This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Light filtered through the canopy of trees as two young wolf pups crept through the undergrowth, thorns in pelt and paw, Soturi and Ayza trekked on. They walked with caution to not to even let the slightest crack from the twigs underfoot, or the dead leaves. Prey was scarce, every wolf knew. Every creature knew, it was Winter, The Season Of Ice And Snow. Seasons change like time, you need to wait for the moon to rise, the sun to set, the moon to set, and the sun to rise. It was a routine.
Snap! A branch shook Soturi from his thoughts, he flashed his gaze to Ayza as she did the same.
“What was that?” Ayza whispered, then her eyes flickered, she gasped, “Soturi! What if it was a deer?” Soturi’s tail swished at the recognition of the word ‘deer’, he’d eaten them before but never have he seen a live one. Soturi noticed the uneven in her voice. But before he could say anything else, his friend bolted towards the sound of the branch.
Of course, he had followed her through the heather, but not out of curiosity, out of worry. A deer would know better than to be this deep into the territory of wolves, only something that knew it could fight off a group of full grown Protectors would ramble here.
At last, he caught up to his friend who was now sniffing and crouched at the edge of the growth right in front of where the branch had fallen. Soon enough, a deep throaty scent reached his nose, it stank of scorched, sun-beaten fur. Blood lingered in the air. Soturi peeped through the leaves only for his eyes to meet the scarred back of a Human Savage, he had no fur except for a brown patch on the top of his head. The human held a long stick with stone on the end in a hand, and in the other the carcass of a male deer. The man’s fingers were dirt ridden and fowl, they twisted around the scruff of the animal and weapon tightly.
Ayza scoffed at the filthy animal and fluffed up her tail fur as if saying, ‘What could he do to us? He’s so helpless!’ Soturi’s trembled and fog seeped through the foliage blocking his view of the hunter. They had to leave now. Without their sense of sight, neither of them had a way pinpointing the enemy as well as needed. Ayza and Soturi’s choices were a bit too finite, they were either: run, or hide.
If they chose to hide, then they would have a greater chance of being killed if they were caught but less of a chance of being caught. It would be the other way around if they ran. To both their knowledge, running would be a more sensible decision.
“Ayza,” Soturi glanced at the wolf, “on the count of three we run,” But the she-wolf seemed to pay almost no attention to Soturi. “Ayza!” He growled starting to get aggravated, “Listen to me!”
But this caught the hunter’s attention who was now skinning the poor meal, he looked up from his activity and his eyes darted nervously from side to side. Even behind the scent-thick wall of fog, Soturi sensed his fear. It was like a thin tendril of heat weaving in and out of the thicket, it was quick. The man raised his weapon loomed over his victim.
Ayza noticed his attentiveness and flattened her ears and her body trembled. Soturi could hear the blood roaring in his ears and he turned tail and fled. A human wouldn’t... couldn’t resist a wolf pelt, especially one with the intricate markings Ayza had. At a glance, her pelt would look as if it were embedded in roots, twisted and gnarled over her coat.
As Soturi fled, he realized Ayza’s paw steps weren’t following him as they should. He stopped and listened. Nothing.
“Ayza!” He howled, nothing.
The worry stung his eyes, where was Ayza? Had the human killed her? Just then he heard a screech, it was so sharp and high pitched in fear. “Help! Help! Soturi-” Her voice was cut off, then quick shuffling replaced it.
“No!” Soturi whimpered, “Ayza! I’m coming!” He raced through where his tracks were left. The iciness was sharp on his pads but he still kept his hope up. She’s alive, she has to be alive.
But as Soturi broke through the undergrowth he saw something that made his heart sink. Blood stained the snow and it wasn’t the deer. It was Ayza’s.
He followed her scent on the snow, it wasn’t far when he realized that her scent mingled with a man’s and a deer, it was revolting.
Soturi slowed his pace to a walk and his hope ebbing away. But he didn’t feel sadness, he was just blank. If Ayza was dead, it was his fault, if she wasn’t they would be punished. Especially because he was the prince of the mountains, son of King Ajani and Queen Leeva. No wolf under the rule of the Mountains was allowed in the Gorin Forest. (which is where they were) The old forest belonged to Human Savages after the First War thousands were dead. Light against Dark. Humans had temples that were tall and mighty, they worshiped their god, Adonis. But as they did this, famine grew, sicknesses and plagues. Trees were cut and the Mountain Kingdom was almost no more, but the same was happening in the South. The Southern population moved to the North seeking hospitality but only had death itself facing them in the eye. There was no turning back, the South and the North joined forces, they battled for days on end. During those times a wolf would kill you for stealing food the size of a mouse tail. After the war was fought, the remaining Human Savages were scattered across the Gorin Forest, all their minds are set on is food, food, food. Their memory of Adonis has faded and remains forgotten by his followers. Human Savages are dangerous, they would take our pelts for beauty and warmth, our flesh to eat. What they don’t want from us they leave to the crows.
Another twig cracked and Soturi flipped his head around when he turned he noticed a dark figure sitting himself down in the foliage. When he did he started twisting his hands around a brown figure and a cutting sound echoed from where he was. A knife. He was slicing into the flesh of Ayza, he saw her intricate patterns and her small, fragile frame.
That’s it. All hope of Ayza living was lost, he couldn’t confront the kingdom now. Soturi had to leave, his heart ached as he turned and ran from the man. Ayza’s death was all his fault, he shouldn’t have left her near the original spot they saw the Human Savage... Even if it meant dying in her place.
Soturi bolted through the woods so that the aura of human left him. He didn’t know how long he’d run when finally the sky burst with colors as the sun set. But as the sun set, the temperature set as well.
Ice pricked his nose and every breath stung his throat. He tried to murmur for help but his words were slurred, his breathing was slow and shallow. Finally, he collapsed from exhaustion and drowsiness, where was he? Did he smell bear? I can’t remember anything... Soturi let his eyes droop and his whole body went numb, he couldn’t even feel himself breathing anymore. He lost direction. The only thing was the steady, rhythmic beat of his heart. After what could have been hours... or seconds, Soturi fell into a dark abyss. The light had finally faded.
Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...
ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?
Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...
Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...
Lauren Suzmeyan-Raine: I'm so glad you found a place to post your stories. I was horrified when I saw yours had been taken down, they are definitely the best 'reading' stories I've ever read. And I've made it my business to read every one I can. Well done.Lauren
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...
MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...
Tiffany Thomson: This story is not something I would normally pick up and read but I'm so glad I did, I wasn't able to put it down and my husband was yelling at me at 3am to put it down and go to bed (just waited for him to doze back off before picking it back up) I really hope Natalie brings out another book eit...
Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."