Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Torn Between Two Wolves

Torn Between Two Wolves


Last update: 1970-01-01

Chapter 1 The Healer's Call

  • The full moon hung plump and yellow in the inky night sky, casting an eerie silver glow over the twisted branches of the ancient forest. Olivia drew her cloak tighter against the chill autumn breeze as she made her way along the narrow, root-tangled path.
  • Though her grandmother had warned her countless times about the dangers that lurked within the shadowy tree line after dark, Olivia couldn't resist the inexplicable pull drawing her into the woodlands on this particular night. Some deeper intuition - an ancestral calling she didn't fully understand - had awoken within her like a distant, echoing howl that couldn't be ignored.
  • The dwindling lunar calendar had revealed tonight was one of the final opportunities to harvest fresh wolfsbane before the toxic purple blossoms withered away for another season. And Olivia's dwindling supplies meant the potent flowers were a crucial necessity to replenish her stock of remedies.
  • With her woven basket swinging at her side, she ducked under a gnarled, low-hanging bough, her enchantment-enhanced vision cutting through the night's gloom. The soft brown leather boots she'd chosen, while lacking traction on the uneven terrain, allowed her to tread lightly and quietly - as her granny had trained her to do during these solitary forest forays.
  • Olivia inhaled the crisp, earthy scents of decaying loam and damp vegetation, allowing the woodland aromas to center her focus. The familiar ambience always helped attune her spirit to the energies thrumming within the groves and soil, guiding her to the most potent places to harvest.
  • A sudden rustling in the underbrush nearby made her freeze, her heart pounding. Straining her eyes through the gloom, she glimpsed a flurry of movement and the gnarled white skull of a deer - the delicate, skeletal frame scattering off into the night, spooked by her presence. Olivia exhaled in relief before continuing on.
  • The further she delved into the midnight thicket, the more an uncanny sense of being watched prickled the back of her neck. But Olivia pushed the paranoid notion aside, well aware such feelings were common illusions caused by the darkness playing tricks on the mind.
  • Soon, the fertile, vibrant essence she sought seeped into her awareness like a scintillating emerald beacon calling out through the trees. With a surge of certainty firing through her veins, she altered her path, drawn unerringly in the direction of the potent aura.
  • Emerging into a moonlit clearing, Olivia's sharp eyes landed on the distinctive violet blooms of a sizeable wolfsbane patch clustered amid the thick ferns. A grin stretched across her face as she hurried toward the invaluable find.
  • Kneeling, she caressed the delicate petals reverently before retrieving her sheers from the woven basket's side pocket. Taking care not to let the milky sap bead on her skin, she began snipping thick bundles of the stems, envisioning the myriad potions and poultices the harvest could create.
  • So engrossed in her task, Olivia didn't hear the crunch of brittle twigs and leaves being trod underfoot from the shadowy tree line behind her until it was too late.
  • A guttural, inhuman growl rent the air - a sound so grating and bestial it sent an icy jolt of terror lancing through Olivia's core. She whipped around, the sheers slipping from her numb fingers as she came face-to-snapping-maw with the largest wolf she'd ever seen.
  • Its colossal body was at least five feet in length, bristling with layers of thick, charcoal fur slicked against its rippling, sinewy muscles. From the glowing embers of its eyes to the curved daggers of its bared fangs, every line and contour of the monstrous beast exuded feral, primordial menace.
  • Olivia scrambled backward as the wolf unleashed another ear-splitting snarl. Her breath caught in her throat as dark ropes of saliva swung from its slavering jaws. Its hind legs coiled as if to pounce--
  • Wildly scanning her surroundings for an escape, her heart plummeted as she realized the full gravity of her vulnerability. She'd strayed too far into the forest's depths in her harvest fervor and had no idea which direction would lead her back out.
  • The grizzled beast inched closer, a menacing growl thrumming from its gullet. Olivia squeezed her eyes shut, extending one hand in a futile ward against the attack she was powerless to stop.
  • A scream tore from her lungs as an explosive roar ripped through the night--
