Alcatraz scanned the clearing of the main den site, his eyes on the lookout for one wolf; his son Killian. The children of the Alphas were growing quickly, and already the juveniles were ready to take on tasks. Killian’s chosen path was Warden, just like his father. But it would take a lot of hard work to become a Warden. Not to mention, this meant his son would be putting himself in harm’s way to protect his packmates. Alcatraz had to personally make sure he was being trained properly, so he would be well armed against any intruder.
He finally caught sight of his son and strode over, “Killian,”
he announced, “congratulations on your promotion. Now are you ready to start training?”
Taking upon a task has been exciting, yet nerve racking. Each task was thought over carefully, yet only a Warden seemed fitting to him. He didn't want to be a Vicar because he did not see himself being a healer or a spiritual leader. The image of a kind, peaceful wolf appeared in his mind, and it wasn't him. The young male was far to impatient and rowdy to participate is such a task. Though it did seem rather fitting for Tzuriel.
A courser was clearly off the list because Killian was not physically built for stealth or swiftness, but rather his father's bulkiness. Though a Ranger took quite a bit of consideration, but in the end decided against it solely because he didn't want to be alone all the time, so the decision landed on Warden.
It was okay though, there was something about a Warden that made his chest fill with exhilaration. He cared deeply about his pack and family, even now when he didn't know a lot of the members personally. The thought of protecting them made his heart soar in delight. Besides, Julia and Nero were Wardens now two. Extra bonus.
There was one thing that he found himself constantly brooding over, though. His strength. As a pup play fighting was always an issue because he would almost always hurt the pup he was wrestling without any knowledge of what he was doing. The incident with Tzuri twisted his gut with guilt even now, his brother’s fearful eyes sending him into a doleful mood. If that was only playful fighting, what would real fighting bring?
From the side he heard his Father call his name, and flicked his head to see him trotting over to where he sat. ”Thanks, and heck yeah I am. Are we going to the training circle?”
He asked, hiding away his dread of training.
The big Warden smirked a bit, glad for his son’s excitement. It was always more enjoyable when he had a willing participant. Killian was quickly growing into a strapping young wolf, one with a build similar to Alcatraz’s own. He would make a fine Warden, the Alpha had faith.
The dark male shook his head, “No, we’ll head to the river first. Follow me”
Alcatraz said, beginning to lead the way into the forest. He had a certain place in mind… the Warden had debated doing no combat training at all today, and starting with a tour of the territory. But he had decided against it. Killian likely knew more of the territory already than Alcatraz would have liked. And in all honesty he was just eager to get some skills and experience into the young wolf’s head, so he could better defend himself should one of his misadventures go awry. Every moment counted. So in the end he decided that the first day would be a training session.
Though maybe not quite the training session that his son is expecting.
Yellow eyes widened in bewilderment. The…River?
What on earth did his father have in store for him today? In his mind he tried to come up with an exercise involving water, perhaps Julia or one of he brother’s had said something about a river, but no matter the effort, his thoughts remained blank. Whatever, I’ll just have to wait and see.
he finalized.”More crows?”
He teased with a broad grin, falling in pace with the older male as they loped into the shelter of the trees, well, what was left of them. Only the pine trees still had their little ebony needles. He will never understand why they still stayed on in the winter, or why so many were sprinkled about in his fur.
Spots of snow covered the ground here and there, mostly under a tree or by a rock where the sun wasn’t able to reach the frozen water. He thought it was pretty cool now, but everyone kept telling him to wait for even more. The colder it gets, the whiter the world will become. He wasn’t quite excited for that, he hated the cold.
The big male laughed out loud at his son’s suggestion, “No, no, not this time,”
he answered as they made their way onward. Luckily the river wasn’t too far. Good for them, because they would both likely be wanting a warm den after this one.“Many wolves are born with natural size and strength,”
Alcatraz began as they walked along, “They live through life throwing their weight around in hopes that strength alone will do the trick. But those wolves will never be great.”
