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Stories from the Verse
For Better or Verse
Chapter 100: Hastings 126
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They emerged from the mist in the smallest hint of a clearing, a glade marked by a half-buried stone whose shape and color suggested that it was the landmark the wolves used to travel here. Lauren paused to look at it, but her guide hurried her forward. Whether it was urgency of the errand or a desire to prevent her from memorizing the place she could not guess. In a moment they passed out of the light of the glade into the cool darkness of a dense canopy. Her eyes adjusted to the shadow.
"I had no idea the forest still had places so thick as this," she said to Garith. A different voice answered from the shadows.
"We have Bethany and the good people of Wandborough to thank." The voice was strong, deep, yet feminine. "The vampires would have cleared the wood were it not for their efforts."
"Pack mother," Lauren presumed.
The dimly seen she-wolf answered. "They say you are the Mystic of the Western Woods. There is no way I know to test that claim; I don't know that it matters. Assuming you are she, why are you here now, and why do you come to me?"
Lauren studied the woman carefully. "God sends me for His own purposes," she said. "It is not always clear to me what they are. Once it was to learn, once to teach, once to deliver a city. I think I am here now to destroy Tubrok and break the enslavement of the sons of Eve, so that faith may return to man."
"How has this errand brought you to me?"
That seemed a rather polite way of asking why she should care; but Lauren took it in the best light she could.
"Three times I have been in this world before now, and each time the daughters of Lilith were my friends and allies. Twice they were your people, Sielle, the wolves of the woods of Wandborough. As descendants of my ancient allies, I owed you the courtesy of letting you know that I was here, and that I was again working against the darkness."
The lupine moved forward out of the shadows. She was tall, muscular, more the human than some Lauren had met. "You are not here to ask for our help?"
"I am here because I have always found the wolves to be good friends and faithful ones. I won't say that I will not come to you for help. I am not coming to you for help now. You needed to know that I am here; I needed to know that you are here. We share a common enemy. There is every reason for us to work together when we can."
"So, you wish to know that we are here if you need us."
"Yes." Lauren spoke firmly.
"And you wish for us to know that you are here, if we need you."
It was with a touch less certainty that she replied this time. "Yes."
Sielle smiled, a smile that displayed a self-satisfaction of having gained something, perhaps an advantage. "Thank you for coming, Mystic. I understand Bethany was your student. We owe her much, and so we must owe you something. Your friends are here."
"Thank you," Lauren said; but already Sielle had returned to the shadows and vanished in the dim. Seeing that the meeting had ended, Lauren walked as far as the glade, thanking Garith as she passed him, then opened the mist and entered it. Home was a scant few steps away, and she wanted to be home now.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #202: Verser Confrontations. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: