Read New Territory Online

Authors: Sarah Marie Porter

New Territory

BOOK: New Territory
8.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

New Territory

 

By Sarah Porter

 

 

 

New Territory

 

Wolvenkind Series, Part One

 

Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Porter

 

All characters in this publication are fictitious.

 

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is simply coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

 

Among the tall, whispering pines of an alpine forest, a wolf ran. She bounded over the springy turf, her long pink tongue lolling beneath her slender nose. Pine needles carpeted her footing, scenting the air with the sweet spice of evergreen. Her pale fur ruffled in the spring breeze as she hurried to an unknown destination. At her side ran a larger wolf, a male, with similar, shaggy pale fur. Behind her, in single file, ran four others. The first was white, and the other three were gray-and-white, their markings distinguishing them as individuals.

 

The white wolf was a younger female, her fur ivory and her eyes an unusual bright blue. She loped easily behind her sister Ailene and her sister’s mate, Brayden, careful to stay an exact length behind Ailene. Behind this she-wolf trotted an older, smaller male, all shades of gray but for patches of white on his muzzle and around his yellowish eyes. Behind him, an elderly she-wolf loped along, her eyes dulled with age and her once-gray muzzle speckled with white hairs. Close behind her, a strong partly-grown male galloped at the end of the line. His golden eyes sparked with vigor, and his face was marked with a starburst-like mask of dark grey-on-white that gave him an almost quizzical look. Every so often, he would run up alongside the elderly female and give her a reassuring nudge with his nose, before dropping back to his place guarding the end of the line. At the front, Brayden, the pack Alpha, veered off to the east, having caught the scent of a herd of caribou. When the rest of the pack caught the scent, their formation changed. The strong male in the back ran up to join the Alpha pair, and the older male and elderly female dropped back.

 

Brayden glanced over to make sure the young male, Kieran, was in his place. His Beta nodded slightly as he loped swiftly at Brayden's side. At Brayden's left, his lifemate Ailene kept pace. At her shoulder, Ailene's younger sister Keva loped along smoothly, her blue eyes roving the forest for a glimpse of their prey. The scent trail continued across rocky ground, and the ground grew rough and hilly as they continued in a southeast direction. Brayden’s ears pricked up as he heard water rushing nearby. He continued to lead the way, as the sound of water grew louder until it became a small river running through the alpine woods. The river was low in its banks, typical for the time of year, but it was still enough for the wolves to lose the scent trail. Brayden growled deep in his throat, frustrated. “We have lost them, Kieran,” he said to the younger male, who was taking a quick survey of the riverbank, as the rest of the pack lapped from the cool water. Kieran looked up from his examination of the riverbank, his nostrils quivering. He searched the far bank with sharp golden eyes. “Not yet,” he said. He led the way across the river, leaping from boulder to boulder to avoid getting his paws wet.

 

The alpha followed and the others followed quickly behind. It was late in the afternoon, and the sun was getting lower, casting dappled shadows across the forest. Kieran, the sharpest nose in the pack, led the way until Brayden caught the scent trail again. Ailene bounded past the younger male, her tale held high, ignoring him. “Do you still need the young pup to catch the scent for you, old one?” She teased her mate, her golden eyes twinkling. Brayden growled playfully at her, but spared no concentration to respond to her jibe. After a minute or two, he saw that the forest was thinning out into a clearing ahead. He slowed his pace, signaling the pack, and they split up. Keva and Ailene circled around to the woods on the opposite side of the clearing, while the elderly female and weaker male crouched deeper in the woods to watch.

 

Brayden and Kieran split formation, each taking to one side of the clearing. Kieran could smell the musty scent of the caribou distinctly, and he soon saw them in the clearing, grazing unawares. He crouched low and glided soundlessly through the woods toward them, waiting for Brayden’s signal. The mind of the pack was one, and he effortlessly focused on the wounded bull that Brayden had chosen for the kill. The antlered brute was big, but had obviously been in an altercation recently. Suddenly, he received Brayden’s signal, and he charged. The herd panicked and stampeded from the clearing, but the big bull had already been trapped by Ailene and swift, beautiful Keva. Kieran bolted forward and sank his teeth into the bull’s right hind leg, snarling in glee.  Keva and Ailene worried at the bull’s left side as Brayden leaped for the bull’s throat, dragging its neck down to the ground. Brayden’s sharp fangs severed the large artery in its throat, spraying blood. The bull bellowed and lashed out in its death throes, but it was over too quickly. The four feasted on their prey ravenously, and the other two members of the pack came forward when it was their turn. They feasted, true predators, past sunset until late evening.  With full stomachs, the whole pack rested in the tall grass of the clearing, which was also strewn with a couple large rock formations. Keva and Kieran wrestled playfully, while the two alphas slept curled up next to each other. Mira, the eldest female, relaxed as she watched the young ones play in the light of the setting sun. Eventually, the whole pack was quietly asleep, pale moonlight flickering against their fur.

 

Keva slept fitfully, her paws twitching as the wolf dream took her. She found herself running through a "town," a group of the humans' dens. She knew that man could be food, but she also knew man was a powerful predator. Man could kill prey from afar without even touching it. These "fire sticks," her mother had told her, man wielded like fangs and claws since they have none. Keva dashed through the town, fearing that a human would see her. She dashed into a pathway between two of the dens and suddenly found herself face-to-face with a human. One sniff told her he was male. He towered over, looking down at her without fear. She snarled and bristled, her blue eyes reflecting green in the light of the torch he held. He did not move, and she found herself unable to back up. The wolf dream knew something she did not; it held her fast. The man had black fur on his head, and golden eyes. He moved slowly to his knees, down to her height. She stopped snarling, although her fur still bristled. In the absence of her snarl, the man spoke. "Welcome, sister." She did not stop to wonder why she understood his language before she replied, for it was the wolf dream. "Who are you, human? How entered you into the dream?" The man's eyes grew wide. "You speak! I... I am Cian. I am an alpha." The white wolf snarled. "You are human, not alpha. Humans have no true alphas." The man bared his teeth at her, but quickly covered them when she bared her own fangs. "I am part human and part wolf," he replied. Keva made a noise that could have been a sneeze or a laugh. "Nonsense. Wolves do not breed with humans." Backing away, she found she could move a bit further. "Wait!" He shouted. "We will meet outside the dream and I will prove myself!" Keva did not answer, but turned and ran back through the ghostly town. Cian did not follow, but as she bolted away, he caught her scent, a mix of natural, sweet ambrosia and wildflowers.

