Warlocks of Silverwest Manor (EXCERPT
Midnight was here, at least according to the old-fashioned pocket watch his wife gave him many years ago. The middle-aged man, dressed in a smart suit beneath an expensive-looking trench coat, walking along the edge of the forest looked up toward the full moon, reminiscing on old times, happier times. As he strolled along, now and then a car would pass by with riled up human youths, laughing and irresponsibly chat away, swerving about without a care in the world.
The man continued to walk when such a thing happened. At times, he was nearly hit, though only nearly. He regarded the humans with deep contempt and hatred, tempted to strike down their vehicle with a single hit. That would give them something to laugh about. But he held on, knowing that if he did just that, he would only worsen the delicate balance between his world and theirs. And that, he could not afford, not when he was responsible for the welfare and livelihood of the pack.
There was nothing in this world that Moonfang, leader of the local Lycan pack, hated more than humans, except, maybe, the one human that took his wife's life, whoever that human may be. And it was also partly because of his wife's influence, that he did not strike at humans in rage, though anger fueled him greatest. For this reason, Moonfang was becoming more and more eager for humans to foolishly break the laws that protect them from the Faerie. But so far, only three had ever done so, and those three, he had to aid, much to his disgust, so as to maintain the balance in the world. That night still left a sour taste in his mouth.
While moonlit night walks were a frequent pastime for Moonfang, tonight was special. It was the anniversary of his wife's passing. And while he would like to visit his wife's grave with his daughter and son, he knew that it was not so. As the pack's oracle, his daughter, Lunarfur, was not allowed on hallowed ground like the resting places of the dead, not without being overcome by the overwhelming power of the sacred place, a drawback for having made innate connection with the Spirit World. It was a connection that most of the Faerie have forfeited long ago, save the ones with positions like Lunarfur's, at least those of the European variety that followed the Will of Titania.
Moonfang didn't know much about the workings of the Faerie of other countries like Japan, China, or the Middle East, and sacrilege; he dropped out of college when it became apparent that cultural anthropology was not his thing.
As for his son, Silver, as he was now known as, threw his lot with the humans, making him traitor of the pack and was immediately disowned and banished. Needless to say, the father and son duo were not on speaking terms. Now the wretched young man was looking over the house of warlocks like a servile guard dog, along with a cat woman from a different time.
Moonfang pulled the rim of his hat lower over his eyes and was grinding his teeth to the memory of his son's rebellion. What else could he view it as? He stopped himself short just enough so as to not harm the flowers that Lunarfur picked to take her place at the graveyard visit. Still fresh and dewy, the silver petals of this unique flower glistened at the shining moonlight. The species was one of many things that the Lycan pack took pride on. They may take the form of animals, and might even fight like animals, but Lycans were not the savage werewolves that the media propaganda made them to be. There were more than just warriors in the pack, but scholars, academics, and others appreciative of knowledge, philosophy, and beauty. If anything, it was the humans who were the savages, especially those members of "civilization" with their pollution and the destruction and suppression of other cultures. It was a miracle that the humans didn't completely destroy themselves already.
At the thought, the Lycan sneered at contempt, then at anger to the memory that it was the superior race of the Faerie being suppressed and the savage inferior humans having free reign on the world. Life was truly one with irony.
Finally, after such a short walk, Moonfang found himself at two signs, one to greet visitors and arrivals to the town, and another to say farewell. The Lycan walked forward without much regard, and once he was over the border, the scenery shifted from a long winding road with trees on either side to the edge of a concrete metropolis. Being in such a place and not the sudden change in location gave the man a shiver down his spine. Just being in one of those cursed human cities gave in an irritating itch and a queasy stomach. If it weren't for the fact that the graveyard was hallowed ground, Moonfang would have simply transported himself straight there, instead of coming to the edge of a city. Of all the places his wife could be buried, it had to be close to the type of area he hated the most.
It was only after another few seconds of walking that he found himself at the rusted iron gate of the cemetery. Despite its dilapidated appearance, this gate has proudly withstood invasion both recent and in the far past. It was held by a special lock that only angels, possibly the only beings in the entire world to have power in sacred ground, could open. It was worth sucking up to the extremely naive angel guardian of this cemetery to persuade her to give him a key to the place. While he didn't really need to put up that much of an effort and could have simply just visited the grave during the day like any normal person would, Moonfang preferred visiting at night, a time no humans would ever visit the grave except for maybe a gang of ruffians now and then. At the very least, it would help to make sure that no trespassers, however unlikely, disturb any of the graves.
Moonfang strolled purposely through the path, giving regards to various graves of various people. He took note of some of the more recent additions to the cemetery, having familiar names etched on the stone markers and their times of deaths.
"Huh," Moonfang would sometimes go upon finding such grave markers. "Can't say I'm surprised."
Finally, he reached his main destination, stopping a modest stone grave marker, kept in pristine condition from all those years of care. Already, there were flowers laid out, white roses from Fallen Oak, judging by the scent. Silver must have already come by.
With an indignant sniff, Moonfang pushed aside the vase of white roses, putting his and Lunarfur's flowers in their place. He stopped again; turned toward the flowers he cast aside then took a big whif at them.
