Thomas's entire mind ground to a halt when the massive white wolf spoke the two words "you pass". It took him a moment to get his mind running once again. When it was finally functioning he asked, "You're the voice I heard earlier?"
The wolf casually sat on its haunches and looked over at Thomas, "INDEED. I AM... I WAS THE DENMOTHER OF THE GAROU."
Even though the massive wolf was now sitting it still towered over Thomas and looked down at him when it was speaking. Thomas remained exactly where he was and made no attempt to move near his weapon or do anything that could potentially upset the creature. He thought about what she had said and found the word 'garou' familiar. It only took him a moment to link it with loup-garou, werewolves. Thomas looked at the huge wolf and would associate it more with a dire wolf than a werewolf. So he asked, "Are you a werewolf?"
The wolf tilted her head to the side in confusion, "WHAT IS A WEREWOLF?"
Thomas stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled it around a bit. Every time the wolf spoke he felt a wave of power from it and though the wolf wasn't shouting, the sound was still strong and starting to hurt his ears. He looked at the wolf, "Is there any way you can tone it down a bit?"
The wolf gave him a look that Thomas could only interpret as a smirk, "Is this better?"
He gave a nod. Though there was still power in the wolf's voice it wasn't as strong as it had been previously. The wolf repeated, "What is a werewolf?"
Thomas crossed his arms over his chest as he explained, "A werewolf is a human with the ability to change into either a wolf or a state that's a mix between a wolf and a human."
The wolf scoffed and shook its head, "My kind are not this 'werewolf' you speak of."
She leaned in closer to look at him, "Does this disappoint you?"
Thomas shook his head, "Not at all. It's just, in the world I originally came from, there are legends of a being known as a loup-garou. Beings that could do what I described."
The wolf leaned closer and sniffed at Thomas to take in his scent a little better. After she finished she leaned back and tilted her head to the side again as she spoke in a curious tone, "You are a summoned hero?"
Thomas nodded, "One of many brought here from my world."
The wolf seemed surprised, then shook her massive head from side to side, "I have slept too long, the world has changed so much."
She focused her large blue eyes on Thomas and seemed to be evaluating him as she said, "The Garou have always been wolves. However, Garou that are sufficiently strong enough can take on a human form."
The wolf shook its head in reply, "When I was alive, yes. Now? No."
She got a faraway look in her eyes, "Once the forest above was home of the Garou."
Thomas couldn't help asking, "What happened?"
The wolf remained silent for a time. When she spoke her words were weighed down with heavy emotions, "Humans happened."
Before Thomas could ask for more information the wolf spoke again, "Long long ago the Garou lived free in the forests. We hunted and raised our young. We lived simple and fulfilling lives together. This lasted for as long as the Garou had known. It lasted until the humans came. When they first arrived the Garou found them to be cute, if destructive, little animals. Humans chopped down trees in the forest to make their homes and plant their crops. Though destructive we found them amusing and left them alone while we watched. The forest was big enough for all of us."
The wolf lay down and placed her head on her legs. Even in that position, Thomas felt like she was on alert and could easily move fast enough to rip him to shreds. She continued her story, "Many years passed and eventually the Garou and the humans met. Out of fear the humans attacked the Garou. Though weak individually, the humans fought well as a pack. Lives were lost on both sides. The Garou had no wish to fight the humans, we only wished to speak with them. We left because of their fear of us."
The wolf sighed, "The Garou went deep into the forests and left the humans alone. Though the Garou never forgot the humans. As time passed a new Denmother was born. She was kind and wise. She was the first Garou to take human form. The Garou wished to learn more of humans and took human form so that humans would not fear the Garou. The only flaw was that the Garou would be forced to take their natural form from time to time against their will."
Thomas chimed in, "During the full moon?"
The wolf looked at Thomas as if he were an idiot, "What does the moon have to do with anything? No. The Garou returned to their original forms on the day of their birth for the full day. From midnight to midnight on the day of their birth, all Garou would be in their natural state."
Thomas sighed. He'd guessed the full moon for obvious reasons. The wolf continued her story, "Once the Garou gained human form they joined the human villages. Though the humans were suspicious they did not fear the human-Garou. For many years the humans and Garou lived together. Many fell in love and many had children. The children were human only, the Garou did not know why but loved them regardless. Only a Garou mating pair can make more Garou. For those years there was love and peace. The Garou learned much from the humans and taught them much in return. Only on the day of their births did the Garou leave the village to take their true forms."
The wolf let out a mournful sounding sigh, "This led to the destruction of the Garou. When the humans learned of the true form of the Garou their fear returned. When the humans learned the Garou were among them that fear turned to hatred." Tears built in the corners of her eyes as her voice grew thicker with emotion, "The humans hunted the Garou and slaughtered them. The humans did not even spare the children. Any child found to have a Garou parent was burned alive to purge the 'evil' from their souls. Many Garou suffered and died horribly."
