As the sun peaked out over the horizon, its fingers wrapped themselves around everything and bathed the country-side in light. The rays also spiked out into the sky to chase away the moon, stars, and the dark of night.
Ariel swam up from the black hands of sleep to open her eyes feeling well rested and energetic. Sitting up among over half the pack and Rain on one side, she looked around.
Jose had only awoken mere minutes before Ariel to see that he had all of the pups, Iconis, Scar, and Dart. He had trouble getting out of his bedroll without disturbing the rest of the wolves. After about five minutes, he managed to allow the warm bodies to take over his still warm bed. Turning around, Jose realized that Ariel was up and stroking the camp fire back into life.
"Morning," Jose said to Ariel when she turned around.
"Morning to you too. Looks like you've been adopted by the pups and half the pack," replied Ariel by nodding in the direction of Iconis who was pretending to sleep.
He is comfy and he is kind to the pups, Iconis informed Ariel. This two-legger is different then the others of his kind, but neither is he like you. You are of the beast-people. I can not understand it.
'I know, other two-leggers would either run from us or they would shoot you. Yet I told him my secret and he does not think me crazy.'
You're not crazy and you never will be. That is final and if anyone says otherwise, they can answer to me. To enforce this, Iorek went over to stand next to Ariel and gave a warning growl to everyone within hearing distance.
"What was that about?" Jose questioned the display of pure dominance from the alpha-male.
"Oh, Iorek is just arguing with me and protecting me at the same time."
"Oh, okay, just curious."
"That's alright, I tend to do that a lot, I just go into my own little world when I talk to the animals."
"I completely understand. I sometimes do that when I', talking to my horses but of course they don't talk back to me." Jose joked getting a little embarrassed.
"Of course they talk back! Just because you can't hear them does not mean that they do not answer you," Ariel replied a little confused that he would think that animals could not talk just because they couldn't speak two-legger language.
"Really? I never thought that they might just not answer me."
"Yeah, well they do answer you when you talk to them. You don't have to be spoken to have a conversation. Try watching their body language, you might not be capable of speaking with them as I do but that does not mean you can not talk and understand one another."
Jose's embarrassment was dissipating as quickly as it had appeared as he replied, "I understand now, thank-you. I just have to listen to the animal."
"Exactly, just listen to them. Now, how about we go get something to eat. The pack is getting hungry so they and I will lead you to the kill."
"Okay, that sounds good. I am getting hungry. Should I saddle up Thunder? Or are we close enough that I can leave her here?" He started to stand from where he was sitting against the tree. When the got up, all of the wolves even the pups stood and congregated at one end of the clearing.
"Oh, you should probably saddle up, the kill is quite a few miles away, also, Thunder says she will follow you anyways if you leave her here. She feels safest with you and Rain."
"Right, okay, let me saddle up and I'll be ready to go."
Ten minutes later, the pack of wolves led Jose who was one Thunder, and Ariel on Rain out of the clearing. The first quarter of the trip was peaceful as the sun glinted off the leaves of the trees causing the forest to become a bright shade of glittering green. Song birds could be heard harmonizing in the background with all the other animals of the forest.
The peaceful serenity of the journey was ripped apart and shredded as the wolves perked their ears and Ariel leaned forwards on Rain.
"There are scavengers at the kill. We must go and protect it. I am part of the pack so I must go with them. Rain will stay with you and lead you to the kill, I've told him directions since I will loose contact because of the distance."
"Okay, if you're sure. We will arrive as soon as we can." Jose assured Ariel since she looked concerned.
"Alright, I will see you in a few hours." As she said this, Ariel jumped from Rain's back to be surrounded by a brilliant blue light striped with white. She transformed into the jet black wolf as she jumped and took off after the disappearing wolf pack.
Shaking his head, Jose continued the trip to the kill by following Rain.
Running with the pack, there were no words to describe how Ariel felt while she ran with them. The pounding of dozens of paws on the leaf litter on the ground, and the synchronized breathing. It all made her feel as if all of them were one great wolf dashing through the trees and bushes to protect the kill that was rightfully theirs, their body a symbol in itself of power and strength.
Ariel had fallen into her spot just two steps behind Iorek and Nari. As she ran, she not only talked to the pack to get instructions on how they would carry out the process of scaring the mountain lions away from their kill, but also kept in contact with Rain and Thunder.
She kept up the double conversations for as long as possible, but she was getting out of range. Ariel's powers as you could call them could contact the beast-people over a very wide range, but after about fifteen or sixteen miles, she starts to loose communication with the animals outside of the area. This was what happened with Rain. As they talked about random things, the connection between them started to get fuzzy and crackly. Rain's voice started to become weaker and weaker until he was gone, the connection had broken.
Sighing, she said to Iorek, 'I lost Rain.'
