Dinner that night was canned stew that Linda warmed up. She would soon start making her own to freeze. She also had a salad that had fresh wild greens and such. It was easy to add to her salad 'fixins', as she walked out to where her mother used to put in her garden. She found a lot of wild carrots, onions and some other goodies.
For Trap, it was a large T-bone steak that gave him a good feeding, and something to gnaw on afterwards.
With everything gone, Linda and Trap sat out on the porch to watch the night. Trap sat with his head resting on his human's leg as she stroked the top of his head.
Trap knew that after today, he most likely would not be allowed to see her again. That is, if the pack let him live at all. So when the howl of the elder sounded in the night he knew his time with his human, his mate, his love, was going to end.
Linda heard the howl and knew it was really close. Then she felt Trap start to shiver.
"I guess we have company. After this afternoon, I was surprised that you were allowed to stay. I like having you here, my friend. It has made this time easier."
Trap looked up at her then out into the darkness. When Linda looked too, she was not surprised, for there at the edge of the light from the door, was the pack. Trap stood up and so did Linda. Both then moved to the top step. One very large older wolf stepped into the light but stopped.
Linda could tell there was something being said between Trap and what was, clearly, the Alpha male. She watched as ears moved, tales twitched, heads moved and paws and shoulders changed positions. She just wished she knew what was being said.
"Young Trap, you have failed to come back to the pack when called. Explain yourself," demanded the elder.
"Elder, with all do respect, I felt I needed to be here to protect this human. I owe her my life twice, though she doesn't know."
"She can take care of herself."
"With our help, like today, she was ready and could deal with the scum that came. She has already cleared many traps and snares from the forest. I will continue to help her do this. Being in two is enough for one life time."
"The child we knew has grown and shows the signs of age. Her heart still belongs to the forest but that does not excuse you. You will return with us and not..."
"Elder, I cannot and will not leave her! You would have to kill me to stay way from my... "
Trap stopped himself before he said what he desperately wanted to say.
"Your what?" asked a large female that stepped into the clearing, her belly heavy with the next generation.
Trap looked at the Alpha female, his mother, as she gave him that look that could always make him confess to anything.
Then to his surprise she sniffed the air. Again she returned to stare at him
"Yes, your what? Finish what you were going to say, cub," the elder demanded.
"You would have to kill me to make me stay away from my mate. Our bonding has already started."
The pack just stood there for a moment then the growling started.
"HOW DARE YOU! HOW COULD YOU! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE?"
"I didn't know it was going to happen. She's human. It should not have happened at all. All I knew was that I had to be close to her, after she freed me from that second trap."
The wolf who was called the elder, as he was the oldest of the group, had known the potential of Linda's blood line from the beginning. Magic and love were strange things. Together they were a force that few could stop.
"I will make a sending and get counsel. For now I should..."
"Father, I will not leave her. Can't you feel it? The time for our return is coming. I know my mate will be very important to that event."
Grawl looked at the female. He had always had a strange feeling about the girl, when he watched her and her father, but now that feeling was even more so. As he looked at the female, a memory of the beginning of his people's imprisonment flashed in front of him. It was the last time he had seen his sister, as she had left the pack. That was when it struck him. The human female looked a bit older but she was the spitting image of his sister.
Time froze as the pain of that time came to him, but then, so did reason. If his sister had now returned, it might be true that the power to break the spell of the long dead wizard might just be at hand. He had to know for sure.
"Have her kneel before me," ordered Grawl.
Trap bowed his head. He wondered how he was going to get his mate to do it. He turned his head to look at his mate, then straightened and walked down the step then looked back to her.
Linda wasn't stupid. She knew right away that Trap wanted her to follow him down the stairs, so she did.
"I take it someone wants to take a look at me?" Linda said aloud, though she giggled to herself, as it was just silly to be checked out by wolves.
Trap nodded his head.
"Should I be on my knees or sitting on the ground?"
Trap wasn't sure which would be better so he just scrunched his shoulders.
"You don't know. Ok, I think closer to the ground would be better," Linda replied, then sat down next to Trap in front of a very large wolf. It reminded her of the time as a child, when she had encountered them.
She looked at the wolf, and bowed her head, "Welcome, Great One. I'm honored and blessed that you are here. The forest has been shared by our packs for many years. I'm glad to see the pack has remained and has thrived while I was gone."
