Alcatraz stalked through the forests near Chandor. His paws left large prints in the snow behind him and he took a deep breath, letting it out in a curling puff of breath. He was patrolling the border of Chandor, as if a member of the pack, making sure that no one gets in. Alcatraz had little faith in Chandor's ability to protect his childhood friend who lives among their ranks, Gabitrix. Chandor was far too kind to outsiders. But Alcatraz could drive anyone out far before they reach the soft-hearted Chandor guard.
The dark loner paused as a noise caught his attention. He glanced into the borders of Chandor. He was just outsider the border, but still close enough for a far straying Chandor wolf to be wondering about his presence so close. He had hoped to avoid any other of Gabitrix's packmates, except maybe Skye who he had met before and thought was fine, but it appeared he may be meeting another. He continued walking, however, quieter now, in hopes of leaving undetected.
The pale gray sky was weighing heavily on Fitu. The juvenile wolf had recently joined the ranks of Chandor, and for that he was eternally grateful. However, he had been feeling off within the pack, as if he didn't deserve their loving attitude towards each other and himself. So he had taken to wandering the outskirts of the pack's territory, mulling over his past and practicing conversations in his head. talking to other wolves was something he'd needed to do all of a sudden when joining the pack, and after months of never speaking, it had been quite the shock to his system.
His thoughts scattered when he caught a faint scent on the breeze. His fur bristled as he recognized it as wolf, though he couldn't tell whether it was a packmate or loner. His white fur bristled, the ridge of black on his shoulders sticking straight up, and he dug his claws into the cold dead leaves and mud underneath. Intruder. Pack. Defend. The primal thoughts he'd had to enact for so long in his earlier life suddenly took over his thoughts and he sped off towards the smell, eyes squinted against the cold wind, darting between trees and gliding silently over the earth.
The dark loner heard the noise getting closer. It was a soft noise. Whoever it was had quiet paws. But Alcatraz was on high alert so he had been able to pick it up on a calm day like today. He looked at his paws and took in the scents, ensuring that he was outside of Chandor’s borders. He was threateningly close, but technically they had no excuse to attack him. And then Alcatraz stopped and turned in toward the border. His eternal scowl was plastered on his dark muzzle and his pale yellow eyes were calm as he waited. The best way to face this pack wolf was up front. His large bulk and unfriendly default expression often made him scary and intimidating, but he was careful to keep his thick mane flat and his tail loosely hanging behind his legs.
As Fitu neared the border, the dark shape of a wolf appeared. Fitu dashed madly at him, but just as he was about to collide with the wolf, he stopped and bellowed. It was a strange noise, a mixture of wolf and ox, sounding a lot like a strangled bear cub.
He suddenly realized his mistake. Again he had let his territorial nature take over his emotions, and in a flurry the young wolf blinked and shook his head, looking up at the enormous wolf before him with new-found horror. This was one of the largest wolves he had ever seen, and Fitu immediately cowered. He knew all too well that a wolf like this could slaughter him on the spot. They only reason he'd defeated his father was because he had had the element of surprise, but this wolf had obviously heard him coming, despite his near-silent dash.
This wolf did not appear aggressive, however, but Fitu took no chances. Though he had been told a wolf was supposed to defend their territory, Fitu rolled over in fright and looked up at the wolf just outside the border with liquid eyes begging for mercy. Any wrong move could end in the pale wolf's death.
Alcatraz saw the shape slipping through the trees and racing at him. He lifted his head, ready to back up a few paces in alarm, until he saw the size of the little male, and he relaxed, adjusting his position so to take in a blow if he decided to attack straight on.
But instead of feeling the bullet-like collision of the little wolf racing toward him at top speeds, the white male stopped only feet before him, all that energy released in a long, low, bellow. Alcatraz flattened his ears in surprise, his pale yellow eyes puzzled as he recoiled i shock. What kind of attack was this
? It did
shock him, he had to admit! And even more surprising, as soon as he had finished his roar-thing, his face grew blank with horror and he rolled over onto his pack, begging for mercy.
Alcatraz was silent for a moment, taking in the entire bizarre display. These Chandor wolves. Ridiculous.
He mumbled in his mind, letting out a sigh and looking down at Fitu. ”Get up, pup. It’s alright, I’m not going to hurt you.”
