Failure to expect the unexpected;
how power used to create control only creates illusion.
In the spring a little river town along the Ohio blooms and showcases itself to the world. The joggers begin to come out with increasing force each warmer day. The general public reclaims the sidewalks from the dealings of Old Man Winter. And monsters that we fear during his emboldened months of terror begin to hide.
Such is the way of life in this little river town. For years it remained just the norm. When it was founded in the mid 1880s as a river boat town and shipping port, the stories of the local tribes were either dismissed as rubbish or pondered as an enriching and lucrative financial challenge.
One appearance is all it took. And as such events go some knowledge which should not have been forgotten is lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. Yet that which was forgotten would be found once again.
Come the next winter overzealous law enforcement would respond to fearful calls of a stranger strolling about the town’s river front park through mounds of snow on a neglected public walking trail. The people, like many of their nation, grew wary of things that did not appear normal to them. No longer did the town folk frolic in the cold as they once did.
They motorized themselves from location to location. The poorest of the poor seemed to look up to this standard and refused to go about as ill fostered laws and regulations would see to it that they were comfortable in their hovels and state funded shacks. Though there were some who shirked this idea.
There were some who knew the truth. These few escaped persecution by the enforcers of laws but not of the general populace’s ridicule. They, not unlike me, were held in contempt for the choices they made which did not appear to lend any amount of credibility to the preferred choices of the popular beliefs.
And so I came to bear witness to his return. I peered out of my camouflaged white and grey tent hidden in a thicket of barren bushes along the icy Ohio. The brilliant blue and red flashes of local law enforcement vehicles had me on edge. It was forbidden to set up camp anywhere in sight of the town. Poverty had stricken this town something harsh after the turn of the century. The healthcare so many of us were promised seemed to only succeed in making more of us poorer. So we did what we had to do to survive.
I was not overjoyed that the law enforcement arrived, nor was I worried. In all the months I had made this particular camp home none seemed to know I was here. So it was of a distinct surprise to find that the lights were not a feature of my presence. A cloaked figure had been strolling along the path for some days.
I noticed him and offered some warmth and food. He took a bit of my morsels and sat upon the warmed earth. As burning a fire in the open would surely attract the attention of others, I had to be careful. During the summer months I scrounged around for old charcoal at the various public grilling and park sites, which so many still with wealth frequented. They would often leave only once burned but still good coals as waste.
Collecting them and saving them did me some good. They would burn for a long time, hold heat even underground, and they would not give away my position with ease.
The stranger said very little when he joined me that day. In fact he said nothing at all. Stern features on a shaven face simply revealed closed smiles and warm eyes of approval towards my kindness. I knew there was nothing to fear from this stranger. I could just sense it in my heart, my bones, and my soul.
However, the law enforcement thought otherwise. They called to him to stop. He did not. In fact his progress was unabated by their increasingly aggressive vocal demands.
After several minutes of being ignored, both exited their vehicles and proceeded down the snowy embankment they were parked upon to confront the stranger. More ferociously they called to him. These local law enforcement officers were not used to being so blatantly ignored; so intentionally and confidently resisted.
Then it happened. Amongst the shifting and crunching of the snow beneath the officers’ boots and the moderate wind was the clicking of two holsters being opened. The stranger stopped before the officers issued additional commands.
He turned slowly. His arms were clasped together inside opposite sleeves. He slowly revealed his empty hands to the officers with open palms facing the increasingly graying sky. At three o’clock in the afternoon the evening suddenly began approaching prematurely. Whatever was happening was sure to be something I would never forget.
The clouds darkened. The wind picked up. Blowing snow seemed to target only the law enforcement officers. But the speech which came after did not.
It was dark and deep in tone. It pierced my ears like lightening and the rumble followed like thunder. The officers were terrified. Guns aimed at the stranger released a volley of bullets in vain. I don’t know where they fell, but none would care having witnessed this event.
The stranger’s hood fell to his back revealing snow white hair hanging down past his neck with pointed ears peeking out beneath the white gold strands. He began to grow in size. Taller and wider, larger and more powerful the stranger grew.
His robe was shredded and fell to the ground. White fur began to grow all over him and his speech turned to growling. Fear had no grip on my heart as sheer curiosity held it in check. The stranger was transforming magnificently. The tales were true and I was bearing witness to a new event that may alter choices to come. For good or ill only time would tell.
The officers seemed unsure of what to do. This stranger, this beast, this power did not appreciate the presumptions of the officers’ authority. Standing upright like a man but shaped like a great wolf like beast, it scooped them both up in its clawed hand to raise them as much as sixty feet into the air to allow them to see him eye to eye.
The stranger’s thunderous speech returned. “Have you no fear of consequence?”
Whatever the officers’ responses were I could not know through to howling wind. The stranger spoke again. “Control comes not from fear but respect. And even control through respect is no guarantee; though it does bring the enlightenment of self control to respond as necessary. Again, have you no fear of consequence?”
Now the daylight was gone, replaced with black icy clouds and fresh falling snow mingling with the blowing. The stranger stood there with his back before me listening to the pleas of the officers, so I could only determine.
The booming voice began once more. “How can you understand that which you do not learn? Ask not for mercy, but ask for a chance at redemption. Survive this encounter and learn from it. Only then will your kind be granted mercy from the ills which plague this realm. What you fail to fathom through intentional rejection will be your doom!”
The officers were casually dropped into the embankment closer to their vehicles and survived the forty foot drop into the slick and moderately packed snow. The now white fur covered beast turned to the river and began walking into it. As the icy chunks parted ways for him, he turned to my inquisitive eyes delivering a silent message only my mind would hear. “Fear not. We are returning. Our time on your world is ending, though our paths will cross again. When you have mastered this connection begin looking for us and we will answer your call.”
The stranger sank into the river. I could feel the earth tremble as it travelled beneath the frost-bound windswept waves. North it traveled and now I knew. He was a Moonscalp Worgen. He was abandoned here long ago. The old tribes’ tales spoke of him.
He has fulfilled his destiny and is going off to pass away in peace. His time has come and ours is dawning. What secrets he may have revealed will have to wait. But to know that my simple act of generosity to share all that I had granted me a reservoir of knowledge to record before my time to pass.
What remarkable tales I wrote after that encounter. For more than seventy years I wrote. I am tired now. I have little left to give anymore. My figures ache. My mind is nearly spent. And my breath grows weak. At one hundred and five years of age I can say I was given a purpose and I am glad for it.
I know it is you, Hunter. I know you will be the first to read this script. Take it and compare it with that of your darling’s work. What I have failed to reveal here will not be so in hers. I pray to the Makers that you will find this before she passes.
One final note, Hunter; do not mistake the Dark Lady’s intent. She requires the patience of your heart to be transformed into an ally of our kind.
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