Well, that does not matter, we are almost there. Once we force the mountain-brothers off our kill, then we can wait for Rain, Thunder, and the two-legger. Iorek gasped with and audible wolf grin.
'Your right, now lets teach the scavengers to stay away from our packs' kills!'
A chorus of yips and agreements were thrown back up at her from the other wolves as they all picked up their speed for the last mile of the journey.
Surprisingly, the two mountain lions were easy to disperse. The pack only had to charge into the clearing where the kill was and challenge them to a fight. Normally a mountain lion would be a brave beast and except the challenge thinking they could easily beat the smaller wolf, but these ones were not brave. But also, it could have been the large number of wolves present that intimidated them. Ariel refused to think that it was her that intimidated them into retreating. No matter if she was the best fighter in the pack. Even in wolf form she was small, it was the one thing that the pack always teased her about.
'Well, that was easier then I thought it was going to be,' she was just as surprised as them that the other animals has turned tail and run.
They were just terrified of your mighty size, they knew they would never best you in a fight, Shorttail informed her and skipped to the side as he avoided her nip to his flank.
'I very much doubt that Shorttail. They were probably scared you would step on them. You are almost their size.' She joked back good humorously.
Alright PUPS, why don't we eat, then wait for the others to catch up. As Iorek said this, several of the pups moved forward to claim pieces of meat. But FIRST, Ariel, you cut a piece big enough for the two-legger so that these gluttons don't scarf it all down.
'Okay,' and she proceeded to do as she was told. "Okay, gluttons away!" she chuckled when she finished and joined the wolves at eating. Their long dash to get to the kill had made her too hungry to wait for Jose to get there.
The sun said it was mid-afternoon by the time Ariel started to get worried. Rain, Thunder, and Jose had not arrived. In fact, she could still not contact any of them either, and by this time she should have been able to.
They probably just got lost. Although I never have seen Rain lost, but there is always a first time for everything. Nari told Ariel as they layed down by her side.
"Yeah, that's probably it. Rain just got disoriented… I'm just worried for nothing."
If your that worried, you could ask our feather-siblings to look for them.
"Of course, why did I not think of that. You're a genius Nari, I love you!" Ariel was so happy that Nari had thought to ask her feathered-friends. 'Wing-brothers, Wing-sisters, could I please ask a favor? My friends are supposed to meet us here but they have not come and they are out of my range. Would it be too much trouble for one of you to fly the way they came and look for them? I'm not asking for an elaborate search, just for you to look and maybe pass information on them on to others if they are willing to help.'
I do believe I can be of assistance, a great voice said. A shadow fell over Ariel and then a red-tailed hawk alighted on the ground beside her. He was large for his species, and had deep brown plumage and the tail that was their name-sake. I am Sirree, if you would describe your friends, I would be happy to look for them as I hunt.
"Why thank-you, I will be in your debt." Ariel sent a mental picture of the trio they were looking for and the great hawk nodded his head.
You owe me no such debt. It is I who owed you a debt. When I was but a chick you saved me from the clutches of a poacher. With another nod, he took off and glided effortlessly in the direction in which the pack had come.
What seemed like hours later, Sirree returned to give a report to Ariel of what he saw.
I saw them but they were not alone. With them were many other two-leggers and hoof-siblings.
"What? Are you sure it was them?" There was no way Jose, Rain and Thunder would just join a band of travelers on a whim, especially not Rain.
I am positive it was them. It does not seem that they were with the two-leggers by choice. The two-legger you were looking for was arguing with the other two-leggers and they had him bond with rope. Rain even told me to warn you that they would not let them go. He was fighting the two-leggers who had put a rope around his head. He even managed to wound one of them. The only one who was reasonably calm was Thunder. She said she is used to two-leggers, they are not a threat. The group of them headed off in the direction of the setting sun. This is all of the help I can be at the moment. I am sorry, but I have chicks to feed. If I can be of assistance again just call me. With this, Sirree flew off into the west.
"Oh my God, they were kidnapped!" That was all Ariel could say at the moment.
A/N: WOW!!! I'm BACK!!! HA HA Happy Dance!! another chapter!! Well this chapter really is the plot one, so the story will start to unfold from here. I hope there is someone out there that is enjoying this, even though you are probably made up in my head… I'm probably dreaming you up so I can think someone likes my story other then me…. OH WELL… If you read this then just review so I know what you think!!!
Oh and by the way, I did not mention this before, smacks self over head some of my names for characters are from books… Like I got a couple of the wolves from the Longlake Pack in Tamora Pierce's books, and Iorek is from a book called East… Oh and Sirree is from another book that I can not think of the name of at the moment since it is 1:45 in the morning…. If there are any other names you recognize from some one else, I am sorry, I do not wish to steal them I just like the name…. Oh and I don't own them… Hides Iorek, Sirree and others in closet, no they are not here!!!…. Just kidding ha ha!!! Hoped you enjoyed it….