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Maria had just returned home from work and was settling into her comfy chair. Charlie didn’t bother knocking.

“Come and see who came out of the forest today,” Charlie said excitedly.

“Is it Erdo?” Maria asked. She hadn’t seen him for quite a while and would love to.

“It’s not a ‘he’,” said Charlie enjoying the suspense. She pointed to her back door. “She was very hungry and has a leg injury. I don’t know how long she has been wandering around the forest.” There on the mat lay a dog. She was clearly tired but got on her feet as Maria approached. “Isn’t she a beautiful German shepherd, Maria? A few days rest and some food and she will be magnificent.”

Maria stopped walking, “Charlie, that’s not a German shepherd. It’s a wolf.”

“Don’t be ridiculous;” said Charlie, “we don’t have wolves in our forest.” Maria and Charlie shared many things but some things Maria kept to herself. It was not only a wolf; it was Sage, Galahad’s mate, from the North Country. Maria could see from Sage’s eyes that she recognised her. Perhaps, Sage came to find her. She followed Maria back to her shed and, much to Charlie’s disappointment, would not leave Maria’s side again.

Sage refused to be left at home in the mornings and travelled with Maria to Waldmeer Corner Store and Cafe. Maria had the uneasy feeling that keeping a wolf as a domestic pet was doomed to failure but she was so thrilled to have her that she wouldn’t allow herself to think about it.

“You stay in the back area,” she would say to Sage as she headed back into the cafe. Sage would sit obediently but, sometimes, Maria would check on her and she would be gone. The fences were high. It was a mighty jump but Sage was used to the wild country up north and a fence would certainly be no problem. Sage seemed to be scouting for something and when she couldn’t find it, she would return to the cafe and try again later. This happened for several weeks. She was agile and adept at keeping a low profile so that no one seemed to even notice that there was a wolf in their midst.

One day, Sage was gone for longer than normal and Maria started to worry. Eventually, she returned but she looked different. She pulled on Maria’s hand to open the gate and follow her. She seemed to have found what she was looking for. She took Maria past her parent’s house and then stopped outside Farkas’s house. Maria’s heart sank. Sage looked calmly into her eyes.

“All right, girl,” said Maria, “do as you must.”

Farkas was in the process of his final packing as the Reisendens were taking possession of the house tomorrow. His door was open. Sage went inside with one last backwards look to Maria. The door closed after her. Maria walked back down the hill slowly. She didn’t come for me. She came for Farkas. He needs her more than me, sighed Maria.

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