The Spirit of the Wolves [AmberLight]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Shelby, Apr 11, 2015.

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  1. Characters:

    Main Characters:
    • Milo ♂
    • Neo ♂
    • Lenci ♀
    • Nikita ♀

    • Paradeisos (Heavenly God)
    • Kolasi (Devilish God)

    • Kalos (Heroic figure) ♂
    • Kako (Evil figure) ♂

    Side Characters/ NPCs:
    • Ajax - Elder ♂
    • Andreas - Elder ♂
    • Cadmus - Alpha ♂
    #1 Shelby, Apr 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2016
  2. Of panting breath of and swishing tails, as they swept their gazes around the landscape in which they tread upon, they could see nothing. They could see nothing, they could smell nothing, therefore they could track nothing down. Merely they were running in circles, moving farther away from the pack lands in order to scavenge what little of what they could find, however what could they scavenge if there was nothing? Trees were dying with the drought that had been brought upon the land, the normally green grass had turned brown and shriveled under the heat of the sun that bared down on the land, nearly relentlessness, though, at least, there was still shade in few places around the landscape, and the water level had dropped so low in the pond that they normally drank from that the elders were beginning to have a hard time bringing their old necks down to stretch the distance between the lip of the land and the water that lay. This, they were beginning to realize, was bad. Something was not right.

    Grunting and snorting to himself, Milo pressed his nose to look in the down direction, his breath sucking in and out as he tried, once again, to catch of anything, however, as usual, he failed. The only scents that he could smell were the three other wolves that had come along with him in this hunt, and while he had half a mind to turn them away for the fact that their familiar scents were blocking the senses of his nostrils, he knew that he could do no such thing. Of course, he reasoned with his mind that if they actually did find adequate prey, such as a deer like he long wished to find, that he would be able to take it down his own self because while the wolves were getting weak, other animals must be growing weak as well. But he was not foolish enough to give that sort of thought a large enough benefit in his mind; prey he had seen, and dealt with, would fight until their last breath if it meant that they could have another chance at life. And he was beginning to feel the same way.

    "There's nothing here," a voice barked out, causing Milo to turn his head and look back at Lenci who had stopped her movement and huffed out a breath. The female dipped her head lower as she shook her head, her ears pointing back before they pointed forward, her tail hanging slack as she looked at the other wolves that stood around her after she picked her head back up. "We should just cut our losses and start heading back before it gets too late and before we get too far away."

    "We can't do that, and you know that well enough. If we don't have anything to show from this hunt, then what use are we to the pack?" Milo pointed his ears back as he stared at Lenci, him having stopped his movements when he saw her stop, huffing out a breath after he had finished speaking.

    "What use it is to be in this land when there is nothing around? Hardly anything is left living, and the flora are enough indication of that!" Lenci stepped forward and snapped at Milo, her ears pointed back also, her tail stiff behind her. "We can't hunt what's not there, Milo. There is nothing left; the prey have all run to go somewhere else and we should do the same. Why don't you or the alphas realize that?"

    There had been word running around the pack of them wanting to leave, of them migrating to a different location where more prey thrived so that they could be well fed and well able to live again, however the thought had always been thrown away when the alphas had gotten involved. They didn't want to leave the land; they refused to leave the land. This was their home, they continued to say, and that this was the place in which the Gods looked upon them and would continue to look upon them all. Luck would start to come back to them, they always reassured when less and less food had been brought back to their resting area over the course of the summer. All they had to do was wait and watch for Paradeisos and the spirits to bring prosperity back to their land, and their patience would be rewarded.

    But how much longer, Lenci wanted to know, would they wait for the Gods and spirits? Eventually members would start to die of starvation, they would start to die of thirst once all of the water would evaporate, and then what? But by that point, she figured, it would be too late for the pack to decide to leave, because they would all be too weak to travel the distance that they probably needed to take in order to find prey. Of course she knew them staying was the product of stubborn wolves such as Milo and the alphas, and even a few other members of the pack. Too many differing thoughts, too many different options thrown everywhere... Lenci had half a mind to leave herself, but the thing that kept her around was her safety. She knew that she was not strong enough to travel by herself.

    "Something is going terribly wrong in these lands."

    At her last words, Milo snorted, shaking his head and quickly turning around, pointing his backside to her. "You've been speaking with the elders too much and you're letting your own worry get to you. We're fine. We just have to keep looking." Milo turned and gave one last look to the three wolves before he put his head back forward and started trotting off, putting his head down and trying to pick up the scent of anything. He barked back a 'come on' to the three wolves before he started to quicken his pace again, letting his tongue loll out of his mouth as he panted. He picked his head back up and started to let his eyes roam around the area again. There had to be something there.

    Lenci groaned as she watched Milo walk off, her eyes going to Neo and Nikita as she gave them weak gazes, shaking her head and then lowering her gaze shortly after with a sigh. She started moving her legs then, trotting off after Milo.
  3. Despite the fact that the land seemed to be trying to curse them, it did attempt to give back every now and then. As the heat radiated around the small group of four a very light breeze trembled across the landscape - weak and uncertain of itself, but offering a little bit of condolence to thick fur and burning paws. It wasn't much of a substitute to cool water or actual grass, but it was something. Neo seemed to be in full agreement to the fact, eyeing a clump of dried out, browned grass dolefully. He had pressed his nose into the ground, studying the grains of dry earth with an intensity that betrayed the rather disappointing subject of his inquiry. The brown and gray wolf snorted slightly, watching as the grass strands fluttered slightly from the brief rush of air. That was one thing that they were good for; since they were so dehydrated and light, they moved more than healthy grass.

    Having assumed a rather stiff posture as he studied this oh-so-fascinating piece of nature, Neo had the appearance of having scented something important. At the very least, one would assume that he had found an earthworm or something of the like crawling through the dirt - but such a thing was unimaginable in this heat. Abruptly the wolf seemed to get bored and suddenly snapped out at the grass; biting them off to the stem and munching on them experimentally. Nikita looked over at her brother, tilting her head to one side as she studied him. Sure, she was more experienced with his strange antics, but he did still manage to surprise her every now and then. "Would you mind actually trying to work? I doubt the taste of that grass was anything special, whereas finding some meat certainly would be." The she-wolf asked, managing to not sound overbearing or sarcastic as she chastised her sibling. She sounded too tired, too weary to summon any emotion too potent.

    Neo took his face off of the ground to study his sister at her odd choice of words. Ordinarily, Nikita would have been much to soft-spoken to criticize anybody, even him who she knew well. Not to mention the fact that there was a lot that one could criticize him for. It must be the heat and frustration of this failing hunt getting to her. It was certainly saying something that she, one of the younger and more energetic wolves of the pact despite her shy demeanor, was starting to be beaten down by the horrid curse that seemed to have come over their pack's land. Knowing this, Neo decided to back down and not argue his case - to take that path would be to likely make the situation worse. "Sorry." He responded, swallowing the last of the grass he had bitten off. The stuff was bitter and unsatisfactory, but it would have been a waste of water to spit it out. Besides, Neo was pretty sure that if he could taste the bitterness it must have come with some water - and in this heat that was good enough.

    Switching his attention back to the hunt, Neo wasn't surprised to see that Milo was taking it very seriously. The other wolf was scouring through the land with what Neo thought was pretty characteristic determination. Personally he, too, would be pretty bummed if they had to return to the pack with nothing but it was starting to look like there would be no other choice. Nikita also seemed to be taking the trip pretty seriously and had traveled a little bit off to the group's eastern side to see if there was anything there. One of the advantages of being in this wasteland was that they didn't have to worry about any other predators that might try to harm them, they had all moved off awhile ago or were otherwise basking in the shade at this time of day. They wouldn't come out until a few more hours had passed and night had started to set in. The she-wolf looked up when she heard a brief argument go on between Milo and Lenci but she decided not to comment and instead returned her head to the ground. While she was now a little ways away from the group she could hear them loud and clear - there wasn't exactly anything that would block the sounds of the conversation, and the tiny bit of wind wasn't enough to even vaguely interfere with the sound.

    However, Neo was wasn't so shy and was more than happy to put in his thoughts. "Lenci is right though. We can just keep looking, but each of these trips is starting to get longer and longer. Soon enough we are going to have to send out wolves for days just to find a single, bony rabbit. Why can't we just move then come back once the land is blessed again?" The male complained in a manner that was both provoking but also not, his comically drawling manner of speaking taking the seriousness of his words off. However, his comment did make Nikita bristle slightly.

    "Neo, it isn't your place to question the alphas." She said quietly, her timidness returning after her brief bold stroke from earlier.

    "I'm not questioning. I'm just giving my opinion." The male returned flatly, deciding that it wasn't a matter personal to Nikita and therefore fair game to speak his mind in.

    "I'm sure that they are right though, just give it some time and the land will come back to us. We just have to bear with it, we'll find something eventually." She defended before turning her attention back to the ground - determined to find something to prove Neo wrong. While she wasn't obnoxious about it, Nikita was actually quietly competitive, especially with her brother. Seeing Milo start to move on from the corner of her eye, she changed directions and picked up her pace a little bit to keep close to him. Neo followed behind her, though he was taking a bit more time and didn't seem to be as rushed. Since he was taking up the back, he had decided to leave the harder work to the other three wolves and instead look out for anything he could see or hear instead of smell. Neo's nose wasn't as good as most other wolves', and in this land one would probably be just as likely to spot prey as they would smell it. The only problem was that the heat waves often interfered with one's line of sight.
  4. With the words that Neo spoke, Milo merely snorted to himself and shook his head while he continued on his way. He could only imagine the look of satisfaction that was no doubt following off of Lenci's face after hearing that someone else shared the same opinion as she did on the matter of the hunt, so he decided to not look back or even comment on the matter. Something had to be there. They just had to be hopeful and believe that something good was to come for them, because believing always made it happen, right? Milo growled to himself at the thought as he narrowed his eyes in the distance, trying to see if there was any sort of hint of their being any other life form out there. But, of course, there was nothing. No prints from an animal's paws were pattering the ground, there no droppings to give them any clues as to which direction a pack of prey had followed in order to make it to their destination. It was as if nothing had ever lived there; as if they had all vanished into thin air with no trace to be left behind.

    Of course, that could always be because nothing actually had been in the lands for a while, and that it had been so long that their traces had disappeared. But Milo did not want to think of that way. He continued to think of the sights that he saw when ever back in the resting area of the pack; of how the elders did nothing but lay in their spots in their den -not that that had ever been an unusual sight-, of how the adults wolves tried their best not to move around too often in order to keep their energy for the day so as not to dehydrate themselves anymore than they probably were, and of how the pups never scampered around the lands any longer. He could remember a time when he was a pup and would happily run and romp around with other mates of the pack, both young and old, with such a life in his eyes that he could never have imagined anything better to come to him. But now those eyes filled with the childish curiosity of the pups were gone, and he was afraid to admit that that was more of a depressing sight than anything else that had been happening. It was even more depressing than to see the slow physical decline in all of the wolves body; of how bones were now being able to be seen, of how their fur was no longer the full, healthy coats that they used to be. It was a pitiful sight, more than pitiful. Were any other packs facing their same dilemma, or were the Gods and spirits striking upon only them for unknown reasons?

    They just had to find something, because he believed that only a few more days would be able to pass before they completely ran out of food. And already they were rationing the food between the pack members enough to not even adequately fill anyone. Not the pup and the elders, though they had been given the most portions of food, and certainly not the adults. Milo refused to come back with nothing, even if that meant staying out for days, even if that meant having to spend so much time. It had to be done. He had to do it to prove that things were okay.

    And Nikita's confirmation to his statement only made him feel better, much to how Neo's statement had probably gotten Lenci to feel better. But instead of not looking, he turned in the direction in which he heard Nikita's voice and looked at her, giving her a quick nod as if to say that she was right and then turned back forward to look.

    But it wasn't long after the he heard another snort behind him, a snort coming from Lenci. The obvious frustration could be heard in that little noise, and there was no doubt in Milo's mind that she was going on and on in her mind of what to do and of how they were all fairing so terribly because if there was one thing that he had long ago learned of the female, it was that she took one worry and turned it into the extreme. "You are insane if you think the alphas are right; we can't survive out here much longer!" There was an obvious tone of desperation coming from Lenci's voice as she bit out her growled complaint. "Are you not seeing what's in front of you? Do you not feel the air that surrounds us? Nothing should live in this place, and maybe Paradeisos is trying to tell us that. It is time for us to move on; the spirits care nothing for this land anymore, so why should we? We should just cut our losses, go back, and tell the pack that there is nothing out there so that we can convince them-"

    "Then you leave and go back!" Before she had been able to finish her piece, Milo spoke up, an anger in his tone, that same frustration in there as well. He stopped his little trot again and turned to look at Lenci with his head high and his ears back, his lips pulled back into a bit of a snarl. "If you want to give up, if you want to show the pack that you care nothing for our food supply by leaving this hunt, then be my guest. You know just as well as every one of us that we are not going to be leaving these lands, and I"m sure that the alphas will be happy to let someone leave if they so wish. It will be one less mouth to feed then."

    Growls permitted between the two of them as Lenci's hairs started to rise on her neck, her ears folded back. There was a part of her that knew this argument had been a factor of Milo's stubbornness to not wanting to see reason and because of her wanting him, and Nikita or anyone else who wanted to stay here, to see that staying here would do no good, but she also knew that it was more so out of a factor of fear; fear for not knowing what could happen, fear of knowing that they could all be dead soon that that the home that they had spent their entire lives in would be uninhabitable. The tension about the pack members was steadily on the rise as stress levels rose, as fear levels rose. But arguing about it would do no good; it would solve nothing, and after watching Milo huff and turn back around to start trotting away again Lenci shook her head. He didn't want to deal with it; he didn't want to talk about it and that was obvious in the way he turned off from her so quickly.

    But she figured that she would do just that; leave and go back to the pack so that she could tell them all of what they had seen, which was nothing, and that there had not even been a trace of life other than them out there. So she picked her head up and went to turn around, went to start running back in the direction that they had come from, but then something caught her eye, a certain light that made her mind start to race, that made questions start to form. Her nose flicked as well as her ears before she looked at Neo, a dim, glowing light beginning to come off of him. She narrowed her eyes, her head tilting as she momentarily forgot about her leaving. "Neo... What's wrong with you fur?" Her eyes blinked in wonderment as she questioned him.
  5. Sensing somebody looking at her, Nikita briefly looked up and caught Milo's brief nod before he looked back towards their work. Nikita was quick to imitate as she put her nose back to the ground, though she made sure to listen out for anymore conversation. As Neo didn't respond to her previous comment, the she-wolf hoped that the brief conflict was over; not generally being one to pick fights or continue them. Especially in this kind of situation, it would be best to keep morale high, though in the circumstances it was difficult. Thinking back to what she had said, Nikita impulsively lowered her tail a little bit in shame as she recalled that her comments probably only fueled the argument on longer. Beginning to drift a bit further from the other three wolves, Nikita hoped to find something if she circled a bit wider - sensing an aura coming from Milo that signified that they would most likely be out searching until they found something. While Neo would have been more inclined to rebel if something came up that he didn't like, Nikita was more than happy to follow along another's lead within reason - and, at that moment in time, that would have to be Milo's lead.

    As previously stated, Neo was finally starting to get irritated after a good few hours of searching for what was evidently not present. After Nikita's statement about how it would all get better after awhile if they stuck with it, he gave up with a defiant snort and a brief sigh as he continued plodding along. His paws had been hot for awhile, but it only seemed to get worse as they continued walking on. The wolf hung his head a little bit as he recalled the long trip back they would still have to make in order to get back to the pack, if they ever found anything. Milo was going to continue on no doubt, but Neo would be more than happy to turn back and return to the pack by himself after too much longer of this senseless wandering. They had already covered miles of land that day, having even continued through midday when the sun was hottest, and Neo was pretty sure that they weren't going to find anything for awhile yet. It would be better to just return to the pack, get a good night's sleep then head back out and resume where they had left off in his opinion.

    About to speak up and say that he was done for the day, Neo's declaration was stopped before he even opened his mouth as Lenci snorted and suddenly resumed their previous conversation - angrily voicing her opinions. Fastening his blue eyes on her, Neo considered her argument; while he had sided with her earlier, but he had never actually considered direct and concrete action like she was suggesting now. He had always assumed that life would go on no matter the circumstance, but in the back of his mind he had gradually been coming to reality and now it was being served to him. He was not given much time to consider, however, as Milo broke into Lenci's sentence and snapped at her. Seeing the other male flatten his ears and start to snarl, Neo took a few long paces forward so that he was level with Lenci and bared his teeth as well; clearly under the opinion that Milo was in the wrong, and acting way to severely to boot. "Last time I checked, you don't have the authority to speak for the alphas." Neo defended Lenci, his hackles beginning to rise.

    Hearing an outbreak of snarls, Nikita whipped around to find all three other wolves in the hunting party growling at each other. Hearing Neo speak up for Lenci, Nikita hesitated as she didn't want to go against her brother. "Knock it off Neo." She settled for instead, wanting the seemingly escalating conflict to end. Despite her lack of aggression, Neo wasn't pleased.

    "Me knock it off? I didn't do anything." The male snapped, beginning to round on Nikita as Milo gave up the conversation and began to trot away. His sister started to respond before cutting herself off, lowering her tail in submission and apology and retreating. She didn't want to get into a fight with Neo, and normally the tension between them wouldn't be nearly this high but these days the barren land was getting to them all and nerves were running high.

    Neo turned away as Nikita flew up a white flag, guilty of having snapped at her but not about to apologize. That would come later once they weren't so hot, and preferably once everybody's moods had calmed down some. However, it seemed like that was not going to be a possibility as Lenci decided that she had had enough of it and began to turn away back to the pack. About to turn to Nikita to tell her that he was going to head back too, his thoughts from earlier resurfacing, Neo was interrupted when Lenci suddenly asked about his fur. Flattening his ears slightly in surprise, the brown and gray wolf turned towards her, wondering what she was talking about. What he saw made him blink. The fur around her strange marking was starting to glow. "What's wrong with my fur? What's wrong with yours?" He asked, dumbfounded but with a little edge to his words nonetheless. "You're glowing!" He declared a moment after, feeling like he had to elaborate.

    Turning to Nikita and Milo to make sure that they were seeing the same thing that he was, Neo was astounded to see that they too were glowing. "Alright, is the heat getting to me or are you all glowing?" He questioned, beginning to doubt his vision. Nikita, however, settled his doubts for him.

    "I think we all are... You included." She commented, tossing her head back and trying to examine her own glowing marks. "What is going on?"
  6. As Neo threw the question back at her, Lenci tilted her head a bit with a hint of concern beginning to appear in the look of er eyes. She twisted her body and looked at the marking that she had believed to have been born with, an oddness that no other wolves other than these three had, a spectacle that had been brought their attention more than a few times. But she herself had been oddly curious about them for a while because they were so different and because they were so odd. It was not unusual that Lenci would seek out the elders advice, more so for what to do and for the legends and saying that they spoke, words that she hardly understood as a mere pup but was now beginning to understand as she grew. But while she was beginning to understand, it only seemed to confuse her all the more, because while she had been told that the legends and lore that they followed and believed in were to be just stories, excluding the words in which they spoke of the Gods that they worshiped, she had a hard time believing that with the conviction that the elders spoke of. And now to see that this mark upon her body was beginning to glow, as well as glow on the other wolves that were around her... Had the elders spoken of this at some point?

    Her mouth hung open as she brought her head up and looked back over at Neo, her eyes slowly sweeping over to Nikita as well and then to Milo who was still walking away from them, not stopping. "Milo!" But even as she spoke those words to him, he did not seem to stop. Perhaps he figured that she was trying to speak another argument to him, trying to get him to come back so that they could leave and with his stubbornness she would not put that thought against him. But from the distance that she could see him from, she could see the glowing sensation around his tail, as well as on his face; certainly he could see the light blinding in his eyes since he seemed to be the only one of them that did not have the markings along his body? She growled lowly to herself to continue to see the male walk away, his tail pointed, his ears up with a purpose. He could hear them, most definitely. He just was not listening.

    A sense of fear had begun to rise in her then, her ears tilting back as she flicked her head from side to side. Was something being pulled on them, or were they all truly beginning to succumb to the heat of the sun and beginning to hallucinate over what they were seeing? Despite herself, she turned her head and looked back at her markings, reaching her nose over to nose through her fur. The glow was only seeming to get brighter, her breath was beginning to get heavier as she rubbed her nose against the fur again to see if the glowing would stop. It did not. In fact, it seemed to grow stronger then. "I don't know..." She answered in regards to what Nikita had question, shaking her head as she realized that the glow was actually there and would not be rubbed off. Again, she turned and looked in the direction of Milo, calling out his name again with quick barks to get his attention.

    Milo's ears flicked back as he listened to the three wolves stop and begin to talk among one another, their words slightly muffled, though he could care less about what they were saying. If they were all planning on heading back to the pack then he would let them; he would continue to search for food, and once he did he would be able to show them all that there was still life and that he was well enough to take care of all of this, even if he had to do it by himself. He cared for the pack; he cared for their well being, and he refused to let it stop for nothing. But when Lenci's last barks shouted out, he could not deny the hesitation he took at the desperation she seemed to have in her tone. Was something around? Was something wrong?

    Inwardly, he groaned and flattened his ears again before he pulled back his lips again to turn to the three wolves. "Wha-" But before the entire word had been able to come from his mouth they fell short at the sight before him. Lights glowing off of the three wolves, their looks of astonishment and worry obvious to him even at the distance that he stood away from them. He sucked in a breath, lowered his head, but as soon as he did that that was when he realized it; the vision around his eyes had changed. The edges of his vision were brighter, shrouded, almost, by a light that he could not describe. While he could still see, thing did not look the same. Now he was beginning to question what was going on, however before he was able to start making his way over to the rest of the hunting party a sharp pain ran through head, causing him to wince and falter in his steps a bit. He lowered his head, shook his head and then his body before he looked over and saw that his tail was glowing also. What was that pain?

    But shortly after it came back, Lenci also wincing from the pain at that point then and Milo doing the same again. A little whimper escaped from Lenci's mouth. But even in that next second an image began to appear in the minds of the marked wolves, a face of a transparent wolf.

    "You must find it... It has been stolen from us again..."

    Milo looked back up at the sound of the voice, it soft, lingering in the back of his mind as he saw that face again. He looked over to the other wolves, wondering if they were hearing what he was hearing, seeing what he was seeing in his mind.

    "The world is in ruins and much death is being brought upon innocent beings. You must change this; you must stop this before it is too late; before he takes over. The land around you is dying; the spirits are weakening and dying..."
  7. After their glows had become apparent, Nikita had made quick work of returning to where Neo and Lenci were standing. Neo was staring at his paws, seemingly awestruck, at the glowing insignia on them; snuffling at the fur and licking it to see if the glow was going to go away. It did not. He looked up at his sister with a wolfish grin, seemingly quite pleased with himself and acting like he was some sort of immature pup. Nikita flicked her ears in annoyance at him, under the impression that the situation was more serious than he was making it seem to be. Seeing her gesture, the male sighed slightly and tidied up his act a little; sitting down in a semi-dignified way and examining himself in a more serious manner. After he was done with himself he looked to Nikita who had stopped to stand near him - watching as Lenci called out for Milo. Neo tried to smell her coat to try and determine whether she smelled different than usual, but he was only greeted with Nikita's familiar scent. The glowing was evidently the only thing that was amiss.

    Seeing his sister staring at something, Neo followed her gaze and watched Milo as he ploughed on into the distance. Lenci's calls didn't seem to be affecting him, it was apparent that he had closed his mind to their calls almost entirely. Neo was about to tell Lenci to quit it and let him go, since from afar it didn't look like Milo was glowing - it might only be the three of them - but on second inspection the stubborn wolf was, in fact, lit up. Gritting his teeth as it seemed like they were going to have to chase Milo down in order to get him to stop and listen, Neo was spared of the chase when the black wolf finally turned around and began to respond to Lenci's calls before realizing what was happening. Sitting back down, as he had begun to get up in order to chase Milo down, Neo looked towards Nikita.

    The she-wolf had relaxed as well once Milo had finally started responding to Lenci, returning her gaze to Neo as Milo seemed to start making his way back towards them. However, his slight falter of step made her look back at him in concern before she, too, was afflicted with a strange pain. A little flash seemed to fly through her head and make her growl slightly, but as soon as it had came it disappeared. She was spared her relief, however, as her ribs and back started to throb a few seconds later; mostly around the area where her markings seemed to be. Flattening her ears in a feeble attempt to block the pain in some way, she involuntarily tensed her muscles as the pain migrated from her back to her head. Resisting the urge to shut her eyes and wait out the throbbing sensation, she looked over at Neo who was growling quite aggressively at the ground.

    It was obvious that he was in quite some pain as well, having moved from his sitting position to a laying one. A few seconds later, he had begun to roll around in the grass in an attempt to shove the pain off, but it didn't seem to work. Giving up a second later, Neo settled on his belly and continued to growl at an enemy that didn't seem to be there. His mind was taken off of the pain abruptly when a face started to appear in his vision. Staring at the face intensely, Neo wanted to growl at it but he sensed that it was not trying to harm them excessively. Maybe the pain was the only way to get through to them. Hearing it start to talk, he quieted his growling and stopped to listen to what it was saying. Could it be a spirit? It's voice was soothing in a strange way, allowing him to relax and listen.

    Nikita gazed at the glowing wolf's face in fascination, falling back on her hunches and studying it awestruck. A moment later it started to speak of an object that had seemingly been lost, and she titled her head to one side curiously. Presumably this was a spirit, but what could they have lost? The she-wolf wasn't much of one to talk with the elders very much, and she had missed out on a lot of the lore and history of the pack. As the spirit continued, she dipped her head sadly at the confirmation that the land was dying. She briefly consoled herself with the thought that once something died it was reborn, but a few seconds after the spirit's words properly sank in. She had to change it? How was she supposed to do that?

    Looking to Neo, she saw that her brother was obviously seeing something similar to what she was and a quick glance at Lenci and Milo showed that they were also seeing something. So were they supposed to change it together? That was a bit better than having to do something alone, but that still left many questions unanswered. Neo was apparently of the same opinion. "What are we supposed to find for you? How are we supposed to do anything? Are you a spirit? Are we spirits?" He barked at the glowing face, rising back onto his feet from the sitting position he had once again resumed. The spirit seemed to be fading, the glow of both the face and their coats starting to flicker out. Flattening his ears slightly as he waited for an answer to at least one of his questions, Neo stared intensely at the face - willing it not to go away, as if he could control it with the intensity of his gaze.

    You... are the chosen ones... both spirits... and... mortals...

    The glowing face responded, leaving Neo with only more questions - but it seemed that the time for questions was over. Gradually the face started to collapse until it was just a single ball of light. Looking back down at his feet, Neo realized that his fur had mostly stopped glowing - however, a light still seemed to haunt his paws where his marks were. Turning his attention to the other wolves in the hunting party, he wondered what they thought of the spectacle. From the look on each's faces, it was quite evident that they had also seen something; but whether or not it was the same thing was something that could be questioned. "I think this provides a pretty solid reason to return to the pack." He commented, eyeing Milo cautiously. Even despite everything that had just happened, Neo didn't doubt that wolf's determination or hardheadedness for a second. Nikita apparently held the same view as well.

    "I... It might make sense to return so that we can discuss this with the alphas or elders... But I can keep going for a little while longer if you want to catch something first." She volunteered, addressing the first part of her comment to everybody but the second part to Milo. She had sat down and had her head twisted around, eyeing her marks that were still faintly glowing. Perhaps they would stay like that? Or maybe it would fade once they moved further away from this spot where the spirit had been?
  8. Lenci closed her eyes as she tried to stop the pain that permitted through her as the face spoke to her, spoke to them she thought, she hoped. She took deep breath, listening, her ears perked, her body rigid with the words that were being spoken. She went into the back of her mind to try and find any information that she could gather about this; something that the elders may have told her at some point in time. But with having to listen to this being speak as well as try to pull thoughts from her mind, it wasn't working. She could find nothing, she could remember nothing of the elders speaking about something like this happening. Them saying that the markings that she and three other wolves had were odd, mystical things that may have something to do in the future was what she remembered, but never had they mentioned anything about them glowing nor had they mentioned anything about a face appearing in their minds after wards.

    But what was this thing? As she listened to the questions that Neo spouted from his mouth, she could only want to mirror his questions, hoping that this thing, this spirit she assumed, would answer them, however that seemed to not be the case. While a sense of panic had filled her when their markings had started to glow, as well as when the pain shot through her and shot through all of them, that same panic was beginning to form again once the face was vanishing from her mind. She wanted to shout to bring it back; she wanted to demand answers for their questions because this was not right. They deserved answers at this moment so that they would not be in the dark about all of this. But apparently the being thought otherwise, maybe hoping that they would figure it out their own selves? How were they supposed to do that though?

    Her eyes had turned to look at the ground as the spirit had talked to them, but now that the face was gone, Lenci blinked her eyes and brought herself back to reality, as Neo, Nikita, and Milo probably were in that same instance. She picked her head to look up, only to narrow her eyes a bit at the sight of their fur not being as bright as it had been and then turned to look at her own marking, snorting as she nosed through the fur again. Nothing. Though there was a faint glow, it was almost as if this sense of... Something that she could not explain was not as strong as it had been before. It was almost as if it had vanished as that face had, though it's lingering presence was still there. What would they have to do to bring that back?

    By that point, despite himself, Milo had wandered back over to the rest of the hunting party, shaking his head and he swept a gaze over all of them again. Had one of them one something to cause this to happen? Had they stepped onto a sort of land that they were not meant to step on, such as the forbidden forest? No, that couldn't be. That voice hadn't told them to go away; it, instead, had told them that they were the ones who needed to stop it. But stop what; stop who? Why were they the ones... Chosen for this? Chosen for what? So many questions running through his mind, so many thoughts and worries. They were the chosen ones for the spirits and the mortals... But why would the spirits need their help with the dying land? The spirits were the ones who were to take care of that, and, as they could all see if they looked around them and looked back at their slowly dying pack, the spirits hadn't been doing a very good job of that. But... Maybe that was why they needed their help.

    He sucked in a breath and looked over to Neo as he spoke, his head slowly turning to look at Nikita as she spoke as well. He didn't want to leave, because again he could only imagine the failure that would be placed upon them if they came back with not one bit of food for the pack to consume, but, when he thought about it, maybe they were right. They needed to go back, even if every part of his mind and body told him that that was a bad decision that they should continue on with the hunt. Milo went to speak his mind, however in that moment when he went to open his mouth to agree with Neo, his words had been cut short by Lenci's voice coming out before his.

    "Milo, they're right. We need to go back." Apparently she believed that he would want to continue on, Milo figured, though he figured that the thought had only come with good reason. "We need to tell the elders about this and tell them that something actually is wrong with these lands." When he turned to look at the female, he saw the look of slight fear present in her eyes, how they were widened and how her ears were still perked and alert. "Besides," Lenci shook her head, slowly turning to look at the other three wolves before she pointed her gaze back to Milo, "the night isn't far off from us, and with these marks glowing, even as faintly as they are now, it'll be difficult to be stealthy. Anything would be able to see us, given if there is anything here to begin with."

    And Milo knew that she was right; that it would be even harder to sneak upon prey with these marks. Apparently now they were a hindrance as well. He shook his head and breathed out as sigh before he snorted, wanting to pull his lip up and argue with her, but he did not. Instead, he said, "Fine. You're right. Let's go back. But we should probably be quick about it."

    When he started to trot off, soon his gait turning into a run, Lenci watched as Milo took off, surprised that he had actually agreed with going back to the pack and the fact that he was seeming to make such haste with it. Now despite how the glowing marks and the face that appeared in her mind had been nothing like she had seen before, she sight of Milo listening to anyone but himself was also a sight to behold. This was something, she reasoned, that she would probably never see again. "Apparently he is a little more shaken up then he wasn't to admit about all of this." She huffed and looked to Neo and Nikita, giving them a bit of a tilt of her head. "That's the only reason I can think of why he would agree to go back." But she was only speculating it, and after shaking her head to push the thought aside, she looked back ahead of herself and started after the male, going at a run as well.
  9. Turning his head towards his sister as she spoke, Neo nodded to her - thinking that it was rather typical of her, taking both sides like that. The younger wolf had a particularly strong thing against violence or just any conflict in general and usually did her best to either put it to an end or stay out of them completely. Despite the fact that taking such actions made her seem quite indecisive, Neo also knew her to tirelessly pursue anything that she set her mind on, or anything that somebody else asked her to set her mind on. He remembered that once when their mother went into labor for her third litter, one of the elders recommended that she lay on a bed of moss. Nikita took that idea to heart, and despite the fact that it was the dry season, had run all over the place collecting the plant. Of course, by the time she had finished, the need for it had abated but she hadn't seemed to mind much, as long as it had helped a little bit she had been content.

    Looking up as he saw Milo approach the rest of the hunting group from the corner of his eye, tensing and getting ready to pull through an argument for the long haul as he saw the black wolf open his mouth. He was spared that argument, however, when Lenci jumped in and threw away any words that Milo might have had in store for them before he could get a sound out. Neo was under the impression that the interruption would only put the other male even more on edge, but was pleasantly surprised when Milo gave his assent to the plan of returning to the pack. No doubt it would be prickling at his sense of pride, but Neo disregarded the fact and instead allowed himself to relax a bit. His rest was clearly not destined to last, however, as Lenci and Milo instantly started sprinting back towards the pack. Watching them start covering some distance for a second, Neo huffed in annoyance. His paws already hurt from padding over this hot terrain all day, was he seriously supposed to run now?

    "Neo, get up." Nikita broke into his revenue, the order sounding friendly when coming out of her mouth. "Think about it this way, the sooner we get back the sooner you can properly rest, and maybe we'll be able to eat a little something while we're at it." She reasoned after catching her brother's attention, giving him some motivation to move. Nikita knew full well, however, that there was a very slim chance at a morsel to eat. If they even wanted water they would probably have to restrain themselves, even though they had been out in the heat all day. Watching Neo for a second to make sure that he was getting up and that she wouldn't have to be concerned about leaving him behind in the middle of nowhere, she turned towards where Lenci and Milo were rather rapidly disappearing into the heat waves. Despite the fact that dusk was approaching, the heat still managed to mess with her vision. Maybe it was just a product of her head after staring at a similar spectacle all day though.

    Breaking into a fast trot, Nikita waited for Neo to start moving and come up alongside her before going any faster. The male seemed to have regained some of his spirit, however, having shook his previous weariness off at the thought of sleep and food. "Last one back to the pack is vulture food." He challenged, nipping her playfully on the shoulder before taking off towards the pack. Nikita yelped in surprise, Neo managing to surprise her with his revenue of energy even after knowing him for so long, debating whether or not she should play along and make a sprint for it. Knowing that she would have to decide quickly before Neo was an unattainable target in the distance, Nikita let out a small puff of air before setting her mind on the pointless race. After the strange encounter with the spirit she needed something to work her nerves off of, and she had an odd sensation at the back of her mind telling her that she probably wouldn't get an opportunity to play like this again for awhile.

    Growling under her breath to get her competitive spirit up, Nikita burst into a sprint - eyes set on Neo's figure. He was catching up with Milo and Lenci pretty steadily, and in her pursuit Nikita was doing the same. Despite the fact that Neo was bigger than her, she had longer legs and usually won these little races with her brother - which explained why he had taken off without waiting for her response, he was trying to get the upper-hand for once. Racing past Lenci, Nikita determined that she was within jumping distance of Neo and pounced at him; sending him tumbling to the ground. She jumped over him and concentrated on continuing her newfound lead. "Vulture food, you say?" She tossed back at him playfully, looking back to see him getting back onto his feet and trying to catch back up with her.

    "That's foul play! I object!" Neo protested, knowing that there was only a very slim chance of catching up with his sister now. Determining this he slowed his pace to a more normal pace, giving up on the race and instead wanting to just make it back to the pack. Seeing this Nikita slowed down as well, triumphant but not making that big of a show of it. She would rub that into Neo's face later. Soon after the first smells broke into the previous scent of nothing. Pack land was approaching, and many more wolves had passed this area. A few paces more and the first sights of the pack started to appear, a few adults clustered around a tree in an attempt to barter some shade from it and two pups braving the heat and attempting to have a bit of a tussle on the ground.
  10. Lenci thought about telling Milo to slow down so that they could conserve their energy and not tire themselves out too quickly; after all, when they would be back at the pack it would more than likely be denied to them that they get an ample amount of food or water to sate their needs, even despite the fact that they had gone on this pointless quest for a hunting trip. She could only imagine how disappointed the looks on the pack members would be, and in that moment she thought about Milo and how he had been so determined to find something to bring back to the pack, and that had probably been a reason for it; because he didn't want to be subjected to those looks of disappointment. But she pushed the thought aside and opened her mouth to let her tongue loll out, trying to get more oxygen into her lungs as well as cool her own self off. Milo was a quicker runner than she was, and while she had thought about barking back at him, she bit her words and decided to leave him be. It was enough that he was leaving the hunt to go back to the pack; let him go at the pace that he wanted to, since he was going there to begin with.

    Nevertheless, she could not deny how she had begun to slow herself down for fear or running herself too ragged, and she even went to turn to look back at Nikita and Neo to see where they were and if they were being the smarter of the two and pacing themselves in order to save their energy and strength, but she could see that she had been sorely mistaken when the two of them whizzed past her quickly, their playful bouts of chatter entering into her ears. She sighed at the sight, shook her head, but continued on her way until she noticed that the two had even passed Milo, who she could hear barked a sour comment at them, probably telling them to calm down and stop acting so childish. Lenci had half a mind to laugh at the comment, if only because even though she was a year younger than Milo she remembered a time when he seemed to have boundless energy and would play around with anyone that he could. Oh, how the times have changed, and how they've changed him. They've all changed, she reasoned with herself, every single wolf in the pack, especially with the bad times that were upon them. The bad thing, though, was that she thought that everyone was changing for the worse.

    By the time the first sights of the pack had come into view, their scents permitting into his nose, Milo perked his head up and watched as the adults that sat under a nearby tree picked their heads up and looked at them. One of them, however, turned their heads and looked away, shaking it as their mouth started to move with words coming out of it, words that Milo could not see, though he figured that they were telling the other that the hunters had come back with nothing. Again, the male was hit with a sense of dread, a sense of him not wanting to be back in these lands empty pawed with no food having been caught. They hadn't even a small rabbit or rodent to show for their work. Would the alphas not trust them to go on another hunt again? Would they believe that they had merely played while they were supposed to be working and searching?

    He snorted to himself at the thought as he slowed himself down. The sun was beginning to set as they stepped foot into the pack territory then, the pups rolling around in the dry grass stopping to look up at the returning wolves until they went back to playful growls and yelps to one another with small nips and bites. They didn't understand what was going on because they were so young, Milo reasoned with himself that they believed these to be the times that they had to deal with. At least for right now, though, the pups seemed happy enough, because generally they usually had crestfallen looks. Nevertheless, he slowed his run into a trot before he slowed himself into a brisk walk, his tongue lolling out as his tail slowly wagged until it stopped. Instead of stopping at the adults and pups, not wanting to see the faces that they held on their faces, he continued into the general meeting area of the pack, his eyes searching this way and that in order to find the alphas. Other wolves were wandering about as well, though most were laying on the ground with their heads resting against their paws until they noticed the four coming back, lifting their heads to look at them all. Only then did Milo really begin to notice the strange looks they were given, and it was in that moment that he realized that the marks were still glowing, and with the waning light they would not doubt become more noticeable soon.

    He stopped and turned to look at Nikita, Neo, and Lenci, huffing out a breath before he motioned over towards the den in which the elders normally resided in. From where he stood, he couldn't see if the elders and had no idea they were even in there. "You all go and find the elders and speak with them; I'll go talk to the alphas about what we've seen and meet you all over there when I'm done." Without wanting to hear any words that they would speak against the matter, because no doubt they would tell him to come along with them first so that they could figure out what was going on with them, he turned and headed to the alpha's den, feeling that at least he should let the alphas know. No doubt that the alphas would look at the markings to be odd, but he figured that it may dismiss their possible anger over having not brought any food back.

    Lenci could feel eyes being bored onto all of them as they entered into the pack, but when Milo stopped she pushed the thought aside and listened to him, wanting to protest him of leaving so that he could be with all of them with the elders, but before she was able to say anything, he was gone. Sighing, she shook her head and looked over to Nikita and Neo, frowning a bit before she started towards the elder's den.

    "Andreas, Ajax," she spoke out quietly as she poked her head into the den, only to see the two older male lift their heads up at the call of their names. Only just recently they had lost the last female elder that had been in the pack, the mate to Ajax, herself having been too weak and old to care for herself any longer. The harshness of the times had not done anything to help the matter either. When she had seen them come to attention, she looked back at the other two wolves before looking over to the elders again. "I think something may be wrong." And with that she turned to her side, allowing them to see the mark and how it glowed faintly. "I think a spirit spoke to us, asking for our help. It told us that the land is dying as well as themselves."
  11. Hearing Milo mutter something, most likely unpleasant and based on how she and Neo shouldn't be acting so childish, Nikita hesitated before choosing to ignore it. Nowadays, it was rare for her to be in high spirits - she figured that she might as well enjoy it while it lasted. If she had to pay for her actions later, be it by thirst, hunger or anything else she would do so. And so would Neo. Despite the fact that it certainly didn't look like it, Nikita respected Neo quite profoundly. Throughout all of the famine and thirst he had remained in high spirits, managing to plough through anything that life threw at him without letting it wear him down. While, on the outside, he appeared like an immature pup; even rather simple-minded at times, Nikita knew better than that. Inside he was much more.

    The steely determination that was seeing him through these difficult times was different from the determination that everybody else in the pack had - for example, Milo's steadfast stubbornness, or the alpha's firm belief in the gods - and she was one of the few that saw that. He was helping the pack in his own way. Nikita had experienced firsthand how some energy and humor could help in an otherwise hopeless situation, and she suspected that Neo knew that too. That was why he kept continuing on like he was. Unlike many others, like the alphas, Neo didn't receive much support to continue his mission to bring some light into these dark times and so Nikita tried to give back to him when she could. The race today was an example of that, she was well aware of the fact that it probably wasn't very wise to be throwing energy around like that in times when it was so valuable, but Neo was more valuable to her than that.

    Drawn out of her thoughts when Milo spoke, Nikita hesitated. The alphas could be harsh when they wanted to be, and they had been especially tense with the lack of food. Sending them out as a hunting party had been in high hopes, the four of them had been among the younger members of the pack and should have been able to retrieve at least something for them. There was no doubt that they were probably going to be more than slightly cross about the fact that they didn't have anything to show after an entire day out hunting. Even with their story about their glowing marks and the spirit, Milo still may be heading for the fire and the thought of him going alone bothered her. Neo looked over at his sister as she stared after Milo, reading her thoughts. "Don't worry about him, he'll be fine. I'm pretty sure that the alphas have a bit of a soft spot for him." The male wolf said, nudging Nikita into following Lenci into the elder's den.

    Seeing as Lenci obviously knew the elders quite a lot better than Neo and Nikita, the pair let her call to them and begin speaking about what had happened. However, Neo wasn't one to sit to the side much. "A spirit did speak to us. It was all glow-y and everything. It asked for our help, and told us that we were the chosen ones. I mean, Milo, Lenci, Nikita and I. And just before it spoke to us we started glowing." The male said, almost interrupting Lenci but coming in just after she had finished speaking. His intensity obviously threw the conversation a bit off balance, as well as making quite the echo within the small den.

    "Neo, calm down." Nikita scolded, butting him with her shoulder and acting as if she were the older one, not him. "What he is trying to say is that a glowing face appeared to us and spoke to us. Do you think that they spoke to us because we are marked? Or did something appear to everybody else here at the pack?" She asked calmly, though her breaths were still coming a bit heavily as she regained her breath from the run in. The two elders looked at each other, their expressions essentially unreadable until they looked at the three younger wolves with the glint of hope in their eyes. Andreas was the one that spoke first.

    "It might be very well as you say. I'm sure you remember the legend about Kako and Kalos from when you were younger, and how Kako used a magic gem to turn the good spirits into evil ones. Kalos recovered the gem and was said to have hidden it, but it is very possible that he gem has been taken once more, and the good spirits turned. It would certainly explain the sudden change of the land." Andreas broke off with a slight cough, obviously in need of some water or other form of hydration, and looked to Ajax to see if the other elder had anything else to say. The darker colored elder seemed to consider it for a few seconds.

    "Chosen ones, you say? Did the spirit use that exact term?" He asked, and Neo nodded in confirmation.

    "The spirit also said that we were both spirits and mortals." The male wolf added, remembering what the spirit had said in response to the questions he had asked.

    "That could very well be so. You four might have been chosen by the gods to reclaim the gem and restore balance to the world. Those glowing marks of yours may even be a method for you to pass into the spirit world, something that might allow you to exercise control over the sacred gem." Ajax mused, before looking at the three wolves and considering their glowing marks for a moment. "Say, where is Milo?" He asked, realizing that one wolf was missing from the four that had been mentioned.
  12. Lenci eventually went to take a seat as she listened to what Neo had said, her ears flickering as his voice bounced off of the walls of the den. The sound made her wince a bit, but she chose to ignore the matter and allowed the other two to speak of what happened, her eyes trained on the elders before them. How many times had she, as a pup and even still now, sat in front of these two and even in front of Ajax's mate to hear of the many stories that they told, stories and legends that she thought about more often than she probably should have? While her parents consistently continued to remind her when she was young that the stories of the Gods were true, they also told her that the other, more finicky tales such as the one about Kalos and Kakos had only been told to encourage young pups to strive to be better wolves so that they would work harder when they grew older. But what if they were not? What if those legends and lore were true as well? Her mouth closed at the thought, her ears perking straight as she listened to the elders say their own thoughts upon the matter, their eyes beginning to light with hope.

    Her eyes widened a bit and blinked, her shoulders twitching before she tilted her head a bit. "Milo will be here soon; he's speaking with the alphas about the failed hunting trip. We came back as soon as the face faded away and the voice stopped speaking with us, figuring that you may know what happened or what to do." But she paused a bit to get her thoughts together, again bringing the thoughts of Kalos and Kako back into her mind. She frowned at the thought, her ears drooping a bit before she shook her head. That story, while had ended in a victory for the wolves all around, as well as the spirits, had been a long and hard journey for the hero. Much bloodshed had been made, she remembered them having told her, and that the lands had been in ruins even after the fact. It had taken years, decades, for things to go back to the way that they had been; it took too long, in her opinion, for the spirits to be able to regain the power that they once had. If that was truly happening in that moment, how were they supposed to be of help? How much time did they have left before Kolasi was able to ruin these lands along with the other wolf, a reincarnation, if she would think, of Kako?

    "But why us? Why are we the chosen ones in this, in a tale that is as... Disastrous as the one with Kakos and Kalo is?" Her face had contorted into a look of worry, herself standing back up and padding her feet around before she stopped again. "If any of this is even true. How do we not know that we are not being tricked? Isn't that something that happened often within the story; of the demon spirits possessing the thoughts of the living?"

    Ajax huffed as he thought, his eyes looking over the three again, looking over the marks that had been placed upon their fur. "Those marks of yours have been placed there for a reason, otherwise every other wolf in this pack would have had them." His voice had turned a bit stern, his look more intent. "And I doubt if you have been possessed by those demon spirits. Have your thoughts been of death and killing, of bloodshed and darkness?" When Leni shook her head, he nodded his head. "Exactly. Those markings of yours are, perhaps, the mark of the Gods. The mark of Paradeisos."

    Lenci folded her ears back as she took in the information, breathing out softly to herself.

    "We've told you that those marks of yours have always been special; we just never understood how special you wolves truly are." Andreas finally spoke back up, sweeping a gaze over the three. "And with the times that are upon us now, I would not see it any other way that we are falling into what had happened in the past."

    But that was when another thought came to Lenci. "But there are four of us, and in the legend it is only of Kalo and Kako. What does that mean?"

    The alphas had been less than happy to hear of the news, and while Milo had thought that they would have at least been a little more lenient over the markings that adorned his body and over what he and the others had seen and heard, he had been wrong. Milo tilted his head down in submission, his ears folded against his head as he gave an upwards glance to Cadmus, the alpha male. The older wolf frowned as he bared his teeth to Milo, Milo daring to look away for a quick second. "Again, we apologize for not finding anything, but there was nothing in the area." The alpha's, he had realized before, cared not for the marks, and Milo figured he would have had a good thought in thinking that the alpha even blamed the marks on their failed trip.

    "There are prey still left in this area! You just need to learn how to look hard enough." The male huffed to Milo before he snorted and threw his head to look in another direction. "You're dismissed."

    It took a lot for Milo to not growl in the face of his leader, but nevertheless he stood completely and turned to leave the den. His ears flipped back as he heard the quiet grumbles coming from the other male, his words incoherent at best, though Milo had heard little of what the alpha had said; "we should not have trusted those wolves to go out there. There has to be something there.." The defeated tone that came from his voice made Milo stop, wondering if he had ever heard the alpha speak in such a weak tone. Never, he never had and it was odd to think so now. Was even he beginning to give up? Pushing the thought aside with the shake of his head, because that was something that he did not want to believe or even think about, he trotted his way over to the elder's den, seeing Nikita, Neo, and Lenci's backside inside of the den, voices echoing from outside it though he also could not understand what they were saying.

    But he nevertheless made his way over to them, raising his head to look over the bodies of the three wolves so that he could catch sight of the elders, their glowing light illuminating the darkening den just a bit. "Ah, and there is the last one." Milo snorted at Ajax's short comment, himself going to sit.
  13. Listening keenly to what the elders were saying, Nikita began to wish that she had paid a little bit more attention to the stories her parents and other pack members had told her as a pup. Her and Neo's parents weren't really ones to believe that much in the legends, only believing the seemingly more solid gods and spirits, and dismissed most of the tales of Kako and Kalos. Once Nikita had overheard her father having a conversation with the Ajax's deceased wife about how the pups didn't need to be told stories in order to encourage them to be good, but instead if they were given a solid role model such as the alphas they would find their way without the need for legends and other things that he deemed nonsense. Nikita's mother wasn't such of a nonbeliever, having spent a lot of time with the elders in her youth, but her love and respect of her husband outweighed that of her ties to the elders and she had left the majority of the legends behind her.

    This was part of the reason that Neo found it so hard to believe that he and Nikita would be marked, out of all the other wolves in the pack. Surely it would be more logical to mark wolves that believed in their task more? However, he dismissed the fact after a moment and instead concentrated on what the elders were saying. Lenci had asked a question, and Andreas had begun to move to answer, but was interrupted by Milo's arrival and Ajax's comment to the younger wolf. Neo shifted to the side slightly to make more room for the other wolf to sit, having to press into Nikita to do so but not minding particularly. The elder's den was rather large and spacious, the only den bigger than theirs was that of the alpha's - the beta's den was maybe of equal size, but fitting four wolves in addition to the two elders was beginning to ask a bit much of it.

    Sensing that Milo wasn't exactly in the best of spirits, Neo determined that the meeting with the alphas hadn't exactly gone well - but before he could question Milo about it his attention was drawn back to Andreas as he answered Lenci's question. "I'm not sure why there are four of you when the legend only dictated two, but maybe that is only an omen of things to come. While the venture of Kalos as he hunted Kako down was hard and treacherous, it is possible that the circumstances now are more grave and require more than one hero. Perhaps there is more than one foe, or the god Kolasi has become stronger and Paradeisos felt the need to have more than one champion to ensure victory. Perhaps, even, he means for you four to put a stop to this for all time - not just a temporary lull as such Kalos created - and as such provided you with support from your fellow wolves."

    Ajax, listening to Andreas speak, broke in after Andreas seemed to be stamping a dark impression on the idea of the quest and what the four younger wolves had in store for them. "Or maybe you will find out why you were all chosen at a later date. You said that one spirit spoke to you, it is quite possible that another might rise to give you some more information." He said kindly. Since her intervention with Neo, Nikita had remained silent - listening to everything that the elders said. Now, however, she spoke up again.

    "If what you say is true, and the gem has been stolen, what are we supposed to do about it? Where should we start to look? It could be anywhere." She pointed out, eyeing the glowing marks on Neo's paws. Why did this have to happen to them? Sure, she understood that it was for the greater good and that somebody had to do it. And it wasn't like sitting with the pack and slowly starving and dehydrating to death was any better, but it seemed like they were being set up for a perilous quest that nobody knew how to start. Blinking once, Nikita wondered why she was being so negative. The elders hadn't said that they didn't know where to start, why was she being so negative? Shaking her head once to clear her mind, the she-wolf fastened her eyes on the two elders and waited for an answer.
  14. As Ajax mentioned that another one had come among them, Lenci turned her head to look and see that Milo had come back from the alpha's den, her ears flattening when she caught the look of frustration upon his face. There was no doubt in her mind that he had been yelled at, and there was no doubt in her mind that Milo was more than upset about having done something wrong and having not done what was asked of him. Generally he was an obedient wolf -even given his brash nature to try and lead others as if he was an alpha his own self-, especially when it came to the words of the alpha's. In fact, if there was one wolf in the pack that Lenci would have said looked up to their leaders more, it was Milo. But, pushing that thought aside, when Andreas started speaking again, she turned her attention back to him and listened, sucking in a breath as she slowly let it out. That didn't seem very good, the fact that because there was more of them with these marks that the troubles could be worse than any of them even knew.

    Again, she was reminded of the sight that she had seen on the hunting trip, as well as the state in which all of the wolves were in; skinny, barren, losing the life inside of them while losing the battle of the will to live. Even the land itself was beginning to lose that battle, and her only reasoning to think that, now, was because of the spirits. They kept the land well, they watched over the wolves and they made sure that there were plentiful prey about. Sure, though over the years, or at least she had assumed, there had been small little droughts of inactivity with prey, but regardless she doubted if anything had been this bad. Changing of seasons generally seemed to settle the land for a bit before things came back, but now they were in the middle of summer; nothing was coming and she doubted if anything would. There was nothing left in this place to sustain life... Ajax's words, however, slightly settled the rising fear and anxiety that rose though her over the thoughts of the dying world. Maybe he was right, or maybe Andreas was right; she didn't know. None of them knew and none of them probably would know. It was a strange fact to swallow, but the unknown was scary.

    The two elders looked at one another after Nikita had spoken, their head tilted to one another as their ears perked before they turned back to the wolves. "It has been rumored that the sacred gem had been hidden deep within the forbidden forest long ago," Andreas started, his look turning into a bit of a hardened look. "That may be where you have to start." He let the words settled with the wolves at that point, knowing full well that they knew the implications in which he just spoke of with that forest.

    "Are you mad?" Finally Milo spoke up, shaking his head as he gave them all a scoff. "No disrespect of course, but are you suggesting that we go into the forbidden forest, the one that you two have specifically been preaching to never go into?" He bit back the growl that wanted to come from his tone, his already irate mood increasing with the ridiculous statement. It brought back to his mind of what Cadmus had said, mentioning him as one of 'those' wolves. He knew that the four of them had been looked at differently in a bit of a sense, because the marks on them had been so odd and outlandish. But even despite that, no wolf in the pack had disrespected them over it, especially when all of them had thought that these marks were mere discolorations of their fur pattern or birthmarks. No wolf had treated them differently either, or at least not from what he could remember, other than the elders, of course, and of the new pups that had come in only because their curious minds had driven them to ask about their fur. So why had Cadmus said what he did?

    "No wolf has ever come out of those woods alive; no creature has ever survived more than a day in that place. You cannot be thinking of sending us in there."

    Ajax blew out a sigh, looking directly at Milo. "It is only a suggestion, Milo, and you would do well to keep that anger of yours low." When Milo lowered his head a bit, grimacing, Ajax turned his attention to look at the rest of them. "The idea of sending you off into the forbidden forest is not a good one, because even we are not sure that that is where the gem had been placed. But, if we are going along with rumors and legends, because with the way the lands are turning, what happened in the story of Kako and Kalos may be coming true, then that may be where you have to start. But as I've said before, I don't like the idea of sending you all away without any more context. I think it would be best to speak with the alphas about this to see what they think."

    When the alphas were mentioned, Milo shook his head and snorted again. "They won't listen, and they won't care. All they will think this is is nonsense, and they're already angry enough as it is with everything that's been happening."
  15. If Nikita had harbored an excessive inclination to go on the quest that the elders were speaking of, it was definitely at least damped by the mention of the forbidden forest. She hesitated for a few seconds as there was a silence after the proclamation before opening her mouth to protest - but Milo had beaten her to it by a rather long shot. It seemed like the male was even more agitated than usual. The she-wolf looked down at the ground for a second regretfully as she decided it was probably because his meeting with the alphas hadn't gone so well - she had been concerned about it, should she have been more persistent about either going or sending somebody else with him? Would that have helped the outcome? Maybe if she had gone with him he wouldn't be so down. Abruptly a wave of helplessness washed over her. Her muscles seemed to collapse for a second and her chin hit the ground, sharp canine teeth lightly piercing her lip and creating small cuts in her mouth that started to bleed slightly.

    However, she was oblivious to the pain or the taste of blood. It seemed like all of her resolve had disappeared. Closing her eyes, Nikita suddenly found herself thinking that the best way to get around her problems would be to sleep it off. Seemingly indifferent to the fact that she was still in the elder's den, she unconsciously started blocking out the sound around her as she drifted into unconsciousness. Neo had been set on alert by the sudden occurrence of her head dropping onto the floor, staring at his sister while Milo said something about the alphas in the background. When she closed her eyes, the brown wolf started to get the vibe that something was wrong. "Nikita?" He asked, nudging her body experimentally. As the other wolf didn't respond, Neo began to get on his feet. "Nikita, answer me. Kit, wake up." Urgency was starting to rise in his voice, and he employed a nickname that the she-wolf despised to try and agitate her out of this strange state. It didn't help. Nikita seemed to have passed out, her only movement was the marginal one that her chest provided as she breathed.

    Neo started to growl. "What is going on? Nikita." He tried again, turning towards the elders with a look of desperation in his eyes. "What is wrong with her? Why won't she wake up?" He demanded, his voice unusually commanding and serious. Could it have been the race he had insisted on? "Could she be dehydrated?" He asked, staring at the two elders across the den from him. Ajax and Andreas looked confused, the latter male rising to examine the sleeping wolf. He sniffed at her for a few moments but didn't seem to find anything wrong with her.

    "She seems to be breathing well, and I can't find any signs of dehydration." The elder said cautiously, aware of the agitated state Neo had achieved. The male stared at his sister with the same look in his eyes that he had faced the spirit with - intense and determined, as if he could control what was happening as long as he stayed strong in his resolve and will. "Wait. She stopped glowing, have you two as well?" He realized, looking over at Milo and Lenci though his body objected against looking away from his sister. After seeing that Lenci and Milo were still glowing faintly, a quick glance at his feet showing him that he was as well, Neo bared his teeth.

    "Could the glow be rejecting her? What's going on?" He asked nobody in particular, though at around that moment Nikita started glowing again. But this time it wasn't the fuzzy blue-white glow that the other chosen wolves still sported. Instead, it had been replaced by a red, hellish glow that seemed to be trying to creep up her body. It had started at her belly, but steadily rose to her neck - and as it rose, her body did too. But it wasn't with the usual pose and grace in which she moved, instead it looked like her bones were being yanked on a string and her muscles had turned to jelly. "Nikita..." Neo muttered, beginning to shrink away from her despite himself. Abruptly she stopped moving, her eyes still closed, but then she opened them again and that red light was shining out of them.

    "Hmm. A bit more frail than I was hoping for, but it will do." An unfamiliar voice rasped. "Please forgive the intrusion, kind wolves, but my master said that the matter was quite urgent. You see, he wants you gone." It continued, swinging Nikita's head around to glare at Neo, Milo and Lenci at the entrance to the den. "But it seems like your whole PACK has something strange in their blood... Maybe I'll get to wipe you all out..." At this point the voice broke into a scraping, dry laugh that filled the den. "Wouldn't that be pleasant indeed? If only I could see them! But those puny mortals have a way of evading my sight. But you three don't! I can see you! Those glows of yours are quite charming, are they not? Oh me, oh my, what a day this will turn out to be!" It paused between its words, still getting over the laugh it had started earlier and seeming to get quite excited.

    "Let me see... Who to start off with? I do wonder. What about you, young lady? You certainly look quite charming." The possessed Nikita turned towards Lenci menacingly, grinning with Nikita's mouth and beginning to drool.
  16. Blowing out a bit of a sigh from his lips, Ajax sent his gaze straight to Milo as he tried to gauge the male for what he was trying to do, or at least for what he was trying to convince the others of not to do. Of course he wasn't foolish enough to think that the alphas would just readily agree to send these wolves out into the forbidden forest, especially with the tales that circled around the place as well as because of the extreme blockage that Cadmus had on any sort of legend that they circled around the pack that had anything to do with prophetic or heroic wolves. Why the lead male never believed it was beyond him, however there was no doubt in his mind that his position of leadership had done more than enough to blind his mind from the wandering minds that wolves tended to have; he had become too serious over the years, he had became so paranoid of ruining anything because he felt as if the Gods were always watching over them. There was no doubt in Ajax's mind that Cadmus more than likely believed that the pack was being punished for unknown reasons, which, in that one moment, made him believe that he may just want to send these four wolves out on a journey to the forbidden forest, of only because he may believe that they may never come back.

    After all, how could one not believe that these four wolves had something to do with the changing lands and with the spirits losing their power? But while he thought that, he was still skeptical of the matter. These wolves were young, no matter how strong they may be, and their strength was waning no matter if they had the marks of the Gods upon their fur that may give them strength that not even they knew of yet. Would they truly be able to do something about this? When the thought crossed his train of thought, he could not help but tilt his head up and fold his ears back against his head, huffing out a breath as he almost started to send out a prayer to the Gods and spirits themselves, wanting answers, him just wanting to know whether or not if these wolves truly were the ones who were to bring peace back to these lands.

    "The alphas will have to know of this regardless, Milo," Andreas spoke up as he also pointed his gaze over to the other male, Milo seeming to nearly shrink back in the spot that he stood in for a moment. "In all honesty, it may be in you all's best interest to have the alphas know of these developments, least they try to sacrifice you all to the Gods themselves."

    The thought alone sent a shiver to run down Lenci's spine, her tail beginning to tuck between her legs as she turned her head to look at in the other direction. Surely the alphas wouldn't kill them off for having these marks and for them having spoken with a spirit wolf. But, then again, why wouldn't they want to? It wouldn't take much to get the rest of the pack on their side, she knew, if a revolt was to happen against the four of them and they would be powerless to stop it all; they would be outnumbered and killed quickly, and then what would be solved? What if they really were the chosen ones? They couldn't die then, not yet at least. Not by the paws and teeth of these wolves if they were to die any time soon anyway. But that thought neither settled her racing nerves either. In fact, it only made her all the more nervous.

    Lenci went to open her mouth to speak her piece of her own reserves, however her words were stopped short when in the corner of her eyes she saw Nikita fall to the ground in an unpleasant manner, her body not moving or responding as Neo started poking at her with the tip of his snout. A look of concern seemed to take over the look of every wolf that sat in the den, Milo even taking a few steps forward as he stuck his face out, wondering if she was okay before Neo started frantically shouting to the elders to see what was wrong with her. But the concern, however, didn't seem to hit Lenci until the marks started to faze out of Nikita's fur, only to soon start turning into a reddish color, one that had not been on there previously.

    Both she and Milo took a few steps back, even the elders did as well as Nikita's body soon found its way to stand again, however when it spoke... Lenci couldn't help the tensing of her body, nor could she help the trembling of her muscles. Her mind stuck on every word that the voice through Nikita spoke, the very tone of it sending more than enough shivers through her. It's master sent it here to kill them off because something ran through the blood of the wolves in this pack? Could there be something special about every single one of them? It wasn't until the possessed Nikita turned to look at her did Lenci finally begin to piece things together, her legs steadily taking her back until her backside hit against one of the walls, sending out a small gaps to come from her lips out of surprise.

    Red ominous glow, thoughts of death, murder, and nothing but evil things... Was Nikita being possessed? It was almost just as the elders had told her before; the spirits of the God Kolasi taking over the body of a wolf in order to fulfill task that they could not in their spirit state. But why Nikita? Had it not been said that only wolves who were weak or angered heavily were able to be possessed by those spirits? Perhaps there was a different rule that came to them because of the marks.

    "Leave her alone!" Milo's voice came out as he lowered his head and pulled his ears back, snarling at Nikita who still seemed to have her attention fully on Lenci. A chuckle seemed to come from the being that possessed Nikita, causing Milo to lower his head even more as it seemed to not be listening. But he noticed the hairs on Nikita's body begin to rise as her muscles and body tensed, and as soon as the female's body jumped towards Lenci, he did the same. He knocked the body over to the side with a tackle, growling menacingly as he started to try and pin the wolf to the ground, not minding what Neo probably thought of all of this. But eventually Nikita body, because he didn't believe this to be Nikita, started to bite back at him after the surprised whimper came from the body after she had been knocked over. She snapped her jaws as Milo as they tussled on the ground for a second before he was able to pin the body down to the ground, Nikita's body, despite being possessed, still not possessing the complete strength that she needed. "Who are you?" He growled, baring his teeth as he readied himself to strike should anything happen.
  17. Nikita opened her eyes to see herself surrounded in a never-ending wasteland of what seemed to be red sand. Looking around frantically for any sign of life, or just of anything at all, the wolf yelped as the sand beneath her started to shift. She seemed to be sinking. Opening her mouth to bark, Nikita realized that she couldn't speak - her mouth was as dry as her surroundings, and she couldn't lift her tongue. It felt like her mouth was full of sand. Choking, the wolf tried to move. Her paws were already starting to disappear into the sand beneath her. Flattening her ears, the she-wolf grit her teeth and tried to budge again. She managed to recover some of her front toes, but her progress was limited.

    The spirit began to growl as Milo pinned it to the ground, snapping at the wolf and trying to throw him off. Its red eyes flickered menacingly before its body fell limp suddenly. Nikita's body began to whimper, tail tucking between its legs. "Please, help." A voice, vaguely sounding like Nikita's but with the spirit's overlaying it, and Neo immediately reacted. Barking once, the male charged at Milo - knocking the other wolf off of his sister but tumbling as he did so. He was immediately back up on his feet however, rounding on Milo and growling at the male. He stuck close to Nikita's body, obviously planning to protect her.

    Somewhere in the distance, Nikita could hear the resonating sound of Neo's voice. He seemed to be upset. She tried again to choke out a word, but the dry air only filled her mouth and made her thirstier than she had been before. She was running out of energy as she tried to dislodge her feet, and the sand was rising up to her ankles. Unable to move, the female looked around desperately. Not a single living being was around, and as the wolf looked up at the sky she realized that the sun had been turned red. What's happening? Let me out.... please... Neo... Help. Nikita pleaded, unable to speak or move as she felt the grains of sand continued to rise up her legs.

    An evil chuckling filled the cave once more as Nikita's body rose from the ground once more. The red glow resonating from her marks was starting to grow stronger, and the spirit seemed to be moving more easily within her body. "Foolish. You mortals are so blinded by your own agendas that it's funny." The spirit cackled, choking once on his own breath before recovering. His rasping was starting to subside - apparently he was adapting to his new environment. Turning towards Neo, the spirit laughed again. "Your sister isn't coming back to you, you know. I just happen to be a very talented ventriloquist. It's one of my powers, you know. As your precious sister dies inside I'll only get more powerful. As it is I can't see any of the normal wolves about, only you marked ones, but once I take over her sight I'll be all set to wipe you all out."

    Neo turned back towards Nikita's body as he heard the spirit speak, growling and flattening his ears as he heard the words. "You're lying. Nikita isn't gone, it's as you say, she's still inside!" He said, his voice breaking with desperation. "Nikita, I know you can hear me. Come out, please!" He yelled suddenly, lunging to tackle the spirit. The spirit, however, had learned from its encounter with Milo and neatly sidestepped Neo's attempt. He knew that he would become more powerful as time passed and the she-wolf perished, he only had to wait her out then his powers from the other side would emerge in their full form and these tiny wolves wouldn't be able to do anything to stop him.

    Hearing Neo's voice again, Nikita strained to hear what he was saying. Come out? But how? Tossing her head, the female desperately tried to find something else around but only saw nothing. The red sun's rays was starting to beat down on her and she was beginning to get tired. Perhaps this was all just a bad dream, perhaps if she just went to sleep she would be able to wake up again and everything would be fine... The sand was warm, it would be a comfy pillow once it got up to her head. No, Neo wanted her to come back. He wouldn't try to get her unless it was important, right? And she hadn't heard him sound like that before. Forcing her eyelids open, Nikita looked around again. Was she just imaging it, or was the ground beginning to glow?

    The spirit's eyes narrowed slightly as he felt something starting to claw at his mind, but he ignored it. It was probably just his powers manifesting, it just felt strange in the mortal world. This was the first time the spirit had attempted to possess a being, he was usually just seeing to his master's needs. Sometimes he ventured over to this side to wreck some havoc, but he hadn't particularly fancied the thought of possessing one of those tiny mortals. He had been persuaded into this task at the thought of possessing a chosen one, which was both harder and easier than possessing a normal wolf. Either way, this task would highlight his value to his master, and he was more than slightly keen to be recognized after his centuries of service. Neo kept lunging and trying to tackle him, but the spirit kept on his toes and evaded all of the wolf's attempts.

    "Why won't you fight me? I'll defeat you and get my sister back, I swear!" Neo yelled, a slightly crazed light in his eye as he faced the spirit. His marks were starting to glow more strongly, and the spirit regarded them thoughtfully before dismissing them. The foolish wolf wouldn't be able to master his powers on his first attempt, and the spirit was confident that his own powers would manifest well before the chosen one's anyway. At that point, there wouldn't be any hope for any of the chosen ones.

    Focusing on the ground, Nikita realized that the ground had indeed begun to glow. Looking at herself, she realized that her marks were glowing too, and she started to feel energy seep through her body. Straightening herself up, she summoned her willpower and tried to jump out of the sand. This time, she took a different approach. Instead of physically trying to move herself, she concentrated her energy and leaped with her mind. Her glow started to collect around her feet and shifted her loose from the sand before settling under her paws and making her rise through the air. Too startled to do anything, Nikita only watched the ground as it drew further and further away until she suddenly realized that it had disappeared altogether. Looking around once more, she saw only gray. It was all around and she wasn't sure if it was right in front of her nose or miles away.

    Making a tentative move forward, Nikita suddenly saw something glimmering nearby. It loosely resembled the spirit that she and the others had seen earlier, however this one was dark and seemed to have some variety of horn growing out of its head. Flattening her ears, Nikita paced forward before pouncing on the light. The spirit suddenly froze and flattened its ears. Neo took the opportunity to tackle Nikita's body to the ground, his glow seeming to merge with the red one as he pinned the body to the ground. Nikita could see another glow start to appear near her, and this one felt familiar. Neo? She asked, though her voice wasn't a physical one and instead spoke quietly into her brother's mind.

    Yeah, I'm right here Kit. The wolf responded, his presence growing stronger. Outside, Neo had also frozen and the light in his eyes had suddenly disappeared. Now, shall we take this thing down together? He questioned, rounding on the spirit's glow menacingly. Nikita nodded, stalking around the other side. They tackled the glow, their own glows resonating brightly. When they touched, the glow only grew stronger until the spirit's gray-black form was overwhelmed.

    The spirit suddenly started to scream, white light starting to stream out of its eyes and mouth. Neo's body was still vacant, his eyes staring off into some distance underground unknown to any other. The voice resonated through the den, and many wolves outside in the pack were suddenly alerted to the strange glows appearing within the elder's den. They were all to scared to enter, however a great ruckus was created. As abruptly as it started, however, Nikita's body collapsed and the spirit stopped screaming. The glow began to fade from both the marks of her and Neo until they were back to the way they had started with the faint light surrounding their bodies. Neo suddenly blinked himself back to life, abruptly moving away from Nikita but prodding at her experimentally. Her eyes were closed, but a few seconds later they opened and she rolled onto her side.

    "What... what was that?" She asked after a moment, trying to get back on her feet but they were apparently unable to support her.

    "Just take it easy. You were possessed by some sort of evil spirit." Neo responded, sitting down next to his sister and gently pushing her back onto the floor so that she could rest a bit. "But I think that settles it. We have to go to the forsaken forest and try to find out what's happening." He said, changing tracks completely and regarding Milo and Lenci with one eye. The other was fixed on Nikita as he rested his chin on her shoulder. "That was tiring." He said with a sigh, ignoring the fact that Milo and Lenci were completely unaware of everything that had just happened.
  18. As the body below him went limp, Milo could only tense at feeling as he continued to keep his eyes stuck on the body of Nikita, his ears still pinned back, his teeth still bared. There was a part of him that told him to not hurt her because none of this was her fault and that she was merely being possessed by an evil spirit, but while there was a part of him that continued to tell him to calm down and breath, there was another part just telling him to attack to keep the rest of the wolves protected. He had already failed once, he reminded himself, with the sad excuse of a hunt that they had gone on, and he refused to let a wolf like this wreak havoc over the lands that were already failing. He brought his snout down closer to Nikita's body, ready to snap his teeth, until a he heard the small whimper come from her, as well as the trembling of her body. That made him pause for a second, causing Milo to raise his head a bit and perk his ears. What... At her voice he stopped, blinking his eyes even if there was a bit of a tint to her voice that was not entirely hers. Was she fighting against the spirit to gain control back over her body?

    Unfortunately he had been unable to speak or do anything in the next minute after he felt the tackle to his side. It shot a quick breath out of him, causing a sharp gasp to escape from his mouth as he tumbled down to the ground, his shoulder sliding against it before he was able to stop himself. His generally surprised and too shocked to do anything mood after hearing Nikita try to speak her own voice had been wiped away in that instant, and as soon as Milo's eyes landed on Neo's face he pulled his mouth right back and snarled at the male. "What are you doing?! Are you insane; why are you protecting her?!" He tensed as he stood back up, ready to jump at Neo for him having disrupted him with such a matter, for having attacked him for trying to save them. How dare he!

    "Milo!" The only reason he didn't take another step forward to jump on Neo was the voice of Lenci ringing out, causing one of his ears to flick back as he quickly turned his head to look in her direction, his eyes sending a glare her way, much like the one she was sending him. But he knew that look she was giving him; a look that meant don't attack and don't move or she'd jump right back on him. It wasn't that he was afraid of Lenci, or even that he generally wanted to listen to her especially with the threat that she was sending him. He knew that he could beat her in a fight; the female was one that didn't normally fight battles unless she had to, and in all the time he had known her there had hardly been a time when he even remembered seeing her roughhouse with any one else, probably because she never partook in such a matter. No, he only listened to her before when he turned his attention back to look at Neo and Nikita Neo was trying to attack the body of his sister. The sight alone sent a wave of irritation to strike through the male, because wasn't he not just doing the same thing? Of course, he reasoned that Neo was only being protective of his sister and felt as if he was the only one who could fight with her because they were siblings, but regardless Milo still found himself ready to snap his teeth at Neo.

    But as the possessed body of Nikita continued to dodge the attacks that were being brought to her, Milo noticed how they were increasingly getting closer and closer to the elders, them trying to keep out of the way though ending up short by being stopped by one of the walls of the small den. This place was much too small to be having any sort of battle in it, but regardless of that fact Milo skirted around the rumbling wolves and slid himself into position in front of the elders, protecting them, guarding them in a sense. The words of the spirit mentioned that he could not see the normal wolves, meaning that while he couldn't see them if he took a bite at any of them on accident he could probably hurt the elders. And he refused for that to happen.

    As Nikita and Neo's body soon fell still, however, Lenci couldn't help but narrowed her eyes and looked over to the elders and Milo before she looked back over to the pair, her head tilted just a bit. What was going on? Silence seemed to run through them as Nikita and Neo seemed as if they were beginning to stare into space. The marks on their body, however, were beginning to glow more until an almost blinding light came from Nikita's body. Lenci turned to look away, as did the rest of the wolves that were in the vicinity as a piercing scream shook all around them. When she opened her eyes back up to see that there was movement once again in Neo and Nikita, the presence of the other wolves outside of the den then came to Lenci. She turned and looked back, looking at the looks of fear that crossed through the wolves eyes, looking at how their hair stood on end as their eyes were wide and as their bodies were tense. She gulped a bit before turning back to the pair once Neo started speaking, swallowing before her eyes went back over to the elders, equal looks of shock and a hint of fear running through them.

    So, all of this was serious then, wasn't it?

    Before she could speak up another voice rang out before her, a gruff voice calling out, "What's going on? Are the elders alright?" Flattening her ears, when she saw Cadmus break through the small crowd of wolves that had surrounded the elder's den, she couldn't help but take a few steps back as his eyes went straight to the four wolves who had glows upon their bodies.

    The male looked at the elders before he looked at the four misfits, his teeth slightly bared. "What did you all do to them?!"

    "We didn't do anything to them," Milo countered back, himself wanting to yell at the alpha, himself wanting to argue back against him. "A spirit came and possessed Nikita's-" His words bad been cut off by the angry growl that came from the alpha, causing Milo to stop and turn his eyes to look away as he tilted his head down a bit.

    "You and those spirits again; I always knew that there was something wrong with the four of you. Look at what you've done!" Cadmus took another step closer to them all. "You put the elders lives in danger, and I have doubt in my mind that you four are the reason why the lands are turning to ruin. I should banish you all just for this! The Gods don't want you here-"

    "They Gods have chosen these wolves to be our saviors," Ajax interjected as he stepped from behind Milo and looked to Cadmus. "Can you not see the markings on their bodies? These are the marks of the Gods, the marks of Paradeisos, and these wolves have been given a gift that none of us could ever imagine to have." At the snort that came from the alpha, Ajax did the same notion to his leader. "Do not takes these four lightly because these are the wolves that will help us through this time; these are the wolves that will bring back the land that we used to know and thrive in. You need to see that, you need to understand that."

    "The spirit world is in ruins," Andreas stated, putting his own two cents into the matter. "And if that world is in ruins, then so is ours. But these wolves are connected to this world and the spirits, and while you may not want to believe it, it is true. You would be a food to banish these wolves from these lands forever because we need them."
  19. Nikita felt like her muscles were made of the same sand that she had just been trapped in. Listening to Neo's not-very-comforting explanation about how she had been possessed, the she-wolf closed her eyes and tucked her tail between her legs. "I should have been stronger, I'm sorry." She said softly, managing to get a word in edgewise before Cadmus burst into the den with his loud alpha habits. Exhausted, the wolf ignored what her alpha was saying, instead managing to prop her head on her paws and rest a little bit. She trusted Neo to deal with this interruption, he seemed to have more energy than she did. Besides, Milo and Lenci should also be there to back him up. Nikita, however, didn't manage to fully fall asleep. Instead she found herself replaying over her memories in that abandoned wasteland over and over again, recalling the sand that wouldn't let her go and the feeling of it as it had crept up her paws.

    The wolf hadn't really had a concept of sand before that point. It had been a relatively new phenomena across the pack's territory as the land had begun drying up and dying, the land that had previously been mud turning into grainy pieces of earth that were uncomfortable and got stuck in the paws and fur. While Nikita had thought of the stuff as a mere annoyance previously, her experience had left a firm imprint of terror within her about it. Subconsciously whimpering softly, though the sound was overrun by Cadmus' yelling and accusations, Nikita suddenly started feeling a sense of de'ja'vu. She felt so hopeless, like she couldn't do anything about anything... She was too tired, to helpless. She relied on Neo too much. Nikita flattened her ears slightly, though on the outside it just looked like she was relaxing slightly. Luckily, the alpha hadn't picked up on her vacancy quite yet, still trying to get his answers.

    Starting to be swayed by her despair once again, Nikita tried to get a vague sense of why this feeling felt so familiar. It was around that time that she snapped back to herself - realizing that it had been that same feeling she had felt before she had been supposedly possessed. Gritting her teeth and snarling as she fought it off, focusing her attention on the real world and what her alpha was saying. The gods don't want you here... The words rebounded in her head, threatening to beat her back down, but Nikita had already hardened her nerve. "Have you listened to yourself speak?" The shewolf suddenly said, raising her head and pulling herself onto her haunches. She looked Cadmus in the eye, startling the alpha into a momentary silence as the normally submissive and complaint wolf seemed to almost challenge him. "You go on about the elders, but you don't seem to care about what they are trying to tell you." Nikita said softly, Neo shifting his weight uncomfortably behind her. This wasn't like his sister, was she being possessed again? There wasn't any red light though.

    "I was just possessed by a red spirit. It managed to overwhelm me, and I am sorry for that-" She looked briefly at Milo and Lenci "- and it will not happen again. However, that spirit tried to use my body to kill Lenci, Milo and Neo. I think we can all agree that red is the sign of Kolasi. You say that the gods don't want us here? You are correct. Obviously, the devil gods want us dead. You know that Neo and I are not very spiritual, but of this I am convinced. And the only plausible reason for Kolasi to want us gone is because Paradeisos wants us for some purpose" Cadmus wasn't pleased at this outburst, flattening his ears and glaring at the she-wolf. He had apparently decided, however, that it was better to take this lecture from her rather than the elders who would inevitably say the same thing. This lowly ranked she-wolf didn't really have any influence in the pack, it would be easier to dismiss her words: ignoring the advice of the elders would be slightly higher profile.

    Nikita had more or less sensed this and continued, though she dropped her more intimidating tone and started speaking more respectfully. "White is his mark, is it not? As you can see, the four of us are glowing faintly white. As I'm sure you also saw earlier, there was a red light that came over me while I was possessed. I'm sure that this is a sign that there is a godly conflict going on, and that we are supposed to assist Paradeisos in some way in this." At this point Neo was sure that this was Nikita, however he was also sure that she was going to get them exiled from the pack. She had calmed herself down, however Cadmus was still unlikely to accept this from them with his sense of ego. It probably felt like they were undermining him, which Neo was pretty sure that Nikita was starting to do. She had chastised him at the beginning of her speech after all, which wasn't a very good way to start. Cadmus might have accepted that from his beta, but from a normal pack member there was no way.

    "This is why I believe that this is a fight that we must fight. And this is also why I am going to go to the forbidden forest in pursuit of the gem spoken about in the story of Kalos and Kako. I think that this is as good a starting point as any. I will do so by myself if necessary, but I am willing to sacrifice myself in this venture. That is how much I believe in this." Nikita finished, nodding to the assembled pack members before beginning to walk out of the cave. She knew that Milo didn't particularly approve of this venture, and Lenci might be a bit too conservative to take the step outward unless Milo did so as well. Nikita ignored all that though, comforted by the presence of Neo who had automatically gotten up and joined her - acting like a shoulder support and rest as she was still slightly wobbly from exhaustion.

    The she-wolf didn't particularly care if she ended up getting exiled from the pack anymore, just wanting to do what felt right to her for once. Usually the wolf went along with other's plans, thinking what other wolves thought, but just this once she felt like this was the right thing to do. As she had said to Cadmus, she and Neo weren't exactly spiritual, but her recent encounters had left her with little doubt in the fact that spirits did exist and in this circumstance, they needed her to be strong. Perhaps with this action she might even get Milo and Lenci to come, as she was fairly certain that just her and Neo probably wouldn't fare that well alone in the forbidden forest. But perhaps that was why there had been four of them - because just in case the other two didn't come, there would still be a chance.

    Nikita was uncomfortable with the thought that she might have helped lead Neo to his death. Perhaps this was part of the evil spirit's plan to trap her and her brother and kill them away from their pack? Did he still have that much influence over her? The wolf gritted her teeth and pushed the thought from her mind. No, the elders had thought as much as well: and unless the spirit had possessed them, even though he had said that he couldn't see normal wolves, it was a viable course of action. Either way, she and Neo could think things through a bit more solidly once they were away from the pack and had some space and time to think.
  20. It had come as a surprised to just about every wolf that was in the vicinity with their ear perked and their hearing trained on Nikita, her words sending a bit of a shock through them all by not only from the words that she spoke but just because of the fact that she was speaking them at all, especially towards Cadmus. Their eyes would dance back and forth between the female and the alpha, their postures stiff as they were, more than likely, all convinced that Cadmus would try to take care of the deed himself because of the fact that this wolf, this wolf who had hardly ever had much of a say in the pack and still had little to no say, was speaking against him in such a manner. But he did nothing. All he did was flatten his ears and bring out little growls as he would turn his eyes to look at their elders, their stiff postures telling him that if they tried to to do anything to the female that they would likely try to stop him, even if they were much weaker than the alpha and even if it would cause them to be exiled. But the elders knew that the alpha couldn't do that to them; the pack would begin to lose their way, and they would likely lose the confidence in their alpha if that confidence hadn't already been dwindled into nothing.

    But Milo looked upon with a sharp eye as well, the hairs around his neck standing as he turned to look at Lenci, catching note of her equally stiffened posture though instead of her eyes on the alpha her eyes were on Nikita, her eyes widened with a bit of shock. But as he listened to the female, she made sense, and as much as he didn't want to believe it perhaps she, and the elders, were right. They were given these marks for a reason, a reason that could potentially bring this world back to the way it used to be or a reason that could potentially bring this world into even more ruin. What if they were unable to stop anything, what if they failed? Likely they would never come back to the pack lands, either by their own nature or because of the fact that they were killed off, but if they were able to change the course of the days that were upon them they would return to the pack and be... Heroes. Legends even, and, despite himself, that sent a bit of a spark through him, a spark that caused his ears to perk a little higher, a spark that caused his hair to slightly grow less stiff. As his eyes ventured away from Lenci, he looked over to Nikita and Neo, remembering how the female looked when she was possessed and remembering the voice that had overtaken her own. It was a terrifying thing. What would happen if any one of them became like that? He would like to think that he could control himself and he liked to think that he would be able to fight the spirit off because he knew he was stronger than Nikita, or at least that was what he wanted to believe, but when he thought about it, would he really be able to?

    The air in the den had grown a bit cold, even tense, as Nikita continued on with her little speech. Lenci tried to relax her body though was unable to as she looked from her and the alpha and then to the elders, beginning to think that the alpha would do everything he could to get the four of them killed because he did not believe in the lore that was spoke among the wolves more often that not. Or, rather, she figured that he may try to kill Nikita because of her outright defiance towards the male. While she normally would have probably smirked at the sight, she could not, especially when she looked to see how serious the elders were about the matter. They believed what Nikita was saying, and they believed in the legends that they had spoken of for years, and while she had always believed it, she still believed it rather, it was hard to think that it may be coming true. And it was hard to think that they may be the ones that would be apart of a new story, a part of a new legend. But that scared her, that terrified her!

    Lenci shook her body as she brought herself out of her thoughts in time to see Nikita and Neo beginning to walk out of the den, the elders watching them and even taking a step forward as well as the two wolves walked passed Cadmus. The alpha turned his head to look at the two, his lips pulled back into a snarl as he watched them walk off, though did nothing to stop them. Eventually he turned his eyes to look at the last two that were left in there, Milo and Lenci. Lenci heard a snort come from Milo as he stepped forward and began to follow after Nikita and Neo, Lenci's ears folding back as she watched the sight. Cadmus stared at Milo and Milo stared back as they crossed paths.

    "You will allow these wolves to leave tomorrow, or as soon as they are ready, and you will allow them to get enough of a ration of water and food for the night and morning so that they do not drop dead of starvation and dehydration." Ajax finally spoke back up as there seemed to be a bit of a standoff between Cadmus and Milo, the both of them, and Lenci, turning to look at the elder who held his head high and his chest puffed out. "And you will allow them back into this pack when they return and you will be thankful for them for all that they are, and have done for us when that time comes."

    Cadmus snorted as he threw his head to the side with a bit of a growl. "You are bringing these wolves a false sense of hope. And when they fail, you will be the ones to blame," he growled again, shaking his head before he turned around and started out of the den as well. The wolves parted as their alpha walked past, some of the pups even doing the same as they whimpered lightly to themselves and lowered their heads. A lot of their eyes watched as the alpha walked off before they watched the other three wolves, the ones with the marks, walked off as well. Mumbled words of confusion and even fear running through them as the wolves looked at each other and started to speak. Lenci, however, stayed in her place in the den as she tilted her head to look down, a breath of a sigh escaping her lips.

    "We will speak with you all again in the morning," Andreas spoke up as he took a step towards Lenci, causing her to tilted her head back up to turn and look at the elder, her ears still down. Andreas' voice was a lot calmer than it had been when he had spoken to Cadmus. "It would be good for you all to get your rest, but to also speak of what you learned today. Nikita and Neo have already decided to go, and I have no doubt that Milo as decided to go as well, if only so that he could try and make himself look stronger in the eyes of the Cadmus and everyone else. But you..." Lenci turned her eyes to look away for a second.

    "All of us must go, I know this. Since there is more than one mark, then it must mean there is something more powerful out there that needs to be stopped, and it means that the only way anything will be put into completion is if the four of are there and gone. I understand that, but it's just... Difficult to get a grasp on the fact that the legend had been true, and that it's coming back again." Her eyes moved back over to them with the shake of her head, only to stop when she saw the little bit of pull on Ajax's lips before they fell again.

    "You need your rest, Lenci. All of you do. But like Andreas said, we will speak with you all in the morning once we wrap out heads around this as well. Now go get some water and food, and let the others know as well." He motioned his head in the direction of the opening of the den, many of the wolves having already dispersed from the area. "Cadmus won't try to stop you, but just don't get greedy." With that they shooed her away again, to which Lenci nodded her head and headed out of the den.

    She picked her head up a little to look for Neo, Nikita, and Milo, stopping when she saw the three of them before she quickly trotted over to them. "We all need to talk about this," she spoke out when she made it over to them. Milo stopped and looked at her but stayed quiet. "Especially with you, Nikita, and with what just happened with you if you can remember anything. But the elders are wanting us to leave in the morning, probably at dawn, and they say that we need our rest. But we can also get a little food and water first. They'll speak with us in the morning before we leave."
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