Ekron broke into a trot as he caught the scent of the water that flowed through the air on the soft evening breeze. He dipped his head at the edge, legs splayed carelessly on either side, as he drank deeply of the cool, clear liquid.
Raiden sniffed at the water by habit- making sure it was clean enough to drink, not poisoned or whatever by Uprights, before bending her head low to drink. She sipped at the clean water, feeling it's cooling purity clearing her mind. She loved areas like this, around running water. As much as she loved a good forest or cave, it didn't have the power, the rejuvenating feel of flowing water.
Ekron sat back on his haunches, watching Raiden with a satisfied expression."Best in the forest," he commented.
Raiden smiled slightly. "Not surprising, I suppose." She replied, dipping her muzzle in it and taking on last sip before carefully stepping out of the water and shaking her paws dry carefully, ready to follow.
Ekron didn't make a move to continue on the patrol but instead glanced towards the setting sun and simply stared into the forest with an expression of calm enjoyment on his face.
Instead of prodding Ekron with a question, Raiden just saw to and raised her head to look at the colors of the sunset painting themselves across the sky. The was one thing that never grew old, the sunset.
Ekron exhaled, his eyes closed and then opened them, glancing at Raiden."Sure is something," he murmured, watching the sunrays through the trees that shone through the fog that was seeping through the trees, making the light dance across the forest.
"That's for sure." Raiden murmured in reply, the soft orange glow of the sunset glinting off her silky coat, and matching her eyes. Night was the best time for a black wolf, but she couldn't help but love the sunlight. Everything aglow like golden flame, bouncing though the trees and consuming everything in it's superior beauty.
A screech owl swooped silently past the two wolves, dipping low to the water and then up high into the darkness of the forest without a noise. Ekron shifted his ears, listening to the different noises around him then he stood up."We need to get back. It's getting dark. Hunting patrol will be back by now, I'll bet." he paused and looked into the twilight before grinning at Raiden."Unless you want to hunt now?"
Raiden stood up with a smile. "I'd be glad to." She replied. The shadows were already starting to cloak her pelt- and she, like the owl, was silent when hunting. She was deadly. "Lead the way."
Ekron leapt across the stones beside the creek and trotted along the water's edge, his eyes staring into the darkness and his nose and ears at the height of sensitivity. A rustle in the bushes alerted him and he stopped, hoping Raiden had noticed as well. He stepped forward slowly. His nose told him it was a hare though his eyes were unable to see it. Late season rabbit. It will nearly be enough to fill both of us. he thought as he stared into the darkness. Another rustle and the small jaws chewing grass. Just a few more steps...
Raiden froze, her ears pricked forward. She got into a crouch a few steps behind him- ready incase the rabbit, as her nose told her, bolted. She stifled her breathing, holding her breath as not to give away their position. Ekron was almost there, just a bit further...
Ekron set his left paw down carefully, then his right and suddenly he dropped his weight onto his haunches and leaped forward, perfectly positioning his direction. A scream from the rabbit. Leafs flying and dirt spraying. Ekron's teeth sank into warm flesh but snapped shut as the rabbit kicked out his powerful legs and sprang away. Ekron shot after him and made another lunge as the rabbit zig-zagged and this time closed around the hare's leg. The rabbit screeched in alarm and kicked out in desperation, surprising Ekron by loosing himself and bounding off into the night, leaving the young male with a jawful of fur. He spat on the ground in distaste and rubbed his muzzle against his legs. He turned to Raiden in apology, his tail slowly wagging and his ears back slightly. He wasn't embarrassed as he hadn't exactly been showing off, but he still felt disappointment.
Raiden bowed her head slightly. "There will be others." She said, just loud enough to be heard as not to scare away any prey nearby that hadn't already been startled by the rabbit's escape. She pricked her hears and kept her head cocked slightly, focusing. Was that a rustle from upwind? She lowered her body closer to the ground, and with a nod of her head in the direction she thought she heard something, slunk off in that direction, her pelt nearly disappearing in the shadows. She stopped to sniff occasionally, trying to figure out what might be nearby.
Ekron followed but he stayed a few paces behind her and let her take lead on this hunt. He noticed how smoothly she walked, carefully putting her paws down and scenting the wind. He smiled. She would be a valuable pack member.
