Zander followed the trail with Gyer close behind her. She felt

the air tighten around them, felt it grow thicker. She sensed

magic here. Strong magic. Deadly magic. She trotted along the

trail in the night, using her night vision and nose to lead Gyer

to his enemies camp. The Dark One had been here a few days.

Zander had seen it all. The way he killed disgusted her. He had

been holding the Princess Ianessa captive. She was soon to be

Queen Ianessa, if the King Garin could find her and bring her

back. The Dark One had been holding her for a healthy randsom.

Four million gaions, or gold pieces. This was a LOT of money in

the Feairian Kingdom. That was a Kings ransom alright. The Great

Wizards Gyer and Omerian, along with Tributian, new of a way to

get her back. They just couldn't find the camp, and that was

when they began to ask Zander for help.

As she began to pick up the pace along the trail, they

weren't far now, she thought back to that day. It was a cool day

in spring, and she had been out hunting deer. Having leaving her

pack due to the fact her alpha could no longer keep order, she

was a lone wolf. She had decided to go to her favorite

waterfall, to see the deer herd there that had been there days

ago. It would soon be time for them to migrate, to move on, and

if she didn't kill a lot and store it, she would be hungry come

winter. She was an unusual wolf. Large for a female, with

emerald green eyes and a golden coat. She found that she senced

things differently. Sometimes she was almost sure she could

understand humans when she accidentally walked into their camps.

She had come upon The Dark Ones camp completely by accident

while out hunting, and wished greatly she hadnt. She had seen a

murder there. A nasty one. The Murder of the high councilors

son. Zander had heard of him. She lived outside the Feairian

Kingdom, and knew of the troubles by the woodsmen that lived

outside of the kingdom. She knew the Dark One was trouble.

Zander had come across Gyer, Omerian, and Tribiatian on

accident as well. It was just as well they had. They new Zander

had a special quality about her. How they knew was still a

mystery to her. The Wizard Gyer had seen her walking around

their camp one night. She had learned that if she played "nice

wolf", sometimes the campers and woodsmen would giver her food.

She had approached them cautiosly, feelingthe strength of the

magic around them. She hated being able to feel it, it sent a

string of fear through her and made her fur stand on end. Gyer

had knelt before her and lightly touched her forehead. Suddenly,

Zander could understand him. She understand the human language.

All of it. She had blinked in surpise. "What in the hell??" She

thought she had said but that they couldn't understand, but they

had. Gyer had laughed slightly. "Its all right wolf friend. We

mean no harm to you." He scratched her head." I am sorry to do

this. But we need your help. The kingdom is at stake, and many

lives. I need to know if you have seen the Dark One's camp. It

is very important, we must find him. If you havent, I will

return you to normal wolf again. If you wish to stay the way I

have made you, I will grant that to you as well. You will be

rewarded for helping us. I leave the choice to you. We mean no

harm to you, but please, as a new friend I ask you to help us."

He had stood, and walked back to the other Wizards.

Zander had sat there, somewhat dumbfounded at this new

found quality of understanding the human speech. And being able

to speak it, at that!!! She sat, pondering the matter. Then she

spoke. "I will take you to him. In three days time. I can not

take you there right away. The Dark One, as you call him, saw

me. He is not stupid, neither am I, he knows that I might

return. I know it is important, but I can not put my life at

risk so easily. He has guard dogs. Strong magic as well. I will

take you there, but three moons from now."

As she waited for their answer, three big birds swooped down,

trying to snatch at her. She reared back and lunged for ones

throat as he swooped within reach. She had one, and made a quick

kill by snapping the neck of it. The other two were attacking

the wizards. Spy birds, she recognized the piece of cloth around

their necks. She flew into a rage of fury and claws, leaping in

front of Gyer and slashin at the birds eye.

"Are you people stupid?!?" She cried. "You have magic! Use

it!!!" She glared at Gyer for a moment before lunging at the

bird again. She got one good slash in before a string of fire

shot from Omerians fingers, and the birds disolved into ashes.

"Its about time!!! What took you so long!!" She panted,

licking the blood off of her paws. Gyer laughed.

"Sorry little one. We were takin by surprise. Thank you

for your help. We accept the offer of three moons from now. You

must find a safe place, it isn't safe with us. There is a cave

near by. Stay there for three days. And then you must come back

here. We will be waiting."

And so with that Zander went to the cave Gyer suggested.

It had been hard. She wanted to leave that night she had met

them, but knew it would be death the moment the Dark One saw

her. She had gone back on the night of the third moon, when it

was dark. It was not quite a harvest moon. Bright enough to show

the wizards the path but not enough to give them away. She

quickened her pace still, leading them on a twisted trail

through the woods that was not an easy going. She sliped off to

the right, urging them with her head to follow. Zander crouched

behind a tree and spoke.

"The Dark One is there. I sense his magic, its unlike the

sense I get when I am around the three of you. He is somewhere

in the camp. I just cannot tell where. I will be ready to back

you up, if you need me." Zander then layed down on the gound,

ready to spring into the camp if she was needed.

Zander followed the trail with Gyer close behind her. She felt

the air tighten around them, felt it grow thicker. She sensed

magic here. Strong magic. Deadly magic. She trotted along the

trail in the night, using her night vision and nose to lead Gyer

to his enemies camp. The Dark One had been here a few days.

Zander had seen it all. The way he killed disgusted her. He had

been holding the Princess Ianessa captive. She was soon to be

Queen Ianessa, if the King Garin could find her and bring her

back. The Dark One had been holding her for a healthy randsom.

Four million gaions, or gold pieces. This was a LOT of money in

the Feairian Kingdom. That was a Kings ransom alright. The Great

Wizards Gyer and Omerian, along with Tributian, new of a way to

get her back. They just couldn't find the camp, and that was

when they began to ask Zander for help.

As she began to pick up the pace along the trail, they

weren't far now, she thought back to that day. It was a cool day

in spring, and she had been out hunting deer. Having leaving her

pack due to the fact her alpha could no longer keep order, she

was a lone wolf. She had decided to go to her favorite

waterfall, to see the deer herd there that had been there days

ago. It would soon be time for them to migrate, to move on, and

if she didn't kill a lot and store it, she would be hungry come

winter. She was an unusual wolf. Large for a female, with

emerald green eyes and a golden coat. She found that she senced

things differently. Sometimes she was almost sure she could

understand humans when she accidentally walked into their camps.

She had come upon The Dark Ones camp completely by accident

while out hunting, and wished greatly she hadnt. She had seen a

murder there. A nasty one. The Murder of the high councilors

son. Zander had heard of him. She lived outside the Feairian

Kingdom, and knew of the troubles by the woodsmen that lived

outside of the kingdom. She knew the Dark One was trouble.

Zander had come across Gyer, Omerian, and Tribiatian on

accident as well. It was just as well they had. They new Zander

had a special quality about her. How they knew was still a

mystery to her. The Wizard Gyer had seen her walking around

their camp one night. She had learned that if she played "nice

wolf", sometimes the campers and woodsmen would giver her food.

She had approached them cautiosly, feelingthe strength of the

magic around them. She hated being able to feel it, it sent a

string of fear through her and made her fur stand on end. Gyer

had knelt before her and lightly touched her forehead. Suddenly,

Zander could understand him. She understand the human language.

All of it. She had blinked in surpise. "What in the hell??" She

thought she had said but that they couldn't understand, but they

had. Gyer had laughed slightly. "Its all right wolf friend. We

mean no harm to you." He scratched her head." I am sorry to do

this. But we need your help. The kingdom is at stake, and many

lives. I need to know if you have seen the Dark One's camp. It

is very important, we must find him. If you havent, I will

return you to normal wolf again. If you wish to stay the way I

have made you, I will grant that to you as well. You will be

rewarded for helping us. I leave the choice to you. We mean no

harm to you, but please, as a new friend I ask you to help us."

He had stood, and walked back to the other Wizards.

Zander had sat there, somewhat dumbfounded at this new

found quality of understanding the human speech. And being able

to speak it, at that!!! She sat, pondering the matter. Then she

spoke. "I will take you to him. In three days time. I can not

take you there right away. The Dark One, as you call him, saw

me. He is not stupid, neither am I, he knows that I might

return. I know it is important, but I can not put my life at

risk so easily. He has guard dogs. Strong magic as well. I will

take you there, but three moons from now."

