|Preceded by: |
|Spirits Beyond||Succeeded by: |
The White Kingdom
I didn't know... I really didn't!
I'm a princess, I'm supposed to be girly girly! I'm supposed to be all high and mighty, a leader to the people in my kingdom!
But... Why do I always feel so caged in in this castle? It's not a small castle, if anything, I should be feeling open in here. It's so big. Maybe too big.
I hate this place, I hate the isolation, I want to be free from it.
Is my spirit and mind even human?!
Someone please... I need an answer!
I need an answer... For inside...
Am I even human...?
Hear our call!
The inner spirits call for you
To change them
And teach themselves how to survive.
The moon rose high into the sky, and the stars twinkled feebly above the land below. A mountain casted a large shadow over the lands, it was oddly quiet in the night.
The silence was broken by the shot of a cannon. A man around the age of twenty flinched from where he was hiding, he turned to his friend, and raised an eyebrow.
His friend blinked, and murmured, "It was a bit aways." He looked around from the makeshift cover and shrugged.
The man sighed, and looked at the land around them, apart from the cannons and the sound of fighting, the kingdom of Ishari was a beautiful place, fields of wheat flowed in the wind, and the wheat casted a soft golden glow from the moonlight, it reminded Matthew of his home of Skrealand.
They both looked up at the crumbling building above them, his friend asked, "Hey, Matthew."
Matthew blinked, and looked back at his friend curiously. His friend pointed up at the sky, "It's the northern lights." He pointed out quietly. Matthew stared up at the everchanging lights in the sky.
"I find it kind of stupid how it's been years since the Solar War with Ishari, and we're still fighting for Orskola after all this time." Matthew murmured begrudgingly.
His friend only shrugged, "I guess the rulers of Graelach think it'll be beneficial to us, but, if you think about it, we have tons of resources already, Ishari has little on the outskirts. Couldn't we let them have this one for once?" He asked curiously.
Matthew shrugged as well, and another cannon sounded, they both flinched when the house above them shook a little, but finally stilled.
His friend murmured, "We might want to move soon."
Matthew nodded, and he said, "Once we get the signal, we can."
"If we ever get the signal." Matthew's friend grumbled, and crossed his arms.
Matthew sighed. He sat back, and stared up at the stars sadly, the cannons seemed to get closer and closer the longer he sat there. He looked around the cover, and stared up at the sky.
Where is that signal? It's around that time... Did something happen to the spearhead? That's not possible... Matthew thought grimly.
His friend leaned forward out of the cover as well, and he asked fearfully, "Where is it?! They should have sent the signal by now!"
Matthew took the eyeglasses out of his bag, and looked around, he murmured, "I think the frontal attack met some resistence, and they're in trouble."
He watched as his friend shivered, "So we're trapped..." He said quietly, and returned to the cover.
Matthew sat back down, listened as the cannons seemed to get closer and closer to them. His friend asked, "We're not getting out of this are we?"
Matthew could only shrug, as cannonfire lit up the night above them.
Hear my call!
For the wolves call!
They are calling you to where you truly belong.
Lillian sighed as she read her leather bound book. The cover had golden words that read Dire Wolves and How to Deal with Them. She suddenly heard a knock on the wooden door, which led out to one of the many corridors of the large castle that never seemed to end until at the gates of the castle, but even then, the world outside seemed even more endless.
Lillian sighed, and put the book down, she took one last look at the page, where the author was explaining what you shouldn't do if you encounter a dire wolf.
She looked around her seemingly perfect room, her bed sheets were made from the finest silk from Skrealand, which was the main trading village in the kingdom, so it was pretty comfortable. It was a soft golden colour, just like the wheat from Skrealand, and made the room at least tolerable.
Lillian turned to her window, where her small perch was, she sat down, and looked out onto the courtyard, where she saw the rose garden. I'd practice my writing and reading here... At least the birds were fun to listen to at least.
She stood back up, and headed back towards the wooden door, she looked back, and narrowed her eyes, I hate this room the most, out of all the rooms, this one is the most obnoxious, and the most isolated in the castle. She thought darkly.
Lillian rolled her eyes when the door continued knocking, she finally answered the door. It was her father's advisor Karl. He was pretty old, being the advisor to her grandfather, the king before as well. He bowed with some difficulty, and said formally, "His majesty wishes to see you, my lady Lillian."
She had to stifle an eye-roll, and said in a cold voice, "Thank you, sir Karl, I'll go see him now." She pushed past him, quite annoyed that everyone treated her like a delicate flower, that she would break with every move she made.
Lillian entered the throne room cautiously, with it's high curved ceiling, and the red carpet led up to the throne of the king and queen, her mother and father. Lillian's mother wasn't there, but her father was.
King Midus II, her father, was sitting on the throne calmly, he was averagely built, yet features of his age were appearing. Lillian stared at the crown when the new King is coronated onto the throne, it had a sun on the front, while the rest were swirls of water surrounding the crown. He had a grim look on his face.
Lillian sighed, and thought, This isn't going to be pleasant, I can already tell, I better bear through it though...
He looked up to see Lillian, and growled in a flat tone, "Come here, Lillian, we have much to discuss in so little time."
Lillian thought grimly, That means I better go up there and listen carefully. She walked up the steps cautiously, and faced her father.
He stared at her for a while, then asked, "Do you know how old you are?"
Lillian raised an eyebrow, What kind of question is that? She questioned to herself, but finally answered, "I'm fifteen, your majesty, may I ask why?" She mused.
Midus II blinked, and sighed, "I am asking because I hope you realize what it means for you, and ultimately the kingdom." He looked up at her. Lillian tipped her head, and narrowed her eyes suspiciously. He continued, "It is around that time where I would prepare a betrothal for you."
Lillian leaned her head forward in disbelief. Oh, no. Not this conversation, anything but this... She thought quickly. She growled in a strained voice, "Excuse me... My lord, but may I request that we discuss this later? I was supposed to meet my friends out in the gardens. We were going to plant some roses, seeing as last winter most of them were killed off." She narrowed her eyes at her father.
King Midus II narrowed his eyes as well, and grunted, "Well, if that is really all you're doing..."
"That is indeed all I'm doing, my lord." She hissed quietly, and stared down her father.
He blinked, then sighed in annoyance, "Fine, be off with you," Lillian was about to turn, but he called her back, "Be sure to come back soon though, I don't want to waste time."
Lillian laughed airily, "Okay, I'll be back!" She turned away from her father, and headed back to her room. Forget it, I'm not coming back, I'm tired of this! I don't want to marry someone I don't even know or care about... She thought sadly.
She entered the room, and slammed the door behind her. Lillian pulled the book that opened the secret passage, as she listened to the mechanism clunk open, she thought bitterly, Friends... What friends? All I ever really do is stay in this dumb castle and read, write, and take lessons on how to address myself and others. I'm tired of being holed up in here.
Lillian walked down the passageway down to a back entrance to the courtyard, she stopped in the small room on the way down, where she mostly hid her hunting gear, often she would go on small trips, and come back none worse for the wear. She grabbed her cloak, and tied it around her neck, she put up the hood, and grabbed her bag of essentials.
Lillian looked in the bag to double check for said essentials, Right... Bandages, herbs, seems everything is still here. She thought, and sighed thankfully. Lillian finally reached for her bow, which was made by a friend, and she stared down at it sadly.
Matthew had risked his life and died in the battle of Orskola not so long ago, although the information was clear, Lillian refused to believe her friend was dead. Ishari had gained that town, but both kingdoms were traumatized.
She sighed, and shook her head, she checked the string of the bow, she stood up, grabbed the arrows, and contained down the passageway. Lillian soon left the castle passageway, met with the soft glow of the sunset on the horizon.
Lillian headed towards an immense leafy forest. She walked, the hum of birds and cracking of twigs populated the forest. As she stepped over logs, she scanned the undergrowth for other predators that might be out. I've got to be careful, anything from a bear to a Great Cat could be in this forest... She thought quietly.
She froze when she spotted a rabbit on the path ahead, she hid behind a bush. Lillian quietly drew an arrow, and readied to shoot.
Lillian narrowed her eyes when there was another noise in the bush. She tensed up, and prepared to retreat. She hesitated before letting the arrow fly, when she finally let go, a large Great Cat jumped out of the bushes, snarling at her.
She narrowed her eyes, even though with it's immense build, large tabby stripes, and short stubby tails, they were quite easy to scare off. She muttered to herself quietly, "Okay, two options... Play dead, or stare them do-" Her sentence was cut off by another noise in the bushes.
Lillian and the Great Cat jumped back in shock as a boy around her age leaped out of the bushes, and swung his sword like a crazed maniac. He growled in a thick Skrealand accent, which sounded as smooth as a river stone, "Away with you, fat beast!" He continued to wave the sword at the cat.
Lillian laughed, "I'd hardly call it fat, sir!"
He turned, and Lillian finally got a good look at her 'saviour'. He had very light blue eyes, and dirty blonde hair. He pointed out, "Trust me, it's fat, I've seen how they are, they are supposed to be lean," He finished with a laugh, "Oh, away with you! Don't be a sore loser." He pointed to the forest.
The cat growled one last time before giving up. It backed away, eyeing the rabbit as it went, and returned to the forest.
He sighed, "Stupid things, they really are pea-brained." He sniffed, and turned to her. "Now that we got that little problem out of the way... What's a girl doing in the woods? Especially in the evening?" He asked curiously.
Lillian raised an eyebrow, and said quietly, "I've been hunting here since I learned how to use the bow..." She stared at the other boy, and thought flatly, That's not exactly a lie... I hated the castle food, it always tasted stale.
He blinked, and laughed, "Well, I should introduce myself then! I'm Markus, I'm from Skrealand, the nearby village," he hesitated, then added, "I was here with other friends of mine, but I guess they ditched me."
Lillian smiled, and said quickly, "Well, I'll help you find them, they can't be too far off!" She stood up excitedly.
Markus's eyes lit up, and he said, "Really! Thanks..." He faltered, and Lillian tipped her head.
"What's the matter?" She asked curiously.
He asked, "Have... I seen you somewhere before?" His eyes flickered, as if trying to recognize her.
Lillian thought quickly, she had been on many trips to Skrealand, but she needed to act quickly. I don't want anyone knowing who I am... Not yet.
She finally sighed, and shook her head, "I don't think so... I'm from Jouris you see, the village on the west side of the castle, by the wall." Lillian explained quickly.
Markus narrowed his eyes, as if he didn't quite believe her. He shrugged, and asked, "What's your name then?"
Oh, great... She thought in exasperation, and admitted, "My name is Lillian, but you can just call me Lily." Lillian ran a hand through her hair nervously.
Markus blinked, and nodded, "You do sound like your from Jouris, you have the very flowing dialect of theirs." He observed.
Lillian sighed in relief as he turned, and she followed him through the woods. After what felt like ages of walking, she heard a sound that sounded like a high-pitched scream. She murmured quietly, "Was that a Howling Bird? Markus," he stopped, and looked back curiously, and she continued, "We've got to be careful, those things can deafen you."
Markus looked like he was about to say something, but they both jumped back when two boys came crashing out of the bushes, Lillian got a good luck at the newcomers. She watched as the younger looking one took a step back behind Markus. He had blonde hair, and hazel eyes, and a short stature, he looked around her age, she guesstimated.
