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There was a time when she followed the Winter. There was a time when she was the Winter's Wolf, but the collars they wear are too tight. She ran from there, like a wounded dog from a cruel master. They took away who she was, but could not waiver on who she would become.
She had been a warrior. Her mother, Beira, was a great Ice Fae who worshipped Winter. She was the high priestess of a revered cult who followed the Winter. Beira was a priestess of Ice and Snow, and she passed her genes to three daughters. Beira vowed them to serve the Ice's purpose. Her first would become the Winter's Wrath; the Wolf. Winter was their master and they did his bidding. Adoghina, that was her name, burned into her skin by a frozen brand. It was a mark of her loyalty to Winter and the priesthood her mother lead. Her company followed the ways of the Red Caps, the warg was so named for the evil spirit within the wolf. But she knew, in her heart, she was no wolf… she was a loyal dog at the feet of Winter's ways. Her mother spoke on Winter's behalf and Adoghina never doubted her word.
When she was a child, Adoghina played upon the frozen rocks outside the compound. Her boots slipped against the frozen ice and she began to fall. The mountain was steep and hard. Beira always insisted that her children 'eat their bread'. Inside that bread was an additive, literally, that gave them the size of human children. There was nothing to stop her fall. Down, down, down she fell until she felt her body suspended into air. She tried her wings, but because of the bitter cold and her large size, they failed her. She was falling and there was nothing to do about it. This was a new sensation to the ice fae. From this height, she would surely parish. The feeling of falling was terrifying. She was not sure if it was the knowledge of certain death or the feeling of helplessness that paralyzed her. Where there had once been a bright world of snow and light, Adoghina closed her eyes and accepted her fate into the darkness below.
She woke in the arms of her mother. She was alive. Her ribs were bruised and it was hard to breathe. Her leg was in a splint and painfully throbbing, but she could move it. She'd survived the fall. Her mother claimed Winter had saved her with a North Wind that placed her to fall in powder, instead of the jagged rocks below. Her mother claimed it was a sign from Winter and she should always honor him. though grateful, Adoghina would never forget the paralyzing terror she felt when she was falling. Her bones and body would heal, however, the feeling would return when the winter fae felt fear.
There was a man whom the Winter desired, or so her mother said. This man was a wealthy man that had great influence over the land. The man wanted one thing as payment. He wanted Adoghina. She refused him she lost favor with her mother. Her sister was given in her place, but this displeased the man. He threatened her sister's life if he did not get Adoghina, as well as his betrayal to Winter. Beira was furious and used her power to force Adoghina to marry him; it was the will of Winter. Forced by his demands, Adoghina gave in, all the while, her mother cast her aside, disobedience it not tolerated. A loyal dog always does what its master says. She was a dog in chains. If Winter wills it, Adoghina must obey. Her wedding day was the first day of winter and it was the coldest day in history.
Her husband was a very wealthy man who owned a vast estate filled with riches and wonders. He promised her that she owned an equal share in everything and his kingdom was hers as well. Through the winter she lived peacefully through her obligatory smile. He was kind to her but there was no love. Adoghina's heart did not belong to him, it did not belong to anyone, it was frozen still.
The beginning of Spring came and her husband was called away on business. He handed over the keys to the entire empire, along with e skeleton key on a separate cord. He told her that it unlocked one door in a room with many. She was not to go there, nor was she to try and open the door. He promised her that once he returned he would show her this door and what lay behind it, but, until then, she was to not enter. He warned that he would know if she entered the room before his allotted time, and if that happened, he would rip her heart from her chest.
Through the Spring she obeyed his wishes, but, one night she could bare it no longer. Adoghina was a curious girl and the mystery of this door and the room behind it had grown curiouser and curiouser within her mind. What great treasure could he possibly have hidden in there? Not looking made her more of a loyal dog and it was finally time to change it. It was finally time to defy Winter.
With the moon high and the cricket's song to guide her she made her way to the forbidden room. She had the feeling again. A chill prickled against her skin and she felt the name etched upon her skin burn; the same way ice feels when it is held against flesh too long. Perhaps a warning from Winter to remain loyal. A master calls to its dog to bring them back home.