As she waited for their answer, three big birds swooped down,

trying to snatch at her. She reared back and lunged for ones

throat as he swooped within reach. She had one, and made a quick

kill by snapping the neck of it. The other two were attacking

the wizards. Spy birds, she recognized the piece of cloth around

their necks. She flew into a rage of fury and claws, leaping in

front of Gyer and slashin at the birds eye.

"Are you people stupid?!?" She cried. "You have magic! Use

it!!!" She glared at Gyer for a moment before lunging at the

bird again. She got one good slash in before a string of fire

shot from Omerians fingers, and the birds disolved into ashes.

"Its about time!!! What took you so long!!" She panted,

licking the blood off of her paws. Gyer laughed.

"Sorry little one. We were takin by surprise. Thank you

for your help. We accept the offer of three moons from now. You

must find a safe place, it isn't safe with us. There is a cave

near by. Stay there for three days. And then you must come back

here. We will be waiting."

And so with that Zander went to the cave Gyer suggested. It had

been hard. She wanted to leave that night she had met them, but

knew it would be death the moment the Dark One saw her. She had

gone back on the night of the third moon, when it was dark. It

was not quite a harvest moon. Bright enough to show the wizards

the path but not enough to give them away. She quickened her

pace still, leading them on a twisted trail through the woods

that was not an easy going. She sliped off to the right, urging

them with her head to follow. Zander crouched behind a tree and

spoke.

"The Dark One is there. I sense his magic, its unlike the

sense I get when I am around the three of you. He is somewhere

in the camp. I just cannot tell where. I will be ready to back

you up, if you need me." Zander then layed down on the gound,

ready to spring into the camp if she was needed.

Gyer, Tribituian, and Omerian nodded and each began to

chant softly. A shining film began to grow around each of them.

Zander's hair stud on end. She hated it when people used magic

around her, that feeling that she hated came. She growled low in

her throat, she sensed that death was near. The air was thick

and it became filled with the smell of roasting meat from the

Dark Ones camp. Her stomach grolwed, and she thought of how she

would help kill the Dark one to get her mind off her hunger. She

could almost taste the blood in her mouth, could almost feel his

pulse on her paws as she helped to kill him. Zander was not a

vicious wolf, mind you, not at all. It was just the way The Dark

One killed without reason that set her blood on fire. She

listened for the call Gyer was going to give her if he needed

her.

She only had to wait a little while. The wizards were supposedly suppose to sneak up from behind the wizzards tent, cast a wizards web that would paralyze him temporally, and then they would make off with him on horses; which were left back in the grove of trees where Zander waited. The horses were even growing impatient. Zander felt sorry for the beasts, they had no idea why they were there. They were war horses, big, powerful stallions that wanted action, not to wait. Zander paced back and forth. A few minutes went by, and she heard the call of an owl, but it was Gyer. She was needed. The killing maching in her was wound up and ready to go. She howled a response to let them know she was coming and fled at full speed into the camp of The Dark One.

"Im here!! Don't worry!" She cried, tearing into some of the guards that were trying to stop Gyer and his chant.

The web was almost done. Almost. Then, suddenly, something went wrong. Zander wasn't sure what, exactly. She was busy killing the gaurds and guard dogs to really pay attention. She heard Tribituian cry out and the chanting cease, but only for a few seconds. Wizard fire of different colors flew everywhere. Gyer called out to her.

"Zander! We have him gal, we have him!!! Run for it! They have more dogs then we expected, run now, meet us back at the horses!!! Go, now!!!!" He cried excitedly.

Zander took flight back into the forest. She landed in the grove of trees out of breath and sat for a minute or two while the wizards made there way back. She began to clean the blood off of her paws, but still listening for the men if they were to come after them. She heard foot falls and stood in front of the horses, ears layed back, and teeth bared. Four shadows appeared in the shadows. The wizards had made it back, with The Dark One.

The three wizards slung the Dark One onto Gyers horse, and Gyer sat behind him. The Dark One was still in a trance, and they had to hurry. The others mounted, and then they were off, Zander leading the way. She took off at full speed, knowing that the trance would only last a while. She lead them through a twisted part in the forest, turning back once to make sure the horses had cleared the jump across a river. She made a quick turn throuch a rocky cavern, and slowed to a trot. They were now in her den. They had made it.

The Wizards then dismounted. Leaving The Dark One on Gyers horse, and began a chant to put up a sort of prison for the Dark One. A greenish mist began to form in the far back corner of her den. Green bars began to form, and the took the Dark One off the horse and placed him in the cell. It wouldn't hold him long. All they needed was where to find the Princess Ianessa. The trance would make him tell them. Gyer, Tribitutian, and Omerian sat down and congratulated one another on their success.

The three wizards had sat down on rocks in Zanders den . She padded

over to a cornere where she had saved meat from the previous kill. She

turned to the three Wizards, who were muttering things to each other

about how to find the Princess. She decided to ask if they were

hungry.. She had enough to go around.

"Do any of you want any of this meat? I think I have

enough to go around for the three of you.. Sorry if there isn't

enough. "normal" wolves normally don't share dinner with humans."

Zander said skeptically.

The wizards laughed. They didn't eat some meats, and Deer was

one of them. Omerian spoke to her for the first time since she had met

them.

"No, thank you though. We don't eat certain meats. No

offense to you or anything.. Deer isn't part of our diet. You can have

it all." He smiled at her.

Zander shrugged her shoulders. "All right. Though, if you

don't mind, would you start a fire?" She licked her lips envisouly.

"Although Im not supposed to know what cooked meat taste like, I stole

some from a camp a while back.. I find I rather like it." She grinned

at the look on their faces.

"What, wolves ARE allowed to enjoy certain things too you know." She

said in an "I know as much as you do" sort of tone. She started to

wash her paw and looked up.

"Well, DO YOU mind?" She asked, annoyed at the look on their

faces. "If not, you can turn me back to the way I was, and Ill eat it

raw in front of you. You can see the way I tear into it and get every

last drop of blood and meat from the bone, and considering the fact

that I JUST helped you save this moron over there," She nodded towards

the cage. "I don't think it would be THAT much of a bother if you

started a fire for me." She glared at them, tired of waiting.

Gyer began to laugh. He hadn't accounted on the wolf being so.

smug. He found it amusing himself. He griend and motioned her to bring

forward what she wanted cooked.

"Of course my young friend. How do you like it? Rare? Well

done?" He couldn't help but laugh. Who had ever thought that wolves

knew the difference the way humans cooked their food. He shook his

head in wonder. He stood and pushed back his sleeves. However,

Tributian stood and spoke.

"Allow me!" He said, laughing and he had a twinkle in his

deep, gray eyes. He pushed black his blue robe sleeves, and made a few

gestures with his hands. In the middle of the den, a small glow began

to appear. A stack of wood in the middle of the glow began to burn.

The glow was a sparkling blue at first, then a bright red, adnd the

rest of the logs burst into flames.

Gyer and Omerian chuckled. Tributian was showing off. Gyer

looked at Zander.

"How do you want your meet little one?" He smiled at her, still

amused.

Zander snorted. "Don't call me "Little one" please. I am quite

large for a female wolf. I have always been larger then most of the

femmes in my packs. I don't like that name. Call me Zander, Zan,

whatever. Just NOT "Little one". She snorted again and brought over a

piece of deer that she had been looking forward to, and tossed it to

Gyer.

She grinned. "I want it well done. I don't like it half done.

Well done for me please." She smiled and sat down on the other side of

the fire, across from the three wizards. She yawned. It had been a

long day.

Zander waited across the fire from the wizards, while Gyer cooked her deer for her. She grinned slightly. The smell of the venison was filling her den. Even though it wasn't a very big den, it was still home. It was fairly big. It had lots of nooks and crannies, perfect for taking a mid afternoon nap in. She had chosen the den because of all of the crystals that lined the walls. It sparkled inside, and the ceiling looked like the stars outside at night. She heard the wizards talking about The Dark One. She had no idea who he was, only she had just helped them capture him. Zander decided it was about time to find out what they were up to. She stood and stretched, and Gyer motioned her forward.

"Your meat is done, Zander." He had a smile on his face. "Well done, just what you wanted." He sat back down next to the others and ran his fingers through his brown hair.

