Title: Morning Wolf
Disclaimer: There was this one time, in my dreams, that I owned everything JK did. Unfortunately, that was just a dream. So are the millions of dollars I make on writing this fic.
Summary: While on a journey of self-discovery, Remus J. Lupin finds himself in danger in America, and then finds salvation in the most unlikely place. Newly Revised and Updated
"Let's see… I think about five cups of aconite should suffice," Morning Wolf was instructing. She looked at Remus and looked back at the cauldron simmering over an open fire. "Make that seven cups. I just remembered the Paisley's called last week."
Melinda scooped up a large amount of dried dark-blue flowers and carefully measured out seven heaping cups, which she poured into a cloth bag. The girl then took them to Morning Wolf and put the bag her hands, instead of pouring them directly into the cauldron. Morning Wolf knelt down to Melinda's level and the two gently whispered into the flowers in Cherokee.
"What are they doing?" Remus whispered to Melissa, who was sitting beside him, with the other two students. They were watching Morning Wolf and Melinda brew a strange and slightly complex potion, what it was called, Remus didn't know as of yet.
"They're blessing the aconite. Not many witches or wizards would do that," Melissa supplied quietly. "They'd just go by the paper and not bother with asking for the Spirits to bless it."
As far as Remus knew, asking blessing over the herbs and such were not a requirement of Hogwarts' potion making. The only time a blessing, offering, or payment was required was if required herbs were guarded by a magical being and therefore could not be picked without the creature's consent.
Morning Wolf slowly poured the flowers into the cauldron while Melinda stirred and chanted barely loud enough to hear. The potion was turning a bright green colour. Morning Wolf reached into a pouch at her hip and pulled out a handful of a powdered herb. She called out a few words and threw the herbs into the cauldron. There was a slight flash and steam began to roll off the surface. Between the curls of steam, Remus could see the potion was now glowing a bright purple.
Morning Wolf and Melinda studied the potion with interest then knelt down and muttered a prayer in front of the cauldron. Then both of them picked up a heavy lid and placed it on top of the cauldron.
"Now, it just has to simmer for a few hours," Morning Wolf said brightly, as she helped Melinda back to her feet. "Thank you for helping me Melinda."
"Can we go practice now, Morning Wolf?" Jeremy asked. "I need to work on the wordlessness a little. Remus has been helping me though so don't worry. I haven't broken anything for nearly a week because of it."
The woman looked surprised a moment then gave Remus a slight smile. "Yes, you all may go back to your regular practicing."
After the children had scampered away to go about their business, Morning Wolf strolled over to Remus and smiled down at him. Remus returned the smile and innocently smirked, "What?"
"If you are not careful, the children will become too fond of you and will not let you leave," Morning Wolf teased. "The wolves are jealous that the children get all your attention. They want some too."
Remus looked out at the vast field that was home to most of the wolves, still in their youthful prime. As if on cue, a few of the wolves gazed out of the fence at him. He simply shrugged. "I'm not a very wolfish person. What's that you're brewing anyway?"
"Remember when you first woke up I mentioned a potion that, if I hadn't forced it down your throat, the monthly change would have killed you?" She gave him a slight smile as she turned to walk away. As she reached one of the wolf pins, she called back to him, "You get to take it again, only this time with your own consent and not forced down your throat."
Remus frowned slightly. Three weeks had already passed since his being at the reservation. Perhaps it was the fact she still was not able to properly move about that made it seem like he should have already been through four full moons. But, not that he could complain, each day he was learning something new. Though he could not really understand Morning Wolf's obsession with getting him to take time with the wolves everyday, he would make himself sit in one of the three fenced in areas each day and watch the wolves just to keep her mouth shut about it.
It was rather annoying, yes, but he didn't want there to be any trouble. But, the wolves didn't bother him so he didn't bother them. Or, at least, that was his reasoning because they were wild animals. Even the elderly wolves were wild, he saw it in their eyes -- the look in their eyes that longed for the forest but didn't want to leave the comfort and protection of the reservation. So, far, all his visits with the wolves had done was prove to him why he wanted to keep his own wolf nudged away at all costs.
