Wolves, even those that more often walked on two legs then four, were never really meant for a solitary life. Wolves needed their Pack. The worst punishment a Wolf could face was to be cast out of the Pack, forced to wander alone, till they found another Pack to take them in.
Edain sighed unhappily as he lay curled up on a small pile of hides in his makeshift shelter. It was a sad thing really, made from evergreen boughs propped up against the trunk of a fallen tree. There were too few and the grouping was too sloppy and uneven to provide a proper barrier against the elements.. It was drafty and wet and all manner of unpleasant.
He hadn't had time to learn the proper ways of shelter making before he had been run out of the pack. That sort of thing was always taught just before the Rite of Passage ceremony that marked a wolf's entrance into adulthood.
It hadn't been his fault that he had been kicked out of the pack before he had made it to the Rite, not really. The Alpha Female hadn't liked him, not since he had refused her advances, regardless of the fact that he had been to young to take a mate to begin with.
She liked him even less when she had discovered his secret. It had been she that had convinced the Alpha Male that it was a disgrace that he preferred the arms of men to that of women. It had been she that had had him sent into exile. It wasn't really taboo or anything, to prefer one's own kind, but some Packs were more human in their view of "different" then others. His had been one such Pack. And he had paid for it.
It had been unexpected. He had returned from a hunt with a score of rabbits to find the whole Pack waiting for him, the things considered his in a basket in front of them.
The Alpha Male had told him to take his things and leave, that he was no longer part of their Pack. He had not even been able to say proper goodbyes to his mother and sister.
He had been named outcast and wanderer. He had not been allowed to take anything that belonged to the Pack, since he no longer belonged to them. Only that which he had made himself or gathered for his basket would be his to take.
What his basket carried would not be enough for him to survive, and he had no doubt that the whole pack knew it. Young wolves spent the year before the Rite collecting the things and learning skills required to live under their own roof, and Edain had not even been a third of the way through his basket.
Grumbling a little, he shifted restlessly, trying to get comfortable on his hide bed despite the damp and the cold. He missed his warm bed next to his siblings, warmed by their heat and lulled to sleep by the sound of their breathing..
At least he wasn't hungry, though cold rabbit had not been what he had been hoping for when he had gone out this morning. He had been allowed to take his rabbits since he had hunted alone and no other's could take credit for the kills. He couldn't help but be grateful for that. With so much needing to be made for his basket, for his survival, he would have precious little time to hunt in the following days.
It took him awhile but eventually he dropped off into an uneasy sleep.
The next morning dawned bright and cheery despite the events of the day before, and the wet chill of the night, and along with it brought the help of a basket piled high with gifts at the "door" of his shelter.
He smiled as he saw what was inside. His mother had come to the clan with a basket of her own, as was customary, and it had done naught but sit in the corner of their home as long as he had been alive.
With her mate to provide for her, she hadn't needed it but it had stood their in the corner for the day when either she would need it again or she passed to the Shadows. A basket was considered a person's tie to the world of adults. The completion of it was the beginning of the Rite and it was often burned along with their body when they passed.
And she had given it to him. He felt his heart swell as he touched his mothers things, proof they were of his mother's love. He could stop the tears when he discovered that she had included cold meat pies, one of his favorite foods.
It took most of the day to get everything organized and to find a new camp site. He kept himself busy, clearing the area and setting up the dome tent that had been included in his mother's basket. It was intended for hunting trips, not permanent living, but it would do better then his last attempt at shelter.
That night as he lay on his, significantly large, pile of furs, he thought about what being exiled really meant, and that maybe, even if he didn't have his Pack, he wasn't quite as alone in the world as he had first thought.
Days went by, he learned how to build better shelters and had found a cliff some miles away with a little hollow in it to make a den in. He hunted and fished and made things, tools and weapons. He mourned his loses.
His shelter was cozy now, one wall and part of the roof was made up of hard packed earth and rock with the others made up of logs covered in a mixture of mud, clay, and grasses then covered with woven evergreen boughs. He had made his door with on of the hides he had originally brought with him stretched over a structure of woven saplings. His hearth was small but sufficient to keep the cold and dark at bay.
It was starting to feel like a true den, like a home which made his heart ache at times, but the ache grew less with each passing day he lived in his new home.
Then they showed up, another Pack.
He watched them from the top of his cliff, the pain in his heart fierce and hot. They were an active little band, only part of a pack not a whole he'd realized after a few days, and mostly young men. A hunting party he supposed, probably from the other side of the hills.
Edain couldn't stop the longing he felt watching them. Couldn't stop his eyes from following the one who seemed to be the band's leader. The man had the marks of the Alpha's family, probably a third or even fourth son. Strong and fit enough to bring a touch of jealousy and the stain of a blush whenever Edain even thought about him.
Sighing, Edain moved off his perch, he needed to do some hunting himself come to think of it. Slipping his skin to fur, he decided to head in the opposite direction of the little band. the less chance of meeting up with them and their handsome leader the better