Current phase: Waning Crescent Moon
Karin shut her eyes and extended her focus out into the energy of the forest. She gathered the abundant, free swirling energy from the trees and plants of the forest and let the energy seep into her body and out her fingers.
“Haec cresce flores." she murmured. Grow these flowers.
She opened her eyes to see tiny wild flowers sprout out of the earth from the seeds she had planted moments before. She grinned as the flowers started to grow at a quicker pace until they were fully in bloom.
“T-that’s preeetty.” A child’s voice spoke out of nowhere.
Karin whirled her head around to see a thin, bony girl with pale skin and long dark brown hair. Her delicate blue eyes were bright and curious despite her fragile appearance. Karin noticed the girl’s slight spasms as she moved with her little walker.
The little girl was none other than Amaris Baines of the Baines Pack.
“Hello Amaris!” Karin smiled gently and stood up from her crouched position but Amaris shook her head and Karin watched carefully as the seven-year-old girl made her way slowly but surely toward her. It had been three years since Tala Baines first brought her daughter to the flower shop. Karin had grown terribly fond of the child.
From what she had inferred, it was likely that Amaris would never be able to shift into a wolf like the rest of her pack. The youngest of their pack was Willow who was four and she had already shifted whereas Amaris was seven. Karin wasn’t sure how much the girl’s cerebral palsy affected the ability to shift into a wolf.
“H-hi Care-inn. D-don’t tell Noah I’m here. I’m playing hide-n-seek with him.”
“Do you want to hide in a tree?” Karin suggested.
Amaris’s eyes widened with shock but excitement. “C-can I?”
When the girl finally joined Karin’s side a few minutes later, she helped the child sit down and watched her large eyes dart around Karin’s work area.
“How we gon climb the tree?”
“We won’t. You’re not afraid of heights, right?”
“I wanna be up high!” Amaris giggled.
Karin waved her hands. “Ascende truncus.” Rise.
Thick roots popped out of the ground around them startling Amaris but she watched in awe as the roots started to entwine into a lattice structure like a cage and started to grow rapidly upward. They were lifted slowly into the air and Amaris poked her head through a tiny hole in the root cage.
“We up high!” she shrieked with excitement. “No-ah won’t find me now.”
Karin laughed and stopped the growth of the roots. “We look suspicious so I’m sure Noah will find us at some point.”
“But he won’t be able to get up.” Amaris smiled mischievously.
“Aren’t you a cheeky girl?” Karin laughed.
Amaris pulled her head back into the cage and turned around to face Karin. She had brought a bit of the soil up into the cage with them so she decided to entertain the child.
“P-racticing ma-gic?” Amaris asked.
“Yes. I made some flowers grow.”
Karin pulled the flowers she grew out of the earth from earlier and started to weave a crown for Amaris. After she finished, she placed it on top of Amaris’s head and the little girl smiled so widely that it made her heart melt.
“Aren’t you the most beautiful girl in the world?” Karin smiled.
Amaris giggled. “Lee tells me that too.”
Karin smiled thoughtfully. “He’s right.”
“Lee says you pretty and nice too.”
Karin was taken aback by the statement and burst out laughing. Karin had no idea what Amaris was talking about since Radley had made it his personal goal in life to irritate her senselessly.
“That’s silly.” The words left Karin’s mouth before she could stop herself. “Radley and I aren’t friends.”
“Not silly!” Amaris sounded annoyed and frowned which frankly Karin thought was adorable. “You are! You and Lee good friends. Lee say so.”
“He does?” Karin couldn’t fight her shock.
“Yeah!” Amaris nodded emphatically.
Never in this lifetime could Karin imagine Radley saying that. They had been friends, maybe once back in their childhood under odd circumstances. They first moved to Vancouver Island when she was nine years old and ten-year-old Radley had begged Karin’s mom in secret to help his mom, Tala Baines give birth to Amaris. Radley’s father, Damien Baines had pleaded as well and offered a generous amount of money if her mom could help.
