Summer had come, after a harsh winter and even harsher times for the werewolf community of Chambury. Though things weren't over by far, Cecil had found himself a quiet enough spot to rest in.
In the woods, surrounded by nothing but the sounds of birds and the ever-present chatter of leaves, Cecil thought back to his home in Yukon.
11 years old.
The foster kids had begun to pack their bags for the trip to Nunavut. This was a big thing since the Church had long oppressed the First Nations people. In addition, most of these kids had minimal or very warped experience of their nations' culture. This trip was an effort to try and fix things.
On the windowsill, Cecil watched as the other kids traded news and spoke of their foster parents or their bio parents. They had a connection there, something Cecil couldn't help but envy a little. As far as he knew, his parents had died in a car accident and he was taken to the orphanage very young.
The Sisters who ran the place had never placed him on the list of potential foster children for some reason. They often said he was safer like this, though Cecil frankly did not believe them. It was often hard watching kids of his race come and go, some came back, some found permanent homes.
But him? Due to his looks, he was forever stuck in this wretched house, a spectator to everything and everyone else.
The boy grumbled, easily getting himself back to the floor from the tall windowsill. He headed for the group, eager to join in and maybe hear some cool thing.
"Cecil, where are you going?" Asked a calm and collected voice, hiding enough steel for Cecil to freeze on the spot.
"I was just...uh.. going to say goodbye to them?" he tried, trying to not look sheepish for being found out. Father Johan shook his head, in a way that made Cecil think he still saw him as a five-year-old.
"Cecil, Cecil, what have I told you about them?" the priest asked, placing his hand on Cecil's shoulder. Cecil slumped a bit, looking away.
"No one there would want me, I look too weird" he repeated a sentence Father Johan had instilled in him. It still felt awful to say that, but it was true. When he was a baby, no one had even bothered to look at him or foster him.
They didn't want a ghostly boy with white hair and blue eyes, they wanted a child that looked like them.
"Good. Now, if you are good, I might be able to get you some time in the library. Alone" Father Johan encouraged him, making Cecil beam.
As he was walking away, however, he heard the Abbess address, Johan. As much as lying and dishonesty had been beaten as wrong to him, Cecil still couldn't help but hide and listen.
"Father, you shouldn't deny him this. The boy needs some ties to the outside world" she said firmly and Johan made a growl-like sound in response.
"He -has- ties and a family, sister. I am just making sure he stays safe" the priest noted, marching off.
Stays safe, huh? Cecil slumped against the wall, feeling that twinge of envy again.
16 years old.
It was one thing to cosplay Sephiroth at a convention, gain the attention and praise for his accurate portrayal of the character. How he managed to do the hair and the eyes, and how long he had had to go to the gym and suffer heels to match the character's height.
It was quite another when you in real life you were seven foot tall and had the exact same hair colour as the video game character. The rundown country school was not built for his height, and he had hit his head at every door frame since fourth grade.
His looks did not exactly help, but no one bullied him. They just kept their distance, which was entirely fine by Cecil. If they wanted to see him as a ghost, without even knowing him, then their loss.
It was his teammates that were the bigger issue, anyway.
Getting ready for practice, the other teens joked and egged each other on. Only giving Cecil brief nods, at least making sure they had noticed him. Cecil would have been less worried about them, had their fear been just the same isolation tactic the rest of the school used.
"So, are we ready?" he asked, taking a ball and dribbling it a bit. There were nods, and they followed his example. But even as coach ordered them to pair up, there was always this sense of distance they kept from him. Like they saw something in him that was far more wrong than his looks.
After the practice, Cecil had extra courses in Bible studies. Father Johan was pushing Cecil harder now, knowing he could one day be a priest. An actual priest and not just someone from the backwoods with a basketball scholarship. Someone people wouldn't fear so much.
That was worth all this fear and pain for Cecil, his goal was set and his road towards it was made for him.
It made him feel a bit better about the blank looks others gave him.
19 years old, post change.
Brother Otto was dead, gored all over the forest floor in Quebec. They said it wasn't really his fault, it was just in his blood.
They told him of his father, the Wendigo. A cannibal and a monster. Cecil had inherited his evil, but he could combat it with faith. Directed by the Cinocephali, a secret organisation of Christian werewolves. And more specifically, Father Johan.
Cecil couldn't shake the ill-feeling he had about the group, however. Father Johan had many times claimed Cecil's parents had died in a car crash. To hear him switch the story to how they were actually monsters so easily, made Cecil lose the trust he had had for the priest.
The worst part of it all was, that he ended up failing Father Johan anyway. he had hoped Cecil would become one of the recruiters for the clan, but his social skills were not honed for it.
And just like that, Cecil was sent to Italy to train to be an assassin and take the vows of a monk. With his whole life turned upside down, Cecil couldn't argue against his Elders. But he had lost his trust in these men. It did not help that the human side of the church had been exposed as a ring of monsters of another kind.
The monastery in Italy was still a place Cecil found himself belonging to, with Abbot Cuthbert directing him and showing him support Johan had never shown. Maybe this life wouldn't be that bad after all?
Cecil's claws were wet from blood, a regrettable fact but one he had to just accept for now. The benan stared at the faded orange fur of Father Johan, who had tried to get a drop on him.
Part of Cecil wanted to gut the man and leave him to bleed out. But there had been enough bloodshed already from both sides. And he was not a cino anymore, he should be better.
Before he could do anything, however, the reddish wolf snarled at him.
/This is how you repay me, whelp? I saved you from the cannibals, gave you a roof over your head, kept you from being abused. And you run away the first chance you get? I guess there is no saving those of your kind/ he growled, staring at Cecil with disgust. Cecil, however, felt his anger disappear at those words.
/Even dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table, Father/ he quoted the verse, shaking his furry head.
/You wanted me to be your dog, to be a good Christian and a good priest. And I will never forget that. But you leashed me and told me to look away from my own culture, to only focus on the task you wanted me to fulfil/ he grumbled, needle-like fangs exposed at the ginger wolf desperately healing on the ground.
/My father may have been a monster and his family no better. But you took the choice away from me, the choice to-/ he began, teeth exposed, but Johan cut in with a snort.
/You never had a choice, Cecil. You were damned from the start to be a monster. The wolf that bit me, she took away -my- choice. Don't flatter yourself thinking you are anything like me. I tried to give you at least some chance of redemption. But I guess Angelo was right, your lot can't be helped/ the priest spat, but shrunk as Cecil moved towards him.
/You seem pretty well in control for such vitriol towards my kind/ he noted, mane bristling then.
/But, I recommend you run now, if you value your hide/ he growled, watching as the much smaller wolf took to all fours and bolted.
Cecil's stomach twisted at the sight, how easily they cast him aside when he was no longer useful. How easily the wrote him and his new clan off when it became convenient.
The dogs of Jerusalem had certainly eaten the crumbs of their masters' tables, but they also roamed free with no collars around their necks and only the scorn of the people on their backs. It was the Romans whose dogs wore collars, who knew a master like a dog should. Cecil pondered if this was the case with the Benan and Cino as well, the other happily leashed and obedient to their master. The other living near humans, but knowing they were not welcome any further and being fine with that.
The white wolf returned to the woods, his crumbs eaten for the day.