He took a few steps closer and sat down. ”You started off fine, a little daring perhaps, but then…. what was that?”
Alcatraz growled roughly, referring to his bellow and then to his sudden change of tactics thereafter.
Fitu was shocked when the stranger didn't attack. Not only did he not attack, but he didn't even growl. He was speaking to the pup, in a low, level voice. At his command Fitu sat up, his head low, eyes swiveling. He was unsure whether to meet the eyes of this wolf, whether it would be perceived as a challenge, but since the dark male was speaking to him he thought it rude not to, especially after his incredibly odd display.
Looking at the wolf's face, he thought of how he could possibly answer the unfamiliar wolf's question."Uh-Ummm,-I...I apologize, I don't-don't know why...that...happened."
He stammered, all of his newly-rediscovered language leaving him.
Alcatraz’s tail tip tapped against the ground as the poor male stammered for words. ”Well, next time, I’d get help before confronting someone my size, or even anywhere near my size. You’re much too… thin for fighting rogue loners.”
he growled, his voice sounding not unlike a teacher lecturing his class, ”Yes, and why are you so thin? Doesn’t Chandor feed you? Are they giving their members enough food to eat?”
Alcatraz got to his paws, his muzzle shoving into Fitu’s face not aggressively but certainly questioningly. He didn’t want to hear about his friend Gabitrix starving along with her pack mates! God, first he had to protect their borders and now he would have to hunt
for them? Geez!
The juvenile's embarrassment grew greatly as the wolf began to give him attacking pointers, and he looked down. "I-I suppose..."
Fitu's ears grew hot when the strange wolf commented upon his thinness. Most wolves in the pack had asked him the same thing, and usually all he could do was tell the truth. He hadn't enough experience with wolves to know how to lie in the first place, let alone making up a believable story." I..."
Wait a minute... why was he talking to him? This wasn't a Chandor wolf, weren't pack wolves not supposed to talk to others? But it seemed like this wolf meant no harm, after all, he wasn't moving any farther towards Chandor's main den from where he was.
Before he could answer, the male thrust his face to the yearling's. Fitu's ears shot straight back against his head and his eyes grew wide with unmistakable fear. The stranger's goldenrod eyes did not hold aggression, however. Was what Fitu saw...worry?
The yearling took a deep breath. He might as well give the stranger what he wanted-there didn't seem to be any way out of this-none of his packmates would recognize his howl as he had met only one of them, and he wasn't sure they'd even hear his howl-wherever they were at the moment. Turning his gaze to the dark wolf, he said not unwaveringly."I-I wasn't raised by this pack, I've just come from the North from a place very different from here. Food was really hard to find and... I wasn't much good at catching anything. You see... I was taken be a raptor when i was little, but he dropped me and I had to survive on my own. I was kinda raised by..."
this was where Fitu stopped. He needed to think about how he would say this-every wolf he'd told the story to so far had looked at him as if his nose had turned blue."I...attached myself to ...a, um, herd of musk oxen...?"
He said this last part questioningly, as if asking for the dark wolf's approval, but continued."So I didn't really eat much as a pup-I had no pack to feed me and I was too weak to eat anything but oxen that were stillborn or died of age or sickness, and that didn't really happen often..."
The thought of his family began to bring hot tears to his eyes, and he turned away in shame so that the stranger wouldn't see. the last thing he wanted now to show was weakness to this wolf-though he'd already shown it by rolling over before."It's not Chandor's fault, its just...just me."
He finished. He looked up at the wolf's face, sudden curiosity sparking his interest."Who..who are you, anyway? Why would YOU care about my being thin, or about Chandor anyways?
He said, his voice a little louder than before because of his new found confidence, but growing quieter towards the end out of wariness.
Alcatraz watched the young wolf with an irritated look in his pale yellow eyes, but that was kind of his default expression to those he did not know or enjoy. His eternal frown deepened and his pale eyes widened as Fitu explained that he had lived alongside a herd of musk oxen. ”Hmph!”
Alcatraz grunted, ”That does explain a lot. Like that unlawful wail you greeted me with.”
The dark loner smirked. ”That is very strange, though… I am shocked a herd of musk oxen let you live at their hocks.”
