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‘Lycan’s Lane’. A rickety sign stood at the mouth of the pathway, for it was barely more than that, a pathway flanked by run-down huts and shacks, and littered with all kinds of debris.

Few others were out and about, the air was ice-cold and had been for some days now, and it would not be long now until it started snowing. A young boy was making his way through that desolate neighbourhood, stopping here and there to knock on doors.

"Get out, boy, we don’t have enough for us as it is," a harsh voice told him. Moriah ducked his head as something went flying over his head. He did not dare to look back, just scurried away as fast as he could manage.

The strangers whose paths he crossed either looked intimidating and dangerous, or hushed and intimidated. He could not count the times he had been kicked out of houses or shops, trying to get a little warmth or a spot of food. Nor did he know how long he would be able to keep wandering around like that.

It was still afternoon, he guessed, but it was already getting dark. He knew it was a bad idea to sit down, but he could not help his weak state. Only for a little bit.

He spotted some old papers lying about. Moriah snatched them up, and huddled himself away in a less draughty corner, spreading the paper around him as good as he could. Then, he kept trying to warm up his cold hands a bit by cupping them in front of his mouth and blowing into them.

He tried to distract himself from the cold and the hunger he felt, tried to recall a warm and comforting memory. Still nothing. A black abyss was were his memories were supposed to be. The only one he could remember was Fenrir, and that was not a comforting thought.

He turned his face upward as something icy and tiny hit his nose, his eyes crossed as they tried to follow the progress of the next snow crystal, then it landed on his cheek. Moriah was too entranced watching the snow fall to tell himself that he needed to get out of that weather, but where to?

His eyelids grew heavier, with a jerk, he forced them open again, pinching himself into his cheeks.

Someone passed the place he was huddled against the wall, barely stopping as he coughed a little. He called to the stranger for help, and felt his heart beat quicken as the man stepped closer. Just as he wanted to beg for shelter, the man grabbed the paper he had spread over him. "This will do, some heat at last," he said in a hoarse voice, then disappeared before Moriah could do anything. He could only watch numbly as his only source of warmth disappeared.

He did not know how much time passed after that, he was shaking more and more, his feet and hands slowly starting to feel numb. He whimpered a little, too weak to get up again. Couldn’t it just stop snowing?

He felt his eyes slide closed again, but did not bother to open them again. In his last moments of consciousness, he felt something warm being draped over him …



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