7. Truth in Moonlight
Several months had passed since that calm day in Boralus. The Heroes had been back to their hub many times for provisions, some rest, and just passing through on their way to another battle. Or three. Fuzzy was no longer an outsider, he was one of the group, one of the family. But only one of the fellow group members truly knew his secret. It was getting tougher to keep it hidden. The potions he had were getting tougher to come by, and other group members had nearly caught him trying to purchase the rare liquid from alchemists. Maybe he could just stop taking the elixir and let his true form take hold. The group likely wouldn’t have any problem with his new appearance. And yet he was still anxious about allowing his ‘other side’ to take hold. He had seen what it could do before and he was afraid he couldn’t control it.
Fuzzy looked up at the clear evening sky. The crescent moon would be up soon. He always tried to avoid looking at the moon, even after taking the elixir. It would be wonderful to not worry any more, to be free of his internal pain. The elixir helped prevent the change, but it still took a toll on his body. Maybe he could talk to someone that understood? As he was struggling with his thoughts, he saw Kebechet walk by. Maybe she could help? But what if she didn’t want to? He would be risking revealing his secret for nothing. Fuzzy found the courage to call out, “Hey..hey Keb? You have a minute?”
Kebechet replied cheerfully, she was always happy to help. “Sure, buddy, what’s up?”
“I need to talk to you about something but I don’t know how anyone will react. But I feel like I can’t hide it anymore..” Fuzzy winced and felt his palms turn sweaty.
“Listen, if you’re about to tell me that you’re secretly in love with Sylvanas then I’ll give you a 40 second head start, but know that the arrow you’ll find in your butt isn’t a warning shot”. Keb giggled at her own light-hearted joke.
“Yea, no. She’s definitely getting a boot to the face. Were you always a worgen? You don’t seem to use your human form much and I’ve not heard many worgen talk about their pre-worgen past. But…were you?” Fuzzy could feel a knot form in his throat as he asked.
“The past is complicated. I choose to stay in my worgen form because it’s who I feel I really am. I couldn’t fight it anymore, I didn’t want that deep gut pain that came from trying to prevent changing forms every full moon. I’m lucky that no one really judged me for my choice at home. When I joined Humpday, no one ever questioned it. They welcomed me as a worgen and I’ve never looked back. So how’s your stomach pain?” Kebechet, though she tried to hide it sometimes, had a sharp wit. She knew what was going on, Fuzzy could tell by the way she asked that rhetorical question.
“Is it that obvious?” he asked.
“I’m a worgen, I can smell other worgen. I knew the moment you got near us in Boralus that first day”, Keb revealed. “Have your senses improved yet? How long since you got the curse?”
“I’ve been buying these elixirs to keep me from changing. I was an experiment. When the night elves were testing their potions and elixirs on other night elves to see what would happen…and then they created these creatures…it was like they had found a new toy. They stumbled upon a very dangerous toy. They kept changing each other into this worgen form until it eventually took hold and drove them mad. They were locked away but there was still a secret sect that continued experimenting on night elves. I got a little too drunk one night in Darnassus. I passed out outside the bar. I was barely awake when I noticed a shadowy figure walking toward me but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The next thing I know, I’m howling at the moon and running on all fours. It freaked me out and I didn’t know what was happening to me. The rest of the night is a complete blur. The next morning I went straight to an alchemist who told me I now had the worgen curse. I started taking elixirs to prevent the change from happening again.” Fuzzy paused to take some deep breaths. His anxiety was skyrocketing just thinking about that night and what he might have done. His heart was pounding out of his chest. He could feel the hair on his arm raise and it felt like it was trying to grow bigger. His skin hurt all over like he had a bad sunburn. After a moment of breathing slowly his skin no longer hurt and his heart rate returned to normal.
Keb put her hand on Fuzzy’s shoulder, trying to comfort him. “Does your family know?”
“Then bud, I think you would be better off just letting go.” Keb said gently. “Stop the elixirs, go out there and howl at that moon, let your true form take hold and be free! I can help you with the first transition, if you like. It can be scary and definitely might freak you out. But it doesn’t turn you into a monster. You just have to learn how to be in your new form. Is that what you want? To be free?”
Fuzzy thought for a moment. It would certainly be a change his family would have to get used to, but would it really be that bad of a change? The thought of not having to worry about preventing the change would be wonderful. “You know, I think I do want that.”
Kebechet smiled. “Alright. Toss those vials. In a few days it will be a full moon. We’ll be moving out to Drustvar by then so it will be perfect timing to transition. You can howl and feel like yourself without worrying about a bunch of people nearby. Although you might scare a few pigs.”
For the first time, Fuzzy was looking forward to a full moon.