She looked at the other one, who was standing beside Markus stiffly, he had startling greyish eyes that were a bit on the blue side, he had snowy white hair, even though he looked around their ages as well. He looked at Markus, and growled in a thick, icy, musical sounding accent, "Stupid Howling Bird's..."
Markus asked his friends loudly, "Hey! What is going on?!"
The boy beside him asked coldly, "Were you not listening? I said it was a Howling Bird! You know... The things that could possibly deafen you?"
"Oh..." Markus drawled out, and rolled his eyes.
Soon, another boy had joined them, followed by more high pitched screaming, she took a good look at the newcomer as she covered her ears. He looked around seventeen-eighteen, and was tall and of average build.
Markus finally yelled, "Duck!"
Everyone ducked as the Howling Bird crashed through the bushes screeching, and flew into the night. Everyone released their ears, and looked at each-other in confusion. Markus asked darkly, "All right, who angered the bird?" He eyed his snowy white haired friend, who narrowed his eyes.
"We didn't anger it, it just started to chase after us for no reason!" He snapped impatiently, his eyes flashing.
Markus only rolled his eyes, then looked at Lillian, who stood by awkwardly, Markus laughed, "All right, I suppose introductions are in order! Guys, this is Lillian. Lillian, the guys!"
He turned to his friend beside him, and he said, "This guy is Lucan, he's from the kingdom of Nixsan, or as I like to call it, snow land."
Lucan rolled his eyes showily, and nodded his head in greeting to Lillian.
Markus continued, and looked at the young boy who stayed back, "This is Erik, don't mind him, he's quite reserved." He laughed, Erik only smiled sheepishly.
Erik turned to Lillian, and murmured, "Hello." Lillian noted that the accent sounded different, it sounded piercing, He's from the kingdom of Hostrich... The people are known there for their fiery tempers... She thought.
Markus finally turned to the other boy, and said, "This is Aris, he's not from around here. He's from... How do you say it again?" He mused.
Lucan answered coolly, "Ish-ar-i. He's from Ishari."
Markus laughed, "Oh! That's it! He doesn't talk much anyways, I'll give you credit if you can get him going into really long conversations."
Lillian noticed the glare Aris was giving Markus, he may not have been the talkative one, but his annoyed gaze was clear enough. Markus, however, ignored it, and nodded to Lillian. "That's everyone! So..." He faltered, and asked, "Can I ask why you were hunting at this time of night? You have a home right?"
Lillian shivered, "Well, obviously, I was hungry." She said plainly.
Markus laughed, "That's a pretty good reason! So, do you want to see Skrealand?" He asked.
She blinked, and thought excitedly, Wow, Skrealand, I've been there, but to actually be on the ground, walking around outside, seeing the sights and meeting people... With the added bonus of having no one to keep a close eye on me! Lillian nodded quickly, "Yeah!" She said excitedly.
"Well come on! Fastest way is the stone bridge down the river, it's not far!" He laughed, and they walked to the river. When they reached it, they looked downriver, where Lillian could just see a small stone shape, they headed towards there.
Everyone but Markus stayed quiet, who was chatting avidly about something, Lillian started to get a chill up her spine as they headed towards the stone bridge, Markus jumped onto the bridge, "What are you so worried about? It's stable." He pointed out, and continued. Lillian followed nervously.
They all stopped in the middle of the bridge for a bit, and watched the fish shoot down the river. Lillian blinked, and looked at the bushes on the other side. She gasped when there was red eyes staring at them from the bushes. She poked Markus harshly, and he looked up as well.
Lillian froze when the stone bridge seemed to shiver. Lucan and Erik looked down at the bridge in confusion, but Aris was staring at the bushes. Lillian stared as a gigantic dire wolf padded out of the bushes, it's teeth bared.
She snapped, "We need to get off this bridge!"
They all hung onto the stone railing as the bridge seemed to quake, Lillian looked back at the wolf, which was now growling, Dire wolves have the ability of telekinesis, the ability to move things with only the mind...
She looked down at the bridge, some stones were falling out of their places, Erik and Aris were already heading back to the other side, however Lucan and Markus just stared at the wolf in shock. Lillian snapped, and pushed them, "It's going to take down the bridge! We've got to get off!"
Lucan and Markus nodded, and ran for the other side, Lillian followed, but the dire wolf only stalked up to the bridge, and howled, Markus stumbled a bit, and clung onto the railing again, Lillian looked downriver to where the rapids were, If we fall in... We're done for... She thought darkly.
The stone bridge began to crumble, they jumped to the other side just as the stone bridge crashed into the river, and was washed away. They all looked back at the dire wolf in horror. Lillian sighed in relief, but her relief was cut short when the dire wolf began to run on the water towards them.
They all stared in shock, Markus was standing beside her, she noticed the sword hilt in his holster, she quietly reached for it as the dire wolf headed towards them. Lillian felt the cold touch of steel, and as she pulled the sword out of the holder, she nearly dropped it because of the weight.
There was a bright flash of light as she raised the sword in front of her, there was a howl of pain, and the whole world seemed to go black.
Will make you...
In the olden days it is said that spirits were more prominent.
But in the modern times, the veil between the worlds is faint.
That doesn't mean it's no longer there.
Often all it takes to open that veil is that of inner spirits.
Lillian groaned, and tried to move, but couldn't. Am I dead...? She thought grimly. She couldn't feel, see, or even hear anything, all that was around her was the never ending darkness. However, she began to hear something distant, but couldn't quite make it out.
It seemed to get closer and closer, she heard her name being called from a far off place, but the darkness persisted.
"Lillian!" A voice called to her, it still sounded far away. She didn't respond to the voice, and only stared at the darkness in shock. It continued to call her.
"Stop it..." She rasped.
"Lily!" The voice said once again, however, it was more louder, and not so far away. She snapped over her eyes, and asked sharply, "What?!" She stopped when she realized what had woken her up from unconsciousness.
A built timber wolf of a brownish golden colour was staring at her curiously, it's eyes blue chips of ice. It had a look of concern on it's face, and it asked quietly, "Are you all right, Lillian?" It then flicked it's ears in curiosity.
Lillian blinked a couple times, and murmured, "You're... A wolf," she took a step back from the wolf, "A wolf is talking to me, and some how I can understand it." She mumbled. She froze, her ears twitched furiously, she could hear the vibrations in the ground, the birds in the trees as they landed, and the small prey in the bushes. Lillian blinked, and thought, Wait, hold on, I can hear ten times better. Why?
The wolf stared at her in shock and surprise, and she turned slowly to behind her, and gasped when there was a tail wagging side to side, "I'm a wolf. I'm a wolf, how in the heck did I become a wolf." She whispered in horror.
She turned to look back at the other wolf nervously, who looked hurt, and it asked sadly, "You don't recognize me?
Lillian shook her head, and an arctic wolf came from the shadows, and it whispered, "You might want to take a closer look."
She stared at the white wolf, and she murmured, "Lucan? No, it can't be..." Lillian looked back at the timber wolf, who had it's head tipped, and she murmured, "Markus, is that you?"
Markus murmured, "Who did you think it was?"
She jumped when she heard another voice, "I think I have an idea on why this happened." A grey dire wolf walked up to them, followed by another grey timber wolf. Lillian stared at it, and it flicked it's tail to a bit away from them.
I'm going to assume that's Aris and Erik... But what is he... She thought grimly, and turned to where he was indicating, and froze.
The dead dire wolf she had killed was lying on it's side, Markus's sword was sticking out of it's side. Lillian got a feeling of dread, and she asked, "How... How did this happen? How did that wolf turn me into one?"
Aris padded up to the dire wolf, and looked down, "That, I don't know..."
Lillian looked at Markus and Lucan, who were both looking at their paws in shock. She asked in shock, "I killed it though! If it's true it turned me into a wolf, how did you all get turned into wolves as well?!"
She widened here eyes, and thought grimly, The only reason Markus is a wolf... Must be because I used his sword, so with that, it might be partly his fault, she looked at Lucan, Aris, and Erik, who were looking around, But... Why are they wolves? They had nothing to do with the dire wolf's death... Unless, of course, something happened. Was it the wave of power? She mused to herself.
Lillian sniffed the air, and something made her shiver, she heard the whoops and hollers of nearby hunters on a hunting trip. She could tell it was hunters by the scent of prey on the air. It kind of made her hungry to think about it.
She growled dangerously, "We've got to cross the river, now!"
Markus nodded, and led the way. As Lillian followed his lead, the excited voices of the kings hunters were getting closer and closer. She had abandoned her bow, and before she could turn and retrieve it, the bushes parted to show the armed hunters.
Lillian felt something tug on her tail, she turned to see Markus, he growled, "We don't have time, Lillian! We've got to go!" He continued to tug on her tail, she flicked it away from him.
"Hey! Look!" One of the hunters pointed at Aris, "That ones a dire wolf, and a big one."
Lillian barked at them in anger, but they only laughed. She felt someone else tug at her tail, and they said in an urgent voice, "Come on, Lily!"
She nodded, and was about to turn, but another person stepped out of the bushes that made her stop dead in her tracks.
It was her father, Lillian called loudly, "Father!"
Lillian stopped when he leaned forward and picked up her bow. She took a step back when he pulled out his own bow, and aimed straight for them, anger and hatred in his eyes. Lillian asked desperately, "What are you doing?! It's me!"
Markus pulled her back just as King Midus II let the arrow fly, which narrowly missed both of them. Lillian murmured, "What's gotten into him?"
Markus thrusted his muzzle into her face, "What does it matter? We've got to run! It's pretty suspicious he finds your bow, and you're not there! Oh, also the blood to, don't forget about that!" He growled, and pushed her harshly towards the other side of the river, not to safety.
Lillian finally got the point, and started to run, with Markus following behind her. Aris was at the head of the pack, he looked around for an entrance of escape as he ran. She looked back to see the king and the other hunters chasing after them. Lucan and Erik had already disappeared into the bushes, with Aris waiting for Lillian and Markus.
Aris called urgently, "Running through the village is out best bet! Now hurry up!"
Lillian snarled worriedly, "Then we'll get pelted with arrows by the guards! We won't have a chance!"
The hunters were catching up, and Markus pushed past her, "We have no other choice, Lillian!" He called back to her. He bounded through the bushes, and Lillian chased after him, with Aris following her closely.
As they ran into the village, people stared at them in shock and horror, some frozen, while others ran around in confusion. Lillian heard Markus's name called, and Markus stopped. It was a women, who must have been his mother, "Markus? Where are you?"
Markus looked back at Lillian, and started to head towards the women, however, she caught his gaze, and proceeded to shield a little girl that was behind her, who had the same dirty blonde hair and light blue eyes of Markus.
Markus put his ears back, and got down lower to the ground, Lillian looked back when guards were alerted to their presence. Lillian looked back at the women, and blinked when the girl came out of her mothers shadow, and started to head towards Markus. The women could only watch as her daughter walked towards her wolf brother.
Lillian saw his eyes flash, Markus's sister reached her hand out, and asked curiously, "Is... Is that you, Markus?"
The women looked confused when she heard her daughter speak Markus's name. Lillian got steadily more nervous as the scent of the guards got closer. Markus's eyes brightened, and his sister cried in happiness, "It is you!"
