The werewolf, continued

Chapter 1 - the dark of the moon

And he grew round as the moon grew thin. The air grew crisper still, but he hardly noticed: the days flew by now that he had work to do again, and human company. The moonlight barely touched his dreams now: they were filled with Kara's laughter, and firelight. The weeks of hunger and cold vanished as he grew to fill out the clothes she'd brought him; his stomach was no longer a thin hollow, but rounded out again under her care. There never seemed to be any shortage of food or of ale in her house, small though it was, and he feared the day he would have to leave it behind.
But the month was barely halfway through, and he was happier now than he'd been in a long time.
"The harvest faire is tomorrow night." Kara announced one morning. The air was frost-bitten again. "I have another shipment to bring up to town that day. Will you come with me?"
He hesitated for a moment: he knew that he should not. After all, he had been driven from his home. Then again, though, his home was far away, and the moon safely dark. "I would be glad to."
They left early in the morning, with the air still bluish, but the fall sunlight had warmed the air by the time they reached town. He stayed by the cart as Kara went inside to negotiate with the innkeeper, hanging back to watch the people go by. It had been a long time since he'd seen so many, and so happy: women and men hanging lanterns from the eves of houses, laughing children braiding together wreathes of autumn leaves, men hoisting bundles of hay along the edges of the roads, to serve as both seats and tables for the upcoming festivities... and everywhere the smell of roasting meat and baking bread wafting along with wood smoke down the streets.
A pair of dark-haired youths came down the main road, carrying between them a precarious pile of wooden torches on a long board. The leading one stumbled, and the tower came crashing to the ground. Without waiting to be asked, he leapt down from the cart to help the boys pile their load up again. When they had finished, the dark haired boys turned to him and smiled. "Thank you, stranger: it seems that there are few from outside Brookside who'll lend a helping hand. What brings you here?"
"I came with Kara Brewer for the faire."
"You came with Kara Brewer? Has the flower of the pinewoods finally taken herself a man?" The youth laughed. "Well then, stranger, you'll be welcome here. Tell Kara to bring a cask of fine brown ale along to the center circle, and she'll win herself a still better prize." And then the two were off along the road again.
When Kara came outside again, he related what had happened. "Ah, you've met Edmund and Edward, then?" Kara laughed. "They'll get no free goods from me this day. But come with me: you have much to see!" And they spent the daylight hours wandering through small shops and ducking into stone-floored farmhouses, meeting people whose names he instantly forgot.
But they were generous folk, each one happy to offer a honey cake or carafe of milk or sweet wine. By the time the sun started to dip beneath the edge of the world, he was flushed and merry, his belly pleasantly full and tight. Kara noticed, laughing, and took his hand to guide him back to the center of town. The streets were bright with firelight, and she paid a few copper coins to get each of them a torch to carry.
"The procession will be starting soon." She said, and he nodded as if he knew what she meant. People were milling about in the street, laughing with each other, and greeting old friends. Then a horn blew somewhere over the hill, and as one the group moved off into the darkness, along some path he could not see.
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