Wolves of Lunacy: Chapter 4: The Scentless

The snow flurries tickled her nose but she knew better than to sneeze. Any slight movement could risk the entire mission a failure. Just a second longer and…bingo. She found what she had been looking for. Off to the rear, a lame, elderly, elk had fallen behind his herd. From the way that the elk limped, she could tell that his rear right leg had been damaged. Because of this he wouldn’t be able to run too fast or too long making him the perfect target. Signaling the pack to take their positions, they circled the herd from a distance. Aloni advanced towards the herd and the hunt was on.

Waves of snow flew into the air as the herd retreated towards the hills. Aloni knew that they had to make the kill before the herd reached the towering hills or they would lose their advantage. Not having eaten in days, their entire survival was riding on this moment. Swept up in the confusion, the lame elk stumbled. Picking up speed, Aloni advanced on the opportunity coming at the elk so fast that not even the wind could keep up. Leaping into the air she grabbed the elk’s hide with her jaws and tried her best to hang on. A brown wolf named Onahtah caught up to them and jumped on the opposite side of the elk. Together, Aloni and Onahtah brought the elk down to the freezing snow. Blood splattered into the air as Aloni bit down into the jugular of the elk, her white coat now stained with the crimson liquid.

As the Alpha pair, Rock and Distaff, took their helping of the kill, Aloni and the rest of the pack waited in the distance. The other wolves whined and complained as they usually do but Aloni was content. Her entire life her white coat had been a curse. Often teased and ridiculed, it wasn’t until One Moon made their exodus to the mountains that her monochromatic coat came into good use. Being the only wolf that could blend in easily with the snow, Aloni could get closer to the elk herds without being spotted than the brown and black coats who dominated the majority of the tribe. Because of her successive hunts, she was quickly rising the ranks of the pack. With this kill being her 75th, she had performed far better than even the Alpha pair combined and on this day earned her new nick name “Frostbite.”

Munching on a nearby rabbit she just so happened to catch, kill number 76, Aloni caught a glimpse of an older wolf named Tuwa whose nose was pointed to the sky. “What’s wrong Tuwa,” Aloni asked. “I caught a scent of something…familiar yet different floating on the wind. I thought it might have been more stragglers from the canyons but it was probably just my nose playing tricks on me,” responded Tuwa. That night, as One Moon rested, their bellies full of meat, a low growling was heard. Rock was the first to his paws. Trying to pinpoint the threat, he sniffed the air but smelled nothing. Relying on his ears, the growling began to grow louder and seemed to be coming from every direction. This could only mean one thing, they were surrounded.

Urika, Rock’s most trusted, howled into the night, alerting the pack that enemies were nearby. As One Moon rose to their paws, the outsiders began their attack. Just as Rock predicted they had surrounded the pack and were now coming at all angles. Swift and fierce, the outsiders used One Moon’s confusion against them and gained a few kills. Rallying his pack, Rock caught a glimpse of one of the attackers and advanced.

The attacker had one of the younger wolves named Yazhi pinned to the ground. Lowering his head, Rock butted the enemy off Yazhi but it was too late, his throat was already cut clean through. Enraged, Rock charged after the enemy, beating him mercilessly with his claws. The other outsiders noticed their ally was in trouble and came to his aid. Rock fought valiantly but their numbers were too much. Cut, slashed, and bitten from every direction. The flesh being ripped apart from his body, Rock had no choice but to call for help. Urika and Aloni were the first to hear Rock’s plea and rushed to his aid. With One Moon more organized and a ring of wolves encircling the injured Rock, the outsiders signaled retreat and fled into the unknown as quickly as they appeared.

Distaff, coming to her mates aid, gently nuzzled her head on his cheek. His wounds were severe and would take weeks if not months to heal. As those with loved ones mourned their loss, Distaff gathered the pack for any information pertaining to the attackers. Most wolves didn’t get a clear look at them and the ones who did died for their efforts. Knowing it would only be a matter of time before another attack, Distaff ordered the pack to keep close watch of their surroundings at all times. Since leaving the canyons and encroaching the mountains, they were in alien territory and had obviously overstepped their boundaries. In order to survive they would need to focus on defense.

The next day, Distaff mandated two shields of wolves to encircle the camp. The first shield was made up of those with the strongest eyes, ears, and noses. If an enemy was near the perimeter they would be the first to sniff them out. The second shield, formed just a few yards behind the first were made up of the most robust wolves the pack had to offer. In case of attack, the first shield would fall behind the second shield. In the center of the two shields, the injured nursed their wounds until the pack as a whole was able to move again. The rest of the pack tended to the injured and took over shifts from the shielders when they needed to rest.

With the formation of the shields, the uneasiness of the pack was put a little at ease but as night encroached, tensions returned. It began as low growling and then the glowing red of their eyes burned in the darkness. The growling continued to grow louder until their demonic eyes were barking as if rabid. Distaff advanced to the head of the shield and rallied the pack to keep their wits. “The outsiders are trying to scare us into breaking ranks but as long as we are fortified they can not harm us,” she howled. The pack maintained their defenses and sure enough, after a long nights standoff, the outsiders retreated into the distance at sight of the first rays of sunshine.

