search instagram arrow-down

This is the third part of my lakemaid and werewolf saga. If you haven’t read the first two parts yet, simply visit them on my main blog feed:

She hoped that when she solved the riddle of the wolves, she could see more of the forest on their way back. But right now, while curiosity grew inside her inner lake, finding out the answers to her questions burned even stronger. What happened to the wolves at the full moon?

After a while, the trees grew smaller and thinner. Barameya could make out a great shadow in front of them.

‘This is one of the mountains,’ Karon explained. ‘We travelled straight through the forest to one of the mountains. This is where the wolves come at full moon. We are close now.’

Barameya nodded and observed the scene. It was quiet. She did not hear any animals. The owl circled above her, landed on a branch next to her, and whispered, ‘One of the wolves is close by, I think. Approach carefully. You don’t want to scare him away.’

Barameya took another step and saw something moving right in front of her. It was something large. Something on two legs. She was confused. She definitely read that wolves had four legs. And whenever she could make out their shapes close by the lake, she remembered that they had four legs.

Silver light poured through the young trees. Barameya gasped. She did not expect to see this. The creature that stood in front of her, just ten trees away, looked a lot like her. The only difference was that it was not a lakemaid with legs, not a woman, but a man.

‘Are you a wolf?’ Barameya whispered.

A man with curly black hair crouched down, staring at her with grey eyes. They were not yellow like the ones she had seen. Who was he? Barameya raised her arms, showing him that she did not carry any weapons.

‘I am here to help. Can you understand me?’ she whispered, trying to put as much kindness into her voice as possible.

In truth, she was terribly afraid. She did not expect this. Why haven’t the fire salamander and the owl warned her of what she would encounter? They probably weren’t sure what they would encounter either.

‘Who are you? Where do you come from?’ he asked, his deep voice cutting through the silence of the forest.

Barameya was too startled to respond. The man sniffed the air, as if he were trying to find something. ‘You are not one of us. Who are you? Where do you come from?’

This time, Barameya found her voice. ‘My name is Barameya. I am a lakemaid and have transformed, so I could venture into the forest. I hear the wolves singing to the moon every night. But at the full moon, they are silent. I want to know why. I want to solve this strange riddle. Do you know the wolves?’

Moonlight poured into the forest, making his grey eyes sparkle silver. Curiosity and wonder were written all over his face. He rose, and Barameya could take a closer look at him. Around his hips, he wore some form of garment made of leaves. His physique was similar to the strong warriors of the lakemaids. His shoulders were broad, and his biceps were big. Beneath his muscular chest rippled down smooth muscles right to where the garment was. His chest was covered in fine hair that shimmered bronze in the moon’s light.

His legs seemed as strong as the rest of his body. Lines of muscles formed them, shapes that Barameya had never seen before. They were so unlike fins. She glanced down on her and noticed that her legs did not appear as strong. Was it because she just begun to use them? And she had nothing to cover the parts between her legs like the man did.

Barameya realised that he stared at her, fascination written all over his face. Just the way she had to be looking at him.

‘I am one of the wolves,’ he said.

Barameya did not know what to say. He was not a wolf. He looked nothing like the description in the books.

‘I cannot believe it! Weren’t you supposed to have four legs?’ Aralea said, looking down from a tree branch.

The man looked up, alerted.

‘Don’t worry, she is my friend. This is Aralea, an owl of the white clan. And this is Karano, a fire salamander.’

‘I am not afraid of them,’ he said, ‘But you, you are a creature of water who has invaded the forest. You should not be here.’

Was he afraid? Barameya did not understand. Why would he be afraid of her. He looked at her again, assessing her, trying to figure out whether she could be trusted.

‘I am here to help. If I can. I promise you. You do not have to fear me. I swear on the silver light of the moon.’

This must have meant something to him. He looked at the moon as if he were waiting for a reaction. All she did was continue to pour down her light upon this strange scene.

