Maikyl had came to the Lodge after his parents had found him laying in his bed with a dead fawn, with its throat ripped out, on the floor. Maikyl was covered in blood with pieces of fur still matted to Maikyl’s face.
When they took him to the village healer, the healer immediately told his parents that it was possible that they had been raising an Elpa. Maikyl’s parents were ultra-traditionalists and didn’t believe that their son could be one of the Great Wolf’s chosen. After they had tried to him ‘purified’ of the ‘evil influence’, the village healer suggested that they send Maikyl to the Lodge to be dealt with and punished as necessary.
Arriving at the Lodge, Maikyl presented himself to one of the Lodge Guard and gave her his scroll from the village healer. The guard read the scroll and then escorted him to the Lodge’s medicine man. The medicine man examined him from head to toe, noting the contents of the scroll that had been given to the guard and also the sealed scroll that had been sent from the village healer.
After two hours of examinations and questioning, the Lodge’s medicine man took Maikyl to the Medicine Elder and gave him his report on Maikyl. The Medicine Elder examined Maikyl and came to the same conclusion as the village healer and the Lodge’s medicine man, Maikyl appeared to be chosen by the Great Wolf to be an Elpa. Maikyl’s tour of the Lodge continued as he was taken to the Most Revered Elpa, the leader of Talija.
Maikyl had heard his leader’s name mentioned enough times to recognize it. When he was introduced in his presence, Maikyl dropped to his knees and bowed his head as far as he could without falling over. He did not move from that position until Ryaj tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to stand. Maikyl looked up sheepishly and saw the Sovereign of Talija standing over him. He slowly stood up while the entire time, his mind was running in overdrive – I’m going to die for disrespecting him!
“Maikyl of Farmdale! You are younger than I would have expected for one who had been chosen by the Great Wolf. No matter, the Wolf moves in the shadows of its own accord. Have you supped yet?” Ryaj asked as he motioned Maikyl to come closer to his throne.
“N-n-n-no. I have not your…” Maikyl froze in terror as he realized that he didn’t know how to address the leader of his people, “yo-yo-your…” but he was interrupted by Ryaj.
“Maikyl, it’s okay. You can call me Ryaj.” the Sovereign said comfortingly.
“Yes Ry-ay.” Maikyl stammered over the name. Only the High Elpas chosen and tested by the Great Wolf had names that ended with a ‘j’, it wasn’t a sound normally used by commoners, Elpas were normally referred by their title and not by their name as they were considered to no longer be mere mortals, but instruments of the Great Wolf himself.
“Now Maikyl, we should get you cleaned up and fed so that we can talk this evening.” he said with a smile. Ryaj turned to his court and asked two of his advisors to take Maikyl to the bath house and have him dressed in new clean clothes. If he was an Elpa, he needed to be dressed like it and learn his path.
Ryaj looked around his throne room and let out a sigh. Surrounded by rock walls with no windows, he felt disconnected from the land and his people. He understood the need to keep him safe but at what cost? What good as a leader who remained separated from his subjects?
Ryaj decided then and there that when Maikyl returned, they would walk through the Lodge and through Trimont. If Maikyl truly an Elpa, he would need to be exposed to all of Talijali society.
It was almost an hour later when Maikyl returned, dressed in the best furs that could be found in his size. He was already a tall boy, almost five feet tall at age 11. Broad shouldered with a slim waist, he had the build of a wolf. Ryaj smiled to himself, I do believe he is an Elpa. He may even be our next leader. As he thought about it, Ryaj felt warm breath on his neck and the unmistakeable howl of wolves signaling their agreement.
After their walk, Maikyl was taken to the Priory which, from that day, would be his new home. Once settled in to his room, Maikyl laid down and fell asleep. A calm sleep where his dreams were filled with him running with a pack of wolves.
Maikyl soon grew into a growing young man, comfortable within the confines of the priory. He accepted that he was meant to be an Elpa and the teachings of the Wolf. He was warm and kind, quickly becoming one of the favorites of the priors and also of the commoners who came into the priory for spiritual or physical nourishment. After being selected to be part of the Sovereign’s Chosen, he eschewed the bright blue cincture of the Chosen. He explained it to the Head Prior that he felt it took him further away from the people he was supposed to helping.
He graduated from the priory during his eighteenth summer and was selected to stay in Trimont in the Sovereign’s Chosen, which he accepted. It was six years later that the dreams started. At first, he didn’t notice it but as the year went on, the pack alpha became slower and was unable to lead the pack. Before long, he was dreaming that the alpha had left and he had become the alpha. He was leading the pack now.
In the fall of his twenty-fourth year, Ryaj fell ill and on his deathbed nominated Maikyl to replace him as the leader of Talija.
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