  • Olivia's eyes flew open in time to see an even larger wolf explode from the tree line, careening into her growling attacker with the force of a hurtling boulder. The two juggernauts slammed together in a blitzkrieg of thrashing fur, snapping jaws, and gurgling snarls as they tumbled across the clearing in a lethal brawl.
  • With a powerful heave, the newly-arrived wolf flung its adversary against the trunk of a quaking aspen, pinning the other animal with its full weight. Olivia was dimly aware of fleeing the chaos on trembling legs, her breath burning in her lungs as she crashed through the underbrush in blind panic.
  • Low-hanging branches whipped at her face as she fled, desperate sobs tearing from her chest as the sounds of the battle faded into the night behind her. Her boots snagged on a twisted root, sending her crashing face-first into the damp loam. As she sprawled there choking on dank earth, the heavy thud of four paws pounding the ground bore down in her direction.
  • Rolling to her back, she screwed her eyes shut, whimpering in fear as the growling form approached. She felt the hot moisture of its panting snout inches from her face, till full realization dawned - if her stalker meant to kill her, it already would have.
  • Bracing herself, Olivia cracked her eyes open to find the largest wolf yet towering over her prone body. Its powerfully muscled frame radiated a heat and energy unlike anything she'd encountered before. Smoldering blue eyes, wild but not entirely feral, bore into her with an undisguised intensity that made her stomach flutter in a way that was decidedly not born of fear alone.
  • As the wolf leaned forward, she glimpsed its muzzle was flecked with crimson. Unable to tear her gaze away from the hypnotic draw of its probing eyes, she barely registered the creature's cold, wet nose prodding the taut skin of her neck until she felt the lightest grazing prick against her flesh.
  • A moment later, searing heat surged through Olivia's veins in a sudden flare of excruciating pain, as if molten lava were scorching through her blood vessels. Convulsing, she thrashed with such force that clods of earth and sodden leaves sprayed from her violent spasms.
  • As abruptly as the agony ignited, it vanished in a wash of hushed silence. Yet it carried with it an abrupt sense that...something inside her had changed at its core. A profound awakening had occurred, though Olivia was too delirious and raw to comprehend what.
  • Through a murky fog, she became dimly aware that the wolf's oppressive weight had lifted off her torso. When she forced her eyes open, her vision blurred with scattered sparkles of residual pain.
  • But one sight pierced through the hazy veil.
  • There, rising from the dirt at the shadowy edge of the tree line stood a towering, naked man with swarthy skin and hair as dark as a starless night.
  • The moon-gilded contours and swells of his massively muscled physique left no doubt her mysterious savior was anything other than the wolf itself, somehow inexplicably transmogrified into human form.
  • He lingered a moment, the haunting echo of his feral blue eyes searing into hers with one last, inescapable imprint before turning away and bounding off into the woods, rapidly disappearing from sight.
  • Olivia stared after him in dazed shock, only the distant, haunting solitary howl of his primal lament echoing through the forest as testimony to what she'd just witnessed.
  • Unable to move and drifting in and out of consciousness, she wondered if the strange wounds pulsating on her neck were the last memories her mind would record before succumbing to the inky shroud of oblivion.
  • But before darkness fully claimed her, one thought coalesced with electrifying clarity amidst the chaos...
  • Something - some ancient, primal power lying dormant within her very essence - had been awakened by the wolf's mystical bite. She could feel it stirring through her core, an undeniable presence both foreign and intimately intertwined with her very being.
  • As her vision faded to black, Olivia's final awareness was of the full moon overhead, its pale glow intensifying to a blinding brilliance that seared through her eyelids with blistering luminance. A last flicker of consciousness clung to the sinking realization that something profound and irreversible had been set into motion on this cursed night.
  • A legacy that would alter her life forever—one that was resurrected from the ashes of the past. A haunting, bellowing cry that resonated in her very bones with an eldritch power as old as the earth itself pierced Olivia's ears just as her mind plunged into the void. The howl shook the forest to its very core.