16 November, 2014 by katelaity
Bisclavret rose with a sense of foreboding. It was probably nothing more than the heaviness of the late meal which weighed upon his limbs and spirit. Returning to human form always jarred him for a while as he accustomed himself once more to the shape of his flesh. Funny that he did not suffer any disorientation when he awoke in wolf form. Or if he did it was forgotten.
“Is my lady about?” he asked his men as they dressed him and he took a sip of ale. He did not hunger as usual and waved away the plate thrust upon him.
“Your lady has gone on her morning ride, my lord,” Felix told him with a frown as he fussed with the buttons on his cotehardie. “She was greatly disturbed by the wolves. It was she who first came across the sheep they had slaughtered. It seemed to affect her deeply.”
Bisclavret sighed. “I did not think her so squeamish of a little blood.”
Felix gave a short, sharp laugh. “I think fine ladies must be more delicate than rough men. We forget their delicate natures.”
“Have you a wife, Felix?” Bisclavret asked.
“No, my lord.”
“I have sisters,” Bisclavret told him. “Delicate was not the word for them. As children they were far more daring than I in feats of bravery. But they were sent off to the convent in Fleury. Perhaps they are more genteel now.”
“Doubtless, they are, my lord.”
“But if they had not gone,” Bisclavret said as he tugged at his hood, “I wonder if they would have stayed as wild.”
He needed to see the work on the enclosure where the sheep had slipped away. The men were working on securing the pens but he wondered again how the sheep had slipped away. His horse Maeldoi awaited him. The charger pawed impatiently at the dirt, eager for a ride. Bisclavret swung up on his back and patted the thick black neck. “You miss the wildness of the battle field, my friend.”
His mount snorted as if to assent. Bisclavret dug his heels lightly into the horse’s side and gave him his head and they clattered out the gate into the sunlight. Maeldoi proved eager and Bisclavret gave him rein across the meadow, enjoying the rush of the warm air against his face and the sensation of speed as the charger’s legs churned. For a time they both reveled in the mad dash across the green.
Bisclavret was no longer wolf, but the wildness stayed in his heart. Maeldoi would run from him in his wolf form, even faster than he ran now. But he did not sense the wolf inside him. Could anyone? Did his wife glimpse it moving under his skin? She seemed a trifle distant lately. Perhaps that was the reason—or more likely was it just his unexplained absences? He felt chagrined to admit that it was unkind of him to leave her so abruptly. Perhaps he could take more time to concoct a plausible reason for his going. Then she wouldn’t worry so much.
Absently he reined his horse toward the place where his men were repairing the pens between the pastures. Generally the hedges were enough to keep the sheep away from the danger of the forests, but the open fields were inviting to the sheep who wandered abroad during the daylight hours. They could not easily keep out any predators who might come by.
Could he influence the wolves to stay away from the sheep?
One or two they could easily afford to lose, but more than that and the people would indeed set out hunting and demand that he lead them in the effort. Bisclavret knew he could never hurt any of the wolves. The blood of the pack ran in his veins.