Zander walked over to them and took the meat. She sat down in front of them but stayed away from the first. She didn't want to get her tail in it again. She had done it once. Zander had been sniffing around a camp, and had been seeing the other dogs when she had accidentally backed into the fire. She wasn't going to let it happen again. She bit into the meat, tasting the blood and juices as it ran down her chin. She swallowed her mouthfull.

"Gyer? Why exactly are you after this man?" She nodded towards the cage in the corner. "Who, and what, exactly, is he? "I don't understand what I am dealing with here. Since I WAS thrown into this, unexpectedly, shall we say?" Zanders green eyes glared at Gyer. She waited for them to respond so she took another mouthful of meat.

The three wizards sighed in unison. Zander looked up, somewhat surprised. She went back to her dinner, remembering that they were wizards, after. Tributian spoke first. He seemed to be the younger of the three.

Tributian cleared his throat and pushed back the sleeves of his black robes. "It is somewhat a tall tale, yet most of it is true." He began. "Long before you were born, the Ferian Kingdom was alliances with the kingdom beyond the mountains. Kingahin Lirea, Im sure you have heard of it?" He looked at her for an answer.

Zander swallowed and nodded. "Yes, I have wolf friends who live there. It is a nice kingdom." She went back to her venison, looking at Tributian expectedly.

Tributian got up and walked around a little, looking at the crystals

on the walls. HE touched them lightly with his hand. "Well, the ruler

of Kingahin Lirea used to be The Dark One. He was not evil then. He

was a good ruler, his name was Zadoran. He made sure his people had

food, work, money. His kingdom was well known throughout neighboring

lands. However," He paused, taking his hand away from the crystals.

"Sometime during his rein, things went wrong. He had a court wizard.

The wizard was the evil one. He wanted to try and train Zadoran in

his ways. Slowly he began to teach him. He unfortunately turned out to

be a quick learner." Tributian had had enough at looking at the

crystals on the walls. He took his spot back with the others and

sighed. He has a spacey look in his eyes, as if he were there at that

moment. He cleared his throat again.

"Zadoran soon became a threat to everyone he knew. The wizard,

his name was Nerian, had manged to train Zadoran in the evil ways.

Zadoran liked to kill. He killed for pleasure, anything that was alive

the he thought useless, including children, were slaughter by him if

he felt the need to kill. Zadoran was by all means a threat to

everyone. Especially the Fearian Kingdom. The ruler of the Fearian

Kingdom at the time was Queen Illashandra. She was a powerful ruler.

She could fight and hunt as well as any of her guards could. She often

with out hunting with them, and gave food to her people." Tributians

eyes lingered around the cave for a moment, and he ran his hand

through his thick, blond hair.

Tributian rumaged his hand through his robe sleeve and

picked out three apples and tossed one to the other two wizards. He

took a bite of his and swallowed. He wiped the juice from his mouth.

"Zadoran and Illashandra did not like each other very much after

his wizard had trained him. The two had had an alliance with each

other, saying that if one kingdom was attacked, one would send armies

to help the other fight back, and would provide each other will small

amounts of gold to recover. This alliance was soon broken by Zadoran

when enemies from the west came, from the land of the Shiaks. This is

a land of an evil elven race. They love to pick fights with people.

They take joy in pillaging and destroying things. Its what they are

known for." Tributian paused and took another bite of his apple. The

other two sat, listen, as though they were waiting to jump in if he

missed anything important.

" The Shiaks attacked Illashandra's kingdom without

warning. She sent a phoenix messenger bird to Zadoran asking for

immidate assistance. His response was negative, and the alliance was

broken. He was furious for her even thinking to ask him for help.

Zadoran then took a small army with him to her kingdom, while Shiaks

were attacking. Then it got messy. Out from the east, the elves from

the land of Carige came. These are the peaceful elves. The rode in

with a medical team, people to fight, and a huge hate toawrds the evil

elves. The fought with Illashandra and helped defeat Zadoran and the

Shiaks. However, during the end of the battle, the three leaders,

Illashandra, Zadoran, and Ahbandran, the leader of the Carige elves,

met in one of the halls of the castle. The fighting was still going on

outside. The three of them were alone. Zadoran cast a spell to keep

anyone from entering. It was a dual to the death. The three seemed to

fight for hours. The battle outside had ended. Now it was a dual tot

he death, for all three of them." He took another bite of his apple

and looked at Omerian, who nodded and spoke.

"Zadoran, Illashadra, and Ahbandran fought for a long time.

Illashandra and Ahbandran did not want Zadoran to win. The only way to

successfully kill him was to use strong magic that Ahbandran could

create. However, if he used this magic, everyone in the room would

die. Illashandra gave her life for the two kingdoms. Ahbandran did as

well. Zadoran technically did as well. The magic Ahbandran used was

called Stakian-Laruna, or The Magic of The Soul. If he used it, it

would create a force so strong it killed everyone in its path. It was

the only option left." Omerian swalloed the rest of his apple and

threw the core outside. He wiped his mouth on the edge of his sleeve.

Gyer did the same with his apple core.

Zander sat, slowly chewing at the last of her cooked venison.

The land of Carige.. The name was familiar to her. Hadnt she been born

there? She thought to herself. An elven healer named Zanderenth had

found her, that much she remembered. It was he she was named after. It

confused her. She didn't remember much, but those two names. She

swallowed her mouthful of meet.

She looked at the three of them, tilting her head in curiosity.

"So did it kill them? If it killed Illashandra and Ahbandran,

shouldn't it have killed that lunatic in there?" She glanced at the

cage.

Tributian sighed heavily. "Well, it did. However, the court

wizard got a hold of his body first, somehow, we still aren't sure how

he got it. He did though. He performed some Dark Magic, and

resurrected his soul from the Lahsuna, or Underworld. He was brought

back to life, but the wizard wanted Zadoran to be the All Powerful

one. To take over each kingdom in ease. He performed a magic that is

very dangerous. He switched souls, and put part of himself into

Zadorans soul. Thus, there he stands now." He nodded towards the cage.

"We don't know how long the trance will hold him. We hope it

will hold long enough to get him back to Mandin-Shaw, where the most

powerful wizards and king live. He has some information that is

important to us. If he breaks free tonight, we are in some serious

trouble." Tributian grimaced slightly. The three wizards were silently

hoping that the spell would hold for at least a week. If it didn't,

then they were almost for certain dead.

Zander sat in wonder of it all. She wondered how she could not have heard of this man. She had been many places and met many kinds of people. Not a one of them had even so much mentioned the name. Zander shoved a bone left over from her venison around for a minute. She was studying the three wizards sitting there. It occurred to her just then how much alike they all seemed. She began to clean the juices off her paws.

"Where do the three of you come from? Are you brothers? You look alike." She paused in her washing, eyeing them. Omerian chuckled slightly while Tributian punched him in the arm. Omerian retaliated. He punched Tributian back. Gyer glared at them.

Gyer shook his head at the other two. He turned back to Zander. "Well, Tributian and I are. Omerian is our best friend from our training school. We have a tight ring of wizards back home Do we really look that much alike??" Gyer was some what amused, since he was the oldest of the three.

Zander grinned. "Yeah, you do. Tributian has your hair style and the same eye shape. Even though you are taller and I assume older, you two have very similar resmblences. If Tributian had blue eyes he would look almost exactly like you. Well, and if your hair color was the same. Yours is brown, his is blond." She sat, staring at them in thought. Omerian was shorter then both of the others. Tributian and Gyer were around 62, 6'3. Omerian was around 5'7 with short, brownish-red hair. His eyes were green, like hers. She stared at his eyes. How similar they looked to her own. She shook her head, Tributian was talking to her and she hand't heard a word he said.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" She asked him. "I um, wasn't paying attention." Her eyes dropped to the bone she had been playing with earlier.

Tributian smiled slightly. "I was saying that tomorrow night we must leave with the Dark One before any of his followers find us. I am sorry that we did this, but you are no longer safe in your den. If they find you here they will surely kill you. If you want you can come with us. You will be fairly safe with the three of us, until we can get the Dark One back home again." He frowned slightly. "I know it's a change, all of this. As soon as this is over I promise that one of us will change you back to the way you were before you met us."