Remus put his hand on his stomach as he felt an uncomfortable rolling in his stomach. He squeezed his eyes shut as a hissing voice in the back of his mind softly whispered, "Exquisite." Several images flashed through his mind, images that made no sense, they glowed like an old classic movie with too vibrant colours. Then one stopped and played itself out in his mind:
He looked down at his hands and saw them covered in blood. All around him there were men and women slowly changing into human forms, blood dripping from the fangs that were slowly fading away.
As the moon was waning, a massive white wolf ran through them all to stand beside a woman in shimmering white. The woman seemed to be surrounded by a light that radiated from deep within her own body. "They would have killed you, my children," an echoing voice said. "You did well to protect yourselves and your brothers and sisters from them."
Remus gasped loudly and grabbed his head as a sharp pain sheered through it as he opened his eyes. He could feel tears stinging the back of his eyes as he fell onto the ground howling in pain. He heard several voices calling his name. As the pain began to subside, he dropped his hands from his head and looked up at the faces gazing down at him. They were reaching out to pick him up…
"Don't touch him!" a male voice rang out strongly. The faces of the children disappeared from over him and the shadow of the hunched over Withering Bear, supported on his walking cane, came over him. The old man gazed down at him through narrowed eyes. He lowered the top of his tall walking cane over Remus to the point he could see the fine details of the bear carved on its top. The fierce looking creature seemed to be trying to intimidate something inside of him. Withering Bear tapped Remus' forehead with the carved bear firmly. "Back where you belong wolf," he spat. "Not time yet!"
Remus felt as if something has rushed out of his mind and body with the firm order. Withering Bear studied his face for a long moment then gave a slight whistle and nodded down at him. Almost instantly, the children gathered back over Remus' line of vision and pulled him to his feet. Moon Wolf gazed up at Remus with concern in his eyes, as he thrust his walking staff into his hands.
"I'm alright," Remus offered, sounding much weaker than he had intended. Withering Bear was already giving orders to the children in Cherokee. Moon Wolf frowned at Remus. "I said I was alright," Remus reassured again. The boy continued to frown but nodded slightly with understanding.
The twins approached Remus and took either of his hands.
"We were told to take you to lay down," Melissa explained.
"And to take down all the herbs on the ceiling in your room that are used to see prophesies," Melinda finished.
The moment the two girls laid him on his bedding, Remus felt his eyes roll back in his head and he was asleep.
He wasn't entirely sure what had happened. But all Remus knew was that, when he woke up from the nap they had forced upon him, several of the herbs that had been hanging from his ceiling were gone. In their place were fresher looking versions of the purple flowers they had used in the potion. The room was filled with the sharp scents of the dark blue flowers, white sage, and lavender.
His head felt a little fuzzy from the dream he'd been having before he had awoken.
The white clad woman from the images that had made him be lain down had, as before, been surrounded by the light. He had approached her and knelt at her feet. Instantly the white light had faded and he looked up to see an Indian woman with eagle feathers bound in the numerous braids that coiled from her head like miniature ropes. Her eyes were so pale that it had seemed, at first, that she had no irises. She hadn't had normal teeth, instead she had teethed much like the ones he had seen in the younger wolves on the reservation.
The nails on her fingers were long and thick like the claws of a wolf as well. And the dress he'd thought was white was actually made of the fur of a gray wolf. Upon her neck there was a leather thong that bore an eagle feather and wolf paw on either side of the feather. Deep black tattoos emblazoned her arms, face, legs, and hands.
She had looked fierce but delicate in all the same moment.
"You do not know me, but you dare to bow before me wolf?" she had asked, her voice thick and strong. "How do expect my love when you hate everything I rule? I am wisdom, I am immortality. I am the grace of the forests; I am the fierce protector of the same. You cannot deny my children and expect my love."
"Tell me who you are my lady and who your children are and I will love them," Remus had whispered.
The woman had then reached out to him with her clawed fingers and barely touched them to his cheeks and made him stand on his feet. She pale eyes softened slightly and she embraced him. "I am your mother, you are my child." She ended the embrace and pointed over his shoulder. "And they are your brothers and sisters. You are all my children."
He had then turned to see several people -- men, women, and children -- standing dutifully behind him, gazing at the woman with adoration. Each of the people had a wolf seated at their feet -- grey wolves, arctic wolves, timber wolves, and others -- as if it were guarding the person beside them. Some of the adults had wolves that were barely older than cubs, while some of the children had wolves that stood taller than their heads.
