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Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Werebears of Adengaan - Chapter Thirteen

 The Werebears of Adengaan - Chapter Thirteen

By

MC

As much as Gaden, Karn, and Brunaulf wanted to spend more time with their werebear brothers, they knew affairs in Adengaan had to take priority. It had been over three months since leaving to intercept raiding parties and it was uncertain just how much information Jamder would have relayed about their situation. They enjoyed the day saying their goodbyes to their friends and spent one final night Home before starting their journey back to Adengaan. Gaden could no longer fulfill his duties to King Halben and thus needed to resign from his position in the guild. Brunaulf decided to come with his lover for support as did Karn. The Gaden reflected on the three months he spent with his new family as he prepared for the journey ahead of him. His thoughts revolved around the many joys meeting members of his new family and getting a taste of the new way of life that would be his to enjoy. However, his old chapter in life needed to be closed so he was free to savour his new one.

Getting from Carayorn to Adengaan is a two week journey with the first ten days traversing through mountainous terrain without any paths before coming to a road of any kind. Gaden looked forward to the opportunity to travel so he could learn the way for himself and to learn some practical aspects of traveling to and from Home. One such practicality is the use of “bearpacks” - a kind of backpack with multiple straps, loops, and ties to accommodate various forms. It is usually donned in half form and secured so that when transforming to full bear form the pack will stay in place. On reaching roads the pack could be readjusted to be carried over the shoulders like a traditional pack. The three intentionally travelled light as there was plenty of food to find along the way and Gaden's lessons continued on how to “think like a bear in the woods” as they traveled.

One thing the mage-turned-werebear noticed in their first full day of travels is how the forest seemed so alive. Everything seemed to shimmer with life and radiate an energy he hadn't noticed before. It seemed to be inviting and comforting, almost permeating through him as he travelled. As that first day progressed he seemed to become more accustomed to it, as if it were a given. The trio stopped to rest by a brook reverting to human form and taking a stretch. Gaden used the opportunity to have a drink by the brook and enjoy the water lazily flowing by. He decided to stretch out letting his head rest in the nook where the ground ended and the tree trunk began, looking up into the sky staring at the branches of the trees. He noticed the intricate patterns of branches from different trees intertwining to form the canopy above him as he let his mind wander. His eyes were moving from branch to branch, tree to tree as a kernel of knowledge came to the forefront of his mind. He studied further and he could see it - energy flowing from tree to tree.

Gaden stood up and faced the tree he was leaning against and placed his hands against it and began to concentrate. He could feel the tree's life, its energy, and how it interacted with the other trees near it. He closed his eyes and with concentration he explored the network of trees around him with this newfound sense. It seemed vast and extremely complex, far too complex to conceptualize it all at once. He narrowed his focus to just a few trees around him. He felt the interplay, the connection between them both through branches and roots. Gaden could almost feel what it would be like to be standing at the tree next to him. In an instant he felt himself shift. Opening his eyes he discovered he was standing by and touching a tree next to the one he was originally touching. He stared back and forth, first at the original tree, then the one he was at. All of the pieces clicked in his mind and he smiled. In a way, he had just teleported himself using the energy of nature around him.

Just as he was going to tell his companions what happened to him, he had a flash of insight from a recent memory:

"Use it for your community and to help others. You'll figure it out."

Gaden smiled to himself as those words spoken to him finally had some context. Though it wasn't the traditional “magic” he was used to, there seemed to be a kind of energy in nature he could harness. Throughout his life he had always been told he had “potential” and it seemed Haran Mojkar had rewarded him with a newfound potential to explore, learn, and grow into.

“Hey, Brunaulf,” Gaden called, “come here for a second?”

“What is it, Gaden?” Brunaulf said, smiling and heading over to his companion.

“I want to try something. Can you give me a hand?”

“Sure.”

“Ok. Reach under my shirt and put your hands on my shoulders.”

The big man bent down a little to get underneath the smaller werebear's shirt and began massaging his shoulders. Gaden's cock sprang to life.

“You're not making this easy,” he said, smiling. “Okay, let me try this.”

Gaden put his hands on the tree again and felt the energy flow between Brunaulf, himself, and the forest. Concentrating and putting himself in the same mental frame of mind, he attempted to traverse back to the first tree, except this time with Brunaulf in tow. It was extremely difficult and it felt like he was trying to juggle, but sure enough in a brief moment of time the two appeared by the other tree.

“Holy shit!” Brunaulf quipped pulling his hands out from under Gaden's shirt. “How in the hells did you do that?”

“It's hard to describe, but Haran Mojkar bestowed on me the ability to use this strange form of magic. I don't quite get all of it and the inspiration for how it works seems to come in fits and starts, but this form of 'teleportation' came to me while I was studying the trees. And I don't get sick from it, either!” He smiled.

“Pretty amazing feat, I must say.” Karn commented as he walked over. “Looks like your days performing magic may not be over after all, just expressed in a different way.”

The newest werebear grabbed Brunaulf by the hand and led him over to Karn where he grabbed them both in a hug. Holding it there for a few seconds, he then gave each of them a small kiss.

“What was that for?”

“No reason, just felt like it” Gaden said, “shall we get moving again?”

Two weeks later they had arrived at their destination. Adengaan seemed different as they travelled through the harvested fields toward the gates. To Gaden, it was an entirely new sensory experience. Sights and particularly smells fought for his attention. He recognized the smell of werebears among a few of the guards as they arrived at the gate. The entire group, however, noticed the pensive mood in the air from the guards, as if there was a recent trauma from which the city was still healing. To avoid any explanations at the gate for the change in appearance of Gaden and Brunaulf among those not part of the werebear brotherhood, Uncle Karn simply introduced them as guests who would be staying with him for a few days before travelling on. The guard on duty informed Karn that a standing order was given to report to His Majesty immediately on Karn's arrival and to not be surprised if a royal page visits his residence. Karn thanked the guard for the information and the three companions entered the city.