Zander sat there. "Great," She thought to herself silently. "Just great. As soon as I find a spot to call home with good hunting nearby someone has to come in and change it all. But do I really want to be changed back? I rather like this, being able to talk this way." She sighed heavily and spoke aloud.

"I suppose I have no choice BUT to go with you. I really don't mind being the way I am. Scaring the hell out of un-suspecting humans rather amuses me." She scratched behind her right ear. That one spot ALWAYS itched.

The three wizards laughed. They had been expecting that answer. Omerian grinned.

"Well then that's settled. Tomorrow night when the moon first rises we leave. In the mean time," He stood, he pushed back the right sleeve of his dark green robes. "He held his hands in the air and said a quick spell. A silverish blue light formed around the cave and a little ways to the outside. "I suggest we all remain in here until tomorrow night. I have put a spell on the cave so that it seems as though there is none. None may enter without getting a nasty shock." He smiled, proud of his spell.

Zander rolled her eyes. She wondered if he was always such a show off. She yawned and turned to Gyer and Tributian.

"I think I'm going to go to sleep now. I don't care what you do. Just be quiet when you do it." She eyed Omerian. "And don't go doing anything stupid. I have had enough excitement for one day." She walked over to her favorite corner and laid down.

Gyer smiled slightly. He made a wave of his hand. A warm, soft blanket appeared. He stood and quietly put it around her shoulders. He then went back and made himself a bed of blankets with a quick spell. He turned to the other two.

"I suggest we get some sleep as well. The wolf is right. I believe we have all had enough excitement for one day." He glanced at Zander, the black blanket moving up and down as she was apparently already in a deep sleep. "The spell that you cast," he glanced at his friend, "Should last untill nightfall tomorrow. Then we will move out. We have little time to waste." Gyer then layed down on his blankets and pulled one around his shoulders. He made another wave of his hand and made a pillow appear. He sighed heavily, warn out. He was getting WAY to old for such adventures. He closed his eyes. Soon he was asleep.

Tributian and Omerian glanced at each other. Tributian sighed.

"We had better do as he says." He claped his hands lightly and made similar beds to Gyers. "Tomorrow night will get here soon enough." The two of them laid down on either side of the fire.

Soon, the den was quiet again. The only sounds were the heavy breathing of the four companions. However, outside in the darkness, animals stirred. There was a rumor amung the smaller animals of the underbrush. Unicorns. A whole herd of them. That was really unusual, especially this time of the season. Unicorns normally migrated north in the Autumn. This time, they were headed south. A whole herd. What the Forrest animals didn't know was that they weren't ordinary unicorns. It made no difference in their purpose. They were headed south for a reason. To find the three wizards that at that moment, were sleeping soundly in Zanders cave.

Zander awoke to the smell of cooking meat the next afternoon. The wizards were up already, making preparations for the journey back to Mandin- Shaw, which was to the north of them. It would take at least three , maybe four days to get there. It depended on what route they took. Zander got up and yawned, stretching. The blanket fell off her when she stood. She looked at it, surprised, and then took a corner of it in her mouth and walked with it over to Gyer, who was sitting in front of the fire, cooking an afternoon meal. Zander dropped in on his knee.

"Thanks for bringing me that last night." She sniffed the air eagerly and licked her lips, the smell of cooking potatoes and some kind of meat filled the air. "Is that deer I smell?? I thought the three of you didn't eat deer?" She looked at him questioningly.

Gyer chuckled. "No, its not deer. Its foul and roasted potatoes. I hope you like bird meat. Its all we have time for at the moment." He poked at the black pot on the fire with a wooden cooking spoon. Stirring the mix, he glanced at her. "Did you sleep well?"

She nodded and stretched her front legs, yawning. "Where are the other two? I really hope Omerian isn't causing trouble." Zander gave Gyer a meaningful look. Gyer began to laugh.

"No, no, he is out with Tributian. The two of them are trying to find out from the animals what the fastest way back to Mandin-Shaw is." He continued to stir the food, its smell quickly filling the den.

Zander stared at him quizzically. "You need directions? To find the way back to your OWN home?" She stared in disbelief. "Honestly," She shook her head. "You people are WIZARDS. Cant you just like, use magic and transport back or something along that line?" She sat down next to him, her stomach starting to growl.

Gyer laughed this time. "No, it isnt that simple. If we do that, then the followers of the Dark One will be able to know we used magic in order to get back. Traces of the traveling spell will be left in the air. It will be extremely easy for them to track us. That is what we DON'T want. If we travel by forest in secrecy, it will be easier to reach our destination without a lot of people knowing." He picked up a bowl and spooned some food into it and set the bowl in front of her. He made a few movements with his hand a a blue light flashed in front of him. A green and black smoke cloud followed shortly after.

Zander glanced up at him. "And that would be a." She was slightly confused.

Gyer smiled. "Its time for lunch. I've merely called them in from the forrest. A simple spell, called time for lunch." He spooned himself a bowl and filled two others while he was at it.

Zander shook her head. "Wizards" she thought to herself. She decided it was time to eat. The smell was delicious and she was hungry. She took into it with relicious. She wasn't that big on potatoes, but she ate them anyway. They weren't THAT bad, after all. She heard a noise at the den entrance. It sounded like a combination of wolfs howling and men yelling. She stood up and rolled her eyes. "Honestly," she thought. "Those two cant stay out of trouble for a few hours out of my site." She looked to Gyer, who was already at the den entrance.

Gyer cursed silently to himself and made the web disappear outside. Omerian and Tributian were hauling butt back to the cave, with three or four wolves behind them. Zander snapped at Gyers ankles, who was staring in disbelief at what he was seeing.

"Don't just stand there!! I don't exactly want those wolfs in my den!!" She growled at him. Before he answered her she charged out of her den, her alpha instincts kicing in. She charged into the small pack that was chasing the two men. Omerian and Tributian made a leap for the entrance and the safety of Gyer.

Zander forgot for a few moments that she could talk the human language, and for a few moments she forgot she wasn't a normal wolf like the ones she was fighting. The largest one came at her first. The black male was large and powerful, and she had a time with him. She quickly made a bite on the tail which sent him scampering to one side while the others took over. The silverish, white colored wolf, a female, was furious at her and came at her, all fangs. Zander laid into her with ease. Fighting was normal for her. This was a fight for dominance. They were not about to take over her den, not if she had anything to say about it. The silver wolf had backed down, Zander had sank into her neck fairly well and was cleaning her wound, next to the black wolf. The last two wolves came, but unwillingly. The last two were smaller. One was pure brown with one white front foot, and the other was a gray. Zander merely clawed at them in the stomach area, the gray didn't back down so easily. It took her a few moments to beat him down with the others. She stood, teeth bard, back arched, in a battle stance. She circled the group that had tried to attack them. She growled at them .

"What do you want? Why have you come here and what right do you have attacking these men?" She asked them in the wolf language, so the humans couldn't understand.

The black male stood, baring his teeth. He approached her slowly, sniffing the air, smelling the cooking that was going on in her den. He spoke in a low voice.

"They were attacking us. We were out hunting deer and they came at us with fireballs. We were minding our own business and they came. Do you defend the humans? What kind of wolf are you, to defend the ones who hunt us down so easily?" A growl escaped his throat and he barked at her, growling, circling her.

Zander circled around him as well. She rolled her eyes. "Do you think I have much choice in the matter? Have you ever heard of The Dark One?" She hoped this would cause some fear in him and that he would back down.

The black wolf stopped pacing. "Yes. I have." He grimaced. "How do you know of him? Are you in league with him??" His face began to grow angry and the others stood at the mention of the name.

Zander glared at him. "No!" She hissed. "I am with the humans to protect our kind. The Dark One is in there, in a cage. I helped capture him. I fight to protect our race. He is in there, if you want to see him." She started circling him again, not quite trusting them yet. The Silver wolf approached her.

"My name is Amaro. We come from the west. We don't really have a pack, just the four of us. I don't think your humans meant us any real harm. but they did throw fireballs at us. Maybe it wasn't directed at us in particular, but they did fly over our heads." She growled and slashed a claw out at the black wolf. "Back down, Kalmeca. She means no harm here. We are in her territory after all." Amaro glared at Kalmeca. She turned to Zander. "He does it all the time. On behalf of the rest of us, I apologize." She nodded her head in the direction of the others.

