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Thread: Spirit Wolf

  1. #1
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Everywhere and Nowhere

    Default Spirit Wolf

    Spirit Wolf

    Chapter 1: The End
    Chapter 2: Wildfire and Ash
    Chapter 3: The Dead Girl
    Chapter 4: Still Alive
    Chapter 5: A Good Navigator
    Chapter 6: Fragments
    Chapter 7: You Should Be Dead
    Chapter 8: Big Sister
    Chapter 9: Alone (Coming soon)
    Chapter 10: TBA (Coming soon)

    Chapter Immuyak (Coming soon)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Hmmmm.....the story's intriguing, but overall it's kind of weak.
    Here's my thoughts:

    The main character is being none too subtle about how she feels about her sister's wolves and how she doesn't believe in the legends and yet she still blames the wolf for letting her sister die.
    I would either have her go in one direction and she thinks the wolf is a traitor or something to the gods thus justifying (to her) abusing the poor thing, or go in the opposite direction and have her faith shattered, making her into a bitter, jaded person who's just annoyed/apathetic to the wolves.
    Right now it's in a muddy middle.
    Also just give the dialogue another run through.
    Good luck with this project.

  3. #3
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Chapter 1: The End

    “Hey, Nukka,” Nauja called out to her companion from the opposite shore. “How many have you caught? It's getting late, you now.”

    Nukka lost count of how many fish she carried in her basket. She wasn't concerned with a quota or what type of fish to catch. The elder said fish. She hadn't exactly specified.

    The two of them had been at the river since morning and the sun was already setting behind the mountains to the west. Even if they left now, they wouldn't make it back to the village before dark. Nevertheless, Nukka swung the basket over her shoulder and returned to Nauja's bank.

    “Are you ready to go?” Nauja asked with a smile. Nauja was two or three years older than Nukka, and already a woman grown. By Nauja's side stood Aukaneck, her wolf. Nukka glanced away from the beast and back to Nauja.

    “I am,” she answered plainly as she waded out of the river and toward the path home.

    “Okay,” Nauja's smile faded, no doubt because of Nukka's disinterest. “Come, Aukaneck.”

    The path back to the village winded around between trees and rocks, and at times grew treacherous. The two girls knew the trail like the back of their hands, though; it was the same route they took every time they fished.

    As expected, it was dark by the time they got back. At the gate, a wolf yawned as it rose to its feet. It walked up to greet Nukka and nudged her hand with its muzzle. She pulled her hand back sharply in response.

    “Tikaani, away!” she commanded sharply. “Go!”

    She felt an urge to kick the beast, but it obeyed her before she could. Spirit Wolf. What a joke. Aukaneck followed after Tikaani into the woods as Nauja walked through the gate and into the village. Nukka noticed a scowl on her friend's face as she passed by silently. What did she care what Nauja thought? Nukka waited a moment and felt the chilly night air dance around her before entering.

    Inside the village, most of the villagers had turned in for the night, but a few others surrounded a small bonfire, including the Elder.

    “Here's your fish,” Nukka told the Elder as she arrived.

    “Thank you, Nukka,” the old woman beamed behind her wrinkles. “You return late. Siku was worried, you know.”

    Nukka's nostrils flared at the mention of the name. “That wolf doesn't even know how to worry,” she replied flatly. “It's just a cowardly brute.”

    “That brute was your sister's Spirit Wolf, Nukka,” the old woman said gently.

    “And my sister is dead,” Nukka answered.

    The Elder paused. “That is so. But Siku is still-”

    “Siku is a monster, Ahnah,” Nukka challenged. She had had this conversation before, but the old woman kept bringing it up.

    “But the legends-”

    “The legends are just that: legends. If the legends are true, that monster should be as dead as Shila. So I don't care about your legends. In reality, that stuff means nothing.”

    “You hold much anger,” Elder Ahnah observed calmly. “You still bear painful memories, child. I can see that they overflow within you.”

    “There's nothing overflowing within me except your wolf nonsense,” Nukka answered coldly and turned to leave.

    “Prejudices are a sickness, child” the old woman called. “The longer you harbor animosity against the legends, the quicker that animosity will cloud your sight.”

    Nukka ignored her.

    Her hut was on the other side of the village, beyond all the others. It was there that she and Shila had grown up. Waiting outside the door was Siku, sprawled asleep on the ground. Nukka's approach stirred the beast, which moved to greet her, much like Tikaani had. This work, however, she made sure to kick firm in the stomach. You should be dead. She watched as the monster limped away before going inside the hut.

    That night, the dream came in fragments. She remembered the rain. She remembered the rocks. The wolves. Her sister. The fall. The screams. The tears. The howls. It seemed like a lifetime ago; the dream never came whole anymore. It was as if her mind had forcibly shattered the painful memory to pieces. She didn't think she could remember what had happened anymore, but she would always remember the outcome. Shila was dead; her Spirit Wolf was not.

    It was a legend in her village and all the others nearby. Every time a baby was born, a wolf pup would be born the same day. The Departed Ones would create an unbreakable chain that connected them. The wolf was devoted to its link, and would die in their place so that they may live on. Nukka had believed every word of it as a child. But Siku was living proof that it had all been a lie. You should be dead.

    Nukka woke up the following morning, thanks to a loud knock at the door. She lazily clamored out of bed to answer the knock.

    “Morning,” Nauja stood in the doorway, grinning like always. “The Elder sent me to fetch you. She has a task for us.”

    “Is that so?” Nukka grumbled. “Tell her I'll be there soon.”

    “Well, I can tell you here,” Nauja replied as her grin faded. “I heard about your argument last night, so it's best if I tell you myself. She wanted us to go pick some apples from the unharvested trees in the southeast. The winter approaches and we need all the food we can get, Spiritless Men or no.”

    “The black may have already caught the trees,” Nukka sighed. “But we might as well go and salvage what we can, I guess. We can depart once I get ready and return by night.”

    “Right,” Nauja acknowledged. “Oh by the way, the Elder told me to take Aukaneck, Tikaani, and Siku along. For our own safety, in case we run into Spiritless Men.”

    “I'd feel safer with squealing pigs beside me,” Nukka snorted irritatedly.

    “She's serious, Nukka,” Nauja said pleadingly. “It's for your own good. I don't know what we'd do if another Shila happ-”

    “Another Shila will happen the minute I leave this village with those monsters!” Nukka screamed in her friend's face. “I won't have it!”

    “You will,” Nauja's voice was strong, but her attempt at authority was thwarted by her trembling shoulders. “She feels a dark omen threatening to lay claim to this land. The coming winter will be fierce, she says. She needs to make sure we come back to the village unharmed.”

    “Then have her send us with men,” Nukka challenged.

    “Tikaani is your Spirit Wolf! And Siku is your sist-”

    “My sister's Spirit Wolf! I know already! Look at what good it did her, though.”

    “Your Spirit Wolf will protect you, Nukka. Do not forsake the Departed Ones' blessing,” she warned. “Remember the teachings. Your Spirit Wolf will die for you, so that you may live on. Never forget that.”

    “Fine,” she conceded, annoyed with her insistence. “But I don't believe in blessings anymore.”

    She turned to her room. “And try telling that lie about dying so we can live to Shila. I'm sure she'd believe you.”

    Nukka slammed the door behind her, but came out moments later. The two women departed without another word, three wolves closely following behind them. Stupid beasts. You should be dead.

    It took them only a couple of hours to reach the spot where the apples grew. There were a lot of trees, but they only had two baskets. Nukka started climbing the apple trees, plucking the fruits from their branches and throwing them down to Nauja.

    After Nukka stripped a second tree of its apples, Siku began to growl lowly. It took on a defensive stance, which irked her for some reason.

    “Shut up!” Nukka yelled, throwing an apple at the growling wolf. The apple struck the brute on its left side. It whimpered but didn't drop its stance. “Suit yourself, monster.”

    “Nukka,” Nauja's voice took a scolding tone. “Don't treat Siku that way.”

    “Did I ask you to intervene?” Nukka snapped coldly before returning to her task.

    Nukka was halfway done with a fourth tree when Siku's growl started to get louder.

    “I said shut up!” She threw another apple, which hit the beast on the top of its head this time. I could kill it right now if I wanted to.

    “Nukka, stop it!” Nauja shouted.

    “Just be quiet,” Nukka rolled her eyes.

    Then she smelled the smoke. It was faint, but the smell strengthened rapidly. No. Not here! She slipped from the tree to the ground below. Squinting into the distance, she could just barely make out the red-orange glow and the silhouettes of what appeared to be men.

    “The Spiritless Men...,” she said aloud. Siku's growl grew louder as Tikaani took off in the other direction. So much for Spirit Wolves.

    “Nukka, let's get out of here,” Nauja nodded as Aukaneck ran after Tikaani.

    “You go ahead,” Nukka grabbed a large branch. “I want to see these barbarians myself.”

    “Nukka, come on,” Nauja pleaded, losing patience with her. “Don't go playing hero now.”

    “I'll be right behind you,” Nukka shouted. “Just go!”

    Nauja stood silent before turning to go. “Just be careful!” she yelled before running away from the advancing flames.

