The Wolves of Lowcastle

Filled with secrets, magic, werewolves and forbidden love, The Wolves of Lowcastle is a fantasy-filled-fairy-tale told in multiple perspectives that will leave you wanting more.

When Prince Robert's father falls ill, he is given the task of finding the cure- which happens to lie with the village witch, Stella.

Along with Maya, a Servant with deep secrets he is deeply in love with, his best friend Edward, a Fool with dreams of being somebody different, Boodarat an Italian thief and his ferret, and Fergus an orphan taken in by Stella to bring people to and from her home in the mountains, Robert is in for one awakening journey. They all are.

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3. Part 3

 

The Orphan

 

I had taken quite the liking to Boodarat, one of my traveling companions. He was just a common thief, but I knew that there must be something more inside of him. The way he treated his ferret Thief, was proof that he could be very kind, and it had seemed that he’d taken quite the liking to myself as well.

 

Prince Robert was very reserved most of the time, but he was a gentle man who would not hurt a soul. It seemed that he had quite the interest in Maya, whom I’d found out to be a servant at the castle, and she returned his feelings, though she was very coy about it all. It was quite fascinating to watch, really.

 

Edward, who was a Jester, was a very jolly man on the outside, but on the inside I was sure that he was quite sad. I saw it in his eyes, and I only wished that I could help him beyond being his traveling guide. But there was really nothing that I could do…it simply was beyond my place.

 

As I expertly directed them through the forest I knew so well, we came upon a clearing that led to a small inn. This is where we’d be staying the night, for it was almost nightfall and I was sure that my companions were very tired.

 

“This is it,” I said as I opened the wooden door.

 

Boodarat shuffled in and took a look around, assessing what he could possibly take from the place. I was sure that he’d find something and share it with Thief later on.

 

Maya and Edward walked in, and the Robert followed, pulling up the rear. Everybody took in the place, as my clients usually do. It was a cozy place, with seven bedrooms on top of a small tavern. It was my favourite place to stay, and I looked forward to each and every time I got to stay there.

 

As I stayed there often, I knew where everything was, so I showed everybody around. After the small tour of the place, I let everybody get settled, and went downstairs to the tavern to have a drink and chat with the owner. That did not, however, go as planned.

 

When I got downstairs, I noticed that Maya was silently slipping out the front door. Where could she be going? Surely not to relieve herself, there were chamber pots in the bedrooms. I really should’ve minded my business… but my curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to just give up on that notion, and I followed her silently out into the night.

 

We were halfway into the forest until she even acknowledged my presence. “Why did you follow me?”

 

I blushed, “I couldn’t help myself, I just wanted to know what you were doing out here. I can go, if you want me too.”

 

She contemplated this for a second before shaking her head, “I’m sure you’ve seen it before, so you can come.”

 

I was confused, and wondered what she meant, “I don’t understand. You’re sure that I’ve seen what?”

 

A smile played at her lips, “The change of human into wolf. I’ve heard that you’re no stranger to my kind. We go to your grandmother for help. I have never met her, though.”

 

I nodded my head, “I’ve seen it one too many times, thank you. I don’t know how you could deal with such pain. Is shifting back into a human harder than into a wolf?”

 

She shook her head, “Not to me. Both are just fine, I don’t mind the pain. It’s like putting on clothing; I’m just changing. But for many people, the most unbearable change is into a wolf. By the time you need to become human again, you’ve already gone through the shift once. So it’s not as bad.”

 

I sucked in a deep breath and laughed, “I couldn’t do it either way. It sounds terrible.”

 

Maya smiled at me and shook her hair loose from its bun, “It’s not that bad,” and padded off into the forest. “Good night, Ferguson. Please say nothing about this.”

 

It was just a whisper, but I believe that she heard it just fine, “Good night Maya. I will not tell a soul. Don’t worry.”

 

I turned around to go back to the inn, but I never did get to have that conversation with the owner. He had already retired for the night.

 

The Thief

 

I had happened upon a rather interesting conversation between the lovely Maya and our Travel guide, Ferguson, all thanks to Thief. The little rascal leapt out of my arms to follow Ferguson into the forest. Why was he was going to the forest I didn’t know, but I knew that Maya was with him. I believe he was following her, and what she was doing there I do not know either.

 

By the time I got to Thief, I was close enough to them that I could hear what they were saying without getting seen. They were talking of Maya’s wolf-blood. She was one of those Loupes Garou I kept hearing about. I didn’t know exactly what the word meant, because it was French but I’d heard it around the village enough times to get the gist of it from conversations. I think it meant man that turned into wolf-monster, because that is what people said about them, but I could never be sure until that night.

 

Maya was part wolf, and for some reason that did not bother me. It seemed fitting, somehow. Not scary, like I had assumed it would be. Besides, it was none of my business what she was, and I had no right to judge. After all, I was just a common thief that kept vermin as a pet.

 

When I was sure that Ferguson was inside, I went back in as well, pretending that I had been out playing with Thief. He seemed to have believed me and we had an amiable conversation about nothing in particular and then retired to our different rooms. I passed Prince Robert, that soft-hearted idiot, and went to my room.

