Standing still, shaggy head tilted upwards,
he sniffed, testing the winds. The light blue orb of the Eastern
Moon blanketed the surrounding ground in hazy light, creating blue
tips along Shirkarr's black fur. Turning slightly, his amber eyes
gazed at the Western Moon's dull orange glow. Shirkarr's tongue
lolled out of his mouth. Hunting would be good this night.
"We travel west," Shirkarr said.
He loped off, heading to the Western Forest, his pack following
silently. At the edge of the Western Forest, Shirkarr paused, allowing
the two youngest members time to catch up. The young ones would
hinder the pack, Shirkarr was certain . . . but they needed to learn
the Way of the Hunt. He paced, eyeing the brothers Ka'rael and Ka'relu,
their sides still heaving from their exertion.
"Ka father's weak ones," Jarel
quietly said to Shirkarr. Ignoring the bright gleam coming from
Shirkarr's exposed teeth, Jarel continued. "They are slow and
tire swiftly. They still retain a cubs' clumsiness . . . ."
He stopped, hearing Shirkarr's low, menacing growl of warning. He
prayed he had not pushed his friend, the pack Alpha, too far.
Shirkarr glanced at Ka'rael and Ka'relu,
and then turned back, gazing intently into his friends' dark eyes.
"They are young, coming from a line who are slow to change,
to mature. You are aware their mothers' change was slow in coming,
as was Ka's. The Law shows, offspring would also be slow to change."
Shirkarr paused, gazing upwards at the orange orb high above, before
continuing. "They are young, true enough, but they must learn
the Way of the Hunt. I do not expect them to do anything but hinder
the rest - but still, they must be taught. The stars and moons have
not been so well aligned for a Hunt, since the time when Ka led
the Pack. " Pausing to test the winds once again, Shirkarr's
nostrils flared and saliva filled his mouth. A slight shudder passed
through him as the Scent he sought, filled him. "They must
learn the Hunt, and I must teach them. It is what Ka did for me,
when I was a cub. It is what Ka would expect from me."
Rising to his full height, Shirkarr motioned
for silence. Easily standing a full head taller then any other,
he was an imposing sight. When all eyes were upon him, he slowly
and deliberately lifted his head, nose pointed towards the Western
Moon and inhaled deeply, exhaling in short, quick bursts. Turning
slightly, he pointed towards the center of the Western Forest, then
motioned towards Jarel. Jarel confirmed with a barely perceptible
nod and moved off, three members following closely behind him. Shirkarr
continued his silent assignments, hesitating when Dronn motioned
to Ka'rael and Ka'relu to follow him. He shook his shaggy head.
Dronn's light amber eyes widened, clearly
surprised. Uneasily, he headed off deep into the Western Forest,
certain this was the first time the Alpha of the pack had ever gone
on a Hunt with another by his side, in his lifetime. Didn't the
Law state the Alpha always Hunted alone?
Shirkarr motioned to Ka's sons. He watched
as they shuffle-walked to his side, their half formed paws scattering
leaves and breaking twigs with each step. Ka'rael's change was a
bit more advanced then Ka'relu's was. His snout, although too flat,
had elongated into a partial wolf nose and his ears were pointed,
lying correctly atop his head. Most of his body still resembled
the human side of him, albeit a hairy human. Ka'relu's ears lay
flat on his head, hindering his sense of sound, Shirkarr was sure,
and his snout was flatter then Ka'rael's. He had one paw totally
transformed; the other arm and both legs were still human in appearance.
"For this part of the Hunt, you must
transform back to your Other. I will remain as I am while I track
the Prey," he said, "and you follow - as quietly as you
can - behind me. Stay hidden amongst the trees."
Ka's sons nodded in unison at their Alpha,
and began the transformation process. When they no longer held any
resemblance to the Pack, Shirkarr nodded his shaggy head, and slowly
loped off without a backward glance. The Law stated each Pack member
must obey the Alpha - unless they wished to challenge his word,
or, die. Shirkarr had never been challenged.
* * * *
Shirkarr sniffed deeply. As the Scent filled his senses, he began
to drool. He was close. He sensed Ka'rael and Ka'relu standing behind
him, deep within the wooded area and was pleased; they had maneuvered
into place, quietly, as they had been instructed to do.
His ears twitched, listening for the slightest
sounds of movement. Sniffing deeply, he exhaled with a shuddering
'woof;' the scent was closer. Eyes narrowing, Shirkarr pierced the
darkness as he searched for the slightest movement of his prey.
Shirkarr saw a flash of white -- Ka'rael
or Ka'relu coughed, it didn't matter which, simply one of them alerted
Shirkarr's prey - the white object took cover behind a tree - Shirkarr
lunged forward, determined his Hunt would be successful. All these
things happened in a blink of an eye, more time then it took for
Shirkarr's brain to process it and leap forward.
With one powerful leap, Shirkarr was next
to the large tree where he had first spotted the white object; his
nostrils flared, the scent of his Prey strong. His ears twitched,
turning slowly, ready to hone in at the tiniest sound. His tongue
lolled out, tasting the air - the Scent - as his nostrils flared
and twitched. He turned to the right. His Prey had headed towards
the clearing where the Pack had stopped for their instructions.
