"I have a new trainee," Ulanda told the fire dragon-wolf she had just conjured, "and she recently conjured the earth wolf." She shifted to a more comfortable position, wincing from the pain in her sore muscles.
"Ha ha," the elemental critter laughed at her. "So that's why you're just lying there instead of offering to fight," he said walking out of the fire Ulanda had created (by turning into a dragon) and solidifying.
"Shut up, I'm just being nice to the pup."
"Yeah, I remember when you first summoned me."
"Ah what a fun night," she replied sarcastically.
"I must go I am being summoned."
"I hope it's by a trainee," she laughed.
She just grinned and heaved herself to her feet as he jumped into the fire. She dipped a wing into the nearby pond making a small cup and pouring the water onto the fire, which went out with a hiss. She flew over the pond and summoned the waterwolf. "I have a new trainee," she said, "and she recently conjured the earth wolf." The waterwolf snickered. "Yeah, yeah, ha ha ha, very funny," Ulanda said, shifting and wincing as her muscles protested the movement.
She reported this to the other two elements, then went back to the din clearing, Stormcloud looked up, "Time?" she asked, hoping that they didn't have to leave yet.
"Time," Ulanda replied shifting into a dragon, "Hop on."
Stormcloud leapt on her back, and got as comfortable as she could on dragon-back. They traveled south for two nights, stopping only to eat and sleep for about an hour at a time, Ulanda only stopped flying when she couldn't keep up the form; and then she landed and they ran until she could change again. Near the end of the second night Ulanda landed near a very small den, as Storm jumped off her back she could hear a waterfall nearby but other than that, it was complete silence, and that had scared her more than anything had in her life. "Go in there and stay there," Ulanda said nodding toward the den, "what ever you do, don't leave."
"Where are you going?" Storm asked as Ulanda shifted back to wolf form and prepared to fly off.
"I need to talk to him first, and I need food and I image you do too so I'll go hunting and bring back food. I'll try to get back as soon as possible."
"Okay," Storm said and went into the den as Ulanda flew off. Ulanda circled for a minute to make sure she went into the den and stayed there. She looked up, there was only one moon left in the sky and that would set soon, she needed to hurry.
Storm paced back and forth in the cavern that the den had opened up to. She was getting neurotic and worried a lot about Ulanda. It had been hours since she had left. Storm didn't dare disobey Ulanda and leave the den but it was getting very hard to stay put.
Suddenly there was a rustling at the den entrance, Storm's blood froze, she looked toward the opening and got ready to run. She let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding in as she saw Ulanda back into the cave dragging something black and very big. "Oh, you're back, what's that?"
"Food," Ulanda replied through her mouth full. When she got it into the cavern Storm saw that whatever it was looked like a unicorn but it's horn looked more like an antler. It had greenish-black scales, it's ears were just two holes in the sides of it's head, it's hooves were split into three sections, it's mane was sharp, thin spikes connected by a thin membrane, and it's tale looked long enough to wrap around it's body several times. Then she saw two stubs on its shoulders where wings used to be. Ulanda lay down near its stomach and began to eat.
Storm waited until Ulanda was finished then ate her fill. When she finished she looked towards Ulanda and saw her licking her paw, then she realized there was blood all over the dragon-wolf. "What happened?" she asked.
She looked up, then stood up and limped over to the creature. She placed a paw above it's mouth and pulled the lip up reviling the sharp teeth of a predator, "Here, even the prey can be a predator." She walked back over to her wall and started licking her paw again.
"Storm. Storm, wake up. It's time to go."
Storm opened her eyes to see two bright red dragon eyes in her face, "WAH!" she yelled, jumping back. "That was mean!"
"Time to go," Ulanda said, ignoring that statement.
Storm looked at the cave entrance, "But it's still light out," Storm said then bit at a flea.
"He wants us there at dusk and it's a long way to go. Now, let's go."
"Fine, I'm coming." They left the cave and ran, Ulanda going slowly for Storm's sake. They reached a huge cave just as the sun started to go down. Storm was panting heavily as they walked up to its entrance. Ulanda gave a low growl and there soon came a growl signaling them to enter. They entered slowly going deep in the cave; far enough to where the only light was Ulanda's glowing eyes.
After a lengthy hike they came to a small cavern lit by a small fire glowing in the middle of the hollow casting eerie, dancing shadow's across the rugged cave walls. Then a huge dragon-wolf—about two feet taller than Ulanda—stepped out of a subterranean passage. The old dragon-wolf was the color of dried blood—a reddish brown—and he had two dragon wings but they were ripped to shreds and many of the "finger" bones were broken. He glared at them with dull red dragon eyes (giving off no light as Ulanda's did), the pupils were to slits were so small Storm could barely see them in the dull light.
After a long, almost awkward silence the dragon-wolf spoke in a raspy voice, "Ah, Ulanda, my old student. It's hard to believe that you are old enough to have a trainee of your own."
"Yes," Ulanda agreed, "it seems that way even to me."
"What is her name?"
"Stormcloud, daughter of Honi, of a pack far to the north."
The old dragon-wolf walked slowly up to the young timber wolf and peered down at her. He towered over her and, although she was thoroughly terrified she stood her ground and met his gaze. He smirked and said, "You are afraid, I can smell it," she felt embarrassed to be found out, "but you should be. Even in my old state I could take down even Ulanda easily. Come child, we have much to speak of." So again Storm went off and learned things that only a new summoner could hear and only from the master of their master. In the mean time Ulanda went hunting.
Soon after the DW—as Storm had started calling him in her mind—and Storm had finished talking Ulanda flew in, in her dragon form carrying the same creature from last night. She had it's tail in her hind claws and this time she had left it's wings on pinning them to it's sides with her front claws. Storm could clearly see her small dragon body strained with the weight. She set the creature down almost dropping it, then shifting back to her wolf form; she landed with a sigh.
"Ah, Ulanda, just in time, oh good u left the wings on for me, thanks," the DW said.
"No prob, just save some for us," Ulanda replied moving aside to let the older wolf eat his fill first. After they had eaten the old DW and Ulanda talked all through the day and Storm, after getting permission, roamed the old cave. The next night Ulanda and Storm left, only flying until they left the strange land, from there they walked, now not in a hurry.
As they traveled Storm ask about the old DW and Ulanda told her about how he used to be a beautiful, pure white dragon-wolf, but he had fought so many battles that the blood of his enemies had permanently stained his fur. Then Storm asked about a verse that she had seen carved in the stone in her explorations of the cave. She traced it out in the dirt.
Ulanda peered at it confused for a long time then realization lit up her face. She smiled as she corrected one of the letters then read it aloud:
"Sorrow shudders through my body
As I realize what this means.
I am now forever earthbound,
A tear rolls down my cheek."
They stood there for a minute, Storm was confused at the sadness that shone dull in Ulanda's eyes. Then the black dragon-wolf looked up and explained, "Wings are a dragon-wolf's greatest pride. They give us a freedom that no ordinary wolf could ever feel. To lose the ability to fly is worse than to die for us." Storm remembered the old DW's torn and broken wings. "He must have written this just after his last battle when his wings were destroyed. Our wings give us all our powers—our ability to change into a dragon, to breathe fire—if we lose them then we lose our powers completely. His powers must be much weaker now. It's a wonder he still holds onto life."
"So, besides him being your old master how else do you know him?" Storm asked.
"When I was young all the dragon-wolves lived in that land. He was the leader of the strongest pack," here she looked into Storm's eyes, "he is my father."
Storm's eyes grew wide but that was the only surprise she showed. Then she thought of another question, "What's his name?"
"I don't know I always called him Master."