 

Keva jerked awake, her heart pounding, in the early hours of the morning. Kieran and Mira were still sleeping not far away. Keva felt suddenly cold, so she tucked her nose into her tail and thought about the wolf dream. It was not possible for humans to enter the dream where wolves could run in complete safety and ponder the circle of life. She had heard rumors of wolves having visions of the future while within the dream, but instinct told her that was not the case this time. She snorted. If the human was telling the truth, she would be disgusted. What wolf would mate with a human? That union would never produce pups. It was forbidden by the Creator and thus would not be blessed. No, it was not possible. Perhaps the Creator had blessed the human with a glimpse into the wolf dream. Having found a less revolting option, she accepted it, and her mind was quieted. She closed her blue eyes and dozed dreamlessly until late morning.

 

 

 

Cian Collins woke suddenly, his whole body tense. He groaned, and crawled from his tent to do his morning stretches. The brisk Canadian spring morning made him shiver. Liam was already awake, brewing coffee and frying up some hotcakes. "Morning, Alpha. Sleep well?" Cian only grunted, then turned away and brought his arms over his head to stretch out his back. The other man just chuckled and poured some coffee into a tin mug. Once Cian felt less tight, he took the mug wordlessly and sipped the still-steaming liquid. "Blech," he stated, then grabbed the sugar.

 

"Something give you nightmares?" Liam asked, as he served them both. Cian took a big bite of hotcake and shook his head as he chewed. "No nightmares... just the wolf dream." Lian shook his head. "You know, you can choose normal dreams. The wolf dream is so...empty." Cian shrugged. "Usually, it is." Liam lifted his eyebrows and gave him a curious look. "What do you mean by usually? Did you see someone last night?" Swallowing the last dregs of his coffee, Cian turned and shook out the mug on the ground. "I saw a wolf," he said slowly, staring at the campfire. "It looked like a full-blooded female wolf. And she spoke to me." Liam just looked at him, open-mouthed. "Are you sure she was a true wolf? Despite this
lycan
curse, no true wolf has ever spoken to one of us. We’ve always assumed they are just animals, whereas we are something more." Cian nodded, his head aching. "I know, I know," he growled. "I think I'm losing my sanity. Are we almost to the rogue's territory?" He asked, changing the subject bluntly. Liam gave him a knowing look, but allowed it. "We are only a mile or two from the boundary line, from what I remember. He's not far." Cian looked up and grinned. "Good," he said. "I'm quite ready to give him a piece of my mind." Liam nodded. Serving himself another hotcake, he chewed it absentmindedly. “You know, Camilla mentioned something about
lycans
meeting their lifemates in the wolf dream,” he suggested. The thought made Cian pause his chewing. He stared at Liam for a long moment then shook his head. “Then she could not have been a true wolf,” he concluded. Liam nodded slowly, but then asked, “What if she is your lifemate? Shouldn’t you find her?” Cian looked up, a slight grimace on his face. “You know I’m not ready to find my lifemate, Liam. Besides, we have a job to do here.” He returned to his breakfast, signifying the conversation was over. Both of the
lycans
fell into a brooding silence.

 

 

 

Keva woke Mira quietly, too curious about her adventure in the wolf dream to sleep any longer. Mira yawned widely and turned her blurred eyes toward the young female. "Can't an old wolf get some rest around here?" She grumbled. Keva pawed the ground and whimpered slightly. "Please, Mother. I have had a strange dream." This revelation made the old she-wolf's ears perk up. She laid her nose on her front paws and sighed. "Very well. Tell me about it." When Keva explained her dream, Mira nearly jumped up and growled, but she held herself still. "Pup, you are saying that you met a human in the wolf dream?" Keva flattened her ears against her head and averted her eyes. "Aye. He told me he was part man and part wolf, but how can that be?"

 

Mira growled deep in her throat. "A lycan, " she said, her hackles rising. "Werewolves. They are cursed by the Creator. Few of us have met one. We never speak to them; they are cursed with dangerous power. To be two different species in one makes it difficult for them to find their place in the circle of life. They have not the mind-speak that unifies the pack." Mira glanced at Keva, who had crouched flat on the ground, her ears laid back. "Peace, youngling." The old she wolf closed her eyes and sighed deeply. “Keva, only lifemates can meet in the wolf dream. Perhaps your dream is only a prophecy.” With a deep sigh, Mira stood up and walked away. Keva stood to follow, but Mira's snarl warned her back. "I must think on this and pray to the Creator," she said, then walked off alone into the trees. Keva sat back on her haunches, unnerved. Mira very rarely went off alone. There was safety in the pack, and elder wolves never went off alone, except to die.

BOOK: New Territory
8.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Baby Be Mine by Paige Toon
Claiming the East Wind by Anna Hackett
Found by Love by Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
Escaped the Night by Jennifer Blyth
A Woman Called Sage by DiAnn Mills
Someone Like Her by Sandra Owens
Bound to the Abyss by Vernon, James