 

 I did not know it yet, but I would be happening upon some more interesting conversations later on into our journey. Very interesting indeed.

 

     

The Servant

 

As always, I shrugged into my new skin easily. It was a welcome release from the long day’s travel, to simply unwind and run free in my other form. But this really wasn’t a time for having fun, I had to find the pack and explain what the circumstances were.

 

I sniffed the air, sampling each scent to match it to the ones that were stored in my brain, the scents of everybody in my pack. As soon as I caught Claude’s scent, I bounded northward in his direction, dodging trees and bushes, jumping over logs and splashing in puddles. It was all quite exhilarating, as usual.

 

As I entered a clearing in the woods, I spotted him as he spotted me and I leaped over the small creek that ran through the glade.

 

He nudged my muzzle and whined, ‘You’ve been missed, Maya.’

 

I yipped happily at him, like a puppy, ‘I missed all of you as well.’

 

He took a step back from me and began to shift back. I did the same, and soon we were able to communicate properly.

 

“Where were you?” He asked me, pulling me in for a hug. By then, the whole pack had grown used to each other’s nakedness, so I didn’t feel uncomfortable hugging him like that.

 

As I explained, the other wolves silently listened to me, grumbling when I said something particularly interesting.

 

“I have a question about the Prince,” said Claude. My heart sped up a little at the mention of him.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Does he smell off at all to you?” He asked.

 

I thought about this, and realized, that yes, he did smell a bit off. Almost like…

 

“Is he Bryant’s son?” I asked, thinking of the old quilt maker whose son had disappeared out of nowhere, while Claude nodded his head.

 

“It was better for him to be raised as simply a human. We could not keep him safe, and he was only a baby at the time. It was best. He is more human than the rest of us. His mother was a wonderful woman, but she was not one of us. She died giving birth to him, and so there was nobody who could care for the boy when we needed to change.”

 

Comprehension dawned on me and I gasped. Robert was not really the Prince. But then, where was the Prince?

 

As if he had read my mind, Claude said, “The child born to the royal family was stillborn. We brought him to the witch to be buried properly, but we do not know where she buried him.”

 

I shook my head, processing everything I had learned. Robert was one of us, but not. He was also only part human. He did not fit in with either wolf or man, because he would always have too much of the other in his blood.

 

It was very sad to think about, because I would always have a place with my people, but he was not wolf enough. He was too human. I never knew that that could be such a bad thing for anybody.

 

Sighing, Claude said, “He will always be one of us, no matter how little our blood runs through his veins. But he can’t live our way, because he simply isn’t built for it. Being human is a privilege that we get to partake in, but we also have the benefit of being part wolf as well. Equal parts. But he is unequal, and therefore he simply must live life as the part he has more of. It’s just how it must be, Maya. I am sorry if this pains you to hear.”

 

“It is the truth,” I said.

 

We spoke a few more words about the subject, and then parted our ways.

 

“Good night, Father.”

He looked surprised but smiled and took me in for one last hug, “Good night Maya. You really are my daughter. I just never wanted to impose myself on you like that, but I really do see you as my own daughter.”

 

“I know.”

 

Smiling a sad smile, I took a step back and began to shift. Claude did the same, and soon we were off in opposite directions.

 

But I suspect that we’d always been in opposite directions until that very night, because we finally made peace with the subject of our relationship. He was the only father that I had ever known, and I the only child he had ever raised. But we’d never spoken about it until that night, and I think that something inside of me grew just a little bit stronger because of that.

 

The Fool

 

I was just outside for some air when I saw her emerging from the woods. She was dishevelled and looked somewhat embarrassed to have been seen coming from the forest, but I didn’t really think much of it until she walked up to me and said. “You didn’t see me.”

 

I shrugged, sucking in some fresh air, “No problem. I didn’t see you. But may I ask why I didn’t see you?”

 

She shrugged as well, “I was just out walking and fell in some mud, if you must know.”

 

We went inside, me holding the door for her, and went to our respective rooms. I didn’t want to bother the girl, she’d had a very hard life and I was sure that this was the most freedom that she’d had in a long time. I complained about my job, but in theory, I was held up on a pedestal. My jokes were revered, and so was I. They gave me a place to live, and food to eat in turn for what? Telling jokes. But I wasn’t treated like a real person; I was merely a form of entertainment. When I stopped making them laugh, I was simply the boy with the strange birthmark. I was just Edward. And that was who I wanted them to love, not the jokes I told. But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.

 

As I was about to close my door, Robert appeared asking to come in. He looked troubled, and I asked what the matter was.

 

“I’m in love with her, Edward. I love Maya. And we can never be together,” he sighed.

 

I shook my once. Then twice. And a third time. Robert, a prince, was in love with Maya, a servant. I thought about all of their interactions and nodded. I didn’t see it before, but I sure as hell saw it now.  And I had to say something.

 

“If you really love her, then why don’t you just say so?”

He shook his head vehemently, “I could never do that. She’d be killed instantly. It would never be allowed.”

 

Rolling my eyes, I said, “How do you know that she’d be killed?”