He looked down at Killian as the soft rushing of the river could be heard up ahead. The temperature was cooling considerably, but being so early in the season the river ran free of ice. Though the water would certainly be cold. Good motivation for good performance. “You can be great, Killian. If you heed this lesson.”“The key to being a Warden is being in control. Not only in control of what goes in and out of the territory, but also in control of yourself. You inherited my build, Killian, a build for strength and endurance. Agility and balance may not come naturally to you. But for any skilled warrior, it is key. The better you can control yourself, the better you can control your opponent. So that is what we shall focus on today;”
he used a paw to push away the undergrowth before them, revealing the wide but slow-moving river flowed just ahead, “control.”
Rocks broke the surface of the river in many places, creating lazy rapids on the surface. Some rocks were small and some large, some slick and wet, some dry, some flat and some round. Some even were unsteady. Alcatraz had set some of them up himself, into courses of sorts, in anticipation of his new students. He trotted to the water’s edge, looking into the river. It was not deep here, never above his chest. Perfect for him to set up the rocks, and for training without fear of any wolf getting swept away. It was also deep enough in most places to prevent twisted paws. Though all around was the potential for a pelt full of water. He looked back at Killian, “I will start and you will follow. Are you ready?”
His plan was to do a few courses with himself leading the way, so Killian could get comfortable actually walking on the rocks. After that, depending on how Killian was doing, perhaps a few challenges could be arranged.
Killian had devoted all of his attention to his father at this point, acknowledging every word that was spoken, wrapping it in into his mind in hopes nothing would be forgotten. This trip to the river seemed to rather interesting to him, it wasn't the fighting lessons he often hated. He couldn't mess this up like he has all of the other things. A Warden is what he had chosen, and he had to be a worthy one at least. He had to fix this strength problem, he had to be in control now, there were no more excuses.
His eyes scanned over the river now, and Alcatraz’s directions brought realization to his mind. Strength was not the primary focus today, but he supposed agility and balance were just as important. Perhaps this could be something he could easily learn with a bit of practice, couldn't it?
He paced after his father and followed him to the water's edge, nodding in confirmation that he was prepared for whatever this water held in store for him today. ”Yeah.”
He confirmed, his toes squirmed in the damp soil with anticipation.
Alcatraz glanced over his shoulder as his son prepared, his yellow eyes so similar to his own hard with determination. “Go at your own pace. Speed will come with practice.”
The Alpha turned back toward the river and trotted to the bank, then walked across the rocks. The first course he picked was easy, the rocks smooth and large and not too far spaced. Well, for him anyway. Killian would likely need to take a bit more time to measure his steps, since he was still growing. And depending on the individual, sometimes it took time for a wolf to trust their steps, especially with the risk of falling into the icy water at a single misstep. But hopefully this first course would be an easy start to the exercise. Alcatraz reached the opposite bank and turned around, to watch his son’s progress.
Careful eyes watched the footsteps of his father, observing each rock and trying to figure out what ones would be best for him to lay a heavy paw on. In a matter of seconds, Alcatraz was standing on the bank of the other side, and now it was his turn.
He stepped forward until he could feel the little icy waves splash up onto his toes. He extended his front paw to the first rock to prod it to test it’s stability; seemed promising enough, so he applied full pressure. This time he brought around the other arm and reached for the next one, it was stable as well. He continued on, testing the rocks and did his best to avoid the loose or slippery stones.
That was until he reached the middle. Before him sat a wet stone, it was the only one he could reach from here. He stepped on it, and it began to shift back and forth, sending his leg shaking violently. Killian reached for the next rock in a panic and his foot slipped off the rock and he stumbled straight into the water. The frigid temperature of the water stole his breath as it enwrapped around his body and face.
As soon as he was in it, he was out of it, standing in the water as his fur plastered his body, sticking out in different directions. All he could do was stare wildly at his father.
Alcatraz watched Killian’s process, pleased with how careful he was being. It was good to know his son has gathered much sense as he aged, not recklessly racing into a challenge but carefully testing each step before chancing forward.
