She paused for a moment, raising her snout to the air to observe. She held her tail still and she dug her claws into the earth beneath her enormous paws. For a moment she mentally laughed at herself, I wouldn’t have believed this possible just a year ago. She caught the scent she was looking for and was alert once more, no longer reminiscing on her old life. She snuck her way through the forest listening and smelling every few steps.
Her prey came into view through the bushes around a small pond, seemingly oblivious to her presence just feet away. She paused, tensing her muscles as she readied for the moment she wanted. She was about to pounce when the smell of several other wolves blew in on the wind. She leaped through the bushes, landing beside her friend she had just been ready to pounce on. This was certainly ruining her fun for the day. She couldn’t help but chuff her disapproval for this entire turn of events.
I smelled them too. Her friend, Eliane, said calmly, trying to stay calm for both their sakes. The last thing either of them needed was a fight with what smelled and sounded like half a pack patrol group. She wasn’t sure if they were a rogue pack or an official pack, but she hoped they were in a good mood. Stay close. I don’t recognize any of the scents. All I recognize is the smell of blood. And a lot of it. And Aylin? Please don’t jump in growling again.
Aylin stepped closer, her fur standing on end as she listened through the forest. The smell of blood was mixed in. Someone was hurt. A lot of them were. She tried to ignore the “don’t jump in growling again” remark. So she had jumped in once? Big deal. It wasn’t like it was for no reason! She held back the urge to snap back that the mutt had learned his lesson quickly, but decided to focus on what could turn into a fight instead.
A lone wolf burst through first, followed closely by several more right on his heels. He stood firm amidst the falling trees around him that he had broken. Aylin was sure if she had done that, she would have at least flinched as a tree fell inches from her paws. The pack managed to stop behind him, all ears and eyes were quickly on the two rogue she-wolves they had stumbled upon. Some gave curious sniffs to assess the situation. Some seemed ready to jump if anything even appeared wrong and growled their warnings.
Stand behind me, her friend told her. She whined her displeasure but obeyed, stepping back. As her friend stepped forward, she lowered her head before continuing to a middle ground.
The first wolf that had run into the clearing held his head high as he walked towards her, showing his status without demanding anything. Aylin focused her attention on him. He could definitely be a problem judging on his looks. But the way he held himself without pushing out the typical alpha power move was a welcome surprise.
She watched closely. Quietly. Anxiously. What was he going to do? Their last run in with a pack had cost her friend more than just her left eye. Aylin had obeyed by stepping back, but it was becoming a struggle with her fear eating at her. The tension from the pack was rising, and she worried someone was going to lunge forward at any moment. It was made worse because she had given over dominance to her friend. In doing so, she had become unable to hear their conversations when she wasn’t speaking for their small pack. She could only wait until she was spoken to directly or someone told her what had happened. Unfortunately, Eliane was good at hiding details if she didn’t want Aylin to flip out.
When her friend began wagging her tail, it relieved some of her frustrations, and allowed her to relax some. And when her friend turned and jumped happily over to her, she couldn’t help but wag her tail back. Well it looks like that went well, then?
Aylin! They’re going to let us pass through without any problems but asked us to come rest a night somewhere safe with them at their den. They’ve had some problems with feral packs and don’t want us out near them. We get to take baths!
Aylin yipped her agreement outloud. Ohmygod a bath?! Yay!!!! She said to her friend excitedly. She was definitely sick of river bathing. She shivered at the thought. Cold, sometimes slimy feeling. Definitely not something she enjoyed. That was one of the comforts she missed from her old life the most: showers and baths.
The pack quickly divided into two units. One unit, of those less injured, continued their border check. The second unit led Aylin and her friend to the den. Eliane seemed to be in a very giddy mood again. They tried to stay in the back of the pack but would dart forward a few places in their playing. They would always quickly realize it and dart back to place trying to behave a bit. None in the pack chastised them. Some seemed to yip encouragement at their energy.
They settled when they began to smell other wolves. They could hear a chorus of welcome back howls and soon after heard wolves rushing towards them. Parts of the unit lept from their positions happily answering howls. Aylin and Eliane watched with bittersweet feelings. It was a joyous thing to find your mate. But watching as unmated females they both quietly wished to have their own mates.
As they exited the forest together into view came a large mansion and several other large mansions poking out from the sides. Standing on the steps was a beautiful woman holding a pair of pants and gazing lovingly at the alpha. Her status as the Luna of the pack was obvious. From behind her walked a large copper colored wolf. Seeing werewolves standing next to humans still shocked Aylin. Even a six foot tall man didn’t stand tall enough to climb onto a werewolf’s back. The werewolf would have to lay down for them to climb on. Werewolves, while similar to wild wolves like the timber wolf, were completely different.
Aylin was so lost in comparing everything in this new world to her old world, her mortal life, that she didn’t notice how her friend had frozen her in tracks a few paces back. Realizing she wasn’t beside her anymore, she turned back in a panic. She trotted up to her, whining and pressing against her shoulder with her nose. Getting no response, she followed her gaze to see what was going on. When she saw the copper colored wolf was her focus she realized what was happening. Her friend had found her mate. She stepped back a few paces quietly. Everyone outside seemed to realize what was happening and had gone silent.
No one had expected one of the she-wolves they had found would be the mate to their Beta. With a whine, Eliane jumped forward, rushing to her mate.
Aylin was so distracted she hadn’t noticed the woman walking up to her holding a basket. “We have some clothes and stuff for you. There’s a guest building around back if you want to go clean up. I can show you the way.” With a glance back at her friend, she turned to follow the woman.
Once she had cleaned herself and found clothes that fit, she headed back out to look around. She wandered around aimlessly, just looking at the den grounds. She wasn’t used to being alone anymore. She took a deep breath, frustrated with herself for having become used to company. She paused under a large sycamore tree, watching it dance in the wind. The wind seemed to revitalize her and she took a deep, steadying breath. Whelp, you know what this means, she thought with a smile. Time to get moving again. She had met one other wolf to travel with, and that was Eliane. Aylin had been changed just like Eliane had been. The difference, however, was that she had had a mentor of sorts for the first while. Aylin had not had that privilege. She had been figuring stuff out on her own for about six months before she met Eliane. The thought of going off on her own again put a bad taste in her mouth, and a strong desire to avoid that decision at all costs. Frustrated with her own insecurities and doubts, she pushed the feelings down. Taking a last look at the tree, she turned and continued walking the grounds. She was determined to stay long enough to see through her friend’s mating ceremony, and then she would be on her way. She had no desire to be in a pack.