Tell Me Your Secrets
The last Lore Keeper of the Weres disappeared without a trace, now thirty years later his legacy returns in the form of a young man named Michael Williams.
~Big thanks to Enemyoffun for making this universe to play in, and helping me hammer out some of the details in this chapter.
Author's Note: I hope you all enjoy this chapter.
A very big thanks to my editor for helping with the edits.
Please comment on this, I enjoy reading your comments and learning from them immensely.
8 October 2011
“I’m aware of what?” I asked.
“Not aware,” Cassie replied, “A. Were.”
“I’m confused,” I said, shaking my head.
“You’ve heard of werewolves, right?” Alex interjected.
“Yeah…,” I answered.
“Well,” Cassie continued, “you are like that, except that you may not be a werewolf.”
“Say what?” I replied.
“You could be a werecougar, werebear, werefox, werecoyote, and probably half dozen other animals in addition to werewolf. The bottom line is this: a Were is someone with the ability to change into an animal at will,” Melissa explained.
“Okay…,” I commented. “Then, what am I?”
“I’m not sure. If only the Were lorekeeper were here, we could figure that out with greater ease,” Cassie said, with a note of regret in her voice.
“Sadly, the last we saw of Leo Atozota was just as he left the university library thirty years ago,” Melissa added.
“Oh,” Cassie said, with a look of surprise on her face. “I guess that explains some things.”
“What things?” I asked.
“Just something that Becky and I did when we were in college.”
“Which was?” I prodded. “I’ll tell you and Alex that story later.”
“All right,” I replied weakly. I was hoping that she would tell the story of what she was referring to.
I looked over at the two ravens, who were still just sitting there on that old looking book. It was as if they were waiting for someone, probably me, if I was the only one that could hear them, to come over. My curiosity was definitely starting to get the better of me, as I wondered what they were doing here, and what that book was all about. However, I was prevented from going over there and checking it out.
“If you don’t mind, Cassie,” Melissa started, “I would like to talk with Mikaela alone. There is something that she and I need to discuss in private.”
“Okay,” Cassie said, getting to her feet. “Alex, I’ll need some help making dinner. I have a feeling that it’s going to be for three or four tonight, since your brother and father are out shopping in the city at the moment.”
“Yeah, Charlie wasn’t too thrilled about that,” Alex replied.
“At least he will be getting something out of it. I think your father is trying to encourage a better father-son relationship, since Charlie is jealous of the two of us.”
“I hope it helps. Maybe Charlie should try his hand at paintball or something.”
The two of them laughed as they headed into the kitchen and Melissa turned her attention towards me.
“Now,” Melissa began, “would you mind if I took a good look at your bracelet?”
“No,” I replied, lifting it up for her to examine, and scooting towards her on the couch.
Melissa perched on the edge of the chair and took my arm and turned in various directions until she decided to examine the emerald at the top of the bracelet more closely. As she did this, she hmmed and humphed, as she probably was thinking to herself about what this bracelet meant.
“Well?” I asked, starting to grow impatient.
She let go of my hand, and leaned back in the chair. She tapped her fingertips together, similar to how Mr. Burns on “The Simpsons” does whenever he says, “Excellent.” Only Melissa said, “I only have a theory,” which made me think more of Mr. Spock on “Star Trek.”
“Yes?” I prompted.
“I believe that you may be the new lorekeeper for the Weres of Ravencrest.”
“What?” I said confused as hell.
Melissa sighed, and then stated, “It’s a long story from what I’m told.”
“Oh?” I replied.
She nodded, and then began to tell the tale. “Keep in mind this has been pieced together from the Coven’s and Were Council’s investigation.”
“The who?” I asked.
Melissa groaned, and started to explain. “The Coven are the town’s ruling body of witches, while the Were Council is comprised of the five clans of weres that also populate the town. Don’t worry, the entire town isn’t weres, vampires, witches, and other creatures from legend. There are plenty of norms here, too.”
“Ah!” I replied with realization.
“Anyway,” she begain, “It all started thirty years ago. The previous lorekeeper went missing unexpectedly after what was just a day like any other. Both the Coven and the Were Council looked into the disappearance, but they couldn’t find any sign of his body anywhere in the town, or the nearby forest. It was as if he just vanished into thin air.”
“And no one knows what happened to him?” I asked.
“No,” Melissa said sadly. “There have been many attempts to try to find him over the years, but no one has had any success.”
“Okay, did he have any family?”
Melissa shook her head, “No one knows if he did, or didn’t. He kept his private life to himself mostly, and the few times he was seen interacting with other people was when he was at the university library working, or taking care of things for the Were Council.”
“So, what makes you think I’m the next lore…, whatchamacallit?”
“This jewel,” Melissa replied, pointing at the emerald.
“Why? It’s just seems to be some pretty gemstone to me.”
“Don’t always believe what your eyes first tell you,” she answered cryptically.
“Huh?” I replied, a little confused.
“If I’m right, then we’re in for a show. If I’m wrong, well, we still can figure what kind of were you are.”
