I'm exhausted. I can't keep up, but every time I slow down, Allryna looks back at me and yips softly in encouragement. She's not allowed to help us or carry us, but she can motivate us. I shiver, fluffing out my fur for protection of the harsh wind.
I look behind me to see Musllren stumbling after me, tripping over his own paws. I lope back to him. He looks up at me, a newly established glimmer of hope in his eyes. I lick his muzzle, and his tail gives a soft wag. I nudge him forward, then trot back ahead.
Far ahead of us, I see the silhouettes of my pack lay down to rest in the shade. Allryna gives me a playful bark, before running to catch up with the pack. I remember what my leaderwolves and mother had told me. You are Stream Lands pack.
But I will not be fully pack until I have been granted romma. My mother was never granted romma, and yet she created a pack. My pack. I see the tall creatures she befriended sitting ahead. The one called BreLan is scratching my father Ázzuen's head.
I sit down, giving up. I stared up at the sky, wondering. Mother, can you see me? I'd been told of all the amazing feats she'd done, all the adventures she'd had, even when she was just a pup! But she got in trouble for it too... Thinking of her made me glance at my chest. I had black fur like my father, but I bore the crescent moon of my mother as well. I get up and start to trot forward again, quicker than before. I see I'm close to the places where my packmates are resting. I was much closer now. But I can't walk any longer.
I sigh and sat down, licking the grit off my paws. Mine were not hard yet as were the other wolves' were, but I knew they would eventually. I see my other leaderwolf, named Marra glance back in my direction. She beckons to Jllreya and they murmur softly to each other. Then the silvery-white youngwolf lopes over to me.
"Marra says you should hurry up." She flicks her ears in the direction behind me. "She wants you to help Musllren too." Then Jllreya runs off, gaining speed as she stretches out her long legs. She's one of our pack's fastest members. Then my tail droops and my ears flatten in shame. I shouldn't have left Musllren behind. I turn around, ready to get him, when he staggers up to me, exhausted.
"I'm sorry, Musllren. I won't leave you again." Looking closer, I see he's trembling. He offers me his muzzle and I take it in my jaws. Slowly, I feel him begin to calm down. I let go, and he licks me gratefully. Then we trot forward and catch up with the pack.
I notice the pain in my father's eyes as he glances at me. I haven't been with the pack for long, and I remind him of my mother. Kaala had pups when she died, but she never knew. She gave birth in the spirit world, which was either unable or unwilling to stop it. I know that wolves cannot mate or have pups there, but my mother was an exception. The Ancients allowed me to live, something about a destiny I had to fulfill. But I care more about my mother. I remember her licking my fur. A sharp tug at my ear pulls me from my thoughts.
"Come here, wolflet. I have something to show you." I growl at Glysoo, who was Tlitoo's son. I glance around, but Tlitoo was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed, I dip my head. He was always willing to tell me stories of my mother, whom he called Moonwolf. Glysoo cawks insistently, swooping down to bite my other ear. I leap up to snatch him in my jaws, but he glides to the side.
"Come, wolflet! This is important!" I bare my teeth at him, lashing my tail in frustration at my inability to catch one stupid raven. Grudgingly I get to my feet, and follow him on weary paws. I hesitate, glancing back at my pack over my shoulder, and wonder whether I should tell my leaderwolves where I was going. But a sharp nip from Glysoo makes me run after him, tail low.