Seven padded joyously through Aryn territory, her tail sticking up behind her, as he gaze wandered absently. She had been journeying for a while, determined to spread her wings a little and explore the lands for herself. The mountains loomed in front of her, and huge rock faces spread out on either side, drawing the interested female with wide eyes. As she continued on, she began to notice that the walls of the trail had began to grow significantly larger, poking up into the sky like giant spines.
A wave of insecurity began to float through her body, and he pace slowed instinctively, realising the the path she was taking wasn't as consistent as she once thought....She turned around to head back, but stopped dead. The path branched off in multiple directions, and in her absent state, the female hadn't tracked where she had come from. An eerie sound echoed around her, as the wind whistled through the narrow mountain path.
Seven pressed her ears tightly against her skull, and felt a whimper building in her throat. It had been a long time since she had felt so lost....
Alcatraz was stalking through the mountains, his claws clicking on the hard stone. He had heard reports of courage scents being found in the mountains and he had taken it upon himself to investigate, and eliminate the problem if necessary.
The mountain paths were complicated, but after a while in the territory most Arynians knew them well. So far nothing unexpected had come to his attention… until he heard the faint rustle of paws on stone from around the corner. He froze, his fur bristling as he waited for another sound.
But then he heard nothing. He narrowed his eyes, ruffling up his fur as he stalked toward the corner silently. He would have to be swift and agile and strike quickly, for if it was a cougar he had but once chance to gain the upper hand. He took off without further delay, flying around the corner with teeth bared in a soundless snarl and his pale yellows eyes locking on his target.
Until he saw who his target truely was!
The Alpha gasped, all his ferocity turning to shock as he skidded frantically to a halt, just inches before the lost young she-wolf. ”Seven!?”
Alcatraz cried, feeling an immediately mix of confusion and guilt. What was she doing here? And how terrified
she must feel after being nearly brutally ambushed by her own Alpha!
Seven pricked her ears and turned her head ever so slowly to look behind her, her eyes pinned in a building fear as she picked up the noises echoing through the mountain path. Suddenly a brown shape pelted around the corner with a furious snarl imprinted on their face, eyes burning. Seven let out a monstrous yelp in utter horror, and she flung backwards onto her haunches in shock as the Aryn alpha halted a few hairs away from her.
The fur on her neck stood up so straight she had probably grown a few inches, and her face was frozen in a look of silent shock. Her heart raced in her ears, but it was somewhat reassuring to see that both of their faces mirrored each other.
She took a few moments, breathing in and out in obvious relief that the intruder was her Alpha and not some fierce predator, looking to find a silly juvenile who had gotten herself lost in her own territory. "H...Hello Alpha Alcatraz"
she stuttered, offering him a sheepish grin, and lifting a paw to flatten the fur on her head.
Alcatraz backed up, sitting back onto his haunches and catching his breath. He could tell her heart was still racing, even more than his, from what had just happened. Seven gave him a shy grin, her voice shaking as she greeted him. ”What are you doing out here, don’t you know it’s dangerous?”
Alcatraz asked, his voice still tinged with exasperation as he looked around to make sure the were alone. But his frustration was less toward her than just how he had misjudged the situation, and the shock he was still recovering from.
Seven felt a little relieved that the Aplha wasn't overly angry at her for being so far away from camp, but she was still very embarrassed at being caught lost in her own territory. Her breathing and heart rate had began to slow to it's normal pace, giving the female time to really think about her response, as to not sound like a complete idiot. "Well.....I wanted to explore a little! Y'know, get to know the territory?"
she began, her ears instinctively lowering, as she was in the presence of a higher rank. "And I got a little lost"
she finished, with a quick glance at the high walls around them.
She couldn't help but admit that fact. But she hoped that the male would understand, after all, she hadn't been in the pack for that long....
Finally the large male began to calm down and regain his composure, looking at Seven with his ears cupped forward. She explained herself in a way so typical of a young juvenile; eager to explore the land and the adventures within it. He nodded, at least she had admitted she was lost, ”I see. In the future, an escort would be most appropriate to accompany you through these far reaches of the territory until you learn the area better. The cliffs and crevices can be confusing even to experienced Arynians. And I can only assume you knew nothing about the recent reports of cougar scents in these parts,”
his voice was stern, but he tried to be at least somewhat gentle with the young female. She was new, after all, and he did not want her to fear him too greatly, especially after such a startling run in.