Raiden sniffed carefully. This was where she was best, the night. For a few moons she had trained herself, coming out to hunt only after the sun had set. Now night hunting was as easy as walking down a well-marked path. She could swear she heard something a about thirty meters away, and flicked her ears hoping Ekron heard it as well.
Ekron's ears flickered towards the darker trees."Elk?" he muttered. The scent of the rabbit and the earth it had kicked was still full in his nose and it confused his senses. He shook his head, but he couldn't properly clear his nostrils for want of not disturbing the prey ahead. He gestured at Raiden for her to go ahead as he sank into the shadows and waited.
Raiden lowered her head and breathed in the scented air. "Yeah, elk." She replied, barely a whisper. She took off into the shadows, slinking carefully and silently until she had made a half circle around the great beast, her prey. She came close behind it, and after a second, leapt. Her strong muscles pushed her into the air, and she latched her teeth into the animal's neck, paws scrabbling to hold on as the animal kicked and bucked.
Ekron leapt from his hiding place and in two bounds was on top of the elk. It was hard enough as a duo to take one down, but this was a bull elk and much bigger than a doe. He soon found that he couldn't get his teeth into him as the bull elk's thick ruff around his neck protected him. In that hesitant moment he was thrown to the ground and the air left his body. He lay, gasping for breath as Raiden tackled it.
Raiden hung on despratly, fighting not to lose such a large prey. Still, it was fighting, and hard to. After a few seconds her grip was shaken loose, and she had to leap back to avoid flying hooves. She landed roughly and leapt again, but her teeth slipped- all she managed to grab was a back leg. Still, she held on, trying hard not to get kicked in the face by flying hooves. She just had to hope that Ekron got up to finish it off.
Ekron gasped and coughed, staggering to his paws to avoid the flying hooves as the enraged mammal snorted and waved his horns threateningly. He panted for a moment and then stepped to the side and jumped again, this time managing to grasp a firm hold right under the jaw of the bull. Unable to hold up his head with the young male hanging from his neck, the bull elk staggered forward and fell on one knee. Ekron used this advantage to the fullest, jerking his head from side to side and then diving forward for a new grasp as his jaws clamped tight onto the elk's windpipe. He times his next lunge badly though, and the elk, in blind fury and pain, swung his antlers at Ekron and caught him in the ribs. Ekron retreated with a yelp of pain.
Maja dipped under some straggly brush, easily making herself move as a ghost through the forest. Her lighter, lithe body was akin to the vulpine species - yet sturdier than such. As the twilight set in the forest Maja abated steadily until coming to a halt. Shadow had thickened to the point where its inky darkness had consumed most of the forest; signaling to the nocturnal creatures to awake and start creeping through the dawning night. The dappled wolf carefully swerved her ears and scented the air - muffled snarls and snorts became apparent through the chirping crickets and other clamorous insects. "Elk...Two wolves...male and female...the black wolf Raiden and another wolf..." Maja tested the air again but couldn't get much more information. The female, unaware, schooled her lax features to a more stoic expression and began to gallop toward the commotion. Breaking through the trees, she quickly examined the scene. The steel-backed wolf ( Ekron, she reminded herself) was hit to the rib with an antler; he retreated, a yelp escaping him. The elk was trying to also throw off the black female attached to the back leg. Quickly Maja threw herself into action, growling out orders to the other two wolves, as she would have done with Ardal or her sisters, "Jump back Raiden, Ekron! Make sure to halt all escape routes! I'll keep its attention on me - when I do, attack from both sides at the same time; aim for its neck and mouth! Try and suffocate it!" Maja didn't wait to see their reactions, but maneuvered around Ekron and rocketed her entire body forward and slammed into the mammal's chest. Her entire momentum crashed into a brick wall, leaving her breathless when she was knocked back. But Maja was nimble and crouched aggressively in front of the large prey, snarling with alarming malice.
