Sitting with her back straight and silently still (like a stone) in the firelight, the only thing that she could not control was the fluttering of her heart. The snow hut was aglow and beautifully ornamented for her marriage. Her soft suede long tunic, which she had worked on, begrudgingly, for a year, was soft against her skin and now, to her dismay, felt pleasantly soothing considering how nervous she admittedly felt.
Malkia, or Runs with Wolves, as her family called her, had been . . . No, she would not lose her freedom, but, instead, remain as free and wild as the pack of wolves she once ran alongside. The wolves had accepted her into their pack with no hesitation. Why, then, could no one else? She considered the wolf pack her family, sometimes as much as or more than even her own clan.
She had learned the wolves’ ways quickly. This was not the case with the customs of her two-footed people. Sometimes gone for many days, Malkia had hunted with the wolves, had played and had rested beside them for as long as she could remember. Those were some of the best days of her life. Would all that end because of a promise made by her father at her birth? Would this “mate” end her freedom that she might serve him?
She stiffened as the fur flap over the hut’s opening parted. The warrior chief was young, tall, and fierce-looking. Malkia had heard that he’d fought more bravely than any other warrior, and now he was standing in front of her. The ice hut was to be “their” dwelling. The firelight glistened off the paint on his face, and she tried to avert her eyes. The room spun dangerously out of control as he knelt beside her, and their eyes met as he gently lifted her face to his.
You have been chosen for me,” he spoke, low, yet clearly. Malkia, sensing her liberty slipping away she attempted to turn her face. With a firm yet tender hand, he stopped her, and said, “Because of our family’s promise, your beauty, and yes, your wild heart and independent spirit, I have agreed.” He smiled. She now lifted her face with hope. “I will not take anything from you which you do not wish to give,” he continued.
He took out a choker, fashioned of smooth, polished, black rainbow obsidian beads, hand-tied tightly together with a black leather cord. He carefully placed the necklace over her head, and she beheld a precious carved labradorite stone cradled at the end. The labradorite gleamed with bright flashes of vibrant blue, yellow, and purple when turned in the firelight. She glanced at the stone: it was carved into the shape of a wolf. Looking up from the necklace, Malkia’s tear-filled eyes looked deep into the face of her future and saw promise.
“This stone will protect you, keep you from harm, and guide you when you run with your, uncommon family.” He smiled. “The stone holds the light from the frozen fire of the aurora borealis, so it will always light your path home to me.”