Night was never still nor quiet. Rodents rustled through the grass. Insects called to each other. Owls drifted through the air. Smaller predators, such as skunks and weasels, hunted for sleeping prey. All over them bathed under the light of the moon. In the grassy field nearest to Marrow's main den a figure lay, half-shielded from view by a particularly tall patch of feathery grass. Charaka shifted her legs from beneath her slightly, readjusting her sleeping posture. She chose this spot after many days of searching and testing for a suitable sleeping place after the first few restless nights trapped under the trees. She thought she would have gone crazy from sleeping in a place the sky couldn't reach every single night. Dosing lightly with half-lidded eyes, Charaka let her thoughts drift in whatever direction they chose in preparation for a good night's sleep. However, her ears and nose would still be on alert for any strange signals. Bedding in the grass surrounded by her pack's smell made memories of her family well up to the forefront of her mind. Her parents sleeping back to back. Her mother nipping her father whenever he accidentally kicked her in his sleep. Estel sleeping on her back and snoring softly while her other younger sister Rajya chose to sleep as far away from the family as her parents allowed. Her uncle waking her up in the middle of the night just to make sure she wasn't sleeping too deeply... Oh. There he was now... Charaka stared blearily at the small dark brown figure in the distance. She wondered why Wafai was so far out? He was several meters past Marrows borders and it would take him several minutes at best to reach her at that rate...
Charaka's eyes snapped open as the realization whipped her brain out of its sleep induced fog. There was a wolf, a wolf who she did not recognize, making his or her way slowly but surely towards the scent border! A rush of fear through her as the memory of the night she and her family were attacked by another pack, and for a moment the figure transformed into a horrible shadowed wolf monster like the ones that haunted her dreams when she least expected it. Then reason spoke: There was only of of them. It was not a pack. The stranger in the distance returned to its normal shape and size. Reason had managed to get a foothold in her mind before it was too late. The paranoia was dropping slowly down to a more manageable level. However, as Charaka continued to stare at the stranger she felt something else replace the fear. Anger.
Her lips pulled back to reveal her teeth as she jumped up from her bed. How DARE that wolf come here in the middle of the night! How DARE it threaten her home again! Luckily reason was still in control or else she would have tore after it like any other wolf she found straying near her birth pack's borders. Howl had told her that he wanted strangers to be questioned about their actions first before taking violent action. Charaka agreed since it was the followers' job to support the alpha's in their decisions as best as they could. Now She was reminded of that promise, and was regretting it slightly. Still she was going to get this wolf away from her pack even if it did take force to do so! A roar finally escaped from her throat as she charged, teeth bared towards the wolf. To her slight surprise the wolf didn't run, but instead seemed to wait for her. She slowed to a stop several meters away from the border. She wanted enough distance between them so she had time to howl for help if the loner, a male taller and a bit heavier than she was, tried attacking her. She felt another flash of fear at the wolf's confidence but suppressed it with outright anger.
"This is Marrow Pack's territory you're walking towards!" Charaka snarled at the male, her fur bristling like a porcupine's. "State your business here or leave NOW!" She shifted into a defensive fighting stance as she spoke, watching the other wolf carefully for any sign he might attack.
Alcatraz moved through the field under the cover of the night. He scented a pack nearby, Morrow he assumed since he had run into a member of that pack just yesterday, but he didn't know where it was... he didn't think he had crossed the border, so he continued on. Perhaps it was not in his path.
Alcatraz always moved under the cover of the night if he could help it. The days were far too hot for him and his dark fur. In the night he was the perfect temperature, especially in a field such as the one he was making his way through with the gentle breeze wafting through the grass and into his fur and the glittering stars and cold moonlight lighting his way.
He was so calm and at ease that he hardly registered the figure charging toward him until she was several yards away. He stopped and watched her. Had he crossed a border after all? No... he would have noticed. Was she just a crazy loner? Maybe... but Alcatraz was never afraid; he was confident in his fighting skills so he just stared at her, his tail at a neutral height and his sand-baked yellow eyes resting on the newcomer.
He blinked at her anger and words. A wolf pack who actually defended
it's borders? He had to admit he was shocked; this was something he had never seen before and boy was he excited! This
is what a pack wolf should be like! This
is a pack! But one thing did surprise him... she indeed was from Morrow. He had met Gypsee, the Morrow healer, and she had been the most welcoming of all pack wolves he had met so far! Maybe it was a healer thing? He had no idea...
