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Gear and Vixen confront each other with the situation they've both been brought into
Vixen POV

I walked with Gear back to camp, who looked nervously at the approaching guarded entrance, two large banners and a sharpened stake pit. The two guards, a fox and a wolf let us pass and sniggered at Gear when they thought my back was turned. I chose to ignore them. We entered the tent marked for Shadowshard and I, completely unaware of the fact Shadowshard would be waiting for my return, because it was him of course who aided in Gear’s capture. It was his platoon after all that had secured Gear’s location. Shadowshard turned and gave Gear a look of distaste and a reproving nod to me. He strutted up imperiously and addressed Gear blandly,”So, what’s the runaway have as punishment?” I saw Gear widen his eyes and try to pull away, but I held on firmly. “I’m still deciding on it.” I replied curtly, my voice matching the monotone of the folf. Shadowshard smirked at Gear and said with a triumphant sneer,”I sure hope it’s brutal. Can’t have a deserter like yourself go off the hook lightly, now can we?” He brushed past Gear, snickering wildly to himself. Gear turned back to me and snarled,”Punishment?? I thought you said I would be unharmed!” I was taken aback by Gear’s first words, how angry and cruel they seemed but an outburst well executed. I knelt beside the quivering fox and replied softly,”Gear, bud. You’re not going to be punished, I promise. I only said that to satisfy that folf’s lust for revenge. You’re lucky I got there in time, otherwise you might have been treated worse if Shadowshard got to you first. To be honest, I dislike Shadowshard’s sudden hunger to be the Warlord. I gave his position to eagerly and I’m just starting to regret it.” Gear spat back venomously,”You told his patrol to hunt for me didn’t you? You want me dead just as much as he does!” I shook my head sadly,”No, Gear. I do not wish ill upon you. I don’t want you hurt or dead. I made a promise to you as a kit. You still remember it well, do you not?” Gear glared intensely at me and said nothing. “I’m not losing you like I lost my son, Gear. Nor my wife or both of my previous partners. I’ve lost enough already, and I cannot afford to add you to that list either.” Gear replied after a moment, his voice laced with a lack of empathy. “You’ve already done that. Screw your Pack and everything it stands for. There is no peace in Imperialistic Tyranny. You just want revenge from your past because you failed everyone you dared to love and you

weren’t powerful enough to protect your loved ones from death. So now you rule with an iron paw to ensure that nobody leaves your life willingly ever again. Admit it. Admit the well known fact that YOU LOST!” Gear’s voice was shrill. I slammed my paw on the table. “DON”T! DON”T YOU DARE MENTION MY PAST LIKE YOU KNOW IT!” I screamed. “YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT MY REASONS TO HAVE A PACK! I WANT TO PROTECT YOU BECAUSE I LOVE YOU LIKE YOU WERE MY OWN!!” The silence that followed was more deafening than the words I bellowed at Gear. His eyes were brimming with tears as he replied in a broken voice,”H-how could you compare me to someone you barely even raised? You’re wrong Vixen! I may not be yours by blood, but you fight so hard to make it seem like you never lost him at all. It… It’s almost like you treasure me , a stranger, over your own son! Doesn’t that hurt you, Vixen? What would Deathmist say if he heard you imply you favoured me over him? Don’t you ever compare me to him, please. You’ll only feel more sorry for yourself. Isn’t it time you let go?” I was silent, my sudden anger dissipated as quickly as it came, for Gear struck home hard. Gear sniffled quietly, unable to say more. I sat down beside him and sighed heavily,”You know, Gear? You’re right. I should let go. But you cannot simply erase over 30 years of stress and anger overnight. I don’t think anyone could forget that more than my family and my partnership with Bonnie was lost all those years ago. But I’ve lost for too long, Gear. There’s no chance of saving who I once was.” Gear shook his head again. “No, Vixen you can still redeem yourself. You’re a god, you are immortal and you have power. That much is granted.

But something that you cannot use your powers for, and that is changing who you are because you want to be different. You’ve never seen yourself as worthy of changing because of that godly arrogance and anger that fuels you, you’ve grown so used to it it’s beyond a habit. It’s your default mode for lack of a better phrase. However, that doesn’t mean you are unable to be fixed. I can;t do that for you though, neither can your new Lieutenant Shadowshard or anyone in your Pack. Self acknowledgment is more powerful than any weapon or god-like supremacy at your disposal. Freewill is a mighty tool that destroys or rebuild anyone’s life. I only want you to be happy and successful, despite the difficulty of the task, I will be blunt. It’s going to be hard. Harder than any physical foe you’ve ever faced. But the reward is greater than any honor a Pack member can receive. The first step to healing is letting go of the past. Don’t live in it, Vixen. You’ve already been there before. Never hold back from being true to yourself. There is good in you. I know it. Please, if you won’t do it for me, do it for your wife Vishkar, your son Deathmist and for everyone you failed, including yourself.” I looked at him for the longest while, and then hugged him lightly,purring. “Aye, Gear. Teach me your ways of healing.”

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