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A Wulff Without Her Pack

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Wulff never was good with the cold, even in just her trips to Haense with Ma she’d have to wear layers and layers of furs and pelts just to keep a little bit warm. But this tundra was no Haense. The girl shivered under the blanket her Grandmother had provided, turning around to take in the sharp ice and unforgiving terrain. She saw naught but ice, snow, and water. As she turned back her Grandma was gone, leaving her alone but for the blanket on her back and endless miles of snow.


“Gramma?her small voice emits across the remorseless tundra. The only response that came was the piercing whisper of cold winds arising. She never should come out here, she never should have pushed so hard to try and become a druid. She wasn’t Norra with her great ice bear hunting and experience. She was just Wulff.


As the girl stood and watched her surroundings an even deeper chill ran through her. The chill of realization. This was the first time she’d ever been truly alone. There was no Ma to come save her if something came to eat her, no Pa to go cry in the arms of, no Gramma to get the birds to stay back. She was alone. 


And that’s when the true fear settled in.


She began to breathe quickly, her head felt light, her muscles tensed up. She couldn’t move. It was funny she thought, surrounded by all this ice and the thing that freezes her is her own mind. All she could do was stand there and watch as the sun reflected off the pristine snow into her eyes making her face hurt from squinting. All she had to do was take that first step to start but… but she couldn’t. So she did all that could be done. She wrapped herself in a blanket and curled up on the ground, her tears freezing against her cold skin as she closes her eyes to try and get some sleep huddled in the shadow of a tall glacier.


It had been two days. Two days of sleeping and waiting and hoping for some form of help. No help was coming. She would freeze and die out here. She wasn’t cut out to be a druid like the others. They all had done great hunts and tasks of survival, and she couldn’t even get up in hers. All she could think of now was her stomach though. It rumbled angrily beneath her blanket. She thought back to the comfort of her bed back in the den, a warm rabbit stew or jamly sandwich waiting for her on the dining table. All it did was make her yearn for home and family even more. But… but they weren’t coming. And she would only get hungrier sitting there to freeze. Shivering, from both the cold and fear, the girl slowly makes her way to her feet. Old teachings from her father ring in her ears. Survival. That is what she’d been taught since she was young, and that is what she would do now. The youth tosses aside the blanket, her last vestiges of warmth and goes forth, taking her first steps into survival of her own accord.


The first step was satisfying her hunger. She remembered a lesson from long ago where Ma had taught her to follow droppings to look for rabbits. But… but that was in the forest. Would it work here? Did Rabbits even live here? She had to try, it was all she could think of. So she began out across the expanse of snow, squinting against the glare as she stared out for some form of blackness against all that white.


It took less time than she thought it would to spot the darkness amongst the snow. The tiny dots stuck out sharply against the horizon. As Wulff approached she could smell the droppings, clearly fresh, alongside a distinct pattern of little footprints leading away. Naturally, the girl gives chase, reinvigorated by the sight of dinner not far off.


It wasn’t far, just past a large mound of snow from the distance. As she snuck around, the quiet crunch of snow beneath her feet was all that could be heard for miles. Her eyes locked on with dangerous intent to the small white rabbit burrowing its head in the snow, ignorant of the huntress above. Only then did she remember… Gramma had taken all her weapons, she couldn’t kill the rabbit! Her stomach growled again, rumbling uneasily as she stared longingly at the rabbit. She had to survive. It was all she could do. Weapons or not, Pa would have figured out a way to kill it so he could eat. Pa would have had a whole feast ready by now without weapons. She could figure it out. Wulff came from two whole long lines of hunters. Generations and generations of the greatest hunters the ‘ame had ever known. She could kill some measly rabbit. The girl’s countenance hardened as she made her decision. She would not walk away from this dinner. 


That quiet crunch of the snow echoed out once more as she approached, her hands raised and ready for action. Her intense gaze fell only upon the rabbit as she finished closing the gap she needed. She bent down, bracing herself to shoot forth and dive onto the rabbit and… she leaped forward but… but she didn’t. A series of unpleasant popping noises ring out as her new legs lock up tight at just the right moment. Instead of leaping onto the rabbit, she faceplants right into the snow. The rabbit leaps into the air with surprise and quickly bounces off, disappearing to the horizon while Wulff bends over in pain from her legs, cursing Miss Dyonne under her breath. 


