[AW] Here inside a stalk of goldenrod
It was a new moon night, and it was very cold.

Most wolves would huddle against this cold, but while Nikamew might have sat vigil in the rendezvous site with his flank pressed against a companion’s, he would not join his kith in their sleeping piles. He would not disturb Makwaikwe and her mate and pups, and he could forget snuggling up beside Harley no matter how much the image amused him. The brothers were friendly enough that they might invite him to sleep, but he did not ask.

When he woke with a shiver in his own shallow den, feeling the loneliness, he did not brood long. Instead, he shook leaf-litter and shed fur from his nest and disappeared into the woodlands on his own.

Loping between the trees, Nik let his tongue loll and pushed himself into a sprint when a valley of empty land opened between wooded hummocks, breaking the ice of a shallow stream and climbing the other side. When burning this energy was not enough to warm him, he rolled in the grass, stretched, and began to shift.

The Nikamew that rose from that languorous ritual was not so different from the wolf who had settled in the quiet of the meadow beneath the moon’s shut eye. He was larger, and shaped differently, leaning into a hunched sit as he breathed in the scent of a dormant earth. Then he shook his head, and the pale tresses of his mane shook with it, and he combed his fingers once through his hair.
(—) | Optime | Ethereal Eclipse

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