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This is the next part of my lakemaid and wolf story. If you want to freshen up your mind read the first three parts in my blog feed or click the following link to read part III:

When Barameya returned to the palace of the lakemaids, a tidal wave of questions washed over her. All her friends and family wanted to know how it had been. She tried to answer all of their questions but also said that she had a lot of work to do now. She had to help the people of the Wolfmoon kingdom. Some of her friends volunteered to help her with the research, and Barameya was relieved about that, for there were countless scrolls and books on curses.

Gareyth was the only one who didn’t ask questions but listened to every single one of Barameya’s words intently. He searched for books that might lead to lifting the curse.

After a day’s worth of research Gareyth returned, his golden eyes shining clear with knowledge. Barameya yawned and smiled at him.

‘I have found two texts on curses related to the sun and the moon. The one about the sun sounds similar to what you have described but is of course bound by the sun and not the moon. But it could help us understand the nature of the curse. The other one speaks of an ancient curse of transformation. It is not specific. However, it sounds very similar to what the wolves have to endure. Before you do any reading, though, I want you to sleep and rest. You have been awake for two days and two nights.’

Barameya nodded. She could hardly concentrate on the wise words of the lakeman. ‘You are right. I should sleep.’

‘Besides, you still have time. Another cycle of the moon will pass before you can actually do something about the curse.’

‘Another cycle before I see him again,’ she said, her eyes shimmering green like the forest above when she last saw Rheahal disappear.

She looked at the old lakeman. There was a different expression on his face now. One she had never seen before. It did not speak of wisdom and knowledge but of something deeper and much more fragile.

‘I believe,’ he said, ‘that when everything goes well the world of the lakemaids might change forever. I remember reading about the Wolfmoon kingdom long ago. They were a powerful people. By helping them, we would gain strong friends. Or maybe something even more than friends.’

Barameya wasn’t sure what he meant by the last sentence. He smiled at her again. They were two different species. One lived in the forest, the other in the lake. They were both bound by moonlight, their only connection. Could this connection be powerful enough to create more than friendship?

 But what did Barameya hope to achieve? Hope to gain? Did she just want to break the curse, or was there something else she did not understand but the old lakeman recognised in her? Whenever she thought about Rheahal, there was something else. It was a feeling different to solving another riddle, or another curse. Yet it was similar. It was a desire she did not understand. One she had to untangle. It was the first riddle she was afraid of solving, though.

Barameya swished her fin, thanked the old lakeman, and found sleep on a sponge bed near red and purple gemstones. When she closed her eyes, they gleamed peacefully, as if they were guiding her to find sweet dreams. Barameya fell asleep immediately.

Her dreams, however, were restless. A dark shadow loomed over the strange and endless waters. The moon in the sky broke in two and disappeared into the night. There was Rheahal. He embraced her as the world ended. While everything was destroyed, she still felt safe in his arms. Somehow, she knew that the two of them could overcome this darkness. She heard the singing of wolves in the distance. Rheahal joined in. His strong chest vibrated with the air inside his lungs.

Barameya woke up. It was the middle of the night. She could hear the wolves in the distance. They were indeed singing. Once again, they tried to reach the moon’s magic but were unable to. It wasn’t a full moon. The gemstones from the caves still glowed like stars in the night. They must have noticed Barameya waking up, for they began to glow rhythmically as if trying to soothe her back to sleep. It was working. Tiredness overcame her again. She closed her eyes, and this time she slept without dreaming. A cool night embraced her mind and let her rest.

Over the next few weeks, Barameya learned a great deal about the nature of curses and how to lift them. The two texts Gareyth had given her proved to be of great importance. She learned that the curse of the wolves was bound by the moon herself. It was a cruel twist for this mermaid from the faraway ocean. The curse was not tied to shadows or dark magic. Curses that affected light could only be bound by light itself. And a curse bound by moonlight or any light could only be lifted or neutralised by other lights.

Barameya realised that this was far more complicated than she thought. It wasn’t about imbalances or contrasts. Light and shadow had nothing to do with it. The curse was so powerful and so consistent because it all came back to the moon’s light and no other entity.

She wasn’t sure what to do with this information. She and Gareyth argued over what other light could lift the curse and in what way it could be done. But they came to no conclusion. They ended up with a couple of different theories that could possibly lift the curse, if they were to find a power source.

The next full moon was approaching. Barameya rose to the surface and performed her spell of transformation. This time the melody flowed from her tongue easily. There was desire in her heart and restlessness in her mind. She couldn’t wait to see Rheahal again and tell him what she had found out.

She walked over the cool grass, glistening silver in the moonlight, and approached the forest. In the shadows of the trees, she could make out a silhouette. Grey eyes looked at her with wonder.

‘I saw you coming from the lake,’ Rheahal whispered. ‘I have never seen anything so beautiful. Not even the moon’s light shines like you.’

Barameya was stunned by his compliment. She took his strong hands in hers. They felt coarse on her palms but also warm. She wanted to tell him everything she had found out. But it could wait.

She looked at him. Green eyes like the forest in daylight and grey eyes like rainclouds in summer. Another spell took hold of Barameya. She did not understand its intent but she knew where it would lead her.

She did not know how it began, whether it was her or him, but she remembered her hand touching his neck ever so gently, the tiniest gesture pulling him closer, making him understand what she wanted him to do.

