Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Excerpt from Circle City: Lord of the Wolfen (On Sale for .99!)
Circle City: Lord of the Wolfen - Book I by Alisha Paige
A lone dog walked the streets of Circle City. He had no fear of being captured or seen by the Wolfen. Tonight was the night of the first full moon after the historical Feral Consummation, a time of great celebration. All of Circle City was invited to the “human” wedding of Axl and Zoe. Though it was all for show, the traditional fanfare usually followed the real deal. Since the ancient ceremony was attended by only males, this wedding had been planned by Sakti and would be attended by all Wolfen and Circle City humans. Rumors were swirling, even as far away as Anchorage where the Kontar lived among the humans. The dog had caught wind of the party weeks ago even though he lived in hiding from his own kind. He had to see if it was true but first, he had to find something else.
The gangly, tortoise shell colored canine snorted, his hot breath forming puffs of smoke above his head as he walked through the gates of the Circle City Cemetery, passing ancient headstones, some now broken from ages of snow and ice. He made his way to the center of the graveyard, leaping over broken stones and fallen frozen branches. His gait slowed as he neared the Wolfen tomb, keeping his head low, ever watching, glancing behind him and moving onward, his belly grazing the ground as he slid beneath the fence and scampered up the stone steps. He lifted his thin muzzle in the moonlight and took a deep breath. The word Wolfdorn, the human surname for the Wolfen clan was etched in giant block letters. He cocked his ears, listening for noise. Organ music drifted from the church. Soon the ceremony would be over. He’d conceal himself here until the people had moved on to the reception.
He sniffed. Nothing.
It was safe to enter. He walked inside the giant tomb, impressed at its enormity. The Kontar tomb was only a fourth the size of this monstrosity. Shadows now concealed him but his night vision could see everything in perfect detail. There were dozens and dozens of slender glass coffins lined in rows. Fresh flowers decorated every single casket. The stench of formaldehyde and stale death clogged his nostrils and he grunted, pointing his nose to the ground, keeping his eyes focused on the wall, reading the etched names as he strode past ancient ancestors of the Wolfen. When he came to the last aisle, he stopped, closed his tired eyes and sniffed. A yelp escaped as he collapsed onto his haunches, then laid flat on his belly.
He could smell her.
He lay there for several minutes before rising. With shaking legs, he stood and walked forward. Lifting with his hind legs, he rested his front paws on the edge of the glass casket, peering inside. A great, mournful whine escaped as he gazed down at her; his wife, his love. His tail shook at a flurry of violent sparkles. Feet flew beneath his hind legs and he grew taller, unable to keep from shifting to a human in all his grief. Now leaning over his dead wife was a gaunt man with short, brown hair and wide brown eyes, conveying all the sadness in the world as tears dripped onto glass as cold as ice. His breath fogged up the coffin and her face disappeared beneath, only the color of her shining ruby red hair shown through. He rubbed it away with a shaking palm and sobbed out loud.
“Tisa, my love! I never abandoned you! I was banished for marrying you. The king wanted you for himself. They took me away and told you lies.”
He collapsed on top of the glass and screamed her name again and again, hoping and praying the Wolfen would hear and end his misery. No one heard his cries. The only sound was the echo of his sobs on the cold, stone walls. He raised his eyes to her name etched on the wall and whispered it again.
It had been so long since he’d said it out loud. He kissed his wedding ring and plucked a dead white rose from her funerary flowers. The dog man sat beside her in silence, sniffing, thinking of her and the love they once shared. And suddenly the reality of his nightmare slammed into full focus. Surrounding her were seven miniscule coffins. He gasped, ran a rugged hand through his hair and stood again, rushing forward. Within each coffin lay a body wrapped entirely in white, the customary burial garb for children of the Wolfen. The souls of the innocent were considered so pure their bodies were not allowed to be viewed in death. He walked from casket to casket, touching every one, praying in Kontar tongue between the soft sobs of a broken man. And then he returned to Tisa ’s coffin, opened the latch and raised the lid. He touched her face and smiled through his tears. Blackest grief gripped his heart, squeezing it so that he could scarcely breathe. A tear dropped onto her lips and he kissed it away ever so softly.
“We will meet in the next life, my love.”
With shaking hands, he closed the casket and fastened the latch before shifting back into a dog and darting back into the night, bounding down the tomb steps, running straight down the center of the cemetery, leaping over a giant angel with icicles hanging from her wings and past the gates. He ran down the middle of the road, harboring no fear as he sprinted to the church and walked around to the side stained glass windows. He pressed his nose against the glass and sniffed. It wasn’t his imagination. He thought he had caught the scent when he’d walked into town.
His eyes flashed open, changing from brown to burning red. He sniffed again, whining softly.
He was sure of it. He sniffed and closed his eyes. Now he wondered why his sister, Magna had never told him. He knew she was working for the Wolfen and had cut ties with the Kontar though he knew how to get in touch with her if he needed to.
The scent flooded his nostrils.
The Scraffen. He was sure of it.
It was all he could do to restrain a growl. Inside was one of his own. Ivan panted, pacing back and forth, his mind reeling. One pup had survived.
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