“The winds of fate are blowing Maikyl. It is obvious but also perplexing.” Benjyl said quietly while delivering the second of the twins.
Almost fifty hours into labor and Kevyl had only delivered two children. One boy and one girl, both appearing to have Maikyl’s height but Kevyl’s build based on their long gangly limbs.
Outside, the wind was whipping across the grasslands and the livestock had either sought shelter or were seeking it now. The wind had picked up a biting coldness.
Several hours had passed and, in spite of the continuing contractions, Kevyl was resting quietly. Benjyl and Maikyl had been talking to Mauria. Mauria, the mid-wife, was growing more concerned as Kevyl’s contractions had not gone away.
The evening of the third day of labor came and started covering Talija with its greyness that faded out the colours of the Lodge; Maikyl saw that a large, and still growing, crowd had gathered in front of the Lodge as if they expected an impending announcement.
Mauria had left the tower after a few minutes to be by Kevyl’s side and it was her shout out to Maikyl and Benjyl that brought them running.
Entering the royal bedchamber, they were greeted by Kevyl laying on the bed, with a swaddled babe on each nipple and a she-wolf laying on the floor of the alcove closest to him suckling seven wolf pups.
As Maikyl saw the she-wolf, he dropped to his knees. As his knees hit the stone floor, he heard what sounded like a laughing howl from the she-wolf.
“Arise my son!” came a growl from behind him.
All turned to face the source of the growl and saw a dire wolf towering over them all.
Maikyl felt his knee buckle and dropped with it to the floor. He had heard the voice of the Great Wolf and even felt its breath on his neck, but never had he seen the Great Wolf.
“Arise Maikaj. I have already told you to arise once. The she-wolf is a part of me. She is nursing your pups.” said the Great Wolf as Maikyl’s head snapped around to Mauria who nodded silently.
“You have two children and seven wolf pups that you are responsible for rearing. The pups will be companions for the two children as well as Maikaj, Benjyl, Mauria, Brojyl, and Kevaj.” Maikyl’s mouth came open for a moment as he tried to say something but was stunned silent as he realized that Kevyl has been accepted by the Great Wolf had had been addressed with the honorific that was traditionally reserved for the Elpas of the Lodge.
“Yes, my sons and daughters, Kevyaj is now one of you. Maikaj and Kevaj came together in love, both away from their own families and traditions. Together, they have started a new pack and a new set of traditions in my name. A new set of traditions and ceremonies will be known soon to those who follow me.”
“Maikaj and Kevaj will have the natural betas as their companions. The children will have the alphas, to teach them the ways of love and of the wolf. Brojyl will have a male wolf to help him with protecting the pack of Talija. Mauria will have a companion to help her with giving birth to humans and wolves alike. Finally, Benjyl, you will have a companion who will help his tending to the less fortunate of the pack.”
The room was absolutely silent except for the occasional suckling sounds of the newborns.
Kevyl sat up in the bed, “Oh Great Wolf,” he began reverently, “I give thanks to you for accepting me as one of your children. I have much to learn of the ways of Taljia and of You. However, I must respectfully decline one of the wolf pups.”
As he finished, there was a collective gasp from those assembled in the room. The last thing any of them had expected was the refusal of a gift from the Great Wolf.
“Kevaj, I know your doubts and your mistrust of your own parenting. You don’t seem to understand, the pups are your children and the children are your pups.” As the Great Wolf stopped speaking, Kevyl saw the two infants transform into wolf pups and looked over at the she-wolf to see the six pups turn into human infants.
“You see Kevaj and Maikaj, your children, nine in all, are a shaman’s gift.”
Maikyl felt a strange sensation and found himself thinking about…
Suddenly, he stood there on four paws. He scampered over to the she-wolf and smelled her only to find that she had no scent but the infants all smelled of him and Kevyl. He bounded over to Kevyl and found that the pups smelled the exact same way and the smell of Kevyl was even more powerful.
Maikyl’s long celebratory howl filled the room joined in equal harmony by the Great Wolf and in lower voices by the others in the room.
The crowd assembled outside the Lodge knew what the howl meant, the birth was complete and all was well in the Lodge. It had been three long days of waiting for the people of both Talija and Pamnyki.
The coming days would bring the news of the birth of nine new leaders for Talija and Pamnyki and of the new path they would be following in the name of the Great Wolf.
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