    “Aren't you gonna turn tail and run too?” Nukka sneered as she turned her jest to Siku. “Aren't you gonna abandon me like you abandoned Shila?”

    The wolf growled at Nukka and suddenly snapped its jaws onto her hand. She cried out in pain as the wolf let go and turned its attention back to the flames, which now surrounded them.

    “Alright, dumb animal,” Nukka panted as she clutched the branch, the air having grown heavy with smoke. “I'm gonna stand and fight. Are you with me or are you gonna run?”

    Before the wolf could respond, Nukka heard a snapping sound. Siku must have heard it too, as its ears pricked up. The wolf suddenly leaped toward Nukka with astounding speed and pushed her backward with all of its strength. Nukka tumbled to the ground as the tree fell on top of Siku, pinning the beast underneath its knotted trunk. Did that... did that beast just save my life?

    Nukka's eyes met Siku's, which were filled with a sadness that almost felt human. Nukka began to cough violently. The smoke! I'll be choked out if I don't get out of here now! But the wolf was still stuck under the falling tree. The wolf that had just saved her life.

    No, the wolf that watched her sister lose hers.

    “You should be dead!” Nukka cried with tears in her eyes as she scrambled to her feet and broke into a run. She heard the faint howl of the trapped wolf as she ran as fast as she could. The smoke clouded her direction, and the orange haze was all around her now. She heaved and coughed violently with every breath. I've gotta... get out...
    She stumbled her way through the burning trees, hoping to find an escape, but her chances of survival dwindled with every toxic breath she took. She managed to stumble a good distance before her legs gave out. She collapsed flat on her stomach—coughing, choking, dying.

    “Where... are you... Tikaani,” she gasped with every breath she could muster. “You're sup...posed to be... dying for me... remember...”

    It really was a lie.

    Even though she was surrounded by flames, the ash fell like snow. Nukka closed her eyes one more time. You were supposed to die in my place, monster... She let go of consciousness and drifted to sleep. Perhaps an eternal one. You should be dead...


    She heard a voice, but she was too far gone to respond. For Nukka, this was the end.

  4. #4
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    (DISCLAIMER: I will be submitting this chapter for the end of August Bi-Weekly. If you plan on judging that one, don't read this just yet.)

    Alrighty, after some positive reviews, I've decided to continue the story!

    Chapter 2: Wildfire and Ash


    She was surrounded, encased in a vortex of nothingness. Nothing but darkness in every direction. Low howls of what she thought might have been wind filled the silence, accompanied by a faint hum. She so very desperately wanted to escape, yet at the same time, she was content with staying there forever. Could this be... the afterlife?


    The howls stopped and the humming faded. Her sense of smell was the first thing to come back to her. The sweet scent of rain-dampened flora danced across the edge of her nose. It was accentuated by the aromatic fragrance of late-blooming flowers. The sweetness of it all was enchanting, yet the distinct but faint odor of the black invaded her nostrils. The black has reached the afterlife as well?

    “Tikaani, wake up!”

    Her hearing came back to her next. Besides the baritone voice that grew ever louder, she could hear the faint rustling of leaves in the wind, the rhythmic chirping of birds, the rush of water in the distance. She could even hear her own breath, heavy yet gentle.

    “Come on, sleepyhead! We're gonna be late getting to Angelrauwok Lake!”

    Finally, her eyes came open. Before her sprawled a vivid and pristine palette of green and blue. Endless trees as tall as the clouds dotted every yard as far as her eyes can see, their roots knotting throughout the ground beneath her. The sky was a deep ocean blue and the clouds were puffy and gray in the distance. She tried to rise to her feet and take in the scenery until a large brown wolf approached her from the side.

    “It's about time you woke up!”

    She screamed at the sight of the talking wolf. She tried to tread backwards before tripping over something furry and crashing into a puddle of water. Her heart thumped heavily as she sat in the puddle, water dripping from her hair.

    “Calm down, Tikaani!” the wolf laughed. “It's me, Onartok!”

    “Tikaani?” she asked confusedly. No, I'm Nukka. Tikaani's my wolf. I... She looked down instinctively at the puddle she had stumbled into. Her reflection glanced back at her between the rippling water. She screamed.

    Staring up at her was a shaggy wolf with greyish-blue fur and glittering golden eyes. The reflection she saw belonged to Tikaani, her wolf. Why do I have Tikaani's reflection?

    “You feeling okay, Tikaani?” the brown wolf, Onartok, scowled. “You look like you've seen a ghost or something.”

    “This isn't happening,” she shook her head back and forth, freaking out. “This isn't happening! This isn't happening!” It was a horrible nightmare. It had to be. She waited for herself to wake up in a cold sweat in the comfort of her own bed or in the middle of a burning forest; she didn't care. She just wanted to be anywhere but here.

    “Tikaani, what's the matter?” Onartok frowned.

    “Stop calling me that!” she shouted. “My name's Nukka! And why are you even talking? And why am I a beast? Ugh, this doesn't make any sense!” She wanted to pull at her hair, but that wasn't much of a possibility.

    “Nukka?” the other wolf asked in shock. He took a step back as his voice shook. “No way...”

    She hadn't woken up yet. The idea that this was all a dream became less and less possible with every passing second. If I'm not waking up, does this mean...? Nukka began to cry in frustration when she heard a low, somber howl. It came from Onartok's mouth.

    “What are you—?” she began before she was interrupted by a chorus of low howls that reverberated from beyond the trees. “Why are you—?”

    Nukka took a good look at the howling wolf. Only then did she recognize the shaggy brown beast. Onartok's human link had been a friend of Nukka's during their childhood, but he had died a few years ago while hunting. Onartok, however, had lived on, just like Siku. Another case of these monsters not doing their jobs, she spat inwardly. But she had no time to dwell on that, for she was a monster herself! She didn't know how or why, but she was no longer human.

    Her thoughts bounced back and forth in her head, confusing and scrambling her already mixed emotions. It took her a few moments to force a lid on them and regain composure. She tightened her shoulders and directed her attention to Onartok. “Hey, monster. What... what's going on? Why am I a wolf?”

    “First of all, it's Onartok, not monster,” he snapped, then softened his tone. “As for what's going on... I guess it's better if you see for yourself.”

    “See what?” she puzzled. “In case you haven't noticed, I'm soaking wet and kind of not myself, today.”

    “Just follow me,” he sighed soberly. “You'll understand when we get there.”

    Understand what? When we get where? She frowned as she rose to her feet and instinctively shook the water from her fur. She stood there for a moment and finally took the time to look at her surroundings. She was somewhere in the forest, she wagered, probably a day's walk or so east of the village, judging by the violet-colored flowers that grew there. This must be where Tikaani ran off to when she left me to die, she thought bitterly. Off in the distance, she could hear the very faint, yet tranquil sound of running water. Perhaps a stream. This was the first time that the forest ever seemed so alive and vibrant to her.

    “Are you coming or not?” Onartok asked sourly, visibly annoyed with her. “Sun's not gonna stay up forever.”

    “Right,” she replied distantly as she turned to follow him. She padded forward awkwardly, trying to get used to the idea of walking on all fours. She hoped she wouldn't have to put up with this for long. There had to be a way to get her old body back. Maybe that was where Onartok was taking her... to change her back. A tiny part of her clung to that hope.

    She followed Onartok—to only the Departed Ones knew where. Judging by the sun, she guessed they were headed west. West... is the village west of here? As they continued, what started as a canopy of oak and maple trees gave way to a sea of evergreen pine. We must be getting closer, she thought as the terrain grew rugged.

    As they continued on, the blue sky slowly faded to a murky gray. It wasn't long until the rain began to sprinkle from the sky. Nukka couldn't see the lightning, but she heard the unmistakeable sound of thunder looming in the distance. She began to shiver as the rain intensified. Never before had she felt so cold, even during the harsh winter. Nukka stopped for a moment underneath a tall pine tree to shield herself from the rain, but that didn't stop the shivering.

    “You okay back there?” Onartok called as he turned around and walked back toward her. “We've got a long ways to go, you know.”

    “Why am I so c-c-cold?” she stuttered as she shivered. “The r-rain's not that c-cold, and this f-fur's supp-p-posed to keep me warm, right?”

    The wolf looked away as his eyes grew even mistier. “Just keep walking. You'll understand.”

    “Understand what?” she asked, annoyed. “I don't even know where you're leading me. You could be taking me to my own funeral for all I know!”

    He stood quietly before answering. “Listen to me, Nukka. We'll be in the village soon, so just stay with me until then. It'll be better if you see it for yourself.”

    See what? She was confused by his riddles, but had little choice other than to follow him, despite her shivering.

    Another half hour had passed when the sky began to flash with lightning. The rain grew heavier as the sky rumbled. The wind howled along with the wolves. Never before had a storm seemed so frightening to Nukka.

    As they approached a ridge, her mind began to race. There had to be a reason why Onartok was hesitant to tell her what was going on. It didn't take her long to come up with her own answer.

    “Onartok,” she mumbled slowly. “The village... The village is gone, isn't it?”

    “Huh?” he asked her as he turned back to face her.

