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"The day is quick, the night is cold
Upon these hours will many stories be told.
The sun sets, with no moon to ascend,
Fear the wolves who gladly goad the courts' end.
Watch terror set in, watch the wolf prey hide,
For a new threat approaches from the rising tide.
The water washes over, obscuring the light,
Aside from the few who can do what is right.
The chances are few, the luck is stretched,
Into the sand beach is their battle etched.
Blood is spilled, innocent wolf lives taken,
But this death be nothing compared to the war in the making.
Trust no allies, fear no foes,
For who is which, no wolf knows."
Warning: There are some quite graphic/disturbing deaths in the story. Reader discretion is advised.

Introduction Edit

The Isles of Eraye are not for the faint-hearted of wolves. The isles themselves are harsh, and the wolves that rule them even more unimaginably so. The isles have been reigned by two royal wolf courts - the Tark Court, and the Huea Court, for many years, and without conflict. However, when a rogue group threatens the peace and splits the two courts, the isles are plunged into chaos - and only few can save them.

Guide Edit

The Tark Court Edit

The Tark Court is lead by Tark, the aging widowed alpha male, and his son, Mute, who shows the same iron fist that his father leads with. The Tark Court are made of long-legged, grey-pelted wolves with thick, insulating pelts and sharply pointed ears. The wolves are notoriously solitary and introverted, preferring to work in small groups instead of large patrols like the Huea Court. The Tark Court rules most of the Main Isle, but do not like to stray into the beaches, or the open sandy plains.

The Huea Court Edit

The Huea Court is lead by Petra, the alpha female of late alpha Huea. She is aging and sick, and expects Creek to continue leading the pack when she dies. The Huea Court is more family-like than the Tark Court, and hunts are done as a giant team, working together to bring down big prey animals that wander the plains and beaches. Rarely do the Huea Court venture into the forests - the elders of the pack say that the shadows corrupt. The Huea Court usually have warmer brown or dusty yellow coloured pelts.

The Island Wolves Edit

The Island wolves are a previously unknown subculture of isolated wolf families. Very little is known about them, other than they live on the smaller island chains and are smaller in stature than the mainland wolves. They have large, golden eyes and powerful senses, along with strong legs and thick, water-repellent coats in a variety of dark colours.

The Gods Edit

The Gods are the fabled Noble Wolves, those who run among stars and whose howls provide the noise at night. They are said to watch through the Moon, a tunnel-like looking-glass, as if staring down a well. However, the castaway wolf Hete, exiled and banished, gets his revenge by slowly moving boulders over the tunnel during the day. This is why the No Tunnel (newmoon) is considered bad luck by the wolves. There is general peace and happiness under a full moon, and it is believed to be a lucky day, as the Gods are gazing down at them. Prophecies are famously only received on full moon nights.

Prologue Edit

"This storm doesn't look too good," Yaiye warned, her weathered grey eyes scanning the sea surface. The cold, gulf stream wind blasted her elder pelt, making it sour and crunchy with salt. A thick blanket of stormclouds cast a dark shadow onto the roughening waves, making the very air seem colder. Yaiye and Creek had traveled out to the edge of the beaches looking for driftwood to reinforce the elder's den with, but their search had so far been fruitless.

"I guess it's a good thing we're looking out here, then," Creek commented, his younger, darker frame padding beside his grandmother. "We really should get you back to the den. Petra insisted that you came home safely and quickly."

"My sister will always be a worrier," Yaiye sighed. "I never could understand how Huea could deal with it. I'd go mad if I had a mate like that. Poor wolf had the patience of a saint, bless his soul."

"I certainly miss Alpha Huea," Creek's voice was sad. His grey-brown pelt shivered in the cold air, his whiskers pricking up at a new blast of salty ocean air. "He was a good leader. It's a shame that Petra will have to continue on without him."

"Hopefully, you will do a plentiful job, too." Yaiye stretched, preparing to turn back towards the camp. "Petra has chosen well. You will make an excellent alpha."

"Oh, you will." Yaiye laughed, a rare joy that made Creek smile. "You'll make a fine leader. I just hope I live to see it."

