My hands were dusty after running them through the dirt. I looked up and could see the light rays pouring over the outer marketplace.
“Papa, look! look! The light has become beautiful! Goodness, what a sight this is!”
My father laughed. Did he take me seriously? I scratched my chin with my paw. “Papa! it really is beautiful!”
My father laughed again, “Hahaha, yes my son. It’s especially gorgeous with it lights up the star there on the Kingdom’s doorways.” He pointed up, toward the top of the wall, just between the two golden arched doorways.
It was magnificent. The sparkle from the golden star bounced off the blue wall that it was set upon.
“The great Scholar’s call this a solstice. The light rays in the sky are pointed directly at us. This is indeed a great gift of beauty from the Fire Eternal.”
I was in awe. The Kingdom had never looked so grand, and today, of all days, this special day was the day that I was able to visit with my father.
My chest began to ache, as tears welled in my eyes. I knew my father would have to leave again soon as this was the only time I would be able to see him. I tugged at my father’s shirt and then threw my arms around him. “I’m going to miss you, Papa.”
My father crouched beside me. His eyes watered, and the smooth skin on his human hands touched the fur on my face. He pulled me close and rested his head on mine. “I’m going to miss you too,” he paused and began to choke a bit, trying to keep back his tears, “but we will meet again soon.”
Two guards came from behind my father and grabbed his arms. “Time to go, Human. Defects and their visiting hours are over.”
“Papa! WAIT!” I reached out my paw toward him as his hand slipped away.
He patted his chest and circled it with his finger. “I am always in your heart, my son.”
A guard grabbed me by my arm and pulled at me, “ ‘Ay boy. Don’t need to be messing around with no humans. Them folk be nothing more than nasty rejects. The King said so. You know that.”
I could no longer see my father as he was carried off into the crowded marketplace. My heart was broken. It was unfair that the king banished all humans from the kingdom, just because they could not turn into their Courser form.
“ ‘Ay. Ya hear what I said, kid? Humans are nasty! We don’t need them folk here! You’ll get over it. Your old man ain’t nothin’. “
Rage filled me. The fur on my arms began to crawl up my arm and disappear. My eyes and muzzle shrunk into my face, as did my ears to my head. My paws quickly turned to hands. I lashed out at the guard in a fit of rage, screaming at the top of my lungs.
“IS THIS WHAT YOU HATE SO MUCH?! HUMANS?! You’re no better than they are! Because we are them! My papa is a man with honor and you’re nothing more than a sour-faced, unworthy pile of -“
The guard slapped me to the ground and cackled.
“Ha, a Human defect. Just like your old man.”
On my hands and knees in the marketplace, many walked passed me not paying me any attention. Vampires ignoring my cries. Other Coursers, and Orcs turning a blind eye, as if there was nothing to see.
“YOU TAKE THAT BACK!” I charged at the guard, screaming, biting his leg.
The Guard writhed in pain, “Yaaarghll!”
I took off running the opposite direction, into the crowd of people.
“You get back here you little git! I’ll turn your hide into a throw rug!”
Fur began to grow on my body as I began to run and pick up speed. My face elongated as my muzzle began to form. Suddenly I was running much faster as I had shapeshifted back into my Courser form.
Shouts could be heard coming from behind me, “You won’t get away so easy! Guards! Guards! Catch him!”
Two guards standing at a merchants post reached out to grab me, but I quickly dodged from their reach jumping over one set of hands and sliding under the other.
I began to pant, trying to cool myself down. It started to grow dark and the torches were being lit. I ran faster, and faster, passing by many people, pushing and shoving them out of the way.
A paw reaches out and grabs me, pulling me into a large bush.
“‘Ay, where’d the brat go?!”
The Courser guards in their confusion tried to sniff me out. A bottle of blue spirit was dumped over my head, and a hand covered my muzzle.
One of the guards sniffed close to the bush and then turned away. “Nope, nothin’ here.”
The Courser guards chasing me ran the other direction still in pursuit of me.
I pushed the hand away from my mouth, “Hey! What’s the big idea? Snatching me up like that?!”
A Courser sat in the bush with me, black fur with streaks of gold. around his neck was a black bandana and had a white skull blindfolded on it.
“I saved your life, kid.”
I folded my arms, “ I could have out-run them. Nethandre Star Guards aren’t all that smart.”
The Courser chuckled, “That’s the truth.”
He placed the bottle of blue spirit into a small satchel that he then put around himself, hanging it from his shoulder.
“Why did you save me?”
The Courser looked up at me, “Because you show love for a Human as much as I do.”
“You know a human?”
The courser nodded. “Yes. During the Banishment, they sent my wife away with my two children. They were never allowed in Nethandre Star Kingdom again.”
I knew how he felt. I missed my father, and I know I won’t get to see him again for another two seasons.
“I’m sorry. I’m sure you miss them a lot.”
The Courser took a swig from a flask. He put it down and let out a sigh. “ I feel like my entire world has been shattered because of this terrible law.”
I nodded. “Mine too.”
The Courser stood up from the bush. “And that’s why we’re going to change it.”
Two giant swords hung on his back. He reached into his pocket and handed me a bandana, with the same blind skull on it. “How much do you care about the Humans in your life?”
I took the bandana from him and stared at it hesitantly. He then sped off as many other Courses wearing similar bandanas stormed the marketplace attacking the guards.
Shouts and horns could be heard from all walls of Nethandre Star Kingdom as the market ensued in violence and chaos. I gripped the bandana tightly in my paw.