Standing still, shaggy head tilted upwards, he sniffed, testing the
winds. The light blue orb of the Eastern Moon blanketed the surrounding
ground in hazy light, creating blue tips along Shirkarr's black fur.
Turning slightly, his amber eyes gazed at the Western Moon's dull orange
glow. Shirkarr's tongue lolled out of his mouth. Hunting would be good
Shirkarr sniffed deeply. As the Scent filled his senses, he began to
drool. He was close. He sensed Ka'rael and Ka'relu standing behind him,
deep within the wooded area and was pleased; they had maneuvered into
place, quietly, as they had been instructed to do.
"We travel west," Shirkarr said. He loped off, heading to
the Western Forest, his pack following silently. At the edge of the
Western Forest, Shirkarr paused, allowing the two youngest members time
to catch up. The young ones would hinder the pack, Shirkarr was certain
. . . but they needed to learn the Way of the Hunt. He paced, eyeing
the brothers Ka'rael and Ka'relu, their sides still heaving from their
"Ka father's weak ones," Jarel quietly said to Shirkarr.
Ignoring the bright gleam coming from Shirkarr's exposed teeth, Jarel
continued. "They are slow and tire swiftly. They still retain a
cubs' clumsiness . . . ." He stopped, hearing Shirkarr's low, menacing
growl of warning. He prayed he had not pushed his friend, the pack Alpha,
Shirkarr glanced at Ka'rael and Ka'relu, and then turned back, gazing
intently into his friends' dark eyes. "They are young, coming from
a line who are slow to change, to mature. You are aware their mothers'
change was slow in coming, as was Ka's. The Law shows, offspring would
also be slow to change." Shirkarr paused, gazing upwards at the
orange orb high above, before continuing. "They are young, true
enough, but they must learn the Way of the Hunt. I do not expect them
to do anything but hinder the rest - but still, they must be taught.
The stars and moons have not been so well aligned for a Hunt, since
the time when Ka led the Pack." Pausing to test the winds once
again, Shirkarr's nostrils flared and saliva filled his mouth. A slight
shudder passed through him as the Scent he sought, filled him. "They
must learn the Hunt, and I must teach them. It is what Ka did for me,
when I was a cub. It is what Ka would expect from me."
Rising to his full height, Shirkarr motioned for silence. Easily standing
a full head taller then any other, he was an imposing sight. When all
eyes were upon him, he slowly and deliberately lifted his head, nose
pointed towards the Western Moon and inhaled deeply, exhaling in short,
quick bursts. Turning slightly, he pointed towards the center of the
Western Forest, then motioned towards Jarel. Jarel confirmed with a
barely perceptible nod and moved off, three members following closely
behind him. Shirkarr continued his silent assignments, hesitating when
Dronn motioned to Ka'rael and Ka'relu to follow him. He shook his shaggy
Dronn's light amber eyes widened, clearly surprised. Uneasily, he headed
off deep into the Western Forest, certain this was the first time the
Alpha of the pack had ever gone on a Hunt with another by his side,
in his lifetime. Didn't the Law state the Alpha always hunted alone?
Shirkarr motioned to Ka's sons. He watched as they shuffle-walked to
his side, their half formed paws scattering leaves and breaking twigs
with each step. Ka'rael's change was a bit more advanced then Ka'relu's
was. His snout, although too flat, had elongated into a partial wolf
nose and his ears were pointed, lying correctly atop his head. Most
of his body still resembled the human side of him, albeit a hairy human.
Ka'relu's ears lay flat on his head, hindering his sense of sound, Shirkarr
was sure, and his snout was flatter then Ka'rael's. He had one paw totally
transformed; the other arm and both legs were still human in appearance.
"For this part of the Hunt, you must transform back to your Other.
I will remain as I am while I track the Prey," he said, "and
you follow - as quietly as you can - behind me. Stay hidden amongst
Ka's sons nodded in unison at their Alpha, and began the transformation
process. When they no longer held any resemblance to the Pack, Shirkarr
nodded his shaggy head, and slowly loped off without a backward glance.
The Law stated each Pack member must obey the Alpha - unless they wished
to challenge his word, or, die. Shirkarr had never been challenged.
His ears twitched, listening for the slightest sounds of movement.
Sniffing deeply, he exhaled with a shuddering 'woof;' the scent was
closer. Eyes narrowing, Shirkarr pierced the darkness as he searched
for the slightest movement of his prey.
Shirkarr saw a flash of white -- Ka'rael or Ka'relu coughed, it didn't
matter which, simply one of them alerted Shirkarr's prey - the white
object took cover behind a tree - Shirkarr lunged forward, determined
his Hunt would be successful. All these things happened in a blink of
an eye, more time then it took for Shirkarr's brain to process it and
With one powerful leap, Shirkarr was next to the large tree where he
had first spotted the white object; his nostrils flared, the scent of
his prey strong. His ears twitched, turning slowly, ready to hone in
at the tiniest sound. His tongue lolled out, tasting the air - the Scent
- as his nostrils flared and twitched. He turned to the right. His prey
had headed towards the clearing where the pack had stopped for their
instructions. Shirkarr gave chase, the Scent consuming him now, not
caring if Ka'rael and Ka'relu were following anymore. He must reach
his prey before it reached the clearing, if he was to have a successful
His easy, ground-covering lope kept him parallel to the clearing; he
was vaguely aware of Ka'rael and Ka'relu clumsily following behind.
