Life of a Wolf.

SilverFang snarled and spat at his rider, who was young and inexperienced in the ways of the wolf. SilverFang would teach the whelp a lesson in manners. It pulled the boy off his feet and placed one large paw on his chest. It brought its snarl close to the boy’s face and puffed out a wet breath. The boys eyes were closed, his head turned from the silver haired wolf in fear. This boy would remember this day.

“Okay Sil,” a man called from the other side of the paddock.

The wolf raised its head to the man and released the boy who scurried off like a frightened mouse. The man patted the boy on the back as he jumped over the fence and climbed into the paddock himself.

“Are you proud of yourself beast,” the man asked with a sheepish grin.

“The boy was not ready,” SilverFang barked to the man.

“Aye, but now I don’t think he ever will be,” the man was chuckling.

SilverFang held the man he knew as Abe in high regard. He was the first to ride and paid much respect to the silver wolf. They rode into battle many times and both received their share of scars. SilverFang often wished the humans aged as slow as the wolves. He would happily ride again with his friend Abe.

Abe was already scratching his old friend behind the its large ears. He knew what the wolf liked and learned long ago the best wolf is a rider’s friend and companion. It was never about the battle, but about the war. A wolf and rider spent years with each other; often they slept on the battlefield supplying each other with the warmth of their own bodies. Abe looked to the wolf as he would an older brother.

“You seem tired old friend,” SilverFang said to his first rider.

“Well you know humans, not as durable as wolves.”

“Yes, it is a shame you humans live too short,” SilverFang had a sadness in his voice Abe had not heard before.

“Don’t tell me the great SilverFang is getting sentimental,” Abe prodded the beast in his massive shoulder.

“You are a friend to the wolf and a friend to me. I do not wish you to end Abe.”

Abe was touched. To know he was as important to the beast as the beast was to him warmed his heart. He would need to hurry though to find a rider for his wolf, time was running out. He had held on to his status as rider for more years than anyone before, but he was worried of the effect on Sil. Now at 74, he was close to not being able to care for his beast and would be faced with a difficult decision if a rider could not be found.

“Do not fret for me Abe, I will allow a rider. I just want to make sure they treat me as well as you.”

Abe was always amazed by the instincts of his Wolf. Sil always knew what he was thinking. He allowed himself to look into the large eye of Sil and began to slip into them. He quickly turned away from the feral stare before he lost himself. He had witnessed the power of the stare on the battlefield many times. Those bodies going limp and lifeless. There were so many humans did not know enough about the Wolf.

Back in the Ancient days, the wolf was no bigger than a dog. Other beasts were used in battle, some rumors even mention machines, but Abe considered that to be fantasy. At the time of the Fall of Men, the wolf began its transformation. Over 32,000 years man and wolf lived and ate together. It was a symbiotic relationship and some scholars believe the human race would have died without the wolf. Over time the wolf was domesticated and so the relationship changed from keeper to being kept.

Some of the wild wolves resented what man did to their Kin, even now the wild wolves have been known to attack humans. The domesticated wolves are happy with their lives. They are revered and treated with a holy respect. The Friars of the Wolf ensure that the masses remained fearful and respectful. The funny thing is that the wolves themselves stay. They are kept in paddocks, but could easily jump over the fences. Most are pleased to remain with their riders and speak highly of man.

Speech came to the wolves early in the history of the Fang. It is said that they stole it from the throat of a dying man. It is still strange for many to hear a large beast talk, but Abe found it reassuring. He would rather know what his wolf wanted than not. The wolves lived by a few rules. Any human bitten by a wolf must die. This rule has always been and is the first Command of the Friars. In battle, and at rest. If a rider is bitten, he must be put to death.

Abe was not completely sure why this was the case and had asked Sil on more than one occasion.

“There is a poison in our bite, that would cause pain beyond anything ever felt by any animal or man. Wolves do not wish that pain on anyone, we demand that such misery be averted.”

Abe half believed Sil’s answer, but somewhere he felt there was more.

Abe felt odd, his heart pounded and his side went numb. He fell to his knees and felt the world spin.

“Abe, Abe,” Sil called to him, but it sounded so far away.

“Help! Help me!” he heard his wolf call before darkness took him away.

He dreamed of Sil and their adventures, all of his memories spinning around his head. He remembered the defeat of the Argini 45 years ago. SilverFang took a spear in his shoulder, but kept fighting. Abe was so proud of his wolf and knew love at that moment. The beast a graceful killing machine, pushing its way through the line. They reached the commander of the Argini and Sil dug his teeth into him quickly. Just like that as with all battles the fighting stopped and peace reigned again. Abe and Sil were given free reign for winning that battle. Sil would never have to answer to the orders of the Friar and Abe became a free rider. From that time on a fortune was made between them as mercenaries. Ah the good old days.

The dreams slowly faded and Abe fell into a deep empty sleep. He felt as if death was nothing more than a nap, a very long nap.

“Wake up Abe,” SilverFang said with gentleness in his voice he had never heard before. “You need to wake and go my friend.”

“Go, go where?” Abe joked.

“To the forest, they will be waiting for you there,” Sil said softly.

“Who will be waiting?” Abe still felt groggy, his eyes closed as he stood.

“My brothers and my sisters, they will tend to you until you have accepted the gift.”

Abe realized he was not able to stand, he was still on all fours. He opened his eyes and his vision was clearer and stronger than anything he could have imagined. He looked down to his hand and saw a fur cover paw.

“What happened Sil?”

SilverFang sighed, “You are a part of history know. The legend of the Wolf is more complicated than the fable made up by us, for you. In truth we are your ancestors. In ancient times we would have been called werewolves, but we are more than that. We have become a species separate from what we were. We no longer change into human form and most of us have lost the taste for human flesh. At the time of The Fall we herded what was left of humanity and kept you as a farmer would keep sheep. Over thousands of years we allowed you to grow again as men and slowly we entered the role of watcher and finally became The Wolf.”

“What have you done to me?”

“I have given you a gift. I have given you new life and a long life at that. We kill those bitten so they do not turn. We have evolved, but this one remnant remains. We vowed long ago not to turn any man.”

Abe growled, “but you turned me.”

“Yes, I couldn’t stand to see you die. You have been my rider since you were a child and together we lived your short life. I love you as I would love a child of my own and I couldn’t let you go.”

Abe felt his new form. It was strong and agile. He had no more aches and pains of old age. He felt powerful and hungry. He sniffed the air and smelled so many scents on the wind. So many delicious smells. He growled under his breath.
“Now you must go to the forest Abe. You are not yet evolved and your tastes will get you killed if you do not go.”

Just then the boy returned. He jumped the fence and wandered over to the two Wolves. Sil did not notice in time and Abe launched himself onto the young teen. SilverFang just managed to reach Abe before he sank his teeth into the boy. He yelled at the young rider to run. Abe tried to get at the human and taste his young flesh. Sil blocked every lunged and attempted. Finally Sil sunk his teeth deep into Abe’s haunches and Abe scream into clarity.

“What have I become,” his voice trembled.

“A Wolf,” SilverFang replied, “and my son.”

Howls called from the forest and Abe answered. He moved to the back paddock and jumped the fence easily. He looked back at his wolf, but then saw the torches rushing to the paddock. The boy lead the Friars, looking for the wild Wolf that attacked him. Abe turned and ran to the forest, to begin a new life, a life of a wolf.

Life of a Wolf.

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