The Lonely Wolf of Firling Keep

The Lonely Wolf of Firling Keep

Louisa Taylor



Format: 13.5 x 21.5 cm
Number of Pages: 56
ISBN: 978-3-99048-822-5
Release Date: 16.01.2018
Uniquely written from both the perspective of the wolf and the human, Louisa Taylor draws together her love of storytelling with her love for wolves. Inspired by both truth and legend, Louisa’s knowledge of the wolf pack, pervades this novel.
Facts about the dire wolf


The dire wolf (Canis dirus, “fearsome dog”) is an extinct carnivorous mammal of the genus Canis, roughly the size of the extant gray wolf, but with a heavier build. It evolved in North America and later moved into South America. Canis dirus is assigned to the Rancholabrean land mammal age of North America (240,000–10,000 years BP) and was among the many large carnivores and megaherbivores that became extinct in North and South America near the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Salamander Cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota has produced the oldest known fossil of what is thought to be a dire wolf. The site preserves a fauna approximately 252,000 years old, based on uranium-series dating of a horse fossil found there.[1][2] Its ending is associated with the Quaternary extinction event.

Dire wolves are known to run in packs of five to seven. They are wild and unfettered in their habits. Wolves cannot be tamed or kept as pets. I love wild animals and I firmly believe that nature should be left alone and respected. Of course they have died out and evolved. The grey wolf is the closest we have seen to the dire wolf. The Native Americans worship the wolf as a spirit deity. It is said that wolves have supernatural powers. Any mention of magical powers or bonding is entirely coincidental throughout this novel.





Author Foreword


I have studied different species of wolves and I did some background research into the dire wolf finding that they are the ancestors of the large grey wolf. Wolf packs often travel in groups of mostly five to seven in numbers, sometimes larger. Sightings have occurred in the forests of North America, Alaska and the Olympic Mountain range. The black forests of Maryland have had sightings of the large grey wolf and a fossil was discovered at the turn of the century in 1901 of a “canis dirus”. The dire wolf existed 100,000 years ago. Legend has it that the dire wolf is 25 times heavier than your average grey wolf, it is also said that the dire wolf is a supernatural creature. They are extremely intelligent, perhaps smarter than us mere human beings. But they are also dangerous and cannot be tamed.

I heard a saying in a movie I will never forget. “Let the beast run free.” In fact I have heard several sayings related to the nature of the wolf. “The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.” Does it mean if a wolf runs with no pack, it will die? Or does it have something to do with family? I have my sister and my brother-in-law, my niece and nephew and my husband and my children. Family matters to me; both my sister and I have created our own wolf pack. We are both older and wiser to know that we have each other and our families. What if a wolf cub is rejected by its own parents and by the pack? Don’t worry, it doesn’t happen in this novel. Our mother died at a young age and our father wolf rejected us through his grief and loneliness but my sister and I have each other and that’s enough for now until Papa Wolf comes to his senses. I want him to know that we do love him and we will be waiting.

For now I want to talk about White Lady; she is an albino wolf with white fur and red eyes. I fell in love with her immediately. I created her with love. White Lady is shunned by her mother’s wolf pack and Mysene, the mother of White Lady, sends her away into the Sherina Forest. A young lady stumbles upon White Lady and they form a bond in which White Lady can skin change into the mind of the young girl and the young lady Sarah Firling can do the same. When Lord Ilian of Dondarry in the south rides to Firling Keep to ask for Lady Sarah’s hand in marriage, White Lady senses that he is not the charming lord he appears to be and that he means to do harm to her human mistress. She guards Lady Sarah with such ferocity that Lady Catherine Firling and her husband Lord Robert Firling share their misgivings about the charming Lord Ilian with their Master at Arms …





