This story continues a series of short fiction exploring some of the Faerie Shepherds and Shepherdesses within my fantasy world. Read below the story for further explanation and head over to the Tales of the Faerie Shepherds if you’d like to read more!

The winds blew a disturbance through my fur. Nose raised, I twitched, inhaled; inhaled, twitched. Uncertainty. Fear. Distress. The scents swirled as they flooded my nostrils. 

Another redolence encased the others. This one raised the hairs of my neck. I’d sniffed it far too often. 

Evil. 

The fears around were caused by no mere fae seeking nursemaids for their young. These terrors blackened as I inhaled deeper. Lives hung in the balance. Maelphaeus and his daemons roved, unchecked. 

Except … 

The One had come. Her training had been completed. She was ready, and yet … 

I rose on all fours, my nose searching harder, further. She was weak. Afflicted. Her scent carried great agony of spirit. 

Stretching forward, my great paws sank into the damp moor beneath me as I readied my legs for their fastest speed. Returning to my previous stance, I sniffed once more, judging distance and terrain. Now ready, I shook my shaggy white fur. Once, I had mourned its shade. Dark green was the color I should have been. White wasn’t ominous or muted enough for me to serve as a proper Cù Sìth. Raisie and Lailiana took me in as a pup, and it was to them I owed my life and my freedom. They had told me of the Shepherdess’ kindness and purpose, of her challenges and missteps. Though I’d never seen her, I knew her scent. Now I would track her. 

It was time. She had need of me. 

Humans believe we transport instantly. Their eyes simply can’t comprehend our speed. In twenty Cù Sìth bounds, I reached the once-distant glade wherein lay Elspeth Ealiverel. Her fiery hair fanned away from her face, and her slender hands pillowed her cheek. She looked at peace, but my nose told the truth. 

She groaned, frowning. Her troubled dreams shook her limbs and flickered on her face. I lay against her back, my chin resting over her shoulder. 

“My allegiance lies with you, Shepherdess of the Fae. Rest, fair maiden; gather strength, peace, comfort. I shall be your shield all my days.” 

Shield of White and Fur” Copyright © 2019 by Joy E. Rancatore. All Rights Reserved.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that part of Elspeth’s story appears in The Crux Anthology. If you enjoyed this story, please head over to my site to read the entire Tales of the Faerie Shepherds series.

This month’s story flowed from the inspiration of a delightful monthly online writing prompt, #BlogBattle. As you will read on their site, “Blog Battle is a monthly writing prompt meant to inspire writers and entertain readers.” To read several outstanding stories inspired by September’s prompt, “Shield,” head on over to the BlogBattlers site! 

You may just find a new favorite author to follow!

For more detailed weekly updates on my writing process behind this short story as well as my other works, please subscribe to my newsletter!

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