In snowshoes, his movement was hampered. He didn’t have much choice, so he kept his knife low, his stance ready and spread out, as a hundred kilos of wolf bore down on him, the growl in his ears deafening. The wolf’s arc would bring its teeth to his throat. Michael crouched down and raised his knife, thrusting with all his weight. He felt the blade bite deep into the wolf’s underside, the hilt meeting its hide and burying deep. The wolf twisted its head and drove its teeth into Michael’s right shoulder. His hand slipped from the knife. He collapsed, following the wolf’s arc to the ground as best he could, lessening the force, reducing the tearing of his jacket and hopefully the flesh underneath. He heard Faelon then, her weight slamming into the other wolf with a thud as they rolled away from him, snow exploding outward. He finally got a look at the wolf as it snarled and ravaged at Faelon, trying to tear her apart. Its body was black in colour, turning to a dark grey on its limbs and paws. Its hair was spiked with rage, and its eyes glared with darkness, as if its colouring was showing its personality as well. It was easy to see Faelon against its dark fur; she possessed the same brindle coat as her hair in human form.

Then silence descended on the forest as the two wolves untwisted from each other as if they had to see each other to make the next move. Then Michael saw what he had gone through with Faelon himself—only he had won that dominance game. Locked in the stare, Faelon took an aggressive stance, her fur standing up, a growl thrumming through the air. The other wolf’s stance was defensive. It stood slightly crouched, its back up, and tail hung low. The intruder turned and melted into the forest. Blood stained the snow, puddles of it trailing after the male.