Oske had lost herself. The snows had fallen forty feet deep, and the trees were half covered. The snow blindness had driven her to her knees, and she figured she would freeze to death in a few more minutes. The winds rushed, beating her senseless, and she buried herself further into her cloak. Her eyelashes had thickened, coated with snowflakes. A distinct deja vu set in, and she thought the tree in front of her looked familiar. Perhaps she had already done a turn in this part of the forest. Unknowingly, she had been walking in circles, waiting to die.
In the treeline a wolf howled, somber and colder than the wind. It was close, too close, she thought grimly. These Fereldan wolves had no pity for a small Dalish mage lost in the woods. She was too cold, and the magic froze at her fingertips, whisking away on the frostbitten air. What she would have given to summon the cold the way Vivienne and Solas could, and not for the first time, a wave of inadequacy wracked her body. Her ears flattened, her body’s response to the true chill settling in her bones. A growl came from behind her, but she could not tell anything beyond that. She reached for her staff, and cursed. Of course she didn’t have it.
It was no surprise when he arrived. He came in the form of someone she trusted beyond a doubt, as the old stories said he would. Solas, her confidant and advisor, stood impossibly before her, and she knew that it was not who it appeared to be. It was ironic, however, that he would take the form of someone who did not believe the Dalish legends. But then again, he was a trickster, the clever god, the one who walked the world alone; he was beholden to no man. She thought of the old saying: I am a wolf and no trap ensnares me, I am myself. And there he was.
As a little girl, she had sat at the edge of the campfire begging for stories of the Dread Wolf and his exploits. The Keeper in her old clan, Tinashae, reluctantly plied her with a story or two each night, hoping that it would send her off to bed scared. The first story had her jumping at every shadow, but the next few did quite the opposite. They emboldened her. Oske used him as her imaginary friend, her woodland guardian, her guide through the dark. With his imagined protection, she ventured further into the woods, beyond the borders of her clan, and with the prompting of his stories, tried her wits for the first time. She lied and cheated and deceived when she could, and when she could not, she would be brutally honest. When the others quietly prayed to June and Sylaise, to Mythal and Andruil, she prayed to Fen’harel. The Keeper’s threats of being eaten up did nothing to discourage her from her foolishness. Much later, she learned why the Keeper had been so easily frightened. Fen’harel’s gifts were always two pronged arrows. His boons were curses, his friendship suspect, and his help a hindrance. He was too clever for his own good.
“Ah, a little fox stuck in a trap,” he said, his voice like sugar cane on a hot day. She drank it up. “Would you like some help, da’len?” She laughed, shaking her head. Her high voice shaking was from the cold, her breath puffing out smoke like a dragon. “My keeper taught me better than that, Dread Wolf, but I’ll admit, I am in a bind,” she said, clutching her cloak tighter. He cocked his head to the side, eyeing her intently, his gray eyes piercing into her soul. Solas had blue eyes, she faintly remembered. The snow seemed to sway beneath her feet, and she brought a hand down to steady herself. He advanced, feet unnaturally light on the snow. He was a wolf, and snows would not keep him from his prey.
“I don’t have anything you want,” she said, not waiting for him to reach her. What could she give the Dread Wolf that he could not take? She heard the crunch of footsteps on the snow. It was strange to hear. She thought he’d be silent. “I doubt that very much,” he said with a chuckle, eyes flicking brightly in the darkness.
He circled around her body, sizing her up, and he cut through the dark woods like a machete. “I must admit, I would love a taste of you,” he said. Her hackles raised. She could not fight. She could barely breathe. He settled down next to her, brushing her hair off her face, clearing the snow that had settled. Flinching away, she shivered, and resolved to not give in to his seduction. He spoke quietly, all sharp teeth close to her ear, as if spreading gossip at a party, drawing her even closer to him.
“If I do taste you, partake of you, other men will be a pale imitation, a facsimile, and you will feel no pleasure. You will close your eyes and think of me. I can promise you that.” A primal response stirred within her body, mirroring his movements she tilted her head to match his. Her weakness shown through. That is why he had shown himself to her as Solas, the one she would take as a lover, if she could. He knew what she wanted.
“You want me?” she asked, mouth moving without her body’s consent. He smiled, and ran his thumb gently over her throat. She did not believe him. The Dread Wolf was, above all, a liar. He came to you in a form you would trust, deceived you for his own gain, and finally, when all hope was lost, taught you a lesson. There was no alternative.
“I do,” he said. His icy hand wrapped around her throat, as strong as her father’s ironbark bow. He pushed her back into the tree behind her, bark scraping her head, and she was caught. Her vision swam, the edges of her reality blackened. She spluttered, crossbow shots in the dark, and panic set in. Fingers pulled at his hand desperately, but his vice grip would not budge. He chuckled, drawing his other hand along her collarbones, deft fingers searching for her warmth. She grew nauseous. “You don’t have to fight. I wish to possess you. And you want me, too. I hear the rhythm of your pulse, the tumult of your mind, the smell of your arousal betwixt your legs. Say it.” And there it was, a command. His grip lightened, enough for her to speak. The sweet relief of air hit her, and she sputtered for a moment. The world swam, a sea of black and white going topsy-turvy.