 

He bowed his head, “My parents are cruel people, Edward. They would kill her at the drop of a hat if they knew that their one and only son had fallen in love with her. I need to pick a queen if I am going to be the heir of the throne, and it will not be a lowly servant. I heard her and my father speaking about it when I was very young. They knew that Maya, who at the time was just studying under her superior like you did, and I shared a connection of sorts and it was not to be tolerated.”

 

My jaw dropped and my heart broke. He could never be with the girl he loved. That was the worst thing that life could ever throw at you. I knew they were cruel, but this was very, very low. “I am sorry, Robert.”

 

~*~

 

Her name was Evangeline, and she was the prettiest girl I had ever met. She was different from all of the others, better, because like me, she had a large pink birthmark. Only hers covered her right eye. But she was beautiful nonetheless, and I think it made her even more beautiful.

 

One day, I got up the nerve to talk to her and we became good friends right away. Every day, we would meet at the baker’s house, for her father was the baker, and we would take long strolls around the village. Those were happier times, when we would sit by the small river that flowed at the edge of the village, taking long thirsty sips and laughing when the other began to hiccup.

 

And then my parents died. And then I was all alone. And then I got the job as the new fool.

 

And then she was murdered…

 

I woke up to the sound of my own screaming and realized that I’d been dreaming of Evangeline again. The dreams always came to me, and they never ceased. It was an endless loop of memories that made me feel at first happy, but then sick to my stomach.

 

Evangeline was the baker’s daughter, and I often used to go there to pick up loafs of bread for my parents, who had always been quite sickly. It was there that I had first laid eyes on her, and I knew that I was in love. We spent countless hours together, simply laughing, as children in love tend to do. When my parents died, her father could not take me in so I was forced to look for a job. When I became the new fool, it seemed that things might not be so bad after all. That was until Evangeline was found murdered in the river. The same river that we used to play in.

 

From then on, I always dreamed of what could have been. I blame myself for her death; I wasn’t there to protect her. And I suffered every day because of it. 

 

I snuggled back into my covers, thinking of a life that could have been grand. We could have had children by now. I’d even asked her to marry me when we were older, meaning about fifteen. Today she would have been twenty. It was her birthday today.

 

The Prince

 

I was in the middle of a dreamless sleep when I was awoken by a small knock at my door. I looked over to see Maya, slowly opening the door and slipping in very quietly, as if she thought I was still asleep.

 

“Maya?” I whispered.

 

“Thank goodness you’re awake, Robert. I just don’t want to be alone right now, I had a frightening dream and I couldn’t stand being alone in that big bed all by myself. Could I just stay with you for a little bit, at least until I calm down?” She asked. I could hear the tremor in her voice that gave away just how frightened she was.

 

“Of course, you can.”

 

Silently, she slipped into the covers and slid into my arms as if she’d done it a thousand times. If only she had…

 

“What was the dream about?” I asked, very curious.

 

Maya hiccupped, “I-I don’t really remember all too much. I just know that in my dream, I was trying to find you, but I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried. There was more to it, but that’s all that I can remember right now.”

 

I squeezed my arms around her tightly, “I’m right here, Maya. Don’t worry about me. I don’t even worry about me. It’s you that I worry about way too often.”

 

She smiled at me and cuddled close, “Thank you,” and soon dozed off into sleep.

 

As I held her there, I began to feel sleep tugging at the corners of my mind as well, but something was keeping me from falling asleep. A scent, as strange as that may sound. It was Maya’s scent, and she smelled like the forest, as if she’d actually been in there. She smelled very…wolf-like. It must have been the fact hat I was half asleep, though. That was preposterous to even imagine. There were no such things as werewolves.

 

But still…

 

I watched her sleep for a while, until finally I drifted off into a deep, dream filled sleep. After that night, I always dreamed of Maya turning into a wolf. She would look at me, expectantly, but I didn’t understand what she wanted. Did she want me to turn into one as well? It simply couldn’t be done. At the end of my dream, Maya would join a wolf pack and they would all howl a melancholy song for me. The only one who could not change.

 

 

The King

 

I was going to die. There was no doubt about that. If I could not wake up, then I could not eat. If I could not eat, I would starve. For some reason, this did not fill me with terror like it should. Instead, I welcomed death, wanted it. Embraced the idea that I would finally be gone from the world.

 

I wasn’t exactly a kind man, so I knew that I would not be missed by anybody else than my wife and son. Maybe not even my son, for I always treated him very coldly. But what could I do? He wasn’t my real son. But he didn’t know that…

 

I was all alone in my head, thinking of the many pitiless things that I had done. What a despicable man I had become. I was not raised to be such an evil being, but I supposed that it just came naturally to me anyway. I deserved to die.

 

Good riddance.

 

The Queen

 

My husband would not die. I wouldn’t allow it! How could I live without him? He, who was as equally as bad as me, would live. I’d make sure of it. That witch would bring him back to life if it was the last thing I did. I would do anything to get him back.

 

The Witch

 

I had a feelin of great fear for my Ferguson and his new companions. Somethin is gonna effect them greatly, I just hopes they can handle it…

 

All in good time, though. I just gotta keep tellin myself that. No good will come from interferin. 

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