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Authors: J. Aislynn D' Merricksson

Lady of Wolves (Evalyce Worldshaper Book 2)

BOOK: Lady of Wolves (Evalyce Worldshaper Book 2)
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Table of Contents

Lady of Wolves

Evalyce - Worldshaper Book 2

J. Aislynn D' Merricksson

Copyright (C) 2015 J. Aislynn D' Merricksson

Layout Copyright (C) 2015 by Creativia

Published 2015 by Creativia

eBook design by Creativia (www.creativia.org)

Cover art by http://www.thecovercollection.com/

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the author's permission.

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This book is dedicated those who are my life-blood
and strong, loving support:
To Brother Wildfire and Mercurius Greyeyes, my deepest inspirations.
To Jonas Merricksson, twice lucky one, my callowayla.
To Beth Finley, who inspired me to open the door to De Sikkari.
To Michael Calabrase, Goshen, my soul-mate and nemesis.
To Chris and Brandi Gore, anamcara and truest of friends.

To John and Sam Owens, my steady and strong support.

To Anish and Tania, who helped make this possible!
To my family of heart and soul,
To my blood-family and
To my bond-family-
There are far too many of you to name here! I love you all the same, each and every one.
In loving memory of Nina Clark
who taught me my own Dance
and fostered in me a love of learning.
May the One who is All And Nothing
forever guide your steps.
Nasmala!

Claiming Consort
Arkaddia, Evalyce, Year of the Mythril Serpent, 2014 CE

Kalla woke wrapped in the scent of cinnamon, frankincense and fox. Her muzzy mind finally managed to register that it was because Aleister was asleep beside her, one arm curled protectively around her. She could tell by fading scents of woodsmoke and fire that Vander and Amaterasu had been close by as well. The latter two scents were dispersing so they must have been gone for a little while at least. Casting her mind in search of the frost wolf, she found that the pair were out hunting, despite the rain that still drummed the shields in a drowsy downpour. She growled to herself, not quite sure how she felt about having the Arkaddian so close and not as
kitsune
.

She growled again and Aleister shifted in his sleep, hugging her tighter. Kalla's next growl was deep and ominous, rumbling between them. The Fox's eyes snapped open and he scrambled back. Despite sensing her irritation, a slow grin brightened Aleister's face and he focused shining eyes on his mage.

“Dare I even ask?” Kalla muttered. She had vague memories of returning from Xibalba, none of them very good. The mage's brows furrowed as she realized she was still clutching the case containing the Quill.

“You weren't responsive when we brought you back. You… ah… you would only keep quiet if I kept contact with you. I do apologize, milady.” Aleister's lilting voice was laced with apprehension, as if he expected her to lash out angrily. He ran a hand through his hair, lowering that bright focused gaze. Even so, she sensed that her apparent recovery served as a balm to his fear of chastisement.

“You did as you had to. There can be no offense in that.” Kalla shook her head. “Was I really that bad off?”

“Lord Araun said that the locks on your power had closed, that we were seeing how his test really affected you. He said that you were waking Divinity.” Here Aleister paused, looking down at his hands in his lap before glancing back up at the mage. “Do you remember anything?” he asked softly.

Kalla frowned. Her memories from the journeying and thereafter were murky and indistinct. Vague images of a city of tents, a white hound with red ears and a whistle flitted through her mind, followed by the burning sapphire gaze of the Lord of Living Nightmare. She reached into her robes and, from a hidden pocket, pulled out the whistle Araun had given her. Some three inches long, it was carved in the likeness of the ghilan. She tucked it away again.

“I remember little. I traveled to Ishkar, I believe. Lord Araun… turned the man into a hunting hound, white with red ears. One of the Coinn Iotair. He said the man would not remember his stay in Xibalba. I remember that we won the Quill and he gave me the whistle to call the Wild Hunt if I was in need.” She paused, as the memories became clearer.

“He also said that we could not enter Ganysha's realm until I claimed the aspect of Lady of Wolves.

“He called me Amaraaq, the same thing Vander and Dogin called me. I thought it meant 'Mother of Wolves', but now I'm not so sure. I need to ask Vander when he returns. I can only assume it has something to do with the new-found power I have. I understand what Araun meant when he told you the 'locks on my power had closed'. Since Balgeras touched me, I have felt them. I have no control over them, yet, when they are open I am not the same. I am Kalla and yet, I am not,” she said.

“I'm not sure about traveling to Ishkar, but the rest is accurate. I believe you may be right. Lord Araun addressed you as Amaraaq more as a name, than a title.

“I am glad you're better now, milady. I had planned to return to Cryshal, to let Hauss heal you, if you didn't improve. Vander said that in such cases, a Healer was needed.” Aleister gave a rueful laugh. “You are stubborn, milady. Stubborn and strong-willed.”

