"Be not afraid, ye Wocky." Indara pinpointed the source
of the noise and faced it, her heart pounding in her chest.
The Lupe emerged from the shadows and into the
dull light. He was old, and his long whiskers drooped low. His brown fur looked
awfully dirty and pale, and was starting to turn silver with age. But his yellow
eyes glowed in the light with an eerie keen fire.
"My name is Kohla. It has been long since I have
seen another Neopet in here. Tell me, what is your name, Wocky?" he asked with
a slightly cracking voice.
"I-Indara. Are you a prisoner, too?" Indara shakily
"I am a prisoner… and yet, I am not," Kohla replied
cryptically. Indara noticed that he was not chained to the wall like she was.
"I don't understand -- you're not chained up!"
"Yes, indeed. I broke free of them the day I
was captured. My story is a very long and dark one… if you are to hear it, I
think you should be made a bit more comfortable." The shaggy Lupe walked over
to Indara, his long untrimmed claws clicking against the stone floor. Kohla
was thin and frail in appearance, but he had an aura of power about him that
caused Indara to unconsciously shrink back against the wall at his approach.
He grabbed the chains that held Indara to the
wall and he pulled hard. A vein popped out on his arm as he strained. The chains
ripped apart and fell onto the floor with an echoing clatter.
Indara sat down, rubbing her raw wrists.
"T-thanks." She gave the Lupe a shaky smile.
"So you were saying?"
Kohla gazed, deep in thought, at the tiny window
on the tall ceiling, which cast a small square of pale light onto the bare wet
After a couple of minutes or so of silence,
Indara coughed politely. Kohla snapped out of his daze.
"Sorry," he said, a little embarrassed. "It's
just that I have been in this murky pit for so long… I sometimes forget myself.
Anyway, you wanted to know how I came to be here, yes. The tale of my imprisonment
begins on a crisp winter night in my old home, the Haunted Woods." Kohla sighed
wistfully at the memory of home. "I was a lad back then, strong, youthful, and
well, rather full of myself."
As the old Lupe spun the tale of his past, Indara
sat listening, transfixed.
"One day, I was out in the forest, when all
of the sudden, I come across an old ugly Zafara woman in a dark cloak. She approached
me and asked of me the location of the Marketplace. Like the disrespectful youth
I was, I insulted her and told her to leave me alone.
Infuriated, she reached inside her cloak and
withdrew a black wand. She told me she was Edna the witch, and that I would
pay for my insolence. She waved her wand at me, and then vanished in a puff
of green smoke. Nothing happened. I thought her spell had failed… I thought
I had gotten away unscathed… After all, I felt fine, and I hadn't been
turned into a Scamander or anything… but I was wrong.
I went back to my home, just as night was falling.
The moon was full and bright, hanging in the sky like a beacon. As soon as the
light washed over me, I felt strange. Soon, the feeling exploded into crippling
pain, and I fell onto my face. Strange things began to happen to me, and when
the pain died down and I stood up, I was changed.
I was a monster, a ravening beast of the night.
I could feel nothing, save for a horrible hunger and a furious wrath. In my
bloodlust rage, I ravaged my home country and terrorized many Neopets and petpets
alike. The details of that first horrible night are still hazy to me, but I
have no real desire to remember. I woke up the next morning in the swamp, covered
in mud and burrs, but I was myself again. Terrified at what I had done, I fled
my hoe for the bitter peaks of Terror Mountain.
I swore that I would rid myself of this demon
inside me, or at least tame it so that nothing like this would ever happen again.
I couldn't bear to hurt anyone else.
I lived in solitude on that mountain peak for
years, where I fully learned about my lycanthropy… my Werelupism, in peace without
any risk of hurting anyone.
After years of concentration and meditation,
I finally was able to control my shifts and be safe of the influence of the
moon. I was in control of this horrible curse which had befallen me.
But even after I had mastered the monster… I
never went back home. I couldn't bear to face anyone from that dark past, not
after what I had done."
