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Once upon a time-Is that how all the stories used to start? After all this time, all this loneliness and solitude I’m not sure what I remember anymore-what is real? I was a man. I remember that much at least. Not just a man, but a knight. Remember that, wretched creature. Hold to that. A knight you were, cherished by the king himself. Respected. Renowned. The most beloved knight in all the land. A hero. And now-.Now I am a beast, trapped forever as a rangy wolf, with only the boundaries of this forest as a buffer from the human world that has cast me off. All that was good, all that was noble and knightly in me is gone now.
No, not all.
A knight is more than his armor. Pennants flying. The banquets. The fine clothes. Honor is not just to be found in the outward signs of it. I have to believe that.
He’d had fine clothes once. A fine home. Accolades. Honor. Respect. He’d had a life. A life and a wife and a place in the world.
But now I am a beast. What honor I possessed has disappeared along with my fine clothes and gold-etched armor. Along with my titles and honors and lands-Along with her-
His upper lip curled back over fangs dripping saliva. All lost, all gone, and now-
A low rumble escaped from his throat. Were it still a human throat the growl might have passed for a rueful chuckle. As it was the throat of a wolf, the sound was little better than a deep snarling. And now?
And now what?!
With a snarl and a spring he leapt from his woodsy alcove. Normally, he hid himself from the light of the day. The sunshine brought back too many memories of what he’d been, hammering home all too forcefully what he was now.
That day he found no rest wherever he went. He was driving himself wilder than he already was with all this soul-searching.When you are a beast, what does it avail you to try to think like a man?
Echoing growls from his ribcage reminded him of what his human ruminations had distracted him from for too long: Wolf, man or otherwise- he was hungry.