“Something's definitely not right,” Karn noted, “the guards seem tense and it’s very uncommon for a standing order like that.”

“Agreed,” noted Brunaulf, “we have been gone for almost four months though. A lot could have happened in that time.

It wasn't a long walk to the modest house Karn and Brunaulf called home for so many years. Once inside the three werebears dropped their packs, opened a few windows to remove the stale air, and flopped on the large bed. They were quite content to have a nap and simply enjoy each other's company when a knock came on the door. Looking at each other for a moment, Karn decided it should be he who answers the door. He was greeted by member of the honour guard for His Majesty.

“Good day, Karn.”

“Good day, Therin” Karn said.

“May I come in?”

“Of course!” Karn stepped aside so the guard could enter and closed the door behind him. Therin began to speak once the door was closed.

“His Majesty has decreed you and your companions shall attend a private audience with his majesty immediately.”

Confused looks passed back and forth between the three werebears as they started to wonder what in the hells was going on. Therin continued.

“Formal attire is not necessary. It is more important that you come with me at once. I am not at liberty to discuss further details here.”

The three men, with little choice, decided to accompany Therin to the royal quarter to see His Majesty. They continued to notice the strange dichotomy of actions among the people. Ordinary citizens laughed and joked, and children played as if there wasn't a care in the world. Soldiers and guards, however, seemed to be on a heightened sense of awareness. It seemed to be a kind of “just in case” preparation for something unknown. As they reached the door to His Majesty's chamber, Gaden remembered the friendly page of the court standing there to announce guests. A look was exchanged between Therin and the page. and the page with a nod decided he would be more useful elsewhere. When the area seemed empty, the guard opened the door himself and, with little fanfare, ushered the three men inside.

The air in the room seemed different today. The ten man honour guard usually present was down to only four, but what stood out for Gaden the most was seeing Jamder at the dais talking to a rather large, imposing figure sitting on the throne where King Halben should be. He was hugely and densely muscular, easily as big as Brunaulf if not bigger, incredibly hairy, enormously and thickly bearded up to his eyeballs. His hair was chestnut brown and his eyes as he glanced down to Gaden were hazel. Gaden found himself somewhat aroused. The mage and this man were speaking in soft tones. Gaden was surprised by this turn of events and his nose confused him a bit as to who were werebears, but as a precaution and not forgetting decorum stopped to bow with the other two at an appropriate distance from the man sitting on the throne.

“Gentlemen,” King Halben began, “this is a private audience, and with events that have recently transpired that we must discuss, I relieve you from your duty to stand on ceremony. Come closer so we can discuss somewhat privately.”

The three men moved closer to the king as he began speaking again looking at Gaden.

“Gaden! Why, I must say the change did you good!”

Confused how a man he had never seen before recognized him, all he could utter was “Uh, thank you.”

Sensing Gaden's confusion, King Halben offered some context.

“Ah yes… I forget. What you see now is my true form, Gaden, the form not hidden by a glamour for the sake of public appearance I wear. You are no longer susceptible to the illusionary magic I use.”

Turning his attention to Brunaulf, the King continued.

“Brunaulf! I don't know what the Gods happened to you, but we will have to hold that conversation for another time, still, I love the grey and you’ve become quite strapping, haven’t you?!”

“I have brought you here to thank you for your service to the city. Jamder here came to me about four months ago with information uncovered from a raiding party you encountered. It turns out the raiding parties were decoys. The purpose was to entice the five city states- Adengaan in particular- to expend key resources both in manpower and magic outside the city in order to weaken it from within. The ultimate plan was to carry out an assassination. My assassination.”

The three werebears appeared shocked someone would make such a bold attempt.

“This was a very organized, structured plot. The information Jamder provided was confirmed by reports from our allies in other cities. This was the work of The Exiled.”

Karn's face showed his shock and disbelief.

“The Exiled?” He questioned, “Are you sure?”

“It’s been confirmed,” King Halben replied.

“Who are The Exiled?” Gaden asked.

The King had a somewhat incredulous look on his face and began a lecture with a tone that indicated what he was saying should be common knowledge.

“The Exiled are a group of werebears who were cast out of our family shortly after...”

“Sorry?” Gaden interrupted, “Our family? You mean that you are a werebear too?”

King Halben smiled, then laughed for a moment before directing his attention to Karn.

“Is the only education for new cubs sexual education anymore? Do they not give any history lessons to new cubs at Home?”

“An apparent oversight I will remedy.” Karn replied, blushing slightly.

“Yes,” the King said redirecting his attention to Gaden, “I am a werebear and some, but not all, of the honour guard are werebears. Use your nose, young cub.”

Gaden took a sniff, he guessed he’d missed it due to the number of werebears on the dais, but there it was as clear as day. The King’s scent was most assuredly ‘family’.

“That is why the illusion magic in place no longer affects you. It’s purpose is to allow us to integrate better with human society. In point of fact, the city has a rich tradition that involves werebears, but this is not the time nor place for that discussion. Instead, I'll summarize what you need to know about The Exiled.”

“During the Great Expulsion of 233, a minority faction among us felt we shouldn't have to go. They felt we were superior beings to humans and, if anything, humans should be subjugated to us. We fought against them and our superior numbers allowed us to banish them both from Adengaan and from Carayorn. We attempted dialogue with them in an effort to reconcile our family but they completely broke ties in the fifth century. They've not attempted contact for over 400 years until now if you count this assassination attempt as 'contact'.”

