Survival...the most basic instinct almost every living creature possessed. The will to live despite the obstacles put directly in their path...from an creature as small as krill to a behemoth as large as a whale. Each and every creature is programmed with the will to live...the desire to survive by any means necessary. It was a concept that some thought easily grasped but...what was survival? Everyone had their own opinions and thoughts on the subject...ranging from simple and to the point and brilliant and beautiful...
But however others defined it...the only truth was that survival meant overcoming any and all threats to ones existence...be it the cold harsh winter...the scarcity of prey...war...death. These where the things that drove all Lira to embrace their true instincts. The very same instincts that were being acted upon now...by a pup no less...a mysterious youngling who couldn't even grasp the concept of life and death...and yet fighting to live.
Tired...beaten...and without memory of who he was or where he was. The fear of the unknown crept behind his eyelids. Something was terribly wrong...the taste of fire and smoke lingered in the back of his throat. The air around him was thick with the scent of blood. Bright bi colored eyes stared dead ahead as if in trance as the child slowly stumbled across the hot desert sand. His crimson life source flowing from his body and spilling into the hot sand...
With each struggle of air he made mist escaped the cracked lips of the child as his fur became stained in blood and dirt...his eyes were glassy and almost hollow..his breath slow and shallow...his ears rang deafeningly from days of walking...marching...dying. His senses became a bit more acute as his heart once more thrashed against the inside of his tiny chest. His eyes scanned the environment around him carefully.
"Don't stop.." He whispered to himself fearfully. The thought of possibly surrendering to his exhaustion only to never wake up polluted his fragile little mind. His body held several slashes through it and the fur along his body was stained in blood that appeared to be a mix of his and others.The pain intensifying as his brain pulsated within his skull as if it where a heartbeat. The child gritted his teeth and pressed his head into the sand. Applying pressure to the uncomfortable feeling within his skull. "Whats happening to me?," He sealed his eyes shut and whimpered painfully as the feeling within his brain slowly drove him to his limit. "Why cant i remember anything?" He muttered. Attempting to take another step the child merely fell over pathetically...
His body grew weaker by the moment and he just wanted to rest. He just wanted to close his eyes and sleep. But there was that feeling lingering in the back of his mind that if he where to sleep now...he may not wake back up. He had lost blood...to much of it. Frankly he was surprised he was still conscious after how long he had been going. But for some odd reason he could not shake the feeling that something was carrying him through this.... Almost as if a guardian was watching over him. Shaking these feelings away, The pup struggled back to all fours but quickly stumbled forward. Losing his balance and collapsing into the scolding unforgiving sands that threatened to consume him... the world around him grew fuzzy and out of focus. The crunching sound beneath him made his body cringe as a sharp pain jolted through his body making the young pup shriek. His body...now burning with unbearable agony made the boy want to faint. But something kept him conscious throughout this...ordeal. The throbbing in his chest that reflected the throbbing in his head. Something deep inside him whispered into his ear. 'Live or die my son...make your choice'
It was not a pleasant voice. It sounded like a serpent hissing into his subconscious. No. His very soul. The voice bounced around that skull of his as he sealed his eyes shut and opened them again. Watching the heavy whirling winds kick up the sands of the desert and carry parts of it across the unforgiving land...the world around him slowly began to come into focus. His expression remained still and petrified as he felt his his body surrender...A steady current of blood flowing freely from his veins. Darkness closed around him as if to swallow him into its eternal abyss...and just as the child lost all hope, a violet aura crept into the side of his vision as flashes of mysterious symbols and images blinded him. The intensity of the pain grew immensely as he lowers his ears and curled into a ball whimpering painfully as he screamed. Voices...endless voices spoke but he could not make out what they where saying. So many different voices assaulting him without pause. He felt as if his head was going to explode from the pain. He didn't want to...feel like this anymore. The child simply wanted to give up and let the gods decide his fate...one could only fight for so long until they simply gave in...every time he even tried to stand his legs felt like rubber as they wobbled beneath him.
The pain was numb to him. He felt so cold inside and the more he felt this way the sicker he felt. The pup simply closed his eyes and accepted this fate...hopefully it would be a quick death...just like falling asleep. And as his breathing slowed and his eyes opened one last time to soak in the world of light that he may never see again...the scorching sun shining high in the blue skies as his eyes twinkled for a brief moment...and just as his vision became blurry and out of focus, he could make out a long shadow...cast over his body and the warmth of the sun replaced with the coolness of shade...he struggled to tilt his head upwards...just briefly making eye contact...with a beast looming above him...peering down at him. And second later, the child drifted into unconsciousness.