    “Now I understand,” she whispered, dread washing over her as she became more and more sure of her suspicions. “The Spiritless Men. They did this. They've set fire to the forest and burned the village down, haven't they? And they've used their Spiritless Magic to turn me into a monster, haven't they?”


    “Haven't they?”

    He closed his eyes and swallowed. “Get a hold of yourself, Nukka,” he answered sternly, though his voice wavered. “Look over there. You can see the village from here.” He pointed toward the edge of the ridge with his nose.

    She wobbled slowly and awkwardly to the edge. She almost didn't want to look, fearing that the black had consumed it all. Nevertheless, she forced herself with as much feigned courage as she could muster. “The village...,” she sighed in relief. “It's still there!”

    She could see the village on the valley floor a few miles below. The small brown huts contrasted with the endless sea of green. Even with the gray skies above them, the village looked like a ray of sunshine.

    “Come on,” he nudged her along. “We're not done yet. We still have a ways to go. At least you've caught on to where we're headed. If we keep up the pace, we'll be in the village by nightfall.”

    The last stretch seemed to take ages. The rain was still heavy and puddles began to form on the forest floor. The forest itself grew taller and wilder as the spruce and fir trees were replaced by redwoods.

    During the journey, they passed under a towering redwood that had collapsed some time before. Moss sprouted along the length of its fallen trunk and vines dangled from both sides like a curtain. Several wolves huddled together underneath it, taking cover from the rain. They watched quietly as Nukka and Onartok passed, their eyes somber and solemn. Why do they all look so sad?

    Among them, one stood out. He was a youthful, but proud-looking wolf with red and brown fur, except for patches of white and grey on his belly, near his shoulders, along his tail and around his eyes. When his eyes met hers, she felt a chill travel down her spine. Its eyes... Where the others exhibited sadness, she could feel a faint anger lurking in the back of his. What's it mad about? The wolf turned around and disappeared into the crowd, but Nukka's eyes never left the pack of wolves. She wasn't sure what she was looking for. The red wolf? A friendly face? Siku? No, not Siku...

    After they passed underneath the fallen redwood's shadow, she caught glimpse of her reflection in one of the puddles. No, not my reflection. Tikaani's reflection. She took her paw and slapped the water, causing it to ripple, but her reflection didn't change. She was still a monster. She hurried after Onartok, struggling to catch up as best as she could on four legs.

    It only took another half-hour to reach the village. The trees grew smaller and more sparse as they approached it. The rain was heavy as ever now, turning the hard ground to mud as the water ran like a shallow stream around the village.

    “Well, we're here,” Onartok sighed. Nukka followed him into the village.

    Everyone seemed unharmed, which relieved her, but the distant and nearby howls still echoed on. As they approached the center of the village, she found the Elder. Her hair was wispy white and her face wrinkled. Her deep brown eyes were red and swollen as she danced around the flames with youthful vigor. A sorrowful dance. An ominous dance. The same dance she had seen the Elder perform when Shila died.

    She looked around at the faces of the rest of the villages. The rain did a good job of hiding their tears, but their swollen eyes betrayed them. The truth slowly dawned on her as she started to scan the area, desperately searching for familiar faces.

    “Nauja!” she screamed, whipping her head around in every direction. “Where's Nauja? She was in the forest with me and—”

    She saw Nauja approaching from the direction of her hut, her brown eyes swollen from her tears. The girl's raven black hair dripped wet with rain, much like her modest fox and raccoon skin attire. Her olive complexion had once made Nukka jealous, but today, it was a welcome sight. She was relieved that Nauja managed to make it out of the forest. “Oh, thank goodness!”

    Before she could relax, however, her mind began to race once more. “Uyarok! Where is he? Tilliye!? Tell me, Onartok, tell me! Who died?”

    It took her a while to finally find her missing friends, filling her with relief.

    But that relief soon turned into raw horror as Onartok turned to his companion, tears dripping from his wolf eyes. “I'm so, so sorry, Nukka. I... didn't know how else to tell you.”

    “Tell me! Tell me!” she cried as her mind raced. Who am I forgetting? “Who died? Please, Onartok!”

    He took a deep gulp, his words knotted in the back of his throat. I can't think of anyone else. I don't know who I'm missing. Somebody I know, no doubt... but who?

    Judging by his tone and expression, Onartok's next words took a special kind of courage. When they finally came, however, she felt her own courage slowly trickle away. The words echoed in her head, spreading through her like wildfire, burning her usually hard and unbending facade to ash.

    “You did.”

  5. #5
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Tiny update for those of you following. ^^ The forward momentum going into this project is great, and I've already come close to finishing the 4th chapter! However, I must do some editing to compensate for things that I need to introduce to make Chapters 3 and 4 the standout chapters I need them to be. To that end, Chapters 1 and 2 will be undergoing some changes. I'll hopefully have them done by the end of next week (especially since Chapter 2 is running in the current bi-weekly) so if you're interested but haven't read juuuuuust yet, it may be in your best interest to hold off on the read for just a couple more days. ^^

    Or even better, you might want to read the current drafts to compare with later ones. :) If that's what you fancy of course.~

  6. #6
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Okay, Chapter 2's edits are complete, but not Chapter 1's, which may leave one of the new plot points a tad bit confusing. I'll try and change that up before the judging starts but I'll spoiler tag the big change from Chapter 1 for the Bi-Weekly judges just in case I don't get around to it:

    In the updated Chapter 1, Nauja will play a larger role, accompanying Nukka in the opening sequence, as well as the forest sequence.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Ki ! You're next.
    Not many comments. I wasn't sure if I should… but you told me I could so~
    What to say, what to say.
    The intro was nice, even though the overuse of 'she' came to bother me.

    That girl is harsh. It was hard to feel sympathy for her but I somehow slowly came to.

    A little something that bothered me was the way she talks. Sometimes it didn't flow well to my ears.
    Is she supposed to by highborn and have a good education ? Because I didn't feel like it was the case at first. Manual tasks. Tribe. Huts.

    Overall, I really liked it. It is well written, flows nicely, and is easy to understand.
    The end of the first chapter was terribly sad and made me hungry for more.
    (sadly I had to leave for a few days and decided to wait till I have enough time to read it properly)

    I think that's all.
    I'll comment the 2nd chapter as soon as I'll read it :)

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Oh and I am curious of how she looks like.
    Maybe it comes later but I somehow had to make do with my own feelings about that.
    Long, loosely braided hair, tanned skin, muscular...
    and , from Sanji's Harem Petit Chara Land 's set, are up for grabs. 630¥ each. PM me~

  8. #8
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Oooh, glad you brought up the looks~

    If you noticed, I took care to avoid character descriptions in the first chapter. (Or at least I tried to)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    I did notice. I didn't know if it was on purpose though !

    What if they don't look like I picture them, at all ?
    and , from Sanji's Harem Petit Chara Land 's set, are up for grabs. 630¥ each. PM me~

  10. #10

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Uh… What ? Is she… OOOOOOOOHHHH !
    I get the hate's 'purpose' now~

    I don't know what to say because I was completely absorbed by the story.
    Eventhough I understood what happened from the first lines, that was great !

    Write more, neh ? :)
    and , from Sanji's Harem Petit Chara Land 's set, are up for grabs. 630¥ each. PM me~

  11. #11
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gerri's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Now that survivor is over I need something else to read so I'm browsing through the various writings. (-;

    I think the story flows pretty well. I like how everything builds around the misconception of the linked souls and how Nukka is slowly led to realize it. I still don't understand what the spiritless men are. As of now a thunderstorm and lightning hitting the tree would do just as well. Also, I think the dialogues could be improved a bit. Some of Nukka's lines sound out of character/tone for the story. If possible make the way to the village even more of an inner dialogue, a slow and painful walk of self-reflection. Oh, and I hope you'll explain at some point how it can be that the nature seems to be different for Nukka in her human self and in her wolf self. It seems to go beyond a change of the intensity of her senses but imply a change of environment.

  12. #12
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerri View Post
    Now that survivor is over I need something else to read so I'm browsing through the various writings. (-;

    I think the story flows pretty well. I like how everything builds around the misconception of the linked souls and how Nukka is slowly led to realize it. I still don't understand what the spiritless men are. As of now a thunderstorm and lightning hitting the tree would do just as well. Also, I think the dialogues could be improved a bit. Some of Nukka's lines sound out of character/tone for the story. If possible make the way to the village even more of an inner dialogue, a slow and painful walk of self-reflection. Oh, and I hope you'll explain at some point how it can be that the nature seems to be different for Nukka in her human self and in her wolf self. It seems to go beyond a change of the intensity of her senses but imply a change of environment.
    First of all, thank you so much for reading, Gerri! Double thanks for commenting!

    The Spiritless Men will definitely be playing a huge role, especially in the second half of the story. So do know that they aren't just a random plot device. ^^

    As for the nature thing, nice eyes! ^^ (Potential Spoilers):

    That was a conscious symbolic and thematic choice. The first chapter was written purposely to neglect description and to drive the point home that Nukka's a very matter-of-fact and get-to-the-point character. The priority on description in Chapter 2 is supposed to represent Nukka re-experiencing the world, starting to see the trees instead of the forest, etc.