The graying WereLupe sighed and sunk back against
the wall, the melancholy of memory crushing down on him. When he regained himself
and continued his story, Indara noticed that his voice wavered and cracked a
little. A scent of sorrow filled the air as the talked.
"I decided to start a new life in the Lost Desert.
I heard about a city called Aknatsi and decided to start my new life there.
I rented a small room on the outskirts of town, and lived there a few years
in peace… but it didn't last. Nothing… ever does.
It happened as I was coming home from the marketplace.
Two Neopets, a young Darigan Eyrie and a red Nimmo jumped out in front of me,
swords pointed, and demanded that I hand over my Neopoints. I told them I had
none, and they attacked me. I ducked the worst of the blow, but the Eyrie's
blade cut into my flesh. Infuriated, my blood started to boil, and before I
knew it, I had begun to Shift into the WereLupe. Terrified at what might happen,
I tried to stop it, but the rage was just too strong. I hadn't shifted in over
a year, and after being bottled up for so long, the Beast finally broke free.
I roared mightily and bared my fangs at the young duo. They ran away, but I
chased them. I destroyed everything in my path. Eventually, the Royal Guard
was sent out to stop me. Only after sending out two score of guards did they
manage to hold e down. They completely tied me up in thick iron chains and then
threw me into this dungeon, where they have forgotten me and I have grown old
as you see me know."
"Can you not escape?" Indara asked, perplexed.
Kohla snorted and lifted his head to look at
Indara square in the eye.
"If I wanted to escape, then I would have done
so a long time ago. But as it is, I have no desire to leave. The world is safer
without me in it. Here I shall stay," Kohla finished, looking a little relieved,
like some unseen weight had been lifted from him. However, the moment passed
quickly and soon he looked as old as ever. He turned to Indara.
"So, my child, how did you come to be in this
"I… I don't remember everything, but I'll tell
you what I do know," Indara murmured.
And so she told him her tale, from waking up
in the tent to the fight in the marketplace.
"…and that's how I got here," she concluded
lamely. "There's… still I lot I don't know about myself."
Kohla nodded solemnly and thoughtfully.
"You know…" he said slowly. "The knowledge of
your former life is still up there." Kohla tapped his head with a finger. "It
just needs to be found again."
"I suppose…" Indara mumbled with doubt.
Night was beginning to fall outside, and the
square of sunlight on the floor began to fade into indigo blue.
Suddenly, Indara realized just how much time
"The king! I almost forgot, I have to go warn
him about the attack!" she turned to Kohla urgently.
"You said that you could escape from here if
you wanted to… please, help me get out of here! We can both escape, you and
I! We can help save the city!"
Kohla shook his head.
"I am not doing anything of the sort. While
I sympathize with your predicament, I cannot help you escape. The world is no
place for me. I have hurt too many people, and if I escape… that'll be even
more blood on my hands." Kohla turned away,
At this, Indara grew frustrated.
"By doing nothing, you're going to let another
person die! Do you not care?" she hissed, feeling her pulse quicken.
"You have never seen me in WereLupe form. I'm
an uncontrollable monster, a beast of chaos. I'll do more harm than help," Kohla
replied dully, his back still facing Indara.
Indara got up and started pacing to concentrate.
She paused and looked up at the tiny window in the ceiling. It was high, about
20 feet at least. Desperate and not thinking very clearly, she leapt up and
dug her toes into the cracks between the stone bricks in the wall. She started
to climb carefully and shakily. She reached a patch of slime growing on the
wall and slipped. Her heart leapt into her mouth as she lost her grip and fell
silently to the floor.
"OOF!" Indara impacted the cold stone floor
hard, knocking the wind out her. Even as she regained her breath, she was back
on the wall again, climbing straight up like a stubborn Spyder. She extended
her claws for a better grip. Paw over paw, she climbed. She started to slip
again, but caught herself. A stone beneath her back paw crumbled away into dust
and she fell again.
Three more times she fell before she gave up
and lay on the floor in a disheartened and bruised heap. Eventually, she dozed
off into a fitful and troubled sleep.
To be continued...