The Hidden Mountain Pass
You find yourself now in a heavily wooded area. As you walk about you note that there is a large variety and abundance of small animals like squirrels and birds, and also some others you had never seen before. Including one very purple canine.
She seems to wake up from her reverie, and curling one forepaw back, she looks at you with one eye. "I am Royal Dreamer, a Jeweled Wolf. What are you doing here?"
She didn't seem particularly aggressive, but she was very wary. You kept in mind that even though she was small, she could still bite. You explain that you were merely exploring the Realm with the permission of the Realm Keeper....at least you assumed so as she hadn't appeared to tell you to leave. Royal Dreamer seemed to relax, at least a little bit.
"Human's have hunted my kind for as long as I can remember. They try to take the jewels which form on our foreheads when we become adults. Sometimes they'll even steal our pups so that the may have them as pets....or breed them....or some other horrendous things. The stories we've heard from those who have escaped....." she shudders.
You explain that even though you might have once taken animals such as wolves, and even say, cows, for granted - your travels here have opened your eyes. She grins and relaxes completely.
"This place does have that kind of effect on humans, doesn't it! Not many come through here, but of all the ones I've met, they've all said pretty much the same thing."
She paused then and perked up her ears. She had heard something. Through try as you might, there was not a sound other than the wind and some water gurgling in a stream nearby. You didn't have to wait more than a moment before a second wolf showed up. She had been running at full speed at stopped abruptly at your presence. Though she had been running hard, and apparently for a while, she was barely winded.
"Who is this?" she asked looking unconcerned but still wary.
Royal Dreamer explained, then turned to you. "This is Parched Runner. There are not many Jeweled Wolves living in this Realm, so she often comes up from the desert to visit with me. I rarely go down there, the sand burns my paws." You look out at the desert far below and new you would have collapsed part way up the climb. Along with her short fur, Parched Runner's endurance probably helped her a lot when racing across the desert between oasis.
She still said nothing to you, just watched you through slitted eyes.
And then you heard laughter from above. Not a warm chuckle or childish giggle, this was a kind of barking laugh, the kind of laugh you'd expect a dog might make. But it wasn't a dog, it was another Jeweled Wolf lazing about in the sun on a ledge looking over the rest of you, tongue out and a grin on his face.
"Hey there," he said in a deep rich voice. His coat was thick and white, and he was covered in green and red markings. What was most astounding were his wings. Though in this magical place you weren't surprised to see a lupine creature with wings, but none of the two females had any.
He stood up, stretched, yawned, and with a powerful leap, landed between the two females. He winked at each one, and both of them returned his flirtations with rolled eyes. He laughed his breathy laugh again.
Now that he was close enough, you could see that the wings weren't real, but that they were just attached to him with leather straps. But you could also see the holly earring he had. Made him look a bit like a rogue, which it appeared was exactly what he was.
"I'm Angelic Charmer," and winked at you. Parched Runner snorted, "Don't let him trick you with his charming ways. He's a jerk."
"Parched Runner, you wound me!" he replied, and made a futile attempt to look hurt. He only succeeded in looking amused.
Just then another desert Jeweled Wolf joined the group. He'd obviously run a long distance already but he was clearly able to run more if need be. Instead he stopped to glance at you with an intelligent eye and settles down near Parched Runner. Were they mates? Siblings? Or just friends. She nipped him playfully on the ear and Angelic Charmer made exagerated gagging sounds as he rolled his eyes. Everyone glared at him for a moment until the newcomer returned his attention to you.
"Greetings human, I am Cunning Trickster."
His eyes were sharp and his ears were perked. Though he looked relaxed and comfortable it was clear that he was seeing and hearing everything going on around him, storing this information for later use. And of course keeping an eye out for escape routes should one be required, or good places to stand an fight should that be needed instead. Angelic Charmer might be smooth operator, but you could see that he knew he was out of his league when it came to a sharp wit and quick mind. Cunning Trickster knew it too, and winked in the direction of the white male, his face breaking into a lupine grin. Angelic Charmer took this as his cue to ignore the other male, rather than get into a battle of minds.
As the white male made another futile pass at the desert female you leave. As you walk away you wonder if this whole journey of yours was some sort of set up, or test......if it was, you hoped desperately that you would pass, for it seemed that failure would mean more than a bad mark on your report card. You would be missing out on a lot.
Name: Royal Dreamer
Pack: Howling Moon
Name: Parched Runner
Name: Angelic Charmer
Name: Cunning Trickster