It is spring in the North.
Though snow still chokes the mountains, and many of mountain passes are still dangerous to travel.
Life is returning.
Standing on an outcropping is a large man. Though grey streaks both his hair, and beard, he still looks as if he could take on a host of men with just his sword. Lounging in the sun, is a grey wolf. Though the years have been many, she looks as sharp as ever. Well, if she was not busy sleeping in the warm spring sun.
As the old man makes his way toward his King, he notices Børæn holds a wolf cub. The cub sleeps, while Børæn gently strokes the cub’s head. The old man, once again thinks that Børæn is like the weather, just when you think the storm will never break, it does, and a gentleness caresses the land.
“Perhaps Børæn is a true worshiper of the goddess Me’sha,” thinks the man. “Maybe he is correct, the goddess is like the tribe, and she mirrors us.”
“I hear you Merkitä Muistiin,” rumbles Børæn.
“If I wanted to surprise you boy, I could. I would laugh as I gut you where you stand.”
Børæn laughs, and the laughter rolls across the valley. “I see age have not dulled your words Orpo. Come old one, stand with me, your presence is always welcomed. Besides, Talvi likes you, and if I tried to stop you, she would bite my ass.”
Hearing her name, Talvi picks her head up, and barks as if in agreement. The two men laugh.
The old man walks to Børæn’s side, and notices the wolf cub.
“So Talvi has picked your new guide?”
“Yes, this little one will learn from his mother, and on his naming day, he will take het role. We will hunt together. Though Talvi is tired, and I know the time nears, I would hunt by her side till my life expires,” Børæn says with a hint of sadness. “This little one will have a large trail to follow. His mother’s lore is long. She would not have chosen him if she thought he would not be her equal.”
Talvi barks in agreement, and once again puts her head down and enjoys the warm spring sun.
Silence deepens, and the two men stand, looking out over the valley and enjoying the warming Spring sun. From here they see some of the tribe beginning to till the fields so the summer crops can be planted. They see the trappers and hunters returning from a week of clearing and laying traps. The notice the growing contingent of Me’sha’s priests aiding the preparation of the planting. Orpo, even after all these years cannot believe the changes Børæn has brought. The Wolf Tribe is strong, stronger than it has ever been. Though many bristled at the change Børæn brought, they all agree that the changes did not weaken them, but forged them into something stronger.
“So you had questions Orpo, ask them.”
Clearing his throat, the old man speaks: “I wanted to talk to you about Irecia and the battle at the Keep which saved the men and the great victory you were a participant. I know you told me it was after this battle that you and Talvi took a blood oath to clear the city of Chaos’ taint. What was the fight like?”
Stroking the sleeping wolf cub, Børæn thinks for a moment.
“My companions and a host of men rode to the city. We killed 30 orc. We rescued the men. We lost the Keep,” Børæn states in a matter-of-fact tone.
Shaking his head Orpo asks: “What of the battle? What of the plans? Details young one, details!”
“We rode to the city. We set fire to the grassland to cause confusion and cover our attack. My companions and I killed 30 orc and rescued the men.”
Again Orpo shakes his head, “You are such a tiring…”
Børæn turns to face the old man. Anger darken his face, and Børæn’s gaze flames with flame.
“We lost. We allowed the Orcs to win, even though we rescued the men. We allowed the Chaos of Irecia to fester. Instead of devising a plan to enter the city, some decided to prattle about their God and convert the simple. The so called noble Southerners retreated to their soft homes and decided to do what they always do: talk, plan, talk, plan, and avoid the correct decision. That decision was to plan and enter the city. So, no my friend, this was not a victory. It was defeat, and I allowed my honor to take a backseat to the softness of others.”
Orpo, looks at Børæn, and sees something he only saw in the man when he was a child: regret. The anger is a mask of the shame this proud man has, and it is obvious that he, even now, is still sadden by the events. Orpo, once again is surprised by the depth of Børæn’s soul. He wishes his King would drop his mask, and let his true personalty shine. Placing an aged hand on the Børæn’s arm, Orpo looks to man, who was once a headstrong youth.
“Let the shame go my friend. Do not be like your father who let his shame and ego nearly destroy this tribe. Your shame is not a weakness, it is the lessons that help guided, and still guide you along your true path. The past is called the past for a reason. Remember what I have always told you: It is not the what if, but the because. Because you rescued those men, what were the events after this?”
The old man turns and begins to walk away.
“When will you stop teaching me Orpo?” asks Børæn simply.
“When you stop acting like a child my friend. When you stop acting liking a child,” chuckles Orpo as he leaves.
The wolf cub wakes, stretches, licks Børæn’s face, and then nestles himself back into Børæn’s arms.
Børæn, still stands, looking across the valley.