After Ma had aided in Amaris’s birth, Radley’s aunt Imogen who was the head of the entire Baines Pack discovered the circumstances surrounding Amaris’s birth and had imprisoned her mom for cursing Amaris with cerebral palsy.
By some goddess of fortune, her mom’s life was spared. Within their pack’s laws, Damien had challenged his older sister for the Alpha rank and won. Then Imogen was demoted and Damien replaced her as the head Alpha of the entire Baines Pack. He had decided that no more blood will be shed since they didn’t want to start another war between the wolves and witches.
After that, Karin and her mom lived safely under Damien and Tala’s protection despite Imogen’s protests. Growing up, Karin was always afraid Imogen would hurt her mom again but it seemed that Damien’s words was law because Imogen hadn’t approached them since. Despite enduring the bullying from Lloyd, Imogen’s son, Karin was able to befriend Radley and his younger cousin Mason when they stood up for her against their own cousin.
It wasn’t until after Radley’s thirteenth birthday that he had his first shift and their budding friendship had ended. His cruel words had followed wherever she went as if he had followed in Lloyd’s footsteps. It didn’t take long for Karin to steel herself against Radley’s barbs and uncanny behaviour.
“You don’t like him?” Amaris deflated.
“No, no. That’s not it. I just…” she paused and chose her words carefully. “I didn’t know he considered me a friend.”
Amaris giggled. The child smiled as if she knew something that Karin didn’t. Karin smoothed out the child’s hair and fixed the flower crown.
“Amaris! Where are you?” a voice yelled and Karin startled awake. The little girl had fallen asleep watching Karin practice magic so Karin had placed the child’s head in her lap while she took a nap herself. She poked her head outside the cage to see a guy sitting at the bottom of the tree. They were still in the cage so she lowered the roots slowly toward the ground. As the roots unfolded and revealed the two girls, a boy with similar features as Amaris stood up.
Karin nudged Amaris awake gently and whispered that her brother was here to take her home. The girl stirred and sat up, rubbing her eyes. The flower crown fell from her head as Amaris blinked away the remnants of her sleep. She glanced up at Radley who was waiting patiently.
Amaris grinned. “You f-found me.”
“You little cheater. Noah wouldn’t have thought of looking up in the trees for you.” Radley addressed his sister warmly and Amaris lifted her hands up for Radley and he bent down and took her into his arms. Karin stood up and reached for Amaris’s walker and held it as she watched the two siblings talk.
He then glanced out toward the trees and called out for Noah. A moment later, an eleven-year-old boy with claws and pointed ears emerged from the trees. He was only in a partial form that was somewhere in between a human and a wolf. Karin watched Noah draw back his wolfish features. His pointed ears shrunk and his claws became short fingernails.
He made his way over to them meekly and Radley patted his younger cousin’s head. “Amaris wasn’t playing fair with you. Fang was helping her hide.”
Noah looked up and sighed with relief. “Phew, I thought I was gonna be in trouble if I lost Amaris. I mean I smelt her scent but I couldn’t find it.”
“You just have to practice more with your tracking. Besides, we’re not used to looking up.” Radley laughed. He messed up his cousin’s hair affectionately.
Amaris patted her head and Karin couldn’t help but smile that the girl was looking for her crown. She found the flowers at her feet and she bent down to pick it up.
“Here.” Karin said softly, handing the flowers to Amaris.
She beamed. “T-hank you.”
Radley switched to one arm to hold Amaris and Karin held out the walker to his free hand. Karin shifted a little as his eyes pierced hers. She wasn’t used to seeing softness in his eyes. Usually they were lit with amusement at annoying her or heated whenever he was in a bad mood.
“What was it like to be up in the sky?” Radley asked his sister.
“Coool!” Amaris beamed.
“So, what do you say to our friend for helping you with your awesome hiding spot?”
Amaris’s eyes met hers. “T-hank you Care-inn!”
Karin smiled. “Don’t tell Rhys and Willow or they’ll coming begging me to help them with their hiding spots too.”
Radley winked at Karin and started to walk away with Noah trailing behind. “See ya later Fang.”
“Bye Fang!” Amaris waved and Karin waved back.