    Thank you so much for the review!

  13. #13
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Everywhere and Nowhere

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    This only took a billion years. I've been sitting on this chapter for weeks. >=\

    Chapter 3: The Dead Girl

    She ran without stopping. The soles of her padded paws were sore, and the muscles in her legs flared with pain. Still, Nukka went on. She thought, if only she ran far enough, she might be able to run away from everything. If she kept running, surely she would turn back into a living human and wake up from this horrible nightmare. Maybe running could even reverse time somehow and return things to the way they used to be. However, the sun still rose and set, and reality loomed behind her like a hunter on his prey, threatening to drive a spear through her heart the moment she stopped.

    She ran for three days before she finally collapsed. When she fell, she slammed into the hard trunk of an old oak tree. Her hearing, faint from exhaustion, could barely pick up the chattering of squirrels above her. Her eyes were blurred; from lack of sleep or from tears, she couldn't tell. She felt herself giving up all resistance as she fell asleep, drifting into a dream... or perhaps, a memory.

    “You did,” the dream Onartok sighed, his eyes filled with sorrow.

    “I don't... I don't understand.” Nukka took a step back, unsure of what to make this sudden and strange revelation. “I'm right here, aren't I?”

    “No,” Onartok answered. “Tikaani's right here. Nukka died. Don't you get it?”

    “You're lying!” Nukka shouted, jumping back. “This is some kind of sick joke, isn't it? Tell me the truth already!”

    “Calm down!” Onartok barked, silencing her outbursts. “Calm down and think. You still don't recognize me, do you? Come on, try and remember, Nu.”

    Nu? Her eyes widened as she stared at Onartok, beginning to recognize the soul behind Onartok's monstrous appearance. “Wait... You are.. No, it can't be! You're dead! I-I-I saw your body. I remember the funeral. You're dead! Dead!”

    “And so are you,” he said gently, moving to console her. “Listen to me, Nukka. Remember what we learned as humans. Our Spirit Wolves die so that we-

    “You're lying!” Nukka shouted hysterically, refusing to let Onartok's words sink in. She herself was unable to decide on a single explanation for what happened. “There's got to be a way to change back! There has to be! Stop feeding me that crap about Spirit Wolves! This is all a lie! Or a dream! Or a big mistake! I can't be dead! I-I-I'm not a wolf! You hear me?”

    “You're not making this any easier on yourself,” Onartok shouted, beginning to lose his patience. “Look at you, you're stricken with madness! You don't even know what to believe! Just calm down and listen to me.”

    He took a step toward her, but she recoiled from him. “Stay away from me!” she screamed. “Just leave me alone and let me wake up!”

    “Nukka, please, I—“

    Just leave me alone!”

    Nukka turned and fled into the woods. She wanted to be as far away as possible. Far away from the truth. So long as she kept running, no one, nothing, would catch up to her... not even the truth.

    She woke up in what felt like a cold sweat, but she had no way of knowing, thanks to the chilly rain that drenched her thick fur. She didn't even know if wolves could sweat.

    A thick fog blanketed the woods, turning the once vibrant forest into a washed-out and gloomy sea of trees. Yet, despite the surrounding glum and the occasional clap of thunder, the peaceful singing of the trees was somehow comforting to Nukka. The leaves lapped up the falling raindrops, humming an almost serene melody. As a human, Nukka had never taken the time to listen. Or perhaps she had never even been able to listen.

    The soothing hum of the rain aside, the rest of her surroundings were overwhelmingly dreary, and did little to quell her emotions. I'm dead... I'm really dead... She tried to groan, but all she could muster was a mix between a howl and a whimper. She tried to stand up on two legs, but her quadrupedal frame kept her on all fours. I'm still a wolf... I'm... I'm still a monster...

    She always wanted to die an old woman, revered by the village as a brave and proud warrior. Not as some miserable mutt. She would often dream of the adventures she would have, fending off Spiritless Men and hunting herculean beasts. A long time ago, she shared those dreams with Shila. Now neither of us can dream, can we?

    The rain made no effort to cease, nor did it make an effort to ease her broken state of mind. She wanted her life back somehow, but Nukka was dead. It was hard for her to admit it, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized there was no going back. You should be dead. The words echoed in her head. Familiar words, but in her current state, they meant nothing. She was dead.

    The rain that fell was cold and heavy, and the air around her even more so. What usually served as a deep vibrant forest seemed hollow underneath the heavy fog. Hollow like me, Nukka thought, her despair growing. Her eyes grew heavy as she felt the effects of her fatigue take hold once more. This time, she hoped she would fall asleep and wake up as her old self. She banked everything on the notion that everything was just a crazy nightmare. She wanted to wake up somewhere else, anywhere but here. She wanted to wake up as Nukka.

    When she did finally wake, she found herself in the warmth of her own bed. So it was a dream! She pulled the fur blankets off of her and strode rapidly to her door, relief propelling her forward with every step. It was all just a terrible, terrible drea— She opened the door as all of her relief drained away, replacing itself with a chilling sense of fear and terror.

    The scene before her was like something taken straight out of a nightmare. The village she had called home her entire life could barely be recognized; flames were consuming everything like a pack of raging, hungry beasts. They devoured buildings whole in front of her eyes. Where the flames smoldered, the left only the black behind. She looked around desperately for somebody, anybody to help her put out the flames. Her eyes darted left and right, up and down, but there was no one around. Not even their bodies. For better or worse, she was alone. That is, until she saw Siku, pinned underneath a tree, looking at her with the same sad eyes as that time in the forest.

    “Siku!” Nukka hysterically cried out to no one in particular. “What's going on? Who did this to the village? Who did this to Siku?”

    Nukka gasped when the wolf opened its mouth to speak, speaking with Onartok's voice.

    “You did.”

    “No!” Nukka screamed as she felt flames burst from her chest, sending a white-hot burning sensation throughout her.

    “You did.”

    “No!” she repeated frantically as the flames swiftly spread across her body. The flames intensified, turning the terrified woman into a screaming ball of hellfire.

    Once they finally subsided, Nukka felt empty and lifeless. Is this what being a pile of ashes feels like? But if she was indeed a pile of ashes, how could she think? How could she feel? Why do I feel so... alive?

    When she looked down at the ground below her, she saw a set of furry blue-grey forelegs pressing against the earth. She was a wolf again, lonely and surrounded by a sea of black. She let out a shrill and tearful howl, one that pierced the world around her and shook the trees. She cried to the Departed Ones, disconcerted and confused. What have I done to deserve this? Why am I so alone? Why didn't I just die?
    The wind answered with Onartok's voice. You did.

    Nukka woke up again. This time, the rain and fog were gone and the sun spilled its warmth across the earth. How long was I asleep? She yawned and surveyed her surroundings, taking in what sprawled before her. Towering trees bearing fruits and nuts surrounded her. The ground was covered with a dense rug of dewy grass and weeds. The ground itself was soft to the touch, almost like mud. It must have rained, she thought absent-mindedly.

    She rose to her feet and padded along the dirt, treading carefully on all fours. There must be a way for me to change back, she tried to assure herself. Her legs still wobbled and ached from her long run, but she forced the pain away from her mind. Her stomach started to growl; she needed to eat. There is a way... But right now I need to think about how I'm going to even stay alive long enough to find one.

    But what do wolves eat? Her first thought was to try the grass. She lowered her muzzle to the ground and tugged a clump of emerald blades from the ground. She chewed for a moment before spitting it out, twisting her face in disgust. I guess wolves aren't really big fans of grass.

    She looked up, smelling the sweet fruits that dangled from the trees above, deciding that she wanted those next. Unable to climb the trees, she sniffed along the ground, hoping to find some fallen fruit. Her sense of smell was much stronger, now that she was a wolf. It led her to an apple nestled on the ground in a small brown patch of grass, but it was rotten to the core and infested with maggots. Gross! Her only remaining option was to try and knock some fruit from the tree.

    She walked over to the foot of the tree, and tried wagging her tail. It took her a while to learn how to use it, but once she tried focusing her energy on wiggling her backside, the motion came naturally. After taking a few moments to get herself into the swing of things, she started to slap her tail against the tree, hoping to shake it enough for it to surrender its treasures. The tree didn't budge, which annoyed and frustrated her. Come on Nukka, use your head!

    ...Wait a minute...
    She walked in the opposite direction until she was about twenty feet away and turned to face the tree. She pawed the ground and lowered her head, gluing her eyes on the tree in front of her. She broke into a sprint, smashing headfirst into the tree. Her head rattled for several minutes as she fell to the ground, her efforts fruitless. Why in the world do I take myself so literally? She shook her head to stop the dizziness when she caught the scent.

    Her mouth began to water and her tongue lolled out beneath it. Never before had she smelled something so savory. She turned her head in search of the smell and caught a glimpse of a white fluffy rabbit as it dashed into the nearby bushes. It was a rabbit, and she'd never eaten raw meat before, but her animal instincts were taking control. She didn't want to do it, but she needed to eat something before she starved to death.

