She was dying, the old wolf. Time had finally determined her last breath, and the moment of it would be upon her soon. White hair and crisp blue eyes seemed to be the only pure thing death had not yet tried to claim. Her flesh was wrinkled, marred with scars, and her breath rattled with every labor made to draw it in.

It was a difficult sight to watch as she lay on the furs which had been collected on her bed. The pack was gathered around her save for one, the one her voice called out for.


The group around the woman began to stir as they were silently trying to decide who was going to tell the dying Alpha her daughter had left the camp again. How could anyone blame her as losing a mother was difficult, but even more so when her mantle was going to be passed on as well. Still, the she-wolf called for her daughter only to be greeted by an awkward silence.

Her third attempt saw an answer.

“I am here, mother.”

The pack moved about as the dark haired and bright eyed woman pushed her way through to kneel at her mother’s side. Dried tears littered her face, evidence that she had been crying, alone. Whatever courage she displayed now was for the benefit of the people she was going to lead. How was she supposed to lead when she was just another wild wolf in a pack that had been without their true alpha for so long. Even with the faint whispers of hope that a pair of Lupo had been seen entering Bloodraven Hal, Erys was nothing more than a beast among monsters.

A frail hand rested on the top of Erys’ dark locks. They were matted, wild and tangled with the essence of the earth the young she-wolf loved so much. She smelled of it, the dirt of the ground, leaves that had fallen to enrich the soil, and the wind which carried new life to desolate places. If only it could bring life to the souls of those already mourning the imminent loss of their leader, Glenda.

“You must find him. The gods have shown me he is here…”

It sounded like the words of a frail woman, visions of random events that often plagued the dying. The Skogsburns did not dismiss such things, not when it came from an alpha. Many of the dying dreams spoken aloud had come to pass, as though the gods granted the small kindness of a guiding prophecy for the next generation.

This one was different. Rather than give words of their future, Glenda had seen a face. She had been given a name. Erys was almost incredulous as it could be taken that her mother was telling her to find a mate. Perhaps she was, but there was an urgency which the young woman could sense in her mothers words. She quickly pushed whatever feeling she had of the request itself and leaned in closer to her mother.

She lifted the old woman’s frail hand to her cheek. It was so cold. Death was at the door. Erys could not help but let the tears fall now. Even with her people watching the hot and salty water flowed down her cheeks watering the ground at her knees.

“Who… who am I supposed to find.”

“Our Alpha… he has returned. The gods have shown me.”

“Yes, you said that, who is he? Have the gods given you a name?”

Glenda nodded slowly as she motioned for her daughter to lean in closer. Her voice was beginning to fail. A whisper was all that could escape her lips as Erys put her ear close. Her mother’s final words would not bring any comfort. Instead they would be the name of some stranger.

“Gerwald Lechner.”