Lillian jumped when the guards started to yell, she flicked her ear when she heard the wood of the bow getting pulled back, she thought quickly, They're getting ready to shoot us!
"Markus!" Lillian called, or barked, either way, Markus got the point, as he backed away from his sister, one of the guards shot an arrow, which narrowly missed his sister, both of them gasped in shock and horror, and the young girl started to cry.
Lillian jumped when Markus's happy go lucky nature had started to change, he stood in front of his sister, and blocked the guards. He growled unnaturally, his ears back and eyes narrowed. Lillian pushed him, and snapped, "Markus! Snap out of it!"
Markus blinked a couple times, then started to push his sister back towards his mother, who dragged his sister away from the guards. He then ran towards Lillian, and they both ran to catch up with Aris and the others, "What were you thinking?!" She asked him in exasperation.
"I wasn't about to let them shoot my sister because of me!" He snapped, then they both jumped when an arrow hit him in the shoulder, "Ack! I'm never hunting again!"
Lillian realized he was limping, but they kept running, not wanting to get caught by the guards or the hunters. They stopped by another smaller river, and met up with Erik, Lucan, and Aris, who were panting from running. She gasped when Aris pushed her into the cold river. They were on the move again, they all jumped in, and made their way across the river.
They took a breather once they were on the other side, Lillian looked back, then looked at Markus. She asked quietly, "Are you okay?" He didn't answer, he was staring at the village with sad and distant eyes.
Markus finally stretched, and nodded, "I'll be okay, let's get out of here." He said calmly. They all followed Aris, who was now walking. Lillian saw that the castle was getting farther away. She sighed, and followed Aris.
As they walked, Markus was having more trouble with his shoulder. He had to sit down a couple of times before he was ready to move again. Lillian thought in worry, Is it getting infected? We need to find help...
Lillian perked her ears, and said, "I know where we can go for that wound of yours."
Markus looked at her with brightened and hopeful eyes, but Aris asked cautiously, "Is it a human? I really don't think that's a good idea if it is, considering..." He faltered.
"Of course, she won't attack us though, she has more sense, literally." Lillian reassured him, and led the way to her friends house.
They stopped in front of a wooden house, the scent of the house was almost enough to knock someone out. Lillian walked up to the door, and started to scratch at it urgently. A lady's voice called gently, "I'll be there in a minute."
The door opened the door to reveal a girl with wavy, raven black hair, and eyes as blue as the ocean, they almost had a glowing aura to them, she had the necklace of a seer, which looked like the moon and the sun intertwined together. She stared down at Lillian, "Fancy seeing you here again, but not in wolf form, Lily." She muttered in an amused tone.
Her friends tensed up behind her, but she waved them in, "Come in, it's all right, you're safe in here, the hunters aren't allowed to hunt here, it is sacred ground." She said calmly, as they walked in, the girl introduced herself, "I'm Julian, the seer of Grealach, now, may I ask how you all got turned into wolves?" She asked curiously.
Lillian stared at her, and Julian laughed, "I'm sorry, I wouldn't be able to understand you anyways..." She looked at Markus, who was still shaking in pain.
"Right, you've come to me because you're friend is hurt." Julian said, and Lillian nodded quickly.
As she went to work on Markus, "I never knew that the animal of our inner spirits could burst forth, it's quite interesting and unnerving at the same time," she finally pulled the arrow out, and continued, "I'm sure there was a good reason for it though."
Markus yelped when she had pulled the arrow out, almost biting her. Julian held his muzzle closed firmly, and pointed out calmly, "It's really no different from treating a dog, don't worry, Lillian." She added to Lillian, who looked like she was going to bite Markus as well.
Markus looked hurt, and his ears flopped, and he growled in frustration.
"Oh, shut it, it'll help." Julian said softly, and applied some medicine to the wound, when she was done, she let go of Markus, who stood up, and walked around.
"Now, let me do some guesswork here, your father thinks your dead, and is hunting you, his own daughter, for revenge?" She asked curiously. Lillian nodded sadly.
"Hmm," Julian mused, and sighed, "I'm sorry, I can't help you, but maybe if you go to the Mountain of Fates, they can change you back into a human, they most likely have the power to do so." She added.
Lillian finally nodded, and led her friends out of the house, Markus was no longer limping, and Lucan looked a bit more relaxed. Aris took the lead again, and he asked quietly, "So, should we go to the Mountain of Fates? It's a really long journey, and is in the middle of the four kingdoms. The king must have everyone hunting wolves now though..."
Markus nodded in agreement, and Lucan asked curiously, "Right, and what's the danger of walking in the middle of large kingdoms?"
"Chances of injury is definitely at least 90%, however, if the Fates are in a funny mood, it's 50-50." Aris answered.
Lillian sniffed, and asked, "Would they be in a funny mood for our case?"
Aris blinked, and murmured, "I wouldn't underestimate the Fates, Lillian, you've heard how they are supposedly." He led them away from the hut.
After what seemed like hours of walking, she sat down, and sighed, "I'm hungry, I haven't had anything to eat for hours."
Markus sat beside her, and sniffed the air, "I smell a farm nearby." He pointed out. Lillian blinked, and was about to say they shouldn't take food, but she was so hungry, so she nodded in agreement.
Lucan growled uncomfortably, "You two have fun with that, I'd rather hunt in a forest, like I've been doing since I was, oh you know, little." He grumbled sarcastically.
Erik sat by Aris, in his shadow. Lillian followed Markus to the farm, she scanned the farm, and noted the windmill, the chicken coop, and the vegetable field. Markus asked, "Want to go for the chickens? The farmer is in a cabbage field, and I want to avoid lettuce, I don't feel like having lettuce... Or any type of that stuff, it's weird, it's like I lost all cravings for veggies and fruit."
"Chickens." Lillian grunted bluntly. I don't feel like veggies either... She thought quietly, and padded forward, her ears down in caution. Markus followed closely, and Lillian heard the chicken pecking at the ground, and cooing quietly.
Lillian went after one. She grabbed it quickly, and it squawked in horror, and she heard a female's voice call, "Jesse! The chickens, they need feeding now!" The farmer looked up, and stared at them in surprise.
Lillian gasped, "Markus! We need to go now!"
Markus had no luck with the chickens, he soon followed Lillian, the farmer had grabbed something, something that Lillian didn't want to find out. They escaped with near misses from the farmer, Aris looked up when they arrived, Lucan was no where to be found.
Aris eyed the chicken, "It might taste better if we had fire, but we don't have fire, we can't make one either," He pointed out, then added, "Lucan is still out hunting."
Lucan and Erik soon came back with a plump rabbit. Lucan stopped when he spotted the chicken, and asked sarcastically, "A chicken... Really?" He rolled his eyes in amusement.
Markus grunted, "It was the only thing that wasn't lettuce, or vegetable related."
Lillian blinked when Erik walked up to her, still holding the rabbit, he put it down in front of her, and asked shyly, "Do you want to share?" He flicked his tail nervously.
Lillian nodded, and shared the rabbit with Erik, she thought as she ate, I can appreciate his quiet demeanor, it's calming in it's own way.
As they ate, Aris and Markus finished first, Markus yawned, and went to find a comfortable place to sleep, and fell asleep as soon as he found a place.
Lillian had the last bite of the rabbit, Erik stood up, and walked away to sleep. Aris took the first watch, he sat up, and looked around. Lucan sheltered under a tree, and drifted off. Lillian yawned, and drifted off herself.
Lillian yawned, and found herself in a dream world. She woke up to a dark clearing, surrounded by wolves, who were whispering and eyeing her suspiciously.
"It's unnatural..." One of the wolves whispered.
"Why do they want our help? What can we do for them?" Another voice asked back in dismay.
The vision disappeared, and soon, she was standing in front of the same dire wolf she had killed hours before, the vision showed that she was guarding pups, and barked, "Ah... Princess Lillian, it's an honour to meet you, without all the fighting of course." She laughed.
She padded closer to Lillian, who flicked her tail nervously, "I do not blame you, sometimes wolves can lose control of their sense of mind, I just thought you were a threat to my pups, and we both acted in self defense, no one is to blame here," she barked sadly, "You got turned into what I am, to help make you understand, you have a long journey ahead of you."
Lillian whispered, "I didn't realize you had pups..."
"There is no way you could have known, now, you should wake up, one of your friends is suffering." She said softly, the dream began to whirl, and Lillian woke up.
Lillian sat up, and looked around, first to Lucan who was still fast asleep, then Aris, who had nodded off, Erik was also sleeping soundly, as with Markus. Which one could be suffering? She thought curiously, Unless she meant a different kind of suffering.
She looked at Markus, and thought, He's pretty shaken up from what happened at Skrealand, he might be missing his sister, he's very good at not showing it though... She turned her head to Lucan, I don't know much about him, but I don't know what he's suffered from...
Lillian jumped when Aris shook his head, she stood up, and sat beside him, and she asked quietly, "Is something bothering you?"
"Not bothering, bugging is a better word for it." Aris said flatly, and looked up at the sky, where many stars twinkled above them.
"Well, what's bugging you?" She asked nicely.
Aris didn't answer for a while, then murmured, "My home... How is my home doing without me there? I mean, I know my mother can handle herself, but she's too old, she can't control an entire kingdom at her age without someone else..." Aris shook his head at the shadows in front of him.
Lillian was about to say something, but she felt a pang. She knew who Aris was.
"You-You're not the..." Lillian stammered, and backed away from him.
Aris looked back at her, and asked curiously, "Not the what?" He stood up, confused by her sudden fear.
"You-You're the king of Ishari," she said quickly, "You're called the Demon Wolf of the West, they tell stories about you in parts of Grealach."
"Demon Wolf? What's a demon wolf?" He asked curiously.
Lillian suddenly felt small under Aris's gaze, and she stammered, "They call you Demon Wolf because it says you use dire wolves for hunting, and that you destroyed the land of Ishari doing so, and that is is now unlivable." She bowed her head quickly.
"Unlivable?" He mused, then shrugged, "I do use dogs for hunting, and they're pretty big, but they're not wolves, and if we ever have to take a road from Ishari well... You'll see for yourself." He said calmly.
Lillian gaped, and Aris pointed out gently, "You're the princess of Grealach, what is the real difference between us?"
"Huge difference!" She gasped, "You control an entire kingdom! I just do what I'm told, and I have no choice or control on what I do! You-You..." She trailed off.
Aris looked at Erik, "Erik's from Hostrich, they're ruled by King Lachlan and his queen Yewfer." He murmured.
They both looked at Lucan, and she asked, "Do you know where he's from?"
"Lucan, the Crown Prince of the Northern Kingdom of Nixsan, you can tell he's from the royal family due to his hair and eyes." Aris said quietly.
Lillian asked, "May I ask why two of the most royal people are doing in Grealach?"
Aris looked at her, and asked, "What are you doing out here?"
She stopped at that, and she thought quietly, Does... Does he mean they ran away as well? Why would they do that?
Beware of your surroundings
You don't know what's in the shadows.
Lillian flicked her ear when she heard a noise, she turned around, and eyed the bushes warily. "Do you hear that, Aris?" She asked quietly, and narrowed her eyes as the noise got louder.
Aris had perked his ears as well, and growled, "Wake up the others, we need to move... Now!" He stood up, and headed towards where Erik was sleeping to wake him up.
