Sunday, September 18, 2011
A Thousand Word Thursday Story by Eden Winters
Not like that, like this! Erik stuck his snout to the ground, audibly whiffing the trail.
A blond wolf crept closer, taking a tentative sniff.
Deeper. You gotta really get a good scent. Erik demonstrated again, sneezing when he accidentally inhaled a nose full of dirt.
Once more Galen sniffed a bit less delicately. Oh, he said, sniffing again. Oh! He grinned, tongue protruding from between his sharp teeth. I think I smell him now. He went that way!
Erik watched Galen trail the rabbit, waiting a moment before following behind. He turned and winked at his pack, standing off to the sideline, then hurried on after Galen. A new pack member's first hunt was a special event, made all the more special by today being an important day for the forest folk. One they'd anticipated for many seasons.
He caught sight of a flash of gold, Galen's fluffy tail disappearing into the brush, and followed, enjoying the rich scents of earth and fur and scurrying rabbits. Ah, to be alive! he exulted.
Holding back his full speed to let Galen take the lead, he marveled once more at the stunning blond wolf who'd so recently joined his pack. How had he ever survived without the man? Excited yips announced that Galen had closed in on his prey, and Erik hurried to share his triumph.
The pack nipped at his heels as he put on a burst of speed, paws eating up the ground as he raced through the underbrush. He burst into a clearing to see Galen standing proudly, rabbit gripped tightly in his jaws.
Erik approached, lapping a bit of blood from Galen's muzzle. You did splendidly, he murmured, before his words were drowned out by his pack's howls of victory. In the nearby human village, poor souls probably shivered in fear, but Erik couldn't find it in him to care. No, not when his mate had just proven his worthiness in the eyes of the forest folk.
Placing the rabbit on the ground, Galen asked, What now?
Now we do this, Erik replied, tenderly licking one blond ear. Galen, being a quick study, applied a long pink tongue to Erik's coal black fur, the tip tantalizing the sensitive inside of Erik's ear.
A ring of glowing eyes formed around them, and Galen whined in fear. I don't want to do the next part, not with everyone watching!
Shhhh, Erik soothed him. Follow me.
Leading the blond wolf away from the expectant pack, Erik took him to the caves that had once sheltered the clan in times of war. Once out of sight of even keen wolf-sight, he shifted into human form, grrring low in his throat, helping Galen, a novice wolf, to shift. A shaft of moonlight penetrated the darkness through a fissure above their heads, and Erik marveled at the play of moonbeams over Galen's blond curls.
"Pack law declares that the pack witness their leader's mating, but it doesn't give specifics," Erik explained. "With their sharp hearing and sense of smell, they'll know what we do in here without them having to see."
"Thank you." Galen's rapid pulse slowed, and he took a few deep breaths with his eyes closed.
Erik ran his hands up Galen's arms, warming gooseflesh. "I journeyed here earlier," he said, arm around his mate, guiding Galen to where he'd made them a soft bed of rabbit fur. He wrapped his chilled mate in their plush warmth. In time, with a thick layer of fur to conjure at will, the cold would no longer be a problem for the former farmsteader. Erik paused to light a candle, sticking it into a rock ledge. "They may not be able to see you, but I'd like to." With that he lowered his head, taking Galen's mouth in their first kiss as joined mates.
Aw! Galen and Erik are from Eden Winters’ new novella, Galen and the Forest Lord, which I just read and really loved, review to follow. Eden has two new ones out recently – Galen, and a Torquere Charity Sip called Summer Boys, which she wrote to benefit the “It Gets Better” project.
By the time Galen Olaf-kin woke up and smelled the spiced ale, it was too late, and he never finished the wicked deed for which he stood trial. Banished from his home, he flees to the forest, taking nothing but the unwanted infant he's rescued. Perhaps the legends are true and the forest lord will take them both in. The lord is said to give sanctuary to outcasts, but none of the stories mention the naughty, tempting things he whispers, or that he shares Galen's forbidden passions.
Lord Erik rolls his eyes at the prophecy that says when human hands deliver a babe to the forest, he’ll meet the mate destined to reunite forest folk with humankind. What interest has he in a child? The handsome human who brings the babe is another matter entirely, and a little thing like destiny won't stand in Erik's way of claiming the golden-haired Galen as his own. Or will it?
Sometimes prophecies are overrated, legends incomplete, and heroes not always the sharpest swords in the scabbard.
Find it here
Keep up with Eden’s news at her blog.