It has come to our attention, we do not have a post for the first chapter in our very first novel Full Moon Rising (Trilogy of the Wolf). Below is the first chapter. Hope you enjoy!
Aged silver bells in the Heartfield Church chimed throughout the city, signaling the eleventh hour. Its proud, clear, reverberating sound sent its own blessing to every citizen as it had done for centuries.
Those who timed it, knew the chimes were precise. The sound, like the church itself sitting in the southeastern corner of the city, had become a tradition.
Both the church and the bells were symbols. People viewed the church as a representation of peace. The bells were viewed as perpetual; time everlasting.
The crystal chimes sounded from the sturdy, granite tower in the northeast corner of the church. The grandiose building spanned an entire block. Many looked upon it as the foundation of the faithful.
Making a stark contrast against the gray stone, flecked with pink, were colored glass windows. The colored glass held beautiful pictures. Some were of people knelt in prayer. Others were people looking skyward to the heavens. More were people receiving blessings. It gave the church a heavenly look.
Most of the priests were gathered in the central chamber, known as the Great Hall. They guided morning prayers as the bell tolled.
On either side of the Great Hall were various rooms. In these rooms, lessons were taught to people of all ages. These lessons ranged from basic writing and reading skills to anything one could imagine.
The Heartfield Church belonged to everyone.
Today, as the morning bells tolled, one of the Elder Priests hurried up a spiral stairway in the northern part of the church. He was a tall, thin man by the name of Constin Sal Tamind. Several lesser priests followed him upon his request.
Although Constin was an Elder Priest, he was just a month past his thirtieth name-day. The church didn’t view titles as ranks. They were personal achievements and strengths of faith.
He was one of the youngest Elder Priests Heartfield had. It was because Constin was one of the most influential men in the city. He offered advice and knowledge, whether it was scripture or not, to anyone in need.
At the top of the stairs, there was a red door. Constin glanced out the small window beside it. They were four floors higher than the rest of the church, giving him a grand view of the city. A small smile formed on his lips. This was home.
The door wasn’t locked. It hadn’t been locked for centuries. As Constin and the other priests entered, a young man rushed over to them. He gave a slight bow. His shoulder length, brown hair swept over his adolescent face.
“Thank you for coming,” he whispered.
He led them to a small area, enclosed by dark, reddish brown draperies. Constin motioned for the others to wait outside the curtained area. Only Elder Priests were allowed the privilege to stand in the presence of Amrioy, the Seer. Although the rest wouldn’t see him, they would still hear what he had to say. It was the reason Constin had brought them.
The Seer sat with his legs folded in front of him on an oversized pillow. Constin stepped past him and knelt before the aged man.
It had always amazed him how timeworn Amrioy appeared. Over the last few years, he often wondered how old the Seer was. However curious he was, Constin never spoke his thoughts aloud. He considered such questions as impolite. Though, he couldn’t help but wonder. The man looked well past his one hundredth name-day.
The Seer wore a strip of cloth over his eyes. It wasn’t expected of him to wear it, nor was it because having actual sight would deny him his special sight. The man was blind, though he hadn’t been born that way. Around the cloth, there were hints of what lay beneath it.
Older Elder Priests spoke of an accident when Amrioy was but a small boy. A shelf had collapsed causing several lit candles to fall on him. The hot wax burned his face, hideously scarring it. When the wax hit the Seer’s eyes, it blinded him. The damage had been so severe the physicians had been forced to remove what was left of his eyes.
Amrioy wore the strip of cloth out of respect for everyone else. The Seer had no delusions his appearance was a dreadful sight to behold, and wished it upon no one. He had born witness to his appearance through the reactions of others as a young boy coming into manhood. That was before God had blessed him with his insight. He imagined if a child were to look upon him now, deformed and wrinkled with age, they would run, crying. Nightmares would no doubt haunt them for months.
“Most honored sage,” Constin whispered, bowing his head in respect. “You honor me with your summons.”
Amrioy said nothing for several moments. “I was afraid the eleventh hour prayer would keep you from visiting for another hour yet.” He paused as if he studied Constin. “I am relieved it didn’t.” The old man smiled, making the scars on his face wrinkle. It gave him a significantly more disfigured look.
“Unlike some of the other priests,” Constin said, glancing toward the curtains veiling the room, “I understand the severity and importance of your gift of prophecy.”
Constin gave a small smile, taking pride in the fact he knew Amrioy’s prophecies were real. Most of the priests scoffed at the Seer. They talked in whispers amongst themselves, thinking no one else could hear them. There were some who called his gift a sacrilege, though none dared say it within earshot of Constin. At least, not after the first time.
“Ah,” Amrioy said in his aged voice. “I’m not so certain you’d provide such prominence on my gift if it hadn’t directly influenced you.”
Although the Seer’s voice was playful, Constin answered seriously.
“I’ve always believed God gave you your gift. Your insight is something we need to understand and listen to. We don’t need to scoff at it or whisper about it behind closed doors.”
For a few years now, he’d been well aware of the gossip amongst the other priests. Ashamedly, some of them were Elder Priests. He was disappointed in every last one of them. He didn’t expect them to fully believe. It was something they’d have to struggle with internally.