A wolf appeared from seemingly nowhere. Ekron recognized the scent as being a newer wolf called Maja. He panted as he recovered from being rammed in the side as the female barked instructions.As if we've been playing this whole time! he scowled.The young male coughed and shook his head."I'm trying!" he snarled at the dark form and lay his ears flat against his head. His legs bunched beneath him again and he struck again, managing once more by pure luck in this darkness to get a hold on the neck. He tore at the flesh again, hardly hearing the bellows of the enraged animal as it flung Ekron from side to side, stomping and trying to catch the wolf with its sharp, pointed hooves. The darkness wasn't much of a problem for Ekron. Wolves naturally have good eyesight and as a loner he would hunt at night more often than not so as to avoid the hostile gangs of wolves nearby. The gangs weren't actual packs, but more like loners who would gather sometimes. They were always causing trouble and typically stealing prey from other wolves. It wasn't that he couldn't take care of himself, but he was clever enough to keep out of trouble if it was easily avoidable. It was altogether easier to hunt at night, but if he was hungry he wouldn't bother to wait. It was a toss-up, but it had the advantage of getting his eyes used to darkness. Obviously not as well as Raiden, who had been leaping and twisting as though it was broad daylight. Ekron ripped his head back and forth, kicking off from the ground when the elk staggered. He could feel the blood pouring around his face and down his chest. They were winning.
Maja, watched Ekron's dark silhouette against the backsplash of forest and raging elk, hanging onto the neck. His snappy reply from before made her rethink her role a bit; she was a stranger to the others. She wasn't hunting with Ardal or Nalah...Her mottled fur bristled out even more when the elk seemed to realize it was losing - become the epitome of survival. Black, gleaming eyes were no longer on her but on the other wolf. Good. She darted around the other side of the elk; Maja narrowly escaped the sharp hooves but darted under the belly of the beast. She lunged and bit hard into its leg, yanking with all her strength downwards. The elk lost balance, tipping over and hitting the ground to the left of her. Maja's jaw retreated quickly and the dappled wolf took her place to cease the elk's vein attempts of fight.Now that the brown creature was grounded it was only a matter of time until they killed it.
Raiden was doing her best to ignore the others that had come to 'help'. What, she and Ekron couldn't handle it. Raiden had brought down many elk with just her sister, and, with a bit of luck, by herself a few times. She certainly didn't need any help from Maja or anyone else. On top of that, she did know what to do with the extra paws stampeding around her.She realized she had zoned out a bit once the hoof hit her in the face. She staggered backwards a step or two, blinking dizzily with her eye squeezed shut when she had been hit. The pain was harsh, and there was no way she could open it. She tasted blood in her mouth as she pulled her lips into a snarl, though she couldn't be sure if it was hers or the elk's- the metallic taste blended in her mouth and just angered her further. She had to end this, before she went insane. She tucked her head low, ignoring the pain and deciding just to focus on leaping with her one eye. Gritting her teeth, she bunched back her haunches and leapt, feeling her spine uncurl and lead her body into the jump. Her paws tucked close to her as if jumping a gorge, and she snarled. He mouth opened, preparing to bite into the elks neck and pull it to the ground. She almost made it.But apparently Maja had the same idea. The elk's hefty weight tipped, then crumpled. Raiden was stuck in the wrong spot- the bristly side of the elk crashed down right in her trajectory-perhaps, with limited vision, she had mis-judged the distance-and landed on her, crushing her under it's superior weight. There was the briefest of battles against the hefts, but the slim black wolf lost badly. She was pushed to the ground, her front legs caught underneath her body as she landed, the ground forceful enough to knock the wind out of her. She choked for breath, kicking out with her back legs with every intent to get the dead weight off of her side. Before any of the other wolves could move to make a difference, Raiden used the last of her strength the push away. With a thump the elk's lifeless form came to rest against the ground and her slightly more lifeless black form. She opened up her uninjured amber eye and glared around the group, as if daring a single of them to make a comment. Her face was clear- say anything, and face my wrath. And there could be no doubt that Raiden's wrath would be imperial.
Ekron leapt away as the elk fell to the ground and gasped as Raiden was caught underneath. He started forward right as she pushed the dead weight off of her. He was still panting from the hunt and he stared at Raiden with an interested look as she glared around at them. She'll take some figuring out, he thought. "Um..Good job, Raiden." he said, trying to flatter her for the kill.
