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The Legend of Artemis Posted by: Knight Mage Asher at 01-15-2020 12:12 PM, Last Modified 01-15-2020 12:12 PM
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A very, very long time ago, when our ancestors still walked on all fours, most of mankind despised us. They had already finished their evolutionary path, but we were still at the beginning of ours. Despite the fact that we were where they were once before, they despised us, and still saw us as inferior. They were not afraid of making such a fact clear, and did not hesitate to harass, beat, and even kill us. Any of our kind found being so much as near man’s cities was at great risk.
And so, we took refuge in the forests, hiding well outside the cities of man. We called the mountains our homes, and the trees our friends. We learned to live in harmony with nature, making sure to maintain the environment, as it would sustain us. For a while, we managed to prosper, our tribes and families able to live in comfort and peace.
But while we had claimed sanctuary in the regions once known as “Upper Midwest”, still the humans took issue with our existence. They came into our lands, and disrespected our homes. Some even hunted us, for no reason other than their own enjoyment. Some would even go as far as setting fire to the forest itself.
We did our best to hold off the onslaught, but no matter how great our warriors they did not compare to the machinations of man. We thought all hope was lost, after all, we had only had the capacity to think for ourselves a few hundred years, but man had been able to think for eons. With no hope, and no plan, our tribes fell to disarray. While their efforts were not organized, it was only a matter of time. We were as good as extinct, and in our desperation, some of us turned to prayer and the long forgotten gods.
Eventually, our prayers were answered. A human who lived on the outskirts of our lands said she wanted to help. Back then, most of our people saw all of humanity as our enemy, and so they refused the offer. However, they did not want to leave the human unmonitored, so they sent a scout. The scout was known as the Unfortunate One, as it was said he had never had any sort of success in life, and was generally unlucky. Despite this, the wolf was always eager to help. He was given the task to watch over the human, and to take care not to be seen.
For a while, things were very mundane, with the human simply going about her business, maintaining her wooden cabin and making trips into the nearby town. From what the scout saw, the human was having a very hard time hunting hares and squirrels, and could not really afford to trade for food. He could see how poorly she was, so he decided to help, despite the risk, not willing to see someone starve. Like the rest of our kind, he distrusted humans, but he had seen nothing concerning about this one.
The two soon became acquaintances, with the wolf occasionally helping out the human. But once, as he patrolled the lands, he was set upon by a group of vagrants, humans who had come to the forest to “party”. The female human came across the Unfortunate wolf, who was now being beat upon by the vile men. She rushed to his aid, much to the ire of her fellow humans. After that, the two quickly became friends, and from then on would spend more time together. Such an act had earned the human the name of Wolf-kin.
After returning home, they quickly settled into a routine, and while back then we were still unable to speak the human tongues fluently, they managed to find a way to communicate. But on one particular evening, something changed. From the sky fell a strange, bright blue light. It streaked through the forest, and landed near the human’s cabin. Immediately, the Wolf-kin hurried to see what had happened, with the Unfortunate One close behind. They came to the scene, and found what seemed to be a mature human woman, dressed in odd and ornate clothes and armor. She had long, wavy auburn hair and fair skin, and was unusually attractive for a warrior. She seemed to be wounded, with what looked like an odd bluish rot stemming from a hole in her torso. She was unconscious, and the pair quickly rushed her to the human’s cabin.
Once there, the human worked quickly to try and help the stranger, but without any knowledge as to what had caused the strange wound, she could only do so much. After many hours, the strange women did manage to wake, her silver eyes opening slowly. Confused, she almost struck down the pair, clearly still able to fight despite her condition. After they quickly explained the situation, she calmed down. It was then she revealed who she was. She was none other than the great Artemis, goddess of the hunt.