“As for how they did it, with the help of magical allies. Several moles inserted themselves into the Mage's Guild as new applicants. Simultaneously several Exiled with magical camouflage became recruits. By expending resources to counter raids, assisting the other four city-states, and troubles involving magic, it left us thin. Low troop levels combined with the guild and guard being infiltrated and it was a recipe for an assassination and a coup here in Adengaan. Had you not found those documents and given them to Jamder, the city may have very well fallen from within, and I would be dead. As it stands, with the help of Jamder and Nadis, we were able to ferret the moles out and prevent the attempt.”

“Wait a minute,” Gaden said, “Nadis? You mean that fat, dumpy guy who seemed bored to be my proctor when I arrived here...”

“...is probably one of the most skilled mages I've known next to Jamder here.” The king concluded the sentence as Jamder made a slight bow.

“As for Nadis, it's his way. He's not about pomp and circumstance, and he's good at what he does. He's been here almost as long as Jamder, and he's been a valued confidant and friend to the city. Because of that I give him free reign to work within the guild as he sees fit. In this case, it has paid off.”

Brunaulf decided to weigh in on the matter, thinking about how an ordinary human would stand little chance against a werebear in a fight.

“That explains why the guards are still on edge. Also, if The Exiled are involved, this is probably not an open and shut case.”

King Halben elaborated on the statement. “It is also why we are having a private discussion about this and why the only members of the honour guard here are ones you would recognize from Carayorn. This attempt was targeted at Adengaan because of who we are, obviously.”

“However, the point to be made today is that the city owes you a debt of gratitude I cannot express publicly for obvious reasons. All of you have earned a respite from duties to the city. Gaden, of course you will have 'resigned' for 'personal reasons' which I will accept without question. Brunaulf, the mage's guild can help with illusionary means should you choose to continue to serve, but you have a well-earned hiatus ahead of you. You as well, Karn. I understand from Jamder you volunteered to help. All of you take some time off and when you return we shall figure out how to integrate you back into Adengaan and move forward in dealing with The Exiled.”

The werebears contemplated the situation before thanking King Halben. His majesty concluded:  “I expect to see you again at spring thaw. Now, I have additional affairs to discuss with Jamder, privately, before he goes back into retirement. Kindly leave us, but again, thank you.”

The men bowed and as they were leaving Karn made eye contact with Jamder. Each held the gaze for a few seconds before King Halben, demanding the old mage's attention, caused Jamder to break it and look away as the door closed to the chamber.

“Just when I thought I understood my path in life, out comes another wrinkle,” Gaden commented as they left the palace, “Tell you what, Brunaulf, let me pack my things from the guild so I can stay with you. I could use the rest and relaxation,” he smiled mischievously and quoted what he said those four months ago when he was laying in Brunaulf's bed recovering, “that is, if I'm not imposing.”

Brunaulf smiled and put himself between Karn and Gaden, and with an arm comfortably over each of their shoulders, began walking toward the guild to collect Gaden's things.

Epilogue

Snow was falling lightly in large flakes on an unusually cold fall day. Gaden, shirtless, was busy splitting wood outside a small house in the woods located not too far from Adengaan. Gaden didn’t seem to mind the cold as much as he used to, back when he was human a day like this would require a wool shirt with a layer of linen under it even if he were doing something strenuous, but now, his body hair was more than enough.

Brunaulf had mentioned this once abandoned house was the one he stayed in the night before he came to Adengaan as a boy and always considered the house as a good omen. Now that King Halben had temporarily released them from duties they took the opportunity to repair the place to be a home away from home. They had made considerable progress in the month since beginning to repair it and it was finally “winter worthy”. The only thing remaining was to split enough wood to heat the small home for the winter.

Brunaulf ducked out the door to see his love splitting wood. Smiling, he approached his lover while he was preparing a piece of wood to be split and wrapped his arms over his shoulders from behind.

“Why don't you come have a rest and sit by the fire? Exercise is good for your muscles, but I think you’ve done enough for the day” Brunaulf asked nuzzling his face into Gaden's neck, “I have a nice toasty one going and we have that nice rug on the floor in front.”

Gaden took a moment to savour his lover's touch and scent while he contemplated the need to continue splitting wood. He caught a whiff of another comforting scent somewhat far off and smiled to himself as he tried to make a decision.

Karn in bear form was watching from a distance amused at the two lovers. Their scents intensifying as their passion increased began to stir something in the older werebear to join them. Turning into human form he began to take a step toward them anticipating hours of fun when a man emerged out of thin air.

“Jamder?!” Karn incredulously asked.

“Who else would I be?” the mage quipped.

“But, how did you find me?”

Jamder put on an overacted exasperated look.

“Oh please! Like I can't find my big bear! Catching you post transformation naked is a bonus, though.”

Karn was almost at a loss for words.

“Well... what are you doing here? I mean, is something wrong?”

“Not entirely,” the old mage started, “but I need your help.”

“Of course,” Karn said, “I'll be glad to help any way I can. What can I do?”

“You can help me by taking this.”

The old mage held up his outstretched arm to show a gold chain with a gold pendant on it. The pendant was the same symbol of the bear Gaden and Brunaulf now had, except instead of being crafted in silver, this one was crafted in gold. Karn looked at the pendant, surprised and confused.

“I don’t understand” was all Karn could say.

“It’s simple.” Jamder said grabbing his love’s wide meaty hand and putting the medallion in his palm, closing his fingers around it. “After all, it’s not only a token of love, but a symbol of a bond between a werebear and his candidate.” He reached into a pocket and pulled out an identical pendant and began fastening it around his own neck as he continued speaking.

“Gaden's life was going down a path similar to mine, but he chose the other fork in the road. It gave me food for thought. 'Why was I so adamant about not going through with it? Why couldn't I be happy as a werebear?' I would ask myself. I guess if I face the truth of it I was afraid. You saw how my life had so much purpose back then and that purpose depended upon magic. Gods, even now my magic abilities have been found useful with events of late. Of all people, you know more than anyone how magic is such an integral part of me, of who I am. To lose it would be like losing one of my senses. I feared what my life would be like if I gave up that part of me. I feared that my love for you wouldn't be enough to make up for that loss and, over time, I would come to resent my bear that I love so much.”