Something wasn't right. There was an unfamiliar stench in the air mixed in with Silver's own scent. It didn't come from the people in Silver's life, that Moonfang was certain. He would have recognized the scent if that was the fact. Now even Silver wouldn't invite some random stranger to the grave, not unless it was something important. And this unfamiliar smell was definitely not female. Nor did it belong to the flower shop workers in the only flower shop that Silver would go to. Moonfang visits that shop from time to time. As much as they hated it, Moonfang and Silver had similar tastes.
"Angel!" Moonfang suddenly shouted, loud enough to wake the dead. "Come out here, this instant, Harmony ang Dabon Smith!"
"There's no need to shout," said a soft, musical voice. "And it's just Harmony Smith. That whole 'ang Dabon' thing was just to keep Father happy. That man is such a traditionalist."
A beautiful young woman with radiant white wings appeared above the grave of Moonfang's wife. She wore a flowing white gown with frills and fashioned for the late Victorian Era. Floating above her head of blonde hair was a golden halo, giving off a gentle white glow that brought warmth into the cold night.
Despite her beauty and obvious kind and gentle spirit, Moonfang frowned and glared at the angel with disapproval. He was sympathetic of the angel's father, knowing what it was like to have a child join with humans. If it were him, he wouldn't fall short of just the name.
She let out a big yawn, stretched her arms up, then scratched the back of her head. It looked as if she had just woken up. Her hair was a mess, and there was crust forming at the corners of her eyes.
"So," said the guardian angel of the cemetery. "What do you need?"
"Those flowers," Moonfang said, pointing toward the flowers that his son left behind.
"What about them?" Harmony said, tilting her head to one side. "They're very nice. I should really ask Silver where he gets them."
"There's an unfamiliar scent about them," Moonfang said, his patience being tested. "Judging by how strong the scent was, he was here at least an hour after Silver appeared. Can you tell me who came here between twenty-four hours?"
"Is that really all that you called me out in the middle of the night for?" Harmony said, crossing her arms and puffing out her cheeks. "Goodness gracious, if that isn't an odd request."
Moonfang could feel his forehead throbbing like mad. That angel always gave him the most headaches, out of all the people in his life, the second being the humans in his life.
"Just get on with it!"
"Fine," Harmony said, rather indignantly. Although she would rather be at sleep than comply to the puzzling commands of a rude wolf, rude or not, even with his life ruled by hate, he was still a good person on the inside, so Harmony, as guardian angel of the hallowed ground, must obey.
She reached for the halo atop her head and pulled it off its place. As her arms expanded, so did the ring of gold, until it was a hoop big enough for a gorilla to walk through with ease. When Harmony tapped at the center space of the ring, there was a ripple that spread toward the edges defined by the hoop, like water. At this point, the angel's eyes became vacant and dull, like it always did when she was in a trance. A cocky smile played on her lips, revealing just how much confidence she had with her divination.
Moonfang watched the rippling with great intense. But now and then, he would glance at the angel with a flicker of concern, remembering how when his daughter first messed up a divination, she was bed-ridden with fever. He was glad he checked, for a frown appeared on that usually complacent and sometimes blank face. That frown deepened to add on screwed eyebrows, in turn, turning into a gasp of horror. At least, that was how Moonfang saw it.
Having seen the signs of a divination gone badly before, he did the only thing an outsider like himself could do. He tackled the young woman to the ground, just in time. The halo cracked like a broken mirror, rippling space and all, and exploded in a shower of colorful light. Were it not for the supernatural barriers of the cemetery, the entire city would have woken to see a blinding star burst near their homes, sending a shock wave that trailed near the edges of the graveyard.
While Harmony's eyes were still a little vacant, her face pale in the moonlight, light returned to her eyes which widened in astonishment.
"My halo," she said in a soft voice. "It just went boom!"
Moonfang quickly got to his feet and avoided eye contact with the angel. Guilt washed over him as he knew that it was his fault that the angel's halo was no more. An angel's halo was the source of an angel's power. With it gone, they would be no more different than the bird people they resembled so, albeit much more weaker, light-headed, and delicate (at least in the case of some ordinary angels; Moonfang knew an angel who exercised regularly, had military training, and once fought in a battle, even having lost his halo in a previous one, without any evidence of his strength waning). To top it all off, it took several days before an angel's halo reforms, leaving the angel helpless for a long time to come. Without it, Harmony will not be able to perform her angelic duties, which she accomplishes diligently as another part of her bargain with her father to allow her to marry a human.
Even though it was mostly her union with a human on the line, Moonfang could not stop feeling guilty and almost immediately offered to watch over the hallowed ground in her place the moment her head cleared enough for her to comprehend the situation.
"Oh, don't worry about it!" Harmony slurred like a drunken sailor. "I'll be fine."
She got off the ground, dusted grass of her dress and began stumbling around with not much balance. With a little movie monster make-over and tattered clothes, she could be an uncoordinated undead zombie for all anyone knew. This was a cemetery after all.
"You are most certainly not fine!" Moonfang snarled. "Blast it all, where are the other sentries? Surely they do not expect just one housewife to watch over the hallowed grounds where the dead sleep?"
"Well, of course they would!" Harmony slurred, stumbling down and catching herself on a tombstone. "This is a cemetery after all. It's hallowed ground! Even necromancers can't do much magic here, and their powers depend on the dead. I . . . am the only angel in several hundred miles."
"Oh, for the love of Gaia!"
- Silverwest Manor (Excerpt)
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- Warlocks of Silverwest Manor
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