Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 117,249,079 Issue: 235 | 14th day of Eating, Y8
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Balthazar's Beginning

by dan4884


Also written by neox52492

The jet-black sky above split with a bolt of lightning, spreading over the horizon like a web. Real Spyder webs clung to the trees, catching in Balthazar's fur as he ran. A huge clap of thunder sounded from the storm clouds. The young Lupe darted behind a large boulder, whimpering in fear; heavy raindrops began to fall as he cowered there. Lightning lit up the Haunted Forest again accompanied by a large roll of thunder. The rain soaked the Lupe's dark coat thoroughly as he curled into a small ball of matted fur.

     How could his mother do that? He felt sick to his stomach to think that his mother, his wonderful, loving mother, didn't want him. Did he say something? He thought about anything he could have done to make her mad, but he couldn't. All he knew was that it must have been his fault. Why else would she desert him?

     It started this morning. His mom told him she was going to see the witch, Edna, but he couldn't come with her. Balthazar thought that was strange at the time and had been a little hurt. After all, his mom and him were inseparable. They went everywhere together. Why would she not want him to come this time? So, Balthazar's mother dropped him off at the edge of the Woods, where he would be safe from the dangers inside, at least until his mother returned. But she never came. Balthazar was left waiting until nightfall.

     The tears streamed down his nose now. It seemed his heart had been torn in two with one fatal swoop. Everything was hopeless now. Nothing mattered any longer. Not a shred of hope shone through those scraggly groping branches above his head nor in his wounded heart. His mother - the closest person in the world - had left him. The remnants of his world crumbled around him as the thought clouded his mind. Didn't want... didn't love... a burden and despicable thing in the eyes of his mother... How could he have ever led himself to believe it was love? Unwanted. Unloved. Forever more it would be so.

     The chill of the rain, coming in heavy sheets now, seeped to his bones or perhaps from his heart. Whatever the source the young Lupe found himself shaking violently with cold. The colder it got the worse the memories came. He let his mind believe she had said it almost coolly, "You can't come this time..." A dagger so sharp and deadly into his very soul that could never heal. Taking one shuddering breath the Lupe uncurled himself from the tiny ball of fur he had formed. He had to find warmth. He had to get to a shelter somehow. The rock was little refuge and even he knew the penalty for ignoring the cold and gnawing hunger roaring up inside him unable to deafen the sorrow. He was as good as dead in the morning if he didn't do something.

     So Balthazar rose to his feet shakily and begin to make his way around the rock where the wind blew towards him ruthlessly. The branches of tall proud trees thrashed furiously, the smaller trees threatening to bend right to the ground. Then he saw it... flickering uncertainly in the distance. A soft purple glow. Something about that glow, the back of his mind whispered. It was cold instead of warmth. But the shivering Lupe's numb mind pushed this thought away and out of all reaches. He concentrated on making it to the light; nothing else mattered anymore. The light - twenty paces away... now fifteen... Slowly the distance shrank and numbers jumbled up in his mind throwing off all logical thought. The light. The light. All that mattered. All he needed.

     Balthazar crawled just a bit further. The light had begun to sing. Its voice was beautiful, and he knew it was all for him. The voice called to him. "Balthazar...come to me..." it sang, voice clear and vibrant. He wanted to find the voice more than anything.

     He entered the clearing where the light shone. He looked around, dazed, and found the source of the wonderful voice. A Dark Faerie was sitting on a stump, mouth open. The faerie was so ugly it startled Balthazar a bit. How could something so beautiful come out of something so horrifying?

     "Welcome, Balthazar..." she sang.

     "Who are you?" he asked. The shock of seeing the Faerie had snapped him out of his trance. He was wary, and angry with himself for falling for the trick. He looked around, and noticed a few other Faeries surrounding the clearing. Each one was as ugly as the next.

     "We are the Faeries of the Forest, of course," the singing one told him. "We heard you crying and we wanted to cheer you up, little one," she smirked.