    She imagined the taste of the rabbit's pink juicy meat, the sweetness of its blood dribbling down her chin, the crunch of its bones underneath the force of her powerful jaws. The instincts were foreign to her and made her feel like a deranged lunatic. Even so, the thoughts of herself devouring the little critter weren't totally unwelcome. In fact, she began to feel delight and excitement from them! If she was going to be a monster, she might as well play the part.

    She crouched low and slowly trod around the bush, careful not to make a sound. The image of herself dining on the little creature pervaded her thoughts, enchanting her senses. A stream of saliva dribbled from her mouth as the creature emerged from the other side of the bush. She instinctively made her body stiff as stone. She felt her legs coil as she watched intently, waiting for the right moment to strike. The prize was hers as long as the rabbit didn't see her. She waited... waited... waited... Now!

    The tension in her legs burst as she pounced upon the furry creature. She opened her mouth wide, preparing to gobble the rabbit up then and there. What she got, however, was a serving of dirt as she crashed into the ground; the rabbit had hopped away at the last second. “Get back here, you little—!” she howled as she spat the dirt from her mouth and bolted after the creature.

    You're not going to get away from me, she thought, snarling. Her belly was aching and her legs still sore, but she kept up the pursuit. If she didn't catch the rabbit, she was doomed to starve to death. Just a little more!

    She chased the rabbit out into a clearing, where her pursuit abruptly ended. Her eyes became fixated on the majesty of the roaring river that she had nearly dashed into. The river was several hundred feet wide; only the Departed Ones knew how deep. The water rushed along rapidly, pristine and mesmerizing as it sparkled in the sunlight. She padded slowly up to the bank and bent down to lap at the water. The water was crisp and sweet, tasting just as clear as it looked. She spent a few minutes taking in the water, drinking her fill. At least she wouldn't die of thirst. She remembered the rabbit she had let get away, and still fantasized about devouring it, but it was a lost cause by now.

    She looked down at the water and saw her reflection glimpsing up at her. So... This is what it's like to be a wolf, huh? As the sunlight sparkled on the water, Nukka's blue and grey visage on its surface lit up, highlighting all of her new body's majestic beauty. For the first time since that day, Nukka didn't see a monster when she looked at the wolf that once was Tikaani—the wolf that she had become.

    After drinking her fill, Nukka leaped onto a tall white boulder on the bank and felt the cool late summer breeze brush against her fur. Maybe this won't be so bad, she mused. But I'm dead... And now I'm an animal...

    She looked down and around at her body. No, Tikaani's body. She couldn't feel Tikaani's presence; it seemed that she was alone. But where was Tikaani? The Spirit Wolf dies so their human link can live on. Was that what the stories meant? That when she died, she'd be reborn as a wolf? And did that really mean that Tikaani was dead instead?

    “All because of me,” she murmured. “Because I had to go and get myself killed, Tikaani's...”

    She caught a whiff of something upstream. It was faint, but it smelled like... There's another wolf nearby, she realized.She followed the scent slowly and cautiously. It could jump out and attack her, for all she knew. It might be just as hungry as her, and Nukka wasn't sure how appetizing she looked. She tried not to think about it as she approached. The wolf might be friendly, she told herself. It might even be willing to teach me how to actually be one.

    The source of the scent was coming from behind a towering boulder nestled at the edge of the riverbank. She stalked around the rock, just as she did with the rabbit... and just like she did on that fateful day.For a moment, she was human again and Tikaani walked beside her cautiously. The pair of them crept around the large rock, fearful of what the fall had done to Shila's body. Please be alive, she thought to herself as she closed her eyes.

    When she opened them again, the memory faded and she was her wolf self again. Tikaani was nowhere to be found. Her heart caught in her throat as the fur on the back of her neck stiffened and rose in fearful anticipation of what she would find.

    It was only a young wolf pup sleeping against the rock. Its fur was dark brown, except for around its eyes, its ears, and on its belly, where its fur was cream-colored. It fidgeted in its sleep before it finally opened its eyes. It looked up at Nukka with two hazel-green eyes. Its innocent look helped drain the tension from Nukka, allowing her to relax.

    “D-don't eat me!” he whimpered as he huddled up against the rock before noticing the river behind him.

    “I'm not going to eat you,” Nukka stepped forward as she laughed, the sound of her voice startling the wolf pup.

    “Y-you can talk?” he asked with wide eyes as he circled around Nukka, stepping away from the river.

    No way, Nukka felt a dreadful feeling of deja vu wash over her, as she began to understand the situation. He was only a kid... She raised her head to howl, but the pup cut her off.
    “That's amazing!” he said with a laugh before looking at his reflection in the water. “Oh, neat! I'm a wolf now!”

    “Neat?” Nukka frowned. “I take it you used to be human?”

    “Yup,” he grinned, before his face grew silent and confused. “But I look just like Immuyak. What does that mean?”

    Nukka closed her eyes and let out the howl she tried to start a moment prior. The same one she had heard Onartok howl. The same one she had heard a long time before. Once the chorus of other howls began, she stopped and turned to the kid.

    “Why'd you do that for?” the pup asked, before letting out an energetic howl himself. “That was fun!”

    “Listen, kid,” Nukka swallowed. Now she knew how Onartok had felt. “You... you died.”

    He sat silent for a moment before tears began to form in his eyes. “I... I know... I think.”

    “You do?”

    “Yeah. Momma always said that our Spirit Wolves die so we can live on. Maybe this is what she meant?”

    “How did you die... uh...?”

    “Miki,” the pup replied.

    “Miki,” Nukka repeated. “Well?”

    “I don't know,” he frowned. “I guess it was when the Spiritless Men attacked us and burned down our village.”

    “What?” Nukka gasped.

    “There was fire and blood everywhere,” Miki continued. “Everybody was screaming and I wanted to cry, but Momma told me to be strong. She said that no matter what happened, Immuyak would protect me. She told me that when this was all over, I should go look for Kanguyak, her Spirit Wolf. And then everything went dark.”

    Even kids like Miki know the truth, yet I...

    “I miss my Momma already,” Miki sniffed, interrupting the internal storm that brewed within Nukka. “Do you think I'll find her with Kanguyak?”

    “I know you will,” Nukka assured him. “I'll help you do it, if you want.” She had nothing better to do anyway. Perhaps Miki's mother would be able to help her, seeing as how she sounded much more familiar with the legends.

    “Really?” Miki beamed. “Thank you! Oh, this is gonna be so much fun!”

    Fun?” Nukka scoffed. “You're a monster now. How is that fun?”

    “A monster? No way! Wolves are the coolest!”

    More like cowards. Nukka still remembered the way Siku had abandoned... No... No, no, no... Don't tell me! Don't tell me! Don't tell me! Oh, please, don't tell me!

    “Are you feeling okay?” Miki asked, noticing the despair that flushed across Nukka's face.

    “I... I'm fine,” she lied.

    “What's your name, anyway?”

    “My name?” She wanted to say Nukka. But Nukka had died. Or was it Tikaani who died? But it was all Nukka's fault that Tikaani's life was over. But so is mine... And Tikaani was a wolf; Nukka was a girl. Tikaani's spirit may have been gone, but her body still lived on. Tikaani's the one standing here, not me. It was a difficult thing to do, but the dead girl knew she had to do it.

    “My name is,” she gulped, forcing back her hesitation with a fierce resolve. “Tikaani.”

    It was only fair.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Hey Kitsune! I finally got around to reading this and I am definitely not regretting it. Your story captivated me pretty fast and I would like to read more. :)

    I was convinced that the legends about the spirit wolves would turn out to be true one way or another (I guess that was insanely obvious but I will still pat myself on the back, thank you very much). Sadly, that means that Nukki is responsible for at least one death of her sister when she left Siku behind to die. It seems like she already realized that. :( That is really awful actually. She kept treating Suki horribly while the wolf still tried to show affection and then she just died (presumably). I wonder how this will affect Nukki's character.
    Speaking of the legends, I feel like the exact function of a Spirit Wolf should be known by the village people. Is it just kept secret from children or did nobody ever realize how it worked? (well, obviously somebody did at one time or there'd be no legends)

    I guess this was the first time that Onartok had to tell someone they had died? Because he didn't handle it too well. I feel like he should have given her more time to come to grips with it instead of telling her again and again. But maybe that's just how he is. And he did let her go in the end. Although he should have looked after her and helped her get food at least. Okay, I am totally contradicting myself right now but for now I don't like that guy. :P

    In my opinion, Nukka was a little quick to accept the fact that she was a wolf. But maybe that's just me speaking as a guy who reads and totally enjoys Wheel of Time where certain plot points take several books to come to fruiton... Still, I feel like she should be struggling a little more. I kind off expected her to see her own dead body because that would show her that there definitely was no turning back to human (and that Onartok had told her the truth).

    "Wolves are the coolest!" Well yeah, they are but I felt uncomfortable with that expression in your setting. Actually the kid/pup was a little too enthusiastic on a whole for me. I kinda hope Nukka won't take responsibility for him as she is still experiencing all these changes herself. Maybe he's just there to lead her to another wiser wolf? We'll see.