He focused on her again and said, ‘Let me walk you back to the lake. These parts of the forest should not be visited by strangers like you. Especially not by creatures of the lake. Some in my family are untrusting and not of a curious mind. They never leave the caves by the mountain when we transform.’

There was sadness in his voice, but Barameya nodded. At least he trusted her for now.

‘Follow me,’ he said and walked past her.

She gazed at him with wonder as he walked by. Up close, he appeared even more fascinating, like a strange warrior or even the hero of a long-forgotten song, she was now able to listen to. And the song was sweet and salty at the same time. His scent was different to anything she had ever come across. She smelt the forest on his skin, but there was something deeper and rougher to it. The scent appeared almost dangerous. Should she be the one to be afraid?

She followed him and glanced at Aralea circling above them, watching them intently.

‘Ask him a question.’ Karano whispered. ‘This is your chance to solve the riddle.’

‘So, you are a wolf of the forest who sings to the moon every night? Forgive me for saying this, but I had expected you to look different.’

Barameya walked beside him now, taking in his magical scent with every breath she took.

‘I usually look different. But tonight, I look like this,’ he responded.

Barameya smiled hesitantly. ‘I am sorry, I don’t understand.’

‘You don’t seem to be very good at solving riddles.’

He smiled at her when he said this. Was he making fun of her, or was he teasing her? She could not tell. He was the greatest mystery she had ever encountered.

‘I am very good at solving riddles. I solved the riddle of the shimmering stones in the caves. The children of the mountain.’

‘Now you talk in riddles.’

Barameya wondered if, before he would tell her more, maybe she had to reveal more about herself. So, she decided to tell him everything. The story of the lakemaids, how they made their home here centuries ago, how they used to live in the ocean, a faraway place. How they worshipped the moon above all other celestial lights, how they found the colourful stones, and freed them from the darkness. And she told him about everything that happened afterwards. How she found out about the preferences of the stones, by analysing them, solving their riddles, and how she began to wonder about the wolves. And she told him about her long journey of coming here with the aid of magic and moonlight.

For a while, he did not respond. Then he just said. ‘Very curious. I thought stones were always stones. But they appear to have a mind of their own.’

‘Especially the colourful ones.’

‘I don’t know a lot about colourful stones. I only know the grey ones by the mountains.’

‘Do you often visit the mountains?’ Barameya asked.

‘My family and I have a home there. We visit it every night during the full moon. It is the safest place for us when we are most vulnerable. But it’s also the time when we are most alive. When we can think clearly again.’

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘It is a long story.’

Barameya looked up. The moon has travelled halfway through her realm of her deep and dark blue sky. They still had hours.

‘We have some time left. I told you my story and the story of the lakefolk. I would like to hear yours.’

He smiled at her again. Barameya could not resist smiling back. Finally, he began to speak: ‘Long ago, my people were feared warriors. Our kingdom stretched from the deep forests over the peaks of the mountains to the endless waters to the east. The same waters your ancestors came from. Only they were our border, for we never learned how to swim. And we feared the depths of the sea. The same way we still fear the waters of the lake. It reminds us of what happened to us.’

‘Why do you fear the blue spaces? They are filled with life and beauty.’ Barameya said.

She did not understand.

He smiled at her and answered. ‘Because we are so different. And there was something in the depths of the endless waters that we feared. And trust me when I say that we didn’t fear anything else. We were the greatest warriors of all time. The spirit of the wolf was in our blood. It still is, but not in the same way anymore. The moon, her light, was all we needed. She was our beginning and our end. But now she is distant. We sing to her every night, but when she is most powerful, shining in her true form, we can’t sing to her. This is the time when we are betrayed by our own bodies. Here by the mountains used to stand a great castle and a city that belonged to our people. While we were a warrior culture, we also had other gifts. There were great singers, talented artists, and graceful dancers. Storytellers who knew exactly how to keep you listening.’