“I also remember… Araun called you Inaba Kaze… Was that your name before?” she asked. Aleister lowered his gaze once more and remained silent for a moment.

“Yes. Inaba was my family name. Kaze is my given name. I shed them after I left and took the name Aleister Balflear after your father took me in,” he replied.

“I had wondered. Your name is so very
not
Arkaddian. Kaze means 'wind' does it not?” She smiled at his nod. “How very appropriate that you ended up as the Sky Fox, then.” The mage's voice was gentle and her thoughts told Aleister she would push no further into his past.

“What will we do now, milady?”

“I will try to see if I can scry the location of Ganysha's realm. It probably won't work, but it won't hurt either. I have no idea how to become the Lady of Wolves. Perhaps Ganysha would answer a prayer for guidance.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the return of Vander and Amaterasu. The pair had eaten already and were content to curl up around the campfire that still smoldered gently in its stone circle. While Aleister went to fetch food for Kalla and himself, the mage turned her attention to Vander.

“Vander, when I rescued you from the Nameless, you called me 'Amaraaq'. Dashkele ti'amaraaq. Dogin called me the same thing. I had thought it meant 'Mother of Wolves', yet Lord Araun used it as a name more than a title. What does Amaraaq itself mean?” she asked. The frost wolf squirmed uncomfortably as he tried to figure out how to answer.


It… is the name of Kituk's daughter,
” he said slowly.

“I don't understand. Kituk is the Wolf God who created your people, is he not?” she asked.


Yes. It is said that when the Old Wolf is ready to depart, then his daughter will walk this world. She will awaken to take his place.

“And you think Kalla is the daughter of Kituk?” Aleister asked as he rejoined them. Kalla took part of the dishes and food so she could help him make breakfast as she talked.


After Balgeras touched us, yes. I could sense the difference. I do not 'think' it to be true now. I know it to be true. The mark proves it. Besides…Lord Araun called her that also,
” Vander replied. Kalla sighed, struggling to make sense of his words.

“How does the mark prove it?” she asked.


It is said that Amaraaq will be known to her people by the mark she bears upon her brow. A single crescent for the Mother and two for the Lady. The double crescents will be joined by a star when Empress be claimed. You bear the single crescent. You are Mother of Wolves,
” the frost wolf said.

“If that be true, then how can she claim Lady of Wolves?” Aleister asked. The wolf squirmed again, covering his muzzle with his paws.


I don't know, Dashtela. I wish I knew,
” Vander replied. Kalla paused for a moment, thoughtful.

“And what do the legends say of Kituk, as Lord of Wolves?” she asked. Vander rolled his bright blue eyes up at her.


The title of Lord of Wolves shows up only in those stories in which Kituk's Consort plays a part. She is not mentioned in all of them. This is the form associated with… this time… now. From the Winter Solstice to Inngyar. The time during which life once more begins to flourish. From Inngyar to the Summer Harvest belongs to the Father and from the Summer Harvest til the Solstice comes again, that is the time of the Emperor.

“Consort? I've never heard of the Dashmari having any other god, save Kituk, but I admit a lack of knowledge in that area,” Kalla said.


Lady Arvynn is not a deity. She is a demi-deity, though we do look to her in matters of compassion and mercy. Women, too, will look to Arvynn in matters regarding childbirth and the raising of children. She is known as the Queen of Snows and rules over the snow kitsune that dwell in the mountains of Dashmar,
” said Vander.

Kalla absently accepted a plate of food from Aleister. She picked at it for a moment, mulling over the frost wolf's words.

“So, Aryvnn would be the mother of Amaraaq, correct?” she asked slowly. Vander nodded.


Yes, Dashkele. As such things are reckoned, she is the mother of Amaraaq,
” the wolf replied. The mage finished breakfast with a distracted air, disappearing into the ship once done.

Both magisters stayed where they were. Kalla's thoughts were chaotic, but they could sense enough to know that she didn't want company or intrusions into her musings. Soon after, they sensed that the mage had settled into the half-state that marked a journeying, a state neither awake nor completely asleep. Minutes drifted past, piling into hours and still Kalla didn't return. The others amused themselves by telling stories until hunger drove the wolf and wyvern back out to hunt.

Dusk was settling around the camp when Kalla came back to herself with a flash of irritation. She snorted at her magisters' questioning thoughts, though they knew better than to give them voice. The mage had spent the whole of the day seeking answers and finding none. Not how to reach Ganysha, nor how to facilitate the necessary transition. Over the next two days Kalla tried various other methods of information seeking, from crystalscrying to dowsing to more journeying.

