Shardana woke with a start. The chilling dirge of a howling wolf rang in her ears. Her heart raced. She rubbed her eyes, but was unable to erase the face of the animal that had haunted her dream. In the murky residue that lingered from her night vision, Shardana could still feel the anger that radiated from the wolf’s bloody stare. His fangs, sharp as the blade of a shepherd’s knife, glinted in the moonlight that bathed the deck of the sea-going vessel. His thick coat bristled along the bony ridge of his spine as he prowled the squeaking wooden planks.
Shardana stared into the darkness of her bedroom, allowing the blackness to calm her. “Dea Madre!” she called out. She kicked off her blankets and reached across the mattress to where her husband Basilio should have been—and would have been—had he not spent the night at his shepherd’s hut outside the village on this early February night, tending his herd of birthing ewes.
Sweat bathed Shardana’s brow, though she didn’t wipe away the dampness. She grabbed a shawl to chase away the cold before walking to the kitchen to boil some water to make a medicinal remedy to calm her mind.