The door unlocked easily. Adoghina opened it and walked into a room with many doors. They were all different sizes and shapes, but one of them was steel-grey, frozen and cold, with an ancient lock upon it.
She slipped the skeleton key into the lock and turned. There was a loud crack, much like the sound of ice breaking that echoed through the drafty hallways as the old lock released. Carefully, she pushed upon the door and cringed as the creak sounded like a scream in her ears. Adoghina stepped inside to look upon what she'd found. The first thing she noted was that the White walls were painted Red. There was a smell that she could not identify but it was too familiar in her nostrils. It was cold.
It triggered the sensation of falling, she was frozen in fear. Down, down, down until her face was upon the cold, stained stones of the floor. Her eyes lifted and through tears she saw what she'd been afraid of. Upon hooks were the decaying bodies of the wives before her. There was frost upon their skin but no shadow of breath in the frozen air. Each of of them had once been beautiful, each of them had been given the vary keys she was holding; each of them had their hearts ripped from their chest.
In horror, Adoghina fled the red room and returned to her own. She began to frantically gather items necessary to survive for a life in the wild. One bag was packed and her shoes on her feet, she made her way down the stairs and towards the vast front doors of the mansion she would soon leave behind. She felt as if she was falling…
The fae was too late in her escape. There, at the bottom of the stairs, was her murderous husband. He had changed. He was not the old man she'd married, but instead, a monster before her. His eyes were blackened and his teeth gnashed. The very beard he wore had changed to the indigo color of his victims decaying bodies. "What has my bride been up to…," he growled as he laid eyes upon her. He finished as he waved his hands at the mansion, " paint my white walls red!?" As Adoghina looked, he was indeed speaking the truth. The beautiful white stone walls were stained crimson like the room she was fleeing.
The color of red took over and there was only darkness. She felt ice in her veins as the Wolf in her arose. She didn't even know until later, when she was wiping the blood from her hands, that he was dead. There had been a blind rage. No longer was she a trained dog, she was now a Wolf. She was painted red in blood, however, she was alive. Her eyes lifted to the door and soon her body followed after. As she opened it, the warm glow of the sunrise touched her face. She managed to smile as Summer arose and started a new day.
It was here, on the front steps of the mansion that she looked upon the face of Summer. It was here a new dawn arose and it was here that Hippolyta extended her hand and offered refuge for a girl who was a murderer. It was here she heard the ice crack and her heart start to thaw.
Adoghina joined with Hippolyta to avenge and protect women. She'd seen the cruelty of men. She'd seen the brutality and unjust treatment of women at their hands, but most importantly, she'd seen one die by her own sword. They were just mortals. They were just mere men. They would not lay a hand against she, or any other, whilst Adoghina lived on. She would come for them, as Hippolyta had come for her. She would be the sword that they could not wield, and she would be the courageous Heart so many of them lacked.
She left her name behind, along with her lap dog life. She was no longer a trained dog to do as her master said, she was a She-Wolf, free. Never again would she feel the weight of a collar. She was free. She took the name Larentya. She became a fighter again. Sword, spear, bow, she could use them all when the time called. She found herself a fierce huntress and vicious warrior equal to her Queen, Hippolyta. She was a wolf now.
Larentya celebrates victory by painting her face with the blood of her slain enemies and howling as loud as she can. Through the ages, she has learned to trust Hipppolyta and her ways. The She-Wolf was the first recruit for the Summer's Army and she holds her rank deep within her heart. As time marched on like a good soldier, Larentya developed an unconditional love for her queen, Hippolyta, and desires her touch and approval. A mighty warrior queen did not have a loyal dog, no, she had a wild wolf that she would unleash upon her enemies. It was here she felt her frozen heartbeat again. She can hear its echo in her ears like the drums of war; a rhythm she is so accustomed to. The Summer Country, and the Summer herself, became a part of Larentya's own soul.
Winter was not pleased. Winter would extract revenge upon her and the one who commands her. For she was once his loyal dog and now she was freed. To forsake Winter for Summer was an unforgivable crime.