She headed towards Lucan first, and poked him hard in the nose with a paw, "Wake up, now!" She growled urgently.
Lucan stirred, and opened his eyes, he asked sleepily, "What-?" He didn't get the chance to finish, because Lillian was already headed towards Markus.
As she tried to wake him up, the noise was getting nearer and nearer, she growled in alarm as she shook him, "Come on... Wake up, you have to wake up!" Lillian sighed when he didn't respond, He must be exhausted from all the running, but he has to wake up... But how? She thought.
Lillian got an idea, it may have been a stupid idea, but it was the only way. Lillian bit down on his ear hard, and he let out a yelp of surprise, he jumped up and looked around, and almost bit her back. He bared his teeth in irritation.
"It's just me, Markus, but we've got to go!" She snapped.
Markus shook his head in an attempt to wake himself up, and he looked around, "What's going on?" He asked, and flicked his ear a bit.
"I don't know, I think the hunters are near." Lillian murmured, she got up to follow Aris, who was waiting for them, as Markus and Lillian stared around.
Markus stretched, before they all started to walk, and he asked curiously, "What's happening? I don't sense anything out of the ordinary." Aris didn't answer as he led the way, with Erik close behind him, and Lucan taking the back of the pack.
Lillian stopped, and sniffed the air. Something's off... I feel weird. She thought nervously. Lucan padded past her, then stopped. He looked at her curiously, "Don't you smell that?" She asked.
Lucan sniffed the air as well, and shrugged. Aris commented, "It could be possible she's the only one that can smell it, my teacher said that female wolves were always a tiny bit more aware of the environment around them, could apply to Lillian."
She tipped her head. Markus padded up to her, and looked around, "I don't see anything out of the ordinary." He muttered in annoyance. Lillian couldn't shake off her feeling though.
Erik looked back as well, Lillian murmured, "I-I don't know, something's weird..." She looked around, a horrible feeling rising up inside her, she thought fearfully, It... Smells a bit like rust? I can't tell where it is or where it's coming from... She shivered from head to tail, then she heard a howl of terror, not far off from them.
They all jumped, it sounded like a cry. Lillian hurried towards it, she was followed closely by Markus and Aris, Lucan and Erik hung back.
Lillian tripped into a clearing, and she looked up at the sky. She realised a massive storm was coming, it had started the rain. Lillian looked around for the crying she gasped when Markus almost tripped over her, but he stopped himself, and also looked around.
Lillian stood up, and shook herself off, she turned to Aris, and asked, "What was that?"
Aris shrugged, Markus twitched his ears, and narrowed his eyes. Lillian looked up when there was an ominous creaking coming from the trees. Markus looked at her, and asked, "You hear that too?" They blinked when the crying stopped, but there was whimpering nearby.
It had stopped raining, however, the wind had picked up, even though it was almost eerily silent, Lillian was reminded of a waterfall. Aris looked up as well, and he said quickly "I'm going to go back to Erik and Lucan, you guys try and find whatever is making that sound."
Lillian and Markus nodded as he left, and Lillian said, "Let's go."
As they continued, the whimpering and creaking got louder, finally someone called, "Help!" They looked towards a massive tree, they stared in horror at what they saw. A small wolf pup was stuck on a vine, she was trying to pull herself out, but it seemed to hurt her, and she cried out in horror. Lillian noticed it was a vine from the tree, Lillian looked at the tree, It doesn't look like it's going to fall... She thought.
Markus hurried foward, and Lillian followed, as Markus went to try and pull the pup out, Lillian stared at tree, she jumped when the wind suddenly got stronger, and it was whistling dangerously, she noticed the tree start to creak ominously, and she said, "Markus! Hurry up!"
Markus looked at tree also, the pup stared up at them in horror, he grabbed the vine, and Lillian pulled the pup out of it's trap. Lillian blinked when there was an ominous crack, she looked at the tree, Markus and Lillian jumped back as it fell in front of them, sending dust into the air. Lillian put the pup down, she blinked, and bowed gratefully, "Th-Thank you!" She stammered.
Markus laughed, "It was no problem, really!"
The pup looked around, the whistling had finally died down, and she asked fearfully, "H-Have you seen a white wolf? She goes by the name of Greavar, she's my mother!"
Markus looked down at the pup, "No, we haven't seen any other wolves besides you." He murmured.
The pup barked, "Oh! That's okay, she said she was going to hunt before the storm hit, but she hasn't come back yet," she finally tipped her head, and held out her paw, "I'm Kyrai, I'm from a pack that's travelling from the snow kingdom, those humans up there can be coldhearted, and there's not enough prey to go around, so we had to move."
Lillian answered reluctantly, "I'm Lillian, this is Markus."
"Weird names... Okay! Can you help me find my pack? I can't scent them in this horrible weather." She whimpered in sadness.
Makrus said quickly, "I'll help!"
Kyrai looked up at him, "Wow, really!? Thanks!" She barked happily, and jumped around him excitedly. Lillian glared at Markus, I know we have to help this pup and all, but I have a bad feeling the mother didn't make it through the storm... Or worse. She thought grimly.
As the pup walked ahead, Lillian growled under her breath, "Why did you do that, Markus?" She just wanted to become a human again. Lillian didn't want to get caught up in a wolf packs problems or fights.
"She's just a wolf pup, Lillian, we can't leave her out here to die, she looks too young to hunt either way, she'd starve to death if something didn't get to her first." Markus growled back.
As they bickered and walked, the pup let out a terrified whimper, and immediately retreated behind Markus. Lillian blinked in shock, there was blood everywhere, and a too familiar white wolf was nearby, flinching from the pain, she gasped, "Lucan!"
Markus was shocked, and he looked at the scene with horrified eyes.
As Lillian helped Lucan up, he growled, "It was crazy, they came out of nowhere. I've never seen wolves so ficious or fast, not since I left Nixsan."
"Where's Erik and Aris?" Lillian asked in worry.
Lucan sighed, and looked at the torn up bushes, "They went that way," he said, then added, "Be careful though, they're nasty."
Lillian nodded, and ran towards the bushes, with Markus following closely. They jumped through the bushes, and soon crashed into Aris and Erik. Erik was standing behind Aris. They were surrounded by wolves, who looked ready to leap.
"Hey!" One of the white wolves called, "Look what we got here! More of a nomadic pack, what do you think of this now, Kitash?" He laughed, but his eyes were cold.
Lillian jumped when a female started circling them, the female wolf growled dangerously, "If they have Kyrai, they won't be a nomadic pack no more."
Lillian stopped dead, and thought, Kyrai!? That's the pup that me and Markus rescued!
She was about to say something to Kitash, but Aris stopped her with a glare that told her not to say anything, as it would only confirm the female's suspicions, and make her assume the worst.
Kitash looked at Aris critically, and she growled, "Daemon wolf, leader of this pack, what are you doing intruding on Ice pack territory?"
Aris replied calmly, "I thought your pack liked the North lands, from what I heard from a friend, who you met earlier, I'm guessing."
"Ah, yes, the moon-eyes. He seems to know much about the Snow Kingdom, was he born there?" She asked carefully.
Aris blinked, and growled dangerously, "Well, you should ask him that, not me."
The wolves behind Kitash laughed an ice cold laugh. Kitash silenced them with a wave of her tail, but as she bowed in understanding, and was about to back away, she caught sight of Lillian and Markus. She padded up to them, and sniffed the air as she went.
Kitash sniffed them both, and she murmured, "You two smell of rain and Ice pack, were you two caught in the great wind with one of our own?" She asked icily.
Lillian growled in her face, "I guess you could say that."
"A spirited one you have in your pack, daemon wolf! I can respect that." Kitash dismissed Lillian's protective tone, and laughed.
Kitash turned to Markus, "What about you?" She asked dangerously. Lillian jumped, I don't think she's going to dismiss Markus as easily! Lillian thought in horror, and waved her tail to signal Markus not to say anything.
"Well?" Kitash snarled, and was crouched low to the ground, Lillian braced herself to jump in to protect Markus.
"No." Markus said coolly.
Kitash seemed taken-aback, "What?" She asked dangerously.
"No, we weren't caught in the great wind, but you should really keep a better eye on your pups." Markus growled, and finally stepped aside to reveal Kyrai, who stared at them in shock.
Some of the wolves gasped, and soon got an angry look in their eyes. Lillian edged closer to Markus as Kitash edged nearer to him, "So you did take the pup?" She asked icily.
"No, we didn't, she was stuck under a falling tree. So unless you want your pup squished, I had no choice." Markus muttered calmly.
Kitash blinked, and finally relaxed, however, she jumped back in shock when a wolf leaped over her, and landed on Markus, "Then what did you do with Greavar?! She's not with you either!" He snarled, and dug his claws into Markus's fur.
Lillian smashed into his side, and snapped, "We only saw the pup! No others, not a single wolf apart from Kyrai!" She stood in front of Markus protectively, and bared her teeth. The wolf growled dangerously, and Markus stood up, bleeding a little bit.
Kitash snapped, "Enough! Why don't we ask Kyrai what happened?" She looked at Kyrai, and growled, "What happened?"
Kyrai stared at her in shock, and suddenly hid under Markus, then yelled, "They saved me! Don't hurt them!" She hesitated, then added, "Aee, mother went hunting, she told me she would be back, but she never did! So I went to find her, and then the great wind started, I tried sheltering under a tree, but I got stuck in a vine, I couldn't get out! I thought I was going to get crushed by a falling tree."
She took a breath and continued, "Markus and Lillian saved me! I'd be dead if they weren't there..." Kyrai looked up at them both in awe, "I've never seen a wolf brave enough to do that, or even save a pup from another pack, usually wolves leave abandoned pups." She commented.
The wolves seemed taken-aback, and Kitash sighed, "Well, where is Greavar anyways?" She asked gently, and stepped back from Markus.
Kyrai finally padded out, and barked, "I-I don't know, she never came back from hunting."
Kitash stared down at the pup for a long while, and sighed, she looked at Lillian asked softly, "The moon-eyes, how hurt is he? Can he walk?"
"A lot, you did a number on him." Aris answered quickly, Lillian noticed Erik had an odd look on his face.
Kitash turned to a black she-wolf, and barked, "Acaira..."
Acaira stood up, and barked, "Yes, Kitash." She hurried off to where Lucan was.
Kitash turned back to Aris, and murmured in a strained voice, "We're sorry about the little spat, she'd be dead if it wasn't for your pack-mates..."
Aris growled, "No problem." He looked down at Kitash.
Kitash growled darkly, "The storm is only going to get worse, where is your pack headed daemon wolf?" She asked.
"The Mountain of Fates." Aris growled, and some of the wolves gasped, and soon started whispering amongst themselves.
"Why?!" A wolf called from among the group.
"It's personal!" Lillian snapped back.
"No one has travelled to that mountain and lived to tell the tale! No one!" An older wolf pointed out.
Kitash silenced them, and growled, "What they do is their business! If they are travelling there, we can only wish them luck," she turned to Aris, and murmured, "The path to the mountain is currently blocked, closest path is in Nixsan..." She faltered, and murmured, "Actually, we'd like to ask for your help."
Aris relaxed, and asked cautiously, "How can we help?"
"A... Well, we were chased out of the north, by a huge pack of daemon wolves, and we really need help. After seeing the way you fight, if you could help us, we could get our old home back." Kitash murmured, her deep amber eyes glittered from the chance of hope.