It felt as if darkness itself was closing in on the young pup...wrapping its coils around his very soul as his blood ran cold and his body felt weightless. Almost as if his very spirit was being lifted from his mortal shell. The next few moments were quiet...the air around him felt still and it felt almost as if he had drifted into a temporary state of nothingness. Everything felt numb as his very state of existence felt like inadequate. He would die here...and no one would know...no one would care. It was in this moment the child realized just how small he was in this merciless world...Nothing but a grain of sand buried beneath the desert. And as the pup came to terms with this...suddenly the feeling of nothingness was filled with something more tangible...his nose was tickled by blades of what felt like grass as his body became...warm. The coldness that had consumed his very being was met with a pleasant warmth...this was no scolding heat like the scorching hot desert. No...this was something else. For a brief moment his eyes drifted open to see... branches reaching out to shield him from the light...fresh green leaves bristling in the wind as he faded back into darkness. The sound of running water echoed through the rich lush forest. The suns raze pierced through the trees overtop, dappling the forest floor around the pup with an eerie golden light. The trees sung a song as the wind blew through their trunks, as id playing a natural melody. The multiple shades of green colored the forest in an almost magical spell. Leafs dancing in the wind and flowers bloomed all around. And deep within this forest was the child who not moments before was dying in the vast desert. The tall trees shaded him and the cool breeze kept the young pup nice and comfortable. His breath became steady.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash of blue light far off in the distance. A light that seemed to come down from the heavens and light up the forest. The child twitched his closed eyes. When he opened his eyes he was still unfocused and the only things he saw was an lingering faded blue aura that seemed to pass in a wave. The pup simply blinked, considering that maybe he was imagining all this. And as he tried to clear his mind there was a sound. A loud but almost subtle sound. His ear twitched, now noticing that it was the sound of wings right above him. He groaned almost painfully as a small growl erupted in his chest... “Uhh, what?” He exclaimed, slowly working himself to his paws. His body ached and his muscles felt sore. He hunched over almost painfully. Regaining his senses as he looked up towards the sound that had disturbed him...only to see...an owl? A Tyto to be precise. Tyto Alba. Or simply Barn Owl to most.
The pup glared at the bird as it stood there perched on its branch calmly, as if waiting for something. He wondered if it was just messing with him or trying to get his attention. Either way, it was working. He took a step forward and examined it. He saw it had a pointy beak and very long talons, the one noticeable feature about the bird were its bi colored violet and gold eyes that reflected his own. The bird was pretty...and instantly he found himself rather fond of the bird of prey...the pup opened his maw to speak when suddenly the owl flailed its wings outward.
“keeaw!” The bird screeched. The pup jumped frantically, his fur bristled uncomfortably along his back and his tail fluffed up as a look of alarm crossed his expression. The owl flapped it wings and took flight, dashing towards him and clipping his ear with its talons. “Keeawwww, Keeawwww” it screeched again, this time circling back and flying to a nearby branch just in front of him. The pup scuffled along the floor and flinched, slowly looking back up at the bird and frowning.
“Whats your bloody problem bird?!” The pup snapped, licking his paw and wiping his ear that now felt funny. The bird the made that screeching sound again and flapped its wings without leaving the branch. As if it were trying to get him to focus. He gave the bird a wary look and walked up to it, looking at the barn owl. Once he did it flapped his wings and flew to another branch a little distance away. He paused and thought for a moment. 'Is it trying to tell me something?' He wondered as he took another step forward. The bird screeched at him again and took flight, dashing into the thick forest, The pup stumbled after it, losing his footing for a moment. “Wait! Where are you going!?” He shouted trying shaking away his soreness to try run after it.
He ran as fast as his aching legs could take him. After all he was still young and he could already feel himself getting tired after jumping vines and underbrush that decorated the forest floor. The owl was out of sight now, he was amazed at how fast the bird could fly. Then he remembered that it was a bird. The child slowed to a stop, panting and looking around for the bird confused. he took heavy breaths and his heart was beating very quickly. His eyes searched the forest as he tried to get his bearings. He felt as if he had been here before...but he couldn't quite put his paw on it. He heard the bird again, faint as the wind. The child walked off in the direction of the sound. It was difficult for him to get anywhere with all of the branches and bushes of canopy in his way. He struggled through it, using his claws to climb a large oak tree next to him. He pounced onto the tree. His sharp claws digging into the bark as he climbed up to a set of branches. Pulling himself up onto one he carefully began to walk out to the edge of it knowing it wouldn’t hold his weight for long. Crouching down slowly, he took a breath and quickly launched himself from the tree.
