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’.




“You are welcome, Miss Milo. Although I will admit this situation is partially my fault.” The winter dragon would not take responsibility for the entire world splitting itself in half—but he would admit that Milo probably would not have ended up struggling for her life in a huge rushing river if not for him. Distantly, Ker wondered what might have become of this diminutive she-wolf if he hadn’t chosen to scoop her along . . . would she have returned to her own home without incidence? Would she have gotten injured in some other way? An aggravated sigh dragged from his battered lungs. Who cares. Specks of light danced in Kershov’s vision, flickering about like dust motes even when he shut his eyes. Already his muscles burned with fatigue, all those microtears in the tissue frantically repairing themselves and stitching tendons back together, limbs sore and heavy as if made of solid concrete. The glacial Czar had not pushed himself to his absolute physical limit in a long, long time. He had not needed to. During sparring matches, Ker consciously retrained himself in case of accidental injury; during a true fight, he cleverly controlled his movements to force his opponent into rapidly depleting their energy supply. That newly born river—huge, furious, wild—might have killed him. A rather sickening, unpleasant thought . . . but Kershov could afford to face it now, with his side pressed firmly onto dry land. A few more minutes navigating dangerous obstacles and debris in that vicious, freezing current eventually would have whittled his impressive strength away until he had no choice but to sink beneath the frothing waves. Death by drowning. A long shudder passed through his colossal physique. No . . . definitely not the way he wanted to die.

“Good work back there. I did not have to drop you.”

It was meant to be a humorous barb. When the tiny wolfess did not respond, Ker cracked open an obsidian eye to peer at her—and growled quietly to himself when he saw that his spur-of-the-moment companion had fainted. She lay totally limp against him, too much like a doll in size compared to his breadth, her rib cage lifting faintly with each shallow inhalation. Poor pathetic creature. The swim was too much for her. The frost-born Pharaoh jostled her a little with one paw and promptly gave up when Milo did not so much as squeak. “I must say . . . I’m a little surprised. You would have drowned without me, of course . . . yet you held your own as best you could.”

Admittedly, her presence so close to him unnerved the gladiator a bit. Kershov wasn’t a touchy-feely brute unless it suited him—and it only suited him during highly specific and very rare moments. His ears flattened, considering the pallid bird crumpled by his chest . . . before rolling his eyes skyward and curling himself so that he formed something of a shield around Milo’s faerie-bodice. Both wolves were soaked through and chilled from the river; however, keeping close would eventually bring their body temperature back up—and Ker, being significantly larger, had more heat to share. Rumbling like a bear woken too early from its slumber, he started methodically cleaning the moisture from Milo’s sopping robes with quick, deft sweeps of his tongue.


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


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