Aris looked at Lillian, and she shrugged. Aris asked curiously, "Who's your leader."
Kitash answered, "He's back at our temporary camp, but we should wait for moon-eyes."
As soon as she said that, Acaira was leading Lucan to them, Lillian noted he was still shaky, but none worse for the wear.
Kitash nodded, and barked, "We will take you to our camp then, to meet our alpha."
As they followed, the storm had finally calmed down. Kitash took the lead, and they finally entered a small clearing with some smaller trees, where wolves were talking in hushed whispers.
Kitash had lead Aris to the alpha's den. Aris turned to the others, and muttered, "I'll be right back." He then disappeared with Kitash, and left them alone in an unfamiliar place.
Lillian, Markus, Lucan, and Erik sat in a group, and watched the other wolves, who seemed curious of them. Some young pups eyed them mischievously, and often snipped at them, before being told to stop by a beta, who padded away soon after.
Soon, Kitash and Aris came out, followed by a huge snowy white wolf with sharp blue eyes, who glared down at them with curious eyes. He asked, "I am Meteor, and you are?"
Aris introduced them, and bowed his head a little bit. He eyed his friends, who bowed a bit also. Meteor sniffed the air, and asked curiously, "You smell of human, run into some?"
Markus muttered, "You could say that..." He quickly shut his mouth when Lillian stepped on his tail.
"No, it's okay, young one. I have no need to know your trials." Meteor barked quickly, "I've gained word that you are willing to help us back to the land of ice and snow?" He mused, and looked at Aris, who nodded.
Meteor blinked, then looked at Lucan, he narrowed his eyes, "Moon-eyes, where do you come from?" He asked in a growl.
Lucan didn't answer immediately, and answered coolly, "The Snow Kingdom."
Some of the wolves gasped, and Meteor looked shocked, "But, wolves born in the inner kingdom are controlled by humans." He muttered, and then looked at Lucan more closely.
"I have yet to see another wolf with moon-eyes. I once saw a human with the same eyes as yours, back when I was young and weak." Meteor growled.
Lucan said nothing, but his eyes flashed.
Meteor shook his head, and then howled to his pack, who listened intently, "These are our guests, I will not have any disrespect shown towards them during their stay." He eyed the pups who snipped them earlier, and they bowed their heads low.
Aris bowed to Meteor, and murmured, "Thank you for the hospitality."
Meteor bowed back. Lillian thought darkly, We've got him fooled... He can smell the human scent on us, but he disregards it as us running into some. She watched as wolves went about their usual business, and Markus asked Aris under his breath, "So... Are we helping them?"
Aris looked at Markus, his gaze flat, "Yeah, it's not like we have any choice, Nixsan is a couple days away from the mountain, so we might as well." He replied calmly.
Lucan was silent, and Lillian asked carefully, "Do you know Meteor?"
Lucan blinked, and looked at her, "I feel like I should, but I don't." He answered flatly, he stood up, and shook out his fur, then walked away. Lillian only watched, and thought, There's something about him I just can't place...
Aris looked back at the rest of them, and growled, "Do what you want, but don't get too close, we're humans, we don't want friendships broken."
Lillian agreed silently, she sighed, and thought, I need to take a walk, I'll have to go at night though, the others will just follow me, I want to be alone.
She looked at Markus, who was surrounded by Kyrai and her friends, one of the smaller pups asked excitedly, "How big was the tree?!"
"Really big!" Markus laughed.
Kyrai nodded, "Yeah! It was huge, we could fit a whole wolf pack and more into that tree!" She added.
There were gasps of amazement, and the pups bombarded them with more questions, Lillian sat by, and stared up at the moon, she thought darkly, We're walking right into a wolf packs war... Is this really a good idea?
She looked at Erik, who seemed relaxed, Lillian looked at the bushes, and planned her midnight walk.
The night rose quickly, and the wolves were all settling down and falling asleep. Lillian picked a spot, and waited until everyone had fallen asleep. She nodded off once or twice, when she saw the moon high in the sky, she stood up and shook out her fur.
Lillian padded quickly out of camp, and rushed away into the forest, she stopped by a stream, and took a drink. Lillian soon felt sleepy, and took shelter under a tree, but not before feeling a pang in her stomach.
Why... Why do I all of a sudden feel so lonely? Lillian thought sadly, as the night went on.
Fear and loneliness
They both run the same path
The path that gives you a feeling of helplessness
The path where you're never sure where to go.
Lillian woke up, the dawn shedding light into the forest in patches, she crawled out of the bush. I need to move before they realise I went out.
Lillian stopped by the stream, and sighed, she soon crossed it, and looked back, then continued into the dark forest. As she walked, she looked at the trees nervously, they casted long, dark shadows across her path.
She jumped when she ran into a tree, and she sighed, Lillian flicked her ears when she heard an owl in the distance, but it only made the forest even more menacing, she flinched when there was a low growl around her.
Lillian froze, she stared as two ice blue eyes appeared in the bushes, and they shined in curiousity. She backed away slowly, she turned, and ran away from the blue eyes. Lillian didn't look back, she could tell the thing was still following her with all the noisy paw-steps behind her.
She flinched when she slipped down the hill, and almost fell over the alcove, she dug her claws into the edge, and stared as the huge thing walked out of the bushes; engulfed in shadows, its eyes were blue chips of ice.
Lillian flicked her tail nervously, the thing padded forward, and she realised that it was a wolf. It crouched low to the ground, and made it's way to her, and it asked jokingly, "How's it hanging?"
"Markus!" She sighed in relief, "Can you help me up? I slipped."
Markus looked at her, then nodded, she felt teeth grab her scruff, and she got pulled up, he asked, "Are you all right?"
Lillian blinked and nodded, "I just needed to take a walk, I was worried we were going to get caught up in a war, so I needed some time alone to think." She explained.
Markus pointed out, "It's the only realistic way that we can get to the mountain, Nixsan's mountain range has a perfectly straight path, right to the Mountain of Fates, if we get caught up in this little squabble between the Dire Wolves and Kyrai's pack, maybe we can solve it diplomatically."
Lillian stood up, and sighed, "I guess so."
"Come on, let's go back." Markus said calmly, and lead her back through the forest, which didn't seem as scary with a friend.
As they walked, Lillian sniffed the air, the smell of wolves overlapped here and there, but the same rusty smell was also in the air, she murmured, "Markus, something's up, don't you smell that?"
Markus stared ahead, and they hurried towards the smell. They crashed into the camp, and froze at what they saw, blood splattered the grassy clearing, wolves were fighting to stay conscious, while others hid in the shadows in shock.
She looked around for her friends first, and spotted Lucan, who was hiding in the shadows, he seemed beat up a bit, and he murmured, "I haven't been that lucky when it's come to wolf attacks."
Lillian sighed, and asked, "Are you all right?"
He nodded, and flicked his tail, "Dire wolves attacked this time." He explained. She looked around the clearing again.
Lillian asked, "Can you get somewhere else?"
Lucan blinked, and said, "You'll have to give me some time."
Lillian nodded, and said softly, "Take your time." She jumped when Markus ran up to her, she asked, "Find Aris and Erik?"
Markus nodded, "I found Aris, but Erik was no where to be found." He answered.
Lillian followed him to Aris, he was with Kitash, he looked a bit beat up as well, but all right. Lillian asked, "Where's Erik?
Aris looked up at her, and he said coolly, "I have no idea, next moment he was behind me, the other he was gone."
Lillian nodded, and turned to Markus, "Is it possible that Erik got 'wolf'-napped by the dire wolves?" She asked curiously.
Aris eyes narrowed, and he said quietly, "It might, but the thing about Erik is-" He was interrupted by a shocked Kitash.
Lillian noticed her in a corner, she was shaking all over, and she growled dangerously, "Daemon wolves... They did this, they need to pay!" Her tail flicked dangerously.
Markus asked quickly, "Are the pups all right!?"
Kitash glowered at him, "I do not know." She answered. Markus nodded, and went to find the pups. Lillian looked around for the wolf named Acaira. She saw her sheltering in another corner, Lillian walked up to her.
"Aca-Acaira?" Lillian asked nervously, Acaira looked up, and Lillian asked, "You will be able to heal everyone... Right?"
"I can try, but you can't always save them all." Acaira replied.
Lillian understood, Acaira can try her best, but like she said, you can't save them all. She thought sadly. She turned to look at the mountain, and she sighed.
Meteor padded out of his den, and asked darkly, "Now you see what deamon wolves are capable of?"
Lillian nodded, then turned back to the mountain thoughtfully, Markus padded up to her, and asked curiously, "What are you thinking about?"
"Markus, do you know anybody who ever tried fighting fate?" Lillian asked curiously, Markus stared at her in confusion.
Lillian and a group of other ready to fight wolves were grouped up tightly in a bush, and one of them growled, "This is a great idea, hiding in a bush."
"Sh! You'll give us away!" One snapped.
Lillian growled, "Shut it, I can't hear myself think."
The wolves went quiet at that, they all had followed the dire wolves scent, but she could not scent Erik, which worried her. Lillian gave the signal to move, conscious of every wolf behind her copying her every move. Soon, they caught the stronger scent of dire woves, along with the scent of rust.
They tripped into the clearing, and there was no dire wolevs in sight. Erik was there though, he looked perfectly fine. He turned, and asked curiously, "Everyone's all right then?" He walked towards them, and said calmly, "The dire wolves aren't coming back any time soon."
Lillian's jaw dropped, There is no way that's possible? How did Erik beat all of them back? She thought in amazement.
Erik noticed her reaction, and pointed out, "Dire wolves are really no different from normal wolves, they're just bigger." He padded past them, back to the camp.
Lillian stammered, "N-No different?!" She stared at Erik in amazement as he walked away, I don't believe it! He doesn't even seem fazed by the blood! He's always so quiet! I never knew he was capable of taking down dire wolves of all things singlehandedly. She thought in surprise.
She just flopped an ear, Markus pushed past her, and laughed, "Sorry Lillian, we would have warned you sooner! Erik is really scary when he's mad!" He padded after Erik, and Lillian followed closely.
The patrol continued, as they walked by the steam, Lillian looked at the other side nervously, and soon, she looked at the other wolves, and murmured, "You guys go on ahead, help Acaira with the herbs."
The wolves nodded, but Erik and Markus stared at her curiously. Lillian murmured, "Think the hunters are still tracking us?
Erik and Markus looked at each-other, and shrugged. Markus shook his head, "Not likely, we're pretty far on the border..." He pointed out.
Lillian blinked, and nodded, "Of course, you're right." They continued towards the camp, Lillian followed, eyeing the forest. As they entered the camp again, the wolves seemed to be in stronger spirits, even talking jokingly about the attack. The older pups were exaggerating the attack to younger ones, who were gasping in horror and excitement.
Markus said in amusement, "Wow! It's cheerful now!" Lillian was about to agree, but Markus let out a gasp of shock. Lillian jumped back when Kyrai began to tug on his tail. "He-Hey! Let go!" He gasped, and shook his tail out of her grasp.
However, another pup began his attack from behind, and when Markus turned to see his attacker, he ran away with a laugh. Kyrai saw her chance to bite down on his tail again. "Ow! That hurts you know!" He barked, and turned to face her.
