When Foxes Go Out To Play

When Foxes Go Out To Play

A Chapter by Arctic Fox

Aidan of the Fox Clan meets Stormy of the Wolf Clan


On a gust of winter wind, a bright, red foxwood flower sailed from its perch to land at the feet of a young man.  He was still young in his people‘s eyes, but not so much as to be considered a boy.  He was stout and tall as one would have to be in order to succeed as a blacksmith.  He had his redish-brown hair cut short.  His eyes were of a golden hue and spoke of a playful, light-hearted nature.  His name was Aidan Conchur.

            Aidan was fond of the foxwood flower.  He opened his journal he carried with him and place the crimson flower between two pages to be preserved.  Many people in the Fox Clan could do math, but writing was a luxury.  Blacksmiths make a modest lively and Aidan’s father worked hard to pay for a tutor to teach Aidan to read and write.  He had wanted his son to become something other than a blacksmith, but Aidan loved the forge.  To Aidan, the forge fires were as much a part of him as his own blood.

            Instead Aidan used his writing to augment his father’s craft.  Many noblemen came to his father’s forge simply because Aidan painted, “Blacksmith” on the sign displaying a hammer and anvil above his father’s shop.  Aidan believed there was power in words and his father’s business almost doubled because of one painted word.  Of course it also helped that the Alpha was his father’s boyhood friend.

            Aidan closed his journal and pulled his coat closer to ward off the frigid air.  Foxes roamed the streets of the town moving about their business alongside men and women. Aidan waved to one fox who almost had a full winter coat.  A few brown hairs still stubbornly clung to his coat.  The fox barked back to Aidan in return.

            The forge itself was a stone structure.  The shop had tried to catch fire on more than one occasion.  Aidan walked around to the back and exchanged his coat for his apron that hung from a peg on the post by the door.

            “Ho son!  How does the morning find my drowsy boy,” he father asked with his welcoming smile.  Aidan was a smaller, almost identical version of his father, Ronan.

            “I don’t want to hear it dad.  You said you could manage.  Besides you only have yourself to blame.  You sleep like the dead yourself,” Aidan replied.

            “Aye that I do, that I do.  Alpha Connor stopped by the shop.  He wanted to complement you on your craftsmanship.  He loved the inscription you put on his sword,” Ronan told his son.

            “I learned from the best, and the best had me learn to read so I have only you to thank,” Aidan said with a bow.

            “Alright boy.  Spit it out.  What do you want,” Ronan asked his son as he set his hammer on the anvil next to a half-finished pin for an oxen yolk.

            “I don’t know what you mean, Dad,” Aidan said as he pumped the forge to heat up the coals.

            “Do you think me a fool son?  I raised you for nineteen cycles and you think I don’t know when you want something.  I may only be a blacksmith, but I am no fool,” Ronan said with a tanned finger pointed directly at his son.  Aidan could never keep anything from his father.  Those aged eyes caught everything and right then, they were stern and demanding.

            “I want to go hunting tonight.  The snowhare is fresh and I feel so cooped up.  I need some run time Dad,” Aidan pleaded all at once to his father.

            “We may not hunt as a pack like the Wolf Clan, but we also don’t go anywhere alone.  We still have a sense of community here son.  Winter is dangerous, more so for you than anyone else.  I lost your mother, I’ll be a bloody fool to lose you too,” Ronan said to his son.  He picked up his tongs and placed the pin back into the forge.

            “I know I’m a freak, but I’m not incapable either,” Aidan replied.

            “I do not use either of those words.  Son I know it’s hard for you, but face the facts.  You stick out like bloody beacon fire in the snow,”  Ronan said.

            “Then I’ll go by night in the western wood.  We have not had many issues with the Wolf Clan, I’ll stay on our side and it is a new moon.  They won’t want to be out and it’ll be dark enough for me.  Please,” Aidan pleaded.

            Ronan breathed a heavy sigh, “You’ll turn me into a drinking man yet.”

            Aidan’s face brightened into a grin, “Dad.  You know you’re the greatest.”

            “Now hold on.  I have rules,” Ronan interjected.

            “Of course you do,” Aidan whispered.