Each successive night the Scentless, a name the pack had adopted for the outsiders, would continue to return and with each return they edged closer and closer to the shields of the pack. Finally, when Rock  and the injured wolves were able to move again, Distaff gave the order for the pack to continue their march towards the mountains. They were so close now and she would be damned if the dreams of Onestroke died in this whitewashed purgatory. As the pack marched, the rear guard reported sights of figures in the mists trailing them. It had to be none other then the Scentless.

Rumors among the pack had already broke out about who the Scentless were. Many regarded them as the spirits of their fallen ancestors who were angry at them for losing their homeland to King Ibex. “How else could you explain their lack of smell and paw prints that look exactly like our own,” contested on elderly wolf named Kaya. Distaff, unlike her mate was not eager to use her claws to solve her problems but if the situation persisted the pack would be cornered with no way out. It was better to attack first then wait to be attacked so she advised her council and they devised a plan.

With the pack on high ground, One Moon broke up into a new formation. The front and rear of the pack were made up of ranks of the strongest wolves. In the middle were the young, elderly, and lame who were guarded on the side by the remaining wolves. Turning around to face the direction of the Scentless, the front portion of the pack pack marched off to confront their attackers. Behind their veil of mist, the Scentless were taken aback by One Moon’s sudden aggressiveness but their leader Kangal answered the questions their fear was asking by taking the first step forward. The rest of his gang followed and now the Scentless and One Moon were both marching steadily into a battleground that only one side would walk away from.

PIU: Production Diary: Day 3

 Kotaian History 101

Today I’ll give some back story to the original inhabitants of Sandle island, thus being the Arrowatt. The Arrowatt tribe began far away on a distant land to the East. Facing a food drought, the Arrowattians made a mass migration West until they landed on present day Achi. Naming the two keys after their twin thunder gods Ahayuta and Achi, the Arrowatt continued to explore the area until they also discovered the mainland which they named Chacopa, the creator god and father of Ahayuta and Achi.

The Arrowatt settled throughout the islands. As the generations passed, food and land became scarce. The Arrowatt forgot their common ancestry and began to feud with each other. These were barbaric times. With hundreds of tribes all throughout Sandle Isle, danger lurked everywhere. Wanting to end the constant tribal wars, Tainotoa, Chief of the Tainoten went on a vast military campaign with dreams of unifying the Islands. Armed with superior weapons from the south he did just that and in 1910 Sandal Island was unified under the new tribal name of Kota.

Battle of Roaring Hills 2011

Walking to the battlefield with a case full of ammunition, a strange calm befell me. Just hours before I was full of frantic energy, going over every detail, making sure all my strategies were on point. But now the time of planing was over. Setting the case down next to a tree, I gather my surroundings to look at my combatants. A Chinese-American female assassin, a Dominican aristocrat not to be outdone by his fellow countryman who was a living giant,  a black man, and an even blacker man. We had come from all corners of the globe to to win the prize of top dawg.

Drawing our weapons, we all stood at a standstill. One single gust of air was all that was required for the first combatant to pull his trigger. The battle was swift but fierce. It was a no holds barred contest between men, and woman, and the battle scars proved it. In the end, I can’t say if there was any clear victor. We were all soaked with fluid, some more so than others, but all nonetheless. Injured but somehow still clinging to what little life we had remaining, we agreed on a truce. Today there were no casualties of war but peace is never eternal.

One day it will all happen again.

PIU: Production Diary: Day 2

SANDAL ISLAND

Today I decided to give a brief overview of Sandal Isle, you know, the destination where the story takes place. Sandal Isle looks much like it’s name, a sandal. It’s mainland (Chacopa) is shaped like a foot while it’s two keys (Ahayuta & Achi) are north of the mainland acting as the separated toes that a foot would look like if it were wearing a sandal. Between the keys and the mainland is the Isthmus of Tainotoa. Named after the the Kotoaian Chief who unified the island in 1910.

This map takes place after T.O.W.E.R Corps takeover of the island. In it the Sneaker Tykes have carved the keys of Ahayuta and Achi  into six different sectors.

After T.O.W.E.R occupation

Wolves of Lunacy: Chapter 3: One Moon, One Hope

It had been many a generation since the rise of King Ibex and his Unified Provinces of Plenty. Once upon a time they saw you could look out into the moonlit horizon and see the Wolves of Luna, their eyes illuminating a majestic glow, hunting the buffalo and other plains herds. But those days were over, dreams of the past. Long since were the days when a wolf could run free and wild, now he had to be registered and accounted for in the new King’s Utopia. All who refused faced a life of hardships in the canyons as outlaws. Yes, the once numerous tribe of Luna was obliterated almost entirely. Only 1/4th of their creed still lived and of this 1/4th only a few hundred or so remained free from captivity. These last fledglings further dissented into separate packs to avoid capture. Of these wild ones, the most charismatic was Rock, the Alpha of the Eastern Minerals.