“Okay…,” I wondered. “What do you need me to do?”
“Just hold out your arm again, so I can cast the spell,” Melissa calmly stated.
“Okay,” I replied, holding out my arm again.
I thought Melissa would put her hands together and gesture like she was praying. I was even betting that she would do some kind of chanting under her breath. However, my expectations were definitely what you see on television, as the only thing she did was wave her hand over the emerald in the bracelet. I was about to say that whatever she did wasn’t working, but then the emerald in the bracelet began to glow.
“Whoa…,” I muttered, as the glow began to intensify.
The emerald glowed to the strength of a small flashlight, and then it faded soon after.
“I see that my identification spell was successful,” Melissa calmly noted.
“So…, does this mean what you said it means?”
“Yes, you are the new were lorekeeper.”
“What does that mean?”
“My best guess is that you will be responsible for all of the Were knowledge that is stored in the town, and presumably relationships with other Were Councils.”
“So, I’m a librarian?” I replied disappointingly.
“At the very least,” Melissa comforted, putting her arm around my shoulder.
“But…?” I prodded, hoping that there was something that she wasn’t telling me, something that was better than just being a keeper of information.
“But,” she continued, “there may be more duties that go with the office than I know about. The Weres and the Witches do talk to each other, but there are some things that we tend to keep private, such as the workings of various offices within each of our organizations.”
“Then who would know the complete details of the office?”
“Other than the previous lorekeeper? The Were Council. Although, they rarely talk with the lesser Weres of the fraternity, and even rarer to talk with any unknown Were. Only if they are a threat to exposing the Weres to the Norms.”
“Oh…,” I said, disappointed again.
“I can talk with the Alphas of the five families, to see if they will see you separately. Hopefully, that will help.”
“But, I still think that there’s one problem. I don’t know what kind of Were I am.”
“I don’t know what to do about that I’m afraid, as I said. The Weres tend to keep to themselves about their secrets.”
Melissa picked up the book that she had brought with her and said, “I have to get going. I need to report to the Coven about these developments. Maybe they can help later on, but don’t hold your breath. They have little influence on the intricacies of the Were Council. Here’s my phone number, in case you need any additional help.” Melissa wrote her cell phone number down on a piece of paper and handed to me. “Also, if you need help to tell your parents back in California, I’ll back you up.”
“Thanks,” I said, having completely forgot about telling them.
‘That was sure to be an interesting conversation,’ I thought as Melissa left the Drake residence. ‘Hi Mom and Dad. Guess what, your son is now your daughter, and to top it all off, she’s a creature from the realm of literature and the movies.’
“Ugh,” I said aloud, “they’re never going to believe that.”
I heard the ravens caw again, and turned over to them.
“Lady need to see book,” the smaller of the two birds said, gently pecking at the book.
The larger raven then said, “Book of importance to discovering who you are. I am Chiron.”
The ravens cawed again, and then flew off. I walked over to the back porch, and opened the door. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Cassie and Alex making dinner, and from the smells of it, it was bound to be good.
They didn’t notice me head out to the porch and I walked over to the table where the birds just were. I looked off in the direction they flew, but all I could see was the lake and forested hills in the distance. When my gaze turned back toward the shore, I saw what looked like a large dog along the far shore. It stared at me for a while, and then turned into the undergrowth.
That was the second time I had seen a strange wolf-like dog nearby. I wasn’t sure they were the same dog, since the other was so far away. But, I could make out the image of a dog along the forest and lake edge. I tried to shrug it off, but it was kind of hard to after everything that I’ve been through lately. First, I have these thugs coming after me. Second, my gender had been flipped on me in an instant. Third, I learn that most of everything that I thought existed only in books and movies is real. And finally, I learn that I’m a Were. But a were what?
I began to wonder if I was going crazy or things like this happened more often than I realized. I mean, if magic is real, then there could be other people out there like me who’ve had their gender flipped on them in as little as a split second. I didn’t really want to think about that at the moment though.
I sat down at the table and stared at the leather-bound book that the two ravens had left for me. The book’s cover made it look very old, but for all I knew that could have just been the cover.
I was just about to open it, when Alex came by and handed me a glass of water.
“I thought you might be getting thirsty,” she stated, taking the seat next to me.
“Thanks,” I replied, taking the drink from her.
“So,” she started, “how are you doing with all of this? Your world must have been tossed upside down.”
“And inside out,” I added, after taking a sip of water. “I’m still trying to get used to the idea of being a girl and a Were. Wrapping my head around two life-changing alterations to one’s self is definitely, not easy.”
“Well, if you ever need someone to be a friend, you’ve got me,” Alex replied, putting her hand on mine. “You’re a lot of fun to be around, that’s for sure, Mikaela.”
“Thanks, Alex,” I answered.
“So, what’s with the book the birds left you?” she asked, ever curious.
“I don’t know yet,” I answered, glaring at her. “Someone interrupted me before I had a chance to open it.” I giggled after I said that. ‘Wow, I’ve been a girl now for less than a day, and I was already giggling,’ I thought to myself.
