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    Yeoldebard
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Damian's Wolf - 4. Ruined Hopes and Dreams

Jordan downed the wolf potion with a swallow and tossed the bottle into the garbage behind the shop. Taking a moment to let the juice settle in his stomach, the werewolf walked through the back door of the shop.

“You’re late,” Halor said, pushing past the man.

“I’m supposed to be here at two. It’s 1:55.”

The front door opened and Jordan hurried out to the main part of the store. Damian stood in front of the counter uncomfortably, his hood over his head as usual.

“Hey,” he said awkwardly.

“Hey. Sorry about earlier. That was my friend Arisa. You ready to get started?”

The neko nodded.

The next hour was spent showing Damian around the shop, Jordan making sure he knew where everything was. The cat was attentive, picking up things quickly. Not that there was much to learn. The shop wasn’t that large and never got that dirty. The hardest part of their job was pricing new books and shelving them.

Sitting down behind the counter after the shop was swept, Jordan turned to Damian.

“So, tell me about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?” the neko asked nervously.

“Oh, what drew you to this job, what can you offer this work environment, all that crap,” Jordan waved off. “Really just whatever you need to tell me. I just want to know you a little better.”

“Well, I’m a neko. And I need this job.”

“So do I. How long have you lived in Astara?”

Damian glanced down, his hands playing in his lap.

“Um, I got here about a month ago.”

“Really? How are you liking it so far?”

The neko shrugged.

“It’s… nice. Louder than I’m used to. The hood helps muffle the noise.”

Jordan nodded in understanding. His wolf’s ears did seem to pick up a lot of noise.

“Do you have a place to stay? Or are you just camping in alleys?”

“I- um… I’ve been on the streets for a while…”

“That’s rough. I’m sorry.”

The shop door entered, and Jordan fixed a pleasant smile on his face as a young elf walked toward them.

“Good afternoon. How can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a copy of Lady Naia’s memoir for a project I’m doing.”

“Oh, you’re researching the neko/elf relations in the eighth century?” Damian asked.

“Neko/werewolf, actually. I’m curious if a werewolf has ever infected a neko, and I figure if I go back to the source…”

“Yeah, I think we have that.”

Jordan walked around the counter, down a row of shelves. Finding the section he wanted, he scanned the books until his eye caught the one he was looking for.

“Here we go,” he smiled, handing the elf the book.

“Awesome.”

The elf thumbed through the book, making sure the pages were all in one piece. It was a move Jordan had seen many times. He ran through second-hand books himself before shelving them, but he respected people who wanted to check for themselves.

They went back to the counter and the elf handed Jordan the silver for the book. Smiling as he waved goodbye, Jordan sighed and sat back down.

“Another happy customer,” he said.

 

Jordan shut off the lights to the shop, locking the door with a quiet sigh.

“Well, how did you like your first day?” he asked.

Damian rubbed his head through his hood.

“It was interesting. It might take me some time to remember the shelving system, but once I get that down, I think I’ll be good. Do you really just sit in there and read most of the time?”

Jordan nodded.

“I can check out all the good books first,” he said.

The werewolf studied the neko for a moment, Damian shuffling his feet under the man’s scrutiny.

“Well, I guess I should go. What time do you want me here tomorrow?” the neko asked.

“Actually, I have a bed free tonight. I usually don’t sleep at night anyway,” Jordan said. “You’re welcome to stay at my place for as long as you need.”

“Um, thank you,” Damian said, his face hidden in the shadows.

Jordan was pretty sure he was smiling though.

“I have class in an hour, but after, I can walk you home,” he said. “If you’re willing to wait for a couple of hours.”

“Sure. Do you want me to walk with you?”

“I’d like that,” Jordan smiled.

They started down the street, a slight breeze washing over them. Autumn was coming and soon the nights would be freezing. He would have to find his jacket.

“So, where are you from? It’s not every day you see a neko in Astara,” he asked.

“Sarelin, up north. It’s colder here…”

“Yeah, gets colder the further south you get. I’ve always enjoyed the chill of early autumn.”

“I used to love autumn back home,” Damian said wistfully. “The leaves in the forest changing colour…”

He fell silent, glancing at Jordan apologetically.

“Why did you leave?”

“I had a falling out with my family. My markings are not very welcome there, and when they found me with another neko, my parents kicked me out for trying to ‘propagate filth’.”

Jordan frowned.

“Your markings? You mean your calico ears and tail?”

Damian nodded.

“They’ve always been unwelcome, especially after the Rebellion.”

“That’s crazy. You can’t control what colour your fur is.”

The neko shrugged, drawing his hood tighter around his face.

“I’m pretty sure they know that but don’t care. Sometimes I curse myself for trying to hook up with that girl and not her brother. They wouldn’t have cared if it had been a guy.”

Damian kicked at the ground.

“He was better looking anyway…” he muttered.

Jordan remained quiet, listening to the neko. It sounded like Damian needed to blow off steam, and Jordan was happy to be that outlet for the neko.

But eventually they reached the house where the werewolf’s teacher held his class.

“Just make yourself comfortable. I shouldn’t be too long,” Jordan said, his hand on the door.

Damian nodded, sitting cross legged on the steps in front of the house.

Jordan knocked on the door, waiting for his teacher to let him in. He was late, and Thayla Asternil did not tolerate lateness.

