Becoming a Wolf

Made for the Mortal Instruments Challenge! Coinín is a young wolf, who hates what she stands for. Her friends have no trouble accepting it, but being the leader, she feels that it's not enough.

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1. Underground

Left - right - duck - roundhouse - jab - right - left - block - upper cut - kick

My mind predicted his moves and immediately planed against them. The vampire might have speed, but I had strength. And this one was getting tired. I blocked and attacked, each hit resounding through his body with a satisfying hollow sound. I saw an opening in his defence, and launched myself at his stomach. I plunged my knife into his chest and propelled myself over into a summersault.

The thick, coppery smell of blood began to fill the air. Breathing heavily, I turned back to my opponent. Placing my boot on his fractured ribs, I yanked the knife from his chest. He was dead. Triumph flashed in my eyes and a smile played on my lips; I had won. 

'Coinín. You did not transform.'

My eyes instantly darkened, and I spat on the dead lamia. I raised my head to look at the elders, searching for the one whose gruff voice had spoken. I found him, and responded without courtesy. 'No Marrok. I didn't.'

'Now now.' This time Raddulf replied. His bright blue eyes were curious as they sough mine. 'Let's not feud. Thought your father is correct, Coinín. Why did you not transform? Your friends did fine. Look,' he gestured to where I assumed my pack were standing, 'Fáelán, Otsoko and Louvel all transformed. They completed the objective.'

'And I didn't? Because as far as I was aware, our only objective was to destroy our opponent. Which I did.'

Raddulf sighed and turned his head away. 'At least tell us why you didn't change.'

Like always, his words were slow and thought out. Mine rarely were, and instead tended to be sharp and sarcastic. I shrugged. 'Didn't need to.'

A wave of the hand, and we were dismissed. I turned sharply, letting my knife clatter to the ground as I walked out of the Arena. I felt my friends morph back and race to catch up. They were probably all exchanging nervous looks, worrying about my sanity. So I walked faster. I kicked down the Gym door, too irritated to be bothered finding the key, and made straight for the running machine. I set it to a fast pace, and listened to my pounding heart. Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom. Every beat, another step. I was so focused on the rhythm that I barely felt them as each 'wolf joined me in my training.  I wanted to be a wolf. Yet I hated the painful transformations that left me weakened and struggling to concentrate. Finally I slowed the machine down and began to stretch. Once we'd all cooled off, Otsoko asked the question I knew had been playing on their minds. 

'What happened in there Coi? You know the rules. If we're hunting Vamps, even in the Arena, we have to transform,' he said, in his soft voice.

Choosing to look at my calloused and hardened hands instead of my friend's faces; I lifted my shoulders in a helpless shrug. 

Louvel walked over and put his arm round me. 'Hey,' he muttered, 'Coi, we're your friends. We're here for you. Just let us know what's the matter.'

I could feel a single tear trickle slowly  down the edge of my nose, before it splashed down to my purple t-shirt. I looked at it as it spread, making an extra pattern on the cotton. How to tell your best mates that you hate becoming a wolf. For them, it was all they knew. But not me.

I glanced up and saw Fáelán's grey eyes looking deep into my own. She knew what I was so desperate to hide. But she wouldn't say without my permission, and for that I was thankful. I had to say it myself.

Taking a shaky breath, I told them. How I wasn't a 'born' werewolf. How my mother had died when I was 7, passing her ability on to me, and how proud my father had been. How I preferred to fight in human form. How I didn't know whether I could ever become an adult wolf, because I hated transforming. How they could be refused their names because I wasn't ready. And how, despite everything he'd ever said, Marrok was beginning to doubt me too. My own father was desperate to forget my existence. 

Everyone was rather quiet, but I had dropped a lot on them at once.

I didn't sleep that night. My mind was too busy, and my body too pumped. Usually all the extra exercise we do allows me to fall asleep quickly and easily. But not this time. 

In the morning my team was called to the Arena. Immediately we could tell that something had gone wrong. Nearly half the elders were missing, including my father. We stood in a line and exchanged nervous glances. 

'Youngsters. I know I have not been...' Raddulf paused, 'All too happy with you these past few months. And I would not do this to you unless it were absolutely necessary.' A loud sigh rumbled from his mouth, and he ran a hand through his thick black hair. He looked so old... For a werewolf at least. Compared to a human, our lives were usually short. Raddulf was 34, and the second eldest werewolf I knew. With all the fighting against vampires, we were lucky to live past 25. 

'However, I am afraid it is. You must step up to become grown warriors for the Clan. There is a gathering of lamia at the Edinburgh Winter Festival, something which we must sort out.'

I felt myself nodding. Many humans would die unless we intervened. 

Fáelán spoke up, twirling her hair with her supple fingers, 'Does this mean we get our names?'

We looked at each other, grinning. 

Raddulf sighed. 'Yes. You will get your names.'

The boys high-fived each other, and Fáelán squealed delightedly. I smirked. He was letting us become adults. He was going to regret this...

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