My first original fiction that I am writing officially.

-Tyrammafar the Worldmaker

No one saw the lone wolf approaching the warehouse at night. If anyone did, they wouldn't care. There were many stray dogs in the small city of Banpol, Texas, and no one cared to notice one more. The black wolf sniffed at a panel that was used to open the nearby gate, and it looked around to see if anyone was watching.

It stood up on its hind legs, punching in numbers. The gate opened, and the wolf leapt inside the parking lot. The warehouse door was slightly ajar, the hinges having been broken by an angry employee, and the wolf entered the building. The animal sniffed about in the darkness, seeking something.

On the bottom shelf of a nearby aisle was a small box filled with electronic parts. The wolf knocked it over and began rummaging around for something, finally grabbing a piece in his teeth. It was a chip, much like the ones in a normal home computer, but this one was much, much more powerful. It was a rarity this wolf had gone through much to find, and it couldn't leave it in the hands of a two-bit operation like this one. He had a better use for it.

No one saw the wolf enter, and no one saw it leave. At least, he hoped so…

Vedren

The Next Day

Vedren entered the zoo, nodding towards the ticket booth. He had long established that he would enter for free, and no one really cared if he did. Especially as there were few people in the city that knew how to work with animals. Vedren knew animals better than any man or woman in the world; he knew that for a fact.

Vedren angled for the lion cage, seeing one of the handlers going in the same direction. His long black hair was blown into his face by the wing, and he pushed it back with his gloved right hand. Under the glove was a black mark, like a tattoo, and he wanted it to stay unnoticed. Not because it was ugly, but because some people didn't like those with the mark of the Akrakt. In fact, some just didn't like the Akrakt at all.

Vedren tapped the woman he was following on the shoulder, and she turned with a gasp. She smiled as she saw his face. "God, Ved, you scared me." She said under her breath.

"Why would I try and scare you, Sarah?" Vedren asked slyly, his voice smooth and low. "I'm not that frightening you know." The woman frowned. "Anything wrong?"

"Glad you asked." Sarah pulled him over to look at one of the lions, and his eyes widened when he saw that it was lying on a rock, breathing heavily. Vedren could smell the lion's breath, and gagged as the rancid smell took its toll. "I have no idea what's wrong with him, Ved." Sarah said, shaking her head. "He's been like that all day, and none of the vets know what's wrong."

Ved went to the back, opening the door and entering the enclosure without asking. The people outside watched him, wondering who this man was. Vedren went straight up to the lion, and it sniffed and let him close. Vedren put his mouth close to the lion's ear so no one would hear him.

"What's wrong?" He asked in his native tongue. The sound was almost impossible for human ears to hear, but they heard a whispering noise if he was close. "What has brought you low?" The whisper of voice came from the lion, audible only to Akrakt ears.

"Something…in here." It said heavily. "Don't know what it is…sniffed it…made me…"

"Quiet, I'll take a look." Vedren looked over at the bars of the enclosure, seeing a small bottle near the edge. He picked it up and saw that it was a prescription drug, very powerful and very harmful to breathe the dust. He grimaced. "I will get you help. When the humans come in, let them near so they can help." The lion didn't answer, and Vedren left the enclosure. Sarah looked at him strangely.

"You never cease to amaze me, Ved." She said.

"He needs a lot of vitamin C, that should clear this up easily. His immune system is good enough to clear the poison, but he has not had much healthy food."

"You're a miracle at work, Ved." Sarah said, taking the bottle from him. "I'll see about his diet. How do you do this?"

"It would be in your best interests if you didn't ask." Vedren said forcefully.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Sarah asked, narrowing her gaze. Vedren shrugged and left her, disappearing in the crowd. The woman followed Vedren closely, but he was soon lost to sight. She sighed, noticing a raven perched on a tree branch, watching her. She watched it too for a time, and then it flew away. Sarah sighed again, wondering where the man had gone. She knew he wasn't just some normal animal enthusiast, that much was plain, but what was he really doing in the zoo at all times?

Night

Vedren sat on a stool in his shed, working on a large stack of computer equipment. He wired the new chip he had attained into the system, hoping for a miracle. He had taken up computer programming and repair as a hobby, and now he was doing something many humans had tried and failed to do. He switched on the power and leapt back as sparks flew. He sighed, watching it all grind to a stop…and then light back up.

The computer was working, now doing what it was designed to do. He watched the nearby screen light up with code, and then it all was translated into a readable text. There were only three words on it, but it was a breakthrough nonetheless. It was luck. The screen said in green letters. He sighed, eyeing the massive pile of expensive equipment. He shut it off, another failure.

He left the shed, jerking in surprise and snarling as he was met face-to-face with Sarah. He leapt back and swung his open hand near her face, as if he were clawing her. The woman didn't flinch, a grin on her face.

"Well, that's how you treat a lady." She said. Vedren growled at her involuntarily. "I followed your pet here. You trained a raven…how cute." She said sarcastically. "Well, it is illegal to own a bird in this city, though I have no idea why."

"If you don't want to get hurt, you will stay out of this." Vedren said without thought. He cursed himself, as that would only make her more suspicious.

"Is that a threat?" She asked, smiling slightly. "I am not afraid of you…or any of your-"

"It's not me you should be worried about." Vedren said, walking back to his house. Sarah followed him. "Listen to me, Sarah; it is best for both of us if you don't pry into my affairs. I'm warning you as a friend. If you must know, I am not supposed to exist."

Sarah gasped as the door was slammed in her face, and she walked away in indignation. She pulled out her phone as it rang, answering it automatically. "Hello?"

"You want the truth, then you will have the truth." A harsh voice said.

"Who is this?" There was a pause.

"That doesn't matter-"

"I think it does!" Sarah interrupted.

"Listen!" The voice said loudly. "If you want to know the truth about what's happening in this little city, go to the park, one hour…" There was a pause. "Make very sure you are not followed." The phone went dead.

"What have I gotten myself into?" Sarah whispered. She considered ignoring it, but this was something exciting, and she wanted to know what was going on…no matter who it was that wanted to see her.