Cerai grew up just outside Juneau, Alaska. Her mother died when she was very young, and she was raised by her grandmother (and much of the rest of the town and extended family). Every once in a while, a couple of “mountain men” would come into town to get supplies they couldn’t get from the wilderness. One of them would always stop by and chat with her grandmother, and Cerai would catch him staring at her.
When she was young, it always freaked her out, but as she became a teenager, she realized it wasn’t a dirty old lonely wildman stare, but like he was looking at her, watching for something.
She went to university for less than a year, trying for pre-law, but she found she couldn’t concentrate. Weird things kept happening, and finally she gave up and went home. Grandma was sitting in the kitchen with the man who’d been watching her all those years. Her grandmother told Cerai she knew she was coming home, and that it was time for Cerai to put to use everything she’d been taught and go into the woods with her “Cousin Joe”.
Cerai didn’t want to go, but her grandmother reminded her about all the stories she’d been told as a child. Now it was her turn to go talk to the wolves. Cerai had been taught to respect her elders, so, grudgingly, she went.
“Cousin Joe” led Cerai deep into the wilderness, traveling fast and hard for three days. The fourth morning, she woke up and “Cousin Joe” – along with all their gear – were gone. Scared and lost, she tried to find her way back but the trail had been obliterated.
And then the wolves attacked. A huge black wolf bit her on the shoulder and knocked her down a rocky embankment. For the next two days they hunted her, staying just out of sight, attacking to drive her on if she tried to rest. Eventually, too weak from blood loss and lack of food, she collapsed. That’s when the visions started.
They were wild. More vivid than anything she’d experienced before, even with the “magic mushrooms” she’d stolen from her grandmother’s medicine chest. It finally overwhelmed her and as she passed out, she let out a scream that sounded oddly like a wolf’s howl.
She woke up naked under a pile of warm, comfortable furs, next to a low crackling fire. On the other side of the fire, staring at her, was “Cousin Joe”. Before she had a chance to open her mouth, he said, “The tale of Mary Bright Eyes. Tell it to me.” Surprised, and out of reflex, as her grandmother had often abruptly began conversations that way, she started to recite the story. Partway through it, Cerai stopped and realized that the story mirrored what had happened to her.
It was then that “Cousin Joe” introduced himself as Sharptooth, and brought her into her new life as one of the Uratha.