It was a cold January morning. I had been following the path of the now-frozen Mississippi up into a new state. There was no telling of how I would pronounce it. Ohhi-oh? Oh-heeoh? Oh-hi-oh? Without Alois to help me with things, I was at a loss. Even regular humans hardly wanted to speak to me anymore. They probably could not understand me.
I got enough strange stares as the days went on. Did I look ill? Worse, could people tell that I was not like them? Perhaps it was that I was wearing the clothes of a man. Would any of those make any sense to point and stare at me for? What had I done? Had the people known the whole gruesome story, I suppose they would take pity on me. However, the ones that truly deserved pity were the Americans themselves.
Fort Sumter, as I heard it whispered by the townsfolk, had been attacked not very long ago. It was in a state of the Confederacy, which did not surprise me. There really was going to be a war in America, the land that every man thought was going to be a utopia.
I longed to be home in Germany, but that was not able to be done. I had no way to arrange a ride back home, nor was I able to even get around. Soldiers marched everywhere, blocking any means of escape. I could not get out of this country, even if I risked my life.
The towns in Ohio were not very large. I wandered the streets freely, looking around. One thing the monster side of me was saying was that I needed to establish territory, so that I might have a means of residence in a new place, as Alois had. It was now literally in my blood to create a stronghold for others like me.
But where was I to go? Where did a werewolf of the North typically reside? As I pondered, I passed a young man on the lonely street. Before I knew anything, I was tackled to the ground and held there by the same man.
"What are you doing to me?" I shrieked in my English tongue. I was using it more than German now, which surprised even me. "Release me!"
The man did not answer. "You know nothing about yourself, do you?" he growled in my ear after a few moments. I whimpered, feeling helpless. If only Alois was there to save me!
"Let her up." The commanding voice of another man broke the quiet in the air. I weakly raised my head. Beside the tall redheaded man was a tanned woman with luxurious dark hair dressed in traditional clothes. She did not appear to be very happy.
"Can you not see that she is a mere pup?" the woman growled, glaring at the man that had previously restrained me. "She clearly does not know the rules."
"My apologies, Lady Estrella." The brunette bowed, scowling at me as he did so. "She smells sickening. There must be blood all over her. Colum, put this weakling in her place!"
The redhead gazed at me, green eyes full of understanding. "There is no need for that, Armel." Offering me a hand, Colum bent down and smiled. "What is your name, fair lady?"
"Fraulein Brigitte Zeigler," I answered, exactly as I was taught to, standing up without his help.
Colum retracted his hand, frowning and looking somewhat embarrassed that I had ignored his offer to help. "A Germanic woman, eh? You are like us, correct?"
"Like you?" I muttered, narrowing my eyes. "I am nothing like you. I do not attack strangers in the street."
Armel held up his hands in defense. "I did not know any better," he muttered, running a hand through his dark brown hair, almost the same shade as my own. "My apologies."
Estrella spoke up once again. Her voice was thick with a Spanish accent. My guess was that none of them had originally come from America. "We are ones like you: doomed to wander the earth for all time with an irreversible curse and immortality - unless slaughtered," she added, somewhat darkly.
I had never thought of it that way. "My apologies for intruding on your land." I attempted to curtsy to show my respect, but I remembered with some embarrassment that I was wearing pants, so I bowed instead.
"Quite all right." Colum smiled once again. "We are always open to new recruits. You see, there is a policy of Shepherd and Coyote." I noticed how he replaced wolf with another canine in America. "We are the good ones - the Shepherds. We seek to help humans in any way we can - as long as we don't risk our own lives."
The other woman smiled with pride. "Colum here is the governor of the wolves of Ohio." So that was how it was pronounced. "Armel and I are two others that give aid to Colum as well as companionship."
Armel, the distant one, stood further away from Colum and Estrella. He turned to me with a nod. "I suppose we could accept one more."
Estrella crinkled her nose, perfect skin folding up. "She does need a good wash first," she remarked as if I could no longer hear her. "She smells absolutely filthy."
"I could not agree more, my love." Colum faced me once again, green eyes warm and kind. "Brigitte, you may go back with Estrella and Armel while I finish the patrol of the area."
Estrella instantly latched onto my arm, smiling like a child. "We will have so much fun, I promise you," she whispered to me as if it was a secret.
After a brief exchange of words with the governor, Armel rejoined us women. "All right," he began, a slight growl still in his voice. "We should get going."
That was how my adventure in Ohio began.