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’.




Thoughts of Kahlan dominated Kershov’s mind as he patrolled. He kept pushing himself harder, faster as he ran across the dancing grasses that billowed through most of Uyaraut’s landscape. Dry strands whipped his sides and crunched underfoot. His breath puffed from his lungs in great rhythmic pants, smoke streaming from his parted maw, and still the white ghost could not escape intrusive musings. Kahlan’s bitter cold stare, the corpselike stiffness of her body as he moved toward her, shared fractured memories jumbling together, dreams of a night long ago that haunted them both . . . a ragged growl scraped past his throat and he sprinted impossibly quicker. He wasn’t so much guarding the border as he was marking it—slashing up the fence with violent digs of his talons. I need to get a hold of myself. How can I focus on my pack if . . . ?

A lone cry pierced the air: Mabbit. Kershov slowed his pace only slightly, wondering why the promising young soldier was calling him, before lunging back into his previous ground-eating pace. Thanks to the barrenness of winter, the Emperor easily detected Mabbit’s stark black form like a shadow against the world’s pallid grey—along with the silhouette of a smaller wolf. A femme—a girl with a wildly mottled coat. Both varg hesitated just outside Uyaraut’s fences, politely waiting for the King to arrive. Kershov released a tense breath, his tail wagging slightly. Though he’d never say it aloud, he truly appreciated his ink-stained subject and his smart obedience to traditional pack etiquette.

“Sir Mabbit, I see you’ve brought a guest.” More words prepared themselves upon the ice dragon’s tongue. He even slowed to a halt, banner waving and obsidian eyes carefully expressionless. Except he could not figure out how to speak all at once.

Kershov didn’t know where to look first—at the oddly brindled female cringing outside the border, or at the unnatural stubs of bone rising out of his warrior’s dark brow. With a flip of his stomach the Alpha recalled the agony and disorientation that sloshed through him when the world erupted . . . when that massive geyser of magic split open the earth and collided with not only him, but every wolf in the nearby area. He had awoken from his abrupt blackout because of fiery pinprick pain stabbing his spine, yet no sign of a change upon his body. No visible reason for why his flesh crawled and his nerve endings flared with too much electrical information. Something other felt as if it were stretching his insides . . . prowling his guts alongside his monster, forming a nest for itself by the secret prison Kershov had rebuilt inside himself. Studying Mabbit’s bizarre growths and the fur and dry skin flaking from the female’s limbs made the handsome half of the Pharaoh’s muzzle crinkle in a disgusted, uncomfortable grimace. No, wait—scales! The unknown wolfess had honest-to-moon scales crackling up and down all four legs. Ker couldn’t decide if this was better or worse than having mange. Whatever that magical outburst had done, it clearly affected the lupines it touched; he studied these new transformations the way a scientist might glare at a new disease under a microscope, fascinated yet reserved.

“You . . . you’re . . .” His hackles were starting to lift; Ker consciously flattened them and cleared his throat. “Never mind. Mabbit, you clearly remember the rules. This lass is only to step foot in Uyaraut with you as her personal chaperone; should she be discovered on her own in the territory, punishment will follow immediately.” Ruthless black lanterns speared toward the girl, cool as frost. “Punishment in these lands is quite harsh, if I’m feeling patient, or a swift death if I am not. Both of you are to stay within this sector of the kingdom. Do not step paw outside of it—or you will both be begging for my mercy. And, young lady?” The ivory gladiator leaned closer, giving the she-wolf a suave and devilish grin. “The next time we meet by these borders, it better be because you’ve come to me as a recruit. Uyaraut is not a tourist trap, and I am not a hospitable creature.”

He clicked his teeth a foot from her muzzle. Then, nodding once to Mabbit, the Ice King turned on his heels and continued his furious patrol.


【King of Uyaraut – tied to none – father to Kirastasia and Kavik – xathira】


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