Seven nodded her head and listened to him intently, highly aware of how stupid it was of her to explore on her own in such an obviously disorientating environment. Her face fell when he mentioned the presence of large predators. She felt the fur on her neck stand on edge, and subconsciously inched a little closer to the Alpha, her eyes poking around towards the cliff's. "I didn't know...."
she stammered, her face clearly terrified as she realized the danger of her little expedition.
She turned her gaze back to the large brown male and added, "Could you lead the way back?"
. She knew that she would have no hope in tracking her way home now, and felt safe in the presence of her Alpha male.
Alcatraz felt guilty as he saw the fear in her eyes. He sighed inwardly. How soft he had grown… in his younger days he would not have cared at all, insisting that she would have to learn one way or another, better now with a hard retribution (much harder than the one he had given) than later at the bottom of a cliff or in the jaws of a cougar. But now… especially since he had his own children… he felt like he could only see his puppies in the faces of young wolves. Especially Seven, who had grown so close to several of his young kin, particularly Lazarus and Kane. ”I’m sorry for frightening you,”
he said at last, his gaze diverting to search the cliffs around them, but honestly he just wanted to look away from her.
His eyes rested on her once again, however, as she asked if he could lead the way back. ”No,”
he answered, ”You got yourself in here. Now you will get us out.”
Sure he had grown gentler, but this was too good a learning opportunity to pass up.
Seven jerked her gaze back to him, an unexpected look fluttering into her eyes. She hadn't prepared herself for that sort of response! Nerves began to poke her insides, but she forced herself to remain calm. It was important to show her Alpha that she was a capable member of Aryn. She was able to take care of herself, and get herself out of difficult situations. She narrowed her face in determination, and nodded at him stiffly, her nerves still not fully suppressed. She took a few paw-steps backwards, and lowered her head to the ground, trying to pick up any trace of scent. Her own had been lost to the stone, but a stronger scent still managed to hang in the air.Alcatraz
. She padded behind the male and could pick up on the fading scent. He must have got into the mountain pass somehow, so it was her best chance, considering the fact that it was already fading. "This way!"
she stated, ignoring the whining stress that was floating through her head.
Alcatraz watched with approval as her startled expression harden into resolve and she nodded to him, determined to find her way out. She started by searching for her own scent to follow it home, but when it prove difficult to find she found another way. Resourceful,
He thought, but how lucky she was that he was here to leave a scent. He stepped aside as she passed him, and then trotted after her, a dark, protective shadow behind the young auburn she-wolf. He was alert for signs of danger, and also alert at where Seven was going. He was not going to let anything happen to her. The way he had come was a bit strenuous, the path marred by rock tumbles, narrow ledges, and winding paths. But Seven seemed an agile young she-wolf, she could most likely handle the obstacles, and regardless he would be there to help if she needed it. And If she could make it, then this was the quickest way out. A useful path for her to learn.
As Seven followed the scent of Alcatraz, she sensed his presence close behind and felt a deep sense of relief, thankful that even though she was having to lead them both out of here, he was still around to protect her to, especially seeing as Cougars were apparently a problem now. The female continued on in silence, determination flowing through veins, clearly eager not to loose the trail, which was quickly fading. She glanced ahead, and winced as the path began to buckle and twist in a ghastly fashion. Although she was confident that her form would be able to make it through successfully, she couldn't help that nerves.
Letting out a silent sigh, she padded on, her tail raised, making sure she kept her confidence apparently clear. She raised her muzzle and smiled lightly as she picked up the scent of forest. They must be getting close to leaving the mountainous paths soon....As the pair tracked, Seven decided to attempt and make conversation, secretly curious to learn more about her Alpha."Um, so what's being Alpha like?"
she quizzed, ignoring how lame her question sounded, she had a feeling he wouldn't mind much.