The pup flung himself into the air and went over the thick underbrush, and when he landed the impact forced a whimper to escape his obsidian lips as he rolled around in the dirt. The pain that haunted his body slowly crept back with a vengeance as he groaned painfully...laying on his back and staring up at the trees that shielded him from the sky...his eyes became heavy as he took a deep breath...closing his eyes and growling deeply. And as he lay there there were suddenly paw-steps approaching him from above his head...the pups eyes slowly drifted open as he arched his back and tilted his head upwards...he half expected to see the owl, taunting him. But instead he saw...a pup? His eyes went wide as his ears lowered in nervousness. The pup looked about his age...and as he rolled over onto his paws and shook his head, he quickly noticed that this pup...looked oddly familiar to him. It was a she-wolf...her pelt was mainly a dark grayish color accompanied with traces of black along her neck, legs, and tail. Her chest and jaw area appeared to hold creamy white fur as well as the toes of her paws and the top of her tail. His eyes wandered over her blue markings that decorated her forearms and cheek...her oddest feature being the blue fur that ranged from the bottom of her neck and the top of her head, giving her a mane of fur that hung below her eyes as bangs. Same as the pups golden tipped locks. Her eyes where a icy blue color that chilled him to the very core. The she-pup tilted her head and continued to stare at him as he slowly lifted himself to his feet.
"Who are you?" He mumbled, his bi colored eyes slowly averting to the floor as his tail began to tuck between his legs...the female stood there, narrowed her eyes and blinked before replying.
"I'm you..." She growled lowly, her voice leveled and cold. The pup pulled his neck back and cocked a brow at the statement. Lifting a paw to examine himself and scoffing.
"No your not, why would you say something like that?" He huffed, his ear twitching in slight annoyance as the she-pup adjusted herself into a seating position and began to lick her paw.
"Well...maybe because we are the same?" She quipped back confidently. His face twisted with a number of expression as he frowned deeply.
"The...same?" He echoed. "I don't follow...what do you mean?" He asked quietly, the female glaring at him and lowering her paw as if he had interrupted her grooming.
"We'ere both nobody..." She replied bluntly, lifting her head to look at the trees and taking a deep breath. He naturally took a step forward and growled at her. His tail lifting above his spine in slight aggression.
"Nobody?! I'm not a nobody! i-"
"You have no family...no home...no clan. No place you belong...you don't even have a name. Your nobody...just like me." She cut him off, standing to her feet and advancing towards him, making him feel rather small as he slowly lowered his tail and lowered his eyes.
She was right...as far as he was concerned he had no one...he couldn't remember anything about himself...not his home...not even his own name. The reminder struck a nerve within him as he lowered his head and sulked...his golden tipped bangs hanging in front of his face as his expression softened. "...Maybe i could...be somebody. I could possibly belong..." He muttered meekly. The she-pup halting her advance and looking him up and down.
"Or you could possibly die..." She told him with a more serious tone...one that made him uncomfortable as his tail fluffed up in alarm. He instinctively took a few steps away from the female as his eyes flared. Clearly aghast from the statement.
"D-die!? Why would i want to die!?" He blurted back at her, unable to contain himself. She simply shook her head disapprovingly as he sighed.
"Would dying be so bad? You would get to be with your family again..." She whispered, sympathy and pity clear in her voice. "You would get to see your brother...you would belong there." She told him, approaching the pup and pressing her muzzle into his...
But he was frozen solid...his head dropped in his chest and his gut twisted with nerves as he began to feel sick. His legs wobbled beneath him, he felt heavy. What was she saying? His eyes staggered within their sockets as he struggled to even breath. Staring at the floor he whimpered. "Are you saying...my family is...-" He couldn't even say the word...it was caught in his throat and choking him. The she-pup's expression become that of anguish and sorrow.
"Yes...they're dead." She whined. The lad felt as if his entire world had been shattered...he couldn't think of anything worse than this...being told everyone he was suppose to care about was dead...and he couldn't even remember them. It made him sick..."You could choose to move on...if you want." She whispered. And it was at that moment he realized what she meant...his head lifted as he glared at her and narrowed his eyes...
"It's because of the wounds isn't it? It's killing me.." He mumbled as he sealed his eyes shut and clenched his jaws as a jolt of pain went through his spine. "Am i...doing to die?" He asked her as he stared into her icy blue eyes...the she-pup's expression became grave as she looked him in the eyes and growled.
