The Alpha threw back her head, raised her grey-furred muzzle and sang. The long, haunting melody drifted on the cool, night air. Her pack gathered in delighted canine chorus, tails wagging excitedly, yipping and singing their joy together under the starlit sky.
Soon, hunger growled in her belly and the Alpha abandoned her song and started off in the direction her heart told her to go. Her pack followed close behind.
The Alpha moved silently through the dark underbrush. Her long, gray coat still held traces of its winter thickness. Its warmth felt good to her this night. She could hear her pack-mates moving along, ranged out now on either side of her, though no one at any distance would have known they were there. She could smell the familiar odor of them and it reassured her to have them close.
It had been too long since they had eaten well. Her belly growled acknowledgment. It was a good night for the hunt, the air being quiet and clear. She held her nose up as she moved, tasting the air for traces of anything that smelled of prey.
What was that? The odor wafted past her sensitive nostrils. It speaks of creature, but so sweet. What could that be here near her home?
The Alpha saw the muzzles of her companions lift into the air, scenting just as she had. She let out a low, questioning whine. They would move closer and find this creature, perhaps it would fill their hungry bellies. Head down now, tracking back and forth, she found the ground trail and moved forward stealthily.
She crept, head down, holding her body close to the cool earth now, smooth gray, furred muscles rippling invisibly in the darkness.
They were almost upon it. The strong, sweet creature smell of it foreign to her and yet enticing, so enticing. She could feel her mouth watering in anticipation of the meal to come. Snuffling the ground the Alpha detected the odor of a two-legged as well and this made her distinctly uneasy. But she was so hungry. Her packmates spread out, encircling their prey. She would approach from the front holding the creature’s attention. Her packmates would attack from the sides and rear. Their prey would have no escape.
The Alpha moved past the cover of the bushes she had crept through. She could see it now. It lay upon a large, flat stone, the two-legged curled beside it. She crept closer. The creature raised its head. It was aware of her now. Good, it would not be aware of her pack-mates. The Alpha stood before it, a low growl escaped her throat. The creature did not run. It did not even rise. It just moved one forearm gently over the sleeping two-legged.
Looking at the hatchling creature she thought, it is only a suckling. Easy prey. Tonight, we eat by the Will of the One. She crouched to spring.
Even as the Alpha prepared to attack she studied the creature intently. She could see sparkling light surrounding it, utterly unlike the gentle light she perceived around her packmates and around her usual prey. She paused, feeling confused and wary. Her packmates waited for her attack to signal their own.
What is this creature? She thought.
Her stomach growled, impatient for sustenance, clearing her thoughts of confusion.
We eat, thought the Alpha and gathered her hindquarters to spring.
Sparkling light poured out of the creature, surrounding the Alpha in a blanket of warmth and comfort. She felt her muscles relax. She stood, whining, uncertain. Contentment filled her. Her belly no longer complained. She felt satisfied to her very bones, nourished as if she might never need to eat again. The Alpha moved closer, crouching and lying down, her head at the creature’s clawed feet. She felt as she had when a suckling, replete with milk, lying alongside her littermates, safely encircled by her mother’s warm body. She heard her packmates moving in closer, lying beside her at the creature’s feet. Then her heart knew.
This creature is of the One. This creature is Guardian.
The Alpha didn’t question how she knew, trusting her heart utterly. She rolled over onto her back, exposing her tender belly and throat in submission. She felt a light touch of the Guardian’s muzzle to the underside of her jaw.
Joyously, the Alpha flipped over, her agile body twisting. She sprang to her feet, her tail high, mouth open in canine joy. She splayed her front paws before her, bowing down inviting her packmates to play and leapt joyously at the one closest to her. Then she dashed off into the woods, her packmates in bounding pursuit.
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