Shirkarr gave chase, the Scent consuming him now, not caring if
Ka'rael and Ka'relu were following anymore. He must reach his Prey
before it reached the clearing, if he was to have a successful Hunt.
His easy, ground-covering lope kept him parallel
to the clearing; he was vaguely aware of Ka'rael and Ka'relu clumsily
following behind. He heard a soft hissing sound to his left, as
he turned right, heading deeper into the woods. He was certain the
sound was an illusionary-sensory tactic, geared to throw him off
the true path. Saliva filled his mouth as he loped steadily; this
was the correct direction.
Shirkarr stopped. The Prey was close, not
moving. All his senses honed in on the Scent - he must reach his
Prey before it turned to the clearing. A low, twittering-hissing
sound came from behind a large tree, on his left. Without visibly
moving his shaggy head, Shirkarr looked where the sound had come
He saw Her. Sitting on a lower branch, lounging
against the trunk was the She-pyre. Her skin was a clear, alabaster
white, as purebreds were known for, her black hair long and silky.
Her canines sharply pointed, gleamed from the light cast by the
stars and moons. Shirkarr looked deep into her eyes - dark amber,
with the telltale red specks giving credence to her purebred ancestry,
as well as age and readiness for Mating. Shirkarr transformed to
his human shape. She was ready, and seemed willing to entertain
his courtship, shown by her not fleeing immediately to the clearing.
"She-pyre," Shirkarr said, "what
do They call you?" Shirkarr gazed steadily into her eyes, as
he waited for her response. "I am known as Shirkarr, Alpha
to the Pack, Keeper of the Law."
The She-pyre smiled, her voice wafting out
in soft whispers as she replied, "I am known as Ba'el, Daughter
of the great Chieftain Bartholomew." Ba'el appareted, now standing
next to Shirkarr. "Shirkarr, Alpha of the Pack, you track well,"
she said, turning her head to look up into his eyes, "I had
thought to throw you off course with my illusionary-sensory calls."
"I have had experience with such before,"
Shirkarr replied, grinning. "My Mother's Mother, was a She-pyre
from the Orange Moon Clan." He stared down into Ba'el's eyes
as he spoke, "I have waited for your Clan to come back, to
take my Mate."
"Only one with exceptional tracking
skills," Ba'el said, "would I consider for my Mate. Werewolves
of the Blue Moon are known to be the best providers - but are also
known to be the most savage."
Ba'el hesitated, then stood on her tip-toes
- if Shirkarr was not telling the truth, when she initiated the
Mating Ritual by drinking his blood, should he not truly desire
the Mating, he could transform back into his Were-self, and rip
her head from her shoulders. She gazed up into his amber eyes a
moment longer, then leaned forward to bite his neck. Shirkarr sensed
her wary uncertainty and offered his neck as he placed his hands
around her waist, lifting her, helping her reach his exposed neck.
Should she not desire him as her Mate, should she try to drain his
Life-Blood instead of Join with it, he could transform immediately
to his Were-self, and destroy her. It was time for one another to
test the honesty and sincerity of the other.
Ba'el drank the required amount of Shirkarr's
blood, to show her intent of Mating. She pulled back, droplets of
his blood glistening on her dark red lips. Shirkarr grinned a toothy
smile, and then felt her body stiffen in his hands. His hackles
rose as she hissed a low warning sound. He began to transform, ready
to protect his intended Mate, as she hoarsely whispered, "Is
this a trick? Do you plan to attack me even as your Life Blood transforms
Ka'rael and Ka'relu stopped near the tree
where their Alpha and his intended Mate, had begun the Mating Ritual.
Shirkarr barked out a low, rumbling laugh as he answered, "These
cubs? You fear attack from these cubs?" He turned back, gazing
into Ba'el's eyes as he continued, "They will not harm you.
I allowed them to follow me, to learn the way of the Hunt. Now,
they know how they must find their own Mate, when their time is
right." Ba'el tore her eyes from Shirkarr's steady gaze, to
glance at the two brothers.
Shirkarr continued, "They know you are
my Chosen One, as my pack will soo be aware. The Law states, they
must pledge to you, as they do me, for today - you are my equal,
my Mate. All know, when a She-pyre accepts the courting of a Werewolf,
drinks of his Life Blood, that she gives up that part of herself
that was able to transform into the creature of her ancestry. The
Law states she must be honored, for all she has given."
Shirkarr gazed deeply into his Mate's eyes,
waiting for her to accept what he said. Ba'el shivered slightly,
feeling her vampryss essence leaving her body as the Were-blood
wove its way inside her, joining within her, transforming her to
her new state. As she felt the Life-Blood flowing through her, she
nodded slightly - Shirkarr transformed quickly, raising his shaggy
head to the Orange orb, and howled a deep call of thanks. Turning,
he once again howled his song of thanks to the Blue orb. In the
distance, howls could be heard from his pack, as they finished the
first part of the Mating Ritual. It had been a good night, for the
StoryTeller2 . . . one who tells stories