"It's supposed to!" Kyrai laughed, and she ducked under him.
Markus jumped away from the puppies, and said quickly, "Okay, I like fighting rough and all, but-Ow! Not the tail!" He turned around to his attacker, who was still tugging his tail.
Kyrai and her friends laughed, and launched a new attack. Kyrai launcher herself at Markus's face, while two of the puppies pulled on his tail, "H-Hey! Unfair advantage! It's five against one!" Markus laughed.
Kyrai commented, "But you're bigger than us."
Markus shook them off, and rolled his eyes, and just as they were about to launch another attack, he backed up, and caused the puppies to crash into eachother.
"Hey! Now that's unfair!" Kyrai yelled playfully.
Markus said innocently, "All I did was back up."
Lillian sat down, and pointed out, "It's unfair to doge a puppy, they want to win after all."
Markus glared at her, and faced the puppies again, who were making puppy eyes at him. He sighed, and laid down in defeat, the puppies got excited looks on their faces. Kyrai launched her attack first, going for his ear and tugging it.
"Ow! I need that you know!" Markus growled plafully, and flattened his ears, Lillian let the puppies fight Markus, and went to Aris, who was watching with amused eyes.
"He actually gave up?" Aris asked.
"It's not like he was going to win against them either way." Lillian laughed.
She turned to see Erik telling a story to some younger pups, who were listening intently, and with wide, awed eyes. She sniffed, and turned back to Aris. Lillian jumped when Markus walked up to them, with Kyrai and her friends following him, he muttered in a strained voice, "Can you help me... Please?"
He had sat down too, and they copied him. Lillian suddenly got an idea, and asked, "How about we go fishing?"
They all nodded in excitement, and Markus leaned forward, "What are you planning?" He asked dangerously.
"You'll see..." She whispered, then said, "Okay! Let's go, and follow closely!" Lillian padded away, and heard Markus and the puppies begin to follow her.
As they padded towards the river, she scented the air for more dire wolves, then turned to the puppies. "Now, puppies, I understand you like playing?" She asked quietly. They all nodded, but Markus seemed interested in something across the river, she whispered, "I'm going to teach you how to annoy a full grown wolf."
Lillian padded behind Markus, the puppies watched closely. She then smashed into him, and he gasped when he landed in the cold water. Lillian blinked when he didn't react, he was still staring at the other side. The puppies sniffed the air, and began whimpering.
"What-" Lillian mused, and looked at Markus, they both jumped when a hunter stumbled out of the bushes, bow at the ready, his eyes full of green fire.
"F-Father?!" She gasped in shock. Lillian backed up when he readied his bow, and before Markus could do anything, he let the arrow fly, and narrowly missed Kyrai. Kyrai cried in horror, and ran away with her friends back to camp. Markus had already leaped out of the river, but not on Lillian's side. He jumped on Lillian's father, pinning him down, and growled in his face.
"Markus! No!" Lillian called, horrified.
Markus kept him down, "I know he's after you, Lily! Go, I'll be fine!" He called back.
Lillian could only watch as her father kicked Markus off, causing Markus to whimper in pain. She finally took the chance to run, and howled, "Hunter! Hunter!"
The wolves looked up as she reached camp, Kyrai asked fearfully, "Where's Markus?"
"It doesn't matter! He's going to be fine! Run!" Lillian yowled, Meteor looked horrified.
Meteor growled, "No one can fight! We have to move now!"
Lillian turned to face Meteor, "Get the pack to the entrance of the Snow Kingdom! I need to do something." She ordered, Meteor nodded. She ran back into the forest, no longer afraid of her father.
Lillian ran into him, and snarled in his face. She stared into the eyes that were the same as hers, the deep, moss green. They glared at each-other, her father had thrown his bow in shock, he no longer had the advantage.
"Kill me wolf! Just like you killed my daughter!" He spat angrily. Lillian huffed, then howled, she leaped off him, and ran back into the forest to where the river was. Lillian looked back to see if he would follow her, but he hesitated.
She saw Markus trying to stand up, she crossed the river, and asked, "Are you all right?"
"Ow... Yeah, I think I'll be fine, hard to stand up though..." Markus muttered, and looked back at the other side.
Lillian shook her head, and turned to the other side as well, and waited for her father, Markus asked, "What are you doing?"
She soon saw her father crash through the bushes, he had grabbed the bow, but before he could even take aim, Lillian jumped across the river, and grabbed the bow from his hands, and started to jump back towards the other side.
As he was readying a dagger, Lillian turned around, and felt something change, hands soon gripped the bow, and a voice whispered in her head, One time, Lillian, make the choice.
Lillian took aim, and fired. The arrow hit the tree behind her father, when she landed on the other side of the bank, the hands returned to being paws, and she stared back at her father in shock, who stared at her in horror.
Markus looked at her in amazement, and her father called in horror, "Lillian! What happened to you?"
Lillian only stared at him, and went to help Markus, her father was on his knees, his eyes wide from the shock of finding out his daughter was a wolf, Lillian looked away, and thought, I... I can never face my father again...
As they walked, Markus asked, "How did you change back?"
"I-I don't know... I didn't really think about it at the time." Lillian admitted.
Markus sighed, "Well, thank you, anyways."
"It's no problem, you're my friend, I-" She stopped herself, and thought quickly, I had the chance to shoot him, the dire wolf said 'You will understand'. I turned back that moment because I was protecting someone I care about.
Markus commented, "Looks like you figured out why you changed back."
"You could say that." Lillian replied, and flicked her ear.
"Well, leave it for a surprise later, I can't exactly jump for joy, or anything that involves jumping." Markus laughed.
Lillian rolled her eyes, and they kept walking. Lillian sensed Aris, who was still waiting for them, Aris asked, "What happened? The rest of the wolves are at the border of Nixsan already."
Markus commented, "Well, we better catch up," he shook his paw, and flopped his ears, "Although, that might take a day or two with this pulled paw." He murmured.
Aris rolled his eyes, and stepped on Markus's paw, "Eh?!" Markus yelped, and slammed his paw into the ground.
"Better?" Aris asked, then walked away.
Markus shook his paw, and his ears perked, "Yeah!" He said, and padded after Aris, while Lillian followed closely.
Soon, they caught up to the pack, Lillian sniffed the air, and thought darkly, This is the season where hunters are most active...
Lillian called to Kitash, "Don't you smell them?"
Kitash smelled the air, "Yeah, I smell them, a few hours away by the strength of them, if we can get to the mountain range before nightfall, we'll have a free run, they would dare enter the Snow Kingdom." She said in a flat tone.
Lillian sniffed, unsure, she followed the alpha anyways. Markus pointed out, "If you're worried about the hunters, they're not allowed to hunt over the border, she's right." He padded forward.
As the pack had to climb the rocky path one at a time, it took an hour or so to urge the pups forward, only careful convincing from Markus made them go up. Lillian started to get nervous, the human scent getting closer. Lillian perked her ears, half the pack was already over the rocks.
Aris went next, and she was ready to go, the hunters had caught up, she looked back at them, and narrowed her eyes. Some of the pack was watching.
"Wow, a whole pack..." One of the younger hunters asked excitedly, the older one leaned over and whispered something, and the younger one nodded.
"Think the Demon Wolf of the West needs new hunting dogs?" One of them whispered with a laugh.
Lillian looked at Aris, and asked in a growl, "What do I do?!"
Aris seemed shocked, he was staring at the hunters angrily, but held back. Lillian rolled her eyes and said, "You guys go, I'll catch up, I need to buy the pack some time!"
Aris nodded, but Markus asked, "What about you?! They're not here to kill, they're here to take you to Ishari."
Before Lillian could reply, a hunter walked up to her with a rope and muzzle, she stared at the hunter, and thought in disbelief, Really? She padded forward, and crouched dangerously low.
"Don't..." Markus faltered, but it was too late as the hunter jumped towards her. Lillian threw him off easily, but wasn't going to hurt any of them. Two more hunters came up and flanked her, they managed to tie her up, but they didn't have much leverage as she pulled on the rope.
Lilliain looked at Markus, who stared at her in horror, she called, "Aris! Make sure Markus and Lucan don't do anything stupid! I will catch up with you!"
Aris hesitated, but nodded, he pushed Markus, and they both ran, Markus hesitated though. He finally turned away, and followed Aris. Soon, all the hunters had overwhelmed her, and started to drag her away from her friends.
Lillian thought in horror, Why... What? What was I thinking!?
This... Was the worst idea ever...
What was I even thinking.
Lillian tugged at her rope in desperation, she was tied to a post at the hunters camp, and they often commented on her.
"Spirited one, isn't she?" One of the hunters observed as she snapped at him. They had taken the muzzle off so she could eat, but they kept her tied up, This is like living at the castle again! She thought darkly.
The younger one looked at her, and murmured, "I don't know, guys. the two male wolves that were watching her might come back for her. You know how wolves work, and one was a dire wolf."
"Ah, don't worry about it, you saw how they turned and walked away, she must have been an omega." One of the older hunters dismissed the younger hunters worry. He walked away, Lillian began pulling at her rope again, and barked at the hunters.
An older hunter looked up at her while he was sharpening his knife with a rock, "It's best to quiet down." He growled.
The younger one continued, "What if one of the wolves was a partner? Wolves are mates for life!"
Hah... What?! Lillian thought in horror, and shivered, I don't feel that way for either Aris or Markus, they're just friends!
"I honestly don't care, we need this hunting dog, the king of Ishari will be pleased." The older one muttered, and walked back to the tent.
Lillian finally gave up, and sat down. She looked up at the sky, where the stars twinkled through the tree line, she started to nod off, but jumped when the younger hunter came up to her, with a knife in hand.
Lillian snarled, she narrowed her eyes when he hissed, "Sh, I'm letting you go."
Lillian watched as he cut at the rope, she scrambled away, she reached the rocky path again, she climbed up, and continued on. She looked around, and thought quickly, The pack must be farther ahead than I thought...
She looked around, then sighed, she then took a deep breath, then howled. It rang through the mountains, and it soon stopped. Lillian blinked, and listened, but no answer came. She continued, and then heard a howl, but it sounded young, like a cry for help.
Lillian broke into a run, and slipped down some soft grass, she looked around quickly, and heard the howl once again. Lillian called, "Kyrai! Is that you?"
Kyrai came running towards her, and hid under her in fear, "They... They attacked!" She stammered, and flicked her tail.
"Who? What?!" Lillian asked quickly.
"Th-The dire wolves! They're bigger and meaner! Everyone... They..." Kyrai started to whimper.
Lillian sighed, "Sh, it's okay, lead me to everyone." She muttered softly, and followed her when she ran out from under her. Lillian soon smelled the rusty scent, and braced herself.
They entered a clearing, blood was splattered all over, but no sign of wolves. Kyrai led her to the edge of the cliff, and looked down, "The dire wolves chased my pack down the ravine using the narrow path." She barked.
"Where's my pack?" Lillian asked carefully.
Kyrai looked at her, "I don't know of your alpha and the young one, and last time I saw Markus and the moon-eyes, they got some good hits." She added.
Kyrai led her to another clearing, and Lillian spotted, Markus and Lucan sheltering behind a couple of trees and bushes, Markus called, "Nice of you to catch up!"
Lillian hurried over to them, and asked quickly, "Are you guys all right?"