"Are you stronger than it? Or will you let go and let it consume you?" She asked darkly...her eyes narrowed tightly as if expecting a serious direct answer. And as he looked her in the eye and weighed his options, the young pup turned his back to her and looked back from the path he came...if what she said was true...if anything she was saying was true. Then he would not die like this...not before he had a chance to live. Throwing his head over his shoulder and glaring at her with fire in his eyes his expression became confident as a smirk spread across his maw. All signs of depression seemed to fade as turned back to face her and advanced, pressing his head to hers and growling deeply.
"Judging from the fact that my entire family is dead that tells me they did not die of natural causes...yes? They were murdered...weren't they?" He asked her, completely changing the subject as he took a step back and softly chuckled as she refused to answer. "I had a home once...i had a family. Things i wish to remember that i simply can't. So know this she-wolf...if i'm going to die...than so be it. But first, i'm going to live." He barked with such charismatic gusto that he was beginning to wonder what happened to the old him. The she-pup simply watched him with her mouth slightly open as her icy blue eyes shimmered...a smile creeping onto her features as he simply nodded in acceptance.
"Good...then you should wake up soon." She told him quietly before turning her back on him...he watched as she slowly began to walk away.
"Hey wait!" He called out...the she-pup stopping in her tracks. The pup tilted his head and tilted his head a bit. "How did you know all of this? Who are you?" He asked curiously, desperately wanting her to answer as he took a step forward. She remained stationary for a long moment...not moving a muscle before turning her head slightly to the left and smiling.
"My name is Neon...you made me a promise once." she told him calmly. And just as he began to ask another question, he felt a scolding heat on his paws as suddenly blue fire engulfed the forest around them. Time seemed to slow down as the flames grew higher and higher, burning him and Neon as she stood there in the fire as if it did not bother her...and as he was consumed by flames, the strangest thing happened next as she vanished from his sight.
He woke up...a loud gasp escaped him as his bi colored eyes snapped open...his body once again aching with unbearable pain as the pup grunted. His senses slowly returning to him as his eyes wandered over the hot sand only to see...a puddle of water? He froze at the sight of it...his eyes narrowing a bit in confusion. Why was there...a puddle of water in the desert? Fresh water at that...it was crystal clear and had no visible signs of contamination. And as he leaned in to look into the water, he not only saw his reflection...but the reflection of two other wolves behind him.
"We should kill him..." A voice said behind him. His eyes went wide and his blood ran cold as he froze up...slowly turning his head over his shoulder to see a massive female standing behind him and giving him a 'death glare'...He noted her blood red pelt and tan underbelly, along with the large black patterns over her back, legs, and muzzle. She also had orange face markings that resembled fire that decorated most of her face, making her appear far more menacing that what she probably was. And another, who looked like the opposite of the other brute. Simply looking at him with narrowed eyes. Her fur pelt was mainly black with a silver underbelly and silver markings along her back, shoulders and paws. The larger one extended a paw and placed it upon her back, pushing him to the ground in one swift movement...he felt the air escape his lungs as he gasped and scuffled his front paws on the ground in a pathetic attempt to break free.
"Erza...let him go." the other one growled. The beast named Erza simply relived some of the pressure and looked back to face the other.
"You know the law Cornelia. Letting him suffer is cruel...we should ease his suffering." Erza growled. Cornelia simply remained stoic and still as she kept her eyes on him...He felt weak underneath the larger ones paw...he could feel the intensity between these strangers as Cornelia glanced over to the other and sighed.
"Sister...don't forget that the clan is not around...and we are a long way off from the border...our 'laws' do not matter here." She explained simply, slowly walking over to the pup and gazing down at him. "I will not watch as you murder a child and call it mercy." She growled.
"Then turn around." The sister shot back. The pup shivered as the two siblings bickered about rather or not he should live or die...who the heck were they to decide his fate? He wanted to speak up, but with the larger one firmly pressing his tiny body into the hot sand he figured it was best to remain silent for now. "Look at him...he is small, and frail. He won't survive out here." She went on, looking back at him as she dragged one of her claws over his open wound, forcing him to squirm underneath her as he yelped in pain. Suddenly a deep growl erupted from the other sister as she bared her fangs.
"ENOUGH!" She barked loudly, making him freeze and go quiet as Erza glared at her sister with a look of surprise. "Let him go now! Do not test me Erza...or need i remind you why i am captain of the guard..." She hissed, his hackles raised as her tail lifted as she looked Erza in the eye...the massive wolf merely frowned and slowly lifted a paw from the pup as she turned to face her sister...
