Savage is a novella which details Clayton Danvers' early childhood between the ages of five and eight. The novella was originally part of Kelley Armstrong's early e-serials and was later published in the anthology novel Men of the Otherworld. It has a seperate novella sequel, Ascension which is also included in the anthology.
The story begins in the summer of 1967 with Clayton, then a young human child of around five, wandering the forest outside Baton Rogue on the weekend while his parents are probably drunk sit around a campfire with their friends. His older brothers should be watching him, but as long as he comes back when called they are much happier having him wander around. Clayton is looking for a Werewolf he had spotted earlier that summer. Clay's siblings often told stories of such things, hoping to scare him, but secretly Clay envied them; the monsters feared nothing...they were feared.
Clay finds the old werewolf in human form, he tells him he saw him Change and that he wants to be able to do it too. The man is surprised and jokes that he must be dreaming and that biting Clay is easier than chasing him through the forest to kill him. The man returns in wolf form and is surprised at how willing Clay is to be bitten and how he smiles afterwards. The mutt never planned on turning Clay though and chases after him to kill him. Clay runs into the path of two humans, scaring the mutt off. He continues on and doesn't remember much of the following weeks except for pain.
Clay is a very bright child who'd already begun learning to care for himself, adding to that his instincts as a Werewolf he avoids other people and with his first Change he begins to scavenge and hunt, albeit unsuccessfully for the most part and only mice and sparrows when he gets lucky. Clay lives in the forest and swamp, starving hungry and not knowing how to hunt he stumbles on the body of a dead homeless man and eats him.
Clay comes across the scent of another Werewolf in Baton Rogue who follows him back to his den, later revealed to be Malcolm Danvers, he grabs Clay and impatiently tries to question him but Clay has lost the power of human speech from living as an animal and can't understand him or respond. When Malcolm gets bored of not getting an answer he tosses Clay aside and then leaves him, uncaring whether he lives, dies or presents an exposure threat to the Pack.
Some time later Clay believes the man has returned to his den but it is in fact his son, Jeremy Danvers, instead. Clay attacks him on instinct but Jeremy is undeterred and continues to visit him, speaking to him and feeding him. With the enticement of food Jeremy is able to eventually convince Clay to wear clothes he brings him when Clay is in human food, as he remains unable to fully control his Changes. Jeremy manages to get Clay to come to his motel room and begins reteaching him language, being pleased when Clay is able to tell him his name.
Eventually Jeremy takes Clay out into the human world to buy him fake identification that claims Clay is seven and Jeremy's cousin, under his guardianship as he's an orphan. When there Clay attacks a child who tries to pick Jeremy's pocket. Jeremy decides not to risk taking Clay back to the motel and instead drives him home to Stonehaven.
After a near miss in a cab when Jeremy has to quickly drag Clay out as he begins to Change, they arrive home and Clay meets Antonio Sorrentino. Misunderstanding Antonio's greeting to Jeremy, Clay tries to attack him, something that neither Jeremy or Antonio are particularly worried about. Over the next few weeks Clay's language skills increase as he spends time with Jeremy and Antonio, he retains his difficulty with understanding the necessity of human behavior and speech though, which causes him some problems with Jeremy who expects him to try to learn and is disappointed when he acts out.
As Jeremy turns twenty two Antonio bakes him a cake and goes to town to get his gift. While Antonio is gone Malcolm returns to Stonehaven and instantly begins to insult Jeremy until he notices Clay who recognises him as the Werewolf who beat him in Baton Rogue. Jeremy introduces them and holds Clay back when he tries to attack Malcolm who doesn't believe that Jeremy was the one to retrieve Clay, thinking him too afraid to leave the house and suggesting that Antonio went to get him as a 'pet' for Jeremy.
Malcolm tells Jeremy that Clay isn't going to be staying, Jeremy reminds him that it isn't his home just in time for Antonio to overhear and congratulate him for telling Malcolm off, telling him to kick Malcolm out and offering to change the locks. Malcolm turns up to Jeremy's birthday party to continue insulting and abusing him, comparing Jeremy's birth to a terminal illness and having him as a son an embarrassment and punishment. Antonio reveals that along with a pair of antique revolvers he got Jeremy a silver bullet engraved with Malcolm's name.