He turned to look at Brunaulf and Gaden in the distance enjoying each others' embrace as they stood by the wood pile.

“But I look at them. I look at the life they are going to forge together not only as lovers to each other, but loving and loved as part of an entire community. I guess Gaden showed me if I have you to love and if I have your love and support along with your Family, I need not be afraid of what I might lose, and I should embrace everything I would gain.”

He turned to face his lover again who was still holding the pendant in his hand. The mage opened his fingers again to remove the pendant, reached up and put the chain over his head, and took a step back to appraise how the pendant looked on him. The werebear looked down and cradled the pendant in his hand as Jamder spoke again.

“For over thirty years, Karn, you were my lover, confidant and friend. Your love for me never wavered, not once, even now. You're a loyal, compassionate, deeply caring man capable of amazing feats of love. I've always treasured that about you.”

“I want to experience that amazing, incredible love you have for me again my big bear, and I want you to feel all the warmth and love I have for you - a love that's never died – for the rest of our very long lives.”

Jamder gave Karn a big hug and while doing so whispered three words in his ear before breaking the hug to watch his expression.

“Let's go Home.”

Karn's eyes searched Jamder's face for information. Did he really mean he would go through the change? Smiling, Jamder nodded slightly.

“You've offered this opportunity many times, several more than I deserved, and each time I've foolishly wasted the opportunity. If you're willing, if you'll give me that opportunity one more time, I won't waste it again.”

Karn, awash in emotions, didn't know what to do. Excitement, relief, and joy all fought for control of his mind. Sensing his lover was somewhat in a state of shock, Jamder stepped forward, nuzzled his face cheek to cheek, and then gently kissed him, while moving his hand to Karn’s erect member, caressing it gently. Finally, Jamder could take his lover’s seed, as Karn had always wished. Karn returned the kiss which grew in intensity as he realized he would not have to watch the man he had loved more than anything wither away and die, but rather be his partner and friend for a very, very long time. Never breakng the kiss and grabbing him in a huge embrace, Karn savoured this moment with his lover as they teleported away.

Gaden was feeling exceptionally aroused. He always had trouble resisting Bruanulf's scent. With the way he was being massaged from behind while his balls were being toyed with, his cock started to stiffen in his pants. His mind battled between making sure wood was ready and enjoying all the passion his lover had to offer. In what seemed like an eternity of indecision he finally decided the wood can wait.

“I was thinking of finishing this up for the wood and the exercise, fit body, fit mind you know. But on second thought, you may be right. That fire and lying with you in front of it would be oh so nice,” Gaden said and nuzzled his thick long beard into his lovers for a kiss.

Turning to face Brunaulf, he began to gently push him toward the door making a show of not being able to wait to get inside. Laughing, the bigger bear ducked his way through the door with Gaden in tow. Gaden standing in the doorway took one last deep sniff of the air outside in anticipation of a third that would be joining them, but the air no longer held the scent. Shrugging, he closed the door behind him to enjoy the company of his lover and friend. Arms and legs warmed by fire entwined and shifted form, while outside snow continued to fall.

FIN... for now

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Werebears of Adengaan - Chapter Twelve

 The Werebears of Adengaan - Chapter Twelve

By

MC


The troop flashed into existence in the middle of Carayorn - or simply ‘Home’ as most of the werebears called it. - startling the horse causing it to whinny. Bearish men all around stopped what they were doing to stare at the group arriving out of nowhere. Karn stood up taking a deep breath in through his nose, holding it a moment before exhaling loudly.

“Gods, coming home… it never gets old!” Karn said to no one in particular.

“I don't believe it!” Gaden said. “I don't believe it!” He repeated.

“I'm still hungry!”

The others stared at him, confused.

“I teleported, and I'M STILL HUNGRY!” He said excitedly as if it were a major triumph in life, “I'm not sick!”

His revelry was short lived as they heard a deep voice call from a crowd of werebears that was forming. It was a man calling out for Karn; a rotund, blocky man clothed only in shorts and shoes. Easily the biggest man Gaden had ever seen in his life. His incredibly dense furry brown body hair mingling with his beard had a reddish tinge. The man muscled his way through the crowd, his smile beaming head and shoulders above most, as he got to the cart and jumped on. He grabbed the other werebear in a rough embrace laughing, squeezing the air out of him with an ‘oof’ from Karn. Karn's head only came up to his chest, and his face was buried in the dense thicket of the other’s fur.

“KARN! So good to see you! Missed you by a day and thought you wouldn't be back again for a while,” the man said pushing him back a little to look him up and down.

Karn laughed, “Hello, Mit. Its good to see you too. You've eaten well I see.”

“Winter's coming. Have to get ready,” Mit joked and gave Karn a big, sloppy, mouth to mouth kiss. Other werebears seeing there was no threat returned to their own business. Mit turned his attention to Karn's other companions as Karn dismounted from the wagon. His gaze rested on Jamder. The smile never waned as he easily pulled the mage from a sitting to standing position and gave him a generous kiss on the cheek and a fond hug.

“Hey stranger,” Mit said, “welcome back! It’s wonderful to see you again. Been a while!”

“OOF! Easy, there grizzly,” Jamder pleaded as he was crushed in Mit's strong arms, “Eleven years, give or take. It has been a while. Hello Mit.”

Mit's attention turned to the other two.

“I know this little cub,” he squeezed Brunaulf hard and then nodding at Gaden, “but who's this?”

“This is Gaden,” Brunaulf offered. “He's been injured - long story - but he’s changing. Almost a week in.”

Mit's eyes twinkled. One of the things he loved to do was volunteer to help new werebears with their change.