“Yes, yes,” Amrioy said with a dismissive wave. He motioned Constin to be quiet. “I summoned you to tell you this most recent prophecy before my aged mind forgets the important details.” The old man paused. If Constin didn’t know better, he’d think the Seer was staring at him. “You may not like what you hear, but you must listen. It is important you do for your daughter’s sake. Do you understand?”
Constin’s heart fluttered. In the years he had known the Seer, he had never sounded so severe. He looked upon Amrioy, but the Seer’s expression hadn’t changed from the impassive look it always held. The look was almost peaceful.
“I will listen,” Constin said, bowing his head. His gaze remained on the scattering of rugs strewn across the stone floor.
A pessimistic smile played across the Seer’s face as he adjusted how he sat. “Olesa, as you are aware, is of great importance to this world. More of her destiny was revealed to me. Someday a great power will show itself and will be an unavoidable threat to her life, and in essence to all life. Unfortunately, what I saw gave no indication to how much time we have before this takes place. It could be today, tomorrow, or a few years from now.”
“Did God give you any idea of how we can help her?” Constin asked, already forming a plan.
His long face took on a deep seriousness that was rarely seen. He enjoyed life and tried to not take everything to heart.
“That’s the part you won’t like, but it is the most important part.” The Seer paused to take a drink from the water glass sitting on the floor next to him. “Somewhere in this world, there is a man who can protect her. What I saw told me he is the only one who can, and before you interrupt to ask if this man is you, it is not.”
Constin nodded, swallowing hard. He didn’t like what he heard in the Seer’s voice.
“This man will do more than just protect her. He will save her life, several times over if he must. He will be compelled to help her, simply because that is the kind of person he is. They will be inexorably drawn to one another, so he may protect her. I have seen this, Constin.” Amrioy paused again as if studying him. “It is important for you to understand our Lord has chosen this man to watch over our most precious pupil and our only hope of surviving what is coming. You must obey His will no matter how much you disagree with it.”
“I don’t understand,” Constin said in the brief silence that followed, furrowing his brow. “I haven’t heard anything I shouldn’t like. If this man can save her life, I’ll let him!”
Amrioy sighed impatiently. “What I saw,” he said, skipping the reprimand for the interruption, “showed me a peculiar trait of this man. I do not know what this man looks like, nor do I know his name. What I do know, is this man is a werewolf.”
Constin sat there, staring at the old man, blinking, unable to process what the Seer had said. The Elder Priest opened his mouth but the Seer spoke again.
“You heard correctly, young man.”
Constin’s confusion changed to anger. “Surely, you can’t be serious? How is one of those… those vicious, cruel beasts supposed to protect her? It makes no sense!”
“It doesn’t have to make sense, Constin,” Amrioy said gently. It made the Elder Priest realize his place again. “I am only the conduit from which God speaks to all.”
Constin sat there for several moments with his jaw clenched before he rose. “I refuse to believe my God, any God for that matter, would put the fate of a child who is one day supposed to save the world itself, in the hands…” He paused, shaking his head. “Excuse me, claws, of a bloodthirsty beast!”
Constin paced the small curtained area. He wrung his hands behind his back as his thoughts reeled. His heart raced.
“What you choose to believe is irrelevant,” Amrioy said. His matured voice had taken on a harsh edge. “What I am telling you is the will of God and cannot be undone just because you do not like what you hear. Besides,” he said, his voice becoming soft again, “you’re overreacting. This man, while being a werewolf, is not like those of his kind. He mourns the life he lost and the life he is now forced to live. He hates himself, but he is capable of love. Although a werewolf, he is still a man, however broken he may be.”
“Love?” Constin shouted. Several doves outside the tower took to flight.
“Yes, Constin, love.” Amrioy turned toward him. If Constin didn’t know, without a doubt, the Seer had no eyes, he would swear the man looked right at him and into his soul. “This man,” the Seer said, continuing his gentle scolding, “will love and protect Olesa as though she were his sister, his own flesh and blood. He’ll kill for her and he will die for her.”
Constin couldn’t help but laugh sarcastically. “Yes! She will be of his blood once he bites her. Why can’t you see this? Something is terribly wrong, Amrioy.”
“I did not bring you here so you could criticize what our Lord told me, or to criticize me,” Amrioy snapped. “I brought you here so you could hear His words as I’ve done many times in the past.” Amrioy sighed heavily. Annoyance had turned his scars red. “This was not intended to be a discussion. I’m telling you what was told to me because you are the child’s father. You are one of her guardians.”
“And I just have to live with it?” Constin asked, raising a brow. He shook his head and sighed heavily.
“You must put Olesa before your fears and stop being selfish.”
“Selfish?” Constin interrupted. He ran a hand through his short, black hair, tinged with silver. He shook his head in disbelief again. “Wanting to protect Olesa from a bloodthirsty creature is selfish? I don’t understand.”
“Yes, Constin. You’re letting your feelings for her, as your adopted daughter, cloud your judgment. The person you keep referring to as a bloodthirsty creature is the only person who can protect her when the worst comes to kill her.”
“We’ll see about that.”