There’s a bite to the air, a sharp stab of cold that makes his hip ache and sears the scars running along his ribcage. In his prime, winter was a simple inconvenience for the wolf; sending prey into hibernation and humans foraging deeper into the forest. Now the long winters find him haunting the depths of the lowest dens, playing nursemaid to late-born cubs.
Which is where he would be now, save for the faint scent on the wind of burning flowers entwined with the acrid tang of mint and musk. There’s only one reason the humans would be at the shrine this late at night.
He wavers at the entrance to the dens, torn between his duty and his discomfort, but in the end heads out into the snow. There are more important things than cold to deal with.
Someone is making an offering.