Descendant from a life of hard knocks, Rock lost his parents as a pup and was forced to survive the hardships of the canyons by his lonesome. In all likelihood the young pup should have perished but perhaps Mother Luna had not forgotten her children as he overcame all the obstacles the canyons put before him. By the time he was in his teen years, Rock had earned a reputation among the canyon dwellers as the toughest beast, herbivore or carnivore, to ever cross the canyon floor.

Now in his adult years, Rock was without a question or a doubt the King of the canyons. His pack, the Eastern Minerals was unique from the other free roaming packs in that it was not only made up of wolves but all forms of outlaw critters. Anyone who had a grievance with King Ibex had a place in the Eastern Minerals. As charismatic as he was, not all the canyon dwellers agreed with Rock’s philosophy. Most notable being that of  Onestroke leader of the Proud Eyes, the largest pack of wild ones.

A wolf who achieved distinction and respect over the long years of his life, Onestroke’s wisdom was sought after by all the young wolves of the canyons. Having been a pup when the cherry coated Ibex swaggered into the Luna Wolf den and proclaimed himself king, Onestroke was one of the few who survived to see the story unfold. The registrations, relocation camps, and hunting of his kind, he had been there and experienced it all. As such Onestroke was a direct link to the past. Now past his prime, his days were dedicated to teaching the youth the old ways and the words of Proto.

These times were different however and the wolves of today had little to no interest in talks of the Luna Mother who had abandoned them. OneStroke was quickly losing his influence to the Eastern Mineral Alpha Rock and his young blood ways. In the old days Rock would have been an honored Alpha but in these times acting with your claw and not your nose meant a swift death. Before Onestroke passed into the stars above to be reunited with the Luna Mother, he wanted to make sure that his kind were on the track to self recovery.  The only choice he decided was to hold council with the three largest packs and try and persuade them that survival of the species was more important than personal retribution.

Distaff, Alpha of the Lunamazons was the first to hear of Onestroke’s call for council. Being a descendant of Proto, Distaff heeded Onestroke’s teachings of her ancestor many a time and held a deep, father-like relationship with the old wolf. After all, it was Onestroke’s tale of how Proto heroically searched for and rescued the lost members of a war party that inspired her to leave the safety of the Proud Eyes and rescue lone wolves who were dying everyday all throughout the canyons. After her initial success and gaining a pack of her own, Distaff extended her efforts from the canyons to the entirety of  the King’s Unified Provinces of Plenty.

Legends of a female Alpha swifting through the morning mists were soon made popular by the starving wolves held in captivity as more and more of them continued to vanish from the reservations. This caused a new found appreciation for the Luna Mother and in time Distaff was heralded as Khonsu, the moon princess who quenched the throats of her kin that thirsted for freedom. Rock too learned that Onestroke wanted to trade words. Already knowing what the old wolf wanted to say having heard his lectures one too many times, Rock had respect for “the paw that felled the kings men” and gathered his pack to see what the old wolf had to say.

On the day of the council, the three tribes, Proud Eyes, Lunamazons, and Eastern Minerals gathered together at the base of an overhang known as Proud Rock. The air silenced to a hush as Onestroke walked to the edge of the overhang and spoke these words.

“Brothers and Sisters of the great Luna Mother. I have gathered you here today to speak my final peace. I ask that you open your ears to hear my words. In my life I have always strived to do what is best for our kind. I have been somewhat successful but our lives will never be as they once were. Not as long as we remain in this land.

The only way for our kind to survive is to join our bands and once again form a single tribe as the Luna Mother always intended. For too long we have been without a home, wandering the canyons and the deserts like nomads. We must form one tribe and together we will leave the Demon King’s Unified Plenty and find our own sovereignty beyond the mountains. A task of this magnitude will require a strong leader which is why, as a symbol of my sincerity for our survival, I would like to appoint Rock of the Eastern Minerals and Distaff of the Lunamazons as the Alpha pair of this new tribe.

Rock, you are the strong paw that will protect us from the King. Since coming to the canyons as a pup you have proved yourself to be the greatest warrior these old eyes of mine have ever seen. I am proud that there is a wolf like you still running free so that the pups can see your claw and know what true bravery is. Distaff, you are the soothing paw our kind so desperately needs. Because of you many of our brothers and sisters have been saved from death but more importantly you have returned to their hearts hope for themselves and belief in the Luna Mother.

As for myself and the Proud Eyes, I will relinquish my power as Alpha and the Proud Eyes will flow into this one tribe like a lake into the river. If your ears do not hear my words then I will still relinquish my power and the Proud Eyes will flow into both the Eastern Minerals and the Lunamazons. The way we have been living will not work. One way or another we must unite and flee.”

At the end of Onestroke’s speech, the wolves did something that had not been done in years. They howled. And with this howl, Onestroke’s final dream was cemented in approval by Rock, Distaff and all the wolves of the three tribes. Onestroke would not live much longer after this council. Looking from the cliffs as the new unified One Moon pack marched towards the mountains to freedom, the old wolf smiled his last smile, curled up in a ball, and for the first time, dreamed not of the past but of the future when the Tribe of Luna would once more run wild.