After a while, most of the pack had gathered. My mother and father stood at the centre of the huddle, looking over the rest of the wolves. Beside them was Tayoe, the beta wolf. From what my mother had told me, he was the best hunter of the pack, but my father had the strongest personality, which was why he was alpha. I was proud that my parents were the alpha pair, but it also meant that I had a lot to live up to. I also didn't get to spend much time with them, because they were busy hunting and guarding our borders, and I was normally left with the she-wolves. My sister, Enantha, padded up to me, her tail wagging playfully. I licked her as a greeting.
The final couple of wolves joined the group, and my father grunted, before beginning to speak. Enantha and I both pricked up our ears to hear.
"I've called you here to discuss a matter of urgency," he announced. The wolves around me started talking amongst themselves, when my father suddenly growled to silence them again. He still seemed agitated, and I didn't know why. "Man is in our territory." This raised an uproar. My mother's eyes widened with fear and horror, and several wolves yowled with dismay. I just looked around in confusion. What was man? Enantha looked equally confused.
"Are you sure?" Tayoe asked, sounding confident, although I could see his tail trembling. Man must be pretty scary if even he was frightened of it.
"Yes. I saw the tracks of one of their beasts in the snow," my father said strongly.
"Rosmon, we have to move territory, then," my mother said with a sense of urgency in her voice. My father snapped at her, bringing his tail straight down. Enantha seemed frightened at our father's anger.
"No, Selga," he snarled, not even apologising. "This is our territory. It's the best territory for hunting in the entire forest!" My mother dropped her tail, showing that she wasn't going to argue further with her mate. I was proud that my father was so strong and protective, but I wondered whether his own pride was blinding him.
"I saw only their tracks in the south of our territory. They may just have been passing through. But, if they stay, it's them who will be moving, not us!" he howled, his voice almost as loud as thunder.
"We must be cautious. Man is very dangerous," Tayoe added. My father barked, dismissing his pack. They began to wander off, still seeming slightly shocked by the news. My mother, slightly hurt by his treatment to her, padded off, her tail still hanging down. I followed her, having to run to catch up. Enantha watched me go, before padding off into the den.
My mother slowed down and turned back to look at me. "Mother, what's man?" I asked her curiously.
"Man is a horrible, dangerous and cruel animal," she replied, sounding scared and angry at the same time. Her walking was oddly stiff and her shoulders were hunched. "Most of the time, they stay away, but sometimes, they stray into our territory. They ride on foul smelling and giant beasts that have the strength to knock down the sturdiest tree," she went on bitterly. "And they have terrible sticks that create thunder and kill any animal in their path. If man ever points a stick at you, run." By the time she'd finished, my ears were pressed so far back they couldn't go back any further.
"But why do they do that?" I queried. I didn't understand why anything would want to harm the world like that. "Do they eat the animals they kill?"
My mother shook her head. "Most of the time, they just leave the bodies there. Sometimes, they take them away and feed them to the beast who engulfs it completely, bones and all. But they never show any respect at all to the creature who just gave their life," she answered. I now understood why the whole pack hated and feared man so much.
To me, they simply seemed like ruthless killers.