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Rachel_Swanson

Hello I'm New Here and a Writer - Writers Nook

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Rachel_Swanson
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I noticed a thread musing on the lack of writing in this community and thought I'd contribute a bit. I enjoy writing short stories that connect and tell larger tales. But I'm also aiming to write novels. I enjoy character diversity and writing characters that have different views, sexual preferences, and gender identities. But most of my stories are fantasy/sci fi which is odd because most traditional fantasy and sci fi have very little diversity in these areas, good vs. evil, hetero sexual love, manly men and feminine women.
Only until very recently have women played an empowered role and have gay characters sprung up in fantasy. Two authors that come to mind with openly gay and diverse characters are Amelia Atwater Rhodes and Tamora Pierce. Although their stories are for young adults I enjoy reading them for the different view points.
And so here's a sad little piece connected to my Wayfarer series about a Chronicler of stories who is writing them all down in a neverending book. Every story is precious and Alabaster records them all.

I was quite alarmed at a wolf’s sudden appearance on the path in front of me. I immediately considered fleeing for my very life. But the old wizened wolf merely eyed my traveler’s staff and chronicler’s book and said,
“Wayfarer, I have a story to tell.”
Against my instinctive better judgment my curiosity battled and triumphantly won. So I followed the old steel grey she-wolf further from the weather worn path I had previously tread. She made no fanfare about the telling of her tale, unlike many of the others who had told theirs before her. Instead she warily sank to the loamy forest floor and eyed me distantly with a milky gaze. Then in her ragged and husky voice she began to weave a story of years and a journey past.
Once her world had been a great dark forest, shadowed, ancient, full of the songs of her ancestors. That was too many moons ago, before man folk traversed the paths now walked unhindered. She ran with her pack free and fleet footed, hunted and howled joyously, she was content. And yet in her heart something was amiss there was a seed of longing and doubt. She longed to travel beyond the safety and unity of her pack; such a desire was dangerous and forbidden among her kind. And so she gave in to her wanderlust. It hurt. A part of her was lost to the pack, a part she would never again feel in her chest. She went out over field and green glen, over mountain and branch strew earth. She followed the moon, calling out mournfully waiting for it to lead her another few leagues on her ceaseless journey. One night the moon led her to a pristine black lake surrounded by drove after drove of great pines. The she-wolf felt stillness in her ragged limbs and knew this was the place she had been heading. The moon looming large and pregnant over the surface of the water, she knew not why she waited there but she did so with reverence. Some part of her intrinsic soul was about to be revealed. To her great shock, and chagrin, a swan of pure and austere white drifted down out of the endless starry night and landed gracefully on the surface of the moon’s reflection. It spread its slender wings and shifted forms effortlessly in to a woman with long black hair in a tumbling cloak of moonlit feathers. Her feet traveled breathlessly over the water as she glided back to the shore. The wolf immediately approached the spot where she was about to come ashore, drawn by the unnatural force that caused her paws to wander. The swan-woman started and the she-wolf observed the woman’s features flash precariously between swan and human. But the skittish creature addressed the wolf in a quiet, feathery voice,
“Good evening sister wolf. Is there something I can help you with?”
The she-wolf was utterly bewildered. She knew not one question to ask this odd creature, she did not even know truly why she had journeyed for many years to reach this place. On a fanciful lark she growled out something about how the swan-maiden was able to be both man and beast. The she-swan smiled,
“Sister, have you never felt sallow in your own skin and wished to shed it? If you can accomplish it you will be both many and one at the same time.”
With that the swan disappeared in to the thick forest.
The she-wolf admitted defeat before she even started. She knew the feeling the swan had spoke of but nothing about shedding her own pelt. So the wolf sulked stonily by the shore until the next full moon, unmoving for any cause, lost in empty thought. On the next full moon the swan once again appeared above the water and glided to her spot on the moon’s reflection. When she called out a greeting and the wolf did not reply she grew worried and crouched down next to the wolf’s atrophied figure.
“Sister-wolf you have given up so easily. Focus on what makes you different.”
With that she once again walked barefoot and feather swathed in to the forest.
The she-wolf resolved to find her dual nature. She peeled the layers of skin and mind away day by day. And each full moon the swan would reappear on the lake and she and the wolf would talk of nothing things or sit in silence by the black waters. Until finally the wolf worked it out. She was different because she was a wanderer, a path seeker. Upon this realization she felt the change inside her and she was standing upright, a feral girl clad in a tough grey wolf pelt. She was elated and couldn’t wait to show the swan on their next meeting. When the full moon finally appeared but the swan did not the she-wolf grew worried and went to hunt for her. Shifting once more to wolf her nose caught the trail of the swan maiden easily through the myriad of trees and other creatures. Something was wrong; distress and blood rang heavy, a pungent cloud over the forest floor. She ran unhindered by the terrain but by time itself. She found the swan dying; blood gushing in slow streams from an arrow through her chest. The wolf cried out in her low voice, the swan turned its graceful neck to her, blood in its gentle eyes. The she-wolf became human and attempted to use her clumsy hands to help but the swan’s fan-like wings stopped her. She shook her small head painfully,
“It is no use sister-wolf. Man fears women and most of all those with more than one face. I have put you in more danger than myself ever faced, if they would shoot through a gentle swan they will scour the word of wolves to destroy you.”
The she-wolf ran her new hands over the body of her lover and shifted to something monstrous, letting out a howl of such agony that it swept like a plague over all who heard it. From that moment she vowed to use her nature to wipe out man, she spawned creatures of man and wolf. Making men to wolves and wolves to men, all called on to kill thoughtlessly every glorious full moon. And as the swan had predicted humans feared and loathed her children and her ancestral brethren, killing both to near extinction. No matter how many fell before her fangs and her curse blessing it was never enough to quell her now vicious soul as that swan and that lake had long ago. And so eventually defeated she gave up her vengeance and walked the earth lonely, ragged, and harmless to this very day.
That seemed to be the end of her story because she stood on creaking bones and made her way in to the forest, an aged crone with a steely mane to match her long gray pelted cloak.



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