The wolves of yellow stone have always run strong, many generations of four packs have now been cut to two, two packs, two brave leaders, now face a different challenge, wolves are being hunted, not as prey, not as enemies, but as trophies, for generations the packs have lived in peace away from their one true predator, man, but all that is about to change. Snowmoon- solid white she-wolf with dark blue eyes-Alpha female, has two pups.5 seasons(years) old her mate was killed several moons ago Brackishclaw-dark brown male with black ticking in his fur, deep yellow eyes, beta male, he is mates with Lilyleaf.3 seasons old Rainfeather-hunter,dark gray she-wolf with black ticking in her fur, her eyes are ringed with gray while her face is mostly black,she is mates with Racoontail and has one pup, Troutwing. 3 seasons old Troutwing-,newly made hunter, looks exactly the same as his mother, his father is raccoontail, 14 moons old (1 season and 2 moons) Raccoontail-hunter,jet black male with deep amber colored eyes that change from amber to deep yellow depending on his mood, has a uniqly black and grey ringed tail, which gave him his name (4 seasons old) Lilyleaf-hunter,dark brown she-wolf with black ticking in her fur,light green eyes, she is carrying Brackishclaws pups. 3 seasons and 2 moons old. Sage-pup,Light gray colored she-wolf with darker blue eyes, Snowmoons daughter, 4 moons old. Raven-pup, dusty black colored male with lime-green eyes,Snowmoons son, 4 moons old. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The sun shown brightly overhead as midday made it's way to scene. A herd of white tailed deer grazed lazily in a meadow below. In the middle there stood a large buck, his great antlers so weighted down with points that they had begun to curve and twist. A single lithe shape lay in the tall reeds above the deer, it's snow white pelt reflected the sun brightly but the deer could not see. Their earthy scent filled the creatures nostrils, as the wind drifted lazily toward her. "Good," she thought, "A good hunting day." Glancing around she spied more shapes slowly drifting into place. Slowly the white creature rose to a hunch, her eyes fixed on her target, she burst from the reeds down the slope. Others joined her as she ran, and the deer broke in a panic, the large buck in the lead. The wolves gave chase, the snow white she-wolf at the head, her dark blue eyes fixed on the head deer. Two wolves, identical in steely gray pelt their only difference being their sizes, locked onto a small doe. A gray and a brown wolf chased a small fawn whilst the white wolf trailed the large twisted-antlered buck as he broke from the herd toward the wooded plains. Nearby the two metallic gray wolves took down the doe, but the white wolf sped up her pace. "I've got you now, great one," she thought. The huge buck twisted and turned, dodging trees as they grew thicker. The ivory huntress found it hard to keep up, but finally she was just a leap away from her quarry. She bunched her powerful muscles and bounded, her jaws open, ready to snap shut on the deers flesh. The buck too made a quick jump and the white wolf landed just a few hairs short, she stood panting as the great deer bounded away. Laying her ears back she gave a frustrated snarl, and turned to pad back to the hunters. The rest of the wolves lay in the clear meadow below. As she approached, the large brown male rose to greet her with a wagging tail and a lick on the muzzle. "You were unsuccessful?" he asked the white wolf. She shot him an angry look and bared her teeth in a silent growl, and laid down panting. "Why do you chase him so, Snowmoon?" the brown wolf questioned. "You know of the stories Brackishclaw," Snowmoon answered simply, "The stories. Yes, I know of them," Brackishclaw answered. "But, alpha, look, we were not unsuccessful, Rainfeather and Troutwing brought down a doe, our pack will feed well tonight!" He grinned triumphantly, licking Snowmoon on her head. "This is true Brackishclaw, but you know of the legend of the great buck, a deer like that would feed out pack for a half moon at least. Not just a few meals as this doe will," she said, nodding at the kill the male had been so proud of. Brackishclaw gave a disapproved snort. "You would have us eating crow-meal? By half-moon the meat would be rotten!" "No, dear Brackishclaw," Snowmoon growled rising to her paws, "Not if you hide the body in a fast flowing stream, the water would not stagnate around the carcass and keep it fresh." Turning to the rest of the gathered wolves, she shouted, "Good job to my hunters!, I am proud of you all! we will feed well because of you! Now, let us rally the pack to this meal, and give thanks to the deer who gave her life for us so that we may keep ours!" The hunters, including Brackishclaw, gave out yelps and growls of agreement. Snowmoon rose her muzzle into the sky and belted out a loud, long howl. The others joined in. The great buck may have escaped, but tomorrow was another day. And today, Thunderpack would eat well. Below in a clearing several dens had been dug out of the sides of the banks, in the center two wolf pups growled and yapped energetically in play. "take that, you deer!" the smaller of the pups, a dusty-grey she-wolf growled as she lunged at the second, larger pup, grabbing his scruff with her teeth and halling him onto the dusty ground. The male pup stiffened under his sisters lighter weight, "what's wrong raven?, why have you stopped playing??" the grey she-wolf asked. "Mother's back" he yipped, " I wonder if they've made a kill!" he barked excitedly, both pups sprang up as a white she-wolf loped into the clearing, followed by the rest of the pack, the pups greeted their mother with a series of whines, tucking their ears back and tails beneath their legs, they licked at their mothers muzzle, Snowmoon licked both of her pups in turn, she rolled Raven over with her muzzle and gently roughed him with an open mouth, Sage bounced at her mothers' head, grappling her ear with her fore-paws. "calm, my pups" Snowmoon soothed, and the pups steadied their play, "I have