Chapter 12 P.1

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Chapter Twelve

In which a new discovery is made...

Arna grumbled at her broken leg and eyed the white wolf with a sour expression.

“It’s your fault,” she muttered. “You could have just spoken to me. Then I wouldn’t have thought you were trying to eat me.”

I did try to talk to you. You weren’t listening.

“Well,” Arna sighed. “Looks like I’m stuck in bed all day. Probably tomorrow and the rest of the week, too. It’s a good thing Fanndis has four million books for me to read or I would go insane being cooped up in here,” Arna whined.

You wouldn’t want to go outside right now. The whole world is buried under twelve feet of snow.

“How did you get in, then?”

The window. My mate and pups had to dig their way out of our den this morning in order to find food. Stigg is up on the roof shoveling off the thatch. Fanndis is in the kitchen. Everyone is busy, but you and I. Is there anything I can do for you?

“You could tell me your name,” Arna suggested.

You may call me Ulf.

“Ulf?” she remarked.

Yes. Ulf. Shall I fetch you something? Though you were not listening when I tried to warn you of how slippery the rocks were, I do feel responsible for frightening you. I will do whatever I can to help with your healing.

“I think I am fine for now. I must say, you are a very pretty thing. I’ve never seen a wolf up close before.” Arna studied his abundant white fur and large paws. “How many pups do you have?”

Seven. They are quite a handful, but my mate is an excellent mother.

“May I meet them one day?” Arna asked.

Perhaps. They live very near the greenhouse. Maybe the next time you come, I can arrange something.

“That would be nice.” Arna smiled.

She gazed at the giant sun spire that Fanndis had created for her. It was warm and beautiful. Arna wondered if she could make one if she tried. An attempt would be made once she could get up and move about. Ulf’s movement caught her attention. He slinked quietly out of the room. Once he was gone, she reclined on her ample pillows and closed her eyes.

The back of her skull pounded from the concussion she had sustained hitting the snow bank. The lump on her head was huge. She hoped it would go down soon so that she could sleep comfortably. Whenever she touched it, a wave of nausea crashed over her stomach. Her leg looked like a swollen, snow-covered log. Fanndis had changed the linens once Arna had woken up earlier that afternoon. The white fabric contrasted with the grey homespun quilt over the bed. Arna missed Lord Maslyn. She missed being in the kitchen or at the barn with Fanndis and learning the Seidh. She missed mobility. Appreciation for the ability to walk would never be lost on her again.

Ulf returned about an hour later. Arna sat reading from a text on herbal cures. She looked up when his claws tapped against the wooden floor. In his mouth was a giant ball of fur. At first, the girl thought Ulf might have been carrying his tail in his mouth, but then she realized he was carrying one of his pups. He sat it down on the bed and Arna felt her entire body disintegrate into mush.

“Oh, my goodness!” she squealed as she reached down to pick up the little wolf pup. He yawned, looking bored. He tolerated her petting.

His name is Derik. He’s our youngest. He was whining when I went home to visit, so I thought he might like to meet you. He’s too young to talk with humans.

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