Closing the curtain just before the sun came up, Dante gave Melody a kiss before she got her own rest. The events of what happened in Encante weighted heavily on his mind. He had only ever lost complete control once, and that was the night his powers awakened. The Demon had come forth at midnight, taking his awareness, and his home away from him. It had destroyed his family’s home and forced his father to disown him, casting him out of the lycan community, from which he had grown up in. His mother had told him the story of how the last bear came to his own death. It was Dante’s father, along with the former leader of the Blood Claws Eric who had killed him because he couldn’t control the demon.
Dante’s uncle Joseph had been the former bear lycan, he had strived his entire life to control the demon that raged in his veins. Unfortunately, the power that he gained as the demon was eventually his undoing in his quest to lead the Blood Claws. Dante’s father wasn’t at his birth because he was tracking Joseph to end his brother’s curse and keep it dormant for the 16 years it would take for the demon to resurface. Moments after his father dealt the fatal blow to a sleeping Joseph, Dante was born, unknowing to his father, becoming the bearer of the Demon curse.
When Dante’s father had banished Dante, his mother, who was an elemental magician, gave her youngest son a piece of her magic. “Use this to stay one step ahead of them. I may not be there for you, but as long as I don’t hear that you’re dead, I’m always on my baby’s side.” She kissed his forehead one last time before telling him the last piece of information she could, “Your father has convinced the council to give you one year to master your curse. They will send wolves for you, they will claim to be friendly, and they will kill you when you let your guard down. Don’t stop fighting, ever. Do you hear me?” He nodded. “Good, I love you. Stay strong.” He had walked away with tears streaming down his face; a 16 year old boy with little experience in the real world and told to survive. He promised himself he wouldn’t lose himself or his life.
Over the last decade he had fought for his survival, he had loved and lost. His fiancé had been taken from him, the family he thought he would get, stripped in the night while he was hunting to put meat on the table. He never liked killing, but when those he loved were threatened or hurt he wasn’t one to sit idly by. All this was because he bared the curse for his own kind, a fate he never asked for, but wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. The curse would be his hopefully for another 30-50 years, but what if he could keep it indefinitely. Saving those of future generations from his fate; the Atlanteans lived extremely long lives, and they were no different from humans, at least when their city sank.
He had intended to go get an early morning workout in the gym, but decided to stop and talk with Atlas and Elseron. Knocking on the door urgently, Atlas opened the door quickly. She looked like she hadn’t slept at all for the last 48 hours, her hair was a tangled mess, and she had dark circles under her eyes. “Dante? What a surprise, what brings you here so early? Shouldn’t you be in bed with Melody?” she rubbed her eyes sleepily.
“I’m sorry I woke you, I’m usually working out by now, but something came to my attention. I need your help in this matter.”
“No worries. Come in, do you ever sleep?”
“Five hours a day. Sometimes I wish it was less. Where do you think I disappear to towards afternoon?” he let this little insight into his life be known. “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Atlas raised an eyebrow at this last statement. “Speaking of which, I have a very important topic to discuss with you and Elseron.”
“Well I hope you won’t be dead anytime soon,” puzzlement rang clear in her voice. She led him into the room her and Elseron were sharing. “Elseron, Dante is here.”
“I was wondering when I would see you again. If you’re interested, I have a spot on the royal guard for you.” Elseron sat up, still all bandaged up. “What brings you here this early in the morning?”
“What makes you so long lived?” Dante cut straight to the point. The Queen and her Champion looked nervously at each other. Some unspoken conversation was happening between them.
“No outworlder knows our secret. I’m sorry, but I can’t disclose one of our most precious treasures with a non-citizen.” Elseron had an apologetic tone in his voice.
“Damn it Elseron, I saved your life. We have fought together more times than I have with anyone else. You know my curse, not many people do, and hopefully no one else ever will. Not even Melody.” Dante was not happy being left in the dark, treasure or not, “Please, I must know.”
The Atlanteans exchanged looks again, “For your actions to protect Elseron, I will give you the knowledge you seek. Know this, if anyone ever finds out, the royal guard will have your head. There is a rune, it stands for life.” Elseron sat up and moved so that a rune, on his left shoulder-blade, was visable. “With special ink, this is tattooed into every Atlantean’s flesh, and is blessed with the rulers magic. Giving the person incredibly long life, of up to a 1500 years.” She glanced at Elseron, “As long as the person doesn’t use up that magic and shortens the life length of the rune. The rune can be redone, my father did so, part of the reason he lived to be 3,000.”
“Is it possible for a non-Atlantean to gain this rune?” he felt out of place for blurting out this question.
“It has happened before,” Elseron spoke up. “After about 200 years he went insane, his mind wasn’t capable of wrapping that much change in his lifetime. He ended his life when he realized his great-great-great-granddaughter was dying of old age.” Elseron looked up from his memories, “Why do you ask these questions?”
“I don’t want another lycan child to deal with the demons whispers like I have. They have their own demons to deal with, let me keep them from this terror. Please, I would like to receive the rune.” Dante had never been so serious in his life. “I hate my own species, but I would never want a single being to bare this curse for as long as can be.” Melody came to mind, he hadn’t felt this way for a girl in a long time, she was young, but she would live forever. And he had fallen in love with her. “I have also found someone who will outlive me if I don’t do something about it.”
“The ritual is something that can only be done in Atlantis, you have until we return there to change your mind.” Elseron was straight forward, “I hope you can live with this decision my friend. We will grant your request.”
Standing up, Dante grasped Elserons arm, “Thank you.” Bowing to Atlas, “Thank you your highness, I would like to become a citizen of Atlantis when this is all over with.”
“I would be honored if you would become a citizen of my rule.” With that, Dante left the room and went about his morning routine.