PART ONE: THE GRIMOIRE
Talulla woke up for the nth night in a row in a cold sweat, muffling her terrified screams on her pillow. Her eyes immediately filled up with tears as she looked around the room Queen Anna, her mentor, had arranged for her to stay in while Talulla was still under her tutelage. Although the Queen had seen to Talulla’s every comfort, the latter had not fully adjusted to life in the Dyson Sphere that was then her home and she woke up every night in a cold sweat, screaming at the top of her lungs due to the persistent nightmares she experienced.
She let the tears freely flow from her eyes as she threw away the blankets covering her quivering body trying her best to keep thoughts of her nightmares down but as always, they would not stay down. She looked down at her pale feet barely able to contain herself as she wept over her helpless state. Everyone knew, Talulla thought, that she was a fraud- there was not a drop of royal blood in her and worse still, she was from one of the most infamous clans in witch history- the Ruxella clan.
The door knob rattling shook Talulla out of her reverie but she ignored it shortly afterwards instead burying her face in her knees as she trembled and wept. The door knob stopped turning and she felt the warm, reassuring arm of her adoptive father, Lufian, gently caressing her hair before he held her close to his chest. The calm, steady rhythm of his beating heart was soothing to Talulla and she relaxed and held onto Lufian tightly until her weeping subsided.
“Dad, I’m sorry… I am so sorry… I can’t do this anymore. I am sorry I have dragged you into this… I-“
“Hush now, my little Princess, it’s going to be okay. You haven’t dragged me into anything. I am here because I love you, you know that you and I are the only ones we’ve got this world and I am here because I want to be. If it’s really too difficult for you to handle, we can go away from here, just the two of us, like it’s always been, until you feel strong enough to resume the training…”
“I can’t be queen, dad- how can I be when I’m… you know what Protector Leal said is true. I really am the Wolf Sayer… How can the Lady of Wolves be the Queen of witches? There is no way that is meant to be my destiny,”
“All I know is our Creator does not make mistakes. The Oracle has seen your rise to power and the prosperity Mialand will gain because of you taking the helm. My opinion of it is that you are meant to unite Mialand and Denary once and for all like it once was,”
Talulla shook her head and continued to vehemently deny what Lufian was telling her but she had felt the power of the Wolf Sayer welling up in her since she had turned 21 and though she had denied it and tried to repress the truth, it came out as frequently as her nightmares and her guilt at having survived Black Sunday1. Lufian did not give up on her, he kept reaffirming what Talulla already knew in her heart of hearts… She was not sure when she fell asleep but when Talulla woke up, Lufian was gently caressing her hair and the sun was already up in the sky.
“Don’t worry, you can just rest today, princess. I am sure Queen Anna will understand,”
Talulla sat up and shook her head. “I shouldn’t repay her kindness with sloth. I will get ready,”
Lufian nodded. “Very well. I will wait for you to get ready,”
Talulla turned to face her door which was still locked from the inside.
“Dad, how did you get in here? The door’s still locked,”
Lufian chortled. “Well, your window wasn’t locked,” he explained and he kissed the top of her head before rushing to the open window and jumping outside giving Talulla quite the scare. She visibly relaxed when she saw him agilely land on the ground floor.
Once Talulla had completed her morning routines and had breakfast, she went to where Queen Anna was in the main Administrative building. As was usually the case, Queen Anna had her doting husband, the famous King Ember seated next to her. The king was still clearly smitten with his life-mate and took every opportunity available to publicly display his affection for her. Once he saw Talulla, he painfully tore his gaze away from his partner and respectfully greeted the latter. Talulla greeted him and Queen Anna clearly approved because she smiled brightly, greeting the Queen Apparent as well.
“Are you ready for our lessons today, Lady Talulla?” Queen Anna asked her.
Talulla nodded and waited for King Ember to say goodbye to his beloved before they started. The lessons were as fun as Talulla had come to expect them to be because Queen Anna was a patient and encouraging tutor and the latter flourished under the tutelage. However, midway through their lessons, they were interrupted by the sudden appearance of Oracle Tabitha and her pack.
Talulla greeted Oracle Tabitha and Queen Anna approved yet again.