            “I’m not deaf either Aidan, no matter what you think.  Stay on our side.  Don’t even swim in the river.  It’ll be ice before long anyway.  Winter is setting in.  If you sense trouble you run straight back to the village.  I expect you back and ready to smith by eight bells past dawn.  Am I understood,” Ronan asked.

            “Yes, sir.”  Aidan’s spirits were soaring.  He went about his work with a fervor until the midday bell.  His father left to get their meal.  Aidan tended the forge.  Idly he brought out an axe head he had been working on.  He had made him and his father a full line of armor and weapons both for display and for protection.  Ronan had been a blacksmith for the Lord’s army and taught his son to fight at a young age.  Aidan carried a sword forged by himself weighted for himself.

            Aidan had no intention of ever using the weapons, but he liked to collect them.  Each one he finished went into a display case to showcase his work.  This particular lump of metal would be an axe. It was the last piece of the collection.

            As he dipped the metal into the barrel of water to cool it the shop door hit the bell hanging above the threshold.  Aidan placed the axe head back in to the forge.  He wiped his brow and entered the shop area.

            “Hello Beta Connor.  How my we be of service o you today,” Aidan greeted the Lady of the Clan.  Beta Connor was Alpha Connor’s wife.  She wore her red hair in braids, and it still hung to the small of her back.  Her green dress was suitable for cold weather and here ruby earrings sparkled majestically from the light from the forge.

            “Young Conchur, I understand your father can smith pure silver,” She asked Aidan.

            “Yes ma’am.  One of the few in the Northern Region who can.  No extra ores,” Aidan replied.

            “Do you suppose he could mend some dinner pieces?  We have members of the Wolf Clan nobility coming to the manor and I would like good silverware,” Beta Connor explained.

            “You have always been good to me and my father.  I’ll make you a deal.  I get my father to make a whole new set for you and charge for mending,”  Aidan offered.

            “Your father has raised you well Aidan.  Will they be ready in a fortnight,” she asked.

            “Sooner most likely Ma’am,” Aidan replied.  Beta Connor gave him a respectful nod and left the shop.  Aidan’s heart thumped hard in his chest.  The Beta of the clan nodded to him.  That was a rare occurrence for any man to get.

            “Ho son!  What did the Beta want,” Ronan said as he entered from the back with a bundle in hand.  Aidan could smell chicken.  His baser instincts made him salivate as the smell wafted by him.  He shook his head regaining his senses.

            “She nodded to me father.  She nodded to US!  She needs silverware for a dinner with the Wolf Clan in a fortnight.  She nodded to our work father!  She nodded!”  Aidan’s eyes were wide.

            “Calm down son.  That is a great honor indeed, but we have food to eat and work to do.  Come enjoy your lunch,” Ronan said calmly.  Ronan opened the box he had their lunch in.  The aroma was tantalizing to Aidan.  His eyes glazed over and he tore in the chicken breast like a feral beast.  Ronan’s hand caught the back of his son’s head. 

            “Sorry dad.  This is why I need to get out.  I’m acting more like a beast than usual,” Aidan explained.

            “I suppose your right, but you don’t even fight it.  You are not a mindless beast.  You’ve been raised better than that,” said Ronan.

            “Yes sir,” Aidan replied to his father with down cast eyes.  They finished their meal and worked to finish the pins before Ronan began working on the silverware for the Alpha and Beta.

            Aidan had no work, but did not want to leave the forge yet.  He tidied up the shop and work areas not being utilized before pulling out the axe head to finish up his work.  The axe was double headed and with the shaft was forged from one piece of metal.  The heads were the last piece to hammer out. 

            Aidan was finally at the point in the process where he began to etch out floral designs relevant to the Fox Clan.  He dipped the head into the barrel resulting in a sharp hissing as heated metal met cool water.  His father spared the axe a glance, nodding in approval.  He was engrossed in his work.  Both were of a similar mind when it came to working the forges.  They became entranced with the fire.  Aidan’s name meant little fire.  He was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps.

            As the sun finally drifted past the horizon, Ronan put his hammer down.  He wiped the sweat from his face.  He worked to clean his work area while Aidan cooled the forge fires.  They placed the finished portion of the silverware in a chest and locked them with the raw metals.  The axe went into one of the display cases and the shop was locked for the night.

