Moorchild trekked through the deep snow, lifting his head to catch scent of the deer him and his hunting patrol were tracking. With all the snow and wind it was hard to pick out the scent. He saw Sparroweater hidden in a nearby bush. He flicked his ears in Moorchild’s direction. The deer was nearby now, he could scent it. He signaled Greensky and Voletooth, on his other side, to advance from behind. This was Greensky’s first hunting patrol and she was eager to finally be a part of the hunt. Voletooth and Sparroweater had been hunters for a few seasons now. They had all been trained what to do.
Moorchild started to slowly advance forward, Sparroweater advancing on the other side of him. Greensky and Voletooth were slowly pushing the deer towards them. When Voletooth gave the signal they would all rush the deer. Moorchild could see the deer now, a healthy young stag. A good dinner he thought to himself. He then heard Voletooth give the signal yowl and him and Sparroweater jumped from their hiding places and rushed the deer. Greensky and Voletooth came from behind the stag. The young deer was startled and immediately turned around, running straight to Greensky and Voletooth. They snarled at the stag and pounced at his neck. The terrified deer reared on its hind legs and turned again, but this time towards Moorchild and Sparroweater. Sparroweater jumped first and caught him on the neck. Moorchild jumped up to help, while Greensky and Voletooth started nipping at its hind legs. Finally it gave way and Sparroweater finished it off with a sharp slice in the stag’s windpipe.
Blood now stained the pure white forest floor and the scent of blood filled the noses of the hunting patrol.
“That was amazing!” Yowled Greensky jumping in the air.
“Yes, it was Greensky. Nice job on finishing him off Sparroweater,” Moorchild said looking around at the group, “It should feed the den well.”
“Yeah, and with Blackdragon’s new pup we need some good food” said Voletooth.
“Well, lets get it back then,” said Moorchild, “Voletooth, would you do the honor of carrying it back?”
“Of course Moorchild,” he said dipping his head to his leader. He took up the stag in his teeth and started dragging it in the direction of the den. The rest of the patrol followed behind, but Moorchild held back.
“Are you coming Moorchild?” Said Greensky
“I think I’m going to take a walk, I’ll be back later.”
Moorchild walked the opposite way of the patrol, not really thinking about where he was going. He was thinking about Gingersnap. He loved her. They were planning on being together forever. She had even suggested they run away and start a new den, because she kept being bothered by the other males. He had scared them all away from her. Gingersnap had always been a free spirit like that. It only made sense that she had wanted to run away then.
Moorchild wasn’t paying attention to where he had been walking. He was towards their Southern boarder. And he smelled something. He lifted his nose again to take in the smell. It was a pup. And not one of there own. He started tracking it and it brought him closer to the Southern boarder.
Then in the bushes next to their boarder he saw the flicker of fluffy red-brown fur. He stuck his head through the branches and saw the little pup, shivering towards the center of the bush. The tip of his nose was starting to turn blue from the cold and his fur was sticking up in all places, frozen by the cold. The poor thing he thought. How had it gotten taken from its den. It was barely a week old.
He climbed in the bush and grabbed the young pup by its scruff, holding him in his jaws. He carried the pup back to camp where he was met by Rosebud, one of their mothers at the time.
“What’s this?!” she screeched at him as he put the bundle at her feet.
“It’s a pup, Rosebud, it was a orphan”
“Well, then don’t stand out here freezing it to death”
“Could you take the pup and put it with Blackdragon and her pup. Blackdragon is the only one producing milk right now.”
“I don’t think that would be such a good idea, Moorchild. Her pup passed last night when you and your hunting patrol were away. We already had the burial ceremony.”
Moorchild was shocked. Lilly, the pup, had been good, strong and healthy. He had been there when she was born and she gave a yip loud enough to startle the birds. What could have gone wrong. Blackdragon, he thought with a start, she must be heartbroken. This had been her first litter and with only one pup. But maybe she would take in this pup as her own, she was “pretending” to be an orphan as well.
And she has, since she first came to the den when she was two years old. Blackdragon had come from a troubled past. She had been born to a leader and tracker from the Black Shadows, the den destained to fall because of their evil ways. She never liked how they ran things, but she had kept her mouth shut until she had finally cracked. Her parents watched on as she was ordered to fight her sister, a little thing who wanted to be the Black Shadows first healer, to the death. After the fight, as she wailed over her sister’s dead body, the thought hit her to run away to another den. She had come here, to the Cloud den, and had been taken in. In exchange for information about the Black Shadows. Moorchild had taken her in, telling the den that she was a orphan. Blackdragon had fit in well, but her black fur and dark eyes still reminded him of her origin, though he didn’t hold it against her. She had proved her loyalty more than once.
He decided that it was worth a shot.
He walked into Blackdragon’s den. Bagderfang was sitting just inside the door grieving with his mate. Moorchild nodded to him as he walked in.
“Blackdragon?” He asked into the darkness.
“What do you want” she said, her voice sounded weak.
“I heard about your pup and I have something for you”
“Of course you’ve heard. Everyone knows.”