After a few anxiety filled days the night had finally come for the full moon. Kebechet and Fuzzy set out from the group and found a clearing to set up camp. They gathered firewood, set up some tents, and found a couple of logs to use as seats around the fire. Keb brought her concussive arrows, just in case. She dug a small hole and filled it with some snacks then covered it with a rock. Keb’s first transition had made her more ravenously hungry than she had planned for, so she thought ahead since Fuzzy seldom did. The night was calm. The quiet rustle of the quillrats could be heard in the distance. The Sun set and the amber colored sky turned to a bright pink, then a dark blue, and then to sparkly black. The sky had a few clouds that obscured the moon rise. Fuzzy grew more nervous with each passing moment. “What is the transition like, Keb?”
Kebechet warned Fuzzy while trying not to scare him. “You’ll feel your bones almost begin to rattle, like they are trying to shake off all of your skin because they kind of are. Your mind will feel like it’s going crazy for a few minutes and you will have urges to howl or run around. Don’t hold back, if you feel you need to run then run. If you need to howl, then put your gut into it and howl at the moon like you’re trying to wake it up.”
Fuzzy looked back at Keb. “I don’t know if I can do this. What if I’ve waited too long and I end up becoming some dog-elf hybrid?”
Keb gave a toothy grin and said “Well, then I guess you’ll just walk around looking better than you do now.”
“Oh gee, thanks, pal” Fuzzy retorted, picking up a stick and throwing it at Keb who deflected the small twig into the fire. “Showoff”, he growled.
Keb smiled smugly and pointed at the moon as it slowly peaked out from behind the clouds. “Ok, get ready. Let your inner worgen guide you through it. You might feel a slight tingling in your chest and legs, but just push through it.”
Fuzzy was curious. A small tingling? What the hell did that mean? His question was immediately answered. That was no small tingle, it felt like his bones were on fire and trying to explode. He collapsed to the ground and then sprang back up completely involuntary. He could feel that urge to howl, it was like his entire being wanted to just shout to the moon as loud as he could. He could feel his face begin to change shape. The hair on his arms and legs felt like it was trying to expand in size and made his skin feel like it was burning. The pain was immense but it didn’t last too long in any one spot, it kept moving around his body. It was like someone was randomly beating him with a bow staff but in a new spot with each strike. His fingernails grew longer and larger as they became razor sharp claws. His gums were aching as his teeth grew into canine fangs. Fuzzy let out a guttural yell that sounded like a warrior giving out a battlecry. That yell slowly changed to a higher pitch, which changed to a raspy call like a wolf with a cold. Finally, a loud and clear howl came from deep in his chest.
“Yea! Stay with it! You can do it!” Keb cheered on as she held on to her special arrows in secret. Fuzzy’s transition was only starting and some worgen just didn’t stay peaceful.
“This is no damn tingle!” Fuzzy shouted.
Keb waved her hand nonchalantly, “Ah, keep going you big baby”.
Fuzzy howled again at the bright pale moon. The celestial white rock itself seemed to look different tonight. It was like he was seeing it for the first time. His eyes could see farther than before and with more clarity in the dark moonlit wilderness. A dark fur had formed over his skin and his hair was now a thick mane. “I feel like I need to run, like I need to just chase something”, Fuzzy said in an excited breath.
“Then do it! Let’s go find some wildlife!” Keb shouted as she dropped on all four paws and began to run toward the empty field in front of them.
Fuzzy followed and ran as fast as his own four paws would go. It was invigorating. He felt faster, stronger, almost as if he were in-tune with the nature around him. His keen sense of smell was already heightened. The minor scents he could smell before were now flooding his nostrils a thousand-fold. There were so many to decipher, it was like trying to pick out every individual color while staring at the Sun. He let out a howl as he ran. “This is so great! I should have done this years ago!” He turned and ran back to their camp site.
Kebechet turned back as well. When they arrived at their small campsite, she began explaining everything she knew about the ways of the worgen. She mentioned how to hunt without making a huge mess, how to get Fel goo out of your fur, what to do if you accidentally eat another hunter’s pet, and how to keep from eating the angry chickens. By morning the two friends were exhausted from their all-night discussions, but they didn’t mind. Fuzzy was well on his journey but had quite a long way to go. There was more to being a worgen than just going through the transition.
Fuzzy gave a sigh of relief. This new form felt good, it felt like he was finally home in his own body. He turned to his friend and lowered his head in a respectful bow. “Keb, thank you for helping me. There is no way I could have accepted my true form and gone through the transformation without your help and encouragement.” Fuzzy said as he reached into his backpack and pulled out a pair of small carved stones. The two stones were each strung on a beautiful thin soft leather strap. The carving on the stone was a worgen skull with a vial on either side; it was the symbol of the worgen curse. He handed one to Keb and put the other around his own neck. “Buds for life?” he asked with his own fresh big toothy grin.
Keb put her new pendant around her neck and she proudly declared “Buds for life! But isn’t this going to make Anth jealous?”
Fuzzy replied “Nah, I’ll let him snuggle my new warm fur and he’ll be happy as a clam.”
“You guys are so weird,” Kebechet said with a sigh.