            “Get cleaned up and then you can go,” Ronan told his son as they left the shop.  They walked briskly down the lane to their house.  Ronan was one of the few blacksmith’s who could afford to have his house separate from his work. 

            The house was two stories with the living room, kitchen, dining area, and Aidan’s library at the bottom and the living quarters upstairs.  Aidan and his library were the envy of many commoners who could not read.  Books were not cheap and Aidan spent most of his earnings working with his father to buy them.  Some were gifts from the Alpha who had a soft spot for the boy and his father.  The previous Alpha, the father of the current Alpha, owed his life to Aidan’s grandfather for rescuing him when he had suffered a near fatal blow in battle.  Aidan’s grandfather pulled the Alpha to safety and worked to bandage the Alpha’s wounds while defending him with sword and shield.

            The Conchur family had denied a noble title, but stayed close to the Connors; their sons growing up together.  Though separated by class many considered Ronan and Alpha Connor close friends, though they maintained decorum in public, and even served together in the guard.   Aidan knew the Alpha would come late in the night to their house to share a pint with his father, but he never told anyone.  It would not have been appropriate.

            Aidan washed himself quickly, told his father goodbye, and bolted out the door.  He ran hard towards the western part of the village.  Once he had entered the tree line and located a familiar boulder, he shed his clothes and stretched his muscles.  When he was satisfied he was limber he walked further into the forest.  With the moon not shining the stars were the only light to be had in the night sky.

            Aidan took a deep breath and emptied his mind of everything.  He reached down within himself and took hold of his other half.  Aidan’s muscle and bones structure shifted first, followed quickly by his organs and other internal features.  Hair began to cover his body and a tail form.  All of this took placed almost instantly.  Aidan went from man to fox.  Aidan however had a curious feature.  His coat was inverted to that of his northern kinsmen.  He was all black except for the tip of his tail, ears, and portions of his paws which were white.  Many believe it is the result of his father being a southern red fox and his mother being a native of the village where they lived now.  She had been pure white year round.

            Aidan yawned though he felt more awake than he had in several days.  He started to run.  He had no destination in mind; he just wanted to run.  Trees became a blur as he bounded as far as his little paws would carry him.  He caught sit of a snowhare and the chase was on.  The snowhare bolted for its life.  The trees soon thinned and the Canis River appeared, the river separating the wolf lands from the fox lands. 

            As he dove for the rabbit a familiar scent caught his nose, but it was too late.  Aidan was airborne and could not stop the bulky mass from hitting him square in the ribs and sending him spiraling into the ground.  Aidan came up with teeth flashing and he snarled at his attacker.  A solid black wolf sat with its head cocked to one side looking Aidan over.  Aidan snarled and snapped at the wolf.  The hairs on his back were raised in anticipation, his father’s words forgotten.

            The wolf’s head cocked to the other side.  The wolf made no move.  Aidan darted in for the wolf’s throat.  The wolf unphased at the pesky little fox merely batted Aidan down with a paw.  Aidan landed with a plop.  The wolf smiled and barked one bark.  Aidan figured the bark was the wolf laughing as if to say, “Are you serious little one?”

            Aidan knowing he wouldn’t be able to best the wolf sat on his haunches and observed the wolf.  The wolf’s tail wagged playfully.  Aidan circled the wolf gently smelling her.  Aidan’s fox eyes widened.  The wolf was a girl and she wanted to play.  Aidan could never resist playing while in his fox form.  He was more curious and child-like as a vulpine.

            Aidan nipped at her tail and bounced back as she spun and yelped.  Aidan barked once mimicking her laugh and flashed his teeth in a smile.  The wolf looked slightly offended, but it quickly passed.  The wolf laid down putting her head on her paws.  Aidan jumped the wolf’s back gently nipping at her ears until she rolled over on top of him, her weight much more than Aidan’s own.

            After a moment she got off of Aidan and and licked him in the face, a canine equivalent to a kiss.  Aidan was taken back by the gesture and stood stunned.  The wolf gave him her bark of laughter and he paws her in the face playfully.  The games continued for some time before the both agreed to retrieve their clothing and return to meet in person.

