Noon, after lunch
Grandpa Eli scolded me harshly this morning, demanding why I hadn’t written in this journal. I asked him, just to be stubborn, “When do I have time to write when I was helping to move our whole pack into our new home?”
Grandpa’s face tightened in that way I knew when I was going to get a repeat of an old lecture. He reminded me that dream walkers were rare and our abilities were highly valued among our packmates; that for centuries, while magick waned in our world, people with our abilities were the only link left between the gods and us; and that when he died, I will be the single link my packmates will have.
By the time he finished, I felt like a fool. I know he’s right. It’s thanks to Grandpa’s powers, warnings, and prophecies that we have stayed in relative good favor with the gods. He writes religiously every day in his own journals. I tried to follow in his footsteps before, but truthfully I suck at keeping a journal.
Grandpa’s lecture isn’t the only reason why I’m writing today. The other reason is that I had the burning dream again. Only, this time, I dreamed about my new home burning before the pack even set foot here.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Grandpa says that each journal is a record of the writer, and those records can be passed down through the generations. “It’s our hope here in the present, that our people in the future will read what we have written and experienced. Hopefully, our words now will help them prevent future calamity.”
I thought about that while sitting with this journal open to the first page. Grandpa has dozens of completed journals. He’s told me that not all of his writing has survived time, but he keeps as many as he can just in case. In a way, he is our packs record keeper, not only our shaman and a dream walker. Growing up, I didn’t pay much attention to how important that was to my family, but now that I’m older and almost a full adult member of this pack, I look beyond my relatives and see how much better off we are compared to the rest of the world around us.
So, with that logic in mind, I begin this journal with a proper introduction of myself.
My name is Melody Cedarsong.
I’m 26 years old, and I belong to the Windsong Werewolf Pack. I am a polymorph shapeshifter, meaning I can take on the shape of any animal I want, not just a wolf. I was adopted into the pack at age 8, a year after my adoptive mother and our pack’s healer, Noah Moonsong, found me after a hurricane. Truthfully, I don’t have any memories before waking up in her care, so I don’t know if my family is alive or dead. I’m inclined to think the latter... because I’m mute.
When my mom found me in the woods, I had terrible throat wounds. My cousins think that I was attacked before Noah found me. Whoever they were tried to rip out my throat to prevent me from telling anybody my assailant’s identity. The wounds were so awful that it took weeks for mom to heal me. An infection killed any hope of me ever speaking again and prevented the injuries from mending correctly. I have scars to this day that make it blatantly obvious that something terrible happened to me. I wear scarves to conceal them most days, though my packmates are kind and don’t mention anything about them.
Mom told me she found me under a cedar tree that day, that’s how I got my surname.
When a wolf pack either officially adopts an outsider or fully accepts a young member of the family as an adult, they take one of the most critical times in that person’s life and gives them that surname, and place the word ‘song’ on the end, to honor the Song of Life which binds all Packs. Since I’m not Noah’s blood, I couldn’t grow up under the name ‘Moonsong’ as most pups do. So, after my adoption, the pack decided to honor the cedar tree where I was found.
Although, I’m not sure why mom named me ‘Melody’ when it’s obvious I can’t sing, let alone speak. I’ve asked dozens of times, but she always asks what I want to change it to.
Honestly, I love music so much that I treasure the name dearly.
The main traits that stay with me, no matter what form I take, are my black hair and purple eyes. Well, I can change my coloring, but I can rarely spend the extra. Besides, I like my appearance; even if humans find my eyes unnerving to look at.
I have patterns on my skin, stripes on my arms and face, and spots on my shoulders, that move and shift depending on my moods. I’ve tried to change some of my patterns to help hide the scars, but nothing I do can conceal them.
I can do some magick. I mean I’ve never done one of the grand sabbat circles for festivals, but I’m best at little things like charms, basic hedge witch kind of stuff. Most werewolves don’t have magick. It’s not rare, but it is uncommon. It runs in my mom’s line, so I guess that the gods chose well when they placed me here. My packmates and cousins call me ‘Mutt’ sometimes because of that. It’s all in fun, really, so I don’t mind it at all. In a way, it’s true! With my shapeshifting powers, I really am a mutt!
I’ve written already that I can dream walk.
Dream walking is not a skill recognized by the magickal committees and schools for the arcane arts. Nobody can explain how it happens, but that some people just can. Some scholars think it’s a form of psychic ability, like being able to astral project without being conscious.
Grandpa doesn’t think so. He says it’s a gift only a god or goddess of the Unseen can bestow. He says that Viziir, God of Seers and Divination, gave him his gift.
I don’t know who gave me mine. Grandpa thinks that I was able to dream walk before my attack. It makes sense, but I wonder to this day who my patron deity is and why they blessed me with this gift. I want to ask them why they granted it to me. What purpose does it serve me in my life? I’m still learning to master the ability. I’ve only had a handful of successful (in my book anyway) dream walks for all the 10 years I’ve been studying under Grandpa’s eye.
Since dream walking isn’t a talent I can apply in this modern society to make a living and to help sustain my pack’s comfort, I went to study medicine, like my mom. The only difference is that I went into herbal medicine instead of being a healer like her.
I used to have grand dreams about being a healer like my mom. But when I took my first steps in an anatomy class in high school, I nearly threw up when we started doing dissections. I ran out of the classroom and didn’t return until the next day. Needless to say, I was embarrassed and crushed. The more I thought about that failed lab class, the more my thoughts would wander to protruding broken bones, or weeping, pussy wounds...
So, being a healer or a nurse or even a midwife was out for me.
Then, on one of my more successful dream walks, Paeloni, the patron goddess of the Malune Archipelago and a Mother of Healers came to me. In her hands, she held the lights of my prayers; dozens of them. I don’t know how I knew they were my prayers, but it didn’t really matter to me. I was awed and thrilled to know that all those nights I spent before my mom’s altar were not for nothing.
She looked just like her statue!
Long flowing blond hair with pointed, fae-like ears and a cat’s pointed chin. Her eyes, one silver for the night and one gold for the day, were warm and sweet. She was dressed warmly in flowing robes that looked like the sea lapping at the earth.
“Not all healers tend to the side of the sick and wounded. There are other ways,” she told me. Closing her hands over my prayers, she turned into soil and dropped to the ground before my eyes. Suddenly, plants began to spring up all around me from the mound of dirt she left behind; vines twining around my arms and legs, flowers blossoming up in wild trails and hundreds of different trees sprang up all around me. Knowledge flooded my mind. It was as if the plants themselves greeted me and told me what kind of properties they held!
I woke up that morning in a daze and knew that Paeloni had answered me in the most amazing and magickal dream I’ve ever had in years!
Taking her direction, I threw myself into herbal studies and found I had a natural talent to it. I graduated high school with a general diploma instead of one that specialized in health studies like I planned, and went straight to Paeloni’s temple. In my mind, if I was going to become the best herbal healer of my generation and a real asset to my family, I was going to do it in honor of the goddess who helped give me the purpose I desperately craved!
I still hold the record for the fastest completed Basic Herbalist licensure in all the Islands. That was only the beginning for me! Granted I could work anywhere in the islands, but if I really wanted to be something, I had to get the highest degree I could in the field so that I could work anywhere the pack moved. Or better yet, become a traveling herbalist so that I could make the medicines mom would need after diagnosing her patients!
I’ve been studying for 8 years now, and have my Senior Mastery of Herbalism. In just one more year, I will successfully receive my doctorate.
My ultimate goal will come true as of this Midwinter.
I will write about the burning dream properly when I have it again. I will do my best to follow Grandpa’s teaching and try to write it when I wake up.