‘You still sound like a good storyteller to me.’ Barameya laughed.

She enjoyed listening to him. He laughed and continued. ‘We had powerful and wise friends too. The ancient dragons of the sky, who only live in the remotest parts of the mountains now and the elves in the enchanted woods far away from here.’

Barameya listened with wonder. She had heard about these other magical creatures and had read stories about them in the library. But she had never heard someone else speak about them. The lakemaids thought that they were fairy tales or legends long gone. But here was an outsider talking about them too. Maybe they were all true after all?

‘For over one thousand years, our kingdom stood strong. We were the wolfpeople. The wolfmoon-kingdom. Whenever we wanted to, we could change form. This-’ he put his hands on his strong chest, ‘was one form. It was weaker than the other but it enabled us with so many possibilities. The other form kept us close to nature and magic. It was our wolf form. Our spirit form. The one we were most proud of. From this form we took all our strength when we were men and women. And the moon’s light aided us in every way. She was our mother. She gave us our powers, our ability to transform. We are nothing without her.’

‘So are we.’ Barameya said, ‘The moon is the most important celestial light to the lakemaids. Maybe we are not so different after all.’

‘Maybe,’ he said and smiled. ‘When we least expected it, when we thought everything was fine, it began. First, it was the dragons. They left the mountains by the sea and disappeared to remote parts of the world. They feared something in the depths of the sea that had awoken. A malice without a name. A darkness.’

‘I have never heard of such a thing.’ Barameya whispered.

‘It was one of you. It was a mermaid who wielded power greater than any other magical creature in the world. My people call her the mooncurser. For that is what she did. We stood no chance. We defeated so many enemies of the Wolfmoon Kingdom. We slew the giants who wanted to devour us. We slaughtered the goblins who turned forests into wastelands. We even shot the shadowbirds from the sky. Ancient beings who fed on the dead did not belong in this world. But they were nothing in comparison to her. She took away everything that we held most dear. We did not believe it was possible. First, she gave us a choice. She told us that she had defeated the dragons and that nothing could stand in her way. We were to bend the knee, to fight for her or meet a terrible fate. We were not afraid of her words. My ancestors decided to fight. We asked the elves to join us, but they declined. They were wiser than my forefathers. They chose to disappear, hide deep within the thickness of their enchanted forests far away,’ he said, looking into the forest, his grey eyes searching, as if he hoped to see the elves returning.

But there were only silver shapes and deeper shadows around them.

‘So, we went into battle alone. We were not afraid to meet her. To show her what powers we wielded and what fighters we were under the protection of the moon. But when the hour came and we called upon the moon to guide us, she did not answer. Our magic had left us. The mooncurser appeared and told us that she held the power of the moon in her hands now. We had no idea how she achieved this. It was impossible. And this was just the beginning. From now onwards, we would keep our potent wolf form forever. Only at the full moon, we transform and be left alone in the night with no access to our powers. It was smart and cruel. She had somehow learned our secrets. For we needed to transform into wolves during the full moon. It was that time of the month when we sang to the moon, and she could hear us clearly, granting us our powers and strengthening us anew. It was the most important night for us. In wolf form, we could not attend to our kingdom and to our culture for an entire cycle of the moon. And when we needed to be in our wolf form, to renew our powers, we were unable to. This shadow mermaid, this mooncurser, knew exactly how to defeat us. And she didn’t even have to meet us in battle. The curse would never be broken, she said, except if one of her own would find the rainbow underneath the earth and return the moon’s magic to us again.’

Barameya did not know what to say. ‘I am sorry,’ was the only phrase she could come up with.

He gave her a weak smile. ‘Thank you. It’s alright though. It is strange. All this happened four generations ago. I do not know it any other way. Most of my time alive I am a wolf. But when I am in this form, I always feel closer to the moon but weaker. I can sense her up there, but not her full might. As if she had been cloaked. I guess, this is the curse of the dark mermaid from the sea. This is why my people and I do not like the lake or any large waters. We would never dare travel to the shores of the endless ocean. What if she were to return and punish us again?’