Life continues on and after Antonio leaves its revealed that the terms of Edward Danvers will means that Malcolm relies on Jeremy for money, as he won't get any of it himself if Jeremy dies before he's thirty five. Malcolm only comes to Stonehaven to abuse Jeremy and milk him for cash. Jeremy is unable to give him enough to leave so Malcolm has to stay awhile.
Clay is aware how much Jeremy hates his father and wants him gone but also knows Jeremy won't and can't do it. Clay hatches a plan to get Malcolm to leave with his wolf instincts leading him to stalk and watch Malcolm, who is aware of what he's doing and can't stand it. Clay sneaks into Malcolm's room when he's sleeping one night and lays a knife on the pillow beside him, hoping Malcolm will see how close Clay can get to him while he's vulnerable.
Malcolm shows no reaction to this until he corners Clay, telling him he knows what he's trying to do and that he's going to enact his own plan to get rid of Clay instead. The next time Jeremy is on one of his scheduled runs Malcolm brings a human woman to Stonehaven, introducing her to Clay and encouraging him to kill her. Clay tells him he isn't hungry and that Jeremy has told him not to kill humans. Malcolm continues by breaking the woman's wrists backwards and rubbing her blood across Clay's face to try and work him into a frenzy. Malcolm clearly enjoys what he's doing but as Clay isn't hungry the blood does nothing to trigger his instincts.
Jeremy has sensed that something is wrong and made his way back to the house, shortly after Malcolm snaps the woman's neck, he tells Jeremy that Clay killed the woman but isn't believed at all. Jeremy tells Malcolm that he's going to call Dominic and tell him what has happened, Dominic already suspects Malcolm of killing humans and now Jeremy will give him proof. Malcolm tells him he'll leave Stonehaven for awhile instead, Jeremy tells him to leave for ten months and not attend Pack Meets which Malcolm eventually agrees to.
Clay is unable to empathise with the woman's death but understands very clearly that in both a human and animal sense her death was unjust and wrong. In the spring, four months after Clay was brought to Stonehaven Antonio drops by for a surprise visit and brings his son Nicholas Sorrentino with him. Clay jumps him and pins him to the ground in a show of dominance, frightening Nick badly enough to cause him to wet himself. Once Clay relies the fight for dominance was all in his head he feels guilt and shame for the first time.
As summer passes Jeremy has Clay interact with other children more and decides he should go to school. Clay is enrolled at Harding Academy. As Clay has no formal education he's placed in kindergarten despite being only a few months before his recognised eighth birthday, Jeremy tries to convince the headmistress otherwise but as Clay also has 'socialization issues' she tells him he'll be in kindergarten. Jeremy watches over Clay from the woods near the school and tells him it's important he goes to school. Clay finds he hates kindergarten only second to how much he hates Malcolm but endures it even if his stalking behavior leads to parent teacher conferences about him making other kids uncomfortable.
In late October Jeremy starts teaching Clay which parts of an animal to target when hunting as a wolf, which coincides with Clay's class getting guinea pigs. When one of the animals dies Clay decides to dissect it to learn from it in the same way Jeremy has been teaching him. Clay is discovered by a teacher and expelled. With the end of November comes a quarterly Pack Meet that Dominic Sorrentino, the Alpha, ensists Jeremy bring Clay to.
Jeremy teaches Clay about the various members of the Pack who can be expected to attend, once they arrive Clay meets Dominic who is impressed with how long Clay can meet his eye, stating he 'has balls'. Clay is sent to meet the other kids who are hanging out in the basement. He finds Stephen Santos trying to steal Nick's transistor radio with his younger brothers backing him up and Joey Stillwell timidly trying to take Nick's side.
Stephen breaks it when Nick insists on wanting it back which is when Clay shows himself. Nick introduces him and Stephen calls Clay a freak for being a child Werewolf as well as a mutt, he intends it to be the greatest insult but Clay doesn't know the term which disappoints him. The kids get into an argument with the Santos' insisting Clay is a mutt and always will be with Nick and Joey insisting that Clay is a kid so he can't be a mutt. The Santos' call both Gregory Sorrentino and Clay retards and Jeremy a freak for not participating in mutt hunts. When Stephen calls Jeremy a coward Clay attacks him until Dominic separates them.