As she lie amongst the snow in her defeat, a new sound pierces the tundra. One familiar, yet unfamiliar. It was the distinct howl of a wolf. But… but wolves didn’t live up here right? They only lived in the forest? And sometimes in the den like Liam. The howl was close, too close. Cursing her locked up knees, Wulff scrambled to her feet frantically looking around for some sort of shelter to hide in but there were no glaciers here. In her effort to track the rabbit she’d forgotten to look for shelter too. It was only the wide open tundra here, nowhere to hide.


Another howl, closer. 


Her mind raced, trying to look for somewhere to flee. But there was nowhere. She had to stand her ground.


Another one, closer. 


She looked around on the ground, frantically searching for something to help her. All that remained was snow. Why did Gramma choose this place, she was going to die.


Another one, they’re here.


No,” she thought. “I must survive.


The distant howls turn into nearby growls. Not just a wolf, but a pack. Three wolves begin to circle her, watching her closely, sizing up their next meal. They are scarred old hunters, as hard and cold as the environment they live in. There is no escape now. The first one launches itself forward, teeth gnashing and claws swiping.


Wulff dodges to the side, diving down, only to be attacked by the next in the pack. He leaps on top of her, teeth gnashing right in front of her face. An arm shoots up, barely holding the beast back as it claws at her body, leaving deep red marks in her skin.


Survival cub


The voice of another old hunter rings out in her head. A wolf as well, one who’d protect his pack no matter the cost. She couldn’t let him down, she wouldn’t let him lose part of his pack when he couldn’t be there. She had to survive, not just for her but for him. For Ma, for Gramma, for the rest of their pack. She’d played the cub for too long, now was the time to become the wolf. 


She reaches up, grabbing ahold of the beast and catching it by surprise. She holds him not by the neck but the jaw. The girl rolls to the side, knocking the beast free from on top of her. She musters up all the strength she has left and rips the bottom jaw of the old hunter free from his body. She turns it around, driving the sharp point of broken bones into its head. The pack is only enraged more. Another leaps forth, latching on to her back and biting at her shoulder. A sharp whimper of pain rings out as red stains the snow once more.


I am blessed. Ah ‘ave m’ family. Ah ‘ave th’ Aspects. And ah ‘ave you.


Her mother this time. She had cut off her own leg for Wulff. Carved a new one from wood, even with all her duties. She was strong-willed and smart. She was protective, cared for her family, her pack. Just as Pa had. Ma was a priestess of Bolomormaa, Wulff had to protect herself. She could not fail Ma’s duties. Only one so great as her could be blessed by losing a leg. Wulff wanted to grow up to be like her. But she had to survive.


Wulff wheeled around, slamming the wolf behind her to the ground as well. She grabbed onto its leg and wrenched it across her body. A sharp crack rang out as the leg snapped brutally. Wulff tugged and pulled, not only breaking the leg but cutting it free from the sharpness of the bone. The wolf lets out a high pitched whine of pain as Wulff rips the leg free from its body. She finishes it off with a sharp stab to the head with the sharpened end of the broken bone in the leg. Just as soon as peace comes from killing it, the third wolf pounces forth to Wulff. Teeth gnash violently towards her hands. Something snaps, rips. A pain far more intense than the claw marks wracks her hands as she grasps the sharp bone of the freed leg. She doesn’t have time to think about it while she rams the bone into the last wolf, spilling even more ichor onto the velvet snow around her. It falls to snow as well with yet another pained whine. Wulff leaps forth and angrily stabs the beast over and over and over and over until, finally, it lies still.


She had survived. She looks down at herself, soaked in blood, who knew whose blood it was. Her hand, yes… what was that tear? That break? As she lifts her hand she comes to the realization… It’d eaten her finger… well, it’d at least bitten it off. Long, deep gashes riddled the girl's body as she fumbles about in the snow, trying to clean her many wounds. She looks to the sky. It’d grown dark now, the night sky was alight with dancing lights of different colors, green, blue, yellow, white. It was beautiful. Even in the Vale she’d never seen a sky quite like this. It was incredible just how peaceful it was after all that had happened down here. 


The adrenaline began to wear off. The pain was setting in and so was the cold. There was nowhere to rest out here, just as there was nowhere to hide. The sharp winds of cold were picking up more and more. She couldn’t feel her nose or the fingers she had left. Then… Then she remembered something Ma had said. She trudged forward back toward the wolves, reaching out once more for the severed leg. 


She had to be the wolf, not the cub any longer.