He wrapped his strong arms around her, and their lips touched. Barameya had never felt anything like it before. Her lips were engulfed in magic as cool as the moon and as hot as the sun. Rheahal laid down in the grass, Barameya laid down on top of him, feeling him warm body beneath her. She leaned in and kissed his lips again. She felt how hot and wet they were, how they mixed with her own heat.

Inch by inch, she explored his body with her lips. She kissed his strong shoulders. She felt his chest hair tickle her lips, feeling his heartbeat beneath the broad muscles, beating faster and faster. She continued along his arms, feeling the veins of his biceps. His hands moved through her silver hair. He touched her gently, but there was a force to his touch concealed by his muscles as well. She wanted to experience more of it. She wanted to feel him.

Barameya felt his body beneath her pulsating with lust. His eyes were filled with desire, his heart was beating so fast. She felt his craving for her concentrating beneath her, between her legs, where their bodies felt most heated. Her own heart began to beat faster. She was nervous. She knew what she wanted. She knew what she had to do to fulfil her desire. It was something she sensed inside of her, similar to magic, similar to singing melodies of the moon and the lake. But it was more powerful, and the determination to get it was deeper than the most beautiful cave beneath the mountain.

Barameya looked into Rheahal’s grey eyes. He looked at her with pain and desire. She knew he wanted her more than anything in the world, and in this moment, she would have given up the moon’s light herself to feel him like this forever.

She pulled him in. Rheahal opened his mouth ever so slightly, not uttering a sound, but his expression reflected her feelings for him. Slowly, he began to move his hips against hers, and she pulled him in deeper. The sensation that began to fill her body was more than magic itself. For a moment, she believed that the moon’s light herself had entered her body, stronger and more potent than she could have ever imagined. But this was something else. This was something deeper.

A connection, more than desire, began to form between her and Rheahal. She knew it was love. With every movement of their bodies, they grew closer. They became one. Barameya saw the moon’s light reflected in her lover’s eyes. They glowed grey and silver with love. She felt the moon’s cool light touching her back. Usually, she always wanted to see her light, take in the moon’s beauty, but tonight, Rheahal was the only one she wanted to see.

And she saw him with every fibre of his being, with every movement of his arms and hips. She saw and felt him, and in turn, she knew he saw and felt her deeply. This was the purest form of magic. This was the kind of magic she had never experienced before.

Afterwards, they laid in the grass, arms wrapped around each other, taking in the tranquillity of the night. For Barameya, it felt like she was seeing everything for the first time. The sensation that had erupted inside her was of a force she had never encountered. She felt like she could do anything. The way Rheahal looked at her, she could tell that he felt the same way. On their first meeting, they did a lot of talking. But now it appeared as if they didn’t need to say anything to understand each other.

Dawn was approaching. Soon the world would turn from grey and silver to the colours of daylight again. The sky was already dark blue and purple. The stars were fading.

‘I will transform again soon,’ Rheahal said.

‘Does it hurt?’ Barameya asked.

‘It always does. It is a curse.’

‘I am sorry.’

‘I would transform a thousand times to spend every night with you.’

‘I hope I will find a way to break the curse before you transform a thousand times.’

A faint smile appeared on Rheahal’s red lips. ‘Do you really think you can break it?’

‘I have to. I actually wanted to tell you about a couple of things I found out. But I think we are running out of time tonight.’

‘We will always be running out of time. We only have one night. Once, every cycle of the moon.’

Rheahal rose from the ground and walked over to the lake. Barameya followed him. The lake’s surface was absolutely still. Black trees and grey mountains were reflected in the dim light of dawn.

‘I will continue with my research, and at the next full moon, I will tell you all about it.’

‘Unless we get distracted.’

This time, Rheahal grinned from ear to ear, and Barameya laughed.

‘We will definitely get distracted, but we will also talk about the curse.’

‘Agreed,’ Rheahal said, bowing his head.

Then he pulled her close and kissed her as if the moon was breaking above them. As if the world was ending and she was the only thing left in this world. A passion rolled over Barameya’s body and filled her up to her fingertips. It was a power that she still had to comprehend. She wondered if she ever would. She let go of her thoughts and let sensation take over. She felt his body on hers, their lips touching, melting into one.

Barameya felt the first sunrays touching her skin, and Rheahal let go. He backed away, a painful expression overwhelming him.

‘Does it begin?’ Barameya asked.

She reached out her hand, but Rheahal backed away. ‘Don’t! It hurts. And I don’t want you to see me transform.’

‘You saw me transform. Let me see your transformation.’

‘But you chose to transform. Your transformation is beautiful and pure. I am forced to do it as soon as the sun rises. Please, I don’t want you to see me like this.’

There was so much pain in his voice. It was breaking her heart. Barameya nodded and walked back into the lake. She could feel her spell take hold of her again.

‘I will meet you in one cycle of the moon again. Right here,’ Rheahal breathed and ran back, disappearing in the shadows of the trees.

Barameya looked after him. Pain and love mixed inside of her, a feeling she couldn’t believe was possible. She would find a way to break this curse. This was not only Rheahal’s curse and the curse of the Wolfmoon kingdom any longer. Now this was her curse too.

Barameya felt golden scales growing above her skin and her legs transformed into a fin. Pain and love were replaced by determination. She dove into the lake, hearing the splashing sound of water and another sound clearer than ever before. It was the song of a wolf somewhere in the forest.

To be continued

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