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Monkshood

That evening, they returned to the Birdwell mansion.

Lady Throckmorton wailed upon seeing her dead sister and rushed to her cold, lifeless body to hug it tightly to her bosom. Her lamentations rang through the large, empty mansion, echoing through the walls. Even her children and husband felt their own eyes trickle with tears. Elliana couldn bear looking at her dead relatives like this, with their eyes open in horror at their last moments, their mouths twisted into screams. She felt like throwing up, so she rushed out of the mansion.

Elliot and Lord Throckmorton transferred the rest of the bodies outside, trying not to gag from the stench of rot and decay that wafted off them. The lack of blood in their bodies had delayed the process to an extent, but nothing could stop nature when she wanted to reclaim what was hers.

The two werewolves wrapped the bodies with the linen shrouds theyd brought with them. The long strips of white linen were doused in various scents in order to cut off the stench of death. Theyd been used in werewolf funerals since the days of old, and the Throckmortons wanted the Birdwell family to have a traditional funeral so the horror of their last moments could be appeased, at least a little.

The Throckmorton men went on with their task silently, listening to the Lady howl in her despair. Finally, the bodies were tightly encased in their linen cocoons, and only Lady Birdwells body was left.

Elliot walked up to his mother, and gently pried her hands off her late sister, ”Come, mother, ” He whispered, ”We have to get her shrouded. ”

”I cannot believe shes dead, ” The Lady whimpered, her face buried in her sons neck, wetting it with her tears, ”Look at her face, Elliot. Can you imagine how terrified she mustve been? My darling, little sister who was yet to hurt even a fly… ”

”We will avenge their deaths, mother, ” Elliot muttered, cradling his mothers head, ”Well bring them justice, I swear. ”

Lady Throckmorton nodded and continued to sob.

After the bodies were all shrouded, Elliot went outside and passed the line of pruned conifers that divided the property from the thicket behind it, where Paul and Edgar stood, along with Elliana. Elliana was embracing Edgar tightly, and Elliot couldn help but roll his eyes at them. Paul stood farther from them, looking deep in thought.

”The bodies are ready, ” Elliot announced, bringing their attention to him. The Birdwell brothers refused to enter the mansion again, they couldn bear to look at their dead family. The horror was already embedded in their minds, and they weren strong enough to go through it twice.

Paul dipped his head gratefully, as Edgar and Elliana sprang apart, blushing lightly. Elliot barely kept his eyes from rolling again.

”Thank you, ” Paul replied, and gazed at the sky, ”Its evening now, so we should transport them to the river quickly. ”

Elliot nodded, ”Its a good thing today is the full moon. Itll be easier. ”

”Yes, ” Paul murmured.

The Throckmortons and the Birdwells loaded the shrouded bodies into their carriage and discretely transported them to the Throckmorton mansion, after locking the Birdwell mansion up.

The Throckmorton property was vast, and the furthermost border lined a part of the river Burn, which was a tributary of the Tavy River that flowed through Western Devonshire. This little part of the river Burn was crafted into a small waterfall by nature throughout the years. Theyd settled in Dartmoor, Devon because of the solitary nature of the parish; humans tended to stay away from their business here. The Throckmorton mansion was located deep within the woodlands there, with plenty of space to turn into their wolf forms and frolic in peace.

The Throckmortons drove the carriage to this waterfall, which the villagers called the St. Gastral fall, where Paul awaited them with a cedar boat, which was decorated with white roses, lily of the valley flowers, white lily flowers, evening primroses, and jasmine flowers, all of which hed gotten from his sisters exotic flower garden. On the horizontal wooden boards of the boat, hed carved various runes that facilitated the entry to the afterlife for the souls of the deceased.

Edward stared at the shrouded bodies morosely, ”May the Goddess bless your journey to the afterlife, ” He whispered with his head bowed. Then he showed the family to the boat.

Paul carried the body of his father, while Edgar carried that of their sister. Lady Throckmorton carried the body of Lady Birdwell. They laid the bodies on the boat gently and stepped back.

As the eldest living relative, Lord Throckmorton pushed the boat to the water along with the sons of the deceased.

The boat floated swiftly into the river and bobbed a bit. Then the current caught it and dragged it towards the waterfall.

Thats when the wolves began to chant.

It was a deep hymn of a forgotten language that even the wolves spoke on the direst of occasions. It sounded like Gaelic, but more complex and rugged. The throaty notes of the chant echoed in the diminishing twilight, and the flowers on the boat started to shimmer faintly.

The full moon cast silvery light on the boat and the river, and suddenly the trickling sound of water augmented. Tiny sparkles of light rose from the white flowers, and they swirled the boat.

Paul glanced at Edgar and nodded.

With a heavy heart, Edgar stared at the boat and willed his ability to arise. His eyes glowed in a shade of amber for but a moment and the bodies of his deceased family caught fire.

The light of the fire illuminated the dark forest, chasing away some of the chills they felt. The boat swiftly reached the edge of the waterfall, and the sparkles of light began to swarm it, spiraling around it swiftly, concentrating the fire on the bodies.

And then the boat vanished into a flock of a million fireflies, bright orange in color. They flew towards the moon, like a rising tornado and vanished in the blink of an eye.

The light from the fire was gone, and the moon hid behind a dark cloud.

”May the eternal Goddess of the Moon illuminate your path to the afterlife, ” Edgar stated, ”May the ever-present night be your guide. ”

”See you in the afterlife, dear sister, brother-in-law, and niece, ” Lady Throckmorton whispered, tears streaming down her eyes, ”I hope that you will be reunited with our parents soon. ”

Edgar broke down crying then, and Elliana came toward him. They embraced each other tightly.

Paul stepped forward to the river and stood beneath a stream of moonlight that had escaped the cover of the cloud.

”I vow this on the Eternal Moon and the ever-present night, ” He stated in a low voice, ”I will do whatever it takes to bring your justice. I will destroy our enemies, I will avenge your murder. I won rest until the wrongdoers burn in hell for their crimes. ”

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