Raiden gave him a hard look, swiveling her head to meet his as she stood up. "Why thank you." She muttered in reply, the tone in her voice showing just how completely sarcastic she was being- her voice was like venom from a snake bite, sharp, quick, and deadly. One her feet, she swiveled so her one open eye could meet the other wolves around the group before settling on Maja. "So, explain why exactly you thought we needed help?" She said, then without giving her a chance to speak, she kept going. "Oh, never mind, I got it. We were so incompetent in our kill than you had to come grace us with your superior presence. That's it. We obviously couldn't handle it ourselves, one elk like that. I mean, I haven't taken down elk those size on my own or anything." Her voice was the hiss of a cobra, like she was challenging Maja to reply.
Ekron growled."Don't go snarling at another pack member. She saw us attacking an elk and she helped!" he said sharply. He was younger than Raiden by a decent amount, but he wasn't going to stand by while Raiden chewed on an innocent wolf's ear. He raised his hackles and glanced at Maja.(arghhhh. Dang it, Ekron, you're not turning out the way I want!!)
Raiden threw her head in response, completely unfazed. "It was out kill." She replied, simple, her voice still vemon. "Help, maybe- but taking over for us? Shoving us out of the way and doing it herself? Isn't that taking it a bit far? Like we weren't good enough to make the kill ourselves?" Her voice still held the same challenging air. "Okay, fine, she helped. I'll agree to that. But perhaps a group kill as opposed to a Maja-and-friends-and-let's-give-no-one-else-any-chance-to-do-anything kill should be avoided.
Maja stepped back, away from the elk; Raiden, somehow, had been caught underneath, and was pulling herself out from under. During the black female's rant, Maja's muzzle, tinged scarlet from blood, was set grimly. Her stoic features gave nothing away, but her demeanor became a tangible cold. The black wolf was giving her a blatant attitude, gradually making the dappled wolf more irate.Golden eyes locked onto her aggressor, permeated by some listless emotion, Maja replied crisply. "The elk was not young nor old, so I came with the intent to help. I heard noises of struggle and investigated. Upon arriving I had immediately caught sight of Ekron receiving a blow to the chest, which could easily be fatal if the elk attacked once more in attempt to dispatch him. That's why I set myself up as a distraction- it was to allow you to gain a moment of recovery and an upper hand at killing it, as the prey's attention was on me. I didn't expect it to work perfectly, but then again..." Her eyes narrowed towards the black female. "Had I known help would distract you enough so that you got kicked with a hoof and crushed underneath the target, I would have done something differently."She paused briefly before adding vehemently, "And right now it seems that you are mad at me for your own blunders. I advise you to cool down and learn from your mistakes to better yourself in the future- like I have already done so."
Ekron sat back on his haunches and watched the two females with interest. They were not likely going to surrender either to the other, and he wasn't stupid enough to actually try to tell one of them they were wrong, so he flicked his ears and simply watched.
Raiden glanced at Ekron quickly, seeing she was fighting an uphill battle. Narrowing her eyes, she said with a false mask of calm, "Fine, Maja. You win. I was wrong, and your record is untarnished. I take full blame for all injuries. Would you like mo to bow to you? Lick your paws? Submit? After all, you are perfect, did perfectly, and I, Raiden, am your humble Omega." She tossed her head to show that she meant none of it passed the 'you win' part. She kept still, as if waiting for instructions, though her stance gave warning that the last thing one should do would be to take dominance over her. Raiden was not out there to be dominate, and had no inclination to be above anyone else, but she wasn't about to be thrown under other's paws either.
Ekron stood up."I'm going to start back to camp with the kill," he said pointedly. He grasped a foreleg of the elk and pulled. It was heavier than he had realized and took more strength, but he pulled fiercly at it and began to drag it towards the camp, that thankfully wasn't far away.
Without a second glance back at Maja, Raiden grasped one of the back legs in her teeth to help Ekron pull it back. As far as she was concerned the conversation with Maja was over, and either way, she didn't care. There was kill to take back, and that was more important. She didn't even glace up to see if Maja was going to help.
Maja gripped a free leg at the end of the elk, not attempting to answer the other wolf. What would that bring her? Ardal was constantly nagging her to be more sociable- and look where it got her. Normally she would stay silent, keeping her thoughts to herself...but something was different this time. About her. Had Ardal's constant presence for four months affected her so much? The dappled wolf mused in silence for the rest of the journey back.
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