The dark loner looked at Fitu for a bit longer after that, as if considering whether to take him seriously. But Alcatraz decided in the end to believe him, however unusual the story. This truth didn’t matter to Alcatraz, so he decided to give the pup the benefit of the doubt. And besides, he did have that bellow to prove it!
Alcatraz nodded, satisfied that it was not a problem with Chandor. Sounded like the pack was healthy after all. ”Alright, good. Hopefully they’ll fatten you up.”
Alcatraz’s ears flattened and his eyes narrowed at the young wolf’s nosiness. Well, it wasn’t really nosy now that Alcatraz thought about it, since he was
so close to the young male’s territory. ”I have a friend in Chandor. I don’t want to hear about her starving is all.”
Alcatraz muttered, then said in hopes to change the subject. ”Say, you may have the reckless stubbornness of an oxen, but your wolf instincts are lacking. Why don’t I teach you a thing or two?”
Fitu felt another wave of embarrassment wash over him when the wolf brought up his earlier strangled bellow. At his next comment, the pup grew indignant."They didn't! I mean, well...I mostly trailed them, I wasn't really being looked after...or anything."
He said grumblingly. It was embarrassing enough to have acted the way he had, and now the wolf before him was going to think he'd been raised by prey!
Fatten him up... he hoped they'd succeed in at least covering his bones! He was grateful, however, for their kindness alone. He couldn't ask any more. However, he couldn't express such a childish thought to the stranger and simply sighed." Ah, yes... I guess"
He was looking at the wolf now, and his irritated look made Fitu quiver. Was he annoying him? Was what he'd been saying wrong? The dark male's next words shocked him, however, and his eyes widened again. He would have yelped at the wolf's point-out of his flaws, but kept silent. The strangers next words shocked him even greater. Teach him to be more like a wolf?! That would be...amazing...but he didn't even know this wolf's name...what if it was a trap...? He'd have to pull more information about this wolf out of his thickly set avoidance of Fitu's true intentions. These were to know his name, and now the name of this supposed friend of his. Some of the wolves of the pack had been teaching him about how to deal with strangers, and one of them had stressed the importance of information before action." I suppose...but first I'd...have your...name? And..who is your friend?..I-I-I- don't want to be so pressing, but I just don't trust you yet, is all
" Fitu had forgotten himself, he couldn't let himself become t vulnerable in front of this wolf, however safe he appeared to be.
Alcatraz saw the little wolf’s expression brightened and the corners of his mouth twitched into a self-satisfied smile. He would teach this wolf a thing or two, maybe how to handle loners without going belly up before even a growl was uttered.
Alcatraz nodded at his questions. ”Fair enough.”
he said. It was true that Fitu had no reason to trust him, other than the fact that Alcatraz had not yet attacked him, but that was not really enough information for him to be comfortable. ”My name is Alcatraz, and my friend is Gabitrix. She and I shared the same pack once, a long time ago. But we were separated and only recently reunited.”
The wolf's smile eased the fur on the white wolf's withers, and the little hair that still stood on end relaxed and flattened.The wolf's explanation had also done some to ease his nerves. He'd heard Gabitrix's name mentioned, but he hadn't yet met her. Now, what was it he was supposed to say when a wolf introduced themselves?"Ah, pleased to meet you, Alcatraz!
Darn! Was that too formal? Was it too late to say such a thing since they'd already been talking? Too late now. Instead he decided to change the subject. The pack would be wondering where he'd gone, and he didn't want to test Aethelynda's trust so early in in their relationship. Suppose this wolf wouldn't be able to return though? What then?"Well, um, could we meet again to start some sort of...lessons?
He asked hesitantly.
"" I don't know if you know my alpha but...she'd most likely want me back...by now, unless you're not able to come back...may you could correct what I just did and perhaps...we could pick it up later? I-I...don't know what you wanna do though..."
His voice trailed off.
The sky was getting darker, and a few droplets of collected mist dropped from one of the trees above and hit Fitu on the nose. He startled and leaped back. Shaking his head, he looked up at Alcatraz with hot fur. That part of his behavior surely was the first to go.
Alcatraz dipped his head in response to the greeting. He saw nothing odd about it, and was oblivious to the plight of the poor male. He realized that he did not know this young wolf’s name either. ”And what should I call you?”
he asked, ”Other than oxen-wolf.”
he added, his voice dry. It was as close to teasing as Alcatraz could get.
