The wolf takes the last bite of rabbit from Riannyn’s hand, pausing to sniff at it before swallowing, still suspicious of the cooked meat despite the many times he’s shared his meals with her.
She is no mere wolf. Enchanted creatures like her live among the ordinary beasts in these forests where dragonkind hunts, identical in appearance to their more bestial brethren, known to no one but himself. In the centuries that he’s lived alone in this forest, Riannyn has learned to disinguish the enchanted creatures from the ordinary, recognizing the glint of magic in their eyes, spotting the subtle differences in the way they hunt and play. It’s a skill valued by none but himself, and perhaps by this wolf who is not just a wolf.
Different even from her enchanted brethren, and it was she who sought him out and initiated the friendship that had ended his long stretch of solitude. She had left her pack behind to follow him, sleeping outside his hidden den in the deepest heart of this old forest, hunting with him in the early hours of morning, bringing him small gifts when she’d return from a long absence as though she meant to apologize for abandoning him to his isolation once again.
She never returned to her pack; Riannyn had more than once sought her among them when she’d been away from him for more than a few days. Generations of wolves had been born and died while she walked with him, and perhaps her descendants, some with that glimmer of magic in their eyes, would no longer even recognize or accept her. Where she went, he never knew, for even his skill as a tracker was not enough to trace her path.
Stretching after her small meal, she nudges at his arm, inviting him to play, in the way that wolves do.
“You know where he is,” he says, glancing at the water where he’d watched Aymeri, a dragon of the Fire Eyrie disappear. Not drowned, surely, for water dragons cannot drown in their own element. Just gone, swallowed by the river.
The wolf whines softly, nuzzling his hand in affirmation.
“Will he come back?” Riannyn asks, searching her glimmering yellow eyes for some reassurance. In his time alone in this forest, he had explored many of the fae places his kind had always shunned in fear. Magic twisted the shapes and colors, and he could never be sure of anything he saw in the enchanted parts of the woods, but never had he felt any threat or hostility to his presence. Seeing the water pull Aymeri in was a cause for fresh doubt. The fae had never bothered him, living alone as he did in this forest, but that did not mean he was safe from them.
The wolf sits, attentive, her tongue extended in a reassuring gesture.
“All right,” Riannyn agrees, watching the ripples dance on the water, “We shall wait and see.”