“Good thing I was on my way home from some play then! I'll help take care of the cub. Going to your place, Brun?”

He nodded.

“Right.” Mit said. The huge bear jumped off the wagon. He slid the gurney halfway off the wagon before tucking the gurney under his arm just before the midpoint and used his other arm to steady it. Mit began walking down the road carrying the gurney when he inhaled deeply through his nose.

“Damn, cub,” Mit commented, “you smell tasty!”

“You're not the first person who's told me that,” Gaden replied, his own shorts starting to tent.

Karn and Jamder watched the trio for a few moments before turning to each other. Each wore a serious expression for they knew their paths would be diverging again. Karn tried to convince his former lover that he should stay for a while before leaving, but Jamder seemed adamant about relaying news of what he found to King Halben. The two stood facing each other for a moment before having a quick embrace. Karn broke the embrace and turned to catch up with the others. Jamder took a moment to watch his lover from behind and indulged in a look around the community from where he was standing. The old mage sighed while smiling softly. Gathering his concentration, he cast the teleportation and blinked out.

Mit was quick to get Gaden out of the gurney and into bed in Brunaulf's cottage. The cottage was a simple open plan design, but had the necessary accoutrements for an extended stay. Once Mit was sure the fledgling werebear was comfortable, he immediately took to the task of preparing a huge meal while singing a soft tune to himself. The huge bear was in his element and took the task of making sure new werebears were going to be fed well with passion and gusto. A short time later he carried a large tray to the bed loaded down with cooked meats, roasted vegetables, cheeses, breads, sweet cakes and ale.

"You can't be serious! That's enough food for five men!" Gaden exclaimed.

"Five men, or one growing werebear,” Mit countered, "dig in!"

Strong smells tickled Gaden's nostrils triggering his stomach to growl in hunger. That first tentative forkful of the cooked meat was all it took for him to abandon caution and eat what was before him like a starving man. Mit was an excellent cook and it took just about everything on the tray for Gaden to feel sated.

"That was delicious!" he said as he picked bits of bread off the loaf fragment and stuffed them into his mouth. Mit's smile beamed at the empty tray.

"An empty tray. The best compliment." He replied while getting up and heading to the door, "Ok, I'll leave you and Brunaulf to get fully settled in and I'll be back in a few hours to make you some supper." The big man closed the door behind him.

It only took two days in Carayorn before Gaden was able to walk under his own power, albiet slowly, and two weeks before he filled out enough he needed some new clothes. The large meals that Mit seemed to produce nonstop were having a tremendous effect on the soon to be werebear. He was taking on many of the characteristics of his lover with a broader, powerful frame that seemed to increase in size both in thickness and in height weekly. His beard, which he usually preferred to keep short, seemed to be growing faster than he could keep up with trimming. Swaths of body hair began to sprout on his chest, belly and back after the first month as patches at first but then merging and growing denser. While his body continued to grow and develop his magical abilities continued to diminish.

It was a week before the Ritual of the Change that he attempted magic for the last time. Sitting at the small table in the cottage, he stared at a small candle in the center. His muscular arm absently scratching his thick, hairy chest just below the pendant as he contemplated the candle before him. Lighting a candle was the first spell he ever learned under Jamder's guidance and thus was absolutely effortless to perform. Today, try as he might, the candle defied his desires for it to light. A meaty pair of hands rubbing his cannonball shoulders broke him out of his thoughts.

"Its finally gone, isn't it?" Brunaulf asked his lover softly.

Gaden sighed. ”Afraid so."

"So, what now?"

Gaden used his arms to hoist himself up from the table then turned to face his lover and brought him into a rough, tight embrace.

"Start my new life with the man I love."

Gaden and Brunaulf, two burly, strong werebears stood there embracing each other and enjoying the moment. Gaden knew this day would come that the door to magic would be closed to him forever, but his mental preparations did not fully prepare him for the note of finality he just experienced. He loved Brunaulf with every fibre of his being and looked forward to the love he would feel with this man and the werebear community at large. Still, he couldn't help himself as he stood there holding the man he loved. He contemplated the closure of his magical life in the strong embrace of his lover, several tears drifting down his cheek.

The Ritual of the Change is a community wide celebration. It's the day when a new werebear changes into bear form for the first time. Tonight would be the night that Gaden would go with Brunaulf and two witness into the Deific Caves and perform the Ritual. The new werebear decided on Karn and Mit to witness the event as both had helped him in many ways to get to this point. A giant feast including the entire community was planned ahead of time with lots of food, drink, music and revelry. To werebears, changing into full bear form for the first time was equivalent to Fealty Day in Adengaan and was always a happy occasion when a new werebear joined the brotherhood. Feasting tables were everywhere in the community, but the four had a place of honour in the town centre, eating and drinking before taking their place to begin the ritual.

Torches lined the path leading from the table of honour out of the community toward the cave entrance. From the outside it seemed a fairly nondescript entrance. As the four entered they were greeted with a short passageway that opened into a large room. Equispaced torches filled the room with flickering light and shadows. A small dais in the centre of the room had what appeared to be a throne constructed of wood and interwoven branches with gold accents. A simple crown was on the seat of the throne. On one side of the throne was a stand holding a necklace that was made of thin rectangular strips of silver and gold with a different image of a bear on each tile. On one side of the room is a large mattress area on the floor with many blankets and pillows at the ready with ample food and drink beside it. The room smelled of musk and masculinity. The scent of hundreds of bears permeated the room, and all four became aroused by this atmosphere.

"You ready, cub?" Karn asked, smiling.

Gaden nodded. Karn turned his attention to Brunaulf and broadened his smile.

"Take your position in the place of honour, son. It's time to do for Gaden what Garret did for you."

Brunaulf strode to the dais and reverently lifted the necklace and unclasped it. Standing in front of the throne and with his back to it, he raised the necklace and began to speak.

"Haran Mojkar, God and guardian of werebears, one of your cubs comes before you to help another through the change. May you find favour in my work as I act in your stead."

With those words, Brunaulf secured the necklace around his neck. He turned around to pick the crown up and seated himself on the throne. Holding the crown over his head, he continued the ritual and recited the following as the lowered the crown:

"Haran Mojkar,God and guardian of werebears, one of your cubs comes before you to consummate another into your family. May you find favour in my work as I act in your stead."

As the crown made contact with Brunaulf's head both the crown and necklace glowed fiercely. Brunaulf roared in pain as his entire body was enveloped in a blue-green hue and went rigid. Uncle Karn started to move to help but then stopped in his tracks as he saw the transformation before him. Brunaulf's hair, beard and body hair turned from black to white. His hair lengthened to below shoulder length as his beard grew down to his waist. His stature rose almost two feet in height as his body exploded outward in size. Brunaulf turned into what seemed to be an elder werebear giant in the span of thirty seconds. His already hugely muscular form thickened with impossible muscle. The small amount of neck he had virtually disappeared and the added brawn was encased with a layer of fat. His belly became beautifully round and taught. Finally opening his eyes, they glowed an iridescent blue-green as he took in his surroundings. Smiling warmly he rose to his full height and surveyed the room.

"My cubs!" His bass voice reverberated across the room, the sound of it was as if two voices spoke at once: Brunaulf’s, though deeper and more resonant, and another. He took a step forward, stretching as if trying to work out the kinks from being in one position too long.

"My dear, sweet cubs!"

The three men stood there in shock. Both Karn and Mit had been witnesses to the ritual a few times, but never had anything like this happened.

"Brunaulf?" Uncle Karn queried.

"He's here, don't worry," colossal bear reassured, "but considering the dedication, bravery, honour, and sacrifice the cubs before me are willing to make, I wanted to guide this cub through his first change personally."

Karn was the first to put two and two together.

"Haran Mojkar?" he asked.

Smiling the giant confirmed the guess, "Correct, cubby!” He turned his attention to both Karn and Mit.

“And please, no formalities from the two of you tonight. This is a celebration, not a royal audience in Adengaan." He took a step off the dais and moved toward Karn and continued speaking.

"I want you to know I've been watching you for years now. You're a steadfast, honourable man and a good cub. Your work pleases me to no end!"

Standing in front of Karn, he bent down slightly and putting a hand behind Karn's head pulled him in and kissed him hard. Karn felt a surge of energy flow through him as they kissed and his cock sprang to life instantly becoming painfully hard. Breaking the kiss, he strode over to Mit as he continued speaking.

"And you, Mit, my cub who was robbed of the ritual of the change yet always welcomes new cubs with enthusiasm and dedication. Your work pleases me!" With that, he bent his knees slightly to grab Mit in a rough bear hug. Despite Mit being one of the strongest werebears alive, he felt the air escape him as he was being hugged by a god. He returned Mit to the ground and turned his attention to Gaden.

"Gaden, my sweet cub Gaden. You risked your life to save one of my cubs and gave up who you are so you could be one of mine." His eyes glowed brightly for a moment.

"You have pleased me to no end, and before the night is over, you shall be rewarded. But now, the time has come to change into bear from for the first time." He reached out and put each of Gaden's hands in his. The new werebear felt a surge of energy and a strange type of connection with this god floating just below his level of consciousness. Haran Mojkar smiled approvingly as he looked down.

"Yes, my cub is ready! Ok, just follow me and do what I do. Visualize the change, then just make it happen. First, we'll start in the face. Visualize yourself growing a snout like a bear," the werebear god began transforming his own face, "feel yourself changing, growing outward, you can do it."

Mit and Uncle Karn came to each side of Gaden for support. Mit began changing his facial features as Karn continued to encourage Gaden. The new werebear concentrated and, with some effort, began changing his face to have a snout like a bear. A random thought flashed through his head that the concentration to do this seemed very similar to the mindset he had to be in to cast a new spell.

"Exactly right, cubby," a voice penetrated his thoughts, "exactly right. You can do it!" The werebear god spoke aloud again:

"Ok, now think about your eyes and ears. Feel your ears rising on your head, squaring out. Your eyes will change position. You can do it!" Slowly Mit and Haran Mojkar changed their entire heads to bear form. Karn began the transformation and caught up to the others.

"Very good cubby," the werebear God praised, "now let's go for your body. Feel your bones shift and pop. Feel your hands and feet become paws with claws. Embrace the fur that is going to sprout all over your body. Revel in how much bigger you will become in stature. Take your time and concentrate, it will come!"

With that, he let go of Gaden's hands as he completed the transformation to full bear form. His shape was that of a bear almost twice the size of the werebears around him with glistening white fur and his eyes maintained that iridescent blue-green hue. Gaden used all of his will to concentrate, to change, and slowly it began to happen. He felt himself becoming less and less human and more and more bear. Brown fur sprouted everywhere as his hands turned into paws with long sharp claws. His weight increased as his body filled out to bear proportions. It took about ten minutes to get it right, looking at the bears around him and concentrating his will to make the change, but managed to achieve a full bear form. The huge white bear came alongside his latest werebear and his two companions.

"Very good Gaden, my newest cub!" the god beamed with pride. You have done well for your first change. Tonight is the night for you to enjoy this form, relish in it! Burn the feeling of this form into your mind. Take note of how your heightened senses tell you about the world around you. These things will make it easier and easier to change form as time goes on."

Gaden stood there on all fours, drinking in what has unfolded before him. The former mage never felt so alive, so charged! Everything around him bombarded his senses with new information. What intrigued him the most was his sense of smell. The smell of the three bears next to him were so strong, so potent, he felt a primal need to breed. His new penis belied his excitement.