Preface


Lord Robert Firling travelled through the Sherina Forest on horseback when a howl rang out through the dense woodland. He turned his palfrey grey mare towards the sound and spotted the large grey wolf watching him with almost human eyes. “Aren’t you a beauty?” he whispered under his breath but kept still. Lord Robert Firling was a tough and fearless individual, he was of the north and his family was of the north; worshipping the old ways and the old gods. His family made him proud; his girls were even able to demonstrate their outdoor skills with finesse and grace. They were both ladylike but did not dwell on fairytales and did not dream of gallant knights coming to ask for their hand in marriage. Lady Mya was three and ten but she was proving to be a skilled fighter in their family courtyard. Lady Sarah was not as skilled but she still showed much promise in diplomacy and ruling. She carried a small sword at the side of her long dresses and a small dagger strapped to her thigh underneath her dresses. Lord Robert had cried when all three of his children were born and he had the Master at Arms ring the bells from dawn till dusk when his wife Lady Catherine had produced his first born son. Blane was nine years old on his last name day. He had his father’s sandy brown hair and his grey eyes. Just thinking of his family made Lord Robert smile until it reached his eyes. The wolf let out a snort and seemed to tilt his head in respect before he turned tail and ran off away from the strange human who had shown no fear towards him. Gladdring the large grey wolf was amused by the strange human but he was concentrating on his bond with his mate who needed him. She was due to birth his litter of cubs soon and the thought of being a father made him pant with excitement. His ears pricked up as he heard the Firling children running down the hill from the castle keep, laughing and playing with their wooden swords …
Mysene felt alone without her mate by her side and she could feel the pack were anxious for their litter of pups to be born. But Xandal the alpha showed no excitement, only indifference. She felt Xandal saw Gladdring as a threat to his leadership. Gladdring had never shown interest in being the alpha male of the pack. Xandal was cruel and thoughtless, perhaps even more power-hungry. She missed Gladdring desperately and even though Mysene knew they were bonded, the pain she often felt when he hunted the vast woodland for food was unbearable. – Mysene … –
Her heart pounded when she heard her beloved mate’s voice. – How far away are you? –
– I am right behind you, why so far from the pack? – Before she knew it, her love had pounced on her and was licking her face, chuckling. – You are anxious, worry not, our cubs will be born soon. –
– I hope very soon, my love. –
They took a slow walk back and Gladdring went silent. – Why so silent? – Mysene asked.
– I saw the lord of Firling Keep, he is not afraid of me or us, Mysene. I fear for the cubs safety. –
Mysene licked his face. – You too, I thought I was being paranoid. – Gladdring’s fear was getting stronger. – Let us not worry about the problem but we must accept that we may have to send them away. – Mysene nudged Gladdring forward and they made their way towards their pack where a meeting was called by Xandal the Alpha.
– Gladdring, we are concerned about your forays with this human lord. We are wolves, we have no business sniffing about these human savages. –
Gladdring huffed and rolled his eyes. – Rest easy, Xandal, this human lord is good and fair to his people and he is certainly no threat to our pack. – Gladdring felt his hackles rise as Xandal growled menacingly.
– I do not care whether he is kind, I will not tolerate this. You are weak, Gladdring, and I am giving you my order as your leader, stay away from the two legged savages. –
Gladdring reared up facing his leader. – Since Lord Robert has been in the north, he has been anything but … – A howl of pain was heard and Gladdring yelped. – Mysene, my mate is giving birth! – Gladdring bounded towards his rock alcove.
– How dare you turn your back to me? – Xandal growled.
– I will not argue with you further on this matter. Do as you wish, Xandal, my mate needs my comfort. –
Grudgingly Xandal growled out, – Go and help your mate. –
– Thank you, I will, – Gladdring growled back before turning tail towards his mate.
– Mysene, have no fear, I am with you. –
Mysene whimpered in pain. – Gladdring, something is terribly wrong with the cubs, I can feel it. – The first cub made an appearance, Mysene whimpered as she realised it had died in birth, she kept licking it, trying to will her dead cub to take a breath. It was futile and a single tear made its way down her snout.