    One last thing: when Nukka tries to get some fruits from a tree, I found this phrase a little too punny: "her efforts fruitless" :P

    The thing with me commenting is that I usually have no idea how to express what I liked about a story. It's so much easier to point out stuff that I personally didn't enjoy as much but of course I want to be positive too! You can rest assured that I really do like your story. Just look at me attempting to speculate about it and analyze the character(s) already. ;)

    I hope there will be a 4th chapter soonish.

    How original is it to still have this in my signature 6 years later?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Ugh, how long has it been since I've read something:

    I think that you're handling Nukka's new situation pretty well. She is starting to adapt but you can tell it's because she has to and there is this undercurrent of her not being totally comfortable. The parts where she tries to get used to her body are cool too.
    I think the kid is a good character to have. He gives Tikaani a reason to start her journey and a lead to starting a discovery of her new life. I look forward to learning more about the spirit wolves and the impact they have on their human's culture. Actually I think we see more of Nukka's hate of them than the positive aspects of how humans see them so the kid could be a good conduit for that.
    The only down side is that I don't know what the story as a whole is about yet. I know it will probably involve the Spiritless Men but I'm hoping that when she reaches the mother Tikaani will be given something to do on a grander scale. I know I'm being a hypocrite but even stories like Naruto establish the overall goal in the first chapter. In this case while I do want to get to know her better I would like at least hints of where things are going.
    That is all. I can't wait to see more. :)

  16. #16
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Everywhere and Nowhere

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Yeah, I've been sitting on this chapter (and Chapter 5) for six months. Holy crap. I'm going to do some more edits on it before the 30th, so bear with me if it's a little sloppy.~

    Chapter 4: Still Alive

    The sun began to set when Tikaani and Miki finally deemed their latest quest for food fruitless. Neither wolf was able to catch anything. The rabbits were too quick, the big game too scarce and the fish too slippery. Tikaani could feel her stomach growling, but did her best to hide it. She didn't need Miki to know that she'd gone close to a week without food.

    The sunset turned the pale blue sky orange and pink, and soon it became a deep dark blue. The Departed Ones began to sparkle in the sky above, peering down from wherever they were, keeping watch over them in the dead of night. Tikaani looked up. The sister she had when she used to be Nukka was looking down on her, she wagered.

    Or was she?

    “Hey, Tikaani, can we stop or something?” Miki whined as his trot slowed to a slow crawl. “The bottom of my paws are killing me! Besides, I barely have the stomach to walk anymore.”

    The wolf pup fell over in fatigue. Tikaani could hear his stomach rumbling. Poor kid hasn't eaten anything. “Come on, Miki. Get up and follow me. We'll find somewhere in the trees to sleep.”

    He complied as Tikaani nudged him along with her nose. They left the open banks of the river and took shelter in the nearby woods. Tikaani felt safer there for some reason. It would be a lot harder for something undesirable to hunt them down.

    “Here's a good spot,” she told the tired young wolf who followed her. “Get some sleep, kid, and I'll keep watch.”

    “Keep watch?” he asked drowsily. “Watch for what?”

    Tikaani could not say. She didn't feel safe in the woods, at least not yet. She felt some dark lingering presence she couldn't describe. She feared what would happen if she fell asleep. She might not ever wake up. Or something bad might happen to Miki.

    Even though she just met the wolf, Tikaani felt responsible for him, at least until they find his mother. For a kid, Miki was rather brave. He sure seemed a lot calmer than Nukka did when she learned she had died. She wondered whether or not he fully understood what it meant to die.

    Miki yawned before finally drifting to sleep, his small brown head resting on his front paws. Seeing that he was fast asleep, Tikaani left him there, returning to the river bank. She looked back one last time in Miki's direction and nodded, assuring herself that he'd be okay on his own.

    That night, the Departed Ones came out in full force, staring down at her in the thousands. She silently prayed that they would look after Miki for her and keep him safe. She scanned the stars, hoping to find her sister... or even Tikaani.

    I can't do this, Tikaani. Every now and then, she would search inwardly for a sign that the real Tikaani still existed somewhere deep inside. All she found was hollow emptiness. The original Tikaani was dead. Just like Nukka. I am Tikaani now. But...

    She caught the scent as it permeated from the woods. She tracked it into the trees and beyond an assortment of large bushes. She discovered a sleeping rabbit, huddled together with her young. She counted seven, though she might have confused the mother's tail for another. As she watched the little family sleep, she felt the saliva drip from her mouth. It's a family, Tikaani, she told herself.

    She hesitated when an image of Miki getting devoured by a giant carnivorous rabbit sprawled into her head. Can I really do this? Can I really tear a family apart? Nukka could. To Nukka, animals were things. They couldn't understand or comprehend things. They just existed. To Nukka, killing a rabbit and its babies and cooking them would not have been a big deal.

    But Tikaani knew. She knew that animals felt happiness and sadness. She knew that if she'd kill them now, they'd have gone to sleep that evening only to never wake up. The conscience she carried told her to leave them be. But Tikaani knew this opportunity was a rare one. It was either kill a helpless family of rabbits or starve to death.

    Miki stirred from his sleep as she lowered the bloody rabbit carcass in front of him.

    “Rise and shine, kid,” she beamed. “I've got breakfast.”

    “Oh wow!” he said sleepily as he began to tear into the dead rabbit. She could tell he wasn't too fond of the idea of eating raw meat, but his instincts were taking control. She could taste it with him, just as she tasted the sweet red blood as it teased her mouth on the way back. “Aren't you going to eat too?” he asked after swallowing a chunk of the rabbit.

    “No, I ate the babies,” she lied. Last night's events played back in her head as she leaped from the shrubs and sank her sharp teeth into the mother rabbit's neck. Her heart told her not to do it, but she had to for Miki's sake. After killing the mother, she turned to the stirring bunnies. Her conscience overpowered her as she scooped the mother's carcass into her mouth and dashed away. Hindsight told her that the baby rabbits were doomed to die without their mother's nursing. But she couldn't bear to kill them herself. You already did it yourself when you killed their mother, her conscience reminded her.

    Miki picked his way through the last remains of the rabbit before licking at his muzzle. “Thanks, Tikaani,” he beamed as he dashed toward the river clearing. “Now then, let's keep going.”

    “Right,” Tikaani replied distantly, following him. She began to feel dizzy. Was it the lack of food or the lack of sleep? She wasn't too sure, but both were taking a heavy toll on her.

    “Are you feeling okay?” Miki asked her with a faint scowl once they reached the riverside. “You're wobbling all over the place!”

    “You forget how hard it is to walk on four legs, kid,” Tikaani forced a laugh as she tried to make light of her fatigue.

    “Are you sure you're feeling okay?” Miki circled around her. “I think you've been a wolf way longer than I have and I'm used to it already.”

    “Says the kid with the full stomach,” Tikaani said aloud, though not intentionally.

    “I knew it!” Miki shouted, a little too pleased with himself. “My razor-sharp instincts were right all along! You've been starving yourself, haven't you?”

    “Miki, that's not-”

    “Haven't you?” Tikaani was taken aback by how serious the cub was. “Why didn't you say something? I could've shared the rabbit with you!”

    “Oh yeah, like that measly little furball would fill both of us up,” Tikaani rolled her eyes, trudging along the river bank. “I'd rather be a dead wolf than a live one with a dead kid on my conscience.”

    “So you're just going to let yourself die, are you?” Miki growled, dashing just to keep up with Tikaani's quickening pace. “Then what am I supposed to do? Dig a grave or something?”

    “That sounds like your problem,” Tikaani snapped back bluntly.

    “I can't believe you! You're so stuck-up and bitter!”

    “Try telling me that when I don't put food in your belly,” Tikaani growled, annoyed with Miki and ready to end the argument.

    “Why are you acting so stubborn?” Miki asked after running ahead of her and getting in her face. His eyes glimmered in the sun and had a pronounced innocence inside of them.

    Tikaani remained silent as she walked around the wolf cub, who turned and looked at her in disappointment. She could not give the poor kid an answer. Not now. Not while I'm on the verge of starvation.

    They walked in silence for a good few hours before the sun began to set. As it did, Tikaani's legs gave out and she fell to the ground. Miki rushed to her side.

    “Tikaani,” Miki whimpered. “You don't look so good.”

    “I've never felt better,” she lied.

    “Come on,” Miki whined. “You need to get some sleep and something to eat.”

    “Don't need it,” Tikaani answered stubbornly. “You know, if I don't eat and don't sleep, then maybe the Departed Ones will give me back my old body. They clearly wanted me alive if they put me in this wolf's body. So they won't just let me die, right?”

    “I don't feel like finding out,” Miki began pushing on her side with his head. “Now let's get you somewhere safe, and we'll stop and sleep for the night.”

    Tikaani watched as Miki struggled in futility to move her. This kid may be little, but he's got a big heart. “Fine, you win.”

    She struggled to her feet and followed Miki into the woods, where they found a nice, sheltered area to sleep. The ground beneath them was soft and mushy, likely rain-soaked, and it was no warm bed, but she could hardly care. She allowed herself to slip into slumber. There was no sense staying up all night and mulling over her situation.