            Aidan quickly dressed and made his way back to the river.  He knew she would beat him there.  Wolves were the stronger canine, and foxes were naturally smarter.  As he broke past the tree line his eyes fell on the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.  She could not have been more than a year or two his younger.

            She had shoulder length brown hair a testament that human hair color did not necessarily match canine hair color.  Her eyes were a sapphire blue.  She wore a black corset covering in red vine, floral print causing the corset to look more red than black. She wore a fur coat over her corset, but she left it open to Aidan’s view. She was a head shorter than Aidan.

            “Hmm, how do you shift into such a small form fox and with such odd colors,” the Wolf Clan girl asked.

            “Practice wolf.  My name is Aidan Conchur and you’re not on your side of the river,” Aidan remarked.

            “Well Aidan you did not seem so concerned with which side of the river I was when I was letting you nip at my tail.  Your fluffy one is adorable by the way.  The name’s Stormy Falehn,” the girl replied.  Aidan blushed dark red causing Stormy to giggle.

            “I was just curious,” Aidan told her.

            “Curiosity killed the cat,” Stormy said.

            “Good thing I’m a fox then,” Aidan replied.

            “Can foxes really be considered canines?  We are so much bigger than you,” Stormy jested.

            “Yes, but here I am standing at least a head taller than you, little wolf,” Aidan shot back.

            “I like you.  Sorry about your snack by the way.  I couldn’t resist.  Do you want to meet up here again tomorrow night,” Stormy asked.

            “It’s fine and I’d love to,” Aidan said, “Oh, earlier when you licked me.  What did you mean by that?”

            “What?  You mean this.”  Stormy leaned in and kissed Aidan.  Aidan could not help, but return the kiss.  Stormy’s seductive eyes met Aidan’s playful ones and Aidan’s felt a warm sensation build in his gut.

            “See you tomorrow lover boy,” Stormy said as she turned towards the only bridge that connected the two clans.

            “Bye little wolf,” Aidan called after her playfully.

            The trip back home seemed to take mere seconds with Aidan’s head full of thoughts of Stormy.  He quietly slipped into his house, careful not to disturb his father’s sleep, though it would take an avalanche to wake him, and that was still unlikely.  He dressed into his nightclothes and curled up into his bed.  Stormy dominated his dreams that night.

            The next morning Aidan made his way to the forge before his father.  He wanted to have everything up and running as a gesture of thanks to his father. If his father had not consented to his night run, then he would not have met Stormy.

            To pass the time Aidan took some scrap iron and began to shape and form the metal.  Before long he realized that he had crafted a miniature fox and a miniature wolf.  He set them to the side and began working on some more scraps.  Before long Aidan had made fox and wolf medallions which he had attach to cord before he knew what he was doing.

            “Your head is not in the forge Aidan,” he said to himself.

            “That is when a blacksmith makes his purest creations son, and it would seem you have wolves on your mind.  You encounter more than snowhare on your run,” Ronan inquired as he swapped coat for apron.

            “Father I did not get into a fight I promise,” Aidan pleaded to his father.

            “I’d say not, I can smell her perfume from here Aidan,” Ronan replied to his son.

            “Oh for the love of the goddess!  Father,” Aidan began.

            “Stop.  Don’t say a word.  The village will not look at this with favor, but as long as she is faithful to you and you are faithful to her, then I support you,” Ronan said.  Aidan’s jaw hung open.

            “Even though the Wolf Clan has not exactly been a great neighbor, you’d still support this.  You fought against the wolves,” Aidan said, “Not that I’m trying to argue against my own wants.”

            “That was hardly a war and both sides suffered more than they wanted to,” Ronan told him.  Ronan took the silver from the chest and worked to finish the rest of the set.  Ronan was quick, but skillful.  Years of practice and a heightened sense of feel made him a master of metalworking.

            “Tell me about her,” Ronan said as he deftly began to work the silver into a fork.  Aidan sat and watched his father’s work.

            “She is beautiful and surprisingly shorter than myself,” Aidan told him.

            “Did you expect her to be a giant,” Ronan laughed.

            “Kind of.  I’ve never met a wolf before in human form.  I’ve always caught glimpses of them in lupine form across the river,” Aidan confided.

            “In human form it is hard to tell wolf from fox except by smell.  We are not far off from one another and mating is possible though discouraged and at times forbidden,” Ronan explained.  He set the fork aside and began a spoon.

