When he opened his eyes, the black dire wolf thought the whimpering that had made his ears itch had been his own. Dreams of drowning had been a common occurrence in recent nights. However, as he lay loosely curled on himself in the dark, he heard the choked sounds coming from behind him. They added an annoying dissonance to the din of night bugs, frogs and flowing water that leaked through the walls of his shoddy prison.
A soul that serves only itself can not be magically tricked into serving another who merely pretends to be them. No. A strong soul, that has felt and wrought much suffering, needs to volunteer its allegiance. Grimiron had been on the cusp of doing so. Krad had been sure. Only stubbornness had stopped the dire wolf from making the obvious choice, now that a greater power had entered his domain.
All he could hear was a rushing, gurgling roar. The thick sounds of water splashing over his ears, accompanied the shock of cold that forced him to swallow mouth fulls of water. He needed air, but his body was trembling with the current. His head slammed into more than one stubborn rock in the river bed, making his vision tunnel. He spun and flipped until he wasn’t sure which way the surface was.
“It’s just that people, they like hunting—hurting— when they don’t have to. It makes them feel better about themselves, when they can’t face their own problems…or the worlds. And, like the beasts of the forest, they tend to pick on what’s easiest—what they won’t get in trouble for hurting. They attack what’s alone and can’t defend itself.”
The shape of the black furred thing shifting in the dark made Isolde grit her teeth to keep the shaking in her knees from reaching them. That her dress’s skirts kept her nerves from showing was the only good trait to woman’s wear that Isolde could name. It was the only reason—one of the only reasons—she didn’t just ignore her step-mother’s insistence she wear what ‘her gender demanded’.
Isolde could feel the weight of her step-mother’s glare on the back of her neck. As always, the urge to hunch her shoulders beneath that glare was strong.
In the kingdom of Altether, north of the Raven Sea and east of the Gods’ Spine Mountains, lies a land in the shadow of troubles old and lingering.
Shattered, were the links of his pack; chained were the throats of his kin, and the Alpha of the Black Forest felt the mettle of his resolve break under the pressure of their blank stares.
Strength of the Shepherd has a new medium.
She shook her head. She had to keep herself, her sense of self, in the vacuous chaos taking shape around her presence. And, she had to watch her sallow, sunken cheeked, black eyed, mirror self on the other side of the barrier.