"All in good time, cub," Haran Mojkar chided gently, "all in good time. First, your reward." The werebear god went to Gadens hole and after a quick sniff, began licking and teasing it with his tongue, forcing himself in at times eliciting shivers throughout the body of his cub.

"You chose to sacrifice who you were so you could become one of us, and you saved the life of one of my cubs," the God said in between probing Gaden's hole, "I can feel the hole magic left behind, that emptiness in you. I cannot give you back magic as you know it, but I can give you something to help you feel whole again."

With that, the werebear god moved behind Gaden, and with a gentle push began to insert is cock into his cub's hole. He was extremely large and Gaden winced slightly at being penetrated, but healed quickly and was able to adjust. Satisfied his cub was okay, he began to push more of himself in until he was buried to the hilt. He held himself there for a second letting his cub get used to it before he started pistoning. Gaden felt a calming, blissful energy surge through him and his cock stiffened instantly in response. Waves of pleasure surged through him. It was slow and gentle at first but, seemed to increase both in frequency and intensity as the new werebear was being topped by a god. Both god and cub roared in unison as Gaden was filled with seed. As the seed entered his body he felt a strange energy permeate him, bind with him, and he felt like the void in his mind where magic energy once was had been filled by a new energy - a new knowledge, a new understanding. The new werebear could only describe it as energy and knowledge compressed into a few seconds of transfer and instantaneous understanding. It was not about the magic he knew of the arcane, but rather a sublime, gentle form of magic that worked in harmony with nature. It was a treasure trove of information mostly incomprehensible, as if an entire lifetime of knowledge was being stuffed into his head whether he was ready for it or not. A voice rang through his head as the werebear god pulled out.

"Its okay, cubby. You'll figure it out. Use my gift to you for your community and to help others."

Satisfied, the God of the werebears reverted to human form and with some coaching and guidance helped Gaden return to human form. Once Mit and Karn had transformed back, he spoke again.

"I must take my leave, my cubs. Containing my form is stressful even for a werebear, and Brunaulf has earned the honour of enjoying this night with his charge. Remember this night and bear witness that I am with you and protecting you, always."

With a wink, he lumbered over to the dais and sat down on the throne. As if on cue the electrical charges seemed to evaporate out of Brunaulf. Looking around with his own eyes, he stood up and turned to face his companions.

"THAT WAS INCREDIBLE!" Brunaulf exclaimed while standing up, "I felt him! He took over my body, but I could feel everything! That was amazing!" He looked at the three of them who had shocked looks on their faces.

"What's wrong?"

Karn was the first to speak up. "Your hair and beard, son… it’s all salt and pepper now!"

"What?!" Brunaulf asked reaching an arm up to his face reflexively. His arm felt tight as he reached up to feel his face.

"Yeah," Mit added, "I think you're bigger too!"

Brunaulf took a moment to assess himself. Looking down, he finally noticed just how much thicker he was. He walked over to his papa and his eyes were at Karn's forehead. He smiled.

"I guess Haran Mojkar really was pleased with me," Brunaulf confirmed, "I feel great!"

Gaden looked at his lover's transformation and was completely aroused. He walked over to him as his cock inflated and began to appraise him. He nudged him to turn around so he could admire him from all sides when his methodical attention to detail snapped him out of his admiration. He turned his now bigger lover around so he could study his back again.

"They're gone!" Gaden said.

"What's gone?" Brunaulf asked.

"Every trace of the beatings you took. Every scar. Not a single faint line or mark. They're completely gone!"

Brunaulf froze as his life from when the beatings began until now flashed before his eyes. He thought about all of his experiences, how his life started so harshly and yet found love and acceptance and thus learned to love and accept others. Karn and the werebear family had soothed the mental and emotional pain and now the last vestiges of the physical pain had been erased. He turned around to face Gaden, looked down on him and smiled. Picking up the smaller werebear in a hug, he carried him over to the large bed on the floor and placed him on it, back down, laughing in glee.

Brunaulf moved to cover Gaden, not only had he grown bigger but his now salt and pepper body hair seemed to be denser and longer. His chest a thick mat of fur extending down to his pelvis where it was met by a wide curly bush. He lowered himself atop Gaden, whose face now only reached his chest when their crotches were even. Gaden, wrapping his arms around his love, felt the pelt on his back was not as dense as the front, but was still much more than it had been. He nuzzled his bearded face into Branaulf’s musky chest fur and breathed in his scent. It was different - stronger but not a stink - more ursine. It was the only way Gaden could formulate the experience in his mind. Branaulf’s human scent was not as ‘human’. Gaden sought through the fur and latched on to Branaulf’s nipple, flicking it with his tongue. This elicited deep guttural moans from the bigger bear. His thick cock grew longer, indeed longer than it should, Gaden thought. His balls too seemed to grow larger and he was not imagining it, his God had left the last of his blessings upon Branaulf for the first mating with his newly transformed love. Branaulf grunted deeply as he thrust his larger cock through Gaden’s crotch and belly fur, smearing precum all over the smaller bear, growling through gritted teeth.

“I've been waiting for this moment, to be able to share myself completely with you! I want to push into you and ram as hard as I can with all I have, and I no longer have to hold back. I had to be so gentle before, so restrained! But now, you as a werebear and so powerfully remade, I don't have to!”

“Oh FUCK! YES!” Gaden almost whimpered as Brunaulf thrust into his lover’s pelvis. The larger Bear’s fangs had already begun to grow and with a savage growl he bent down and bit into Gaden’s shoulder, a cry of pain and a moan of pleasure from the smaller bear followed as Branaulf began humping at his belly, grinding his pelvis against his love.