    When she woke up, to her delight, she was human again. She could hardly believe her eyes, but she had hands and fingers, hair and clothes, and no fur in sight.

    “Hey, Miki, look! I'm me again!”

    The wolf cub stirred thanks to her shouting, but could only yip and whimper at her. Well, I guess we can't both be human.

    “Nukka!” someone shouted from nearby.

    “Stay here,” she told Miki as she followed the sound of the voice.

    “Nukka, please!” the voice was louder, more distinct, more familiar.

    No... you should be dead!

    She approached the source of the voice. To her horror, she found her older sister, Shila, pinned underneath a fallen tree trunk.

    “You should be dead,” Nukka answered in disbelief.

    “Nukka, help me!” Shila shouted, blood dripping from her mouth. “They're coming, you've got to get me out of here!”

    Nukka's gaze turned to the forest as it engulfed in flames.

    “Nukka, please!” Shila shouted, struggling to get out from under the tree.

    “You should be dead!” Nukka screamed, shaking her head.

    “Nukka...,” Shila's voice lowered in confusion. “I... I don't... don't understand. Aren't we-”

    “No! No! No! You should be dead!”

    Nukka dashed in the other direction as her sister screamed and begged and pleaded for her to save her. Nukka just ignored her.

    “Tikaani!” Miki shouted once more, bringing her back to reality. She was a wolf again, it seemed. Or rather, all of it had been a dream. “Snap out of it, Tikaani!”

    “Oh...,” Tikaani answered slowly. “Sorry to startle you, Miki.”

    “You were having a bad dream,” Miki responded.

    “I guess I was,” she answered distantly. It was probably midnight or so, judging by the moon.

    “Do you... wanna talk about it?” the wolf pup asked as he cuddled up against her.

    “No,” she replied.

    Miki's warmth was rather comforting, but Tikaani was too shaken up to settle down just yet. The dream confirmed her greatest fears. It confirmed what she had been dreading and refusing to admit this entire time. She didn't watch her sister die once; she saw it happen twice. And the fault was entirely hers.

    “Why do you look so sad?” Mika asked her as he looked up to her with his big brown eyes.

    “I...,” Tikaani hesitated. He's just a kid, I can't tell him this.

    “You what?”

    But, he gets it more than I do. I need to talk to somebody, anybody... “Miki... I...”


    “I think I killed my sister.”

    The pup was silent for a moment before responding. “You think you killed her?”

    “Well, not directly. I left her to die. That's close enough, right?”

    “But how do you know she's dead?”

    “That's a silly question, of cou-,” her own revelation cut her off. Is she really dead? Can I... Can I reverse this somehow? She developed a theory. Nothing she was willing to cling to just yet, but it made a lot of sense. Perhaps everything to this point was a trial. Perhaps there was a reason after all that the Departed Ones made her a wolf. Maybe, just maybe, Siku was still alive.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Remember a couple days ago when I said I would be reading the new chapter the very next day? So I did that today.

    I liked that I was too lazy to skim the other chapters again but still remembered pretty much anything that had happened when I read the new one.
    Personally I would have enjoyed a tad more descriptions of the scenery. Also the flashback with the baby rabbits seemed unnecessary. Why not just tell it as it happens instead of flashing back to it 2 sentences later? Alternatively, do it a little later, maybe when Tikaani almost collapses.
    On a more positive note, I changed my opinion on the wolf puppy. I liked it here and it giving Tikaani somebody to take care of seems like a good idea after all. Still, a pinch too bratty for my taste :P

    How original is it to still have this in my signature 6 years later?

  18. #18
    Stay foxy out there! Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Everywhere and Nowhere

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Time to start rolling out these chapters at a much quicker pace!

    Chapter 5: A Good Navigator

    The next morning was rather uneventful for the most part. Tikaani and Miki continued their journey along the river, hoping to find their way, but as time went on, that became a hopeless endeavor. Miki was still just a kid and Tikaani was too caught up on last night's dream.

    Shila... I'm coming to find you, she resolved to herself. But how would she find her when she was probably lost herself? Not to mention taking Miki along would not make for the best course of action. She resolved to find his mother first, then set out on her own to find her sister.

    As the sun loomed high in the sky, Tikaani's stomach began to grumble once more. Not again. She wondered how exactly she planned to find Shila if she wasn't even able to find food. She desperately wanted nothing more than to save her, but there was too much standing in her way. First things first, Tikaani.

    “Tikaani, look!” Miki lowered his voice, but still let slip a tinge of excitement. Tikaani broke free of her aimless thoughts and saw the trees thicken up ahead.

    “The forest,” Tikaani whispered. “It's going to be harder to stick to the river from here onwards, isn't it?” So much for getting Miki home quickly.

    “No, look!” Miki cried again, this time making no effort to hush himself. “Over there, by the river!”

    She saw something twitch in response to Miki's shout a couple hundred feet away, right next to the river. A wolf, Tikaani realized as it began to approach them. Miki dashed ahead, running toward the wolf. “No, Miki, come back!”

    “Hey, you! Over here!” Miki hailed, ignoring Tikaani's very bad feeling. As the wolf approached, she could not help but take note of its features. It was young—about Tikaani's age, without a doubt. Its limbs were lean and slender, evidenced by the wolf's quick, streaming gait. A strange aroma met her nose, which told her immediately that the wolf was male. His fur was reddish-brown, much like clay, with white coloration on his belly, shoulders, and tail. When she looked at his face, she took note of white streaks on the tips of his ears and around his eyes. His eyes...!

    “You...!” Tikaani gasped. “You're the wolf from that night. What are you-” Sure enough, it was the very same wolf. The very same build. The very same features. The very same anger. “Miki, get over here now!” she cried to Miki, but the cold wolf stopped about a few feet away from the pup.

    “You two look lost,” the red wolf grunted, making no effort to appear friendly. “It's dangerous up ahead, you know. What are you doing all the way out here anyway?”

    “We're not lost!” Miki boasted. “We're just looking for my mom!”

    “Then you're heading in the wrong direction,” the wolf scoffed. “The only thing you'll find this way is the black. If you;re looking for somebody, you might as well start looking at Angelrauwok Lake. It's not far in...” The wolf pointed its nose in the direction of Tikaani's eight. “...that direction.”

    In other words, they had been traveling in the wrong direction.

    “We've been going the wrong way? Well, that sure bites,” Miki sighed before turning in the right direction. “Come on, Tikaani, let's get-”

    “How dare you!” the red wolf growled angrily, startling the little wolf as Tikaani rushed to Miki's side.

    “Hey, cool it, alright?” Tikaani spoke up, taking an instinctive defensive stance.

    “First, you dare show your face to me,” the red wolf curled into a stance of his own in retaliation. “Then you dare wear that name like a trophy?”

    “What are you talking about?” Tikaani challenged, circling the tense red wolf.

    “Don't play dumb with me, Nukka!” the wolf roared, taking a step forward.

    “Hold on a second!” Tikaani doubled back. “You... know me?”

    “Nukka?” Miki questioned. “Who's Nukka?”

    This is Nukka,” the red wolf turned his head toward Miki's companion. “She's been masquerading about as her Spirit Wolf. Trying to start your life over now, are you?”

    “I don't know what you're talking about!” she shrieked in frustration before regaining some composure. “You're from the village, aren't you?”

    “Nope,” the wolf growled. “I'm Nukilik. I was born a wolf. But that doesn't change the fact I know everything about you.

    “Oh yeah? How's that?”

    “Tikaani was loyal to you,” Nukilik explained. “Do you have any idea how long it took me to get her to admit that you treated her like dirt? After all the bruises, all the limping, all the tears, she still tried to downplay just how cruel you were to her.”

    “You knew Tikaani?” Tikaani asked.

    Knew her?” he answered with a mocking laugh. “You know what? I loved her! And you, because of you, she's dead! Her and that Siku or Shila or whatever she went by, they did everything they could to stand up for you! They believed you would one day wake up and that everything would be right as rain. But I'm not that forgiving. I know what you are. You're a reckless, arrogant, cold-hearted, self-centered, no-good, dirty-rotten little bitch! And now that I think about it, that's a fitting new body you've got there. If only it wasn't my friend's corpse!”

    Tikaani stepped back in silence. She did not know how to answer the wolf's ferocious accusations, but deep down inside she couldn't help but agree with him.

    “Is this guy... telling the truth?” Miki asked her with a long, sad frown. “Are you... really not Tikaani?”

    “No,” she sighed. “My name is Nukka... I killed Tikaani. It's all my fault... Because of my own recklessness, she's gone, and now I'm trapped in her body.” She took a deep breath. “I thought... I thought the least I could do to pay her back was honor her. Honor her by living her life for her.”

    Honor her?” Nukilik barked, visibly disgusted. “Honor her? That's disgusting! You killed her and now you're pretending to be her? Do you honestly think that everything is just magically alright now that you're honoring her? Do you think that this is some clean slate for you? Don't make me laugh!” He turned his attention to Miki. “Listen, pup, I've got no idea how you got wrapped up with her, nor do I care, but I can't in good conscience leave you with this... this monster.”

