The dark female continued running long after her pursuers had returned to their territory, before slowly coming to a stop. Her black sides heaving as she gasped for breath. Taking a moment to survey her surroundings the female found herself in a sickly part of the land. The trees where either dead or dying as pine beetles feasted eagerly upon their bark, dead braches, pine needles and nuts littered the ground like fallen warriors on a battle field; covering anything that managed to survive in the dismal place. A feeling of unease seemed to waft threw the forest like an invisible fog, settling inside the female's heart. Ears pinned against her skull, the female crawled along the forest floor, her belly fur rustling pine needles as she went. Keeping her tail tucked between her legs in an attempt to look less threatening, the wolf traveled deeper into the forest.
Minutes past, black menacing clouds swallowed the moon plunging the land into darkness. The farther into the forest the female wolf went the less afraid she felt, as the effects of the ominous forest and her previous chase wore off. No one was here, she had put quite a bit of distance between herself and the pack. They would not follow her, and here in this lonely forest she was unknown; a simple loner passing through an unclaimed piece of land. With each step the female's head and tail lifted higher as her confidence grew, until she was walking tall once more, she even went so far as to allow her tongue to loll lazily from her mouth. Before swiping it around her snout to remove the blood that had dried, causing her black fur to clump together, she had never liked the feel of her fur stiffened by dried blood and would quickly rid it of any traces of dried blood or hardened mud to keep her pelt clean.
With that done the female began to search for food once more, her shinning nose twitching as it took in the various scents left by the animals that inhabited the area a surprising amount still lived in the dying woods, most were birds and small rodents with the occasional deer, one time she even came across a trail left by a large bull elk. Making sure to change her course to avoid the larger animal the female continued her endless search for food; she had been unable to eat her fill of the pack's elk carcass. And although it did take the edge off of her gnawing hunger, it still existed, and she intended to change that as soon as possible. For six months she had been roaming the land as a loner-her visible ribs showed as much- driven from her pack by a younger female who had challenger her dominance- and won- the poor wolfess had struggled to stay alive.
Hunting down small prey, stealing from foxes and other small predators, even stealing from her own kind was all she could do to remain alive long enough to continue her seemingly endless wandering. Life as a loner was lonely and depressing, and one might be tempted to wallow in their own self pity as they relived past mistakes. But, like all animals the wolfess did not dwell on the past like humans, but in the present. And in the present, she was hungry.
Nose to the ground dark female stalked through the sickly forest, her nose twitching furiously as it drew in the scents of the dieing woods. Her ears turning this way and that to catch the slightest sound, only pausing in her hunt when a she heard the noise of a small creature scurrying along the forest floor near by, Mouth watering the wolf quickly picked out the squirrel from the other movements of the forest, and for several seconds the she-wolf watched and waited. Silently she drew closer positioning herself behind the smaller animal, with its attention focused on the nut in its paws the squirrel had not noticed the predator closing in on it.
Normally wolves didn't hunt squirrels, but the female was hungry and no other prey had presented itself to her like the young squirrel had so graciously done. Ever so carefully the hunter crept forward, freezing when the squirrel stopped, took a quick look around- failing to look behind it as it did so- before returning gnawing on the nut once more. The sound of chewing filled the silence that seemed to engulf the forest like a thick blanket. Taking another second to adjust her position the wolfess lunched toward her prey. Catching a flash of fur as it burst from a near by bush, careening toward her and squirrel.
Unable to stop the wolfess continued forward, colliding with the other carnivore sending them both tumbling backward in a spray of pine needles. Letting out a startle squeak the squirrel dropped its food and fled up a near by tree to chatter angrily at the two predators. With a rush of anger the wolfess leapt to her feet, a malicious snarl ripping from her jaws, her tail arching high over her back as she proclaimed her dominance to the stranger. The new arrival cowered before her, his light gray and brown pelt disheveled and covered in pine needles from his struggles to regain his feet after hitting the female. Taking a moment to look at the male more closely the female noticed the markings of darker browns blending with the rest of his pelt color; she also noticed how young the wolf looked. He wasn't a grown brute, but a yearling; she noted that if he were to stand he would be the same size as her. No wonder she had mistaken the pup for an adult.
With an apologetic whine the young wolf backed away, his belly barely leaving the ground as he watched the first wolf he had seen in days. Slowly the snarl dyed away as the female calmed, her ears perking forward as her anger was replaced my curiosity. Taking a step closer she took in the stranger's scent, his pelt did not carry the scent of others as a pack wolf's would. So he was a loner, muscles relaxing the female took on a friendlier stance inviting the other to do that same. Waging his tail in a friendly manner the yearly inched forward, his nose twitching as he excitedly investigated the female. Stiffening the wolfess bore her fangs at the pup, telling him that he had gotten to close. Stepping back the youngster continued to wag his tail, making sure to keep it level in a more submissive position.
Seeing that the male knew how to be polite the female relaxed once more, this time stepping closer as her need to be with others of her own kind overcame her wariness. Now the two greeted one another with friendly whines, and the occasional growl given by the she-wolf whenever the yearling stepped out of line. With a friendly yip the male asked. "So, who are you?"
" They call me Rayen…you?" The female replied with a gruff bark.
"Valor." The male snorted, lowering front half of his body to the ground in a gesture of play.
Copying the pose the female gave her tail a friendly flick before rushing toward Valor tackling him to the ground as she playfully tugged in his ear. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Valor." She said, growling playfully.