Haven followed the woman into a small village camped out around a small lake, it was too small to be considered a lake but too big to be called a pond. Houses of all sizes were set up all around the clearing and inside the caves that dotted the hill side had home built within them as well.
People of all ages were running around and going about their lives and doing chores. A few stopped and stared as Haven passed though Yuna gave them a quick glare and they bowed quickly and went on about their business.
Yuna led Haven to a large two story home that didn’t look as temporary as the other homes. Though this one was still built off the ground, Haven’s home was sort of like that too it’s foundation was hollow and built off the ground in case of flooding. The homes here were built on stakes and Haven’s was more stable than that. During the rainy season the nearby river tends to over flow even with all the dams that have been put in place.
A tall man was standing on the porch of this particular home watching as Haven and Yuna approached. His black hair was short and trimmed while the shorter man next to him had longer hair and it was dark blond. He wore a tight collar around his neck and stood slightly behind the taller man.
“Alpha Blaine,” Yuna bowed in greeting Haven looked at her and tried copying her movements. The taller man nodded. “Alpha Kai,” Yuna greeted again and the shorter man nodded as he watched Haven carefully.
“Yuna, what did I say about bringing strays home?” Alpha Blaine questioned.
“Sir, we came across the Fairy Hunt trespassing on our land and attacked we found him after the fact.” Yuna explained shifting nervously and keeping her gaze down.
“The Fairy Hunt knows better than to come close to our land let alone enter it.” Alpha Kai said with a thoughtful frown.
“Well the child was with them.”
“Is he Fea?” A black wolf asked as it walked out of the house both Alphas’ looked over to it. “Zevi,” Alpha Kai said simply as Haven just stared at the dog that talked. Haven looked at all of them and opened his mouth to talk and ask if anyone else herd the wolf but Alpha Blaine spoke first.
“The Fairy Hunt hasn’t been abducting children for generations.” He crossed his arms across his chest. “What’s your name, boy?” He directed the question towards Haven but Yuna was the one to answer.
“He said it was Jace. He hasn’t said anything else.” Alpha Blaine looked at her quietly for a moment then turned to Alpha Kai.
“What do you think we should do?” Alpha Kai looked over to Haven who was looking down at the ground with his hand in his jacket’s pockets and shuffling his feet in the dirt.
“Take him to the healers, have him cleaned up and give him a hot meal. See if you can get any more information out of him in the process.” Alpha Blaine said. Yuna nodded and touched Haven’s shoulder.
“Let’s go kiddo.” Haven nodded and followed her. Haven followed Yuna but slowed every time he caught a glimpse of a wolf. They seemed to be everywhere in the village and nobody was freaking out about it. Haven tried getting Yuna’s attention about it but she seemed lost in her own mind and wasn’t paying attention.
The Healer’s was smaller than the home they’d just been at but it was still really big. The man with orange hair who called himself River was there with a woman who was tending to a girl who looked like she’d been mauled by one of the huge wolves just wondering around town.
She had large gashes and bites marks all over her body and was bleeding badly but she didn’t look like she was in much pain she was sitting on one of the many beds in the room as the woman treated her wounds.
River looked over and stood up when Yuna and Haven entered. “Alpha Blaine wants you to give the kid a bath and something to eat.” Yuna told him. River looked haven over and nodded.
“I can do that.” The woman tending to the girl looked over and smiled warmly that’s when Haven noticed her ears weren’t human they were pointed and furry like a dogs.
“Hello young one.” She greeted Haven stared at her and noticed River and the wounded girl also had the weird dog ears and tails to match. Haven just stared instead of responding.
“He doesn’t talk.” Yuna said.
“Oh that’s a shame.” The woman said with a quiet sympathetic frown.
“No, he can talk it’s just he doesn’t.” Yuna clarified and the smile returned to the woman’s face.
“Is that so?” Yuna nodded in response then looked at River. “I’ll leave him in your hands then?” River nodded.
“Leave it to me I’ll have him squeaky clean with a full belly by the end of the day.” Yuna gave a quick smirk and left. Haven looked up to River who touched Haven’s forehead and ran his fingers through his hair. “Geez you really are dirty.” He said pulling a few leaves out of the mess that is Haven’s hair.