a surprise for you, my little ones, you're going to your first kill with the pack", Sage and raven exchanged excited glances, this was the first time they were to be allowed very far from the dens, up until now, the pack would bring them back fresh meat from the kills and they'd eat it here, now they were going TO the kill as part of the pack! Sage could barely hold back her excitment as their mother led the pack back out into the forest, she started off at a slow trot, the older pack members fanned out behind her, the pups were at the back, " I can't believe we're actually out here! Sage yipped, darting here and there, sniffing at every plant and hole she could find, 'I know!" Raven agreed, his voice was shakey with excitment "I can't wait!" he bounced, pelting after Sage as she sniffed furiously at a rabbit hole. Troutwing slowed his pace near the rear of the pack, 'you two excited?" he asked, both pups nodded joining him "I remember what that is like" he murmured "back when I was first out of the clearing, going to my first kill with the pack, Kestrelfeather and I...-" Troutwing stopped short, his eyes clouded with grief, Kestrelfeather was his sister, she had been killed many moons ago by man who had invaded their territory and killed half the pack, including the pups father,Bearfur, Sage and Raven had not yet been born, so they didn't remember, but Troutwing clearly didn't want to talk about it anymore. The pups followed the pack in silence, watching Troutwing ahead of them, his head and tail drooped, they knew that there was nothing they could say to ease his grieving over his lost sister, Raven looked at Sage, he didn't know what would happen if he ever lost his, Snowmoon halted the pack with a growl, raising her tail, she waited until the pack had filed along beside her, Raven pushed his way inbetween his mother and Brackishclaw, he could see the deer clearly, laying at the edge of the meadow, untouched, the crow-meal eaters clearly had not found the body. Snowmoon gave the signal to move, and the pack loped down the hill into the meadow, glancing at the sky, Snowmoon barked "we must eat our fill quickly", Raven followed his mothers gaxe, above he could see a few buzzards lazily circling high in the sky, he knew from what the pack had taught him and buzzards would bring other predators to an easy meal. Raven tussled for position at the caracuss, he was surprised as he was jockeyed back and forth, he glanced beside him to see that even Sage was having a tough time eating what with being pushed and shoved, Raven tried to ignore the vicious growls and snarls of his pack mates as they ate as fast as they dared. Sage reeled back as Brackishclaw slammed into raccoontail, his great jaws snapped at the black wolfs ear, racoontail retaliated by slashing his teeth across the beta males muzzle, could he do that? obviously, because no wolf looked concerned. so this was what REAL pack life was like beyond the safety of the shltered clearing, where every wolf got on so well?, to Sage, it was both terrifying, but yet, it felt right some how...it was natural, she supposed, she drug her way back inbetween the tussling bodies of raccoontail and Troutwing, when Racoontail's massivehead threatened to push her out of the way, she flattened her ears and snarled as agressively as she dared, to her amazment, the large male withdrew his head, and went on to bicker with Troutwing. ...In the days that passed since the pups had gone to their first kill as part of the pack, Sage and Raven had attended two more kills, each time was more exciting to Sage than the last, though Raven had seemed acustomed by now. On this day, their mother, Snowmoon had taken the pups out into the meadow, Lilyleafs' pups had been born the evening before, five healthy pups, five more wolves to make the pack stronger, Snowmoon reflected, she had brought the pups out to the meadow this day because it was the pups fifth moon, it was time for them to learn the territory, all of it's scents, sights, and sounds, as well as the packs boundries which seperated them, from their neighboring pack, Shadowpack. "now listen" Snowmoon murmured quietly as she padded swiftly along, her pace surprised Sage, even Raven seemed to be having trouble keeping up, "we are going to a long way today, we are going to circle half our territory, then go back" the packs territory had become larger since their direct boardering neighbor pack, Creelpack was wiped out by man many many moons ago, Thunderpack claimed their territory, just as Shadowpack had claimed Windpacks' territory when they too, were wiped out. Sadness clouded Snowmoons eyes, she had been friends with many wolves from both packs, shaking her head to clear the thoughts away, she turned back to the pups "this is your first time out, there are many dangers out here, so you two MUST be silent, you are here to learn, not play", Sage and Raven nodded silently, "good" Snowmoon murmured, "follow me", Snowmoon set off at a trot, that rolled into a sprint, the pups struggled to keep pace. Sage and Raven listened silently as their mother explained this scent, and that one, which was fresh, which was old, bear,deer,elk,bison,cougar, and bobcat "you'll rarely scent fox" she explained "they rarely stay in one place long". The sun was high in the sky by the time they stopped to rest beside a slow flowing river, she stopped to allow the pups to drink "we're on the edge of Shadowpacks boundries now, be silent and smell!, do you scent anything?" she asked encouraginly, "I smell wolves.." Sage murmured, "she's right" Raven agreed lifting his nose to the wind blowing toward them "they smell...similar to use, but different...". "Thats right" Snowmoon growled "that is Shadowpack, you have kin there, my brothers..." Snowmoon murmured. "really?" Raven squeaked in surprise "why are your brothers in that pack and not with you?, "it's a long, complicated story my pup" Snowmoon sighed "but I suppose you're old enough to know now, come, I'll tell you on the way back to the hollow" AND that is all I've got thus far, I'm writting more today. hope you enjoy!