Friday, March 23, 2012

Day One-Seventy: Bite Night

Ahhhhhhh. A normal bed again. Sweet gods, it's good to be home.

Which… isn't to say the plan went off PERFECTLY, of course, but… well, when do my plans ever go PERFECTLY… werewolves are gone, at least? Kinda? Time to explain.

After a hearty breakfast of snow - Daena's attendants weren't exactly delivering her usual assortment of scones and sandwiches - the queen wished us 'good luck' and saw us off. I thanked her for all her help, and promised to set her husband and son and kingdom and stuff back to rights. (I doubt Logan even got infected, truth be told - he seems way too quick to be caught by werewolves.)

Once Antonia, Barrel and I were out of sight of the queen's tree, I told her the real plan, including all the details about the hole. She didn't seem surprised.

"I'm not zurprized," she said. "You vere too shifty ze other day. Ze queen noticed it, too, but she let it go. I zuppoze she trust you, ya? Iz you trustverthy, Dragomir?"

"Uh, I hope so?" Comedic collar tug. "I did it 'cause I don't think she's meant to know. S'not like the queen can do much to help anyway."

Antonia chortled. "She is queen! She is beloved by all the people of zis castle! If anyone could do something about ze hole, she could. Perhapz you are not zo wary of zeez hole az you zay? Perhapz zomething beyond you wantz it intact, ya? Perhapz we go now to our deathz?"

I grimaced. Sure as hell hoped not. "Look, she shouldn't know. Okay? I can tell. It's better."

"Vatever you zay. I only hope she iz not left to fend for herzelf. Even a mighty opponent zuch az ze queen cannot hold off hundredz of verevolves forever."

Barrel quietly lifted us up onto the barbican when we got to the castle, after confirming that no werewolves were waiting on the ramparts, and we scanned the bailies from a distance. The werewolves were relatively active, some of them playing in the snow, most of them prowling around and snapping at each other. They didn't seem to notice us hiding on the barbican.

"You ready?" I said, kinda hiding behind Antonia. (Don't you dare say anything about 'hiding behind a woman's skirts' being cowardly, diary, all the women I know are obscenely strong.)

"Ya." She brushed her hair out of her face and smiled, watching the snow fall. "Iz waz nice to be orc again while it lazted. Clear mind, clear body, clear zoul. You vill look for way to heal me, ya? In thankz?"

I hadn't actually thought about that. I'd only been concerned about Antonia dying in the process, and even then I was more concerned that we wouldn't solve the problem of the werewolves. I felt rather ashamed that I'd not stopped to consider her predicament.

I shook her boxing glove. "Yeah. I'll figure out something."

The operation began without secrecy. There was no way Barrel could get us inside the east wing on the sly, not unless we tried to sneak in, and the werewolves were way too active for that to work. Instead, we took the direct route: Barrel picked us both up, flew to the (nearly patched) gash in the roof that he'd made a few months before, and burst through. Flimsy boards clattered down into the hole.

The hole. By gods, the hole. I've thought about it a hell of a lot more than I've actually discussed in you, diary, because there's no easy way to visit - and despite my curiosity, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back. The need to dig was too powerful for me to enjoy. Too overbearing. And now, close up to it again, I felt just as flabbergasted - and more dismayed than ever.

"My gods!" I yelled over the beating of Barrel's wings, "It's so deep! Almost twice as deep as the last time I saw it!"

Indeed it was. The bottom was lost in darkness until we descended further down, though I could tell that new scaffolds had been built to allow workers easy access to the bottom. There were tools everywhere, and I recognized a lot of 'em as at least half the work of Libby. She ain't in on this whole thing, obviously, but she's providing a lot of carpentry help to this… whatever it is.

As soon as we got within spitting distance the compulsion started to set in. Digging sounded fun. Great! The best thing in the world. I wanted to grab a pick and dig, dig, dig until there was nothing left to do but burst through the other side of the planet. One look at Antonia told me that she was feeling the same.

Then Barrel nipped us both in the butt, and we were okay after that. He had to keep doing it, too - that was his job, 'cause the hole doesn't seem to bother him. Still didn't look happy about being back there, though, and I can't blame him, as he DID rescue me from the thing the first time I came down.

Once we were secured at the bottom, Barrel grew to full size, hovered over the rock, and let out a magnificent roar that shook the castle. I was afraid he might bring the scaffolds down around us, but they held, and within minutes werewolves were streaming down the pathway towards us, snarling.

But not for long. We'd gone to the bottom for a reason: we wanted to give the spell of the hole time to set in. And if that didn't work, Barrel would have a few moments to get us outta there. By the time the wolves got to the bottom, though, they were staggering about, limp-eyed, and the whole lot either dove to their knees and started digging or looked about for picks and shovels. Guess human memory drove 'em to do things proper.