            “Your ridiculously fast at that,” Aidan commented.

            “Years of practice.  I actually want you to etch the plates, bowls, platters, and cups,” Ronan told his son.

            “I couldn’t dad.  I don’t want to mess it up,” Aidan said.

            “Could you do it on bronze, iron, steel, or even star like your own sword,” Ronan asked.

            “Yes, sir,” replied Aidan.

            “Then what is the difference with silver.  It is not as rare as star,” Ronan said.

            “But my sword was for me and I painstakingly worked it for weeks,” Aidan replied.  He pulled out his sword from its sheath hanging on a peg as if he needed to have it out to make his point.

            “Then take the same pains with the silver,” Ronan said.

            “Yes, sir.”

            Aidan worked some more scrap metal into figurines and other like items while he waited for the silver to be etched.  When the time came, he approached the metal with an pen mind and steady, confident hand.  As the time passed to midday, Aidan had a few plates and bowls finished and cooling in the with the winter breeze.

            Aidan looked at his work while he ate a piece of bread.  His chin rested on his arms.  He never thought about what to etch unless there was a request.  He just went to work.  Each bowl and plate was unique, but each showed a common theme.  Foxes and wolves played together on one plate and they hunted in a pack on another bowl.

            “Most curious.  I think it is a good move politically, but I don’t know how the wolves will take it.”  Aidan immediately recognized the smell seconds before the vice registered in his head. 

            “Alpha Connor.  I just etched what felt natural to me sir.  This is the result sir.  If it displeases you we can melt them down and redo them,” Aidan said quickly.

            “No, no Aidan.  I think you and your father are helping the clan more than you know by what you have put on my dinnerware,” the alpha laughed.  Aidan did not see the joke, but the alpha did not appear mad, and that was more important.

            “I came to see the progress which seems remarkable, but it shouldn’t seem so; because it is Ronan doing the work.  Also I have a new book I wanted to give you since you did an amazing job on my sword.  You were not here the last time I stopped by and I had wanted to give it to you in person,” Alpha Connor said as he handed Aidan a leather bound book.

            “Thank you so much sir, I love it sir,” Aidan said bowing his head to Alpha Connor.

            “Well I cannot stay long.  It was good to see you Ronan.  I hope the rest of the day finds you well,” Alpha Connor said with a slight nod.

            “And you as well Alpha Connor,” Ronan replied with a much deeper nod.  As the Alpha left the way he came through the back the front store bell rang.  Aidan went to go tend to the customer while his father returned to his work.

            “Hi Aidan,”  said a blonde haired, green eyed girl bundled up in several layers of fur.

            “Afternoon Riley.  What can I do for you,” Aidan asked, wiping some of the grim and soot form the forge off his hands and unto his apron.

            “Well I was hoping you would accompany me to the winter dance tonight,” Riley asked.

            “Uh, thanks, but no thanks Riley,”  Aidan said to her.  Her face flushed and her eyes widened.

            “What?  Why? Are you going with someone else?  Am I not good enough?  Just because you’re the Alpha’s favorite doesn’t mean your noble,” Riley ranted.

            “Hey!  Calm down.  I’m not going at all and I’m not the Alpha’s favorite.  Watch what you say,” Aidan snapped.  Riley began to tear up and ran out the door. 

            “Well that went over well,” Aidan commented.  Before he could rejoin his father a few people enter the shop to browse.  Some made purchases, others made orders, and some just perused the various metal creations of the Conchur smiths.

            When the last customer left after buying one of the statues Aidan had crafted that morning, this one of an oak tree, he returned to the forge to see if his father needed any assistance.  The day carried on with Ronan smithing and Aidan etching until he last piece was finished.  Ronan left to deliver the silverware while Aidan locked up the shop and headed for the river.

            Stormy sat waiting for him at the cliff edge overlooking the river where they met.  She was dressed more appropriately for the weather this time.  She wore more fur the same color as her lupine form.

            “Come sit next to me fox.  I want to be close to you,” Stormy said.  Aidan did as she requested and she laid her head on his shoulder.  Aidan slipped an arm around her.  They watched the river flow by for several moments in silence.  Aidan decided to go with his compulsions and he gently kissed her forehead.  Stormy nuzzled him approvingly.

