Lone Shadow

Calicia is the lone wolf. The packless one. Having a pack is all wolves ever dream of, but now she is cast out, and there's no food that can be found in the entire forest. Any day could be her last. It's her job to find the source of the missing food, and retrieve it. What can she do?


Pronunciation key:
Calicia - Cal-isss-ee-ah
Syanew - See-an-oo
Walnemazoi - Wal-knee-mah-zoy (Wal rhymes with pal)
Anuk - An-uk (Uk rhymes with puck)

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4. Dying

The next morning, Calicia woke, her throat as dry as the bark of an oak tree after a drought.  Or now.  The fresh meat in front of her only made her long for water, or any form of liquid at all.  She had been surviving alone on the moisture from whatever she happened to eat.  Calicia took it between her teeth and threw it as far as she could.  Then she spotted something.  the meat had landed just after something - A puddle.

She ran as quickly as her worn-out legs would allow.  She lapped up the small amount of water, and felt suddenly replenished.  She looked up, and saw two bright amber eyes staring at her from behind some shrubs.  She walked cautiously towards them, then they disappeared.  She chased the rustling greenery until she came to a clearing.

Standing in the middle of it, looking for somewhere to run to, was another wolf.  He was blacker than night, with a sleek and shiny coat, and claws that were whiter than Calicia's own fur.  His eyes were bright amber, definitely the ones from the bush.  He was the one that had watched her.  He was scented very faintly of vines, with the tiniest hint of saltwater.  The smell made Calicia want to explore the world, at the same time as stay exactly where she was.  Had he left the food?

"Erm... This is... Awkward.  Hi."  Calicia said shyly.  The other wolf looked at her, almost uncomprehendingly.  "That food, was, was that you?"

He hesitated, then muttered, "Yes."

"Really?  Thank you, so much.  How, where did you get it, I mean, there's none, anywhere!"

"I appreciate your questioning, but my personal rules include 'Tell no-one anything.'"

"Personal rules?  What about your...  Your pack?"  she found it hard to ask about his pack, because she could barely think about her own.

"Yes, personal rules.  I have no pack.  I am free."

"Free?  Being without a pack leaves you... Doomed."

"That's what the packs tell pups to stop them from wanting to run away."

"I... What?  You mean?  No.  it can't be..."

"You used to have a pack, then you were cast out, weren't you?"

"How... How can you tell?"

"I can tell from the way you speak about packs, and I can see it in your... Rather... Beautiful... Eyes."  he mumbled the word beautiful so Calicia couldn't hear it properly.

"What was that?"

"I can see it in your eyes."

"Really?  Did... Did you have a pack, ever?"

"Many moons ago.  Packs are cruel.  I was disposed of as a pup, when I refused to train as a scavenger.  What happened to you?"

"I... I couldn't find them the food or water that they wanted."

He looked at the scar on her back.  "Who did that to you?"

"The... The leader.  When he was getting rid of me.  The whole pack probably died because of me."

"They won't have died.  They're wolves, not bears, they will find a way through."

"Walnemazoi hates me.  The entire pack does."

"Surely your parents don't?"

"I've never known my parents.  I was to be trained as a warrior, so as a newborn I was taken away from them, never to know who they are again."

"Why?"

"Because in our pack, warriors aren't to know their family, so they aren't as vulnerable and weak."

"That is so cruel.  Knowing your parents only makes you stronger."

"Everyone else still hates me, especially the leader."

"Leader?  To reject such an amazing, dedicated -"

And beautiful  He thought

"- wolf is not at all leader like.  This Walnemazoi is unfit to be even a rat."

"I... Thank you.  Can I catch your name?"

"It's... It's Syanew."

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