“Fuck you,” she choked. He laughed, drawing her closer and kissing her closed mouth. He drew back, satisfied and bloody, having ravaged her lips with his teeth. “Youth is wasted on the young,” he said, pushing her face first into the snow. Fear struck her, bloody and blind, too weak to rise. All she knew was the desperate thump of her heart as it kept living, despite the odds and the unfortunate consequences. She had survived an explosion, a time traveling wizard, an immortal maniac and his pet dragon, and an avalanche. She would survive this.
She of all the People knew the tales of Fen’harel, all the stories and tidbits, and she knew his weakness. Of all the stories in which he featured, he helped those who asked for his help.
“Fen’harel,” she said, drawing up on her elbows,” please tell me how to defeat the Magister.” She could not see him, but he was there beside her. He barked out a laugh. “Only a dragon can kill a dragon,” he said,” so become a dragon.” She nodded sagely, and thanked him, rolling over to her back and submitting to him. He was a wolf, and he acted like it. Smoothly and surely he unbuttoned her blouse, too light for the weather, this snowstorm and the evacuation and the fight for her life had been a surprise, and she had not dressed accordingly. He looked at her breasts as one does a particularly nice piece of steak in a market stall, calculation and envy clouding his gaze. He ran his thumb lightly over her already hard nipple, and her sensitive nerves lit aflame. She closed her eyes and bared her throat to him, submitting fully, and she heard his sharp intake of breath. So gods could be surprised, too. He hummed in his pleasure.
“What are you waiting for, Dread Wolf?” she asked, icy hands fumbling with the laces of her trousers. He looked at her. “I’m waiting for you to speak it into existence,” he said. Frustrated, she let out a whine like a bitch in heat. “I already have!” she groaned, attempting to pull him down with her. He tilted his head again, and looked at her with an air of curiosity. “Oh?” he asked. It came out in a tumble, an avalanche of half-remembered embarrassments.
“When I was a girl I used to go to the statue...your statue outside of camp and pray to it every day, about everything, and one day I heard Mirana praying to the shrine of Elgar’nan for you know...sex and I thought I might as well pray to you. So I did and you didn’t respond and so I thought that all the men in the clan were awful and so I asked you to be with me.” Her speech ended, she gazed up at him in defiance, jaw squared. He sat for a minute. “What did your prayer consist of?” he asked, grinning wolfishly. She blushed, and it felt like everything from the tips of her ears to her toes had turned pink. “Do you remember?” he asked, pushing for an answer. She did remember.
“I, ah, touched myself,” she said, diplomatically. A smile lit up his face. Or rather, Solas’ face. It was all very confusing to her throbbing womanhood. She idly wondered what Solas, or any casual observer, might think. “And imagined that it was me, I presume?” the god said, biting his lower lip with a sharp tooth for a moment. He looked boyish, and not quite like the destroyer of worlds and bringer of nightmares that he truly was. He certainly acted younger than the usual inhabitant of that particular body. They sat there for a long while, winds howling, but Oske did not feel the cold bite of the snow any longer. Instead, she felt hunger.
“What did you do,” he asked, examining one of his fingernails casually. He reached out his hand and brushed it along her shivering torso, leaving a trail of heat that felt like wildfire. She rocked under his touch and almost begged him to fuck her. “Did you do this,” he said, burying three of his fingers in her tight, aching cunt without any preamble. The pleasure mixed with pain. She had not taken anything in her cunt since her hunting partner died.
He wasn’t being gentle, but then again, what could have been expected from the Dread Wolf? She was wordless, frantic under his touch. He pushed her down into the snow again, hand wrapped around her throat snugly, as if it was made for it, as his other hand fucked her violently. His eyes closed and his mouth slightly open, she saw the outline of his arousal. Grabbing for his cock, she stroked the outside of his leather breeches. He let her continue for a minute, before deciding against it. Choking her harder, he managed to loosen her grip on his member, and he pushed her back into the snow. His fingers never stopped their work, and she was close to completion. Her cloak had twisted around, and as a result, her bare ass was laying on the snowbank, numbing her. She had started babbling, incomprehensible bits of Elvhen and the common tongue, and the world stretched too tight. As if sensing her growing orgasm, he stopped, still inside her, but unmoving.
She begged. She pleaded. She offered him her soul. She tried to ground against the heel of his palm anyway. All he did was laugh at her. “You know, you never did ask the right question,” he said, licking his lips. She was breathless again, but for an entirely different reason. “What question?” she asked. “You should have asked me how a little fox gets out of a trap,” he said, gaze roaming over her cunt. She had no time for games, with only one thing on her mind. “How, how does a fox get out of a trap?”
“They gnaw their own leg off,” he said, smiling. He kissed her, and she relished the feeling of his domination. But it did not continue, for one of his ears twitched, and his hand left her hot cunt with a slick noise. As quickly as he arrived, he was gone. She sat, trembling hotly, feeling herself sizzle through the snow. She heard the growl too late.
The wolf leapt at her, maw bared and gnashing, striking her violently. Claws ripped her flesh, and she felt the cold bite of blood. She fell through the snowbank and jumped off the pillow, waking in a cold sweat, hands trembling, cunt aching. She heard a soft cluck, and whipped her head to the sound. He sat on her divan, sketching in his small book, and gazed up at her with his sharp gray eyes. He huffed softly and rose to meet her. “Sleep well, da’len?”