Once the last of the werewolves were in the hole - and, thank the gods, EVERY LAST ONE of the bastards had come running - we set to work, Barrel occasionally nipping at our buns. There were well over a hundred werewolves, and it took quite a while to do.

This was the general idea behind our plan. I would grab a werewolf as it was mindlessly digging and set its teeth on Antonia. I would then gently close its mouth on her skin so it would nip her - and then keep nipping her. Just a tiny wound, you know, but one that lasted long enough for all of the lycanthropy to drain out of the wolf's system and into her. (Still not EXACTLY sure how that works, but whatcha gonna do, eh?)

And that's what we did. Once. Twice. Three times. Seven times. A dozen. Over and over and over, I forced these compliant, half-conscious werewolves to drain their disease back into Antonia's flesh. Causing her that much pain was easily one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, and the first few times she had to ease me into it.

Antonia was marvellous. She flinched as the teeth were going in, sure, but she never once held back, and she never cried. I'd have been blubbering like a baby after one bite, let alone over a hundred. When we were done, two exhausting hours later, she was covered from head to toe in tiny bites - not to mention thick, brown fur. Yep, she was a werewolf again.

And everybody else? Half naked and working away, all of 'em human. ('cept Gylock. He reminded me of a schnauzer in werewolf form.) There were a lot less werewolves than I'd expected, given the population of the castle, so I guess a lot of people managed to hide? Good for them, if they did - I doubt Antonia could've handled much more abuse.

My butt numb from Barrel's bites, I collapsed onto his back as he turned back to normal and began shuttling people out of the hole, two handfuls and two footfuls at a time. Once they were all outside I called for help, and a few humans who had managed to stay away from the werewolves came out and helped me drag everyone else indoors. These helpful folk didn't comment on the dragon, and I sure as hell didn't try to explain.

So yeah. After that, everything was… kinda… back to normal. Emphasis on 'kinda', because the castle was confused as hell, and when there was a demand for an explanation I had to lie. Again. Said everybody crowded into the castle, and when we found 'em they'd turned back to normal. Couldn't explain what happened - though I suspected that it had something to do with the kangaroo. Tried to play Antonia up as a hero.

She wasn't treated like a hero. Not at all. After recovering from her hundred plus bites she became more feral than ever, thrashing and snarling like crazy. I think she's just a plain ol' werewolf, now, and so violent that she needs to be locked up and chained up in the dungeon at all times. Which is pretty sad, considering everything she did for this castle. Sigh.

So that's that. Tale over. Next week, I guess we'll have to work on cleaning up. I'm getting the cold shoulder from Libby, too, who said I 'took advantage of her' while she was sick. I'd say she took advantage of ME, but, either way… guess fun time is over. Oh well.

There is one other thing I should add before I go, diary. Before Antonio turned fully back into a werewolf - she was pretty damn resistant, so it took about thirty bites before that happened - she said something to me that I can't get out of my head:

"Vatch out for zat man. Ze prince'z tutor. I do not truzt him."

But she wouldn't explain, and I, I guess I'm stuck wondering what's wrong with The Baron as I fall asleep tonight.


Dragomir the Guard


  1. Well...that was a bittersweet ending. I guess it'll be awhile before we find out what happens to Ka...Antonia.

    Though the warning about the Baron sounded pretty...grim...

    1. You have permission to call her Kantonia, or Kangatonia, or something similar, if that makes life easier. Poor soul, she only just entered the story and she's gone again already.


  2. A part of today's post looks familiar to me. Although I totally agree with Libby.

    1. Heh. I know. I wrote that, like, two weeks ago, then your comment came up. Oddly prophetic. (Or it makes me look like a plagiarist, but I swear I'm not.)

    2. Haha well I do enjoy a happy coincidence.

  3. Oof, been a while.. I obviously need to catch up on this. Of course it doesn't seem to have gone THAT far, so maybe going missing for a month or so isn't a bad policy to avoid cutting edge plot jitters.

    Anyway, nice story, well done... Libby and Dragomir's relationship remains strange. Dragomir seems to attract all the non-human ladies, doesn't he? Even when his wife is one of them.

    So this time they don't seem to be blaming Dragomir... Yet, anyway, since the big transform did happen with the fight he helped set up, and nobody is going to punish the prince. Maybe he could use this as a chance to help Antonia? You know 'Err.. I could.. go collect werewolf curing herbs, to make sure this doesn't happen again? ...I'm sure they'd sell pretty well even if we don't need them again. Who doesn't want some anti-werewolf cures?' Although the King may just put him in Antonia's dungeon chamber and call it a day.

    Le Sigh. Poor Dragomir. Up to your neck in trouble, with minimal effort.

    And the Hole is only going to make things worse. Until Eve gets in there.