The man's words went unheeded and the dark shadows that raced across the ground quickened their pursuit. The only evidence they had been there was the paw prints in the pristine white snow that quickly faded as more snow fell in the cold wasteland. The man who had yelled the warning shook his head and knew he'd never see the two people who had run again. You never run in the City Of Wolves. Everybody knew that or should.
The wolves would never hurt a being, but if you ran the curse kicked in and they had to follow. No one knew who had cursed the wolves, but everyone knew why. It was in all the history books. Wolf King Deliro or as the humans named him, The Mad Wolf King, had gone crazy and started hunting humans during the beginning of the Border Wars. Which had been the Wars at the beginning of the country's making.
Know one knew why he went crazy or why he hunted humans. Everyone had speculated that The Mad Wolf King had wanted more land, but he had always been suspiscious of that. Wolves never wanted more land unless they needed it and they didn't like interacting with other species. When he had stated that more than once, people had just looked at him with disbeleif and a look of censure in their eyes. And then they had stated that maybe normal wolves, but Wolf King Deliro had gone mad.
He came out of his thoughts as he heard more rustling to his right. Looking over, he saw yellow eyes glowing from the darkness. A couple of wolves appeared and looked at him with cocked heads. They expected him to run like everyone else.
"I know better than to run from harmless beings." He stated with some dryness coloring his tone.
He watched with amusements as the wolves came up to him and circled, getting his scent and learning him. Then they backed off and let a single wolf come forward. He was big, all wolves were, but this one was bigger than most. Most wolves came up his chest, this one topped his head by a good two inches. He looked up slightly into the trademark yellow eyes of a wolf. His were a darker yellow, almost a burnt gold, than the others.
"What do you want great wolf?"
The wolf lowered his head to below the humans and showed him his neck. Around his neck was a white collar that stood out against his deep black fur. Embedded in the white metal were the words, Only By Royal Blood Are Thy Freed.
The man reached out and touched the collar with his fingertips. It was warm beneath his skin and the great wolf's body trembled at the contact. He felt the magic the burned from the words. The curse roiled at the contact with human skin.
"You are Wolf King now, then?"
A slight dip of the ruffled head signified a affirmative to the question.
"So, the only way to break the curse is if a royal does it then?"
Again the dip of the head.
"So, more than likely, you will remain cursed forever."
This time it was a statement but the head dip appeared anyway, though this time a snarl accompanied it. The man didn't take offense for he knew the snarl was for their predicament not the words he'd said.
"Then you have my deepest apolagies. No being, be they man or animal should be so caged. Escpecially if they did nothing to deserve it."
The man dropped his hand and the wolf raised his head and looked down at the fearless human before him. He shook out his fur and circled the human male standing straight and letting the wolf do as he wished. After about three circles, the Wolf King raised his head and howled. The wolves surrounding him immediately took up positions around the camp the man had made. The Wolf King then loped over to the man's tent and stretched out beside it.
The man stood in shock as the wolves behavior. They disliked strangers on their territory. And humans were even worse. That they had decided to protect him was a shock and an homor. But the man didn't thank the wolves because he knew it would hurt their pride. Wolves were prideful beings and being used as a protection was galling. Not to mention against their protocol.
After a moment, the man turned and walked into his tent and got himself ready for sleep. He listened to wolves breathing outside as he drifted off. Something about these great creatures both sorrowed him and overjoyed him. For he had been accepted by the wolves. But he now knew their great sorrow at being caged so horribly. Maybe one day, he thought as sleep claimed, they will be as free as the wind, as they are supposed to be.