The elder bears stood watching the lustful display, the scent in the room growing heady with arousal. They had stroked themselves hard as they viewed the beginnings of lovemaking. Taking the cry of passion from the bite as a cue for the beginning of round two of the festivities, Karn and Mit joined them on the large bed. Immediately Karn’s cock was engulfed by Branaulf’s bearded mouth as Mit fed his leaking member to Gaden. Soon all four were in a tangle mingled in pleasure.

Branaulf took a bottle of mint oil and poured some out onto his fingers, the scent was refreshing and invigorating. He rubbed it on Gaden’s hole and the effect was immediate. Gaden felt a cooling sensation and a tingle as Branaulf’s finger penetrated. Mit grinned, “This is special. Our herbalist brothers 'collaborated' with the Mage's Guild in Adenggan to have a bit of magic woven into the oil. It will make the sensations more… intense... and to help the top hold off as long as possible before shooting”.

Mit chuckled, “It's also honey sweetened, but not sticky. You're welcome by the way. How about you thank me by passing me that bottle for your hole?” Mit took it from Branaulf's paw to rub a double finger full on the bear's hole. He massaged it in and Branaulf growled lowly, “Oh now you're gonna have to eat my ass!”

Slowly but surely, the four of them transformed to full bear form, Karn taking the lead and shifting first with Mit not far behind. “Way ahead of you boy!” Karn said and Branaulf felt his ass spread and a bear’s muzzle pushed into the crack, a long, nimble, muscular tongue lapped at and then penetrated him.

Mitt rubbed Branaulf’s back as he began to shift form and lined up his cock on Gaden’s hole, now relaxed and fully opened thanks to the magical properties of the oil. In one swift move, Branaulf buried himself inside Gaden to the hilt taking the younger bear’s breath. The newest werebear had belt this man inside him before, but never had he felt so full. Branaulf had been large by human standards, but now his cock was truly enormous and growing longer and thicker as he shifted shape. He remained still for several moments, grunting at the twin pleasures of engulfing his love and having Karn’s long bear tongue work his loosening hole. Gaden gave little cries of pleasure as Branaulf grew inside of him. It wasn’t long before Karn’s own hole was being anointed with the minty oil. He took that as a sign that he needed to line up on his boy’s pucker and like him, he hilted in one move. This was a favorite game among the Bears. The last to penetrate, in this case, Mit, would begin fucking while the others remained hard and horny, but still within their lover, caressing, kissing, nibbling, biting but not fucking. As soon as the last bear to penetrate shot his load, he would pull out and the one beneath him would begin fucking, until the last couple, the first to be coupled, would fuck.

And so it went, all four bears in their most natural shape, Mit fucked Karn hard, so hard that even with the mass of two other bear’s between them, Gaden could feel Branaulf’s cock gently thrusting within him. Were it not for the effects of the special unguent both Karn and Branaulf would shoot prematurely. The huge bear pounded Karn savagely, lustfully. A half hour later there was a thunderous roar and Mit shot a thick, sticky, bounteous load into Karn who felt every shot as it filled his gut. After minutes of panting, Mit lying on Karn’s back coming down from his orgasmic high, he withdrew and smacked Karn hard on the ass. “Your turn daddy bear!”

Each of the bears in turn performed much the same. This was bear sex, ancient, animalistic, no holding back. There was no gentleness in the primal need to rut. Soft caressing, tender words, loving kisses... those things were for later. This moment was about breeding the bears you loved.

When Branaulf finally came, he’d been inside of Gaden for a good two hours. He was near his limit of what he could endure and not shoot by the time Karn had finished in him and now, even the magic of the oil was unravelling. Releasing his load was like a dam bursting, at first a trickle, then a flow, and finally a flood that ripped through his cock and burst into Gaden. It was so powerful that the impending orgasm brought Gaden to his own. In near simultaneous climax the two roared, shuddered and cursed together as they fulfilled their most basic drive to mate. The climax lasted at least a minute, maybe more. Time seemed frozen by the dizzying effect of the combined pheromones of the four werebears. As the pair came down from ecstasy they kissed and slowly separated only to be embraced in the arms of one of the elder bears. Karn cuddled Gaden to his chest, kissing him, licking him, caressing him as the other two looked on in satisfied contentment.

“Welcome to the family,” Karn said.

Mit, cuddled up against Branaulf’s back, reached over and patted Gaden’s shoulder.

“Yes, welcome little brother.” Mit added.

The kissing, licking, nibbling, cuddling and caressing went on for hours as Gaden felt the bonds of family deepen within him. Eventually, one by one, sleep claimed them all and they slept in a pile together.

Gaden was the first to stir and open his eyes. The torches had gone out hours ago, the only light being a thin sliver of sunbeam making its way into the room from the entrance. The newest werebear took a moment to get on all fours and give himself a stretch and a shake before padding over to the cave entrance. It was a sunny, cloudless morning outside as he surveyed the path down to the cottages below. Several men and bears were on the ground still sleeping enjoying the lazy calm of the cool morning. His ears picked up noise coming from inside the cave so he returned to the bed to find Brunaulf stretching himself awake. His lover went over to nuzzle him in a morning greeting.

"Morning Brunaulf"

"Morning Gaden," Brunaulf slowly transformed back to human form. The other two bears began to stir, stretch, and come back to human form. Gaden, though very slow also managed to return to human form without any coaching.

"What an amazing night," Gaden said, "I cannot believe what happened. How often does he make an appearance?"

Mit looked like he wanted to say something, but hesitated giving Karn the opportunity to speak up.

"Never since I went through the change," Karn said, "that's why the ritual is framed the way it is. We honour Haran Mojkar and the way he created the original werebears by acting in his stead when a new one comes into the fold. The lore says that he was among us during the Great Expulsion in Adengaan's 233rd year, but that's all I'm aware of. I would have to ask the elders if they've witnessed such an event at a ritual such as this, but before last night I haven't."

Gaden was shocked and in awe. "I'll never forget last night. Ever” he said quietly.

The others shared that sentiment.