We headed out just before dawn and kept it at a steady walk for Gash's sake. She kept up well and didn't whine when she started limping. I knew we needed to rest and slowed everyone to a slow walk until I found a shaded lake. We all drank and laid under a tree, the sun had come up fast and was suddenly very warm. It was strange because the week before had been so cold signaling the coming winter. But I was thankful the weather would be nicer to travel in than I first thought.
I would rather sweat then freeze my remaining tail off, which was finally starting to grow back with minimal damage. We all had a nap with Tank as lookout, after a short time a bird in the far distance sent out a warning call which woke us all. I wasn't sure of the danger as I couldn't smell anything, but thought it would be best to get moving just in case it was something we couldn't handle like the big hot creature that attacked me a while ago.
We traveled for many days and nights and rested very little but I had a gut feeling something was wrong and that is when I smelt it. Wolves and many of them, thirteen strong at least. And the smell was coming from around our home. I knew with such a large pack in the area we wouldn't be able to force them to leave even if we managed to take out their alpha, who would be large and strong having to be able to control twelve others. But we would have to get a closer look to figure out what our next move would be.
I growled softly and Tank stepped forward and the others stepped back. Tank and I crept along the tall grass and came across the pack in question. We watched as the largest wolf I had ever seen came into view. He was a sandy brown with a white under belly and a single white front paw. How unusual. Never seen colouring like that before. But then again I knew all about unusual markings, as mine were the weirdest around—well, next to this sandy coloured wolf now before us.
I was guessing this sandy wolf was the alpha and my hunch was proven moments later as he howled loudly and his pack came running. His pack was made up of five adult females, who were all dark brown, and three adolescent males, also all brown but slightly lighter than the females. Then lastly there were three sandy coloured pups, also all female. Wow, lucky alpha. If we were to do anything we would have to be careful as taking on the alpha would be suicide even for me and Tank. We shared a look and left the intruders to their pack meeting.
I headed back to our pack with my head low and my tail straight and my teeth bared and I growled softly as I walked past everyone. Tank had stopped with the group while I paced to and fro and growled to myself. The pack let out small whimpers and took a few steps away from me. I was so ticked off, I just wanted to rip something to shreds and I didn't care what. I was pacing and snorting and growling, the others didn't know what to so with themselves and just stayed away from me. How dare they move into our home, MY HOME. Stupid mutts, oh they were going to get theirs. They just didn't know it yet.
I had a plan and it was risky but I didn't want to kill someone else’s pack members if it could be helped. But if it came down to it and it was them or us then I would fight till the death for our pack and home. I threw my head up and howled strangely, my howl told the intruding pack I was a low ranked female that was wounded. My pack just looked at me and then I howled again but this told the other pack I was a high ranked female but elderly. Then I howled my loudest claiming alpha status and this I repeated and moved around for each howl until the others picked up what I was doing.
Tank soon followed after my own howls and then the others joined in with three or four different howls of their own. The other pack didn't reply to our howls until Tank let out a thunderous howl that shocked us all. We all stopped howling and waited. Soon after the other pack howled claiming our land was theirs but they were spooked from the sound of their forced shaky howls. So far our bluff of about twenty wolves was working to our advantage as this pack of thirteen wouldn't risk a run-in with a larger pack, especially with three young in tow. I was hoping the pack in our home would just turn tail and leave, but they didn't and then I knew we would have to fight for our home.
We were all hidden behind some large bushes trying to figure out what to do when the choice was made for us. Two of the five females from the intruding pack were out for what I gathered was scout duty. This was the time to act. I looked at Scar, Nurse, Shaggy and Gash and they all gave me a little nod and took off to corner the two females. I then gave Tank a slight nod so he could back them up. Tank took off after them.
After a long while my pack returned with the two females trapped between them in a box formation with Tank taking up the rear. Scar and Shaggy were to the sides and Nurse and Gash behind them nipping at the hind legs of the females to keep them moving forward. The two females seemed surprised by our small pack but once they saw me they soon settled down. They sniffed the air and my pack and I did also. The three young males were coming. This could be bad, if they gave away the fact we were just a small pack there would be bloodshed for sure. We herded the females away from the oncoming males and waited until they left.
We thought we were in the clear, but we were wrong in a big way. We were suddenly surrounded by the other pack, pups included. As we stood there shocked the two females slipped away to join the rest of their pack. The alpha sniffed at all the males and snorted, figuring out we had no alpha of our own. But even so, he kept his eye on me and Tank as we were the largest in the group. The brown pack as I would now call them all started to growl with their alpha. This was bad, very very bad. This alpha would think our pack would be his for the taking now that he knew we had no leader.
I would not stand for that. I lunged myself at the closest female and it seemed my pack had the exact same impulse, suddenly the pups and young males took off which evened up the odds for us. Teeth, fur, blood, legs and claws were all flying. Tank tried for the alpha but was batted away quickly, as it seemed the alpha only had eyes for...me?! Oh boy, here we go. The fighting soon came to a halt as the alpha growled a challenge at me and I growled my acceptance back. Between the two packs everyone seemed to form a large circle around us. I had never fought a wolf this large before and now it was either win or die...
Both packs were pretty beaten up besides the young males and the pups, but they too had returned upon hearing the challenge. Sandi, which I had named the alpha, and I began to circle. This seemed to send excitement through both packs as they howled and yapped, but neither Sandi nor I took any notice of them. Sandi pounced at me and I sidestepped him, which seem to make him mad. I threw my head back and howled mockingly, which I knew I shouldn't have because as I did, he came at me again and clawed and bit my right shoulder. I yelped loudly. The excitement died from the packs. My pack seemed ready to jump in to help me but I gave a nasty snap towards them, keeping them in their place.
This was my fight and a challenge and no one was going to get in my way. They seemed to get the message but were still wanting to help, I could see it in the way they stood and watch both of us closely. Even if Sandi took me down, my pack would take him and his pack on without a second thought. Without my noticing, Sandi had gotten behind me and then I felt the pain on my tail as it felt like he was trying to chew it off. I swung around and nipped him on the ear making him let go. Damn it, I needed to get my head into the game, otherwise I’d be dead in no time. I knew he was only sizing me up and would soon try to go for the kill.
For such a large wolf, boy could he move. I tried to get close but he was too fast and was way more experienced in one on one fighting. I was running out of ideas on how I could beat him. Nothing I did seemed to surprise him or make him nervous, and I honestly didn't know what else to do. As I was thinking, he rammed me from the side and knocked me to the ground. When I tried to get up, I noticed he was standing over me. Oh no, this couldn't happening...this couldn't be the end...could it?
The answer was soon clear as he grabbed my throat in his mouth and snapped his jaws closed. I couldn't breath or move and I could feel the blood dripping down my fur. I twitched involuntary and my head felt foggy, stars danced before my eyes and I knew, this was the end and there was nothing I could do about it.
After what seemed to be a lifetime, he suddenly let go of my throat and my limp body flopped to the ground with a thud. Sandi threw his head back and howled his victory over me and my pack hung their heads as Sandi claimed my pack as his own.