Chapters 1 & 2
“She seems interested. Shall we share her tonight, brother?”
Erik’s words rip through my belly, burning my insides with rage.
I have shared women before, but never had I thought about sharing Sybil.
I take a sip of the ale in my mug; the froth decorating the top lip of my blonde beard. The warmth of the fire and ale spreading from my cheeks to my limbs as I watch Sybil sprawled on the furs below us.
Her face full of sharp edges and soft curves, much like a statue.
She locks eyes with mine and a low growl leaves my throat, watching the pulse beat in her neck. We have bedded many times, and my cock stirs against my thigh as I recount the things she does to me with her mouth.
I lean back against the table and take in her long, golden limbs. She was tall for a woman, to be sure, but we were all the same size laying down. My fingers itched to touch her skin.
“She’s no’ looking at you.” I take a slow drag of my ale, letting it dribble down my beard, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.
He scoffs, tossing back his mug and finishing it with a loud swallow. I turn back to Sybil, who watches me closely. I grin in her direction, the wolf inside me panting in approval.
I wanted to kneel before her and worship her body… but not with Erik here. I was more than enough as a lover; my powerful body fought in battle the same way I fucked in the furs- with passion.
My body, spent from the day’s battle, and it is a day to celebrate victory like men.
Some say fucking and fighting went hand in hand. It seemed Erik felt the same.
The day I took the oath to Odin, and vowed my courage to him, was the day I was born, Fenrir the warrior.
Erik may be my brother on the battlefield, but Erik harbored a jealousy of me he never truly tried to hide. And yet it seemed now we had yet another way to compete.
This woman- was my woman.
Sybil was pissed drunk, three mugs of ale and she is half undressed atop my furs- her smock unbound, her shoulders and tops of her breasts exposed.
Erik lingered long after the celebration, and his smugness bothered me as he reclined beside me. Turning to me, elbows resting on the table; he returns his gaze to Sybil. “Fen seems to think you don’t like me… but I think you do.” he smiles and there’s a glint in his eyes that I don’t much care for.
My wolf growls in agreement, a low rumble in my chest.
Sybil’s stares, her laugh filling the hut. “I’ve always wanted to take two warriors to bed. He is rather handsome, Fen, don’t you agree?” She kneels, crawling on all fours… crawling to him.
I feel the change inside of me rushing to the surface. Rage that she would even consider this embarrassment at her teasing.
Never would I consider another, only you.
Betrayal burns my eyes, and I slam them shut- the heat from the fire consuming me until my body splinters and stretches, fur sprouting over my growing body. My snout snaps and cracks as it lengthens, my head swinging from side to side. Crouching down, I am three times their size as they both look up at me in horror. In one violent motion, I clamp down on Erik’s neck in a blur.
Didn’t he know better than to anger Fenrir the Wolf? Had he not seen the beast in battle? He knew what I carried inside me, and he still taunted me- and now he will meet his death.
Erik’s cries and pleading fill my back turned ears. Warm blood gushing over my tongue and drips down my jaw. I shake out his body, silencing his futile pleas. I shake harder, bones snapping and flesh smearing the walls. Sybil’s screams stop me for a moment, a shoulder and arm hanging from my teeth. I see my shadow, large and looming in the fire’s light- a terror, an animal, a beast.
Any hope that Sybil could ever love me died with Erik this night. I am only left with the question that has haunted me my entire life- what kind of maiden could ever love a beast like me?
“Bless me father, for I have sinned,” I say, lightly, glancing at my grandmother for approval.
She nods, as I say the words- ever so grateful for my complying nature.
I kneel, the candles before me in a row of fire… but it is not a fire I may touch.
I count each one, two, three, four…
One for each of the souls to pass in our family. Although we are to worship a God we cannot see, we shall always remember our kin- that made perfect sense to me.
Whispers of Evil and contention pass through the church each time my mother and I pass by, my Gran determined to extinguish these rumors like an ember under a foot.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
I recite these words each time I come here; it seems to be the only prayer that makes any sense to me.
Gran’s God was a judgmental one; a force beyond what is tangible to us, and even when I questioned her, her God knew no mercy for anyone who did not obey His word. And the days I did not obey… I was punished with fervor.
But why can’t I question him? Why is He the one we follow?
If there was anything she chastised me the most for, it was my questions.
The small church down the cobblestone pathway from home held many secrets, feeling the pressure on my bones each time we came.
The men from my father’s flock line the back wall, standing in a perfectly straight line, watching everyone that enters.
Their eyes always linger the longest on my mother, Annabelle.
It is still unclear to me how my parents came together, but I know Gran forced them into marriage when she found that my mother was with child.
My mother and father were always fighting, and the sounds that came from their room late those nights- only confused me.
When I questioned my mother about such things, I always got the same answer.
We are just different.
If I was different, did that mean I was bad?
...second half of chapter available on release day! February 16 2022
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