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’.



Meat on your bones - they won't know, they won't know . . .

In the weeks since Kershov had accompanied lady Atakask into Uyaraut, spring had finally defeated winter and chased warmth back into the territory. No more did the silver sea slice angrily at the pale, bloodless sky; its vivid aquamarine color had returned, tossing back the crisp blue of the heavens. No longer was the sun a glaring white eye that provided little to no warmth; now its butter-yellow light spilled across the grassy fields to banish frost from the grass and coax new growth forth. During his daily patrols Kershov smelled the dainty sweetness of delicate blossoms blooming across his territory’s plains, and the wet richness of rain-fed soil. When he ran the beaches, the damp sand no longer bit at his toes with its chill; instead, his paws sank into its yielding consistency, giving him a lovely workout that brought a healthy tone back to his muscles. Not that he’d been idle during winter—far from it. But his physique always seemed pared down during those harsh months, sculpting him lean and tough. Spring and its abundance of prey allowed him to rebuild his bulk and renew the glory of his snowy robes. When he tossed his head back to sing a song of welcome to his faction, he reveled in the glowing energy that seemed to suffuse this new world. Blossom Forest had been torn apart by magic and stitched up together again—and now more than ever it felt as if it had finally healed from its wounds.

And speaking of healing . . . spring had brought another shocking surprise to Kershov. One he still wasn’t sure he appreciated or not.

A little over a week ago, he’d been stunned by the appearance of what could only be described as pin feathers prickling along his spine. They’d been painful, ugly things, sticking like so many bloody nails through his flesh. Stiff, bony, Ker had only attempted to remove them once; the pain proved so horrible he never tried to budge them again. Thankfully, by the end of the day, the hard casings on each quill crumbled away . . . and within them were hundreds of soft, sleek feathers painted in every shade of grey one could imagine. He’d declare them impossible if they were not so obviously a part of himself. When something made his hackles rise, the feathers rose instead, ruffling magnificently down his nape. They proved exquisite at blocking moisture, which put his mind at ease; Kershov had worried the damn things would fail to protect him from rain the way his fur did, but instead water slid off their glossy surfaces even more efficiently. Very few wolves had seen him in this state so far. His underling Mabbit had begun slipping away from Uyaraut more and more often, undoubtedly to see the she-wolf who’d stolen his heart. Grey Wind and Macaria were probably too wrapped up in their new litter to worry about what others in the kingdom were up to, and Kershov felt odd going to visit them—although, as their Alpha, he had every right to inspect their pups. Frekari the free spirit had all but vanished. And Athene . . . well, that was a trial for another day. Kershov had not checked on Atakask recently, and he still worried for the bizarre yet wonderful creature. He’d thought she was ready to give birth right there on the beach; however, those early contractions had proven a false alarm. She should be due any minute . . . probably a good idea just to drop in and see that she was still alive, at least.

He followed her scent toward where the cliffs dropped down toward the beach. To any non-Uyaraut native, these rocky outcroppings would appear far to treacherous to walk; thankfully, Kershov and his soldiers had discovered that as long as one placed their paws in specific places, navigating the cliffs was far from impossible. Nevertheless, the Ice King felt rather impressed when he realized that Atakask’s perfume threaded all the way down toward a den tucked deep into the rock. With her swollen belly, the hike could not have been simple. Over the steady, monotonous crash of the waves, he could not hear if the wolfess had begun her labor yet . . . but better to be safe than sorry. His patrol had already finished, and Ker would not run the next part of the border until later this evening. He felt content to drop into a relaxed seat by the cliff’s edge, the stone at his paws and the waving yellow-green grasses of the plains at his back. Ahead, the sea shimmered with light. The spray it threw into the air cooled Kershov’s scarred face as the breeze carried it upward, until he too glittered slightly under the sun. How he’d come to adore the invigorating smell of salt and ocean water . . . it woke him up and chased heavy thoughts from his skull, lulling him with its music. This very scent had woven its way inexorably into his ivory fur, becoming a part of him. Even when he groomed his smoky feathers, Kershov tasted the touch of the sea.

At one point, Kershov thought he heard a low, mournful cry shivering from the den where Atakask lay . . . he tilted his head, wondering if it had been his imagination. Wind often curved around rock jutting from the water or pooled into pockmarks in the cliffs, producing haunting howls that resembled the calls of phantoms. If it had been the fae’s voice, what could make her weep so? Was it simply the pain of bringing forth life? Or had one of her children been stillborn? The latter thought did not bother Kershov much; he’d grown up in hardship, after all, and dead pups—among other horrors—were all too common. His heart was wrapped in too much scar tissue to feel much. He’d offer words of condolence to Atakask if she needed them, but other than that there was not much the frost-born Pharaoh could do for her.

I'm open - wide open . . .

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

picture credit to xathira | wolf stock to Jessi S. on Dawnthieves | bg stock to Photos for Class


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