Ugh -- Wolves. Even the best of them were problematic… always howling at the moon and trying to eat people. But take your average wolf and add to him a little brains and an unhealthy appetite for knowledge… Then you had something like Magister Ulfred, Pack Wizard of Dinnsward. Half genius, half fool, his own people were at a loss as to what to make of him. He was incapable of stalking his own tail, but he could maze the strongest alpha with his bizarre magicks. Among these was his fearful soul-box, a devilish contraption that imprisoned the victim’s soul in a fragile pane of glass. It was said that Magister Ulfred kept a secret cabinet filled with stolen souls, any one of which he could shatter in an instant if he so chose. Fool or no, it was good policy to steer clear of him.
If his own pack gave Ulfred a wide berth, then certainly any marginally prudent deer girl ought to follow suit. Unless, of course, she was an unemployed shield maiden who hadn’t had a decent meal in days. Audrey was almost desperate as she exited the free company’s clearing house and in her distracted state, she nearly bowled over the little wolf as he approached.
For Ulfred’s part, it didn’t take supernatural ability to recognize dejected and hungry. Those things were a runt’s birthright. Ulfred had a feeling that this warrior would not refuse him as the others had.
Audrey knew she was being played, but the strange little wolf seemed harmless enough. The rosy apples that he produced from his sleeves were quite authentic and unlike the dismissive bastards she had just left, he showed her both kindness and respect. It was not the way of predator and prey, and Audrey suspected that between the two of them she might be the bigger fool. In the end, however, she decided to cast her lot with the eccentric wizard.
The weeks and months to come brought many adventures as the intrepid wolf and his new protector delved deeply into places where no sane person should go. Most of the time, the soul-box would go with them as Ulfred made a careful survey of all the curious characters and phenomena that they had encountered. Although it could be dangerous, it was always intriguing to see which things had souls and which did not.
Before long, Audrey grew as fascinated with the soul-box as its inventor. She learned not to fear its crystal eye, especially after Ulfred allowed her to turn it on himself. He wore a clown’s face for the occasion and when she examined the image in her hands, she laughed to see how silly his soul was. But she was deeply touched when he gave it to her. Audrey didn’t know it as yet, but in time and without the aid of any mystical device, she would eventually give hers to him. Such was the way of Ulfred’s magicks.