The wolf’s hide was difficult to pierce and rip, but with time she got it done. It was warm inside, certainly not clean and not good for her wounds. But it was better than the cold outside. As she climbed in, the smell was pungent, disgusting. But she put up with it, for she was to be the wolf, not the cub. As she drifted off to sleep all she could think of was home and her nice warm bed in the den where Pa would tell her stories and kiss her forehead goodnight.


The morning was not pleasant. The smell, the pain, and the lack of comfort almost made her want to give up then and there. But again, she had to survive. It was all she had left. When she climbed out of the wolf she had a plan. She had not been able to find any such wood that she had needed for the fire Ma and Pa had taught her to make and her stomach grumbled ever more. She had to eat, and eat she did. The wolves did not taste particularly good, even to a stomach so hungry. Maybe it was because she had never had raw meat before. But it would have to be enough to sustain her.


As the snow began to give way to trees and warmth and the days gave way to nights her heart rejoiced. She could almost smell home once again. It was close, she could feel it.


But her stomach grumbled once more. 


It had been a long time since her ordeal with the wolves. Her wounds had healed poorly and scarred quite a bit. Her missing finger still hurt even after being gone. But her mind had refined, as had her body. She was becoming more predator than prey, more wolf than cub as she roamed the forests on her way home. She had killed hundreds of times now, hunt after hunt. The wolves were not the only to have scarred her but she endured regardless. As she knelt to take a sip of water, a strange sound of a grunt gave her pause. Her hand shot to her back, an improvised wooden spear shooting in front of her as she prepared. She whipped around to come face to face with a large kodiak bear sniffing near one of her pockets filled to the brim with berries.




She slowly reaches a hand in to release the berries from the pocket, letting the plonk slowly to the rocks. She watched carefully as the bear sniffed around at the berries. He was peaceful for now, but Ma had told her stories of bears turning without true reason. Wulff wouldn’t take such risks. She quickly drives the sharp end of her staff into the bear’s neck as it’s bent over for the berries. The point of the spear misses its target, driving a little to the side. Clearly the bear is unhappy. A great roar of anger erupts from the being as it rears up in pain.




The lean huntress drops back, scrambling to make distance with the bear as she loses her spear. A tree, yes, there’s one nearby. She scurries over and begins to clamber up the tall tree with the practice of a well trained climber. Naturally, the bear follows.




She’s got no weapon, no escape. She would have to fight again. But this would not be the wolves all over again, this time she would triumph properly without losing anything. The spear! It was still lodged into its neck. That’s how she would kill it. She halts her climbing. Watching as the bear climbs up closer and closer and closer. Watching as the spear grows closer and closer and closer




She dropped down, falling from the tree and down toward the bear. She holds out her arms for the staff, grasping upon the wooden shaft as she falls and holding on for dear life. All she can do then is to stab. And stab. And stab. And stab. 


Blood pours down from the tree as the bear finally releases its grip, tumbling down and taking Wulff with it.




She didn’t think it through all the way. A loud crack! Rings out as the girl hits the ground awkwardly, landing on her leg.




Not again… Please… She looks down and yep… the break is true. One of her new legs is fucked. Miss Dyonne’s gonna be pissed. But she was alone out here as she had been for a while. Wulff would endure, she must survive. And survive she would. She was not far from the Vale. She could make it home, she could sleep in her bed tonight! In the den! She could see Pa and Ma and Gramma and Aunt Lilly and Norra and everyone. It’d been so long. Would they be the same? Would they help her leg? Would she be safe again? It’d have to be true. She would make it, leg or not. As she crawled her way south making her way down the last mile she did not think of her leg, or the pain. She thought of her family, and getting to hold them, be held by them again. She’d almost forgotten how Pa smelled. 


She couldn’t wait to be reminded.


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A Bear awaited her cub to return from the wilds, confident that the young Wood Elf would learn and succeed even in all of her failures. 

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A Wolf adorned in crimson and crowned by a wreath of antlers about his helmet stood upon the gates of his woodland home as he always did on early, foggy mornings. A gaze of topaz and burnished gold stared through the visor onto the forest threshold hoping to see the figure of his daughter breaking through the brush. He was an ominous sight upon that overgrown wall, yet one that held a confident stance amidst his vigil. No matter how long he needed to wait, nor how much he prayed, he was certain that her goofy grin and the sound of her voice would pierce the fog to greet him soon enough.


"Narnsae ito iyl."

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