He heard a soft hissing sound to his left, as he turned right, heading
deeper into the woods. He was certain the sound was an illusionary-sensory
tactic, geared to throw him off the true path. Saliva filled his mouth
as he loped steadily; this was the correct direction.
Shirkarr stopped. The Prey was close, not moving. All his senses honed
in on the Scent - he must reach his Prey before it turned to the clearing.
A low, twittering-hissing sound came from behind a large tree, on his
left. Without visibly moving his shaggy head, Shirkarr looked where
the sound had come from.
He saw Her. Sitting on a lower branch, lounging against the trunk was
the She-pyre. Her skin was a clear, alabaster white, as purebreds were
known for, her black hair long and silky. Her canines sharply pointed,
gleamed from the light cast by the stars and moons. Shirkarr looked
deep into her eyes - dark amber, with the telltale red specks giving
credence to her purebred ancestry, as well as age and readiness for
Mating. Shirkarr transformed to his human shape. She was ready, and
seemed willing to entertain his courtship, shown by her not fleeing
immediately to the clearing.
"She-pyre," Shirkarr said, "what do They call you?"
Shirkarr gazed steadily into her eyes, as he waited for her response.
"I am known as Shirkarr, Alpha to the Pack, Keeper of the Law."
The She-pyre smiled, her voice wafting out in soft whispers as she
replied, "I am known as Ba'el, Daughter of the great Chieftain
Bartholomew." Ba'el appareted, now standing next to Shirkarr. "Shirkarr,
Alpha of the Pack, you track well," she said, turning her head
to look up into his eyes, "I had thought to throw you off course
with my illusionary-sensory calls."
"I have had experience with such before," Shirkarr replied,
grinning. "My Mother's Mother, was a She-pyre from the Orange Moon
Clan." He stared down into Ba'el's eyes as he spoke, "I have
waited for your Clan to come back, to take my Mate."
"Only one with exceptional tracking skills," Ba'el said,
"would I consider for my Mate. Werewolves of the Blue Moon are
known to be the best providers - but are also known to be the most savage."
Ba'el hesitated, then stood on her tip-toes - if Shirkarr was not telling
the truth, when she initiated the Mating Ritual by drinking his blood,
should he not truly desire the Mating, he could transform back into
his Were-self, and rip her head from her shoulders. She gazed up into
his amber eyes a moment longer, then leaned forward to bite his neck.
Shirkarr sensed her wary uncertainty and offered his neck as he placed
his hands around her waist, lifting her, helping her reach his exposed
neck. Should she not desire him as her Mate, should she try to drain
his Life-Blood instead of Join with it, he could transform immediately
to his Were-self, and destroy her. It was time for one another to test
the honesty and sincerity of the other.
Ba'el drank the required amount of Shirkarr's blood, to show her intent
of Mating. She pulled back, droplets of his blood glistening on her
dark red lips. Shirkarr grinned a toothy smile, and then felt her body
stiffen in his hands. His hackles rose as she hissed a low warning sound.
He began to transform, ready to protect his intended Mate, as she hoarsely
whispered, "Is this a trick? Do you plan to attack me even as your
Life Blood transforms me?"
Ka'rael and Ka'relu stopped near the tree where their Alpha and his
intended Mate, had begun the Mating Ritual. Shirkarr barked out a low,
rumbling laugh as he answered, "These cubs? You fear attack from
these cubs?" He turned back, gazing into Ba'el's eyes as he continued,
"They will not harm you. I allowed them to follow me, to learn
the way of the Hunt. Now, they know how they must find their own Mate,
when their time is right." Ba'el tore her eyes from Shirkarr's
steady gaze, to glance at the two brothers.
Shirkarr continued, "They know you are my Chosen One, as my pack
will soon be aware. The Law states, they must pledge to you, as they
do me, for today - you are my equal, my Mate. All know, when a She-pyre
accepts the courting of a Werewolf, drinks of his Life Blood, that she
gives up that part of herself that was able to transform into the creature
of her ancestry. The Law states she must be honored, for all she has
Shirkarr gazed deeply into his Mate's eyes, waiting for her to accept
what he said. Ba'el shivered slightly, feeling her vampryss essence
leaving her body as the Were-blood wove its way inside her, joining
within her, transforming her to her new state. As she felt the Life-Blood
flowing through her, she nodded slightly - Shirkarr transformed quickly,
raising his shaggy head to the Orange orb, and howled a deep call of
thanks. Turning, he once again howled his song of thanks to the Blue
orb. In the distance, howls could be heard from his pack, as they finished
the first part of the Mating Ritual. It had been a good night, for the
Author' s Note : This story
was written for a short story contest in the genre of sci-fi or fantasy. After
a (very long!) period of writer's block - lasting 3-full-years, I am fairly
pleased with the story itself, but more importantly, to be writing again at
all . . . I do hope you enjoy reading it. I'm also proud to say it not only
won that contest, but when entered in another contest - won that one, as well!
The second contest was to have the winning entry illustrated by the reknowned
artist, Robert Carlos.
Please visit Rob and see the lovely job he did, here
- I have my framed copy! *smiles* Shari Lyne