“Because, Agony, I say so.” I froze. The words were neither mine nor Focus’s, but belonging to the alpha of the pack. My mother, the heart wrenching Darknettle looked at Focus and I. We had been caught with bloody paws fighting. Shuffling alerted us that the crowd was lowering their tails, heads, and hiding themselves in respect for the alpha Female. My tail drooped and I crouched slightly. Focus did the same. My mother looked down at us; Focus hid his gaze away from hers. I wasn’t as lucky as to. This weakness made me feel like a helpless pup again, being scolded by my mother.
Like most wolves, Darknettle was an ordinarily patterned, gray she-wolf. She had an amber glare, though, that made her a heartless and as prickly as her name; a trait I inherited. This she-wolf was born alpha, everything went her way eventually. Sometimes, I almost could love her more than just as a mother; I know I would if she’d allow it. My mother helped me become who I was. She was always fueling the pit between Focus and I, but then she’d turn around and make it a fight between me and her.
A quality of my mother’s that I will never have, though, is the ability of trust. All of our pack trusts and respects her. It’s a marvelous sight to watch her say something, and everyone reacts exactly like she wanted them to. This has never applied to me. I was the rebel-and perfect child.
Those molten amber orbs bored into the fur on my neck, almost making my blood curdle in anticipation of the unexplainable reactions of the wolf’s body. Dipping my head, I barked, “Always Mother, in due respect. What is it that you wish me to do?” I tipped my head up; a smile hovered on Darknettle’s face.
“Take Ocean, the scout, and a few friends along with Trout and Ivory, out to the Ebony River. There were some Coyote tracks scented there. Have Ocean lead you along their trail until you find them; make sure you kill them when you do.” Laughing, I straightened up. Thank Lakoyous, god of the elements, that she was not mad at me. She gave me the fun job - coyote hunting. Something different, I’ll admit, but so, so fun and so, so bloody.
“Yes Alpha, I will follow your orders.” I turned away from her. I thrusted my muzzle in the air and barked out to my pack. “Silhouette, Fear, Ocean, Trout, Ivory and Heather,” Ocean was the Scout, so naturally she was good at tracking. I was bringing the healer apprentice along because, forgive me for stating the obvious, it was a FIGHT. Eventually, SOMEONE will get hurt and need a healer. Besides, I’d enjoy having the spunky apprentice with us on the several day mission.
Silhouette and the other wolves I named must have heard my call, for within a heartbeat I was again worthy of their attention tonight. Ocean cocked her head and looked at me. “Yes Agony?” Beyond her, Darknettle was herding Focus toward the alpha’s den. I stiffened and looked back at my Warriors. “Coyotes have been scented in our territory. Ocean is going to lead us to their base. The alphas has entrusted us seven wolves to do this Dark Mission. We will rest tonight, and celebrate our two new warriors, then begin pursuit at sunrise. Any Questions?” I stared at them. Quickly, a low murmur of “No Agony,” reached my sensitive ears. I snorted contempt. “Very well, rest up.” They nodded and scattered to various places.
I waited a moment, and then turned to head to a patch of ferns. I stopped and sniffed the area around them; it looked inviting enough to sleep on. For the most part, there was bare dirt with stones splattered here and there. There were some weeds by it, long stiff stalks completely contrasting the ferns. By now the rain had shifted to a sprinkle, just enough to keep my fur resting on my sides, which darkened the red-brown color more.
I looked at the ferns closer. The leaves were red. Blood Red. A honey-sweet scent lingered in my mouth. I jerked my head up and glared into the forest. I blinked twice, did I just see…? I snarled and that bush shook again. I began to stalk forward, her image trapped in my mind. “Agony?” The shout made me jump, and a feral snarl got caught in my throat. I looked around stupidly until I saw Fear quivering behind me. I sighed and took a glance back at the bush. There was nothing in my forest anymore; good riddance.
“Shouldn’t you be resting, Fear?” I barked boredly to the black teen, without even looking at him. With my mind buzzing, I diverted my gaze to follow a hawk tracing a pattern in the sky. A muffled thud beside me notified me that my company had sat down.
“Yes Agony, forgive me, but I was wondering if I had to go on this mission….” I turned my head and snarled at him and snapped my teeth at him as I turned. “Are you questioning the orders of the alpha?” Fear jumped back away from me. His ears were flat against his head and his amber eyes were pleading me to not hurt him again. He blinked once, and then looked at me determined. His fear was gone.
“No. I am not questioning my alpha’s orders. I have had an encounter with coyotes before, and I fret what may happen if it is the same clan.” Fear stood still, unsure of my reaction. The truth was, I wanted to jump up and attack him for talking to me in the first place. It was so bold; he didn’t seem to cower from me, had I gone soft? Or did it mean this much to him to talk to me? I frowned and growled slightly until he stopped looking me in the eyes.
Still lying down, I murmured to him, but my bark was barely audible, “That’s right… I had forgotten that Darkpack was not your true home.” What I’d said was true. Fear joined us out of desperation, and he was given a challenge by my mother. He was in such a horrid and bedraggled state, that he lost, but my father took pity on him. And let him join anyways. But now, as Fear has slowly grown in the pack, he has developed the nature of a true dark wolf. So why was he so afraid? I sneered away from my thoughts and looked into the forest.
He shifted behind me and I growled a warning. I craned my head to look at him and raised my voice defiantly. “You’re still coming.” I pointed out to him sharply, but went on anyways. “But I suppose you can stay at the back of the group. And maybe coat your fur in mud so they won’t recognize you.” He nodded, relived and happily and I growled and narrowed my eyes. “But you’re going to get out of my damned way when I need you to- got it?” He nodded and stood up. Fear dipped his head with respect, then turned away from and trotted over to the caves he had come from. Good riddance.
I sighed and let my head drop onto my large paws. Leaf mold, death, decay, mud, and blood tinted my scent in a terrifying way. I smiled and closed my eyes briefly. The summer wind drifted around me, and not too far away, I head a gentle howl. The sudden panging urge inside of me to answer built up over the few seconds that I hesitated, that when I finally let it out, it came out as a long, slow melody. It was my pack’s signature mark, the song of our home, our souls, and our lives. There were other howls arising in the camp, joining in with my voice to form a beautiful symphony that sent desirable chills cascading along the roots of my fur.
The night falls over the hills
The moon rises in the sky
Turning the forest into a sanctuary of shadows
From the depths of the night
The depths of terror and fright
The darkness gathers to warn you
This is not your home.
The land of the dead and gone
Chases your soul from afar
And the darkness in you arises
Then comes our song
There’s no where you can run
We are everywhere
Hunting your smell
Delivering your chills
This is our land
And if you want to get out alive
You better run for your life
The fire is in our eyes
And you’ll remember this
Above all the other cause!
Only the darkest can rise
Blood spills in the air
This is our land
And we are
We are of your past
From your darkest fears
Out of the loneliest nightmare
We will come
So forever heed our name
And fear this land once again
And we are
We are Darkpack.
And only the Darkest will rise