Tabitha smiled and stated, “I can see that you’ve truly grown under the Queen’s instructions. I do not regret leaving you under her care at all,”
“You honor me, my lady,” Queen Anna stated with a reverent bow at the Oracle.
“Thank you for your good work, Queen Anna. I regret interrupting your lessons but I wish to talk to Lady Talulla about something important, if I may,”
Queen Anna nodded.
“Lady Talulla, Protector Leal Grayson informed me of something really important concerning you. He was conflicted about sharing the news since he had sworn secrecy but he confided in me what he learned because he felt it was important for me to know. If what he shared is correct, you are the Wolf Sayer, aren’t you?”
Talulla shyly nodded. “I am so sorry I didn’t inform you sooner. I was terrified to accept it on my own,”
Tabitha nodded. “I apologize for overlooking something so important but once I learned the new information, my visions of your future expanded. Your role as the Queen of Mialand is more important than I predicted. You shall, as Queen Aris of the Marsh Kingdom (Denary) once did for the two nations, unify the witch and lycan races. You possess a rare ability and it appears that our Creator Herself has granted you this special favor. You, like Queen Aris, are an important Mage of this age,”
Talulla absorbed the Tabitha’s pronouncements feeling overwhelmed and unworthy.
“I believe that no one deserves this more than you-” Tabitha stated before handing over a book whose paperback cover was considerably worn. Talulla gasped on realizing what the book was.
“My lady, I couldn’t- this book- it’s a historical treasure for the peoples of Denary. I couldn’t-“
Tabitha shook her head. “This Grimoire belonged to Queen Aris. She penned it herself during her day. It contains the prerequisite knowledge required to be the Wolf Sayer in her own words,”
Talulla was too stunned to speak and she simply nodded.
“I vow to help you in whatever way I can in mastering this ability and in every step it takes for you taking the helm of Mialand,”
“But… my lady… If indeed I am meant to master this ability, then how can I be the Queen of Mialand? Queen Aris mastered the ability and it helped her in becoming the Queen of Denary of her time,”
“I believe you were meant to be the Lady of Wolves and the Queen of Mialand concurrently. I believe the Creator’s intention is to unite the two races during this day and age. The Supreme Goddess always has Her own reasons for why She does what She wills but I believe this is what you are meant to be. This is your destiny, Lady Talulla,”
Talulla nodded and since Queen Anna released her early, she sat in the large study in the Sphere, going through the Grimoire of first Lady of Wolves herself. Like Talulla, the power stunned a young Aris, who would live on to take on the role of Queen. The power manifested itself fully on Aris’ 21st birthday but there had been hints that even among the shunned Ruxella clan, she was especially gifted with lycans. Lycans were drawn to Aris and all who shared their element with her were especially strong particularly the Crown Prince Rolfus whom Aris met by chance after the Prince and his caravan had been attacked by bandits sent to them by his half-brother who coveted the crown for himself.
Aris tended to the Prince’s wounds and used her empathic ability to soothe him as his body healed itself. The silver attribute to her element was especially potent and the Crown Prince recovered quickly. However, by the time he came to, the mysterious witch that had saved him without hesitation had disappeared and he spent many days searching for her and once they were reunited, he proposed marriage. Aris did not accept the Prince’s proposal for many years but finally caved when she realized the Crown Prince genuinely loved her and that she reciprocated it.
Aris explained that the power of the Lady of Wolves was more potent when the heart was stirred by powerful emotions. However, the bearer of the ability needed to be careful with what dominant emotion presided in their hearts as this emotion was what was projected to the lycans they were bonded too. Bonds could be created even without sharing Witch’s element. Even a strong sense of kinship with a lycan or werewolf was sufficient. Talulla closed the book at thought of the strong bond she shared with Lufian despite having not being biologically related. She thought of how important Lufian was to her and tears welled up in her eyes and thought that perhaps for his sake, this rare ability, she possessed wasn’t so bad.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What shall Lady Talulla make of the special ability she has acquired? Stay tuned to find out!
- Black Sunday: The aptly named the darkest day in Mialand’s (in Timeline B-3) recent history when the Dark Veiled Empress, Weylyn launched an attack on the witch nation during a revered holiday period for the Magical Realm. This was on August 1st 2021.