Zander stood there, taking it all in. She glanced at the wizards. She turned to Tributian. "They say you threw fireballs at them. Is it true?" She glared angrily at him, she new he could be dense, but not that dense.

Tributian approached cautiously. "No." He said softly. "We were not attacking them. There were evil Grikin birds above them that would have liked to have them for lunch. We were trying to protect them .Grikin birds are the messenger birds sent by the evil wizard we told you of last night. They were in search of The Dark One, and of lunch. We had just finished scaring them off when the black wolf took off after us."

Zander translated all of it to them. They were staring at her. Amaro spoke up timidly.

"How is it that you speak and understand the human language? How is that possible?" Amaro glanced at her, a slight look of fear in her eyes.

Zander knew that she shouldn't have spoken to the wizards in English. It was too late now though. She sighed heavily. "The wizard Gyer, the tallest one over there, gave me the gift." She said softly. "It was necessary in order for them to succeed in trapping the Dark One."

Amaro and Kalmeca flinched at hearing his name. The younger two came up behind them and nuzzled Amaro. Amaro smiled as she looked back at them. They were barely older then five week old pups. Amaro brought both of them forward. She smiled.

"This one," She made a motion with a paw to the brown wolf, "Is Truit. The gray one is Alandor." Her smile faded. "We had more to our pack. However, we ran into the Dark One, and he killed our alpha, and the rest of our pack. We are the only ones who managed to escape." Amaro looked at her. "We could use an alpha, and you are strong. I know we have just met, but will you join us?" Kalmeca looked shocked at Amaro's offer but said nothing. Truit and Alando just stared at her.

Zander sighed heavily. She looked at the wizards, who stood with there arms crossed, looking back at her. She thought for a few minutes. She had made a promise to them that she would help them. Maybe, with the aide of these wolves, they would be even more successful. She glanced at Gyer, who was smiling at her. She walked in front of the group, looking at each in turn.

"I will be glad to be your alpha. However, I have made a promise to these humans. I am bound in a promise to help them stop The Dark One from taking over. I will be your alpha with the acceptation that all of you speak their language, and help us in our quest." She sat, waiting for them to respond. Zander glanced at the wizards, who were standing there waiting.

All the wolves looked at each other for a moment and nodded in unison. Kalmeca spoke.

"Then is shall be so. I ask your forgiveness for attacking your human friends." Kalmeca bowed his head to her. " I pledge to protect my new alpha to the death." Amaro stood and said the same, and all did in turn. Amaro smiled.

"Forgive me. I ask you to be alpha and I don't even know your name." She sat, anxiously waiting.

Zander grinned. "My name is Zander. I accept all apologies. It is time for a new beginning, for all of us." She turned to Gyer. "They are now my pack. I am Alpha. They are going to aid us in this quest. I ask of you to give them the gift you have given me, so that I will not have to translate every time they wish to speak."

Gyer nodded. "Well done, Alpha Zander, well done. Impressive, to say the least. Of course, I will give them the gift. Tell them all to step forward. He sat down on the ground.

Zander translated. The wolves all cautiously stepped forward in front of Gyer. Gyer was sitting on the ground, so as to ease their fear. Amaro stepped forward first. She sat in front of him. Gyer put two fingers on her forehead. A small flash of blue smoke appeared. Amaro blinked in surprise.

"Zander?" She was trying out the human language. Amaro suddenly laughed and stood. "Thank you, Wizard Gyer. Tis a marvelous gift!!"

Then Kalmeca, Alandor, and Truit stepped forward nest. They all were happy to receive the gift. Then they didn't stop talking. Gyer and Omerian glanced at each other. Gyer decided it was enough.

"Enough!! Please, we have things to discuss and we must leave soon. If you wish to come with us, prepare to leave soon. We are going back to are home, to Mandin-Shaw." Gyer stopped when Amaro raised her paw.

"Yes?" He asked, chuckling.

Amaro spoke timidly. She was still getting used to her new, human voice. "On our way here, we have heard rumor of a heard of unicorns heading this way. We have yet to see them. However, unicorns are rare in the south. Especially in Autumn. They are still coming. Rumor in the small animal world says that they will be here shortly, within the next few days. I know it is out of your way, but I suggest we try to meet up with them. Unicorns here, in Autumn, must mean something."

The three wizards glanced at each other. They might as well, if it was on the way back. Tributian nodded.

"All right then. If you know where they are, then let us be off." Tributian turned back to the den and made a motion of his hands. The den was cleared of everything but the cage which the Dark One was held.

The three wizards began to chant together, lifting their hands to the skies. Slowly, the cage levitated out of the den. It landed in front of the wizards. The wolves exchanged glances. Gyer whistled and the horses came from where they had left them grazing in the pasture the night before. The three wizards mounted. The cage floated a few inches above the gournd. Zander snorted.

"Urm, Gyer?" She asked. "If your trying to be discreet about this, aren't people and animals going to notice THAT?" She nodded towards the glowing cage floating off the ground.

Gyer grinnned. "Have you ever heard of invisibility? Well, guess what spell we cast over it?" He glanced at her, a smug look at on his face.

Zander rolled her eyes. She turned to her newly found pack.

"Its time to move out. If your coming come. Just don't slow us down. Alright?" Zander turned and began to trot ahead of the wizards. Amaro followed, and the others picked up the pace. Zander began to sniff out a trail, a safe one. "This should be interesting." She thought to herself. "Oh well, its time to have some fun!" She began to run, breeze blowing threw her fur. It was time for a new beginning in her life.

Zander ran through the woods, Amaro next to her. The two led the pack and wizards, with glowing cage in tow, through the woods. It was fun having other wolves around. Zander had almost forgotten what it was like, to be part of a pack. To be alpha, at that. She wondered slightly why Amaro had chosen her so fast. Amaro barely knew her. Myabe she was in desperate need of control, Kalmeca didn't seem all that bright. Then, she didn't really know him either. She stopped briefly, panting, and the rest stopped as well. She turned to Gyer.

"When do you want to stop?? I cant keep running like this all night you know. I smell the unicorns. They shouldn't be too far ahead of us. It might take a day or so. Their scent travels far. It's a sweet smell. I know you cant smell it, but wolves can. They should be a day or two ahead of us. I say we make camp. If you want to sleep during the day and ride at night, it might be a wise choice to stay hidden." She sat down, breathing hard. It was difficult tracking the unicorns. Their scent smelled of lavender and honeysuckle. And in the woods their was a lot of both around, depending on where one was.

Gyer ran his hands through his hair. He sighed and glanced back at the cage. The Dark One was still sitting there, not moving. He glanced at the others, who shrugged. Gyer rolled his eyes.

"I don't see why not. As long as we have an invisibility spell cast over us, I think we should be all right. I just don't want to wait any longer then we have to." Gyer glanced around them. He didn't want any one to sneak up on them. It was time to prepare several spells to protect them. He wondered how long it would actually be before they met the unicorns.

Zander and Amaro were sniffing around, seeing if they could tell just how close they were. Kalmeca, Alandor and Truit decided to go hunt and bring back food for them. Zander sighed. It was difficult to tell where they were. It didn't seem like they would be that far behind. She new the wizards were in a hurry. The day or two had been shorter then reality, she had fibbed a little. She really wasn't exactly sure. For all she knew they could be right on top of them, and they were hiding in the woods, watching. Zander really didn't know. The two days was a close enough guess. She and Amaro went back to the camp to see what the wizards were doing.

The wizards were setting up invisibility shields. Zander glanced at Amaro and both of them went to a river nearby.

Zander sat, worn out. The river was peaceful. She started washing her paws. Amaro sat next to her.

"Do you think we'll see the unicorns tonight? Their scent smells

terribly strong. I don't think we are that far away." She glanced at

the river. She saw a fish and stood. Stand at the edge of the bank she

waited. She lifted her front right paw and lunged. She tossed a

fairly big fish onto the shore. "Let's fish, just in case the others

don't find anything."

Zander with washing her paws and stretched. She stood next to Amaro.

The two of them took turns catching the fish. Zander caught 5, and

Amaro caught 8. Zander tossed another into the pile. She scratched her

ear and sighed.

"I don't know, honestly, how close we are. I think you may be right.

