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.
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...
the unedited writer: It's a guilty pleasure. The characters are brought to life and you find yourself loving them worrying for them and so on. The plot was serious but at the same time it had a light tone that didn't make you depressed as other drama genres. 5 stars for me
CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...
Christopher Chew: Been a while since reading was this fun. The plot was easy to follow and built at a gradual but good pace. The dynamics between each character were interesting and kept things fresh and exciting, very much so that you would forgive it for not going deeper into the back stories of each character. ...
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 ...
Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...
Dru83: This is perhaps my favorite part of the Olafson story just because it is here that were are introduced to his "gang". The characters are so diverse and complicated that each of them could just about spawn their own story. Eric's buddies are just so captivating and the plot just rolls along. Again...
Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...
ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters. What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gr...