Two wolf brothers are born in a time of bloodthirst and conflict. As they fight to stay free, can they also help the whole world?
The light feminine bark echoed through the moonlight forest, oddly muffled by the snow piled at the base of every thin tree, their branches clutching at the stars.
The speaker emerged as she turned a corner at one identical tree; her pawstep's steady and amber eyes fixed ahead. She seemed to know the route well. Her dark gray fur was fluffed up to block out the cold, but the rips underneath where showing. Despite this, her eyes glowed bright and determined as her paws crunched on the thin lining of snow.
Beside her two much younger wolves staggered on. This couldn't be more than the second or third time they had left the den, judging by the way their eyes strayed to every ordinary thing, stretched wide with wonder. They walked close very close together, their downy fur brushing. The large one's eyes glowed blue in the dark forest, and his dark gray fur made him hardly visible. The much smaller one however was shivering, the cold biting underneath his brown and white pelt. His green eyes were dull with exhaustion as he leaned on his brother heavily.
The older female, undoubtedly their mother, circled back to them and picked up the brown pup in her jaws.
"It's okay Katunro. It was bad of me to make you walk." She mumbled through his fur. Katunro hung limply from her jaws as she continued her march, the stronger pup hurrying to keep up.
Before long the trees began to thicken, and the snow began to fade on the ground due to the high, arching branches above them. They even blocked out the little moonlight they were using to see by. The ground pup, who had been dragging his paws, too tired to take notice of the change of scenery, suddenly swung his head up as his mother stiffened and stared straight into a clearing, where moonlight and a little snow had managed to fall. Katunro didn't stir. It soon became clear what had disturbed them both when a shape moved in the darkness. It moved across the splash of moonlight, and it showed a pale, almost ghostly she-wolf, with transparent, colorless eyes. Deep scars disturbed her silky fur here and there. She padded straight across to the gray wolf, and it was clear this other creature was stronger and much better fed. But something else lingered on her fur… milk. This wolf had pups, but not close by. Gray she-wolf slowly lowered Katunro to the hard-packed earth. He slummed to the ground with a slight groan. The bigger pup padded to his side and lay down, sharing his warmth. The colorless she-wolf slowly approached with forward ears and a slightly raised tail, her eyes fixed on the small creatures. Gray wolf surged forward with flattened ears and her top lip slightly raised, separating the two young animals from the ferocious looking she-wolf.
"Calm down Shine: if I had wanted to harm any of you I wouldn't be speaking right now" The sinister wolf snapped her jaws impatiently, eyes straying over the gray wolf's shoulder.
Shine narrowed her golden eyes before lowering her head slightly. "I understand, Frost. But I'm still very protective of them"
"Understandable" Frost's reply was slightly faint as she still strained to get a look at the twin bundles behind Shine.
Rolling her eyes, Shine backed off to allow Frost a clear view.
The colorless she-wolf flicked her ears forward and padded to the small animals, tiny in comparison.
Shine narrowed her eyes as the formidable looking silver female lowered her nose to the two tiny creatures, curled up next to each other.
"Huh… doesn't look like the runt will make the journey back to my homeland." Frost commented as she ran her light grey nose over the Katunro's fragile frame.
"His name isn't 'runt'. It's Katunro." The sharp reply was snappy and cold from Shine.
Frost ignored the comment and moved her snout across to Katunro's brother.
A small snort of surprise escaped her and her light-colored eyes light up upon seeing the large, chunky, dark gray pup.
He however seemed unimpressed, and barely spared her a glance from his blue eyes, before he turned his back, scratched the ground with one fat paw, and lay down leaning on his brother.
Frost let out a sharp bark of laughter.
"This one looks interesting… what's his name?"
"Derron" Shine's reply was filled with emotion as she spoke the name out loud, earning her a sharp glance from Frost.
"Derron? Like in the old stories the elder wolves tell?"
"Do they still speak of them in your pack? Our elders have been forbidden from reciting the old tales." Shine's tone was wistful and distant, her eyes unfocused.
"Katunro… he was Derron's loyal friend, right? Not mentioned so much…" Frost didn't take her eyes away from Derron's chunky frame. Shine shivered and looked above as the moon began to sink, reducing the light in the sheltered clearing.
"So tell me, Frost. Will you take them with you? Treat them like you would your own pups?"
Frost raised her head and looked her plain eyes with Shine's golden ones. It seemed like an age until, finally, Frost lowed her head.
"Yes, I will. Despite the fact one is pathetically weak, the other makes up for it. I'm sure they will both be great assets to my pack when they are older."
Shine let out a held breath, and it disappeared as stream in the freezing air.
"And before you say: yes I know why it's of grave importance none of the pack find out where these pups came from. The Grand Pack must already be on your trail, Shine. "
Shine looked like she wanted to say something, so Frost plowed on.
"I will fit them in my den with my own pups: and try and explain that somehow to my pack. It won't be easy, but I will make it happen. You're very lucky that the pups are only a week or so apart in ages."
Shine bowed her head.
"Frost, thank you… I could never-"
She was cut off in mid sentence by Frost, who stamped the ground with a paw and flattened her ears.
"Don't thank me! Don't! This isn't for you, no matter what you think. If I owe you something because we're kin. That means nothing now; I thought I made that clear!"
Shine looked as if she wanted to speak, but when she opened her mouth, the words appeared lodged in her throat.
Frost snorted in disgust.
"Just like I thought… nothing to say. I wouldn't want to hear it anyway." She pushed past Shine and her paws crunched on the very thin lining of frost as he approached the two tiny creatures in the centre of the clearing.
Grabbing Katunro by the scruff of his neck, Frost hoisted him into the air. He hung limp, with only a faint yelp of protect escaping his muzzle.
Derron scrambled to his paws when the warmth of his brother was snatched away, and blinked his blue eyes at Frost, clearly wondering what she was doing to his brother.
"Come on, little ones. Time to go home." Frost's usually harsh tone sounded soft, nearly motherly as she mumbled it around Katunro's fur.
Derron cocked his head on one side, then bounded toward Frost and stood by her foreleg.
Frost lifted her head, and consequently Katunro, to look into Shine's eyes for a split second, before turning away, swinging Katunro with her. She slinked away in between the trees, away into unknown territory, Derron plowing along behind her.
Shine stood still for a second, as the moon sunk completely to give way to the sun. Then she took a deep breath, turning on her paws and ran back along the way her and her pups had come, erasing the evidence then had ever been there.