The second cub came slowly and slumped to the floor. Again both parents tried to stimulate the newborn cub but again the cub was stillborn. Then as by a miracle Mysene started to push out a third. Gladdring whimpered his pain for his mate’s loss but started yelping when he heard a whimper and a whine from behind his mate. The wolf cub was beautiful with pure white fur and red eyes. – It’s a girl. – Gladdring yelped and licked his newborn female wolf cub as it started to stumble to its little paws.
– Mama. – She spoke quickly in her parents’ mind. – Papa. –
Gladdring and Mysene wept with joy hearing the voice in their wolfminds. – I remember being squashed in there, where are my brothers? –
– They have been received by the old gods, little one, – Mysene answered her only surviving cub.
– Who are the old gods, Mama? – the albino cub asked shyly.
– They reside in the trees and in the birds, my daughter. – The she-wolf cub looked up to the crows.
Mysene looked to her mate for help. He picked up the she-wolf cub in his teeth gently and brought her further outside the caves. – Look at the tree with the red leaves, my little one, go and explore but come back. –
The albino cub chased her tiny tail excitedly. – Really, Papa? –
Gladdring nudged her forward. – Go on, I have to take care of your mother and introduce you to the pack. –
The she-wolf cub bounded towards the tree and Gladdring licked his mate clean as she became sleepy. – What shall we name her, my heart? – Gladdring asked.
– I think “White Lady”, my dearest love, – Mysene answered as she yawned. She fell into a deep sleep then and Gladdring whispered, – White Lady is perfect. – He nuzzled his tired mate and then picked up his dead cubs deciding to bury them underneath the tree. – How much we have gained, my love, but what have we lost? – He bowed his head and whimpered softly.
One of the other wolves flanked his side and yelped. – I am sorry for your loss, my friend … cut your thoughts from Xandal, I don’t want him to hear this … your albino cub is in danger. –
Gladdring turned to the other wolf. – He is sulking, just give him time, I care not for what he thinks. – Gladdring went to walk away.
– Listen to me, he is planning something and it is nought for good, he thinks the reason your other cubs died is because of White Lady; that she is a curse from the gods. –
– I never thought you would betray your own pack, – Xandal called out …

– I saw your young she-wolf and if I have to, I will eliminate any threat to my leadership! – Gladdring growled out his anger. – You see threats to your leadership everywhere you look. You are a fool, Xandal. You will not harm my only remaining wolf cub. –
Xandal reared his head and started snarling.
– Gladdring, go, he means to kill you! – the other wolf yelped.
– I will not leave you to be killed, my friend, come with us. –
– No! I will not let him destroy White Lady or your mate! Go! – Gladdring took off at a fast pace back to Mysene.
– Mysene! –
Mysene ran from the cave in a fright. – Gladdring! I felt your fear, it is time, is it not? –
– I always thought we had more time than this. You have to get our daughter out of here. Take her to the … – Gladdring suddenly looked horrified. – Stay behind me, – Gladdring growled out.

The pack came out of nowhere. – Give us your daughter, Gladdring! We shall
rid you of your curse! – Gladdring stood tall and Mysene protected White Lady.
– Xandal is lying! Cubs are stillborn all the time, he feels threatened in his leadership! –
The wolf pack descended upon him. – Mysene! Run to the Darkwood! – Mysene wept as she ran hearing the pained howls of her mate. And she ran with White Lady firmly clinging on to her back.

*****

– Mama, why are we running? –
Mysene looked down at White Lady. – To protect you, my little one. –
White Lady looked confused. – Where is Papa? – she asked shyly.
– With the old gods, little one, – Mysene answered as tears made their way down her furred cheeks. – We must keep going, White Lady. I am taking you to Firling beyond the woodland. – White Lady whined and yelped. – I’m tired, Mama, can’t I sleep? –
Mysene looked down at her cub. – For two hours; no more. We must make haste by first light. – Mysene looked to the stars. – For you, I will protect her, my love. – Then Mysene howled her pain for her beloved Gladdring.

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