‘But what about breaking the curse? She did say something about that.’

‘Have you ever seen a rainbow beneath the earth? It is hopeless. She mocked us. My people ventured into caves, trying to find a rainbow beneath the earth and mountains. Nothing like it exists. It was a lie. Another punishment. To believe in hope when there is none.’

‘She sounds cruel. But it is strange… I have never heard of her.’

‘Maybe this happened long after your people left the seas and came to this lake. Far away from all the troubles of the world. This is why we came to this valley. This is why thousands of years ago my people built their castle and their city here by the mountains.’

‘Do the castle and the city still exist?’

‘Only ruins,’ he said with sadness in his voice.

‘I would love to see them one day. I am sure they are still beautiful.’

He smiled at her. This time his grey eyes were filled with warmth as well. Like clouds before a summer storm. Cooling down the heat of the summer’s warmth. He appeared so much kinder.

‘We have reached the lake again,’ he said.

‘I did not even notice,’ Barameya said, looking up.

It was still dark, but a pale greyness was visible in the east. The sun would rise soon.

‘I would like to see you transform,’ he said. ‘I would like to see your true form.’

‘I will show you, but only if you tell me your name.’

He grinned at her from ear to ear. He looked beautiful when he was amused. At least, she thought he was happy now. When he spoke of the history of his people, his voice sounded so utterly depressed.

‘My name is Rheahal.’

Karano slipped off her shoulder and landed in the grass. Aralea sat on a branch nearby, watching the scene. They had not said a word, and they remained silent.

Barameya took a step towards Rheahal. He did not draw away. She placed her cool hand on his warm chest. She felt his heart beating underneath his strong muscles. His skin was smooth, and the fine hair on his chest was something she had never touched before.

‘Let me help you, Rheahal. There is a great library in our underwater palace. Let me do some research on the rainbow underneath the earth. Let us meet here again in a month.’

‘Agreed,’ he said. ‘Thank you for your help.’

‘I can watch over you and your people while you are in wolf form and report to Barameya should anything happen,’ Aralea offered, and both of them agreed.

Barameya thanked Aralea and Karano for their help.

‘Will you tell your people about our meeting?’

He drew away. A shadow passed over his eyes. ‘Most of them are not as curious as I am. They fear anything that comes from the lake. I won’t tell them for now. Let this be our secret.’

Barameya nodded and slipped back into her lake. The moment her legs touched the water’s surface, golden scales began to rise from her feet up to her legs and hips.

Rheahal’s eyes widened when Barameya flipped her fin and swam a short distance away from the shore.

‘You look even more beautiful now,’ he said. ‘Your transformation looks like the rising of the sun. All gold and blue.’

Barameya laughed and thanked him for his kind words. ‘Let us meet again here in one month. By the shores of my lake. And I will tell you what I found out.’

He nodded eagerly and strolled back towards the forest. He turned around one last time, just before the sun rose above the trees and dipped the world in bronze and golden light. He smiled at her and faded into the shadows of the forest.

Barameya waited for a moment, watching Karano disappear in the grass and Aralea fly away above the treetops. As the sun rose, colours began to saturate the shapes and forms of the grey and silver night. The dark forest turned into shades of green. The plants by the lake began to shimmer in yellow and light blue colours. She heard wolves singing in the distance, saying goodbye to the moon. This time, though, she could hear a distinct voice among the choir of wolves. It was sweet and rough, just like the man she had met tonight. The wolf she hoped to help.

Barameya flipped her fin. She had solved one riddle, but now there was another one to solve. But it wasn’t really a riddle, it was an ancient curse. She knew what she had to do and where she would begin her search. Barameya returned to the depths of the lake, heading for the library of the palace.

Kommentar verfassen
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s

%d Bloggern gefällt das: