The man went out into the forest to collect branches for his lord. As he peered around, searching for new branches, he felt a twinge on the back of his neck, almost as if someone was watching. He whirled around, but saw nothing. As he turned to pick up another stick, he heard a low whine, then voice snarled at him:
"Normally... I would just kill you, but today, I feel like a change. Today, you will hear a tale of a history, that you may tell those of your tribe, which will make them shudder."
The man grimaced slightly, but decided it would be safer to just listen quietly. The voice continued.
"Once in a forest far from here, there lived a pack of wolves. They were a satisfied pack, for there was no disease in their pack, and they lived a full age. And it was good."
The man nodded. It sounded as if it was good. The voice rose again.
"The wolves in the pack lived, hunted, breeded, died, and yet, the pack went on. There was a small pack of humans who lived near the wolves. One day, a stranger appeared in their midst, and warned of danger to the pack from these humans. This wolf had a red coat, as the tribe had, and he ran with the tribe. He eventually rose to be the alpha male of the tribe, defeating their former alpha in an intense battle. Soon, the humans rose up as he had warned, and the pack had to take more drastic actions with the Weaverspawn. And for a time, it was not good."
The man was confused now. Weaver? Did this voice think that all humans worked a loom? The man shook his head and continued to listen.
"The humans came with fire and knives to hunt the tribe. They managed to kill some good wolves who had unfortunately wandered from the pack. Oh, that the hunters would have fallen instead... *sigh* But that was not to be... yet. Following their misguided leaders, the Weaverspawn proceeded to damage the Wyld, setting branches alight with their torches. And it was bad."
The man wondered at the odd perspective. Hunters had to kill wolves, that was the natural order of things. Yet, he listened.
"The fire was bad, but the humans did not care, being insensitive to the Wyld. The pack regrouped under its brave leader, and he counseled them in a plan of attack. They struck the hunting party from three directions simultaneously in the smoke. The Weaverspawn fell at the left, to the right, and from the back. They saw all as chaos, and scattered, being flawed and lacking intelligence. And that was better."
The man felt a shudder rise up his back. Was the voice describing what he thought it was? Yet again, the voice spoke.
"Not a member of that group of flawed hunters escaped that night. But the pack had seen something incredible, something beyond belief happen to the pack leader in the heat of battle. He became... truly incredible, dealing Gaia's fury to the Weaverspawn. And so, they enquired, and so, they learned the true nature of their leader. They respected him for this all the more, as none of the other males could best him in combat. And he mated well. And it was very good."
The man felt revulsion. All those hunters... dead. What kind of... thing... could do something like that? Surely, it couldn't just have been a normal wolf. And the voice went on.
"Into this environment, under the full moon, was born a young female with blazing red fur. And she grew of age in the pack, learning the ways of the wolf well, for she was one. She played with the cubs, ate raw meat from the kills, and enthusiastically watched the hunters. As she matured, she joined the hunters, gaining respect as her abilities increased, as she was fleet of foot, sharp of tooth, and swift with claws. She was swift to anger, but tried to express her anger in the hunt. And it was good."
The man felt as if the story had suddenly become more personal, more closely connected to him. He leaned back to listen closer.
"While it was no surprise to the leader of the pack, her first... experience... with the gifts that had been given her was a shock. After a long run, he caught up to her and managed to calm her down. 'Listen,' he told her. 'You have been blessed as I am blessed. Gaia has brought to cull the Weaverspawn, to help control this infestation. Relax for now, you will grow more comfortable and adept in these gifts. I give you this task: learn all that you may, so that you can help cleanse the Weaverspawn from this world Gaia has given to us. The knowledge you gain, no matter how trivial it appears at the time, may help you in ways you do not expect.' She remembered his advice well. And that was very good."
The man detected a hint of wistfulness in the voice, and began to turn when he heard barked commands. "Sit! Stay!" Frozen obediently in place, he continued to absorb the tale being weaved"
"As she continued to hunt with her pack, she learned tales of injustice and cruelty performed unto the Wyld by the spawn of the Weaver. She helped in controlling the population of the human tribe, which stayed far from their forest, suiting her tribe well. They removed the weak, the sick, the old, and those who would harm the Wyld. And as she grew in knowledge, she asked further questions of the alpha, questioning him in knowledge of their culture and of the gifts that Gaia had seen fit to impart on them. It was here that she learned the basics of Weaverspeak, that inelegant tongue. She learned, and it was good."
The man continued to listen, but wondered... would the voice let him go. Could it? Had it told him too much? He sat sweating, as the voice calmly went on.
"After she had learned much from the alpha, he told her that it was time for her to move on. He told her there was another pack of wolves like them that was also dedicated to eradicating the spawn of the Weaver. Hearing this news brought joy to her, and while she knew that for a time she would feel lonesome for her old pack, she would soon gain new friends and packmates... and victories against the Weaverspawn. So began her tale."
The man sat, waiting, wondering what would happen next. The time had long passed since he was to be back. Yet he sat, quietly following the order that had been barked at him earlier. After sitting for what seemed an age, he overcame his fear and prepared to run back to the castle. As he stood, he saw a neatly stacked pile of fallen wood immediately behind where he had sat. The voice had been so close to him... and he had never noticed. After crossing himself, he carefully picked up the stack of wood and walked out of the forest, being careful not to break any branches. The story he had heard disturbed him more than he could explain rationally, and he felt a sense of fear whenever he remembered it. His friends noted a change, a more thoughtful, silent aspect to him, and wondered had happened to him. While he mused about the story in his mind, he never told it to anyone, until the day he disappeared. But the story of his disappearence and what happened after is a tale for another day, best told as a lesson for those who disobey instructions they have been given.