As night began to fall, I sensed a stirring in the air that felt familiar yet distant in memory.
We stepped out of Ahanu’s home. Rick held open the door as we all passed under his arm. Adonis led us out into the frosted night.
The grass was tipped with glittering ice. Lamplight coming from the humble homes around us made reflections of gold dance around the white. The sky was tinged dark purple, orange blazing in a symphony of light. The chilled wind rustled the trees of the woods surrounding the reservation.
A fire burned in the distance.
Distant figures of people were sitting around it. I followed close as Sam clutched my hand. Our fingers intertwined as we ventured over to the small group of people that made up what was left of the lost Lupus tribe. There was a hum of power in the air, encompassed in the silence.
I sensed Halona’s presence behind me, and I turned to look back at her. She gave me an encouraging smile, though I could feel something foreboding about it. Even her warmth was quenched by the shadowed cold of the night. She was somber. Serious.
“Welcome.” Ahanu’s voice was loud and present as he came forward to greet the pack. Adonis stopped us, stepping forward to meet him. He put his fist over his heart, bowing his head in the shaman’s presence.
Ahanu smiled kindly. “Rise, child of the moon. You are honored here.”
Adonis rose at Ahanu’s words as Ahanu raised his hands. He looked at each of us. Les and Paul had joined the group not long before our departure from Ahanu’s home. Paul stood near me, his breath coloring the night with steam that escaped like smoke from his lips. Ahanu’s gaze seemed to linger on the two of them, before he spoke again.
The other members of the Lupus tribe- women, men, children – all parted for us to surround the fire. I met eyes with a woman whose hair hung long down to her waist. She clutched a dark-headed baby at her hip. She nodded her head in reverence towards me.
Thoroughly humbled, I followed Sam toward the blazing bonfire. It seemed to grow in strength as we neared it, as though our power was echoed in its flames. I put together that this gathering of the tribe was a farewell to us, a well-wishing as the pack’s conquest commenced.
We would need all of the magic that we could get.
Ahanu came to stand at the center of the loose circle that the pack had made. The members of the tribe had made a larger circle around us, their numbers few yet strong. I saw men who bulged in size, tattoos on their skin. Strong-jawed women with long hair and raven eyes. Children holding hands with their parents and grandparents. Elders with graying hair. It seemed that the whole world was contained right there in that humble meeting place, the magic fire blazing and filling up the night with its color.
Ahanu’s eyes rested on Adonis. Adonis’ topaz stare was as strong as ever- the true spirit of the Alpha could be seen in his very soul. His true strength was conveyed in his every breath, his spirit seeming to merge with his mortal existence as it gleamed and shimmered subtly around him in the frosted dark.
“Alpha. Leader of many. We bless you.”
Ahanu spoke in the ancient Lupus language. I translated this quickly in my head. Ahanu closed his eyes, reaching a hand out to touch Adonis’ forehead. Adonis closed his eyes as well. I could feel the group stilling, their souls reaching out to merge with all of ours, Adonis the convergence point of all.
Halona came from her spot near me to stand with Ahanu. The fire danced off of her face, her hair, her eyes. She looked beautiful with magic, her robes flowing out from her. She placed her hand on Adonis’ chest.
Miraculously, I could hear Adonis’ heartbeat mirrored within my own.
The sound was loud and apparent, ricocheting through my brain. Halona muttered along with Ahanu, their voices blending in a sweet symphony of sound that traveled through all of us. With Adonis’ blessing came all of ours as well. He was the pack in itself. He embodied all of us in his very flesh, his very soul. The power was strong in the air, thick like humidity.
I heard Sam gasp from beside me.
I didn’t dare break my concentration from the group that had gathered around Adonis. I tuned in to our imprint, my heart continuing to beat in sync with Adonis’. Sam was startled, but he felt no pain. I could tell that much. It seemed that his soul was glowing out from him as well- a web of silver in the fading day. He could feel the magic being injected into Adonis very clearly- their connection had ensured that. I felt the familiar crackle of the Alpha-Beta bond in the winter air. I breathed deeply. The magic had touched everyone in that little group of people.
All of the other members of the pack had their eyes zeroed in on Adonis. Some of their bodies trembled with the impact of the magic. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the illumination of their souls in the air, shimmering around their bodies. It was a curiously beautiful sight. Colors danced like aurora borealis in the night.
Looking to Adonis, I stared with shock ricocheting through my body. His spirit that had manifested from him was that of a wolf.
The shimmering essence of his soul had separated from his body in the form of a large wolf, its head tilted up to the moon. It glowed with power. I was in absolute awe of it.
It sat beside him as though it were his pet. I could sense the strength that the animal embodied. I remembered the cold night that Adonis had appeared in my backyard. The cold fear, yet the warm familiarity, that I had felt upon seeing it. I felt these same feelings as I laid my eyes on this spirit creature.
With amazement, I realized that all of the members of the Lupus tribe were whispering the mumbled words as well, along with Halona and Ahanu. The fire had grown in strength, the flames becoming higher and higher up towards the sky. It crackled and groaned.
The power was a crescendo around us, consumed by the silent night.
I felt a wave of calm come over me as I realized that all of our souls had manifested beside us as well- our own wolf-spirits. I tore my eyes away from Adonis, letting the magic surround me as the words wove through my head and through my body. I nearly cried tears of joy as I laid eyes on the golden spirit of the wolf that sat beside me. It stared at me with intelligent eyes, its light illuminating the frosted ground below us.
“Hello.” I whispered, my lips parted in awe.
The wolf stared up at me, then turned its attention to the wolf that had manifested beside Sam. His wolf-spirit was silver in color. They met eyes, staring at each other with the same quiet reverence.
I was blown away as I looked up to Adonis, whose wolf-spirit had grown as bright as the moon itself. It glowed with power, Adonis’ head bowed as he continued to be swelled by the magic words protruding from Halona and Ahanu’s lips as they blessed him. Blessed all of us.
I could feel that same strength surging within myself.
I felt alive.
Suddenly, as soon as their beautiful words had begun, they ceased.
Ahanu’s voice was all that I could hear.
“Spirits, go forth.” His voice boomed with a quiet power, the moon having risen in the sky. The Change was upon us.
And with one stroke, I could feel my skin slipping away from my body, the last thing that I saw the golden aura of my wolf spirit, heat and power and magic consuming my body as I bared myself to it and we, at long last, became one.
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