|Cover art for my upcoming book!|
Kharia's long wedding gown trailed behind her. She had spent months picking out the right one, and had even had it customized just for her. This was the day it had all built up to. This was her day. This was THEIR day.
Through the corner of her eye Kharia could see the crowd. Her parents, family, friends, everyone was gathered to watch this. Fuslan had a much smaller group for his side, he had been an orphan and had no extended family.
She was so happy in the present, but she kept thinking of the future. The days, weeks, months, and years ahead of her and Fuslan. The words of the minister brought her back to the present.
"If anyone knows a reason why these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your piece," the minister said.
Fuslan reached forward and took her hand. He squeezed it a little. Kharia gave a small giggle. Nothing could get in the way of their happiness.
"I object," said a voice loudly. There were gasps and exclamations of shock from the crowd.
Kharia's eyes went wide and her eyes went to the crowd. Darmin was standing up and he had a grim expression on his face. He had always loved her, but she had never loved him back. When she had fallen for Fuslan he had been supportive- or so he had said.
"I can't let this happen," he said.
"Darmin!" Kharia had no idea what to say. Fuslan held her hand tightly.
"You don't know the truth about this person, this THING!" he called out. He held up what seemed to be a black stone.
Fuslan shook his head. "No!" he said. "Don't do this. Please."
Darmin threw the stone to the ground. "The 'man' you fell for is no man at all- he's a demon fox!"
There was a bright flash.
Kharia blinked to try to restore her eyesight. She was confused, there was a bright orange-red shape next to her. She looked down at her hand as she felt something strange, to find that Fuslan's hand had been replaced by a large black paw.
Fuslan was no longer next to her. Instead there was a giant spirit-fox. It pulled its paw away from her hand.
-I am sorry- it said, and then it leaped into the air and vanished.
There was a moment of stunned silence. More than a few people in the audience fainted. Kharia closed her hand as the warmth from Fuslan's hand faded.
"You see?" Darmin shouted. "It was no human at all. Kharia, I have saved you!"
Without a word Kharia ran from the building. She ran out the door and down the street. Her long wedding dress trailed behind her, and nobody seemed to have the courage to follow or stop her.
She ran down the street until she came to the field. The grass was long, and she left a trail through it as she ran.
She knew where she had to go. The place where it all started. The place where she had first met him. She reached the end of the field and into the forest. She continued along until she came to the grove of birch trees.
The wind picked up and carried some scattered leaves past her. She stood and waited. At long last she felt his presence, the same as the first time they had met.
-why did you come, Kharia?-
The giant fox spirit that was Fuslan walked through the trees towards her.
"I came to see my husband," Kharia replied.
-but I am not human. You now see what I am-
"Fuslan, Fuslan," Kharia smiled. "Do you remember what I first said to you when you approached me in these woods?"
-you asked who I was-
Kharia reached out her hand to him. "No. I asked WHAT you were. You looked like a man just like any other, but I could tell there was something special about you."
-I am not human. I tried to be human, for you. I have always loved you-
"And I have always loved you. Even now. Fuslan, you do not have a human body, but you have the most human soul I have ever met."
Fuslan stepped one foot closer to her. Kharia touched her hand to his soft fur.
-I will always- he said.
"Love you," she finished.