Remus stretched and yawned. He was stunned to see the image of the same woman from his dream gazing at him from over the boarded up fireplace. If his memory served him correctly, that portrait had not been there when he'd lain down or the night prior. In fact, he knew that previously a much larger portrait of an Indian Chief had been there. For one, he and the Chief had had an argument or two about Morning Wolf. Secondly, there was a noticeable dust ring from where the bigger one had been removed.
Slowly, Remus pulled himself up to his feet and walked across to the picture. The image was stationary but looked as if at any moment the trees in the background would sway in a breeze, that the numerous wolves at her ankles would run wild and free, or that the woman herself would reach from the picture and touch him. Even the full moon that was raised above the background trees looked ready to give a bright white glow to any darkened room.
His eyes found a little golden plate on the bottom of the frame: Complete Manifestation of The Wolf Maiden by Wolf-Prints-in-Snow; circa 1961.
"It was done by mother shortly after I was born," a voice said gently. Remus turned to see Morning Wolf standing in the doorway. "I thought she would bring you comfort since your dreams confuse you."
For a moment Remus thought to ask how she knew about his dreams but stopped himself when he say the small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "Where I'm from it's not considered polite to mind-read without permission."
Morning Wolf shrugged. "Then stop thinking so loudly," she said plaintively, stepping away from the doorway. "I don't know if what you're seeing is prophecies or if they are just The Wolf Maiden trying to reach your mind."
"What is the Wolf Maiden?" he asked. "She looks like a warrior but she also looks like something from a pleasant dream…"
Remus stood there gazing at the fierce feminine figure in front of him. He felt Morning Wolf place a hand on his shoulder, he looked at her again.
"She is the Wolf Goddess, the one that they seek to follow. Wolves and werewolves alike see her as their Holy Mother. They are at her command. If she tells them to kill, they kill without asking questions. But she would never ask them to kill unless she felt there was a threat." Her hand slowly trailed down his arms and touched the tip of his fingers in an almost affectionate manner.
"The Wolf Maiden loves all wolves," she said quietly. "Even the ones that don't love themselves, as long as they seek Her. But wolves that kill for pleasure are seen as impure to Her so She forsakes them, makes them Her slaves. In werewolves, their illness becomes their obsession." With that, the woman removed her hand and walked back to the door. "Remember, Remus, it's not a bad thing to turn into a wolf once a month, as long as your wolf seeks his Goddess." She disappeared from the doorway.
Remus snorted slightly. It was beginning to annoy him that she tended to walk away after sharing "pearls of wisdom."
Obscure and non-existent.
That was two words Remus could use to describe information about the so-called Wolf Maiden. Since being told the small tid-bits of knowledge, earlier that day, Remus had been pouring over any and every book he could find in the house to find out more. He had already been through half the books in Morning Wolf's little library and had found nothing. He was at the point of almost giving up when a young voice from behind him said:
"If you just ask we could supply you all the information you need." He turned and saw Melinda standing in the doorway, an old leather-bound book in her arms. She slowly approached him and offered the book to him. Once he had it in his hands, the girl gazed at him. "This is the only book published that mentions Her. Only the wolves and the Wolf Maidens are aloud to know of Her Grace."
Remus looked down at the worn cover, The Wolf Maiden -- The Legend of a Goddess by Mu D. Moot. He looked at Melinda and gave the child a warm smile. "Thank you but I was actually trying to find out more about that potion I'm taking later," Remus lied.
Melinda studied him for a moment. "No you weren't. Because at least half of the books you looked at had information on it." She looked down at her feet. "Are going to be leaving?"
"Someday soon, I hope… Hopefully as soon as my leg is all healed. Why?" Remus opened the book in his hands and studied the golden writing on the white pages.
Melinda frowned. "Because they don't like you where you're from… We do. They won't understand you the same way we do… Besides, Moon Wolf thinks you and Morning Wolf would make a great pseudo-mum and dad to us all."
Remus tore his eyes away from the golden text of the book. Melinda jumped slightly when his gazed locked onto her. Without another word the girl scurried from the room. Remus looked down to the golden text again. The letters seemed to glow on the pristine pages, as if it had never been read or touched by human hands before.
"In the beginning," Remus read quietly. "When the world was young and new, The Great Spirit bade the lesser gods and goddesses to watch over Creation. The Great Spirit also bade them to choose a form which to speak to the men and women and children which resided on the surface of the Earth Mother…"