PART ONE: TABITHA
Tabitha’s stomach growled noisily in the darkness. It had been several weeks since she and her father had had a decent meal and it was not the first time Tabitha had gone to sleep hungry. In fact, the only time Tabitha really got to eat anything decent was whenever she presented herself at a Rogue Wolf Association (the RWA) outpost or the headquarters of the Association or else at Wolf Aid (the WA).
The RWA and WA were two non-governmental organizations that were dedicated to determining the root causes of and eradicating the plight of lycans. In particular, Wolf Aid addressed eradicating poverty and its adverse effects upon the lycan populace that had been proven to be the reason most lycans incurred the werewolf curse.
The Rogue Wolf Association, on the other hand, specifically targeted Rogue lycans, a special interest group that were more predisposed to incurring the werewolf curse than most well adjusted ‘pack’ lycans. Both organizations were well rooted in Denary as well as in many other Magical Realm Countries. In the Mortal Realm, the two organizations’ outposts were often disguised as Shadowy organizations which could only be accessed by the Magick-bestowed folks who needed them.
The WA and RWA all offered a warm meal and in some cases, monetary compensation to witches who agreed to donate their witch’s element to their causes. For several years since they had been established in the Magical Realm, this was greatly looked down upon by witches. However, in Denary particularly, witches presented themselves in droves in the hopes of securing the warm meals and other benefits the organizations offered.
Some witches such as Tabitha herself had even gone as far as to do live donations which involved actually meeting with lycans presenting themselves to the organizations and donating their element directly to them.
The live donation route was the riskiest since they had a tendency to go very wrong, very fast. Although no fatalities had ever been reported by the organizations, it was a fact that some witches had nearly lost their lives during live donations and so both organizations had restricted such instances significantly.
Tabitha could barely get a wink of sleep that night as all the possibilities of the day that would follow plagued her mind. She knew that even if she woke up earlier that morning, they’d be a mad rush to get into the RWA that day. The WA would be completely out of the question and a ‘certain live donation incident’ would lead to the organization closing its doors earlier.
Tabitha hastily pulled herself out of bed ,took a bath and prepared herself to leave the house. She dragged the solitary futon she owned that had rarely been used for its intended purpose of since when she had acquired it as a child. Tabitha headed straight towards the RWA headquarters where she found several others like her who had brought their sleeping bags along with them, sleeping under the stars while in line.
She carefully placed her futon in line, got under it and observed the stars with gloom in her heart. Had Tabitha not known what destiny lay ahead of her, she would have long lost hope. Denary had been hell and the fires persecuting its people especially witches, had been particularly merciless.
The people of Denary languished in poverty and hopelessness. There was mass starvation, indiscriminate killings every other day, and poor families committing mass suicide to escape the hellish life all Denarians were subjected to.
All the people had held the hope that as Princess Edna of Mialand had faced justice for the cold blooded murder of her sister, the royal family of Denary would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Oracle Emica but that hope had been quickly extinguished when the Royal Family led by the Church of Enlightenment had seen to it that the Oracle could not safely travel to Denary.
The Oracle and her Protector had been declared public enemies and as a result, the Royal Family had evoked the Dark Oracle Act. The Act permitted any country within the Magical Realm to disallow any reigning Oracle that was deemed a significant threat to national security from visiting. The Act also saw to it that any precepts relating to the country in question as issued by the Oracle during her reign would be ignored.
Oracle Emica had been prevented from her mission to save Denary by the Act and as a result, the people of Denary’s woes persisted with no end in sight. Tabitha felt a deep hatred and rage at the injustice suffered by witch folk in Denary. She longed for the day she would finally turn 21 when her full power would be realized and she could finally make the Royal family and the Church of Enlightenment suffer for their transgressions.
On the following morning just as the doors of the RWA opened to the general public, Tabitha and other witch folk in line all waited impatiently, shoving each other and causing a ruckus despite the call for calm from officials of the organization.
When it was finally Tabitha’s time to donate, she was as calm as she had always been and happily took up the meal she had offered and carefully wrapped it up before placing it in her long coat pocket and heading back home. Though she was starving, she knew that her father needed the meal more than she did and so she dizzily walked towards home, supporting herself on trees and anything else she could solidly gasp onto.
Her bitterness and rage gave her the strength she needed while her clairvoyance saw to it that she would avoid any dangers to her personal safety particularly then when she was at her weakest. Tabitha was almost home when she encountered an unexpected situation…
Tabitha paused, took in deep breaths and turned towards South where she perceived that he was. He came with his pack-mates, all young and vibrant lycan men in their prime. Like him, his pack-mates were deeply intrigued and curious about her.
“Uh… Excuse me Miss, but have we… have we met before?” the Alpha of the pack asked her.
Tabitha shook her head.
“Need a hand?” asked a pack- member referring to Tabitha’s trembling hand on the tree she used to prop herself up on.
“No thank you, I’m good,” she responded continually avoiding eye contact with the Alpha.
“Are you sure we haven’t met before? I think that we have… It’s okay, none of us mean you any harm, we are just curious,” the Alpha asked her.
Tabitha vehemently shook her head. “We haven’t met,”
The Alpha observed her suspiciously before turning around with his pack mates following suit seamlessly in sync. Tabitha waited until they were out of eye sight completely before resuming her journey back home. ‘You don’t know me yet, Dolphus, but you will sooner than you think,’ she thought when the Alpha’s face popped up in her mind.
Miles away, the Alpha’s heart beat as fast as lightning. Had someone spoken to him? Who was the mysterious witch that he and his pack mates had just met and why had her scent intrigued him so much?
Dolphus’ pack had been intrigued through the psychic connection they all shared as pack-mates but he knew that the curiosity they all shared was generated by himself and he was hard pressed to explain why she in particular had caused it.
TO BE CONTINUED…
And so concludes the Tale of Tabitha Tanner for now. What does destiny have in store for young Tabitha? Stay tuned to find out. See you next part! 😉