The Sugar Quill
Author: Wahlee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Way of the Wolf  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

The Way of the Wolf
The Way of the Wolf

by Wahlee

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 her friend.

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 kind.

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 language?"

"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?"

"Indeed."

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 encountered such."

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 dog."

"How remarkable."

"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."

"Sirius?"

"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?"

"Yes. Harry."

"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 wolf."

He nodded, and tears filled his eyes once more. "Yes. Yes, little sister. Thank you for your words."

"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 respect.

"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.

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --