dawn and evening rain part four... a collaboration between zeyliah and meow48
Asa stood over the outlook. It had been twenty years... twenty years since he had last seen his human father and his brother, Yoite. He made himself go over his beginnings every morning while greeting the sun. The wolves he lived with always had a way of forgetting... who they were, where they had come from. Asa went over it in him mind again and again. He would not forget. It kept him from falling into the abyss of wretched darkness that his so called father had trapped him in. As long as he would remember, he could still keep a sense of self. Knowing the teachers would soon come and search for him; he left and headed back to the caves. He could only survive for now. Staying alive, one day would lead him to his brother.... or so he had told himself these twenty years.
Deep in the largest cave, an older greyed wolf with few teeth entered to talk to the leader of this massive pack of wolves.
"Grey one, you are here to report on the recruits?"
"I really don't care about the rest." The huge black wolf stretched his paws out in front, then righted to all fours. He paused, looking at the elder wolf for any deceit as he asked, "How is Asa performing?"
"Better than the other recruits. His strike distance is almost the same as yours was as that age."
The boss nodded. Considering that pup had been amongst the humans all that time, it was a miracle he could do that much.
"Get them ready. The initiation will start soon. Make sure you match Asa with that one." Pointing at a female taking a drink out of the lake, he turned and saw the teacher staring at him.
The teacher nodded. He padded slowly to the training cave. Knowing what it would do to Asa to have to kill Blue to survive, he shook it off feverishly as he gathered his strength and howled. The recruits came forward obediently.
"The rules of the pack." The teacher walked in front of his students back and forth. They, in turn, sat back on their haunches, heads following him back and forth.
The group barked out the answer. "The pack must always come first."
"The Leader must always be protected."
The group fell silent. He turned, front and center. "Only the strongest shall survive." The teacher stated quietly. The silence was deafening as reality settled on the students.
"Today there are forty of you. Tomorrow there will be twenty. And the next, there will be only ten. That is all we have room for."
Older wolves, the seniors, entered into the cave surrounding the group.
"Those that make it out.... will have the chance to live for another day. I will wait for you outside." He looked at the recruits one last time, as if to remember each and every one, then left.
Asa stood up, immediately looking for Blue. She was right behind him.
"Ready?" he asked his friends.
"Of course. You know, I will always have your flank."
Akune was already on Asa's left flank.
"Just like in practice, right?"
Asa smiled. He stood on his two feet. Being the half breed, he could not become an actual wolf. Only his tail and ears would attest to any heritage from his father, he held the sharp stone knife in his left hand and watched the seniors circling his classmates. Fear showed in many of the faces of his friends.
Asa whispered to his team. "He who makes the first move will lose."
A well-built senior, known as the leader of the most elite team, launched towards Asa. Taking aim, Asa slit his throat with the knife, then, somersaulted and rolled out of the way, as Blue and Akune made their way to take out two others who were aiming at Asa. Asa lept over Blue and took on another senior that was targeting her. Akune followed suit aiming at another who was ready to spring on Asa. It was like an odd game of leap frog, Asa thought somewhere in his mind.
Suddenly Blue shouted, “Asa! Look out!” But just as he began to turn, he was forced to the ground with teeth embedded in his shoulder. He gritted his teeth, and pushed himself up and backward ran into the wall, slamming the offender into the jagged wall. The wolf yelped and let go, but before he hit the ground, Asa was over him and brought the knife swift across the wolfs neck, effectively silencing the attacker.
Soon they heard, "Enough."
All in all, twenty recruits lay dead, Along with ten of the seniors, Asa, Blue and Akune made it out of the cave. Twenty recruits were left. The teacher went to each student and bound their wounds.
As he attended Asa, the old teacher wrapped the wound on the young pups shoulder with a healing cloth.
"You took out their leader?" the old one askd.
"Yes." Asa replied with a tight lip.
"Take out the leader and the rest will lose confidence." He stated, cleaning off his knife.
"I never taught you that." The old one said, blinking.
"No one had to."
"This test will be one of loyalty. Understand?"
"This test is one of survival. Is it not?"
"Only on the surface, young master." He paused. "Only on the surface." Repeating, hoping it would wake the boy up. He moved on to the next wounded wolf.
Blue and Akune were not hurt. As the group scattered for their evening meals, Blue walked up to Asa and pounced on him knocking him to the ground. She stood on him with all fours planted and snarled.
"What?" Asa growled.
"You took too many risks today."
She backed up and allowed him to stand. "Do not mock me. I can stand on my own." Blue stated, as she drew herself up to her human form. Blue black raven hair curled down her back as she straightened, facing him.
"As I recall, we are a team. The letter ‘I’ isn’t in that word." Asa spoke quietly. Finally, deciphering what the teacher meant, he would have to face Blue or Akune.
Akune smiled. "Always a show off. As if Blue and I can read... She is right. You take too many chances."
"And what about tomorrow? Twenty of us will become ten. It will be a one on one. Probably to the death." Asa looked at his two friends, for signs of any emotion.
The other two looked at Asa. That reality did not ever occur to them.
"Then I will win." Blue stated.
Akune gave a lopsided grin. "I will win, too."
"And if we have to face each other?" Asa stated grimly.
The other two frowned. "We are wolves. We will do what we must to survive." Akune stated, and walked away to be alone.
Blue came up to Asa. "You think that will happen?"
Asa looked over and saw his father, standing on a rock, watching them. He took his hand and pushed Blue out of his way.
"Go away. You bother me." And walked away from Blue... thinking hard as to what to do about tomorrow.
Asa sat looking as the sun fell down from the sky. His father would make sure that Asa would face Blue or Akune tomorrow. To him it was all a game. Asa made his pact with the now reddened ball. It was time to change the rules. As he turned to head back to his cave, three seniors stood in his way.
"What do you want? Wasn't killing my classmates enough?" he asked harshly.
"Ah, but you took out our leader. A half-breed... took out our leader? Unheard of! He was the best of the best."
"Guess he wasn't good enough then." Asa replied. Taking a step forward, noting that the trio had not moved.
"This is boring. What do you really want?" Asa felt for the stone knife in the pocket of his pants.
The three formed a circle surrounding him. "Satisfaction." They stated in unison.
To be continued... go to Zeyliah's site for the next installment... until we meet again, happy reading.