The door opened and a woman looked down on Jordan.

“Well, look who decided to show up.”

“I’m sorry I’m late-”

Thayla held up a hand.

“If you can’t be bothered to show up on time or even stay through an entire lesson-”

“I was sick,” Jordan said.

“A true seeker of magic would have stayed while puking up blood. And this is not the first time you’ve left before lessons were concluded either. In fact, you seem to fall ill quite often around the full moon.”

Jordan paled as the woman leaned closer to him.

“I will not be teaching a werewolf the secrets of magic. Your kind causes enough trouble.”

Backing up, she continued, “You will leave my home and never return, if you know what’s good for you.”

The door slammed in Jordan’s face, and the werewolf stumbled back, nearly tripping down the stairs.

“Are you okay?” Damian asked, standing.

Jordan shrugged, still staring at the door.

“Let’s go,” the neko suggested. “Mages are not to be messed with.”

 

His dreams of becoming a healer were crushed. With no teacher, Jordan would never unlock the secrets of casting spells, and without spells, he would never be able to help in a medical profession.

He could feel Damian’s eyes on him as they walked, but the neko remained silent, giving him his space. Jordan was grateful for the chance to think.

Or rather, not to think. His head hurt, and his heart. Just like that, his plans in life were gone.

“I didn’t like her anyway…” he muttered.

On the plus side, now that he wouldn’t be paying several gold a month for lessons, Jordan was about to have a lot more money to try to find a better place to live. Maybe somewhere with hot water.

“Good evening Damian!”

They turned and saw an elf sitting on her porch. Jordan sniffed the air, realizing this was the house he had visited the day before.

“Good evening Miss Stella.”

Damian walked over to the woman, Jordan in tow.

“How are you? I see you made a friend,” the elf smiled.

“Hi, I’m Jordan,” the werewolf said, holding out his hand.

It was taken in a surprisingly firm grasp.

“Stella Fairchild, but this one insists on calling me miss,” the elf smiled.

“I’m sorry. It’s one of those things beaten into me as a kid,” Damian shrugged apologetically.

Stella waved it off.

“You look familiar,” she said to Jordan.

“Yeah, I often walk home this way,” he replied.

A howl split the air nearby, and the elf smiled.

“Would you two like to wolf watch with me? I made a new friend myself last night. I’m hoping he’ll be back tonight.”

“Um, no thanks,” Damian said.

“Yeah, I need to head home. I haven’t had much sleep the last few days.”

Jordan blanched as the words left his mouth. The elf smiled kindly.

“I understand,” she said.

The chorus of wolves filled the air, and Jordan backed away from the door.

“It was a pleasure meeting you,” he said.

“You as well,” the elf smiled.

She held up her hand in farewell as they walked away.

A little information on Damian with some positives and negatives in Jordan's life. When will the werewolf let out that his is a werewolf? Will Damian even stay more than one night? And what will Jordan do now that his dreams of becoming a healer have been dashed?

Copyright © 2019 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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More changes in the air than just autumn. It was ironic the elf in the shop was seeking a book on a werewolf infecting a neko. The irony was totally wasted on Jordan.

His mage/teacher and crusher of dreams wasn't very nice or tolerant. Why can't he teach himself what he needs to know?

Edited by drpaladin
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After a  bit of thought on this, how can Damian not know or at least suspect Jordan is a werewolf? He has been lingering close to his home for awhile. Presumably, nekos have an acute sense of smell. He was there on the steps when the teacher said he is a wolf and this was after the conversation about Damian's sensitive hearing. I think he knows and doesn't care.

Edited by drpaladin
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13 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

After a  bit of thought on this, how can Damian not know or at least suspect Jordan is a werewolf? He has been lingering close to his home for awhile. Presumably, nekos have an acute sense of smell. He was there on the steps when the teacher said he is a wolf and this was after the conversation about Damian's sensitive hearing. I think he knows and doesn't care.

Or he knows and doesn't want to lose the chance of a bed for the night. Additionally he is with Jordan while other wolves are changing. Maybe he misheard the mage, maybe she just had her information wrong.

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59 minutes ago, Yeoldebard said:

Or he knows and doesn't want to lose the chance of a bed for the night. Additionally he is with Jordan while other wolves are changing. Maybe he misheard the mage, maybe she just had her information wrong.

It would involve more than one mishearing. Aries referred to him as as wolf and dog when she came by and said she was surprised he was involved with a neko. That's getting fairly obvious. Plus he's been in Jordan's house and the wolf has been in there. No way he couldn't smell doggy odor.

Edited by drpaladin
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Neko is the Japanese word for cat and Neko has calico ears and tail (no description about the rest of his fur). That  reads 'cat' to me. Damian (cat) gets a free bed, but what's in it for Jordan, except a friendly roommate?  Interesting start for a werewolf-type story.

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You've got me hooked. Sad that Jordan lost his teacher, but that just leaves room for a better one!  I like Jordan and Damian together.

As the man once said, 'I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship'!

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I am warming up to Stella.  She seems very accepting of those who are different.  Damian and Jordan make an interesting couple even when including the quiet wolf.  As far as the mage is concerned, good riddance, but Jordan should hold on to his dream.

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30 minutes ago, Story Reader said:

I guess around the full moon Jordan never gets to sleep

No, unfortunately. 

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