“I’ve been wondering for a while now. About the belts you wear. Rowan and Willow wear them too. Do they have meaning?”
Roland ducked his head. “Well, it would hardly interest you. Just a silly story. Something out of a penny dreadful.”
I like Penny dreadfuls.“ Scarlet asserted.
“Very well then.” Roland smiled. “The story is that when the rover bands first began forming. There was a famine in our native lands. People broke away from the towns and villages and set off in hopes of finding food for themselves without feeding the rest of the village. With fewer people, food would be easier to find. At first it worked well, They traveled to a place just a short distance and found good hunting and farming lands. But after a few seasons, the animals left the woods and the fields grew fallow. They traveled on again to find some other places, but they overlooked another important factor; humans are social animals. There is said to be one man particular by the name of Jean Grenier. He lived on his own for five years in the wild. Legend tells of a wolf pack who spoke to him.”
Scarlet shuddered at the thought. She pulled her cloak tighter. Roland continued calmly.
“The lead wolf asked him to join their pack. It’s said he was half starved and hallucinating. But the story says he spoke to the lead wolf and agreed to join the pack. For a year he ran with them and lived with them as one. Part of the pack”
“Part of the pack? You mean as a wolf?” Scarlet asked in surprise. “Like a werewolf?”
Roland laughed. “The thoughts of a silly girl! No such ridiculous ghost stories as that. No, they just accepted the man. People can’t turn themselves into wolves, Scar. “
“I know not really, but you said it was a story. ” Scarlet replied practically. “Besides we can’t TALK to wolves, either. The story says he does. Such feats are not unheard of in tales of that nature.”
“You think too much, especially for a girl. ” Roland shrugged. “Now where was I?”
“Part of the pack.” Scarlet elected to put her pride aside in the interest of learning the story behind the wolf pelts.
“Right part of the pack. He learned how they hunted and foraged, and moved. Always moving. At the end of the year, he returned to the human world and resolved to make a pack of his own. The idea frightened most, but a small group of brave explorers followed him. They became the Rovers. The people of the wolves. As a reminder for all Grenier learned from the wolves, we wear the belts. They even slept in the forest, this was before we had tents and caravans. They were called Les gens des loups, the people of the wolves.”