            “Tell me about yourself Aidan,” Story said almost in a whisper.

            “Well.  I’m a blacksmith by trade, and I like to write in my journal. I…”

            “You can read and write!  Can all foxes read and write,” Stormy asked.

            “No unfortunately.  Only nobles and those who can afford tutors to teach them,” Aidan said, “Um, What about you?”

            “I can, but have no need.  I’m only a maiden warrior with no war to fight.  It is a boring life and so I turn to drawing and sewing to keep my sanity,” Stormy said as she sighed.

            “A woman warrior.  That’s impressive,” Aidan remarked.

            “No its not,” Stormy replied.

            “I think it is and I can’t draw so I’m also impressed by that,” Aidan said.

            “So you’re easily impressed,” Stormy said.

            “Well no, but I love people who can draw and we don’t have female warriors in my clan,” Aidan told her.

            “Sexist,” Stormy said.

            “No.  None of them have ever tried to be one to my knowledge.  I guess because of tradition or something like that,” Aidan told her.

            “That is odd to me.  I’m so used to seeing our men and women fight beside each other, that I never considered that another clan might be different.  In the Wolf Clan we have and Alpha and a Beta, but the mothers of the den do just as much as the fathers.  Everyone looks after everyone.  Power in a pack,” Stormy said as she laid her head back on Aidan’s shoulder.

            “Foxes are more solitary.  That is not to say we don’t have a sense of community and loyalty to Clan and pack, but families try not to interfere with another families young.  The raising of kits is done by the parents or in my case the parent.”

            “Parent,” Stormy said questioningly.

            “Yes.  My mother died when I was very young.  She was murdered in the wild.  I don’t know by whom, but people often, well never mind that.” Aidan looked away from stormy preferring not to meet her eyes.

            “People often blame wolves, you meant to say,” Stormy finished.

            “I don’t know who to blame and therefore I don’t lay blame on anyone,” Aidan said quickly.

            “Well I am sorry for your loss my fox,” Stormy said kissing him on the cheek.

            “Your fox,” Aidan asked.

            “Yes.  My fox,” Stormy said possessively.

            “Do I get a say in the matter,” Aidan asked her with a smile.

            “Well, yeah.  I just thought that, you know, we could,” Stormy fumbled.

            “Shhh.  I have something for my wolf.”  Aidan pulled out the fox figurine and medallion revealing his own wolf medallion around his neck and figurine in a pouch.

            “OH!  Aidan I love them.  His tail is so fluffy!  Just like yours.  I can’t believe you made these.  You must be an amazing smith! Thank you so much,” Stormy said with a rather large smile.  She kissed Aidan and gave him the first hug she had ever given him.  That was when he learned that even though he was larger than her in human form, she was incredibly strong.  He could feel his lungs being pressed up against his chest.

            “Stormy!  Can’t breath,” Aidan coughed.

            “Oh sorry,” she laughed, “Hey Aidan.”


            “My parents want to meet you,” she said not looking up to see his face grew terribly pale.

            “Um.  Am I allowed.  Is that best I mean?  I am of the Fox Clan and our people have not always lived so cooperatively next to each other in the past,” Aidan asked feeling sick to his stomach.

            “It has been twenty or so years and the Alpha has given the permission,” Stormy replied.  Aidan hugged her close.

            “I will ask Alpha Connor for his blessing,” Aidan said.

            “Thank you Aidan.”

            “You’re welcome Stormy.”

            They sat there on the cliff overlooking the Canis River for a while more before they departed to their homes.  Aidan’s held soon filled with fancies both good and bad.  He wondered if this was an elaborate trap, but he wanted to trust her.  It had been two decades.

            I will ask Alpha Connor and if he agrees then I will go.  She wouldn’t have done all of this just to capture a fox, would she?


© 2011 Arctic Fox

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Added on November 8, 2011
Last Updated on December 2, 2011
Tags: Aidan, fox, Stormy, Wolf, et, vulpes, lupus, lupine, vulpine


Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox


I am the youngest of three. I was born in 1991. I love to read, write, and help others. Want to know more, just ask. I will answer any question no matter what it is with a 100% honest answer. more..