Tears trickled out of her eyes, but she continued to tell her tale, "The Garou fled, saving as many as they could. We ran deep into the forest. Because we brought many children with us we needed to build homes and shelter for them. We built the village connected to this place. We also built this place as the last refuge in case the humans came for us. We did not understand the hatred the humans felt for the Garou. They did come and in large numbers. The Garou underestimated the hatred of humans and paid dearly once again. The Garou died. As my final act as the last Denmother I retreated here with the youngest child, the last of our kind to be born."
She looked past Thomas to the large orb sitting on the altar, "She was a newborn, her eyes not even opened. She did not deserve what the humans would do to her. I took her and brought her here. With the last of my strength, I sealed her body and my mind within this place."
The wolves eyes moved from the orb back to Thomas, "We have waited for someone worthy to come. Someone who will protect the last daughter of the Garou. I do not know how much time has passed. Months, years, centuries, or longer. I do not know. Long enough that most of the mana powering this place has been lost." She tilted her head in the direction of the doors he'd entered from, "So much was lost that the doors needed your mana to bring you here. All the remaining power is being used for myself and the last daughter."
The wolf climbed back up to a sitting position and looked down at Thomas, "I wish for you to take her out of here and protect her. Help her grow and give her the life she deserves. She is the last Garou and I do not wish for her to die alone here without a chance to live her life."
She looked into Thomas's eyes, "You are the only one to arrive here in all this time. When you met me you did not react with hatred. Though I could smell your fear you did not succumb to it and attack me. You chose to disarm instead of fighting me to the death. You chose to speak with me and hear my story." Her gaze into his eyes intensified, "If you choose to take the child with you her soul will be bound to yours for her protection. When she is old enough and strong enough she will be able to remove the binding. The choice is yours."
|System Notice: New Quest, Optional Quest!|
|The memory of the last Garou Denmother has asked if you will raise and protect the last child of the Garou. If you accept this quest you must protect and raise the last child of the Garou. The choice is yours to make, but know that if you refuse the last child of the Garou may die before another worthy individual finds her resting place.
|Do you accept this quest? Y/N|
Thomas looked over the quest. It was the very first quest he'd seen with the option to accept or decline it. All the rest were just automatically accepted. There was no listing for the reward or failure and if he did accept it he would be taking care of the Garou pup for what could be a very long time. On the other hand, he didn't really have a reason to not accept the quest. Raising a wolf might be a bit of a challenge, but a challenge should have worthy rewards. Without needing to think of it any further he accepted the quest, "I accept."
The wolf gave him a look he could only interpret as a smile. She climbed to her feet and walked towards the orb on the altar, "Follow me. You may retrieve your weapon."
He retrieved and stored the Peace Maker inside of his inventory before following the wolf over to the altar. When he stood next to her she glanced at him then turned to the orb, "When I release the seal she will awaken and this place will vanish. I will use the last of my power to send you out of here and back to the Garou village."
Thomas nodded and watched as the wolf stepped up to the orb and placed her nose against it. As her nose touched the orb it burst a bright white light that illuminated the area they were within. It grew so bright that it washed out everything else, even using his 'All Seeing Eyes' to darken his vision, Thomas could only see white light. It lasted for a short time then began to fade. As it faded the orb slowly dissipated and revealed a small wolf puppy floating in the air. The puppy was tiny and appeared to be no more than a month or two old. She was pure white, even more pristine white than the massive wolf standing beside him.
The wolf looked over at him. When she spoke her voice had lost much of its previous power, "Take her."
Thomas stepped up to the altar and reached out to gently take the puppy into his arms. He held the sleeping bundle of fur gently. She weighed hardly anything and was unbelievably soft to the touch. He imagined that if clouds were really fluffy, not just cold condensed water, that this is what they would feel like. The wolf stepped back and looked at Thomas. Her body was slowly becoming translucent as her power faded, "This is the last daughter of the Garou. From now on she will be your companion. I name her... Snowlily."
|System Notice: Companion system unlocked for all players! This is a momentous achievement, do you wish for your name to be listed on the global announcement? Y/N|
Thomas didn't need too much time to decide before silently selecting 'No'. Though getting his name out there would be a good advertisement, he felt that he would likely gain a lot of negative attention as well. Being the first to discover something could incite jealousy or cause people to try and take it from him. He could not risk anything happening to the little bundle of white fur in his arms.
|Global System Notice: Congratulations to <name withheld> in the country of Reykhoten for discovering the first Companion! Honor and Glory to <name withheld>! <name withheld> has gained the title "First Soul Companion"!|
|System Notice: You have gained the title "First Soul Companion".
First Soul Companion: When fighting by your side your companion gains +50% Experience. You may view your companions status.
The massive wolf had faded until she was barely a visible outline, "Thank you for taking Snowlily into your care. I will send you out now. Please, take good care of my daughter."
The moment she finished speaking, Thomas was bathed in bright white light once more. He could see nothing for a brief time and when the light cleared he found himself standing in the middle of the ruined village once again. The small bundle of fur was still soundly sleeping in his arms. Thomas looked around and smiled, it was probably about time for him to head back to the city. When the puppy woke up she would probably be rather hungry. He turned toward the path he'd followed to the village and started to make his way back to the city. He'd check Snowlily's status when she woke up.