Perhaps changed most of all out of all of the packs is this place. It was stripped out of its forested home and now instead lays at the edge of an ocean. The vast sparkling eternity of the water lays to the south of the land, while the rest of the land is made of rocky outjuttings. Gone are the trees, and all that remains for greenery are the short shrubs that dot the paths in the rock, and the moss that grows thanks to the spray of the waves. Further toward the shore, barnacles are a plenty, and look to cut the pads of those who slip on the wet surface. These extend out into the water itself, and the tough land has multiple caverns scraped into it, providing ample dens for the wolves that live there. Depending on the tide, however, the lower caverns may flood, and the vicious swirling water may prove to be dangerous as there is a strong undertide ready to pull unsuspecting swimmers to their doom. Even the tide itself is powerful enough to push intruders against one cliff or another. The ocean does provide, however, plenty of food for those who brave the waters - there are many breeds of seals and sea lions, though the males that protect each of these are vicious and territorial. There are also turtles that come ashore to breed and to lay their eggs - both the adults and the eggs themselves can provide sustenance to the wolves. But they must take care - the water is deep enough to allow sharks to come to shore from the depths below. Those unwilling to venture the waves or wet their paws with the moist sand of the shore can find snakes and hares in the rocky outcroppings, but they must beware the Komodo dragon and other monitor lizards that perch upon the shore - they are swift and move in groups, not to mention they carry venom in their bite that causes immense pain, paralysis, and prevents blood clotting. This is not the land for the weak of heart or the weak at all really. This is Uyaraut - ĎThe Diamond in the Roughí.

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A split-second before the bear smashes its free paw into Summerís skull, Aimery successfully lunges at its left shoulder and manages to bury his teeth into the loose scruff of fur draped over its neck. Puncture wounds pierce the bearís skin, drawing fresh rivulets of blood to the surface. While by no means a fatal or even dangerous wound, this distraction is enough to make the bear remove its paw from Summerís chest, effectively freeing the Alpha from his pinned positionóalthough with the bearís sudden wild, bucking movements he cannot slither away immediately without risking a crushing blow from the monsterís paws as it swipes desperately at the lupine attached to its pelt.

Dangerís aim could not have been more perfect. The second the bear frees Summer from its grip Danger lands dead-center on the creatureís broad back, his fangs adding to the bloody tapestry being woven on the bearís scruff. Together, Aimery and Danger shred short, shallow wounds into their target, overthrowing its immediate desire to kill and replacing it with an urgent, violent need to defend itself. Its first few slashing motions are futile, missing Aimery as he swings by his clamped jaws from its neck and Danger as he bites holes into its back. But the ferocious twisting movements the bear makes as it attempts to fling the wolves off eventually dislodge Aimery. By the time Danger leaps off the bear and scrabbles a safe distance away, Aimery has slipped within range of the bearís own terrifying daggers. In a swoop too swift to evade, the bear cranes its neck and slams its serrated trap of a maw down on Aimeryís side, taking a mouthful of yielding flesh before brutally tearing its attacker away. Aimery is no match for the bearís full strength; heís thrown roughly to the ground like a rag doll, scapula crushed and flesh resembling a clump of tattered meat.

By the time Aimery is scraped off the bearís hide, Summer finally has enough space to escape. There is just enough room between the roaring bear and the expanse of wood behind him for the Alpha to dart toward Nzingha. Since Summer was able to sprint back into open ground before Danger could bite at the bearís wrist and free him, Danger changes course to stand near his king, flanking the young pup that has bounded into their midst. This turns out to be the best decision. Having eliminated the threat from Aimery for now, the massive beast whirls at the wolves still standingóand charges. Danger and Aimeryís assault has damaged it more than it realized, though, and its gait is significantly more awkward.

Will Summer and Danger attempt to finish their colossal foe and defend Nzingha? Or is the safest action to flee toward safety, and return with greater numbers?


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