The Way of the Wolf
The Way of the Wolf
The forest was already dark, though the sun had just set. It was
always dark in this forest. She
preferred it that way; the darkness gave her privacy, and protected her
from undesirable things.
Man-things, chiefly. They were afraid of the darkness, and so it was
She was surprised, then, when she smelled a man-thing in the air.
The scent of this particular
man-thing was intriguing, for it carried with it the smell of her own
kind--the scent of a wolf. So
she did not run as it approached. Curiosity was ever a trait of her
It was not hard to tell that this man-thing was in pain, even for a
wolf unfamiliar with men. The
air around him shimmered with the scent of sorrow, and as he walked he
paid no heed to his
surroundings. Then he suddenly stopped and looked at her.
"Good evening, little sister," he said in the manner of wolves.
"How remarkable," was her startled reply. Dispensing with courtesy,
she immediately asked "How is it that a man-thing has come to know my
"Surely one has smelled the scent of the wolf upon me. One suspects
it was that scent that kept
you from hiding. Is one correct?"
The man-thing sighed, one full of a long-held burden. "I was born a
man. As a very small pup I
was bitten by a werewolf. Ever since, on the night the moon is
round--like it will be tonight--I
become a wolf, one who lusts after the flesh of men."
"One sees," replied the she-wolf, keeping her language formal
despite the stranger's informality. "One has heard stories of such a
creature, but one has never
The werewolf raised an eyebrow. "Has one been in this forest long?"
The she-wolf shook her head sadly, revealing a great sorrow of her
own. "One became separated
from one's pack. The man-things came and killed one's mate, and took
one's pups. One came
here in hopes of finding another pack to join, but there is none."
"One is sorry," and the she-wolf could tell that he meant it. "One
has also lost one's pack." And
with these words the werewolf sank to his knees and began to weep.
"What is this water?" asked the she-wolf, alarmed. She did not know
what was happening,
though she could smell the sorrow redouble in the air. The werewolf
could not answer, and it
was many minutes before the tears subsided enough that he could. She
watched in silence as he
cried, his body shaking with grief.
"One is sorry," he said at last. "The water is what are called
tears. We man-things shed them
when we are sad."
"Ah," said the she-wolf. "Your grief is a recent one."
"Yes--and no," answered the werewolf. "My grief has been long
endured, but very recently, a
new grief has been added."
"Did one lose one's mate as well?"
"No," said the werewolf. "No, he was not my mate, but in many ways
we were as close as mates
are. We were pack-mates--brothers, almost. The last of my pack--such as
it was. What a pack!"
he continued in a slightly bitter tone, "a werewolf, a dog, a stag, and
a rat." He paused and gazed
at the she-wolf. "One can see that you are confused. My pack-mates were
men also, but they
could transform themselves at will into animals. One turned into a rat,
one a stag, and one a
"The dog I mourn now. The stag was killed many years ago, along with
his mate, although their
pup survived. The rat--separated himself from our pack, and is as good
as dead to us."
"How very odd you man-things are. Are you sure you do not want to be
a wolf always?"
The werewolf started. "Hmm. In many ways, the offer is tempting.
But, no. Sirius would be
ashamed if I let others fight while I did not."
"My pack-mate the dog. His name was Sirius. He died--oh, Merlin,
he's really gone." And he
started to weep again.
"I came here. . .to forget," he gasped between sobs. "Or. . .to
remember. Soon I will. . .be transformed
into a wolf for the first time. . .since I lost him. I wanted to. . .be
in the place where. . .my pack had been
complete. . .to return to
happier times when I was not the last of my pack."
"One may be wrong, but did not you say that your pack-mate
had a pup?"
"And this pup still lives?"
He looked at her in surprise. "Yes--yes, he still lives. That in
itself is a miracle."
"Then you are not the last of your pack. And the well-being of all
is the responsibility of all."
The werewolf fell back. "Harry. I. . .I almost forgot. Yes, Harry
needs me. He needs me more
than ever now."
"Care for the pup, and he will care for you, and your pack will not
die. That is the way of the
He nodded, and tears filled his eyes once more. "Yes. Yes, little
sister. Thank you for your
"One does one's best," was her reply.
The werewolf gazed about, noting the increased darkness. "It is
almost time for moonrise. I will
leave you now, little sister." He rose to leave.
"Wait." The she-wolf pushed her muzzle against the man-and-wolf's
hand. "You will transform
to a wolf shortly?"
"Yes. I do not wish to cause you harm."
"Would my presence cause you pain?"
He paused before answering. "No," he said at last. "It may help, as
a matter of fact."
"Then after you have transformed, I will accompany you. We will hunt
together. For tonight, at
least, I will be your pack, and you will be mine. Your presence will be
a comfort to me as well."
"As you wish."
And so it was that the she-wolf remained as the man-thing turned to
a wolf. It certainly looked
painful, despite the drink the man-thing took from a flask just before
he transformed. When he
finally arose, shaking slightly, the she-wolf lowered her muzzle to the
ground in a gesture of
"Come," she said, "Let us hunt."
And they walked off together in search of prey.
A/N: Anyone familiar with the works of
David Eddings, especially his
Mallorean series, will
recognize the wolf-speech employed here, as well as the idea that
someone who can change into
a wolf would be able to converse with normal wolves, even when they're
in human form. I didn't make it
up, and can't take credit. The behavior and customs are also Eddings's.
Certain phrases employed here were
borrowed from Eddings as well:
"How remarkable," and
"One does one's best" are used several times by various characters,
although the latter is most
often spoken by Silk, the former by Poledra. The she-wolf in my story
is very like her. In
addition, the she-wolf's advice to Remus--"The well-being of all is the
responsibility of all,"
was spoken by Poledra in The Seeress of Kell.
So really, this is a crossover fic,
albeit a strange one.
Thanks to Angua, Redwood,
Laura, Gwendolyn, Teri, Lisa and Laura (yes, another one), who
betaed for me.