So what’s the plot here?
So far we have: Woman goes to get back her dead sister’s son from Illsya’s tithe. Only when she gets to the shrine he’s already gone. She sees the wolf tracks and assumes the sun god has turned her nephew into a wolf cub. She follows the track in the hopes of pleading with the wolves to turn him back into a human. (This is on the strength of folktales in which such a thing is accomplished)
Now previously she found the wolves and the wolf-hangers on right off. What if she doesn’t see the other band of humans? She would still be working off the assumption that one of the wolf cubs was her nephew. Which means she’d be apt to steal him away if the wolves didn’t listen to her argument. And wolves being, well, wolves would have no clue what she’s asking.
So let’s say she steals away one of the cubs, deciding that having him as a wolf was better than not having him at all. Which means the wolves are now less inclined to treat her kindly (as soon as they realize the cub is gone).
But instead of the wolves, have her run into one of the wolf-people instead. Who understands what she has done, but then has to convince her to bring the cub back.
But why would the folks who live with the wolves, well, live with the wolves? Wolf-raised humans wouldn’t be able to interact with her, so at some point there had to be another ‘civilized’ person who joined the group. Which would mean that the wolf-people would be tempted to go home… so we need a good reason that they can’t.
Now since the ‘normal’ humans think that the abandoned children are turned into wolves, they aren’t going to believe that returnees are who they say they are, even if they look a lot like their parents. Which means we’ll need some sort of demon/trickster spirit legend that they could. Evil doppelgangers and whatnot.
Now if someone know to the tribe went out and returned with the child, that would be horrible luck since the child had already been promised to Illysa’s service. So the people would assume that the sun god would be coming after the kid loaded for bear. Thus no returning while it’s obvious who they still are. And no returning later, because… erm. Hmm.
Okay, so we need to establish the belief that living outside in the blue winters is lethal (even though it isn’t really). That way if someone went out after a child and didn’t come back within a week, they would be assumed dead. And if they showed up after that… boom, evil twin. Which really needs a solid foundation because we’re assigning a lot of rather, erm, forceful belief systems on these people.
Now our protagonist would be very wary of someone she’s never met before wandering the woods in the middle of a blue winter (for reasons above). Which means there would need to be a pressing reason for her to accept help. That can either be an injury, or lack of supplies, or realization that she can’t go home again. Or, if we want to be mean, all three. heh ^_~ *evil grin*
But then she brings the pup back and finds the other band of humans… and then what? Regardless of the underlying motivations, there has to be a point to the story. And a better point that ‘don’t assume stuff’ because that’s not an actual plot. 😛
So, lesse. We have a primary initial motivation for the protagonist: rescuing her nephew. We have a primary stumbling block: she has no idea what’s really happened to him. We have another stumbling point where she steals the wolf cub because she believes it’s her nephew. We have a resolution: she returns the cub and joins the wolf-hangers-on group. But we have no real movement from the second stumbling block to the resolution.
So what’s it about? A woman fighting for her family, I suppose. Or it could be the ‘outsider finds a home’ since she obviously didn’t have anything to keep her under the mountain with everyone else. It could be ‘doing the impossible sometimes works’ or ‘why folktales have no bearing on reality’. Hrmph.