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Once Upon a Wolf

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There once was a newly appointed baron who lived on the edge of the king's territory, a reward for fighting so valiantly in the king's wars. This Baron Stilinski had a beautiful wife and a young son who he loved very much and was grateful to get to live out his life with them. Sadly his wife took ill and his son became sullen and withdrawn. On the night his wife's illness took her, his son ran from the castle and was seen by peasants entering the dark forest. Near mad with grief, the king ordered his men into the forest to look for his son, but an ice storm came upon them and halted their pace.

A young dire wolf came upon the shivering man-child in the forest. Despite how delicious it smelled, the wolf took pity on the creature and laid himself over the child to protect it from the ice storm for it had no fur of its own. When the baron's soldiers found them the next day they feared the creature would harm the child, but the boy simply slipped his arms around the wolf's neck and demanded that no harm should come to the creature. Despite his father's insistence that a castle was no place for a wolf, let alone a dire wolf, the boy refused to be separated from the beast. The boy named him Hail, after the storm the animal had shielded him from.

The boy grew older and the wolf grew larger, until it was greater than the size of any man in the kingdom. The boy had decided to forgo his birth name and demanded that everyone refer to him as "Stiles". His father thought it was improper to give up one's birth name, but his son's happiness was more important than propriety. As for the wolf, it had grown on the baron, for he could not imagine any of his men guarding his delicate son as loyally and ferociously as Hail did.

As years went by, the baron remarried, and with his new wife came two step-sons, Jackson and Isaac, both handsome and fierce fighters. As Stiles came of age, the baron decided that it was time for his son to marry. Lady Lydia, the daughter of a local viscount, was of marrying age so the two men arranged for their children to meet. Though Stiles found her to be very beautiful, her temperament was not fitting for him and he told his father not to proceed with the arrangements.

"There is nothing the Lady Lydia likes more than her own reflection, she is better suited to Jackson for they share a love of mirrors."

The baron took his son's words into advisement and Lydia and Jackson were soon wed. When word came that the king's youngest son Prince Daniel was seeking a husband, the baron packed up Stiles and Isaac and rode with them to court. The baron presented Stiles to the king and his son. The king seemed delighted at the idea of the union for he was quite fond of Baron Stilinski. The two young men enjoyed riding together and Prince Daniel even became fond of Hail, to the king's dismay, but Stiles did not feel the fire of love there, only friendship. He told his father not to proceed with the arrangements.

"Prince Daniel is fair indeed, but don't you see that his eyes are not for me? He clearly favors Isaac."

It was true that the prince had become quite smitten with young Lord Isaac and they were soon married to much rejoicing in the kingdom, for Prince Danny was loved by all. The only one not happy was the baron for he had failed again to find a mate for his son. His troubles became well known throughout the barony and he was approached by the swordsmith Argent. The swordsmith's daughter was the fairest girl in all the land and her father wanted her to marry above her station. The baron hastily agreed to the marriage without consulting Stiles. When Stiles did meet the girl he agreed she was surely the fairest in all the land, but Stiles could sense that her heart was elsewhere.

"Tell me your true heart," Stiles demanded of her.

"I love the healer's son Scott, but my father won't allow it for he has no lands."

Stiles confronted his father and refused the marriage, much to the rage of the swordsmith. His daughter ran off with the healer's son and they were married in a meadow by the druid Deaton. The swordsmith vowed vengeance on Stiles and his wolf for his slight. The baron was at his wits end, surely his beloved son's behavior would send him to an early grave.

"I have tried to find you a mate all over this kingdom, from the king's son to the swordsmith's daughter, yet none of them suit your temperament!"

"Father don't you see that I am happy with just Hail and I?"

"As much as you love him, Hail is a beast and can never be a proper spouse. I will find you a bride or groom if I have to separate you from that wolf to do it."

This filled young Lord Stiles with such grief that he took to his bed barely eating. The wolf never leaving his side as he grew frailer and frailer. The healer warned the baron that the young lord might not survive a fortnight should he not improve. The baron and his barony fell into despair.

On the night of the full moon Hail left his young sleeping lord and snuck out of the castle and into the fields. He howled at the moon, crying out to her.

"Why do you cry to me?" asked the moon of the wolf.

"My beloved and I are to be separated for I am a beast and not a man," said Hail. "I wish I were a man so that I could stay with him forever."

"Your love is strong and I can see that it fills all your heart. Dance for me," said the moon. "And I will grant your wish."

The wolf leap and he sprang. He danced for sorrow and joy, for love and heartache. He danced all night until the moon was disappearing below the horizon.

"I will use the strength of your love to make you a man," said the moon. "But you must come to me every month when I am at my brightest and dance for me again."

"I will! I will!" yelped Hail.

And with that the moon turned Hail into a man.

Hail ran as fast as he could through the last minutes of night, back to the castle, bounding up the steps, and into his beloved's bedchamber. He leapt onto Stiles bed startling him awake.

"Who are you!?!" cried Stiles. "You must leave now or my dearest wolf will soon dispatch you!"

"It is I! It is Hail!" cried the man. "The one who loves you with all his heart!"

"How can this be? Hail is a wolf, not a man!" Then Stiles looked into Hail's eyes and saw the truth, for his eyes were the eyes of a wolf.

The baron was initially uncertain of the man his son presented to him, but the love and devotion he showed to his son won him over. Hail also proved himself to be the greatest fighter in all of the land, with the strength of twenty men and no sword could slay him. He knew a warrior this strong would make a fine husband and protect his son well once Stiles inherited his lands.

"Hail is no name for a man," said the baron to his son. "Why don't we call him Peter?"

"I don't like that name," said Stiles. "If I must give him another name it shall be Derek."

"Then I shall be Derek," said Hail with a smile.

They soon married and the strength of their love became the envy of all in the land. Anyone who dared challenge the baron found their armies quickly dismantled by the warrior Derek Hail and his men. Years passed and the baron began to grow frail. He called his son and son-in-law to him.

"Please Stiles, son of my blood, I beg of you to find a surrogate and give me a grandchild before I die."

"Father, I can't imagine creating life with anyone but Hail," said Stiles. "It would not be a child of love."

"Then I shall die without grandchildren and my line will end with you," weeped the baron.

"I have an idea," said Hail to his love. "Come with me this month to see the moon."

On a clear summer night, Stiles accompanied his love as he want to dance for the moon.

"Dear moon," called out Stiles. "You have given me my true love, but we cannot have a child together for we are both male. Would you please give us a child of our flesh?"

The moon gazed upon the two and saw that their love was pure. "If I do this you and your child must come to me every month as wolves and dance for me."

"I will! I will!" shouted Stiles.

"Now pierce your skin with your beloved's teeth and give me some of your heart's blood. Then return in a month and I will give you a child," said the moon.

Hail bit into his beloved's flesh and Stiles blood dripped to the ground. Stiles became a wolf and they danced all night to show the moon the love in their hearts.

When they returned the next month the moon presented them with a son and they danced around the pup with yelps of delight. When morning came, they once again became men and brought their infant son so present to the baron, who was overjoyed to have a grandson of his own. Stiles and Hail could not have been happier and their union was cherished by all in the land.

And every month, when the moon was at its brightest, they all danced for the moon as wolves.