"You've seen the rise of the two Courts," Creek chuckled, loping ahead to gather a pair of driftwood sticks. "What could possibly happen now? Everyone's at peace, at long last."

"I wouldn't hold your breath, Creek," Yaiye warned. "I don't think this newfound kindness will last long."

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"Nur?" Petra called, her voice frail. "Has anyone seen Nur?"

The few wolves that stood in the camp parted for the shewolf to pass through. Nur thanked them as she approached Petra.

"What do you need, Petra?" Nur asked, her dark eyes flitting to the storm brewing on the horizon. She knew what the Alpha would ask of her.

"Would you mind making sure that Creek and Yaiye have returned?" Petra asked. "I told my son not to stay out too long, and what does he do? Anyway, thank you, dear."

"I promise I'll be back before the sun sets," Nur bowed her head respectfully and turned to leave, swiftly padding through the long plains grass. It swirled around in the wind like wolf fur, scrambling paths and nearly unsettling the underground dens at the wateredge. The wateredge was a colloquial name used by Huea's Court in order to describe the way that the sea curved inwards, into the plains, providing the pack with somewhat fresh water.

"Creek?" Nur began to call as she ran, her thickly pelted fur easily keeping the cold out. The dark hair tipped forward as she skidded to a halt at the beach edge.

The water coming forward was growing white at the tips, with a catlike hiss to them as they slammed violently against the ground. Nur made a mental note to check that the apprentice den was safe from the onslaught.

The yearling wolf sprinted down the beach, her hardened pawpads making smooth contact with the sand. She stopped and howled after a moment, trying to regain her breath. The simple, low-pitched note carried through the increasing rain to no avail. The grasslands were disappointingly silent.

Nur found the slurred trail that the two wolves had left, but the tracks lead towards the rockier end of the beach, where large boulders spurted from the otherwise smooth sand. It made sense to go towards them; the cliffs were near, and would provide shelter from the brunt of the storm.

"Creek? Yaiye?" Nur shouted, her voice lost to the wind. The shewolf's dark cheek fur whipped at her eyes, obscuring her vision.

A flash of lightning slashed through the landscape, cutting it into bright white and looming shadows. A heavy growl of thunder followed.

"Nur?" It was Creek's voice, tired and weary. Nur's ears pricked up almost instantly, her eyes wide with a renewed energy. "Nur, are you out there?"

Nur opened her mouth to reply, but a heavy slam to her right ribs knocked the air from the lungs within them. A heavy roar descended on Nur, and only now did she feel the blood trickling from the newly-made holes in her side.

"Nur!" It was Creek again, whose eyes were wide with terror. Nur now noticed that Yaiye was nowhere to be seen.

It only took another slam to the side of her head before she lost balance and fell, and with a large, bone-cracking snap, fell into a long, long darkness.

Chapter One Edit

"We are here today to mourn the death of Yaiye and Nur, two wolves who were close to all in this pack." Petra's voice was bleak; her sister and niece had both been killed in one long, cruel blow. The remnant of her son, a fragile, thin creature with no resemblance to Creek, had been sitting silently in the nurse's den, refusing to do anything but eat, drink and sleep.

"They were taken from us cruelly, and in the harshest of ways. Unfortunately, neither could be recovered, so it is only our memories that we have to remember them with. It is these memories that will live on with us, and follow us in hunts, as Yaiye and Nur once did."

Creek watched the unfolding events from inside the nurse's den, his faded green gaze fixed on his mother. She seemed so stoic, so unfazed by the deaths. Then again, he reminded himself, she hadn't seen the cat.

He remembered it as a massive tiger-like creature, with rippling muscles and long teeth. He had watched it strike Yaiye down with a single blow, then only another two to kill Nur. He thought of their bodies, alone and rotting in the boulders.

He shivered. Those boulders would not be somewhere he wanted to visit anytime soon.

"Creek?" It was a young voice, that of his little sister, Heira. She stood at the doorway to the nurse's den, her dark brown pelt making her look eerily like Nur.

"Yes?" His voice was croaky and raspy from the hours of sobbing under the rock. It had taken four patrols to find him.