The war on the gods was long. The fields were crimson from blood. They had felt victory in their grasp, but however promising, they'd lost it. Winter had betrayed them and left them frozen in their attempts. This was when Winter took revenge. This was the first and only time Larentya conceded to surrender. She was falling again, but this time, she had the strength to catch herself. Hippolyta moved them again, far away from the reaches of the 'Courts'. It was here that men came to them. Larentya made them her mission. She watched, studied, and waited for a weakness. ahe had seen men die by her hand, and she waited for the moment when she could strike. A hatred had built in her because of Bluebeard; her monster of a husband. It was through these men, however, that the term 'mother' first entered the minds of the Amazons. It would be a way of prosperity and trade for them. They could use these men.
Feeling it was her duty, Larentya allowed herself to breed with a Chosen male. Her daughter would join their ranks and be one that would become a part of the legend. She would treasure her and love her, just as her beloved Hippolyta loved her own daughters. They told her that there was more than one, she bore twins. Larentya 's heart beat with pride that day.
When the day came, the hours of labor and pain, Larentya howled and strained to bring them into the world. They would be what the Amazon's had dreamed of. Twin warrior wolves to defend and protect women everywhere. Her precious dreams melted when her children were presented to her; sons. Each were handed to her for a few moments, red from screaming, not the precious pink bundle that the other mothers had. She cradled her children, held them, and named them; Romulus and Remus. She sucked them until they were taken from her. Her boys, her greatest triumph became her greatest tragedy.
They took her children from her to the Goblin King and Larentya felt a piece of her heart melt away forever. She had done her duty, she had paid the price, she had contributed, but sorrow overtook her for a time. With one last stolen kiss, her boys were taken from her and sent to the Goblin King. She was falling again, but Hippolyta was there to catch her. The queen held her wolf for quite some time. She was reminded of her life, her duty, and where her heart truly lay.
Larentya marches on now, to the steady beating of her own heart. The fierce war drums call to her and keep her feet moving forward. The wolf has a chilling howl. The sound sends ice through peoples veins and they stand, frozen in fear waiting for the animal to appear. She will forever be a fallen Winter She-Wolf, however, she has found redemption basking in the glow of Summer.
Fresh snow had fallen in the night. The air was colder, crisper as she sat outside and watched the sun rise. Flakes fell and found themselves caught in the for that emerged from the knee high boots of the ice fae. Her breath was visible upon every exhale as she surveyed the mountain horizon. Winter had fallen again. Where she had painted the white snow red, Winter had erased her sacrifice and given them another day. There was one less who cursed the ice and snow. The wolf had hunted that man down.
Now as the dawn rose, Adoghina took a set upon a rock and watched Winter's magic sparkle in the sunlight. Snow was beautiful in all light, but at first light there was something so virgin about it the sight alone could lift the wolf's spirit. As she sat she watched the flakes drift lightly from the sky falling in no particular pattern except down. All of this, all the beautiful around her was made up of individual pieces working together to bring forth Winter's grander. It was something praise-worthy, but Adoghina was not like the others.
As the wind picked up her skin burned against the chill. Goosebumps formed along her flesh as she felt the air fall colder around her. She lifted her dark eyes and pulled the hood from her head so she could see the space around her. There, just over her shoulder, was a being she'd never met but knew exactly who he was. More shocked than afraid, Adoghina dipped her head in a show of respect, just as her mother had always told her to do. This was the legend who her people worshipped. This was the one who spoke to her mother and now he'd come for her. " You're him aren't you?" Her words were numb for she already knew the answer. He only smiled and approached her.
She waited for something to happen. Anything. A feeling, a miracle, death… but there was nothing. Feeling she had nothing to loose, Adoghina spoke bravely, " Where is your wonder Lord Winter? Are you not whom we call to in the night? Are you not who blesses us?" She looked at her lord, her savior, and he only grinned and spoke words to her that would verify what she had suspected for a long time. What she felt in her frozen heart.
"You know...I have been following your kind, and I find myself intrigued, as well as baffled. You act as though I am your lord, killing in my honor and doing my bidding as it were...what must you think I am? I am no god, I am only Winter. I am the bite of frost, the raging wind storms and the avalanches. Nothing more. Why do you worship me?"