With Amaterasu's help, she carried out another firescrying, which showed them scenes of events happening now, but didn't clue her in on what she needed to know. They did, unfortunately, learn that the storms over Arkaddia were worse (as if they couldn't tell), that the desert consuming Rang'moori was larger every day, that more storms raged over Inkanata, turning the sands to quicksand, and over Ne Ramerides, turning it into a frozen wasteland, while volcanoes tore Su Ramerides apart. Quakes in Dashmar caused landslide after landslide. Most distressing was the fact that tidal waves had completely obliterated the Copper Islands.

Kalla sighed as she pondered what to do next. Her prayers to Ganysha, and even to Kituk, had gone unanswered so far. She yawned, realizing that she should sleep, yet sleep had been hard to come by the past two days. No matter how hard she tried, she only managed to toss and turn and when she did manage to sleep, nightmares plagued her. The first night, she had slept outside, beneath the warmth of the wyvern's wing, with the fox and wolf curled up beside her. Though the magisters hadn't said anything, Kalla knew that her fretful sleep had kept them from sleeping and so, on the second night, she slept in her quarters within the ship, hoping that the gentle swinging of the hammock would lull her to sleep. No such luck. She'd only managed to snarl herself in it when she'd had a particularly bad dream.

With a murmur, Kalla excused herself from her place by the fire and went back to the
Stymphalian
. Regarding the hammock, she sighed and changed it back to a bed, bigger than the one that had been there. If she slept against the wall, hopefully another bad dream wouldn't put her on the floor again. She shrugged out of her robes and hung them on a wall-peg near the bed, then changed into a new set of clothes. It was a matter of thought to make the old set clean and she stashed them back in her pack. She climbed under the covers and squished herself against the wall.

Three hours later Kalla wanted to scream in frustration. She had only managed to sleep half an hour, at most, and even that had not been restful. A part of her wished that alcohol had a greater effect on magi, for she was willing to try anything to sleep at this point. A soft noise caused her to roll over to face the door. She frowned and conjured a globe of light just as a fox face poked around the corner. Aleister narrowed his eyes against the glow of the magelight, ears twitching uncertainly.

“Yes?” she asked.


I can't sleep. I keep having bad dreams. May I stay here, on the floor?
” The magister's mindvoice was subdued, braced for a refusal. He blinked in puzzlement when she patted the covers.

“You don't have to sleep in the floor…” she said wearily. Relief and gratitude flooded her mind as he jumped lightly up onto the bed and leapt over her. He curled up at her back, pinning the covers down, and quickly fell asleep beside her.

Kalla jerked awake with a thin whimper. She'd had another nightmare. Though she couldn't remember them, the dreams left her in a cold sweat. Beside her, Aleister stirred awake, whether from his own bad dreams or because of her she didn't know. Concern blossomed in the link as she whimpered again, trying to push the nameless fear away.

The fox nuzzled her back and Kalla suddenly found that she wanted the more comforting presence of the Fox. She wanted to be held again, to be wrapped in a sense of safety.

“Change, please,” she whispered.


You… want me to change? To be human?
” The magister's voice was hesitant.

“Please,” she said softly. He was still for a moment, then Kalla felt the heavier weight of his human form pin more of the blankets down. He seemed to know what she wanted, for he curled around her, hugging her close. She shivered, despite his warmth and the blankets wrapped around her.


Are you okay, milady?
” Aleister asked quietly, mindvoice still full of concern. She shook her head.

“I… I'll be fine,” she replied. His thoughts said he didn't quite believe her, but he let it be. He murmured softly, whispered words she didn't understand and it took her a moment to realize that he was singing, in his native Arkaddian. Though she couldn't understand the words, his lilting cadence soon lulled her into a more restful sleep. It was some time after before the magister managed to drift to sleep once more.

* * *

Snow crunched under Kalla's feet and she blinked in surprise as she woke to find herself in a forest glade. Winter reigned supreme here, wherever here was. Ice coated the tree limbs, turning them into shimmering prisms. Despite all of this, the mage was not cold and so knew she was dreaming. She froze as a great, black frost wolf melted out of the surrounding trees, silent as the shadows. The wolf was huge, standing taller than Kalla herself. Beside him padded a snow fox, almost as large but with more delicate features, a kitsune of an altogether different breed. Kalla stumbled back, eyes wide. She could only guess that this was Kituk and the Lady Arvynn. Laughter rippled through her mind as the fox stepped closer.

That would be correct, little Wolf.
A distinctly feminine voice, musical and soft. The voice of Amaraaq's mother.

BOOK: Lady of Wolves (Evalyce Worldshaper Book 2)
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