"Ar- What happened?" Heira asked, her eyes wide with sad curiosity. "I heard that Aunt Yaiye and Nur aren't coming home."

"They aren't," Creek's voice faded by the second, shaking as if it wanted to cry. "They aren't coming home."

Heira decided not to say anything else, instead simply curling up against her brother's damp mousy fur. "It'll be alright, Creek."

The words stuck with Creek for a while.

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After another two days, Creek had regained enough strength and confidence to walk. While his body had bounced back to its normal, thickly-furred form, Creek's mind was still broken by what he had witnessed.

The worst part was not what he remembered; it was what he didn't. He could clearly reimagine the cat striking his aunt down - even if he didn't want to - and Nur's dark body flying away into a crevice in the rocks. He then remembered the howls of other wolves, echoing through the rocks, and scents different to any other he'd smelt. These wolves were neither Tark nor Huea; they were true island wolves.

He only wished that he would be allowed to go to the site. Maybe he'd be able to find pawprints, or find the wolves. Maybe they'd been able to rescue Yaiye, too. He'd definitely seen Nur die - but if they had reached Yaiye quick enough, they could have saved her.

Creek waited, biding his time in the cave. The grey wolf's years of boring apprentice lessons had taught him the gentle art of patience, and it was coming in useful now. When the sun set, a beautiful painting of red and orange, Creek made his escape.

The rest of the Court were gathered around a young elk, which had wandered from the forests into the plains and made an easy kill. Creek's stomach growled angrily, but he resisted the temptation to eat, and snuck off through the thick grass.

Seeing the beach again felt like he was being stabbed; could he really do this? With such fresh wounds, such raw memories, Creek felt like it would break him to revisit that awful place.

His breath was rising uncomfortably, so he stopped, closing his eyes and sitting in the shallow, placid water as it lapped the gently sloping sand. The sea was black and calm, edged with the occasional strip of soft white foam. The sky was a dark purple, red along the horizon, with brightly shining stars and a thin sliver of moon to cast soft light.

Creek was relaxed, after several moments of closed-eye breathing. He felt his heart rate drop, and finally opened his eyes to gaze down the beach.

A black wolf, or a wolf silhouette, stood watching him, his or her golden eyes fixed on Creek's form. After a moment, another one appeared, the same shape. The wolves had short legs, thinner tails, and smaller ears with broad-looking muzzles. The first, presumably the leader, tipped their head back, releasing a surprisingly high-pitched single note. The others joined, in harmony, before setting off. Their movements were swift and coordinated as they approached the black waves, disappearing into them.

"Wait!" Creek called, his voice carrying easily across the flat sand. "Please, I need-"

His voice cut out as another wolf ran into his ribs.

Chapter Two Edit

The other wolf was dark, and small, like the ones that had approached from the sea. He was young, apprentice-age, and had big, wide gold eyes. His fur was slicked against his form and smelt like seawater.

"Wait!" Creek stood, blocking the wolf from the sea. The large golden eyes studied him carefully.

"We're not supposed to talk to the mainland wolves. I'll be in trouble." The male's voice was surprisingly soft, almost as though he regretted what he was saying.

"Can't you tell me anything? Is there anywhere I can meet someone who will tell me more?" Creek felt the desperation creeping into his voice. "Please, I have to know what happened to my family."

The word seemed to trigger something in the wolf, as if it was a sore point for him, too. "Fine. We're going to be back here tomorrow at first light. Meet on the beach, and do not mention me. Say you saw us leaving yesterday and waited."

"Why-" Creek was cut off.

"I have to go now. They're calling for me." With that, the apprentice leapt into the waves and disappeared.

Creek decided that it was too early to go back to the camp. Dinner would only just be ending; he chose to kill some time by going back towards the rocks he had watched Yaiye and Nur die in.

The idea struck terror in him, but Creek's encounter with the island wolves had encouraged the wolf. He wanted to do this. Even if he now knew for sure that the island wolves - sea wolves, he had nicknamed them - existed, he wanted to conquer his fear.

Unfortunately, he didn't get the chance.