But then his paw hit a rock that was not quite as stable as the others. Alcatraz watched as his son tottered precariously for a moment before falling into the water. Alcatraz had to stifle a laugh at his son’s shocked amber eyes. He remembered his first attempt crossing ice rivers. He had been a loner then, older than Killian but not by much, and the last thing he had was good balance. He had spent many a cold day struggling to get warm and dry himself after an unexpected dip before the cold night would steal his health or worse. Luckily Killian had a warm den to return to, and plenty of packmates to share heat. It may feel uncomfortable now, but after today, never would he appreciate his cozy den more. “Bracing, isn’t it, son? Now come on, you’re almost across, more carefully now, then we’ll warm up”
Alcatraz didn't have to smile for Killian to see the amused glimmer sparkling in his father's yellow eyes, but it didn't keep the Warden-in-training from releasing his own giggle at his little stumble.
Much less dry than before, he did as he was instructed, and climbed onto the rocks past the one he had slipped on, and made his way to the other side with no further casualties. He jumped off the last rock and landed beside his father to shake his fur free of the excess water in his coat, but there was still some water that clung to his skin.
With his teeth that chattered wildly, he turned around to face Alcatraz. ”Are w-we done for n-now?
He asked, dancing on his feet to keep moving. He wanted to do this again, and perfect it, but not until it gets a little warmer, because this coat full of icy water was not very comfortable.
Alcatraz watched as Killian finished his path across the rocks. He dipped his head approvingly. The young wolf was already shivering. It was wise to head back now. This training was not the kind that warmed you, it was more of a mental game. He nodded, “Yes, we are done… though we must cross the river again to get back. Perhaps a good chance to apply what you’ve learned. You may try to find another way across, though that path’s stability would be unknown to you. Unstable terrain that is a surprise can be dangerous, as you learned. But terrain you know is unstable, there are ways to use it still.”
The Alpha flicked his dark tail tip at Killian, and then he began to trek back, walking carefully over the rocks. He reached the rock that Killian had lost his balance on, and he placed a paw on it, testing it as it shifted back and forth. He was careful to place his weight on the rock so it would shift in a way that made it stable, and then he used it to step forward and continue to the shore. He turned and waited for Killian to return as well. He hoped the shivering wouldn’t hinder his balance too much. ‘At least he can’t get much more wet’
Alcatraz reflected fondly. And besides, they were heading right back to the den site.
Oh, they had to cross back, he had forgotten about that part.
He waited quietly as his father took the same rout as Killian had back towards the other side, shivering intensely since there was no sun to shed forth comfort. Alcatraz came upon the very rock he had slipped on, and the young Warden expected his father to slip just like he had done, but to his surprise, he was able to steady it and cross safely, just as warm and dry as before.Huh.
He stepped forward to the water's edge and lifted his head higher to scan for a different crossing point while the cold water lapped around his toes. He really wasn't in mood for another dip in the water right now, so more rocks weren't really what he was looking for.”Or.. I could do this!”
He called across to Alcatraz once he found what he was looking for; a shallow crossing point. He sprinted towards it and, without hesitation, ran through it to the other side and up the bank until he reached his father.
Alcatraz watched Killian, waiting to see what he would decide to do. The young male’s pale yellow eyes darted around for his options. Those were his
yellow eyes his son had. Every once in awhile Alcatraz took a moment to enjoy the pride he felt at the children he had produced. This was one of those moments.
Although he was surprised when his son took an entirely different method, racing up the bank. It took Alcatraz a moment to realize the shallow point he had found, an alternative to the rock obstacle course. As he sprinted across, Alcatraz snorted, rolling his eyes in amusement as he turned, heading back toward the den site as Killian caught up to him. “Between the two of us, I may have learned the most today,”
Alcatraz said to his son, using a playful heavy paw to bop the young male’s head as they padded along. “for next time I’ll find a deeper river!”