    The word struck Tikaani like a dagger. It hurt more than she could have known. It was a terrible word to call somebody. She glanced over at Miki with guilt, though his own expression startled her.

    “First off, don't call me Pup,” Miki retaliated with forced resolve. “My name is Immuyak. Got it?”

    “What?” Tikaani turned to her companion. “Miki, what are you-”

    “Second,” he continued, ignoring Tikaani's questioning. “I'm traveling with Tikaani because she's my friend! We've been through a lot together and if you think I'm going to abandon her just because some big, scary wolf tells me he thinks she's a bad person, then think again! Tikaani's the bravest, nicest wolf I know!”

    “Brave? Nice?” Nukilik raised his eyes to Tikaani after a pause. “You honestly think she's worth your breath, don't you?”

    “That's right,” Miki replied stubbornly. “She's breaking her back helping me find my mom.” His voice relaxed and took a pleading tone. “But you see, neither of us know what we're doing. Tikaani tries her heart out, but she's no good at this wolf thing either. She hasn't eaten in days because what kills she has made, she's given to me. I don't think that's self-centered at all, do you?”

    Nukilik looked up at Tikaani in response. His eyes seemed to be scanning her, which made her feel uncomfortable.

    “Why don't you come with us?” Miki asked with a glow. “You can show us how to be wolves and stuff! And Tikaani can prove to you she's not all that bad.”

    Nukilik remained silent for a moment before sighing before looking back at Miki. “You humans are all the same. But it's your lucky day, kid. I just happen to have business at Angelrouwak Lake myself. So I guess if you want, you two can follow me.” He glanced at Tikaani and growled. “But don't think for a second I've forgiven you, Nukka. Don't mistake my generosity for forgiveness. I just happen to have a soft spot for kids, especially the wellspoken ones.” Nukilik walked up to Tikaani, his face a few inches from hers. “Besides, Tikaani would never forgive me if I let her darling little human link die.”

    “So you'll come with us then?” Miki asked gleefully as he dashed off. “Alright! Oh boy, now I'm starving!”

    Tikaani stood silently as Nukilik backed off. Despite his closeness to her, she was more taken aback by how assertive little Miki, or rather Immuyak, was. She was impressed with the little wolf's tenacity. She wondered if he was adjusting to their situation incredibly quickly or if he had always been a strong kid.

    “You coming, Tikaani?” Miki ran back towards her as Nukilik stopped, visibly annoyed.

    “Yeah,” Tikaani padded along as Nukilik resumed his trek, several feet ahead of them. Miki trotted along beside her. “Hey, Miki, what was that about? Did you change your name on me when I wasn't looking?”

    “Heh, do you like it?” Miki, or Immuyak, smirked.

    “Well, I suppose it's not that terrible,” she chuckled, teasing her companion. “So, Immuyak's your Spirit Wolf, right?”

    “Yeah,” he nodded, then paused his gait. “Hey, Tikaani?”

    “What is it?” Tikaani circled around the wolf.

    “Do you mind if I talk to Nukka for a second?” he asked lowly.

    She did not answer, unsure exactly how to respond to it. Though she assumed Tikaani's name, she didn't really feel like Nukka and Tikaani were different.

    “Nukka, you there?” Miki asked after a few moments.

    “Yeah,” she answered, her voice unintentionally stifled.

    “I hope you don't mind me keeping you company,” he grinned. “You know, while Tikaani and Immuyak handle things on the outside. You're a good person, you know, no matter what Nukilik says. That's all I wanted to tell you, I guess.”

    “Miki...,” she replied distantly, still unable to elicit a proper response.

    “Come on,” Miki jumped happily. “Let's get out of here. Those rabbits won't catch themselves!”

    “Wait,” Tikaani, or perhaps Nukka, asked. “Let me ask you something, Miki.”

    “Sure,” he beamed. “But make it quick, okay? The wolves aren't very patient.”

    “Who are you?” she asked. “Who were you?”

    “Miki, of course.”

    “No, I mean, you seem like you used to be a strong kid. So, before you go, I wanted to know what you used to be like. What was your village like? Your family?”

    “Oh,” he took a moment to answer. “I was from the Village of Sounds. My mom was the chief and she used to listen to the wind. She was amazing! She could detect the changes in the world, big and small. If the wind brought important news with it, we'd send ,essengers to other villages when we learned something.”

    “Right,” Nukka nodded. That was how remote villages like hers, the Village of the Sky, had received word of the black in the first place, long before the clouds began to emerge in the southern sky. With the Village of Sounds most likely razed, the Spiritless Men had no doubt dealt a heavy blow to communication between the remaining villages.

    “I was going to be a messenger too when I got bigger,” Miki continued. “I did want to be a warrior like my older brother, Maxtla, but Mom said I wasn't strong enough.”

    Wasn't strong enough?” Nukka scowled. “Are you kidding me? You're the strongest kid I know! And I know that didn't happen overnight.”

    “Maxtla's a warrior though,” Miki shook his head. “Mom said I was different. I think she meant I wasn't as good as him.”

    “I don't think that's what she meant at all,” she assured him, finally beginning to understand him better. “In fact, I agree with her. You are different than a warrior like Maxtla.”

    “So now you're saying I'm not strong too?”

    “No, silly,” she nudged him with her muzzle. “I'm saying you're a different kind of strong. Maxtla may be a strong fighter, but you're really strong with people, you know.”

    “Strong with people?” he turned his head. “What's that supposed to mean?”

    “It means you know how to communicate,” she explained. “You're really good at saying the right thing to others. You know, I assumed you would be annoying and a little helpless, but you're the opposite. I don't know what I'd have done without you! And for what it's worth, I think you would have made a perfect messenger.”

    Would have, huh?” Miki sighed before smiling. “I can still be a wolf messenger, can't I?”

    “Absolutely,” she laughed, amused by Miki's coyness.

    “Are you two done back there?” Nukilik growled from atop the closest hill, interrupting the moment. “We're burning daylight.”

    “I suppose we are,” Tikaani called back before turning to her companion. “Hey, Immuyak, do me a favor why don't you?”

    “What's up?” he asked.

    “Don't let go of Miki. And Miki, don't let go of Immuyak. Don't live the rest of your life denying one or the other. Miki's not dead yet and neither is Immuyak. So now that you're living on, you should live on as both.”

    Immuyak was now the one struck silent before he began to laugh. “You sure you used to be cold-hearted and self-centered? I have a really hard time believing that.”

    Tikaani smiled as Immuyak dashed ahead. Had she really changed so quickly? Was it that she finally began to realize how awful she used to be? Or was Tikaani still there inside, changing her for the better?

    She wasn't willing to deal with that train of thought just yet. She had to get Immuyak back to his mother first. Though no longer was finding a way to change back to her old self a priority. That could wait. She wanted to get Immuyak home more than anything else.

    Well, almost more than anything else. Tikaani knew that nobody knew the Great Forest better than the messengers of the Village of Sounds. If she was going to find Shila, she was going to need a good navigator.

  19. #19
    Schrödinger's Giraffe Wooden_Giraffe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Where's north from here?

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    Weeee~ new chapter!
    I suppose you'll be wanting feedback won't you.

    Style - I really liked a lot of the dialogue, it seemed perfectly well laid out and very easy to follow, specifically Nukilik's angry accusations and such.
    Story - Since they didn't actually get anywhere(and were actually going the wrong way), this chapter seemed to be entirely about introducing Nukilik and developing Miki a bit more. Another character is good since it would otherwise only be two characters for a while who were both in a state of confusion. Nukilik's character not only gives us a non-confused character but also someone who is angry, bitter and very likely grieving, which I anticipate popping up some point soon. Meanwhile, Miki's development not only helped us learn more about him, but also more about the society of villages that was operating in this world.

    Style - Not much against style, but I did find the use of the word 'bitch' to be odd. It doesn't seem very derogatory when you're talking about an actual dog/wolf. Oh, also spotted some typos, nothing a decent proofread won't miss.
    Story - The only thing that felt weird in this sense was Nukilik's sudden switch from heavy amounts of anger to calming down and actually joining the group. He did explain this by saying he had a soft spot for well spoken kids, but that seems more like a cliched response when you want to hide your true intentions.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Spirit Wolf

    One more story to go after this. @_@

    WG puts it better than I can: Nukilik both helps give the story direction and brings Nukka's past behavior to the forefront. There also seem to be hints that Nukka is changing for the better because of Tikaani's influence, which would explain her kind of sudden Bad Girl ---> Good Girl character shift a bit better and her sometimes lack of sound judgement (because of the conflicting personas) but it would've been nice to somehow learned of that influence earlier.

    One thing I disagree with WG on is Nukilik's attitude shift, because as he mentioned the character was grieving and angry, but it was only directed at Nukka. I got the impression he really wasn't the type of person to let a kid suffer because of his qualms with others.

    I saw that you switched between 'Tikaani said' and 'Nukka said'. I didn't feel confused but try to maybe have a system where it's one or the other without having it randomly alternating.

    That last sentence about needing Miki to find Shila is a little disconcerting, but in a good way. Assuming Miki's mother is found before Shila that is.

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