Alcatraz watched as she maneuvered the path, following the scent trail admirably well along the mountain ways. She walked carefully but with confidence, another good sign. Other animals, and enemy wolves, could sense fear, but she did a good job in hiding it. The earthy scents of the forest soon wafted in the breeze, indicating that they were already getting close to safety.
He gave her a mild look as she asked the question, ”It’s fine,”
he answered, ”busy. Stressful sometimes, though, especially when young wolves take it upon themselves to get lost in the more remote sections of our territory.”
Seven turned her head slowly to look back at her Alpha, her gaze apologetic. She didn't mean to get lost.....it was clearly a hindrance on the male to take her back to the camp. He must have had better things to do. Luckily for her, despite the buckled path, the scent of the forest grew steadily stronger.
Soon enough, green began to loom ahead, and she stuck up her tail in satisfaction. "Yes! There it is!"
she stated, her eyes bright. "Thank goodness....I have never been more pleased to see trees."
she added, with a relieved sigh.
Alcatraz flicked his pale yellow gaze to her, meeting her large blue gaze, looking quite sorry. He met her eyes sternly for a moment, but then let out a small sigh and gave her the ghost of a smile, assurance that she was not truly in any trouble. What job did an Alpha have, after all, if not to protect his pack, even the adventurous young ones. Getting into trouble was essential to youth, after all. Although he hoped next time it was a bit safer trouble she would get into.
Alcatraz trotted forward to walk beside her, ”Well done…”
he began but then trailed off as a scent drifted into his nose… a fearsome scent that he had been searching for all day. The burly male flew forward suddenly, crashing into Seven and sending them both into the sparse rocky grass behind a rock. ”Stay down.”
he growled to her, his yellow eyes fixed on a rocky alley near where they had come from, not even paying attention to how she had taken his sudden assault.
Seven felt pride build up in her chest at the Alpha's praise. She had wanted nothing more than to do well by her leader, and hearing that he was impressed was a great sign. She opened her mouth to reply, but was cut short as the male suddenly tumbled into her side with a hefty shove. Seven yelped in shock as she was shoved very roughly into the grass ahead of them. She felt his large paws on her side, holding her to the ground, but the sternness in his voice warned her to stay silent.
She picked up on a vulgar stench, tainting the air, and fear began to worm it's way through her system. Clearly something had the Alpha on edge, but she had never scented such a thing before. The environment was alien to her. She eyed him with heavy concern flooding across her face, awaiting a possible explanation for the sudden outburst.
A deep growl formed in Alcatraz’s throat as a pair of wide eyes peered from the shadows of the nearby rocks. It has seen us,
the large Warden realized. He glanced down at Seven finally, noticing the concern and confusion in her large blue eyes. ”Cougar,”
he rumbled, ”Stay here, I will handle this.”
Alcatraz stalked from behind the rock, his head and tail high and his thick fur fluffed out to its full length, making him look very large and very intimidating. His pale yellow eyes were wide and his lips curled back slowly to reveal long pearly fangs as he prowled toward where the cougar lurked in the shadows, stopping a good distance away and letting out a low warning growl.
The cat met his gaze for a tense moment, but then it blinked slowly and turned, slinking back into the shadows, clearly not up for challenging the Alpha male of the resident wolf pack. Alcatraz paused a moment after it vanished, just to make sure it was gone, and then he turned, trotting back to where Seven hid. ”Cougars rarely attack if you face them, they can take no risks because they have no pack or family to help them if they are injured. They prefer to attack when their target least expects it. It is the safest for them, but it makes them very dangerous for us.”
he told her.
Seven watched in horror as the large dark male approached the predator, his hackles raised to make him look twice his original size. The auburn female remained unbelievably still, the fright from the encounter solidifying her limbs and body. Probably for the best.
To her utter relief, the cougar seemed to size up the Alpha and think twice about approaching such a foe with aggression. Instead, the cat turned away and vanished into the undergrowth. The female watched as the dark male snorted after it, before returning to her hiding spot. She nodded stiffly as he explained the dangers of the large predators."I...I understand"
she stammered, very slowly getting to her paws, the fear of the cat hunting her beginning to ease away. She made a mental note never to come back to this area alone again. "But if I am honest with you, I will be so glad to return to the camp....And I won't come back to this area alone again...I promise"