It smells like they have been at this river. Then again, it could be

the flowers around. It's hard to tell, and annoying to track them. I

hope they come tonight." Zander waited while Amaro caught another fish

and tossed it to the bank. "I think we have enough fish. Lets get back

to the wizards. I want to know what we will do now. I'm getting

hungry. I hope Kalmeca and the others were able to find some meat to."

Amaro nodded in agreement. It took them a few trips to get most of the

fish back to the camp. Gyer started a fire when he saw them come back.

Omerian got the pan out and Tributian began to magic up some other

food for them. Zander and Amaro sat down across the fire from Gyer.

They heard Kalmecas howl, and he and the others came back with two

rabbits, and a few bits of dear. Zanders stomach growled. She was

hungry and the meat looked awfully good.

However, she wanted to know what they would do next.

"What are we going to do now? Wait for the unicorns?" Zander yawned

and licked her lips when Gyer started throwing the meat into the pan.

"I think we might run into them in the morning, depending on where

they are compared to us. I suggest we wait here. But its whatever you

want to do." Her stomach growled. The smell of cooking meat once again

filled the air.

Tributian sat down next to Gyer and Omerian. Omerian was cutting up

apples and potatoes to go with the meat. Gyer and Omerian sighed at

the same time. Zander raised her eyebrow. Omerian cleared his throat

and spoke.

"I say we wait. If the wolf is right, we shouldn't be that far from

them. If they do not come in two days we move on. We have little time

to waist. For unicorns, two days is all I will wait." Omerian threw

some of the potatoes in the pan. The other wizards nodded in silent

agreement.

Zander glanced at Amaro, Kalmeca, Truit and Alandor. They didn't seem

to mind, they all nodded their heads. They came closer to the fire

when the meat began to look ready. Each had plenty to eat that night.

The wizards told them stories, myths of the woodland creatures. They

laughed at some, were silent at others. It was times like this that

Zander loved. She felt excepted, and was soon full of meat. The warm

fire made them all sleepy. Soon it was night, and the moon was full.

The scent of meat was still in the air, but Gyer doused the fire to

where it was a light blaze, and took the first watch. The wolves slept

in a circle around the fire, and Omerian and Tributian whisked up beds

and were soon fast asleep.

Zander was tired, and was sound asleep in a few minutes. She wondered

if she would hear the unicorns if they approached them that night. She

hoped the wizards tales weren't true about some of the things that

lived in the woods. Then, with the invisibility spells, it shouldn't

matter. She slept without worry, and dreamed dreams of home, and her

favorite river.

It was late in the night when they came. Quaith, the black, powerful stallion came upon the camp. He sensed the invisibility shields. Unicorns could sense such magic's. Especially if they were shifter unicorns, which these were. Quaith motioned the others forward. Eight other unicorns stepped out of the night and into the moon beams. Quaith gave a loud whinny to arouse the sleeping group. Gyer had drifted off, and startled, woke up. He stood, seeing the heard of them outside the invisibility shields.

Gyer shook his head in wonder. He had no idea how he had seen them. Gyer muttered a few words and dropped one shield , woke the others, and went to greet the heard. He bowed to Quaith. Gyer wasn't sure how to greet unicorns exactly, but that that would do for now.

"Greeting my friend!" He said pleasantly. "We hear from the underbrush animals that you have been looking for us. What is your business traveling south to find us?" He glanced back at the cave, where Zander, Amaro, and the other wolves were stirring, and coming forward to see who it was.

Quaith reared in the air, and the others did the sme. He then bowed his head in return. "I am Quaith. I am leader of the Glra-Uncornia, or Unicorn Shifters. We have heard that you have the Dark One. We would like to help you. We have a strong hatred towards the man. He killed off most of our kind. We are just now making up for those lost." He stopped and glanced at the others coming forward.

Zander approached and raised an eye brow at them. "So, you're the unicorns we've been tracking? You were closer then I thought." She yawned. "So what do you want, anyway?" She stood in front of Quaith, feeling somewhat small.

Quaith gave a startled snort. He hadn't expected the wolf to be able to talk. He glanced at all of the wolves. He should have suspected. They were with wizards anyway. Quaith snorted again.

"Are the pack of you part of the Wolerian Ghrana? Do you know Ziek and Rahyen? They are shifters to." Quaith raised an eyebrow at Zander.

Zander growled slightly. "You are shifter unicorns? Ive been a lot of places and have never heard of such beings. Prove yourself true shifters or Im not going to be very nice"

Zander growled slightly She didn't like this. Something about the unicorns just didn't feel right. She back up a pace when Quaith nodded. She backed up, her pack grouping around her.

Quaith and the other unicorns stood in a line in front of them. Quaith began a chant. Slowly a glow began to form around them. The glow got brighter and brighter and suddenly burst into a huge ball of light. Then, standing before them, were 4 females and 5 males. Quaith stepped forward. He knelt before Zander, dressed in brown leather pants and a soft, green tunic. He had shoulder length black hair. He had a yellow gem in the middle of his foread, where his golden horn used to be. He gently scratched her left ear.

"Is this proof enough for you?" He grinned, smiling at her. He felt in a leather pouch at his waist. He pulled out a piece of venison and gave it to her.

Zander grinned. "Yes, I believe you now." She smiled at him "Now, what do you guys want?"

Gyer, Omerian, and Tributian were staring in wonder. Quaith stood up and stepped forward to them He held out his hand to them.

"I believe, for humans, this is the proper way to greet people." He chuckled. "I am Quaith. Leader of the unicorn shifters. I believe that we can help each other."

Omerian stepped forward and held out his hand. "I am Omerian. Wizard of the First League. It is an honor to meet you." He shook Quaiths hand firmly and stepped back.

Gyer followed in suit. "I am Gyer, Wizard of the First League as well. I to, am honored. I think we might be able to help you. After introductions are made, please, come and have some meat, and we will talk."

Tribution stepped forward and bowed again, and shook his hand. I am Tributian, Wizard of the Second League. I am honored to meet your kind." Tribution bowed, and wen t back to the fire. He put more meat on the pan.

Zander bowed to Quaith. "Forgive me for sounding harsh. I had to make sure you were for real" She glanced to the others, who one by one came forward. Amaro stepped up first, then Kalmeca, then Alandor, and last of all Truit. "This is my pack. The silver one is Amaro, The black one is Kalmeca, The young brown one is Alandor, and Truit is the gray. If you are friends of the wizards, then you are friends of us." She went and sat next to Amaro.

Quaith smiled. "Thank you for your words, Alpha Zander. These are my people: Tura, the woman with blond hair, Kien, the man with short, brown hair, Toah, the male with short white hair, Kiana, the woman with medium long, red hair; Alana, the woman with short black hair, Jessiea, The woman with long red hair, Kenten, the man with short brown hair." Each stepped forward and bowed as their name was called. They all went to sit by the fire after they were introduced.

Zander and her pack went and sat down n one side. She wondered how this was going to go. Well, at least they had finally found them. She sat and waited eagerly. For it was apparently time for a story. And she loved hearing stories.

They all sat around the fire eating the meat. It was silent for a while. Then Quaith spoke.

"I think that it is time we told you why we come here. Zadran had killed most of our heard. I want vengeance. I think we can help you get him safely back to wherever you are taking him. I want to help end his rule. I hate him. My heard despised him. We want to help you." Quaith took a swig of water out of a canteen that was passed around them.

Gyer nodded. He swallowed and took a drink of cider form his mug. "I don't see why not. I understand your hatred. We all hate him as well. We must get him back son. The cage wont hold for much longer." He glanced at it, and at the Dark On sitting silently inside. Little did he know that there would be trouble that night. '

Omerian and Tributian nodded in agreement. "Its fine." Omerian said. "We must be leaving soon after dawn breaks. I'm not sure how long it will take us to get home, but I want to get there as soon as possible." Tributian merely nodded in agreement. He was too busy stuffing his face with the meat and potatoes to say anything.

Zander spoke up. "We'll help you get him there to. I don't know much about the idiot, but from what I've heard I don't like him." She went back to eating her rabbit.

Quaith nodded approval. "Alright then. At dawn we leave. We will shift back to unicorns then, for we can run faster and save us time. If you think your cage wont hold until we get him to wherever you are from, we can take him to the Wolerian-Ghrana people. They will help us. We are allies with them. We can stay there until we can find a suitable way to transport him. They are a nice race, and they will be more than happy to help."

