Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

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Lucian Ulvenwald awoke with a shudder. As he became more aware of his surroundings, he began to watch the tendrils of mist, like the lapping tongue of a hound, unfurl over the cobbled alley in which he found himself. Clothed only in gnashed garments, now useless to conceal his bare body, he tried to recall the events of the past night. It was then that the faint, dream-like memories flooded his mind. Each passing vision came and went so abruptly it physically jolted Lucian upright as if he was awakening from a bad dream. First was the memory of his small pasture in Gatstaf. Here the young shepherd, spent most of his days raising his herd of sheep, always watching over them and keeping them safe from wolves and other predators.
As the vision of the rolling fields faded, the gates of Estawld, barely visible through a curtain of mist, rushed to the forefront of his mind. He remembered the hunger his travels enticed whenever he brought his sheep to surrounding towns to sell in the open markets. At this thought he felt a strange lingering sense he could not identify. Here he knew others would be selling and trading animals, crops, and other goods. Now there was a void in his memory. Next was only the vivid depiction of himself running towards the town gates as if being pursued by monsters, no sheep in toe, or even in sight. Lucian thought this absurd because he knew he made neither trades nor transactions for his sheep in this strange town.
“What could have happened?” He thought. “What could he have seen or done to cause him to flee in such a panic?”
Lucian, now sick with worry, not only for his missing sheep, but for his own personal well-being, teetered on the edge of terror as he tried to stand to better gauge his surroundings. Immediately a burning pain shot through his calf, and he crumpled into a heap on the cobblestones. One look at his pierced and bloody leg was enough.
Lucian’s previously absent span of memory hurdled into his mind’s eye. He now saw two men that he came upon asking for guidance to the nearest food stand. When questioned, the two men suggested that Lucian follow them to the market and that they could help guide the sheep along the increasingly narrow streets of Estwald because as they grew nearer to the hub of the town the familiar dirt paths would become cobbled streets and alleys. Lucian thought this kind and accepted the offer anxious to sell his sheep. However, after countless turns in the foreign maze he lost sight of the men and became aware that the number of his sheep was dwindling. He witnessed a group of his herd being whisked away by a blur into a branching alleyway. He had to protect his sheep from harm; he could not allow his only livelihood to be stolen by some conniving street rat. He turned the corner to confront the thief. The only thing he could see now was the gaping maw of a beast resembling a giant wolf standing on two legs with a behemoth barrel chest and arms of a man. Terrified he remembered running towards the mist-veiled gates, however, as he recklessly fled the beast lunged at him. At this thought Lucian winced and took another look at his bloodied calf. Suddenly Lucian was aware of the taste in his mouth that was characterized by a bitter metallic tinge. The taste of blood.
A red haze encompassed Lucian’s field of view as he became filled with an intense rage. Eyes wide with anger and desperation, he could now feel his body take a bestial form as his face became disfigured and contorted while his jaws grew into a snarling snout, his hair grew into a savage mane, and his ears elongated to those of a vicious prowler. The only thing that Lucian’s new predatory form felt now was hunger as his consciousness slipped into darkness. What remained of Lucian released a guttural howl born from the ferocity that consumed him and as he took flight, only one image, the image of a succulent sheep was present in his blood hazed mind.





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