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 - ‘The Diamond in the Rough’.




Mabbit smiled at him—and where once the Ice King would have coolly accepted the gesture as a sign of respect or one-sided attachment from an underling he now experienced an odd, yet not unwelcome, tug of warmth in his own chest. The unravaged half of his muzzle stiffened with the preparation to smile back, that bizarre and still unfamiliar flame of fondness stirring uncomfortably in its new hearth. One of MY wolves. One of MY soldiers. Possessiveness that had been violent not too long ago—a dragon’s jealous wrath twisted out of proportion until it was too dangerous to contain—apparently found balance in the time Kershov had isolated himself. His secret beast, his savage madness, seemed to have finally gorged on enough blood to rest contented in its prison. Kershov discovered he could enjoy Mabbit’s presence without wanting to dive immediately into drastic measures to snare him, dominate him, punish him. The realization—the relief of sanity—is what at last allowed the Pharaoh to grin at the black warrior’s polite response, his war flag wagging stronger to mirror Mabbit’s own happiness.

“Grey Wind . . .” The faintest note of curiosity lifted the ends of his words in an unasked question, the Alpha already attempting to pinpoint the sibling similarities that he’d missed—but the iron-colored gladiator himself soon entered the scene. Grey Wind must have been patrolling; Bright Moon’s ghostly scent, all pine trees and fallen leaves and dirt not yet churned up by paws, clung to his metal-hued pelt. Professional as always, the seasoned knight nodded to his Monarch before turning his attention once more to the ink-splashed hessian on the opposite side of the border. Waiting. Patient. The sheer control and aloof façade Grey maintained without any visible effort actually shook Kershov a little, the way a strong enough gale will rattle windows barred against a storm. For a moment, the alabaster gangster’s voice deserted him.

Grey Wind, who had faced a leaderless pack with no prior warning, without even the curtesy of a “goodbye,” stood beside Kershov as if not a day had passed since they were King and subject. No hint of reproach tightening the corner of his eyes, no low growl texturing his voice. Not even a faint spiking of hackles, fur lifting with the heat of an anger hidden from sight. All of these things Kershov would have expected . . . welcomed, even—because righteous fury on Grey Wind’s part would have opened the door to apologies, to a discussion, an explanation for what had happened nearly a lifetime ago. He hadn’t known this, but Ker had armed himself for such a confrontation as soon as his paws wandered back into Blossom Forest. Before he even entertained the notion of living in a pack again, he’d silently steeled himself for the accusing glares of his old army. He deserved their questions and their demands. After long months of solitude, the winter monster felt prepared to meet them.

Instead, Kershov glanced between Mabbit and Grey Wind, teeth together and ears erect. It did not surprise him that Grey Wind fell into step as a soldier so effortlessly—the stormy varg was more of a packmember than Kershov deserved. And now that Mabbit was here—this anxious brute who was worth so much more than he appeared to believe—the Ice King wondered if it was up to him to offer answers, even if these two had not asked for them. They probably never would ask . . . and that was why Kershov knew he had to eventually spill his guts. They earned that much. And so much more.

“I know you Mabbit—your worth and your loyalty as a wolf. You are welcome here.” Slowly, the poltergeist began backing into the still swirling mist that threaded between Bright Moon’s trees, appearing all the more ghostly as he folded himself back into the fog. “Let us find something to kill, so we can catch up over a steaming carcass. I’m starving.” And with that Kershov turned toward the territory’s center, waiting for the two males to catch up.


【Free – tied to none – father to Kirastasia and Kavik – LSVK】


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