She explained to the perplexed pair that she had been in a heavenly battle against the other gods, but had been struck down by a legendary weapon. While it did not manage to kill her, most of her power had been sapped. With no remedy, she seemed doomed to wander the earth with no way of getting back into the heavens. It was then that the pair had an idea, and asked her for her help. They took her to meet the tribe elders, and told her of their plight.
For a second, it seemed as though she might refuse. After all, why would a mighty goddess care about our earthly problems, especially when she had problems of her own? But she explained that she, along with many other gods, had created our kind; the creatures of the forest. She saw what had become of our kind, not just the wolves, and saw how much we prayed for her help. She took pity on us, and so she agreed to help us in our struggles, despite her situation.
She had one condition however. For years, the wolf clans had been at odds with the fox clans to the north, and the deer clans to the east. She would only help us if all three agreed to peace, and so we did. As many of you may know, these alliances remain today, in the forms of clans Vulpin, Canin, and Cervin. While a few small groups have strayed from the path, to this day these three main clans refuse to fight each other.
Even back then, there were bird tribes existing alongside the rest. In a quest to find allies, the brave group managed to convince many of these tribes to join in their fight against the human aggression. With the Wolf-kin’s help, they were able to improve their weaponry, and while it still lacked behind mankind’s capabilities, it was a definite improvement to their arsenal.
With their new equipment in hand, all that was left was a plan and a location. The location was decided quickly, as the human governments had a plan to destroy our forests, and expand their stone monstrosities. They had chosen a place in the west to start, and so the fight would be there. Although there had been attempts to stop the aggression here before, without any solid planning or capable gear, any who had tried had done little to stop the humans.
Artemis told everyone what they would have to do in order to have a chance in the battle against the humans. The wolves would serve as the front line soldiers, taking the brunt of the attack. The deer would charge ahead, using their antlers and speed to scatter the human forces. The foxes would use ranged weaponry, supporting the front lines. The bird kind that had joined would drop makeshift grenades from overhead, and attack the human forces from all sides. Meanwhile, the goddess herself would stand center stage, using her remaining strength to fight for her children.
The army marched towards the site of the human construction. Once they arrived, they found a rivaling army, heavily equipped as had been expected. Artemis stood proud, with the Unlucky One and the Wolf-kin beside her. She offered them a peaceful resolution, and in return the humans would leave the forests and return to their cities. They refused, and drew their weapons. With no other options, Artemis ordered her children to get ready, and to fight on her word.

And so, they fought. Everyone fought with all their might against the human soldiers, our very existence depending on the outcome of the battle. The Wolf-kin fought as well, doing her best to help out. In the end, after many casualties on all sides, our kind were successful. After the dust had settled, the human leaders were forced to hear our case. After much deliberation, they reluctantly agreed to leave our lands, and let us govern ourselves. It was a momentous day, but the joy that was felt was not to last.
In the battle, Artemis’ condition had worsened. She was now very weak, and did not have much time. In her last waking moments, she gave her children one last blessing, allowing us to speak easier, and use our paws as proper hands. She then went into a deep sleep, and would never wake again. The Unfortunate One and the Wolf-kin decided to build her a shrine, so that she would be able to rest in peace. They did not know if one day she would re-awaken, so the decided to pray for her safety. All the forest creatures hoped that she may one day get better, and so the shrine was guarded. Its location was made secret, and to this day, only a few of our kind know its location. Still we guard the shrine, and pray that our mother Artemis may one day awaken.
As for the unusual pair of human and wolf, they remained together. While the tribes and clans focused on restoring themselves to their former glory, the two stayed together in the little log cabin. They would one day fall in love, an unexpected marriage, but a symbol of hope for our people. Years later, some of us would join the humans in their cities, while others would remain here, in the forests. But in this day and age, many of our brothers and sisters in the cities have forgotten about Artemis and her sacrifice, and so it is up to us to keep her memory alive. We must never forget where our kind has come from, and the sacrifices our ancestors have made, or we may all be doomed to fall again. May the sleeping mother goddess protect us all.......

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