31 Days of Halloween #2

The Goosemother Scroll Episode 1 Text below for those who'd like to read along.

Once upon a time, many once-upon-a-times ago, the beasts of the earth spoke a common tongue and walked upright like men. Each of a kind followed the laws of his own ruler, and all beastkind followed the laws of the First. The First Beast, the Great Winged Watcher, the Goosemother, they called her. Legend told that the world had been created when she first unfurled her mighty wings, but grief over its future had turned her to the stone that made Historius, the Mountain At the Top of the World.

Her laws, written upon an ancient scroll and kept by the Eldermice deep below the mount were but three:

No beast chooses himself above his herd. No beast shall take more than he must to survive. No beast shall eat of his own kind.

But the scroll also contained a prophecy. A terrible day would come when the earth would be cloaked in the shadow of a profaner. This Shadow Bringer would break all three of The First Laws before crushing the world under his feet. The scroll spoke of countless agonies, of famine, of babes snatched while suckling. Peace would shatter, kings would be forced upon all fours, and the Ghosts of Men would awaken to serve the Shadow Bringer just as his ancestors served them when the world was Man’s. And his coming, it was said, would be announced by the howling of a thousand wolves.

Of a savior, the scroll said only this: If there be an end to this blight, the end will be small.

Over a thousand years, these ominous words had softened to little more than a tale to quiet restless children. “Sleep now, little ones, lest the Shadow Bringer hear you when he passes!” The Ghosts of Men were reduced to crude masks worn by revelers every year on Howler’s Day.

Only the wolves suffered from the prophecy in those years of calm. Reviled as the lowest of beastkind, they were cast out from every corner, forced always to wander. And yet, those who drove them away did not remember why they hated them. Only that everyone else did, and that was enough.

One could say this was how the prophecy began to fulfill itself, but those who would choose to forget their ancestors’ cruelty would say it began on a dark night in an isolated cottage where a young sow gave birth as her boar husband watched anxiously on.

Neither knew what evil crept outside their door nor the many days of torment that would soon follow for all beastkind.