Alcatraz nodded to the male as he nervously said he had to go home. It was
getting late. And if Alcatraz were his pack mate, he know he’d be worried about him being gone too long. How easily this skittish juvinile would be slaughtered. Alcatraz hoped that he could change that. ”I have a den not far from here. I will be around for a little while yet, I expect. I can teach you how to not get killed at a later time.”
Alcatraz assured him. He furrowed his brows in exasperation as Fitu had a start due to some dew landing on his nose. This will be harder than I thought…
he thought to himself with a sigh. ”Tomorrow, at noon, we can meet at this border?”
Alcatraz offered. He didn’t know why he cared about this pup so much… perhaps just because he was Gabi’s pack mate. He didn’t want him to get killed, and if he knew how to fight better he could better protect Chandor and thus Gabi as well.
At Alcatraz's question Fitu sat straight up as if he'd been stung by a bee. Oxen-wolf? He hoped that wouldn't become something other wolves would think of him as, or much worse-call him! But he regained his bearings as another dreadful thought popped into his head.
He hadn't introduced HIMSELF! Oh no! Wolves were DEFINITELY supposed to do that! He dug his claws a little deeper into the damp leaves and nervously spoke."Well, you see..."
He began, trailing off again. He needed to focus he thought angrily to himself. He began anew."Sir, my full name is Litla Fitu Einn, but for short I am Fitu."
He said in a flurry. How embarrassing it was to again have frantically lost his train of thought as well as his confidence!
When the large dark wolf explained about his having a den near the territory, and about his being able to give Fitu lessons, Fitu's tail began to wag with joy. He wanted to buck like an ox calf with happiness but restrained himself. Instead, he did his absolute best to thank Alcatraz in the most wolf-like way he could."Oh, thank you sir, you won't be disappointed! I promise to be the best student any wolf could wish for! I-I-I-....Thank you."
He said excitedly, grasping for any words of gratitude he could.
Tommorow, at noon? Fantastic! what an incredible opportunity! This wolf had just met him and was already prepared to take him on as a student, even after Fitu's incredibly odd display and somewhat rude questioning of Alcatraz's true motives and identity!"Yes, sir! I'll be there!"
He said happily."Oh, and Alcatraz...?"
He began, his tail whipping back and forth eagerly, his amber-yellow eyes ecstatic and positively giddy as a lark.
Alcatraz watched the poor white wolf struggle through the nickname and the introduction with a small smirk. He was much too nervous. Perhaps that is what happens when you spend too much time with prey. He dipped his head. ”Alright, then, Fitu,”
His smirk turned into a genuine smile as Fitu rambled on gratefully. Alcatraz found himself almost looking forward to the training. ”It’s the least I can do for you Chandor wolves.”
Alcatraz said modestly. Well, he thought it was modest but perhaps it was a little smug as well.”Good. See you then.”
Alcatraz turned to go, stalking back toward his den. His ear swiveled back at his name and he looked over his shoulder at the juvenile. ”Yes?”
His pale amber eyes met Fitu’s sparkling ones as he waited for what else Fitu had to say.
So it was settled. Fitu was going to have a teacher, he was going to learn to be a real wolf! This had to be a dream! His heart beat at the speed of light and his tail swished rapidly over the sodden auburn leaves behind him.
He paused, thinking about how he would put his next sentence. He shut his eyes in deep thought, and when he opened them, a soft smile spread on his maw."Does this make us...mentor and apprentice then?"
He asked hopefully.
Alcatraz waited for his question impatiently, his tail tip twitching. Finally Fitu asked the question, his eyes full of hope. He nodded thoughtfully, ”For tomorrow I suppose.”
He flicked his dark tail tip, ”See you tomorrow pup.”
With that the huge loner trotted away and disappeared into the trees.
Fitu's heart swelled with joy, and he watched the enormous bear-like wolf walk away after saying farewell. This was it, Fitu had a mentor."Goodbye, Alcatraz, until tomorrow!
" He was sure this was the right thing to say this time, and walked away calmly with the new knowledge that he'd become a normal wolf sooner than he could have hoped, and that he had a strong and decisive mentor in Alcatraz.