Chapter 2

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A/N: I finished this chapter a few minutes before I posted it on here, so I'm sorry for the mistakes littered around here. I will re-read it later.

Chapter 2

Once the iron door to the interrogation room was firmly shut, she leaned her entire weight against the wall lining the way out. Each step felt heavier than the last, her sides aching from Lord Bovin’s swing to the ribs. They no doubt were already bruising, but it didn’t feel like he had actually broken her bones.

Interrogations never lasted long, and sometimes ended even worse. Scrapes and bruises were the least of her worries. There were times when Thea retched from the mental pains of taking in another’s emotions. The weight of it suffocating the very air she was breathing.

Fenrir padded silently beside her and watched with concern. Gone was the tough exterior she had donned only moments ago. 

“I’m okay, Fen,” she said, “just a bit dizzy, that’s all.”

He wasn’t easily fooled. His height reached a little past her waist, larger than the average wolf, but smaller than a full-grown bear. Shadow wolves were creatures of the night, their packs only being spotted during such times. They were feared as much as they were prized, their fur and fangs fetching a high price.

In the wild these wolves traveled in packs and were rarely seen without one. But just like society, these wolves refused to accept pups with any form of shortcomings. They believed in dominance and fostering a legacy of strong warriors. Shadow wolves were known to be entirely black. Fenrir’s fur on the other hand had highlights of brown fur scattered across his body, the anomaly already out casting him. 

When born, their howls were put to the test. The entire pack, including their alpha, would watch as new wolves howled to mother moon. On the evening of his birth, the young pup could not howl. He yipped and cried, but even his own mother turned her back on him, ashamed by the weak creature she had produced. He was immediately pushed out of his pack and left to die during the harsh winter.  That is how their friendship began. 

At the age of 12, Thea began spending hours in the depths of the forests that fringed the castle, allowing herself to tune out human emotions for as long as possible. During one of these explorations she decided to step off the regular path. Animal emotions were all around her, but were never intrusive, allowing her some semblance of peace. 

Deep in the forest, about a few minutes into her walk, something caught her attention. It was a low thrumming feeling she couldn’t place. The emotions were strong and pulsing with life, but the soul that was connected to it lacked the same vitality. After trudging through what felt like miles of snow she found him underneath it with his head partially sticking out. The white ice covered him in a blanket of frost, his entire body shivering from winter’s grasps. Thea picked up the pup with both hands, its body curling up against her warm palms as it savored the newfound heat. She opened herself up to him and allowed the emotions to filter through.

He was frightened. The taste of it different than what she was accustomed to. It wasn’t a lingering sense of dread, but rather full of confusion. The new wolf didn’t understand why he was alone in the blistering cold, nor did he have a sense as to why the she-wolf that licked him at birth would abandon him in such a fragile state. Thea dug deeper and found the sadness hiding underneath. Of what was to come, the loneliness he had suffered and the uncertainty of not knowing who this large being was that cupped his body with such gentleness. The trauma of the day’s events had slipped away, for even if only a few seconds, it was worth it to him.

Looking at him she saw herself through his eyes. He wasn’t frightened of her. Fen felt that she could be trusted, that he wouldn’t be left behind once again. Thea felt this sense of importance in him, like she actually mattered to another. That this tiny little thing would think so highly of her, for someone to actually want her in their life for something other than greed. It was heartwarming. He stared back at her with such longing, such helplessness. His short life had consisted of nothing but pain and abandonment, at losing the wolf he would have called mother, at the pack he would have called family. 

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