"Oh! We're fine! Just hanging out under here!" Markus laughed, and shook out his fur, then indicated to the bushes and trees around them.
Lucan didn't look impressed, but said nothing at the risk of tiring each-other out. Lillian barked, "Okay, stay here," she hesitated, then added to Kyrai, "Kyrai, watch these two, make sure they don't do anything stupid." She ran down the narrow path, while Kyrai sat in front of them.
Lillian could hear the whimper and barks of the battle, I'm running into battle without even knowing how to fight, great. She thought in frustration, and gasped when she slipped off the path, she landed on the wolf that was grappling Meteor, Meteor looked down at her, and barked, "Thank you, Lillian."
He leaped back into battle, and the wolf beneath her blinked, he growled, and she jumped off him, and called, "Sorry!"
Meteor and Kitash managed to fight most of the dire wolves back, and Kitash called, "They're retreating!"
Lillian watched as the dire wolves ran away, Lillian heard Markus, "Nice landing!" Markus jumped down the path, with Kyrai and Lucan behind him.
Lillian grunted, "Thanks."
Acaira, who also had some scratches on her, looked at all the wolves, "You will have to wait! I need to look for herbs around here." She murmured, then disappeared into the bushes.
Markus sat down, and asked, "Will they give up?"
Aris who padded around Meteor, he wasn't as bad as Markus or Lucan, but still seemed shaken up, Erik seemed better than all of them though, Aris replied, "They won't give up until they know they're beaten."
"Yeah," Lucan growled sarcastically, "Who knows when that'll happen." He added, and pushed past Lillian.
Lillian wanted to snap at Lucan, but got held back by Erik, who said quickly, "Just leave it." Lillian shook her head, and flicked her tail, What's gotten into Lucan? She wondered, He usually isn't that snappy... She turned to Markus, who shrugged.
"Maybe he's in shock?" He mused.
Aris murmured, "That's possible, he is used to the safety of castle walls, this is new to him." Lillian stared at Aris, and silently agreed, I'm starting to miss the stone walls, my father was never the war type, he has tried to keep peace since the battle of Orskola, but ironically enough, I've been thrown into a war. She thought grimly.
Lillian looked at Meteor, and sighed, This isn't that much different, except for the fact it's wolves, is peace really no longer an option? She wondered, and jumped when Meteor padded up to her, and asked, "What are you thinking?"
Lillian stared at him, and thought grimly, Up until now, peace hadn't even crossed my mind, just the instinctive nature to survive, wolves survive, they very rarely make peace, this is going to be difficult.
"Meteor, have you ever given thought to making peace with the daemon wolves?" Lillian asked cautiously.
Meteor got a weirded out look on his face, and growled, "Peace? Wolves, especially daemon wolves, are not here for peace, we learn to fight and survive, and that's how we settle our battles." He snarled.
"But they couldn't have just went to take your territory without reason! They must have a reason!" Lillian barked, and didn't back down.
"Daemon wolves have no reason, they just take!" Meteor growled in his face.
Lillian flinched, but Markus padded up, and asked, "Hey! What's going on? We don't need more fighting." He pointed out.
Meteor growled, Lillian braced herself for a fight, but Meteor grunted, "Lily is thinking that peace will work with the daemon wolves."
Markus tipped his head, and asked, "Maybe it will, ever thought of trying it?"
Meteor looked like he was about to say something, but the alpha female, Kitash, howled, "Meteor! Come take a look!"
Meteor backed away from Markus, and headed to Kitash, while Markus turned to Lillian, "Peace?" He asked curiously.
Lillian nodded, "They must have a reason to be there... They're not heartless you know, they're wolves, just bigger." She barked.
Kitash growled, "Lily, you should see this too..."
Lillian looked up, and padded to where Kitash was, and Kitash moved to let her see. Some dire wolves were hiding under the trees, shielding their young from the mountains wind, and Lillian muttered, "I was right..."
Meteor growled, "They shouldn't be in this land."
Lillian argued, "But they're in the same situation we're all in!"
Kitash muttered quietly, "Fates guide us through this mess..." She was staring down at a pup, looking around for it's mother, but Lillian knew that the pup would probably never find her, but a wolf came out and took the pup away from the cold, and into a small den.
She looked at Lucan, and asked, "Are we in Nixsan?"
Lucan looked around, sniffed the air, and he growled darkly, "We're on it's border, you can tell by the cold, it's a lot colder inside the border."
Lillian looked at Meteor, "We have to try peace." She growled, and fluffed herself out.
Meteor looked like he was about to say something, but was interrupted by Kitash, "We have nothing left to lose Meteor. All our wolves are hurt, it's time to make peace with this part of the daemon wolf pack, and who knows, maybe we'll get lucky."
Lillian stifled an eye-roll, Meteor was silent, and he finally growled, "Fine, I will try, but if peace does not work, then we fight."
Kitash bowed, backing away, and Meteor growled, "Lily, since you know a bit about peace, I want you to take Acaira, and try and make peace with the... Wolves."
Lillian nodded, and backed away also, and looked around for Acaira. She finally saw her, she finished fixing a wolf, and Acaira asked, "Yes, Lily?"
"Meteor has asked me to find you... We're going to make peace with the daemon wolves." Lillian bowed.
"You mean dire wolf." Acaira muttered.
"Wh-What?" Lily stammered, and stared at her.
Acaira looked at her, and her muzzle twitched, "Don't think I cannot see your true form, Lily, I know what you are, and don't the hunters call them dire wolves, so it sounds better to you?" She barked calmly.
"Well, fine, I was human, but now I'm not, I was changed, and it's going to stay this way until I can get to that mountain." She growled, indicating to the Mountain of Fates.
Acaira growled back, "The Fates work in funny ways, you might get what you want, but at a price, and that price might be something you're not willing to pay," she stood up, and barked, "Lead the way, Lillian."
As Lillian and Acaira climbed down to the dire wolves, Lillian watched as they glared at her, bristling out their fur in a threatening way. Acaira whispered, "Even if they did fight, we're not that injured... They know they wouldn't win."
As they jumped down, the dire wolves kept their posture, but moved out of their way, and watched them carefully.
Lillian padded up to one, and asked, "We wish to talk, where is your alpha?"
The wolf growled, and indicated to a bush, where two orbs of glowing green eyes were watching them. As they padded up to the bush, he growled, "Don't come any closer wolves."
Lillian stopped, and Acaira stood beside her, and Lillian barked, "We only wish to talk, not to fight."
"How can I trust you?" He growled, and peeked his head out, while the other wolves were circling them.
Lillian looked around, and growled, "You're just going to have to take our word for it, besides, we are also injured, and we are the ones intruding this time."
He finally padded out, and stood at his full height, he stared down at them. Lillian barked, "All we want is peace! Ice pack wishes to return to their home in the mountains!"
"This is our home too, we were born here, just like Ice pack was." The leader growled.
Lillian thought, I knew it, this is their home as well, not just Ice packs...
"What about sharing territory?" Lillian asked, "What about becoming one pack and making yourselves stronger?"
"It is often balanced to have separate packs." The leader pointed out.
Lillian tipped her head, "But in that sense, aren't you all Ice pack anyways, if you were born in this land." She asked curiously.
He sighed, and murmured, "I guess you have a point, but we chose a different way of life. Meteor, the current leader, is ambitious, and wants to own all of the Snow Kingdom, along with it's smaller packs, we just want to live alone, without any disruptions to our way of life." He barked, a bit more calmly.
"What if I can convince Meteor to leave you alone, and to stay within Ice packs own territories?" Lillian asked.
His ears perked up, and he narrowed his eyes, "What... Is your name?" He asked quietly.
Lillian blinked, and barked, "Lillian."
He blinked, and Lillian noticed something flash in his eyes, he murmured, "My name is Rinshaw, and I will congratulate you if you're able to convince Meteor, but don't be surprised if it doesn't go your way."
Lillian nodded, and backed away. She returned to the narrow path, with Acaira following her. They climbed back up the hill, and Meteor met them on the top, and he asked, "How did it go?"
"The leader just wants to be left alone, he seems to think your pack wants to own the whole of the Snow Kingdom." Lillian reported.
Meteor blinked, and barked, "It already does, Ice pack is the largest pack, but if that is all he wants," he turned to the wolves that were listening in, "Peace it is."
Some of the wolves whispered, while others looked relieved, even Kitash seemed glad that it worked, Meteor, however, didn't seem impressed.
Lillian padded up to Kitash, and muttered, "Meteor doesn't seem happy that peace worked."
Kitash looked at her, and barked, "It's strange, he's been acting different, since we were chased out..." She faltered, then flicked her tail, and addressed the rest of the wolves, "We move out now! While the daemon wolves have accepted peace." Lillian watched as some of them stood up, and headed towards where Rinshaw's pack was.
Kitash followed them, and nodded to Lillian. Lillian jumped when Aris padded up to her, she asked hesitantly, "So this is it? We can continue?"
Aris seemed hesitant, then growled, "This was only one pack, what they want from us is help chasing the dire wolves out."
"What happens if we don't?" Lillian asked.
Aris looked down at her, and said flatly, "The Fates aren't in a funny mood anymore."
Lillian shivered, and Markus padded up to them, "Well, no use worrying about it now, if it doesn't, it doesn't, we really have no choice." He pointed out, and Aris nodded in silent agreement.
Lillian barked, "I guess that's true, so we keep going with them?"
Aris nodded, and stood up. He flicked his tail, they all followed him towards the pack, as they walked past the dire wolves, Lillian caught the eye of Rinshaw, who seemed to smile, and he flicked his tail, as they followed Meteor, she swore he whispered, "Good luck, Lily."
A couple days later, after trekking through the snow, they finally stopped at an entrence into the mountains. Lillian noticed a sign, and padded up to it, it read, The Kingdom of Nixsan. Lucan padded up, and sighed, he walked away, and she followed him.
Why did he leave in the first place? Lillian wondered as Lucan's gaze darkened with each step they took into the Kingdom of Nixsan.
There really is
No place like home
The pack walked the path, the snow was falling steadily. Lillian looked around at the mountains towering around them, she asked Lucan under her breath, "So, what do you call this path?"
Lucan blinked, and looked at her, "The Path of Echoes." He answered.
Lillian blinked, and asked, "Uh, why is it called that?"
They both jumped when Kyrai bounded up to them, her tail high in the air, "It's it obvious? Because it echoes!" She howled loudly, "Echo!"
Her howl rang through the mountains, and got softer until the echo finally stopped, she looked at Lillian, "That is why they call it the Path of Echoes." She barked playfully.
Lucan continued on, and muttered calmly, "Be careful, you know it's avalanche season."
Kyrai barked, "I will, moon-eyes!" She continued to howl out 'echo', and soon her friends joined in.
Lillian flicked her ears in amusement, and followed Lucan, she turned back when Markus growled, "That's not the best idea, right now! You heard Lucan, it's avalanche season!"
"Oh, come on, Markus, the snow is steady! No problem!" One of the pups laughed, and howled, "Right?"
They all went silent when it didn't echo, Lillian twitched her ears when there was a very soft rumbling, but it soon stopped. The pups went quiet, and looked up at the mountains with wide eyes. Lucan whispered, "They also call it the Path of Falling Snow, because people do that a lot."
