Twenty Seventh of the Fifth Moon, 413

I’ve known the confines of this prison since the first week after my internment. But now I see that I’m not just isolated; I will also be castigated here.

I awoke immediately after the last rays of the sun pulled back over the horizon. I could hardly contain myself. I felt jubilation I hadn’t felt since that night she kissed me in the chapel. No doubt she now was opening her eyes to the new world. I was angry that I wasn’t there waiting for her to welcome her to the night, but it couldn’t have been helped.

I was racing in the form of a wolf as fast as I could. In the distance, the wolves bayed their encouragement and I welcomed their call. I ran through Berez, with its simple townsfolk closing their doors in fear as a large black wolf sped through the streets.

It was as I turned onto the grounds of Ulrich’s manor that I felt it: a breathtaking pain in my chest. It felt like a lance of fire pierced my heart and filled my body with torment. I collapsed in human form on the cold stone of the courtyard. It was our connection that caused the pain. I know I couldn’t hear her scream, but I felt it. I think she said my name.

Tatyana was dead.

I let out a loud wail and all the tears that had been locked inside for the past fifty years came out once more. It was the replaying of the wedding night again, having her so close and losing her all the same. I realized the weight of my punishment. They had taken her from me once before, then They gave her back to me—-only to lose her again. In the distance I heard laughter, but it quickly faded. I cursed the unknown wardens of my prison and wept bloody tears.

“How could you?” a voice said.

I looked up and saw Burgomaster Ulrich standing over me. He looked enraged and held a stake in one hand with a mallet in the other. And he was covered in blood. Tatyana’s blood.

“You wicked creature, you took her innocence away. Made her a vile leech like you,” he cursed. All I could do was weep.

“Grigor said this would happen if we weren’t careful. We tried, but no doubt you interfered. But he told me how to give her peace,” Ulrich raised the stake high, “and now I’ll give her justice.

He brought the stake down hard, but he never had a chance. With my sorrow turning to black rage, I struck his arm at the elbow. There was a harsh snap as the bone broke. Ulrich screamed and fell to his knees. I ripped the stake from his hand and brought it down into Ulrich’s eye. Blood, almost black in the moonlight, oozed out of the wound. Ulrich clawed at me in a frenzy, but he was powerless to stop me. I continued to stab him in the face while screaming obscenities at him. I continued long after he was dead.

I walked through the manor like death incarnate. Anyone I found I ripped apart, savoring their blood as I did. It vaguely reminded me of my rampage after the wedding, but this was far from the justice I had dealt out that night. I went to Tatyana’s room and as I went to open the door, a servant opened it from inside. He was white as a sheet and clearly fleeing from something in the room. He barely reacted to me as I clawed into his guts. The servant fell against the wall and slid down to the floor. With the sounds of the servant choking on his own blood behind me, I stepped into Tatyana’s room.

The funeral flowers laid about the room wilted in my presence. Her bed and the surrounding walls were covered in blood. The room reeked of the sickly sweet smell of blood, mingled with the smell of Tatyana’s hair. Her sheets were tangled mess of crimson, likely twisted by her death throes. But Tatyana’s body was not there, only an impression in the bed gave proof that she had been there at all. The window was wide open and the moonlight streamed into the room. I sighed.

The servant behind me gurgled on his blood. He was struggling to draw his final breath.

“Poor Mirana,” he said.

“Where did he go?” I asked, but I already knew the answer.

“Gone. The mist took her…”

Twenty Seventh of the Fifth Moon, 413

Lost in the Mists ignatiusvienna