His answer cut through her like the chill of the North wind. He confirmed her very thoughts, however, a century of ritualist worship could not fade so easily. She retorted, "Is there not power in who you are?" The winter's wolf felt her palm tingle at the thought of him now. He was no god. Could she kill an impostor? She would surely die in vain for trying. Winter's eyes gleamed with the adoration of another. She felt he would change his answer and secure some sanity in the way of her people. If he did not, her life was forfeit and folly. Was she nothing more than a fool chasing the wind itself in an untamed bloodlust?
Winter answered, "There is… but it is not the power of the gods. I do not answer to the gods, nor do I count myself among them. I am something else entirely." Adoghina inhaled the brisk chilled air slowly and thought this over. Surely, with this knowledge, she was the only whom Winter had spoken to. His words must be true, for a god would proclaim themselves a god. She couldn't help herself, Adoghina was never one to be careful about what she said. " That is something worthy of praise entirely then. You've spoken the truth to me. Why have you chosen me? Am I not the one you'd seek to kill for slaying those in your name? My mother and sister do greater works in your name. I am merely a wolf among sheep."
"Oh goodness no. I don't care who you kill or why you do it. I am merely curious as to why you bother to honor me at all. I'm flattered of course...it's just intriguing to me." The ice fae bite her lip as she found the truth upon her lips. She could not lie. She had felt this was the truth for centuries, but she never denied it. She kept her own thoughts in her mind for one, simple, fact. "It lets me hunt." She kept her answer as simple and truthful as it need be. She was a monster on the inside and this was a way to release it.
Adoghina nodded. It was here, on this very mountain they both swore to keep the truth hidden. Winter was no god to praise, but she would not acknowledge that, so long as Winter never let her own heart's desire free; Adoghina loved the thrill of the hunt and the fresh warmth of a kill's blood on her hands. She was a predator of the worst kind. A wolf disguised in a holy lamb's clothing to do what she wanted. This was how they lived now. As friends, as comrades, and as two people both playing the cruelest game of all and hiding the truth behind it. She allowed her mother's people to continue to believe what they wanted and lie about what the Winter had spoke to their hearts. All the while, Adoghina spoke directly to Winter himself. Though their friendship was cold, there was a kinship there. Two different monsters will work in tandem if it suits them both. She would be the Winter wolf and he would be worthy of her praise so long as they were both free.
Sweat fell from her as she surveyed the dead. So many dead. They had been good friends, great soldiers who died an honorable death. She'd not joined them on this journey, perhaps next time. Her heart was not with the dead, for they had moved on and escaped the horror that could await them. Her heart was heavy with conflicted, strange emotions for the injured. She knelt down to think to herself as she heard footsteps approaching her.
"Larentya," she recognized the voice as one of her lieutenants one whom had survived. "Come. It's Lytidde. She lives, but... just come and see. We have injured to attend to." The general nodded and stood now, following her fellow soldiers to where the injured were being gathered and treated. She approached one in particular, Lytidde, a friend and lieutenant. Larentya's dark eyes looked her body over for injury, but there was only one. A small bite, just above her clavicle. She would live.
"Larentya!" she said, her arms reaching to touch her friends hand, " We have made quite a stand here." Without missing a beat, Larentya retorted, "But at what cost Lieutenant? The loss of life is not something I mourn, but the loss of Hippolyta's army, that is something to dwell on." Lytidde was silent for a moment too long and Larentya signed heavy. She took a seat next to her friend.
"Forgive me. How are your injuries?" Lytidde sat up and made a face of disgust, "Bastard bit me, of all things. But I will live. I will survive. There are many others off worse than I am." Larentya swallowed hard and said, just above a whisper, "No, my friend, I do not think so."
It all happened in an instant. Larentya drew her blade and swiftly severed the lieutenants head from her body. It was the only way. She would not allow a faithful follower, a true Amazon, to become what they had seen. She looked to the surviving lieutenant and spoke a cold, merciless order, Follow suit. Any bit are to be slain and then burned and buried." They had no choice but to obey. She would not return home bringing this fatal gift. It was a cruel fate for those who had survived… but the lesson was learned to all in the Summer's army that day. Do not let them get close enough to do such a thing. This was war and the wolf had no heart for mercy.