"Creek?" It was Petra, his mother. She must have come wandering, looking for him. "What are you doing in the water by yourself?"

Creek realised that he was stood in ankle-depth cold seawater, with no good reason that anyone would believe.

"I don't know," He lied. "I was in the den one minute and the next I'm out here. I think I forgot."

"You shouldn't be out here anyway, much less alone," Petra scolded him. "I'll have to get Nu-"

Petra stopped when she saw the wince that Creek gave her at the mention of Nur's name. His cousin had been like a sister to him; it hurt to hear her name.

"Maybe I'll send Heira, instead." Petra's voice was heavy. "I guess that would be better, wouldn't it? Come on, back to the den. Don't let me catch you over here again!"

Chapter Three Edit

Creek was up bright and early the next day. Well, the sun hadn't risen yet, so it technically wasn't bright, but it was certainly early enough for the wolf's bones to ache like that of an elder. The sky was a dulled shade of grey, the stars marred and blurred by the furthest-reaching of the sun's rays. The giant glowing orb had yet to pierce the horizon, so Creek still had a chance of meeting with the sea wolves.

"Where are you going?" It was Meret, Heira's brother. He had little of his sister's patience, but plenty of her temper. "Petra said you're not allowed out."

"She's got more to worry about than my whereabouts," Creek snapped, the time making him grumpy. "Now don't you have some test to train for?"

"Not today. I figured I'd go and hunt mice, but following you seems more interesting." Meret's wide, puppy-blue eyes narrowed. "Take me with you, or you can-"

"A prophecy!" Syce, one of the eldest wolves in the pack, howled, her old voice cracking with the force of the howl. "A prophecy has been heard!"

"Well, I guess neither of us are allowed to leave now," Meret hissed. "Shame, really. It has to be really good to get you to leave camp for it."

"Oh no, the sun," Creek was distracted by how startlingly orange the sky had turned, and it was fading by the second. "I was meant to be at the beach by now!"

"The beach? Why?" Meret asked, but Creek was padding forward. The prophecy's timing had not come as coincidence.

"Syce!" He called, his voice carrying deep with worry. "Syce, I need to hear it."

"Your mother isn't-" Syce's half-blind eyes widened when she sensed the urgency radiating off of Creek. "Alright, this way. Though your mother won't be pleased."

Once they had reached the elder's den. Syce sat, her elderly companions waking and cleaning around her. Two of them were deaf, unable to hear the howling, and a third sat licking his fur, in no way interested in the prophecy.

"The day is quick, the night is cold
Upon these hours will many stories be told.
The sun sets, with no moon to ascend,
Fear the wolves who gladly goad the courts' end.
Watch terror set in, watch the wolf prey hide,
For a new threat approaches from the rising tide.
The water washes over, obscuring the light,
Aside from the few who can do what is right.
The chances are few, the luck is stretched,
Into the sand beach is their battle etched.
Blood is spilled, innocent wolf lives taken,
But this death be nothing compared to the war in the making.
Trust no allies, fear no foes,
For who is which, no wolf knows."
The words of warning struck fear into the pack, who reacted with various terror, shock and fear upon the words. The prophecy was dark unlike any previous one, which had arrived the previous year, foretelling the elk migration.

Creek was breathless, the wind knocked from his lungs. It was as if his organs had been pulled from his chest, leaving an empty ribcage.

"Heira!" It was Petra's voice, fraught with terror. "Heira is dead!"

Chapter Four Edit

"Oh, no," Meret howled, his cry muffled by Heira's pelt. She lay crumpled and broken in the middle of the camp, dragged from the long grass by Ewar, a solemn warrior.

"I found her near the beach," He panted, his own lungs absent of breath. "There were wolf tracks around the sand. They lead to the sea."

"Ewar, lead the way," Petra's voice was filled with anger now, her eyes blinking through a thick haze of tears. "I will strike down the wolves who did this!"

"Please, Petra, think rationally," An adviser spoke anxiously.