Grawl bowed again then walked slowly closer to the female. He was pleased with her words and he could feel that the pack was, as well.
Linda stayed absolutely still as the wolf came forward. For some reason when he reached a certain point she leaned forward with her head tilted down. Then she felt his nose as he sniffed her to take in her scent. Next she felt something furry press against her head.
Lights flashed before her now closed eyes. Then, images of battles, of magic, of wolves that changed to men and back. There was more magic, torture, and then the wolves stopped changing. There was some more fighting, but most fled.
In the biggest pack was a lone human female. She ran naked with the pack and she seemed to have the speed and strength to keep up. Then the images moved faster, as the time seemed to go by. The human left the pack, and found a mate. She bred, grew old, and died.
The wolves watched as child after child came and went. The pack would watch after those that they could, but man pushed all the animals away. Then she saw the wolf before her watching a family in the forest. The man took a mate and had a son, then he mated and had a son that had a son. When that son came of age and mated, there was a change.
He had a daughter. That child was of the forest in all ways. She even freed two young cubs ... well, what she thought were two cubs.
Then there was great sadness, and the girl went away.
Time jumped and slowed ... the girl, now grown, returning. She freed a young wolf, again. He was so excited after seeing her, that he was caught in a new snare. But worse than that, was the humans who placed it heard the noises and returned.
Linda was very surprised. There was a lot to understand and her mind just wasn't ready for it all.
"The time comes for the Returning. Love begets blood and blood begets love. Beware, for the wizard comes, too! The children of the changed will gather and the doorway home will open once again," said a very loud deep voice.
That was the last thing that Linda heard, as there was another flash, then everything went black.
Pastrel, the last great mage, of a time long forgotten, had slept as time passed. Passing from vessel to vessel, he slept, but gained strength as time passed. He would be strong for when his last spell would be ready to be broken and his destiny could be fulfilled.
Pastrel watched as he looked out through the eyes of his chosen vessel. He saw many things. Then he watched a new face come into the life of his vessel. She was handsome in a strange way and the vessel like her. However he felt that there was something more to the woman, as the woman took up residence near the area of the wolves. He kept suggesting to him that he visit the woman that he liked a lot. It would let the wizard get closer, too.
The man did like the woman, and really thought that with the right words and actions he might get lucky.
The wizard liked that, too, as he could use the little power he had gained back, to influence the woman as well. He knew, though, it would be tricky with the wolves so close to her.
However, he knew time was running out, and that he had to get the portal open to the world of the Weres. That would give him enough power to rule the universe. He would be a God!
Linda woke with a headache that threatened to split her skull in two. She tried a glimpse by opening one eye and groaned, even the light of the stars was too much and she closed her eyes tightly.
"Please, my love! Please wake and tell me you are well."
Linda heard. She thought the voice sounded strange. What the voice said was missed.
"Just give me a moment. I hope someone got the number of that freight train that hit me."
"The pain will lessen soon, young one," said a female voice, "Sadly, there was no way for my mate to tell you beforehand, of what he was going to try to do."
The tone and the language seemed strange to Linda. She decided to bite the bullet and sit up. When she did she opened her eyes and looked around. She was on the ground in front of her house. There were wolves all around her.
The wolf that was closest to her, had a very worried look in his eyes. What clearly was a female, stood next to the large male that she had sat down in front of, was now shaking his head and trying to sit up.
"My mate, please, talk to me. I have been beside myself with worry," said the first voice but now Linda knew she heard the voice in her head.
"What? Who?" Linda groaned, "Ok, we have just entered 'The Twilight Zone'. I swear I just heard someone talk to me in my head."
"You heard me?" Trap replied.
Then he turned and looked at the elder, his father. He was now, at least, sitting up, though he was leaning against his mate.
"Father, what have you done?"
"Mind yourself, child!" his mother started.
"Mate, it is all right. He has the right to ask. It is his mate that has now heard his voice," started Grawl.
"Would someone please tell me what is going on and who is talking?" Linda demanded.
Trap turned back to his mate. He put his paw on her leg.
"'Tis I, Trap. I have so longed to tell you that, my love."
"WHAT?" Linda said with shock, "I think I need a drink."
"It may help you relax," Trap said to finish her thought.
"How am I able to hear you? Am I still asleep in the really strange dream, or something?"