I had decided to avoid the roads today, choosing to run through the woods in the form of my wolf. With each step I stretched my legs further, reaching, and though I had not been home in three quarter centuries my feet knew the way. Learning to conduct the energy of life was no small task, and many had failed over the course of the challenges. My hard work had come to its completion and I was returning home to present myself to the Alpha. She would decide where in our clan I was best suited to serve. I looked forward to being assigned and beginning the work I had spent most of my first century preparing for.
It felt good to run, the final weeks of training had been rigorous and had allowed for little time spent doing anything outside of study and practice. Three days ago I had completed my final challenge and received my last rune. There were no more lessons, no more long nights practicing, no more challenges. While I was sure Fenrir would continue to bless me with knowledge of his people, I felt lighter than I had in 75 years. The sun beat down and the wind whipped through my fur and it felt as if Skoll himself ran beside me, as we chased the sun into the horizon and toward the home that felt like a distant memory.
It was the job of the healer to care for all parts of his people. The hamr, or physical body, was the most obvious part of course. I had been trained in setting bones and staving off infections and fevers of all kinds. I knew which herbs would help settle a stomach and which would help empty it. This was the most practical application of my skills, yet it did not take three quarter centuries to learn these. The hugr, the spirit of Fenrir’s children, was infinitely more complex. A lycan existed in two physical forms, the human and the wolf, yet the spirit was one. Discord in the hugr could be brought about in many ways, left too long it could have devastating effects on a lycan. A lycan living without their wolf would never feel whole, they would live a half life. Many expanded their hugr around their first quarter century, led by the wise warriors of the tribe they learned to shift into their wolf and then began training for whatever way they would serve the clan. Some began working alongside the farmers, some trained as warriors to protect the clan from Ulfhednar and other outsiders. I had left my home for Thviti and begun training as a healer.
Solsilva came into view as the sun began to go down. As I approached, I shifted into my human form and pulled a pair of trousers from the bag that wrapped around my chest. I pulled the trousers on and wrapped my calves in wool wraps. I pulled soft leather shoes from the bag and put them on. I pulled my kyrtill over the scars of runes that circled my torso. The proof that my studies were complete. Slinging my bag over my back I stood tall and proud, I had left this village still a green boy and now I was ready to serve my clan as a healer and a man full grown.
I scanned the horizon for the dome of the temple in the fading light. It would only be appropriate to first leave an offering to Fenrir and the other ancestors, that they would bless my return and grant me wisdom in my work. From there I would inquire about the whereabouts of the alpha’s longhouse. People greeted me as I passed by, though I doubted many recognized me. My family had not lived in Solsilva when I was a pup, my parents were farmers and lived in a village farther south. We had visited often, though. Solsilva was the center of our clan and the solstice ceremonies occurred here as well as all major celebrations. There was also, of course, the temple.
The air was full of voices and the smell of cook fires. In the distance someone was singing and raucous laughter burst out of a longhouse as I passed by. Something about being here felt right, fated almost. I had a sense of being precisely where I was supposed to be. I breathed deeply, filling my lungs with the smell of home.
As I approached the rotunda I placed my left hand on the door frame where the wood was worn smooth from the hands of my clan passing through. I walked into the smokey gloom of the domed building. Everything was as I remembered it, the fire burned in the center of the room and Fenrir’s likeness stood across it, carved in wood and dominating the space. He was dark with age and soot, sitting on the folds of gleipnir and the hand of tyr. The polished jet eyes reflected the flames of the fire and I climbed the steps, kneeling before the flames. The robed wise warrior came from the shadows carrying a knife. They handed it to me and I sliced my palm, holding up a fist and watching my blood drip into the fire, silhouetted in the bright flames.
I silently beseeched Fenrir and the wise ones that had gone before, for their guidance on my path. I wanted to ensure they knew my deep desire to serve our clan, to help build the strength of our people, and to be a strength of our people. I asked to be blessed with the wisdom to know what to do with all the knowledge I had been given. I asked for health and happiness for my future charges. I asked that I would have the strength to meet the demands of the task ahead of me. I held my hand open, releasing my prayers to the world. I watched the cut on my hand slowly close and looked up into those jet eyes.