Loren padded slowly across the damp rock slabs in a distant trance, her head low. She moved further away from the cave that her pack had inhabited for many weeks now. Kad had chosen to stay put for now; there was an abundant supply of deer in the area, and their cave was large.
"How long has it been? Three months?" She muttered sombrely to herself. She weaved through the trees, her body swimming in and out from underneath their shadows. She kept her head bent in lament until she had reached a wide rock shelf that jutted from the hillside, staring outwards to look onto the rest of the forest that fell downhill.
The wolf sighed and treaded forward so that she stood at the edge of the shelf. The night sky was of deepest blue, stars glittering like its many eyes. It failed to engross Loren so that her woes fell away. She considered delivering another far-thrown howl, but decided not to. She'd been calling almost every night for the past few weeks, hoping that if Tamaline was dangerously close, she would have heard her warning and been deterred.
"Thinking of warning your daughter?" A voice, coolly conveying young fury, caused her to wheel around in surprise. The wolf which it belonged to had slunk silently to behind her.
"Kad…I didn't hear you." Loren was desperate to pretend that she knew nothing of his accusation.
"Thanks to you, if she had been here before she would be gone by now."
"My howls are not to warn my daughter." She feigned indifference.
"Do not lie to your leader. You tricked me at the stream-she was close." He spat, still humiliated. Loren opened her mouth to speak again, but the alpha male continued.
"I will find her. With your help."
Kad snarled and drew his upper lip. He stepped closer, and the alpha female moved away.
"I am your leader. During my brief period at the stream, I did scent Tamaline. Of course, you'd lead me to believe that she'd then gone along the water. But I scented something more-her pup."
At this point, Loren had to contain her trembling. He couldn't know…he would not stop at hunting it down…
"You saw the pup. Tell me, Loren, what was this pup like?"
"I did not see it."
"I very much doubt your words." Kad eyed the edge of the rock shelf. He knew that it was not a dead drop, but to fall down such a steep slope might cause serious injury. "Tell me!"
"I didn't-" Kad gave another harsh snarl and paced forward, malice in his yellow eyes. Loren moved back, only to feel her hind paws teetering over the shelf edge. She looked pleadingly at the threatening wolf.
"Tamaline wouldn't want her mother dead." At this, Kad saw defeat in Loren's wide eyes. He stepped back, allowing the wolf some space.
"The pup…is a female."
"You lie!" A clawed paw bashed Loren on one side of her head, and she yelped in pain. Her eyes already spoke the truth. Kad's fury receded.
"Lupe has left behind a legacy, then." Loren remained silent, trying to block the pain emanating from her head.
"Our paths will cross one day, I'm sure. Tamaline will tell him of the past-"
"No. She won't. She won't ever let him know." Loren panted angrily. Judging by Kad's face, it appeared that he accepted that she was right.
"Perhaps that is true. But I will find them. Tamaline and her pup." He glared at the alpha female. "Go. Out of my sight." Fearing another blow, Loren hastily padded away. It was not until her ghostly form had disappeared beyond the trees that Kad turned back to the edge of the rock shelf. Tentatively, he looked over it. A reasonably steep drop: he'd underestimated it when he'd threatened Loren. She would have died from that fall.
Suddenly, a flash of rusty grey pelt at the bottom of the slope caused Kad to break out in sweat and quiver. With widened eyes, he peered down past the shelf again. No, it had been his mind. Just an old memory's manipulation. An unwanted memory came before his eyes: a yelp of shock, and a still body splayed out on the rocks. He shook his head to dispel it.
"You can't be a part of my life anymore, Lupe! Neither can you stop me from killing your precious son. I will hunt him down and destroy him!" Kad shouted out t0 the sky, as if to answer to a late wolf who stared down from the heavens.