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Of Barbarians and Men

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By the evening, clouds embraced the sky as the steady, damp wind blew from the coast. The wind carried smells dulled by the frost — salt, seaweed, wet seal fur and rotten driftwood. A human's nose would scarcely perceive these, yet they weaved a familiar pattern for a wolf.

He was running, bold and smooth, the snow's crust cracking under his weight and occasional snowflakes sticking to his fur. The blizzard was heading his way and he could feel it as clearly as he could hear seagulls crying in the bazaar or the surf whispering in the bay. It would not be long before the snowstorm swallowed the land and the sky, silencing the birds and hiding the light of the Little Brother.

He hoped he could hunt before it actually reached their land.

As the wind caressed him, the familiar scents of the pre-winter tundra brought along other, strange ones; foreign and sharp.

The hairs on his back rose as he dipped to the frozen ground. Words — from an ancient life, human life — swirled in his head, giving names to the foreign scents: "iron", "coal", "oil". "Ship".

The beast wished he could run away immediately, not coming back until the dangerous scents went away with whatever brought them here, yet the human stayed. He figured out it'd take the ship less than a day to arrive. Leaving just enough time for a hunt.