Alex giggled too before saying, “Well, why don’t you open it then?”
“Okay, I will.”
I turned open the cover and the first page before I saw in big, bold lettering: The Journal of Weres. In smaller lettering on the lower bit of the page: This journal is only to be read by Were Lorekeeper of Ravencrest. Anyone else shall be dealt with harshly.
“Well, I guess the old Lorekeeper wanted to try to keep people out of his journal,” I observed. “But, how did the birds get a hold of it?”
“I don’t know,” Alex commented. “But, they say that the raven is one of the most intelligent birds out there.”
“Really?” I commented. “That’s interesting.”
I turned the page and came across the first entry in the journal. There was no date, just a text entry to whoever was reading the journal.
“To you, the new Were Lorekeeper of Ravencrest:
“If you are reading this, then it means that I wasn’t there to give it to you myself. I am sorry that you won’t have some kind of guide to what it is to become the Were Lorekeeper, but hopefully I left you everything that you will need to take on the role.
“First, I believe that my demise may be sooner than I would like at the age of 64. I believe that someone is after me as I write this entry that I should have written long ago. Already two of the students whom I regularly see were attacked by accident. I believe that I was the intended target, due to the silver-tipped bolts used.
“Second, I have placed clues to the archive that will help you into your new role. The topics of my archive that I have built over the decades should cover most of the topics that could be of any relevance to the Were Lorekeeper. These range from the very basics of a Were to a genealogical database of all the clans that have lived in Ravencrest and the surrounding area.
“Finally, the ring that you have received has powers of its own. It is more than the badge of your office. Guard it with your life. If it falls into the wrong hands, the end result could be disastrous for Weres and other Unseen alike.
“Before I sign off, I have one piece of advice for you. Trust your instincts and they shouldn’t steer you wrong. Mine have always led me in the right direction.”
I absorbed the text for a minute before I turned the page. The page’s title read simply: “The Way to the Archive.”
Unfortunately, the text entry was just one line: “The path to knowledge lies beneath the clans’ symbols at the site of grand learning.”
“What does that mean?” I wondered aloud.
“What does what mean?” Alex said.
I forgot that I didn’t read any of the pages out loud to her.
I said, “Just a riddle the previous Were Lorekeeper left for his successor.”
“What’s it say?”
“‘The path to knowledge lies beneath the clans’ symbols at the site of grand learning.’ Whatever that is supposed to mean.”
“Definitely something to think about that’s for sure,” Alex commented.
“Where do you think it is?”
“Beats me. It could be anywhere in town.”
“Well, that’s encouraging.”
Alex giggled and said, “At least it’s just somewhere in town.”
“True,” I replied. “But, that’s still a lot of ground to cover.”
“Well,” Cassie said, emerging from the house, “how about you think about it after dinner? Mikaela, I hope you like hamburgers fresh off the grill.”
I licked my lips and said, “Yummy. Please tell me you have tomatoes and pickles to throw on them.”
Cassie smiled, and replied, “Yep, and some other stuff as well. Build your own burger.”
“That sounds pretty good right now. Probably the pick-me-up I need after today’s craziness.”
“One antidote to a brain-mushing experience coming right up,” Cassie joked.
We all laughed at that one, and headed inside to fix our plates, before Cassie threw the burgers on the grill.
“Are you sure you won’t stay for a while, Mikaela? To help ease your transition?” Alex suggested, as I was getting ready to leave for home.
“Thank you, but no. I want to sleep in my own bed tonight,” I replied. It was nice of them to offer, but I didn’t want to impose on them.
“Alright. But, the offer stands should you ever want to,” Alex replied with a little sadness in her voice.
“I appreciate it,” I replied before opening their front door.
I glanced down at the welcome mat, where my new shoes were sitting. The Drakes told people to take their shoes off before entering their house. However, Alex had picked me up some new ones for my new feet. I was about to put them on, when I saw an envelope addressed to me on it.
Cautiously I picked the envelope and opened it. Inside there was a letter that read:
‘I know who you are, Were-with-no-Clan. And to you I only say this. If you want to know what kind of Were you are, meet me at the statue of the Five tomorrow at dusk. If not, then you won’t live for very long, and that’s a promise you can believe.’
There was no signature.
I was freaking out. I tried screaming, but for some reason my vocal cords weren’t working. My left arm was starting to spaz out, so I directed it at the Drake’s front door.
The light pounding was eventually noticed as Cassie came out and said, “Mikaela, what are you still doing here? I thought that you had gone home by now.”
I handed her the letter that was in my shaking right hand and managed to say, “This.”
Cassie gasped and quickly ushered me back into the house and set me down on the couch. She tried to soothe me and help me relax. I was freaking out, shaking uncontrollably in some places.
My mind was a whirl with many questions. Why did someone want me dead? What did they want with me? What was so special about this bracelet?
I was definitely feeling very tired right now. All the events of the day had taken their toll upon me. I could start to feel myself drifting off to sleep.
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