But still, this female checked out in his book. He could not help the smile that formed on his jaws. "You know, miss, I am impressed at your ferocity. You could have just saved your pack from disaster with an approach like that."
Alcatraz had no intention of attacking anyone, so she did not save her pack this time, but plenty of wolves even with malicious intentions would have turned tail and ran at such a confrontation.
She did not drop her aggressive stance at his words; however, she was confused at the out of the blue praise and his smile. Charaka was close enough for the male's scent to reach her. She didn't really smell any other wolves in him, but he was healthy. And a healthy wolf was still a threat!
"I said, what are you doing here! If you refuse to answer and leave, I shall make you leave!" she barked angrily at him. She was a bit ticked off he didn't answer this the first time she asked. She swore there wouldn't be a third! "Alright, alright, I'll answer."
he said. "I'm just passing through. I knew I was near your territory, but I didn't know exactly where it was... I suppose I know now."
he gave her a small smirk and sat down. He was not in her territory, so he guessed she would not attack him. But he did not let himself relax too much because he knew he could be wrong... either way, he respected this she-wolf.
The confusion intensified as the loner sat down, SAT DOWN, in the grass just outside the border! The stranger's gall shocked her so much she just simply stared at him for a few second. What kind of person just, just does that when they're being threatened!? Was he sick or something!?
"If you don't leave in the next 30 seconds, you'll have me and the rest of the pack on you." she growled. She definitely didn't want to catch whatever he had. She would have to howl for help before starting an attack. She hoped Gypsee knew how to fix crazy...
She looked extremely angry now... he pinned his ears back. "Woah, take it easy, miss."
he said. He honestly didn't want trouble, "I'm not in your territory; I'm not doing anything wrong."
he pointed out, but got to his paws nonetheless. It would probably be best to be on his way soon... He was beginning to truly like this Morrow pack, though, despite the less than impressive confrontation with the healer Gypsee earlier.
Charaka stepped forward, alarmed that he had suddenly gotten up. However, it didn't seem like a fight was going to happen so she stopped quickly. For all her aggression she didn't want to get into a fight and gain an injury. "No you are not." She agreed grudgingly. "However, I cannot trust you on your word that you won't cross over. The sooner you leave the sooner I can 'take it easy'." She barked gruffly. To leave while there was still a potential threat in front of her was unthinkable! She would definitely report this loner to Howl ('s moving castle lol) as soon as possible. Come to think of it... "What is your name!" she demanded suddenly. Sure he could just give her a false name, but she needed to call him something when she reported him.
Alcatraz nodded. "You are wise not to trust me. You shouldn't trust strangers."
he paced a bit from one way and then turned and paced the other before stopping in front of her again. "Alcatraz."
he said evenly. He didn't mind others knowing his name. He was not afraid of anyone, not even a pack. "What about yours miss?"
he liked to know the wolves he ran into, especially ones he respected.
A snarl rose from her as the loner started to move then died as he just paced a bit then answered her. For once. And now he's talking again...
"Char-" she started before closing her mouth with a snap. She did not mean to answer him. She had been introducing herself so often lately the response was becoming automatic. She snarled again in frustration and anger, both at herself for the slip and at this Alcatraz. She has just about had it with this wolf! He was nearly trespassing on her pack's lands and instead of leaving at her warning he just stood there! She had told him twice to leave and he didn't do it! She has had enough!
Keeping her head low she let out an alarm howl to awaken her presumably sleeping packmates a little over a mile away. Then shot forward, keeping her body low to the ground so if need be she could place a paw down to turn at a moment's notice. And she would try to keep out of the way of this male's grip. Getting herself caught in a hold and at his mercy was the last thing she wanted to happen.
Alcatraz nodded as she said her name, but his expression hardened as she snapped her jaws shut. She looked angry now... perhaps he should not have provoked her, although light conversation did not seem very provoking to him. She let out a howl and Alcatraz got to his paws, although he still had no interest in attacking her or stopping her long, loud call. It was about time he left anyway, he had done enough to this poor she-wolf. "I don't know what you want from your pack. I'm not trespassing."
He said, his voice even as he watched her calmly.
