The march to find Gear leads to the backstory of a member and his dark past
So, thus began our march to find Gear. The legendary deserter of our Pack. We had been searching loosely but now without Jagger to lead the trail, we were sort of in a bind for the most part. Jagger had not recorded any of his findings in his notebook, which we found in his satchel beside his body, which meant one of two things. One, he was confident enough he would report back alive or two he truly hadn’t found anything. But for an advanced tracker and spy, Jagger was known to record every detail, even if it was a summary of being empty pawed. So, that made it even more difficult to find out where Jagger left off. He was in the clearing when he had been ambushed by those two rats… spies of Gear’s old camp mates I’d wager. But they were simply aiming for Jagger to kill? Perhaps to delay… It was a rather odd mystery and I needed to get to the bottom of it.
The folf materialized from behind a tree, “Aye, Lord?” he inquired.
“Gather some of your own scouts, I’ll take ten of my own personal guard to scour that clearing where we found Jagger. There’s got to be a clue or two on the whereabouts of those rats, which could lead us to Gear directly.” Shadowshard nodded, and summoned a score of his own scouts, all as deadly and cunning as Shadowshard himself. They were his kind, after all, a breed of fox and wolf. I called my ten Knights to help spread out and clear more area easier.
“Sir?” asked one of the Knights, a young wolf of which I recognized.
“Aye, Mellow?” I replied.
“With respect, sir shouldn’t we stick together, that way we aren’t caught in another ambush like p-poor J-Jagger?” I admired the bravery of this wolf called Mellow, as I named him for the bright yellow war paint he wore mostly for decoration. But a particularly bright tattoo on his arms was a similar color but with a tad bit of green dashed in, therefore earning him his nickname, Mello-Yello. He was just Mellow, to me though. He was quite mellow too, if you thought about it, only speaking when spoken to and pretty shy. However this was quite ironic because he was a fearless and fierce opponent in battle. Stories around the campfire told of him mentioning a great war he had partaken in a long time ago with the Wolverine Lords of the West, and as a warrior originating from the Northern Regions, he was definitely a cold fighter with a merciless reputation. They say he single pawed a whole legion of ferrets and stoats on his own, slaying every last of them and earning him the title “Wolfmonger”. But something changed one day, or so the rumour was, that traumatized him to the point where he was the timid, almost invisible warrior he seemed to portray. Had he not spoken, I wouldn’t have noticed him trying to get my attention respectively to the side, as he was well known for. He piped up,
“Lord, er, if you may, grant me permission to go with another individual and we go in groups of two, and go our separate ways. Maybe we should meet back at sunset, or if we’ve found anything useful.” I growled dangerously, “ And should you come back empty pawed, you’re a deadbeast. Understood?”
The Knights silently nodded and assembled their groups accordingly. However, I noticed Mellow had chosen someone I did often see with him while on his missions. Another wolf, whom I hadn’t gotten to know quite well enough and to mention it, not even spoken to.
“Mellow, my friend, who’s that you’ve always picked? I don’t believe we’ve met.”
Mellow and his companion turned around and I widened my eyes. It was a she-wolf, one of characteristics I hadn’t ever encountered before. This female wolf, a silky black with cobalt blue tattoos and a red tipped tail stared back at me with icy blue eyes. Her ear tips were a cream color and the muzzle a dark grey with burnt orange dots lining the side of her mouth. Her paws were the same cobalt blue on her left paw and a crimson red on the other, most likely painted or tattooed on. I whistled softly at the multicolored wolf. She noticed me still eyeing her and she stepped forward timidly.
“Lord, my name is Loretta. I am Mellow’s wife. Though we’ve been pretty secret about our marriage, I suppose it doesn’t surprise you with the rings I wear. I don’t believe we’ve formally met, no.”
I nodded to Mellow, who was watching my interaction with Loretta very sharply. Undoubtedly, he was overly protective of his mate now that I knew he had one. Even so, it was no business of mine to butt into someone’s relationship, even if it technically went against Pack conduct. I had a soft spot for Mellow, so I sort of let it slide.
“She’s very pretty.” I purred. Loretta blushed lightly and I could see Mellow’s features shift into a more defensive state.
“My wife is not yours to take, Lord.” he replied firmly, holding her close.
I laughed softly,”Of course I wouldn’t have any right to separate you from your wife. My apologies, Mellow fellow.” Mellow looked confused for a moment so I guessed he wasn’t used to being called that. I was in my slightly cheerful mood now because I had met Loretta, I wasn’t lying when I said she was very beautiful indeed. The symbols and tattoos that were etched into her fur were most unusual; for I was not familiar with them. Perhaps a clan of theirs long ago. My mood didn’t stay cheerful for long though because a sentry wolf came up from behind and said with urgency,”My Lord, we’ve spotted Gear. We have eyes on the Deserter.”
I snarled quietly, venomously,”Did you move in to intercept?” The sentry shook his head.
“No, Lord. We thought since he is your prey, we’d report back to you to see what your next orders were.”
I said back,”So he spotted you then?”
The wolf flinched,”Er, Lord we caught him sleeping in a small tent so we kinda trapped him there. As far as I know, he’s still there, struggling. We have him stationary though.”
I shoved the sentry out of the way, who yelped in surprise,”Lord?”
I got my cloak on swiftly and barked,”Where is he?” The sentry shook with fear, knowing his life depended on the way he chose his next words. “F-follow me, if you will, sire.”
I walked briskly beside the sentry, furious but not sure why. It wasn’t the wolf’s fault that they had trapped him. They were simply following the orders I had given them. But I felt mostly annoyed that I hadn’t been there when they captured Gear. I held up a paw. “Wait, wolf. What patrol are you from? State your division and rank sharpish!” The wolf showed his Patrol Badge. It read in silver font “The Shards of Darkness Patrol”. Damn that folf! He was getting his claim to fame way too quickly. I nodded,”Okay, what is your name and status, wolf?” The sentry said almost indignantly as he sniffed,”I’m a folf sir, but they call me Ashfang.” I replied,”Alright then, Ashfang. Lead me to the area you captured Gear.” We half walked and half ran and I could feel my excitement and dread almost collide as I realized two things. Because Shadowshard was a Knight already, being that he was already higher up than i would’ve initially liked, I had to respect the Pack Law and promote him to a Watchdog, and if he just so happened to convince Gear to join us again, that would turn him into a Wardog, our Elite Guard that answered to me personally. Whatever sort of game this folf was playing, I didn’t nor did I trust it one bit. Finally, we stopped at a bundle of tent material and it was writhing quietly, and I had the sickening thought he was suffocating.
“Take him out of the tarp now!” I ordered. The members quickly untied the ropes and out came a struggling blue and grey fox with white around his ears and a very fierce look on his face. It was Gear, gagged up and bound by his footpaws and wrists. He saw me and immediately stopped struggling, his eyes now dilated in fear. I felt a pang of pity but I allowed my face to become stone faced and an absolute air of calm; lacking emotions of any kind. But my facial expression couldn’t betray my feelings so I continued to watch him impassively. Gear looked at me with sorrow in his deep brown eyes and without warning, he started to weep.