River took him up the hills to a bunch of natural hot springs. River helped Haven undress he grabbed the bottom of Haven’s shirt and yanked it off. River froze when he saw Haven’s birthmark. Haven didn’t notice as he struggled to get off his pants, he always had problems with the button.
“Where did you get this?” River asked carefully touching the mark. Haven looked up at him and frowned.
“I’ve always had it. Mommy says I was born with it.” River stared into Haven’s eyes for a moment before helping him finished getting undressed. River washed out the dirt and muck in Haven’s hair and on his skin. The water was nice and warm and had a calming effect.
“What are you?” Haven asked looking up at River whose ears were folded back like a dog that was concentrating really hard.
“What do you mean, I’m human.”
“But your ears are so weird and you have a tail, humans don’t have tails.” Haven insisted as he pointed them out.
“That’s because I’m not a normal human.” River explained.
“You killed the men on the ponies.” Haven told him, “You were a dog and chomped on them.” Haven snapped his jaw a few times.
“I’m not a dog, I’m a wolf.” River said sternly.
“A woof,” Haven repeated but couldn’t get the l right. River frowned and said, “Right…”
River took Haven back to the village after he helped him dry off and get changed into a clean pair of cloths. The villagers still stopped and stared at Haven as he passed by on his way back to the Healer’s. Haven looked down and frowned, he didn’t like all the attention. He didn’t like being looked at like he was some kind of side show at the circus.
River held the door open for Haven as they walked back into the Healer’s house. The girl was gone by then. A rich smell of gravy and cooking meet filled the empty rooms, making Haven’s stomach growl in protest. River lead Haven into a large kitchen most likely meant for a lot of people. The woman didn’t even look over as she greeted them.
“I hope you’re hungry, I tend to make a lot of food. It’s a habit of mine.” She glanced over then as River pulled a chair out from under the long dining room table for Haven to sit in. Haven said nothing to her but thanked River.
“So he can talk, that’s good. I’m sure you have a lot to tell us about your adventures with the Fairy Hunt.” River walked over to the woman as she said that and said something quietly to her that Haven didn’t catch. The woman’s smile faded and she glanced over to Haven, “Really?” River nodded.
“Yeah, right under his ribs,” River answered glancing over to Haven as well.
“Is he, really?” The woman wondered aloud and River shrugged in response. “We’ll need to take him to the Elders to know for sure.”
“I want to go home.” Haven spoke up then. The woman smiled and walked over to Haven; she kneeled down and took his hands in her.
“I know sweetie but none of us can take you yet, Hunting Season won’t be over for another six days. You can go home then.”
“Hunting Season, what’s that?” Haven asked and noticed how both the woman and River tensed.
“My name is Charity, what’s yours?” She asked completely avoiding the question.
“Jace,” Haven told her with a frown but Charity smiled.
“Are you hungry Jace?” Haven just stared at her however his stomach took that moment of silence to voice its hunger again. Charity chuckled and stood up; she fixed him a bowl of whatever she’d been making and handed it to him. Haven ate it reluctantly at first until he tasted how delicious it was.
Later that day Alpha Blaine showed up while River was showing Haven about different herbs that could be found in the forest and what they did. Charity talked with Alpha Blaine while River tried distracting Haven. Haven picked up a few words they were saying even though River was trying to keep him occupied.
“He’s got the mark.” Charity said thoughtfully.
“What mark?” Alpha Blaine questioned as he glanced over to Haven who quickly looked back to River.
“He’s got the mark Alpha Blaine the cycle has started again.” Charity said urgently. Alpha Blaine looked over to Haven again watching him thoughtfully.
“The cycle, are you sure?”
“Not completely, I want to take him to the elders to make sure.” She explained with a shrug. Alpha Blaine watched her.
“No, he stays here until Hunting Season is over you’ll take him home. The cycle doesn’t need to start if we don’t allow it.” Charity gasped and moved to object. “No, we’re having enough problems with our neighbors we can’t have this distracting us.” Alpha Blaine said before she could say anything and walked away before Charity could object any farther. Charity sighed and looked over to River and Haven who’d both gone quiet and were watching her.
Charity sighed and gave a hesitant smile. River frowned at her for a moment before turning back to Haven. “It’s time for bed little one.” He said and stood up.“Okay.” Haven agreed with a quick nod.