The air was cold, and the night was dark. But it doesn’t matter for the young wolf. What is cold to his thick, coarse fur– what is dark for his eyes that sees better in the shadows?
This is his first night as a Delta Guard. Finally, a part of the pack and not just a litter pup. He runs through the woods, feeling the tree branches snap as he passes them by. Squirrels and rabbits, foxes and deer's, all make way as they sense him near. Is this what freedom feels like? Is this what power is? The wilderness calls and he answers.
And then there was a snap– a twig breaking but it wasn’t from him. The chirping of crickets died down, the croaking of frogs silenced. Even the leaves stopped rustling. As if every creature has suddenly gone into hiding. Which could only mean one thing– a predator is near.
The young wolf stopped. His every sense is awake, watchful, cautious. And then there was a scent. Of something unfamiliar. They were taught since they were very young, the unknown is dangerous– and he might not see it, but he knows, he’s within the presence of something, someone dangerous.
From the corner of his eye he saw something moved. And as he looked he found a squirrel. He felt a relief course through him. It’s his first night, nothing ever happens on the first night.
And then as fast as it went, faster did it come back– that looming, menacing presence. For just ten meters away stood a hooded figure. And it was looking right at him. Dark as the night itself, silent as the wind. He can see nothing of it, other than how its eyes glowed. And then it ran. Not towards him. But somewhere else. Somewhere– the Dragon Gate.
The young wolf sprinted, his body already knowing what that thing was before his mind could process what was happening. How could it not when they’ve been fighting its kind for centuries. It is embedded in their blood. Part of their very being.
He heard screeching and howls, shrieks and bones breaking. And then the quiet that followed sent shivers down his spine. When he finally reached the east where the Dragon Gate stood, all he saw was blood.
The gate is open, the pack gone. There was no sign of the assailant, and no sign of life. The bodies of his friends– his comrades, laid before him. A whimper escaped his throat. This cannot be happening. But this is no time for fear– with his wolf blood boiling, it is time to fight.
Zeeb Volkov arrived a little too late. The East Delta Pack has been wiped out. The Dragon Gate has been opened– the Elder they kept now lost. Not one of his guards remained. Apart from the one he now held in his arms, who has returned to his form as a young man. And even him, has very little life left. Zeeb remembers this kid– what was his name again? Lucas? He was just initiated the night before. And now he laid gasping for air, blood-covered from head to toe.
“Who did this?” He asked. And the young man tried to speak but his throat was shattered and his chest smashed. What a cruel way to die, Zeeb thought. But who could have done this? And how could they have done this?
Zeeb uses pain absorption on Lucas. To help him get through the pain somehow. Maybe just enough, so he can talk. To give them something– a name, a face to look for. “Who did this?” he asked again.
This time, Lucas’ eyes cleared briefly, he tried to talk but only blood came out. He tried again, “I– it– it’s e–eye–eyes”. And then his own darkened once more. Emptied, as death took over.