Honestly, he was quite shocked when she ran at him. She was courageous, that was for sure! Attacking a mysterious loner with her pack too far away to save her if things went bad. He did not want to harm a wolf like that; she was a true wolf as he saw it... in terms of courage anyway. She was a little too impulsive for his liking, though, attacking a wolf who had never made a threat or set paw in her territory. He knew that she was probably either bluffing or she would tackle him to the ground. Either way he was pretty sure he could handle it, and so he stood tall and calm, waiting for her as she ran toward him. He could have fled, but this wasn't her territory; she had no right to drive him away. He knew he could fight her off with some effort if he needed to, but he would prefer to not risk harming the pack wolf. The last thing he wanted was a vendetta with Morrow, especially after his less than perfect encounter with their healer Gypsee.
The fact he just stood there didn't surprise her. Wolves who often went on the defensive often did that. If he was going to play a defensive game this would be a very long battle indeed. Well, until backup arrived. Until then..
As she dashed forward she briefly scanned the ground around them for holes, rocks and other obstacles. Thankfully there wasn't anything serious. Keeping in mind her foot work, she lunged forward and snapped at his front. A feint. Instead of pulling pack, she sidestepped and swing around to bite at his hind ankles, keeping her stance poised to jump backwards when he retaliated.
Alcatraz reeled back as she snapped at his front, narrowly avoiding her snapping jaws. He got the feeling, since her aim was not that great in that attack, that it was in fact a diversion. And it was. She swung around, biting his ankle. He snarled as he hopped to the side, using a huge paw to try and knock her over, but he expected her to avoid the attack. "You want to fight?"
he growled, his ankle throbbing. He would not hurt the female, but he could not just take that bite and run without proving that he could, if he wished, destroy her.
He lunged toward her. She would probably evade his attack, but he knew that if she bit him again he could react quickly enough to deliver a strong retaliation blow. He was still unsure when he had threatened her enough to ask for an attack. Although he should not really be angry about it. His opinions of safety were quite similar, except for he did not believe that lone wolves should be so quickly sent away unless they were in the territory. They often had much knowledge, he found, and are best treated with caution and respect.
Charaka tasted blood as her fang sliced into the male's ankle, then leaped backwards. However, she wasn't fast enough to fully avoid his paw. Her head was knocked briefly sideways as her maw was clubbed. Half-stunned she jumped backwards a few times to create more distance and give her time to recover. She snarled at him to hide the small flash of fear she felt. She had missed breaking his leg and didn't even manage to cut any of the large veins! At least she had gotten him on the offensive; Charaka did better when she was the one on the defensive. She loosened herself as the male came nearer; her focus fully on his movements. As he lunged at her, she sidestepped and knocked her canine tooth against his to knock his searching fangs away. Then her teeth flashed downwards to try to break his leg again.
Alcatraz recoiled as she slashed her jaws against his. She leaped back. "Stop this nonsense, please-!"
Charkaraa lunged again and Alcatraz leaped backward to narrowly avoid her jaws. "I'm sorry, my friend, but I don't need you pack on my tail."
he spoke as he aimed a heavy blow at her outstretched face with a powerful, well experienced paw. As soon as he felt his large paw hit her cheek he planned to turn and take off as she gathered herself from such a dizzying blow.
Charaka saw the leg she was aiming for raise and lash out at her face. She tried to jerk her face out of the way but the claws still slashed into her cheek. The pain shocked her and she stumbled away from the loner.
Alcatraz felt a tinge of guilt as he felt his claws rake her cheek. He had not meant to hurt her, but he was running out of time and he had to get away from here.
He turned and raced away, looking back only once to see her stumbling away in shock, before facing forward and picking up his speed. Morrow was not a pack he should be near anymore, that he had decided... he didn't care much except for the fact that he had hurt Charaka. Oh well... she was a tough wolf. She would be fine. He pushed the guilt away as he continued on at full speed, not planning on stopping until Morrow was far, far behind him...
Charaka shook herself, sending blood flying, and snarled at the fleeing figure. She would not forget him! Alcatraz was his name? But at least he finally left. Hopefully for good! She sat her brown butt down in the grass just on the other side of the border watching him leave. She suddenly felt incredibly tired... Probably because of the lack of sleep. Wetness hit her paw and she stared at the blood splatter. It wasn't his blood. It was hers. She didn't fair too well against him, not as much as she thought she should at any rate. Perhaps she should get someone to practice with her? Charaka lifted her gaze and her brown eyes searched for any sign of the loner. He was gone. Good. Now it was time for her to sleep! Tail raised high she walked back to her bed in the tall grasses, and fell into a shallow sleep.