Photo via Visual Hunt
Helena scratched behind Aso’s ears as her father continued yelling. It’s okay, Aso. He’s going to wind down soon. He always does, Helena told the wolf through their telepathic bond.
His scent is different today, Wolf Sister. I do not like it, Aso replied. Her hackle were up and she was growling softly.
“Helena, I have decided you must marry,” her father said, turning his attention on his youngest daughter.
“I’m a Wolf Sister, Father,” Helena said. “I’m not allowed to marry.”
“That’s easy enough to resolve,” her father said. He smiled a cruel smile. “Your little bitch will be sent to the village tanner and turned into a pelt. She’ll make a fine rug for your new house.”
“You can’t do that,” Helena said. “You’ll destroy my mind if you do.”
“So? You’ll still be alive. You don’t need a mind to produce children,” her father said. “I’ve already explained that to the man I’ve chosen. He’s perfectly happy to hire someone to care for you.” He moved towards them with a rope in his hands.
Run, Wolf Sister, Aso said. She lunged forward and tore at Helena’s father’s leg. He yelled in pain as the wolf tore the muscles in his leg. He went down.
Helena dashed out the door, followed swiftly by her wolf. The two of them ran out of the town and headed for the one place that no one would follow them – Wolf Peak. The wolf packs roamed freely there, and many Wolf Sisters lived in the dens with their wolf partners as they preferred separation from humans.
She could hear shouting behind her. She glanced over her shoulder. Several of the Hunters had been mobilized along with the city guard. She recognized them because they were wearing the colors of the forest. We have to hurry, Aso. If they catch us, we both die.
The path is not far, and we two are the only ones who can find it, no matter how hard they seek, Aso said. She kept her stride even with Helena’s, even though she could easily outpace her human partner.
Helena ignored the stitch in her side. She wasn’t going to let anyone kill Aso. The two of them had been together since Helena was five. Wolves typically didn’t live long, but Wolf Sisters bestowed their lifespans on their partners. At twenty five, Helena was still fairly young by human standards and Aso was ancient by wolf standards.
The first arrow passed by her ear a few minutes later. It stuck in a tree at the edge of the forest as Helena and Aso entered it. Where is it, Aso? Where is the path? I can’t see it yet and they’re getting closer.
I can smell it, Wolf Sister, Aso said. Do not fear. We will be there soon. Helena cried out as an arrow pierced her left shoulder. She sobbed as she ripped it out, the barbed head doing more damage coming out than it had going in. Wolf Sister, we must stop. They cannot see your blood before the path or they will find it.
How much time before they are upon us? Helena asked as she stopped.
It will be several minutes. They have lost our trail, Aso said.
Helena’s hands were shaking, and her left hand was almost useless as she used her belt knife to cut several strips of fabric from her long tunic. She bound her shoulder as best as she could. Do you see any blood dripping from my shoulder? she asked.
Aso paced around her. No, but you cannot take the arrow with you. It will give us away.
I also can’t leave it here. If they have one of the Trackers among the Hunters, they’ll use their magic to find us. They’ll find the path that way as well, Helena said.
Keep running towards those large rocks and give me the arrow, Aso said. I will be with you again shortly. Helena did as she was told. Aso slipped deeper into the woods as Helena resumed her mad dash towards safety.
Aso caught up to her just before she hit the clearing where the rocks were. Where do we go from here? Helena asked.
Follow me and I will lead you to true freedom, Aso said. She surged ahead of her human sister. She ran into a gap between two very tall rocks and vanished.
Helena could still hear Aso inside her mind. The mountains were too far away, yet Wolf Sisters appeared in her town as if the mountain were only a short distance from it. She took a deep breath and plunged through the same gap.
She staggered a little as she passed through a magical gate. Cold air washed over her face. Hands caught her as her legs buckled under her. “Be easy, Wolf Sister. You are safe,” a gentle voice said.
Aso sat near her, panting from the exertion of running. She was surrounded by several other wolves. Helena looked up into the face of the woman who held her. Soft red curls fell over a badly scarred face. “Thank you,” Helena said.
She was taken to a cave where her wound was properly treated. She was given some clean clothes and food. Once she was feeling better, she and Aso began exploring their new home. They climbed to the top of one of the peaks and sat down. Helena stared out over the green forest below.
This is where we belong, Aso said. Not trapped in a cage.
I agree, Helena said, wrapping her arm around Aso. We are home.