Some of the pack had froze, and looked up at the mountains in fear, Meteor growled, "Keep moving, no echoing."
The pups nodded, and they continued forth, with Markus behind them. Lillian stopped when the ground started to slightly shiver, she perked her ears, and looked at the mountains, which were eerily silent, "Lucan..." She whispered.
"Sh, just be careful, we should be fine." Lucan whispered back, and continued forwards, she followed him hesitantly.
Lillian looked back at the wolf pups, they were peeking into the caves, Kyrai tipped her head, and walked into one, Lillian stopped when the ground started shaking, Lucan whispered, "The snow is weak, the winter was too warm."
Lillian watched as Kyrai and the pups walked into the cave, Lillian looked up, and backed up when snow started to fall, Markus realised this too, he called to the pups, "Hey! Get out of there!"
Kyrai popped her head out, and asked, "Why?" She looked up, and gasped.
Lillian turned to run toward them, but Markus got there first, he looked at Lillian, and nodded. Lillian nodded too, Lillian turned back when the pack was starting to panic, Lucan called, "Please, calm down!"
Lillian heard a smash behind her, she looked back, and realised snow had blocked the path, along with the cave Markus and the pups were in. The wolves looked at Lucan, he called, "Some of the caves lead out of the path, and into the deeper territories, we-"
The wolves nodded, and dispersed, Lucan sighed, and rolled his eyes, Lillian growled, "Great! We're all separated, now what do we do?"
Aris and Erik hurried up to them, and Erik pointed out in a hurried tone, "We don't have time, Lily, just pick a cave and get into it!" She nodded, and followed Lucan into a cave, she gasped when teh cave suddenly became dark.
"Lucan, Aris, Erik?!" Lillian called fearfully.
Lucan said calmly, "I'm here, wait until your eyes adjust to the light."
Aris asked, "So, before we move forward, is there anything we need to know about these caves?" Lillian squinted her eyes, and saw Aris and Erik standing in front of her.
"Yeah, don't trust anything you see in these caves." Lucan replied flatly.
Lillian raised an eye-brow, and asked darkly, "What do you mean, don't trust anything you see?"
"These caves hold spirits of the lost dead, and they will take form of anything you're close too." Lucan growled quietly.
Lillian padded towards Lucan, and asked, "What's the reason for that? Why are there spirits here?"
Aris and Erik padded closer to them, Lucan murmured, "It's a really old legend."
"It might help us get out of the caves." Lillian pointed out.
Lucan sighed, "All right, before Nixsan was even created, this land was desolate, and inhabitable, but it was also the only thing separating two kingdoms, they called this barrier The White Wall, these caves were unknown to all but two people."
Lillian flicked her tail when Erik asked in an almost sarcastic tone, "Wait, this is going to be a love story, isn't it?"
Lucan laughed, "I guess you could say that," he continued, "Anyways, these two people met in the caves, and fine, yes they did like each-other a lot, but they were both part of the royal families of the warring kingdoms," He tipped his head, then added, "However, as they continued to meet in secret, the caves became cursed."
"Why?" Lillian asked curiously.
Lucan said, "Well, Nixsi, the girl, knew that if they were found out, her and her love would die, so she paid a price to keep that secret."
Lillian stayed silent, and grew steadily nervous as he went on, "She had to kill someone close to her, for the Fates to eternally curse the cave, however, her lover didn't know. Whoever entered the cave alone, died alone, or disappeared, taken by the cave."
She blinked in surprise, Lucan looked at her, and murmured, "Well, the price was already paid, she lived in the caves alone, she lost her best friend, she lost the one she loved. She then challenged Fate, she asked to bring him back, but you can't bring back the dead, so instead, they changed her."
Lucan hesitated, then continued, "The Fates fought back, of course, so one of them found a loophole to the cave's curse, that you would have to leave with your best friend or lover, seeing as she cursed the cave to be confusing, and to lead you to a fate worse than death."
Lillian stared at him, and he sighed, "That's the story anyways, whether it's true or not, your guess is as good as mine."
"So, assuming the legend is true, we either have to be best friends, or lovey dovey," Lillian mused, and looked at them all, "Sorry guys, I like you all, but not that way." She laughed nervously.
"Then, I guess friends it is," Erik giggled, and then tipped his head, "Oh, how are we supposed to do that? Uh, should we ask each-other how we are, or...?" He mused.
Lillian stared at him, and shook her head, "No, we got to be serious about this," She turned, and sniffed the air, "Let's try this way."
They stuck close together, with Lucan in the lead, but the path was always twisting and turning, or even a dead end. Lillian sighed after smashing her head on another wall, "This is never going to work." She grunted.
Lucan growled, "Shh..."
Lillian eyed him, but stayed silent, she perked her ears, and asked, "What exactly am I listening for?"
She jumped when a light pelted shape appeared from the corner of her eye, which was followed by other smaller shapes, she mused, "Markus?" Lillian padded away from the group, leaving Erik, Aris, and Lucan arguing.
Lucan noticed her wandering off, "Hey, wait! Where are you going!?" He called, she started to chase the shapes, she stopped when she went deeper into the caves. Lillian jumped when there was a crash behind her, and rocks blocked the way out.
Lillian blinked, "The legend must be true..." She murmured, she looked up at the ceiling, "I guess it wasn't Markus, I wish it was though." She padded forward, and stopped when there was a noise above her, she gasped when a furry shape landed on her.
"Hey!" The wolf gasped in surprise,
She blinked, and pushed the wolf off her, "What are you-?" She started to ask, but stopped herself.
Markus stood up, and shook out his fur, he looked up to where he had fallen, and asked, "Kyrai! You still up there?"
"Yep!" Kyrai called down.
Lillian asked curiously, "Are you okay, Markus?"
Markus looked at her, and laughed, "Oh! I was wondering what I landed on, certainly something furry!" He blinked, and added calmly, "Yeah, I'm fine, don't worry about it!"
"Have you seen any spirits?" Lillian asked pointedly.
Markus asked, "No, I haven't? Have you?"
"Well... No." She lied quickly, Markus looked around, then jumped back onto the top layer, he turned back.
He called down to her, "Hey!" Lillian looked up, and he asked, "Are you coming or not?" Lillian nodded, and jumped up after him, she followed the pups and Markus, and thought quietly, At least I'm not alone...
They stopped at a fork in the road, with both paths being engulfed in shadows, he sighed, "Now what?!" He eyed the two paths in annoyance.
Lillian padded up to the fork, and looked down them thoughtfully, "Um, I'm not sure, we could split up, but I don't think that's a good idea." She pointed out.
Markus sighed, "Well, whatever path you pick, I'll follow you." He flicked his tail at her, and she flicked her ears thankfully.
They both jumped when Kyrai barked, "Hey! The walls are glowing!"
Lillian looked up in shock, "What?! How?!" She exclaimed.
Markus laughed, "What does it matter? It's a way out, let's go!" He bounded down the path with the glowing walls, she followed quickly, the pups also followed.
Lillian saw a light at the end of the tunnel, she sighed thankfully, I don't believe it, the legend is true, all of it.
The pups ran out into the snow, and pushed snow towards each-other. Lillian and Markus walked out after the pups, and looked around at the environment. Lillian eyed the pine forests, which were shining in the snow, the snow fell softly in the scattered sunlight, the wind had a gentle breeze that calmed Lillian's nerves.
Markus sighed, "I'm glad we got out."
"What about the others?" Lillian asked, and looked back at the tunnels.
He looked back as well, and murmured, "Well, maybe some of the pack got out, and are waiting ahead of us, maybe we should wait..."
Kyrai and the others continued to have fun in the snow, Lillian turned back to them, and shrugged, "I guess we should wait, I'm sure the pack would wait a bit." She pointed out, Markus nodded, and they stared at the cave entrance.
She jumped back when a shape flew at her from the shadows, Erik jumped over her, and turned back to the cave. Aris jumped out also, with Lucan on his tail. Markus asked, "What's going on?!"
They all jumped when the cave entrance caved in, the pups yelped in terror, and hid behind Markus, who had tipped his head. Lucan was panting, and he barked, "Something came out of no where and attacked us, it was huge, bigger than a dire wolf."
Aris padded up to the entrance, and pointed out, "Well whatever it was, it's trapped now."
Lillian asked, "What about the pack?" She looked up at the mountain, where the pack was lost in its depths.
She heard a howl, "Hey! Is that you guys down there?!" Lillian looked up, and Meteor was on an alcove, Kitash and the rest of the pack was behind him. They skidded down the slope, and he grunted, "That cave is a maze."
Lucan muttered, "It's supposed to be like that."
Meteor ignored Lucan, and padded forward, with his pack following closely. Lillian pulled Kitash aside away from the head, and she asked pointedly, "Why did Meteor ignore Lucan?"
Kitash hesitated, then answered, "It's because Meteor refuses to believe that the legend exists at all, he's scared of it's power, and the power it has over wolves and hunters alike."
Lillian asked, "Why is he scared?"
"Well, because he thinks wolves are above it, not the land itself, as it always has been. He wants to change the way this land works, and he'll do anything to have the land of the Snow Kingdom, even if it means fighting the Fates themselves." Kitash replied, and flicked her tail.
"How can he fight them though? They don't usually intrude." Lillian mused, then thought, Then again, they are powerful beings, they can use their powers.
Kitash stared at Lillian, and muttered, "He thinks by re-taking his home from the dire wolves, the Fates will see this as an act of disrespect, and come to him," she looked down at the snow, and sighed, "That's not it though, the fact that you managed to make peace with the small pack of dire wolves, he missed his chance."
Lillian rolled her eyes, and asked, "How do you fight the Fates? They're immortal." She pointed out.
Kitash nodded, "That's right, but if specific conditions are met, they can be killed, but no one, not even Meteor, is that big a fool to attempt it." She pointed out.
"Why? What would happen?" Lillian asked curiously.
Kitash blinked, and said, "It's an old legend, but apparently, the Fates are there for a very good reason, they can bring down the Day of Darkness if the balance is broken."
"The... Day of Darkness?" Lillian mused.
Kitash nodded, "It's a story all pups hear from the elders, the moon turns blood red, the sun blacks out, neither giving off light, kind of like a solar and lunar eclipse in that regard, but a whole lot more eerie, the sky turns cloudy and dark, and it is that time, that the veil between the two spirit worlds and the waking one is open at it's fullest," She murmured, "At least, that's the legend anyways."
Lillian froze, "Meteor wouldn't attempt it... Would he?" She asked quietly.
Kitash shook her head, "He may not believe it, but he knows better." She pointed out.
Lillian shivered, and barked, "He was in those caves though, doesn't he know that sometimes legends can be based on truth?"
Kitash looked down at her, and murmured, "Ignorance clouds the judgment, he must believe that whatever happens to the Fates, legends can't come to life."
Lillian thought, He's wrong though... Sometimes legends are based on some fact! Someone must have been there the last time that happened.
She jumped when she heard a howl, "We're here! The Snow Kingdom!"
Lillian bounded over the hill, and gasped at what she saw, there was a huge castle in the distance, covered by massive walls, villages surrounded the castle, and on the outskirts were huge pine forests.
Lucan muttered grimly beside her, "Welcome to the snow kingdom of Nixsan."
Lillian could only stare in awe, as the land seemed to sparkle white under the patches that the sun illuminated through the clouds.