Bitter Contemplation

A Princess Mononoke fanfic.

Disclaimer: I do not own Princess Mononoke, obviously. It belongs to the brilliant and visionary Hayao Miyazaki, whose work I have had the great fortune to discover as of late.

Author's note: I saw Princess Mononoke, at long last, and immediately loved the movie. It's become a fast favorite of mine, and it's a toss up between Spirited Away and this one. I loved them both. This is my first, and possibly last, attempt at a Mononoke fanfic. I just got the itch to write something. My favorite character would have to be Moro, the she-wolf God because I have a love for wolves and a fascination with mythology.

Hopefully, I'll get at least a few reviews if anyone reads this. Please R&R!

Moro laid upon her rock above her cave, contemplatively gazing up at the stars above her. With every breath, she knew her time was near as she felt the bullet in her chest, a constant reminder that her end was near.

So, it's happened at last…I'm finally going to die. Inwardly, she laughed bitterly.

Her long life would soon come to its end. For countless eons, since the world's birth, she had once been a god that had been revered and feared in the same breath.

Moro, the great and mighty She-wolf god. For centuries, offerings and libations had been left for her and the other gods of the Shishigami Forest, for there had once been a time when the gods of the forest had looked favorably upon their human counterparts, in an age where peace and harmony once ruled the world, and there was no greed, hate, or bloodshed.

But that was an age long past. Now the gods were at war with the human race, fighting to save the very forest that they so dearly loved. The humans had become greedy and weak, wanting and taking far more than they needed. And thus the balance was shifted.

It was a cruel twist of fate. As the forest grew weaker and slowly died, the humans grew stronger, as the forest suffered for the sake of human expansion and they prospered at nature's expense.

As one of the Gods, she could hear the forest. She heard its cries, its suffering. From the tiniest blade of grass crushed underfoot by an ignorant human to the cries of the ancient trees being ripped from their roots so the humans could have their precious ore. She heard everything, and felt the pulse and beat of the forest, like the pounding of an endless drum, not unlike a human heartbeat. It seemed almost as if the wind itself were weeping.

She closed her eyes and sighed wearily, her breath rattling slightly with the bullet in her massive chest. It had grazed a lung, and made breathing painful.

But her pain was nothing when measured to the pain of the forest.

She had lived a long life, and she remembered the time when man and beast had lived in harmony. When Gods had smiled far more benevolently upon mankind, and bore no hatred towards them, and she and her kind had been given their due respect. No human ever dared to incur their wrath, for the Gods were swift and merciless with their justice when angered.

But that time had long since passed. And now, they were at war, an eternal struggle without cease.

Her old heart longed for the days of peace and tranquility that she knew would never come again.

She thought of all she had lost, all that had been ripped away from her by the hands of man. So much of what she had loved, destroyed. The once proud and mighty wolf tribe, now reduced to three. Four, including San. Her two sons and human-wolf daughter were all she had left, and she would defend them to her last breath.

She remembered the day she had found San, the day her beloved mate had been killed. She'd watched in horror and rage as he was felled by a human spear, dealt a mortal blow into his heart. Blood had gushed from his mouth as his enormous body collapsed to the ground and his eyes had closed for the final time. The humans had taken his pelt and his head as trophies to hang on their walls. The thought that her mate's skin now hung over some human hearth was one that raised an unbearable ache in her heart, and she felt her lips pull back in a snarl at the old memory.

After the humans fled from her fury, she discovered an abandoned baby in the undergrowth. She was about to crush the tiny, helpless thing in her jaws when the Forest Spirit appeared to her. She had felt her wrath calmed and her hackles lowered as she watched the Spirit gently press his lips to the tiny baby's forehead. A blessing. He wanted the child to live. He turned and gazed at Moro, and she saw the infinite wisdom in his ageless eyes.

Without saying a single word, the Spirit silently conveyed to her that she should raise the baby as her own, rather than killing it.

And so Moro had taken the child in and nursed her on her milk. Over time, her heart softened towards her adopted daughter, whom she had named San, and she became as protective of the human child as one of her own cubs.

Over the years, San had grown strong, and her pack brothers loved her as well, and would have died for her, without hesitation. For that was how a pack worked.

She only hoped that as she met her end that her cubs and San could carry on without her. She hoped that her sons would grow to become Gods and find mates of their own to rebuild the pack and make them strong again. Perhaps they could become guardians of the forest and continue the fight against the humans and their advancing technology.

She lifted her nose and flared her nostrils, scenting on the night breeze the acrid stench of Iron Town's factories, and it sickened her. Within it, her keen senses scented their impending and inevitable demise. Her hope was vain, and deep down she somehow knew their struggle was futile and ultimately, they would lose.

But that didn't stop them from trying.

She tried to take solace in the fact that soon, she would join her fallen mate and lost pack members, to run with them in the stars and heavens, and leave her prison of flesh.

She could feel her immortal body slowly giving out as the iron bullet poisoned her, as her heart became poisoned by her own hatred and bitterness. It would be a slow, agonizing death as she succumbed to the infection. It was buried too deep to dig out. Her strength was fading. Her sight was starting to fail and blur around the edges, and she felt weaker. Her time was near. Soon, she would venture to the sacred river in the forest. She would bathe in its waters, and perhaps die in peace there. The waters would soothe the pain of her wound and ease her passing into the next world. It was small comfort.

But before she died, she would use the last of her strength to aid her daughter and the boy in the fight for the forest. God or no God, she was still a mother.

And as a mother, it would be her final gift to San.


A/N: Hmmm….not bad. Sooo, what did you think? Did you like it? Please, R&R! I live for feedback! CC is welcome as well! If you liked this, I might do another one! If not…Well, at least I tried. :D