"Do not question me, insubordinate!" Petra snarled. "If you disloyal traitors won't allow me to see Heira's killers, I'll find them myself,"

"Pet-" The adviser went to speak again, but Petra had already leaped into the long grass, her aged limbs making surprisingly quick work of reaching the shore.

"Petra, there's nothing here," Creek howled, following her as fast as he could. "They've left. They always do."

"You should not have come here, shewolf," A dark voice hissed as a large wolf stepped from the rocks. "Your foolishness has cost you."

"Creek!" Petra screamed as the dark wolves came from the rock, covering Petra in a mass of squirming black fur.

The apprentice wolf, surely not the same one from the previous night, leapt in front of Creek, snarling viciously.

"Don't make me kill you, tetahi kuao," She growled. "I will not spare your life for much longer."

"T-Thank you," Creek stuttered and sprinted from the site, his mind racing. The island wolves were real. Petra was dead. His mother was dead.

Creek collapsed as soon as he met with Meret and Ewar at the edge of camp. He didn't wake.

Chapter Five Edit

The dream was not a pleasant one.

Petra stood before Creek, her pelt and features formed from stars. She looked oddly peaceful, with a thick layer of muscle coating her frame. She looked like a leader.

"Creek, can you hear me?" Petra asked, guilt clouding her speech. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have run off like that. You're on your own, and that is one thing I never wanted for you."

"It's not your fault, it's theirs," Creek hissed. "The island wolves have taken far too many lives recently. If it is the one thing I do as leader, it will be to stop them."

"And take their wolves' lives, as they have taken ours'?" Petra scorned. "That would be as stupid as running onto the beach was."

"Well, what would you do? What would Huea do?" Creek snarled. "How can you expect me to sit by and watch these wolves - my family - die and not act?"

"Your father should be the one to tell you about them." Petra sounded conflicted, as if she wanted to tell Creek something important, but couldn't. "It's not my place. I don't wish for it."

"Can you summon him?" Creek asked. "I do not want any more lives to be taken, even while I sleep."

"He has long passed on from this realm, son. I can't bring him down here no matter what I do."

"Then how am I meant to find an answer to all of this?" Creek cried out. "Not one moon cycle ago, everything was fine! Nur and Yaiye and you were all-"

"I have not seen Nur or Yaiye around here, oddly," Petra sighed. "It would appear the transition to the Gods' realm is faster than I thought. I am alone here, for now."

"Do you have anything useful to tell me?" Creek snapped, and found instant regret for his words.

"Watch Ewar closely. His loyalty is swaying." Petra hissed. "And to think I trusted that wolf."

"Alright, thankyou." Creek sighed impatiently. "Can I wake now?"

Petra faded from view, leaving him alone.

Chapter Six Edit

Nur's bones ached, and her skull was so bruised that she couldn't see from her left eye, and barely twitch her ears.

She was in an unfamiliar cave, far from home. The thick scent of fish and seawater had filled the air nauseatingly, and the cries of seagulls echoed through the cave. A thick layer of damp sand coated Nur's left side, irritating her skin.

"Ah, I see you are awake," A heavily accented male voice spoke slowly. Beside Nur sat a thickly built dark male wolf. His large golden eyes watched her carefully. "You've been asleep for a long time."

"Where am I? Who are you?" Nur scrambled to unsteady feet, her cautious nature taking over.

"Be calm, whenua kiore," The wolf spoke slowly, his voice slipping in and out of what Nur presumed to be the native tongue. "I only wish to help you. If they find you here, you will be killed."

"Why are your people so violent?" Nur asked, her eyes widening. "Things like this would never happen on the mainland!"

"OUR mainland," The wolf's face grew dark. "They are angry at your people. You tahae stole our island and forced us into a life of isolation."

"Who's they?" Nur asked. "And that's no reason to kill innocents?"

"It was enough for those two leaders," The islander's eyes were nearly disappearing into his black pelt. "They killed without mercy for land and nothing more. There was plenty of land to spare."

"You still haven't told me your name," Nur snapped, trying to shift the conversation. "If you want me to trust you, tell me that, at least."

"Fine." The wolf's raised hackles seemed to relax slightly. "I am Rya, the son of Kiyu."

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