     The one leaning against a gnarled and menacing looking tree let out an alarming cackle at this. "Come now, Chlora, cut the talk. This forest is boring enough without your droning." She broke off a thin branch from the tree she had been leaning on and approached Balthazar, branch outstretched as if she were offering a tantalizing morsel of food to a very large, wild creature.

     Balthazar backed away from the faerie warily. His paw landed on something sharp. A few moments later he could feel something warm and sticky flowing between his claws but he didn't care any longer. The faerie was approaching with her stick and she looked positively malignant. He was very sure she would eat him if she could. But he was so cold... If he ran he would surely not make it far. His legs quivered beneath him even now. The light, which had been so inviting moments earlier with the promise of warmth and comfort, seemed to gleam as a colder source of evil than the elements storming around him. Although the cover the faeries were camped under kept the rain off his back, the young Lupe's fur was soaked enough to keep him wet for days to come.

     The Lupe frantically looked for a way out. There were faeries blocking all of the openings between the gnarled trees, and the faerie was coming ever closer. There was nothing for him to do. He was doomed. He slumped slightly, his eyes meeting the malevolent ones of the Dark Faerie.

     And that's when it clicked. Something inside him changed, he felt it in his heart, his soul, his brain. A new feeling coursed through him; instead of fear he felt anger. Although he couldn't tell, the small Lupe named Balthazar had reverted back to his primal instincts.

     And his instincts told him to fight back. "Fight back with both your mind and your claws," it told him. "Do it now!" Balthazar lunged towards the faerie, his claws outstretched. The faerie screeched as the Lupe met her skin. The other faeries rushed to help, but he growled ferociously, and they held their distance. He stopped abruptly, glancing at each of the faeries surrounding him, and the faerie right in front of him.

     Unexpectedly, Balthazar leapt backwards and raced away from the clearing. Something inside him was fighting his instincts. Balthazar's feelings had now shifted, and he was feeling like a young cub again. He couldn't help it; it was all too confusing. He slowed to a stop.

     "What's wrong with me?" he asked himself. "First I attack her, then I run away? What's happening to me?" More tears formed in his eyes. He searched for a dry place. Sitting in a small hollow in a tree, he began to think this through logically.

     And that's when he saw them. There, across a clearing, was a small, clear bag chock full of glass bottles shaped like teardrops. Curious, Balthazar cautiously left his tree hollow and went to investigate. They looked a bit like they could be used for potion making. He picked them up.

     Suddenly, he heard voices behind them. The faeries had recuperated and wanted to strike back at Balthazar. He turned to face them, his feelings mixed between the will to fight and the fear of what they could do to him now that they were really angry.

     "Well, look who it is, girls!" the faerie he had attacked said maliciously. The others sneered and stared at him angrily. Balthazar silently prepared himself for a fight. His first thought was he could throw the bottles to drive them back. He pulled one out of the bag behind his back and threw it, not wanting to wait for them to make the first move. He expected it to land on the ground in front of them, shattering into pieces, but instead it did something astounding.

     The bottle had stopped in midair, close to the faerie in front. The cap silently shot off the top, and a gust of wind suddenly rushed through the air from all directions, seeming to flow into the magical bottle.

     But the thing Balthazar was watching was the faerie. She seemed to become distorted, stretching and shrinking. When she realized this, she screeched, and tried to stop it with her magic, flicking her finger this way and that. The faerie was now half the size she was before, and she relentlessly tried to escape the prison that was the glass bottle.

     Another moment, and she was completely inside the bottle. The cork darted towards the top, and sealed itself tightly. The other faeries watched, horrified, while Balthazar stood there, shocked. After it wore off a second later, though, he grabbed another bottle and hurled it towards the remaining faeries. He tossed each and every bottle in the bag towards the group, and each one found a faerie and sucked it in. Soon, he had a pile of Faeries on the hard, cold ground. He gathered them into the sack, deciding he could sell them as a novelty item. He was still shocked that he had defeated the faeries.

     He swore to himself that he would capture every faerie he ever came across. He must get back at them for the abuse he had suffered. "It's the only way to do it," he thought to himself. "Every faerie will pay."

     And with that, he left the Haunted Woods.

The End

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