The wizards and wolves nodded in unison. Quaith gave a slight chuckle. He had come upon an interesting group of people indeed. It was growing late into the night. The group finished their meal. Then they all went back to bed, hoping that no more exciting events would happen that night. What they did not know, however, was that the Dark One was slowly stirring in his cage, and would soon cause more trouble.

Dawn was beginning to break on the small camp. Suddenly, a loud bang exploded in the air, and a flash of black and silver smoke ignited in the morning light. Everyone was up at one, and wondering what in the hell was going on. Zander stood, ears back and teeth bared. She didn't know what was going on, but wizard fire of many colors was flying back and forth above their heads. The wizards were standing in a line with Quaith. A ball of golden light shot from his hand, she turned to where it was headed. "Oh lord!" she thought silently to herself. "Hes escaped! Shit, this is ALL we need!!" She motioned for her pack to form a slight V shape around her. The approached with caution. The unicorn heard were shooting the Dark one with spears , rocks, whatever they could find. Gyer saw them moving and cried out for her to stay back.

"Don't go near him yet! He'll kill you!!!" Gyer and Omerian threw a ball of silver light at the man. Zadoran laughed evilly and ducked, and the light bounced off the cave wall. It nailed Kalmeca in the ribs. He doubled over. Zander growled angrily.

"Amaro! Take him to the woods. Alandor, Truit, go with her. I'll stay with them." Zander growled again. This was pissing her off. He had just hurt her new pack member. She wouldn't stand for this much longer. The others were still standing there, not sure to go or no. "GO!! NOW!!" She cried out angrily. They took to the woods, Amaro helping Kalmeca along.

Zander sneaked out of the battle, running as fast as she could in the woods. She hoped to come up behind the dark one without him noticing. With the all the wizard - unicorn fire and smoke, she should be able to. She ran, and keeping a track on the way the fire was aimed, managed to sneak up behind him. To hell with Gyer's warning. This was her battle to. He had just hurt Kalmeca. She would not stand for it any longer. She gathered up all the speed she could muster. She leapt onto a rock ledge that was behind them. She took a running leap and landed on her mark: Zadorans back. She sank her teeth into his neck, and he cried out in agony and swore at her. She reached behind him and jerked her off. She rolled a few feet away. She stood again, dizzied from the toss but not about to back down. She lunged again. This time, she went for his ankles. She managed to get a few nips in and draw blood before he began throwing wizard fire at her. Gyer yelled at her to run. She didn't, she was just getting started.

Omerian was suddenly on the rock ledge she had been on a moment before. She wondered vaguely how he had gotten there so fast, and then remembered he was a wizard, after all. He leaned over the edge, and shot a ball of black smoke and light at Zadoran. It him it in chest, and Zadoran flew back and hit the wall. Zander ran at him, sinking her teeth in his right leg, and the left. She reared back when sudenly he came to life again and tried to grab her. She bit his finger down to the bone and heard it crack. She heard Gyer calling to her. Omerian jumped off the ledge and lifted a few feet in the air above her. He was throwing red fire balls left and right. Zander took the opportunity and ran beside Gyer, Quaith and Tributian. Gyer looked at her briefly while throwing blue fireballs.

"I told you to run! You could have gotten killed! Please, go with your pack! We'll meet you five miles downstream when we are through with him!" Gyer gave her a pleading look. Zander sighed. She was tired and panting hard. She new she wouldn't be of much help if she was this warn out.

"I will go only if you promise that all of you will come back alive. That is my only condition." She looked hard at him. Zander had taken quite a liking to the man and his friends. She didn't want to come back and find them dead. Gyer nodded.

"Its done. Go! Hurry, while there is still time." He dodged a silver bolt of lightening that was thrown at him. Zander licked his hand hanging at his side affectionately and took flight to the woods. She howled to Amaro, who answered her.

Zander almost didn't see her, and ran into Amaro. She skidded to a stop, panting. Amaro licked Zander's face. She was bleeding a little from being slung against the wall. Amaro helped to where Kalmeca was laying, trying to recover.

Amaro glanced at her alpha worriedly. "What do we do now? I feel bad, because we did not help you fight. Surely we can do something to help them back there." She turned to see if there was still wizard fire flying in the air, and there was.

Zander laid down next to Kalmeca. She was exhausted. "Gyer said to go five miles downstream and to wait for them there. I'm not leaving untill I see the wizard fires cease. When they do, I know they are either all dead, or the wizards and unicorn shifters have managed to escape alive. I wont leave untill then." She licked a wound on her front left paw. She wasn't that hurt, but she felt warn out. Alandor and Truit appeared with a few small rabbits which were shared among the pack. They ate and watched the battle from far off. All they could see were different colored smoke and light, but that was enough to tell them what was going on. It lasted for a good while. Another hour and a half at least. The oack watched and waited silently. Finally, it ceased. Zander stood, her ears pricked, listening for the wizards and unicorn shifters. She smelt the smoke coming close and the pack stood, even Kalmeca. Into their midst walked Tura, Kien, Toah, Kiana, Alana, Jessiea, and Kenten. They looked tired. Zander approached them in a friendly manner, wagging her tail, to show she was still on their side. Kenten stepped forward and held out his hand. She gave it a friendly lick and he smiled at her.

"Well?" She asked. "Whats happened? Where at the wizards and Quaith?" She saw them give each other worried looks. She glared at them.

Alana sighed heavily. "There was a lot of smoke, and commotion. We do not know for sure what happened, but they are gone. Zadoran is gone to. There was a huge burst of black light and then they all disappeared. We could hear them shouting, but by the time the light and smoke cleared, they were gone." Alana ran her hands threw her hair.

Toah spoke up. "I say we try and find them. I don't know what else to do. I wont leave my leader in the hands of Zadoran. What did Gyer tell you to do? I was occupied, I couldn't hear him." He looked at her worriedly.

Zander sighed. This wasn't what she wanted to hear. "He told me to go five miles downstream and wait for him. I didn't expect them to all dissappear. Let us go there, and collect our thoughts. Then after we are rested and have come up with a plan, we will set out after them."

The shifters and her pack nodded. The shifters began to stand in a line. Alana spoke.

"We will change to unicorns and then go. We have little time to waist." The heard nodded and began the chant Again the light appeared around them. It grew brighter and brighter and then exploded into a big ball of light. When it faded, a brilliant heard of unicorns stood before the pack of wolves. Zander stood in slight awe. Unicorns, even if they were shifters, were brilliant and powerful animals. She shook her head, getting out of her daze.

Alana spoke her crystal voice ringing in the air. "We leave now. We've got no idea where they are. Let us begin." She reared and began to run to the north. The rest of her heard followed her,and began to run as fast as they could. Zander stared at them in awe again, thinking about how powerful they were.

She looked at the other.s "Lets get going. They wont wait for us. Are all of you up for this?" Her pack howled in unison and leapt to their feet. Together as a pack they ran as fast as they could after the unicorns. "This should become very, very interesting." Zander thought to herself as she ran. She saw Alana and the others, they had slowed down a little for them. The pack yipped excitedly and ran next to their unicorn companions. As the unicorns kept on pressing, they had no time to waste.

Zander and her pack ran with the unicorns the five miles down the river.
She had a slight hope that the wizards and Quaith would be there, but she
knew in her heart they wouldn't be. She needed a rest, they had been
running hard for a good ten, fifteen minutes now. They weren't that far
from the spot Gyer had described. The unicorns were a few feet ahead of
them. They ran faster then wolves and would probably beet them there. It
didn't matter. As long as they all got there alive it didn't matter to
Zander who got there first.

Finally they reached the spot on the riverbank. Zander understood why
Gyer had chosen it. There was a little cave to one side, where the y
would have shelter for the night. There was also fallen logs around,
where the wizards would have a spot to sit. Zander shook her head,
chuckling silently to herself. The wizards might look powerful, but they
were really quite lazy, once she thought about it. The unicorns were
laying down, one by one, to take a rest and make camp for the nigt.
Zander and her pack trotted up to them.

