It was late summer. The sun shone warmly over the Midnight Forest, and a gentle breeze ruffled the branches, making a ripe wild apple tumble to the ground. A Wolf cub snatched it up before chasing after his friends. The tribe was crowded around the Den's newest hut: that of Bryony and Lupe. Inside, the family of the two gathered around them and their new baby girl.
"Maybe it's something in Chandra's blood," Leidolf suggested, referring to why the only female Wolf they had heard of had now borne another.
Bryony smiled to herself secretively. "I don't think it's that," she said, leaning her head against Lupe's shoulder. He hesitantly touched a finger to the babe's cheek, chuckling when the infant tried to grasp it with her tiny hands.
"What will you name her?" Alis asked, shifting the weight of her own child.
Bryony watched as Sierra scrambled onto the cot and peered into the face of her new baby cousin. "I think I'll name her…Tala."
"I have something for you," Lupe told her that night. He held out something dangling on a black cord. Bryony took it curiously. "It's from the wolf pelt," he explained. "It broke off the other day when Leidolf and I were playing a game with Sierra."
The object was a yellow-white tooth, intricately carved with designs reminiscent of the tattoos that covered her skin. In the centre, Bryony thought she could discern the outline of a heart. She smiled and leaned over to kiss him. "Thank you," she whispered. A slight flush warmed his neck, and he muttered something about promising to have ale with Eyolf that night. When he had gone, Bryony turned to the window and hung the cord from the frame. In her crib, Tala fussed noisily and Bryony crossed the room to check on her.
"Hush now, little one," she murmured. The babe sniffled and flailed her arms through the air. "A might little warrior, you'll be, won't you?"
Outside, a twig snapped, making Bryony whirl around.
In the window by which she had just been standing, now a wooden lap harp lay on the sill. The wolf's tooth was nowhere to be seen.
In two steps, she was there once more.
"Raul?" she called into the night. "Raul?"
Not one sound answered her call. Taking the harp in her free hand, she looked down on it sadly.
A wolf never kills one of its own kind.
A.N. Well, now that that's FINALLY over, I will be starting a new piece as soon as my exams are over. Or at least my in house exams. Provincials are dead easy and I have a week to study for each, in any case.
I KNOW the last chapter was a literary disaster, an affront to all good adventure fantasy, an injustice to the rest of this story, and an insult to all my loyal readers, but I really HAVE lost all interest in this story. The only reason I made any attempt at finishing it is because I hated having this thing hanging over my head. So now it's going to get printed off and shelved away for some unknown time when I will actually be able to stand the thought of it. Again, I'm very sorry to anyone who feels offended by the poor quality of this ending, it's just all the passion I can drudge up for this right now.
Thanks to everyone's who's actually read all of this. Adieu.