, you crossed the limit with this last show of stupitiy," he declared, muscles tigtening as he fought the instinct to leap on her. "I want him out of here, I will not allow you to disgrace my brother's memory with a human's life among our kind!"

"I am not a human!" the chilling cry of fury that came from behind Tyr froze us all. He blinked and turned around slowly to face the young child. Fenrir stared up at him defiantly.

"My, my... so this is your little mongrel? Hardly impressive," Tyr drawled, staring down at the young boy distastefully. "Do you really think you are no human? Let me get a taste of your blood boy... I could tell human blood from that of my kind miles away."

"Tyr!" my mother cried, reaching out to take his arm, too slowly as he had already leapt into the air and shifted in mid-fall. The creature that hit the ground on all fours was not human by any standards, but not a wolf either. Dark grey fur stood on end, covering a muscular body. He was twice the size of the biggest wolf I had ever seen and even bulkier.

Fenrir didn't waver in his resolve, he kept staring at my uncle with the same dark hatred he had bestowed upon his kind long ago.

"Die," the short lisped word issued from my uncle's warped snout as he pounced on Fenrir... and fell back.

Glaur let out a gasp of surprise and fear as our uncle hit the floor with a thud. I looked up at Fenrir, confused, and froze.

All around him there was a strange glow, a mixture of blue and violet that crackled eerily as some unearthly wind whipped his face and hair, his golden eyes shone with the insane light of a killer yet he remained poised and tranquil.

Like a wolf.

Tyr got up growling softly, but did not try to jump on him again. Angurboda was trembling though, and both my sister and I stared at her and Fenrir in utter confusion. What had happened?

"You are a fool Angurboda... to have brought him into your house!" Tyr hissed, and my mother flinched, this time... in guilt. "You have sentenced us all to death!"

"No... no..." she whispered, shaking her head.

The glow around Fenrir intensified and I swore I could see swirling shapes behind him, golden eyed wolf-wraiths that shivered in their etheral existance.

"Mother...?" Glaur took a step towards her, but mother shook her head and walked past us, up to where Fenrir stood still.

"Fenrir... it's okay, we know... you are not... a human..."

His slanted eyes fixed on her then, leaving Tyr at last. "I'm not," he agreed. The blue-violet waves in the air began to waver and become diffuse along with the nightmare wolflike spirits that hovered in it.

"You have killed us all you foolish thing!" Tyr cried. "We will never be safe now! They will know! They will know!"

"Fenrir would never betray us!" mother cried, turning around in a flurry of rage and tears. "He is one of us!"

Tyr laughed bitterly. "One of us? Look at him, look at him!"

Mother put her arms around Fenrir and tightened her hold on him, fear shining in her eyes. " Tyr..."

"I'll have to warn the clans about this, we have to leave..."

"He won't betray us!" Mother screamed, and Fenrir blinked as if he had only now awakened. Tyr gazed down on her sadly.

"Angurboda... he is our death. He is one of the Seven... and they will kill us for sure now that one of them knows we still live," for the first time since I had met him as a pup, he looked genuinely pained. "Even a human would be better than this. But he... that child you are holding... will kill us all once he comes into his power."

"He won't... Tyr..."

"You can't control his fate. Get rid of him."

"NO!" it was Glaur this time, anger making her usually smooth face a mask worthy of a monster. She was not exactly human after all, was she? "Fenrir will never hurt us! I don't know why you are saying this but he I know he won't!"

Tyr gave in at last, shaking his head. He slowly shifted back into a relatively human shape. "Do as you will then... but before you pass your judgemente, you should ask your mother about the Seven. Then you can decide."

We were so confused, Glaur and I, and Fenrir was afraid. I could tell, the uncertain trembling quality in his eyes prooved that he was terribly afraid, and unsure of himself. He didn't understand what had happened, and neither did we. Not until later on that night... when mother had made sure the Fenrir slept soundly and he wouldn't hear.

"Mother, what did he mean?" Glaur pulled on her skirts as she sat down beside her, eyes frantic for an answer to a problem she did not know.

"Your Uncle is right... we cannot let him stay... I didn't know... but that power..."

"Mother?" I whined along with my sister, staring at her in utter dispair. What did she mean?

"Oh Ymir... he will kill us all. The Seven protect Asgard and it's priestesess from any harm, and long ago they tok upon themselves the task of ridding their lands from the dangerous monsters that inhabited them. Only humans were allowed to live... and a few semi-humans."

Glaur shook her head in disbelief."What...?"

"That power Fenrir showed today... it means he is one of them. The denfenders of the Humans, Odin's chosen ones. Our deaths."

"No..."

"Fenrir is -or will be- our murderer."

Little did we know how things would work out. Fenrir was only a child, and even though mother grew to fear him from that day on, she never again suggested we got rid of him. Glaur and I loved him with a ferocity born into our kind. Though as Fenrir grew the nature of our love changed, and while I grew to feel for him as my leader and brother, Glaur forced our precarious existance into a greater peril. "I am human too, in more than one way" she told me one night. "At least my body is." I should have suspected. But I didn't. No one did.

To Be Continued


Toffzies:

Dedicated to Verena! Happy B-day! (However late... *sweatdrops*) Hope this made you happy and satisfied your Fenrir-cravings my friend!


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