Part 1 - Chapter 1: Brief prologue… and the beginning

The relationship between man and beast has always been a fragile one. We both come from the same humble origins, but while mankind grew into what it is today, other animals have constantly lived in their shadow, and been little more than food for man's hunger. But perhaps man has underestimated beast, and perhaps that will be our downfall.

There are many instances where man and beast are not foes, but friends. This is one of those stories, but on a different scale. This is a story of friendship… struggle… betrayal… love…

(And now for something completely different)

In a bedroom cluttered with various papers and books on the bed, floor and desk lay a boy with short brown hair. He was slumped on the desk snoring loudly as the sun shone on him. A woman then entered and shook his shoulders gently.

"Rowan"

"Rowan"

"Time to wake up, son"

Rowan Brant opened his blue eyes to find himself surrounded by books that he had started to read. How sad to think that while the flesh was willing, the spirit was weak and tired. He looked up to see his mother, smiling with her olive-green eyes at him. "Its 9 o'clock in the morning and your father's already at work" she reminded him, "Maybe you shouldn't stay up so late reading Shakespeare and all those other books". Rowan sighed. They'd been through this before. "I know, mother, but I can't help myself. It's all so fascinating". Rowan tried to reach for a book but he was still tired and his fingers barely twitched before his arm dropped down. "Besides, would you rather I stay up doing this than stay up watching television?"

Rowan's mother chuckled at her son's predicament. "I think you should go take a walk to get energised and clear your mind. Anyway, you've read those books so many times I'd be surprised if you couldn't read them in your head by now." Rowan nodded, thinking the same thing. After he'd changed from his pyjamas to a white shirt, a light-brown pair of shorts and a yellow jumper Rowan slapped on his sandals and set out the door.

Even though the people in the town lived so close together they generally didn't bother each other much. There was the occasional quarrel, but they were usually over before the week was over. Rowan worked his way across the streets until he reached the edge of town. Beyond the fences there wasn't much to see, but seeing as this was a Saturday morning, Rowan decided to wander a bit further. "If I get back in time, mom won't be suspicious". After a minute or two he came across what seemed to be a large park. Rowan marvelled at the sight of it, what he wouldn't give to get a look around that place. "Well why not?" he thought, "Well maybe because of the barbed wire fencing". "Piece of cake" Rowan thought as he slipped of his backpack and carefully slipped through the wires. He then made his way down into the trees, trying not to be seen, in case there was anything in there that might think of eating him.

"I think I'm going in circles. These trees all look the same" Rowan said, almost wishing he had taken his backpack with him. At least he kept his water bottle in there. "Wait, what's that?", Rowan came to a clearing, and saw a large clear lake. It was so tempting, and he was so thirsty. There didn't appear to be any animals around at this time, so Rowan quickly made a dash for the lake. With every handful of water he took he felt more and more refreshed. When he decided he'd had enough Rowan wet through the trees trying to find his way back to the entrance.

Thing's were pretty much the same; sneaking around, checking for danger, hiding behind trees. Then he tripped on a loose root and fell flat on his face into the dirt. "Ow, my poor nose" Rowan groaned. Suddenly he heard someone talking "Uh oh, if that's the person in charge of that place I'm dead", "Wait, wait, let's not jump to conclusions. The logical thing to do would be to investigate the noises" Rowan crawled through the underbrush, and as the voices grew louder his anxiety grew. That is until he peeked under a bush and saw… a pack of foxes?