Prologue

The full moon shone brightly in the velvet-black sky. All was quiet in the forest except for a faint rustling of fallen leaves. Every creature was asleep, except for one. A young vixen crept among the deep undergrowth, her pale ginger pelt faintly glowed in the darkness. Her light blue eyes scanned the forest for danger. She glanced down at her belly, which was swollen with her unborn kits. They would be born soon.

She sniffed the air, checking for any scent of a male fox. She had escaped from a group that took females and forced them to breed until death. She shivered at the thought. She heard a skylark twittering to its mate that it had returned to its nest. The vixen looked up at the nest, wishing she could be like her namesake, free to do what she pleased, never having to live in fear.

Skylark soon spotted a tree stump. There was a small hole at the base, an entrance. She approached it carefully, making sure she wouldn't just walk into an angry badger's den. Skylark peeked inside. Nothing. And no fresh scent of anything either. She squeezed into the den and laid down. She soon fell asleep.


Skylark awoke to a ripple of pain in her belly, the kits were coming now. She kept calm and pushed. After what seemed like hours, it was finally over. She looked down to see four kits at her belly. Worry reflected in her eyes. Three of the kits weren't breathing, they had been born dead. She buried her nose into the soft fur of her deceased kits, a wail of grief escaped from her lips. Skylark took the dead kits, one by one, and buried them outside of the den.

When she came back, Skylark turned her attention to her only surviving kit, a little female. She curled around the tiny vixen and nudged her, encouraging her kit to nurse. The kit suckled, kneading her paws on Skylark's belly. Skylark stared at her tiny daughter. Her kit's coat was a pale ginger, like hers, but it had black and white patches splashed across the fur.

Skylark stared at her daughter, her eyes full of love. She had the perfect name for her daughter. "My life has been like a violent windstorm, whipping me through the pains of life, although, it's all over now, thanks to you, my little Tempest..." she said, burying her nose into her daughter's fur.