"Alright," Zander panted. "We've made it. Do any of you have magic to
build a fire? We'll need one tonight. I suggest we pick who takes watch.
I have a funny feeling we havent seen the last of Zadoran. He knows we're
more then likely going to go after our friends. He's not stupid, he's
more then likely going to throw some monster on us at night. I want to be
prepared when he does." She sat down, and so did her pack. Amaro sat
beside her, Kalmeca on her other side. Truit, the youngest, came to her
and sniffed her nose, and Zander smiled. He curled up in front of her and
she laid her head on his back. Alandor snuggled next to Amaro. She rested
briefly and came more attention when the unicorns started talking.

Alana and Kenten sat next to each other in the middle of the group. They
bowed their heads and their horn tips met. A spark of fire spit from the
two meeting. It flew to the middle of the circle and set some leaves a
blaze. They grinned. Jessiea spoke up for the first time.

"Now what do we do. I am worried for Quaith and your friends. I am
anxious, and do not want to wait long. It feels like I should be doing
something to help them, but I don't know what!" She said, sighing
heavily.

Toah nodded in agreement. "I say we move out at dawn tomorrow. We all
need rest. We wont be able to help them if are energy is sapped." He
looked at the pack of wolves. "I know you are all tired. If two of us
shift to human and help you hunt, will you help us find some food? After
we eat we will sleep and begin again. We all need the strength." He
looked hopefully at them.

Zander was marveling at how beautiful their heard was. A normal unicorn
heard was all white, with maybe a black one here and there. This heard
was like a rainbow. Full of brilliant browns, rustic color, black, and
white. She had never seen unicorns of such color before. She was sure
that wherever their home was, there were many more colors. She shook her
head when Truit nudged her.

"Oh, yes. I'm sorry." She said sheepishly. Alandor stood up and yawned.

"I'll go with them, Zander. I'm not near as tired as you have got to be.
I'll go." He stood, seeming proud to volunteer for her.

Truit stood up at this. "I'll go to Zander!" He wagged his tail eagerly.
He turned to her and pawed at her shoulder. "We'll behave!"

Zander laughed. "All right then. Be careful and do what the shifters tell
you. Listen to them." She grinned.

Alana and Jessiea changed to human. Together, the four set off into the
woods again. Zanders stomach growled. She was continuously hungry, and it
drove her nuts. The rest of the wolves moved closer to the fir, and so
they could talk easier. Kalmeca yawned and stretched.

"What do we do tomorrow? We have no idea where to look. Does Zadoran have
a castle of some sorts?? If he does lets look there. I know its probably
too obvious. I think it's worth a shot though." He yawned again.

Kenten nodded in agreement. "I think that he does have a castle somewhere
to the east of here. I'm sure we can find it. I have heard of it, I'm
just not sure of its exact location. Its said to be a heavily guarded.
However I''m sure we can get some allies to help us." He grinned.
"Especially if we are in unicorn shape. Humans tend to have a soft spot
for us."

Zander and Amaro laughed. Kalmeca grinned smugly. Amaro scratched her ear
and looked up.

"Alright then. I say we head for this castle. We might be able to find at
least SOME idea as to where Zadoran took them." She continued scratching
her ear.

The unicorns nodded. Kenten yawned himself. Everyone was tired. He hoped
that they would come back with food soon. Almost at the thought they
returned. Truit bounded happily over to the fire. He had three rabbits in
his mouth. Pretty big ones too.

"Look Zander! I caught these all by myself!" He dropped them in front of
the fire. Zander smiled and glanced at Alana. Alana nodded, smiling, as
if to tell her he really did catch them on his own.

Zander scratched his head with her paw. "I'm proud of you. Now lets get
this food going." Alandor sat next to her, and dropped two birds next to
her.

"I helped catch these. Alana and Jessiea shot them down and I found
them." He glanced at her. He was not as good at hunting as his brother.
He still had a lot to learn. Zander licked his face in approaval.

"Well done. Im very proud of both of you. Now help them collect more wood
so we can keep the fire going all night." They nodded and scurried off to
help. Jessiea stayed behind and brought out a pan from her sack. She
cleaned the meat with water from a canteen. She began cooking the meat
over the fire. As she worked, she glanced at Kenten.

"What did we decide to do?" She asked softly.

"We go to Zadoran's castle. We might have some luck there." Kenten said,
glancing at her. "Are you up for the journey?" He changed to human shape
suddenly and put a hand on her shoulder.

She smiled and put a hand on her stomach. "Yes. I'll be fine." She
smiled, thinking of something that was apparently between them.

Toah looked at them, seeming startled. "Jessiea.." He said softly. "Are
you.." Jessiea smiled proudly at him.

"Yes. Kenten and I are having a child. We thought it best not to say
anything. But since its come up, I'm due in four months." She grinned at
their astonished faces.

Zander gave her a worried look. " Four months?" She thought a moment.
"Jessiea, you and Kenten should go home. With a child coming, I don't
want anything to happen to the two of you. I don't know about shifter
births. I didn't even know there were shifters around. What I'm trying to
say, I guess, is that I don't want anything to happen to the baby. If
Zadoran sees you pregnant, I have a funny feeling he wont hesitate at
killing your child, even before its born. I don't want it to die without
even having a chance at life." She watched Jessiea, concerned

Jessiea smiled. "Don't worry my friend. That is the beauty of being a
shifter. No one can really tell unless you tell them." She placed her
hand in Kentens. "We were to be wed before we heard of the Dark Ones
plot. That is more important than that. I choose to stay, and help as
much as I can. Come four months time.. I might leave you. I can not give
birth in front of others. I must be in unicorn form, and only Kenten may
be present, and our healer. It is bad luck for us to give birth in front
of other people." She brushed her hair out of her face.

Toah looked concerned as well. The other unicorns just looked shocked.
Amaro said nothing, and Kalmeca looked uneasy. It wasn't a mans business
to talk about child birth. He was beginning to feel uncomfortable and
stood.

"I think I'll go check on Alandor and Truit. They've been gone a while."
He said, in an uneasy tone. Zander and Amaro nodded. Toah and Kien stood
as well.

"We'll go with you. Wolves can't carry that big a load." Kien said
quickly. Together Kalmeca,Kien and Toah hurried off after the other two.

Kenten shook his head. "We shouldn't have said anything until it
happened. He put his arm around his wife to be. Jessiea leaned her head
on his shoulder.

"Let it be, Kenten. Its done now. It is better to be told anyway, in case
something happened." She smiled.

The meat was done. Alana gave portions out to each of them, and saved
some for the others. Zanders ears pricked up when she heard Truit's
voice, trying to sing something through a mouthful of wood. Alandor and
Kalmeca also had a huge pile of wood, and the two shifters had some as
well. She couldn't help but laugh. It was a funny site. Truit, Alandor
and Kalmeca dumped their lot onto the fire. Kien and Toah laid theirs
aside for later in the night. Truit went over to Jessiea and wagged his
tail.

"Is it true Jessiea? Are you going to have a baby?" He sniffed her hand,
being carful not to be to rough.

Jessiea smiled and scratched his head. "Yes, Truit. I am. Come here a
minute." Zander's head came up, watching him carefully. Truit gently made
is way to Jessiea's lap. Jessiea put Truits head to her stomach. Truit
looked up, started.

"I can hear it move!" He said, puzzled. "Does it always move that much??"
He looked at her in wonder. He put his head back to her stomach and
listened again. When he'd had enough he licked Jessiea's hand and got out
of her lap, going to his portion of meat and began to eat. All of them
were eating. Jessiea laughed.

"No truit. The baby doesn't always move. It does on the occasion. You
were lucky to be able to hear it." She ate a piece of meat and handed a
strip to Kenten. Alandor looked at her.

"May I listen?" He asked shyly.

Jessiea nodded, amused that wolves would do such things. Alandor glanced
up, and smiled at her.

"I'm sure it'll be a strong child. You have nothing to worry about." He
got off her lap.

Jessiea hugged him tightly. "Thank you." She whispered. "I hope so too."

Alandor beamed at her. It was quiet for a while, with only the sound of
munching. After the meat was gone, the fire was doused a little. Kenten
took the first watch while the others made a bed for the night. Kalmeca
snuggled next to Amaro, and Alandor slept in front of Zander. Truit
cuddled next to Jessiea untill Kenten's watch was over. Zander sighed.
She was tired. Soon everyone was fast asleep, except for Kenten, who was
keeping a close watch over his soon to be wife, and friends.