Clay is introduced to the rest of the attending Pack members with Jeremy making excuses for Malcolm's absence. As a full Werewolf Clay can eat more than what is provided on the kids table so he's invited, along with Nick to keep him company, to the adults table where he comes close to beating Dominic in an eating contest. It's revealed that Dominic gave Jeremy a year to rehabilitate Clay until he could walk through the streets of New York without presenting an exposure risk, believing Clay to be in school he tells Jeremy he can keep him and that Clay is a member of the Pack.
The members of the Pack who support Malcolm attempt to doubt and disagree but it's the Alpha's decision and there's nothing they can do. Dominic also announces that as Jeremy helped mentor Jorge Sorrentino when he begun his first Changes, making for a smoother transition, he's going to allow him to test his theories with other Pack sons as they come of age as well as teaching the adolescent boys. The Pack members who support Malcolm and dislike Jeremy again disagree. Dominic tells Clay to go and play with Daniel Santos and Nick.
Clay and Nick quickly try to loose Daniel before settling for telling him to go away and make their way to Nick's treehouse, where Clay reveals to Nick that he isn't in school anymore and why he got kicked out. Daniel was eavesdropping and eagerly races back to the house, announcing to everyone why Clay was expelled. Dominic laughs it off as an early interest in anatomy isn't going to have anyone screaming Werewolf.
Winter and then spring comes to Stonehaven and so does a mutt, in May Carl Pritchard comes to challenge Malcolm, who has begun returning to Stonehaven but isn't currently there. Jeremy tries to get him to leave after he challenges him instead, telling the mutt that the endless cycle of challenges to raise your reputation only leads to more people wanting to challenge you, which is stupid. Jeremy tells the mutt he has an hour to leave his territory and brings Clay to follow him. During the car ride Jeremy and Clay discuss how mutts come to Stonehaven to fight Malcolm even though he isn't often there, Clay tells him he needs to stop them from coming and Jeremy tells him that maybe one day Clay can figure that out for him.
Pritchard doesn't leave and Jeremy is forced to fight him, he defeats him with his superior skill and intellect and is willing to spare him, to let him leave with his life, but Pritchard tries to attack him when his back is turned and Jeremy is forced to kill him and bury his body at Stonehaven.
Clay continues with home schooling and joins local activities to compensate for his socialization. The October after Pritchard's death Clay and Nick are in the woods when someone arrives at Stonehaven. Clay smells a Werewolf and finds out that it's Peter Myers, another Pack member. Jeremy and Peter talk with Clay later learning that Peter has decided to leave the Pack, he wanted to take a roadie job on tour with a band and Dominic told him it was too dangerous at his age to be travelling around with humans, giving Peter the excuse he needed to leave the Pack.
The following day Nick challenges Clay to jump down an elevator shaft at a mall, leading Clay to break his right arm. As they're in a very public place and can't deal with Clay's injury themselves they're forced to allow the paramedics to take Clay to the hospital, something they usually avoid whenever possible. The Doctor who sees Clay gives Jeremy and Antonio a hard time for not being in Vietnam fighting the war and later a nurse draws some of Clay's blood mistakenly despite Pack families citing religious reasons for not having blood drawn.
When Jeremy realises Clay's blood was drawn he calls the lab and pretends to be the Doctor who saw Clay, someone has already started analysing Clay's blood and found abnormalities. Jeremy brings Clay back to the hospital to wait for him and is forced to kill the tech who examined the blood and steal all the evidence. The novella ends with Jeremy ordering medical texts and becoming proficient enough that if something like that happened again he could stabilise Clay before getting him to an illicit Doctor who could treat him without risk. Clay believes that when Jeremy had to kill the lab tech it changed him and set him on the journey that would lead him to become Alpha.
- Clayton Danvers
- Jeremy Danvers
- Antonio Sorrentino
- Malcolm Danvers
- Nicholas Sorrentino
- Dominic Sorrentino
- Gregory Sorrentino
- Jorge Sorrentino
- Stephen Santos
- Andrew Santos
- Daniel Santos
- Joey Stillwell
- Dennis Stillwell
- Wally Santos
- Raymond Santos
- Ross Werner
- Cliff Ward
- Peter Myers
- Carl Pritchard