"Was..captain. Those days are long behind us Cornelia...Etheria has tossed us aside along with our title. And besides...you said it yourself. The clan is not around...that fancy rank doesn't mean anything anymore." She growled back at her calmly, seemingly unfazed by anything her sister just said...Erza scoffed, walking past her and pausing beside her sister. "You need to let it go Cornelia...i know what happened all those years ago was horrible...but you can't let the past affect your judgment in the present." She whispered, slowly looking over at the pup as he struggled to his feet. "I'm heading back...we've been gone awhile and Blackheart is expecting a report...so i'll leave this to you..." She said before stalking off into the desert. "I only hope you make the right choice." Erza whispered, leaving the two of them to their own devices.
And with that, The pup watched as she left...his eyes examining her closely. Making sure she would not come back for any last words...Cornelia simply remained still...her expression still tight with anger as her growl slowly died down as her curled lip lowered. And as he looked into her eyes he saw that she was lost in her own thoughts...as if she was recalling some kind of long forgotten memory. And as a few moments passed the female readjusted herself, standing straight and her bright silver eyes landing upon the lad.
He shrunk under her cold gaze as she took a step towards him, attempting to back away until she scoffed at him. "Be still child..." She growled softly, looming over him as his body froze and just began to shut down. Her eyes wandered over him worryingly as she leaned down and nudged him affectionately. "I'm not going to harm you?" she cooed warmly. The pup instinctively nuzzled her face as a soft whine escaped his maw. He was unsure why, but he found her...comforting. Unlike her brutal sister.
She looked over his cuts and wounds and lowered her ears a bit as she extended her tongue and dragged it over his back...cleaning the blood from his pelt and tending to his wounds. The pup shuddered at the feeling. His muscles relaxing a bit as she sighed a bit. "What happened to you boy? How did you get out here?" She asked softly, laying down beside him as she placed her paws over him to keep him still as she cleaned him. The pup remained silent as his ears lowered...ducking his head a bit as voices began to echo in his mind.
"I don't know...i can't...remember." He whispered sadly. Her eyes softened a bit as she took a pause and nudged his face with her nose.
"Well what do you remember? Surly you must remember something? Your name perhaps." She pushed, clearly trying to get some kind of info out of him. The child felt rushed and unsure how to answer correctly...as if there was even a correct answer to be given. As far as he was concerned he was just a nameless pup endlessly wandering. And the more he thought about it the more he remembered the mysterious she-pup in his dream...and her words echoed in his mind. 'Nobody...' Neon was right...he was a nobody. His gaze wandered off into space at the thought when suddenly he felt the female nudge his cheek, bringing him back to reality.
His bright eyes eventually landed on her silver orbs as he shook his head. "I don't...have a name." He whispered. His ears flattening against his skull as his chest began to heave. "All i remember...is fire." He muttered, still able to taste the smoke in the back of his throat. He could remember the fire clearly...consuming everything. He did not no where or how...all he could recall was fire. Cornelia simply stared at him long and hard...thinking most likely. And as his body slowly began to relax under her comforting arms and he waited. Exhausted...barely able to move anymore. Cornelia leaned forward and nuzzled into his neck and whispered to him. "Kneel...kneel down before King Julius." she cooed to him. His eyes widened at the comment. Adjusting himself to look at her as his tail began to slowly wag.
"Julius? Who is that?" He asked in excitement as she offered a weak smile.
"Julius Cassius...was a wolf who lived a very long time ago...a prince who conquered the known world and became the first king." She told him, watching as his eyes widened in awe. Captivated as she giggled at him a bit. "Julius...Julius Kingsleigh." He muttered softly...the pup tilted his head as the newer name and blinked as he pressed his tiny paws into her chest.
"Is that a king as well?" He asked softly. Cornelia shook her head slowly and smiled warmly at the child.
"No luv..." She replied, slowly standing to her feet and gazing down at him. "It's your name...if you want it." She told her warmly. The young child smiled widely at her as his ears perked up and his tail wagged behind him...Julius...it was a good name. A powerful name. He nodded at Cornelia, taking the name Julius as his own...And at that moment, Cornelia lowered her muzzle and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck...lifting him up off the hot sand and turning around. Julius's tail fluffed up at the action as he instinctively went limp.
"W-what are you doing?" He squeaked as she walked off into the desert. There was a long silence...before she whispered through her teeth the only words he ever needed to hear.
"Making the right choice."