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Chapter 4: Sooleawa

( NOTE:  There have been slight edits to the previous storyline, Noteworthy ones are during the Beaver dialogue, and during the initial conversation with the Panther ). (NOTE:  The name of Laura has been changed to better reflect her packs heritage). Depressed, Roady lazily walks back towards the hot spring.  The cool night air being the only thing that is keeping him somewhat alert.  Obsessed with thoughts of the other Wolf, Roady doesn't even sense that Angelina is sneaking up on him from behind until its too late.  She speeds up, and pounces on Roady, just as Roady turns to look behind him.  Pinning him to the ground yet again, Angelina looks down playfully. "Gotcha!" "Sheez!, Seriously?"  Roady replies. "Nice feather" the panther says, picking it from behind his ear, and examining it.  "hmmm,  wolf blood?  but not yours..." "Hey, give me that!" Roady lunges at her and grabs the feather back, tucking it behind his ear again. "Oooo" The panther swoons, " did you find another wolfie?" "I don't really know.  We didn't really meet for long.  She was scared of something." The panther nods knowingly, and licks Roadys chin playfully, "I've been... " - stumbling for the proper word - "Paying attention to your travels." As she grins at him. "Oh?" Roady replies, surprised, grinning a little at the lick.  "You've been following me?" "No...   Not quite."  She says, stepping off of him.  "I heard your howling." "Ah, Okay?" Roady says, still laying there, but shifting onto his side. "And I was fairly close to the wolf that responded to you.  So I followed her.  I don't think the other wolves liked that she responded.  She was heading towards your howl, when she was ambushed by her own pack members.  I had to get out of there, so I didn't get dragged into it, but they were not too happy with her." Roady stays silent, taking it all in. "She ran off, and I saw her heading South along the shore, away from her pack territory not too long ago.  Then I picked up your scent." "Is she nearby?" Roady asks excitedly. "Maybe." Getting to his feet, Roady licks the panthers earlobe playfully.  "By the shore you said?" "Last I saw." The panther replies, smiling at the lick. "Thanks Angelina."  As Roady darts off towards the lake. Angelina waits until Roady is out of sight to continue to stalk him. Making all sorts of noise, Roady crashes through the brush.  Small creatures being woken up, jump and scramble to get away, as he tears through the forest.  The shoreline in sight Roady slows, and prowls out onto the rocky shore.  Waves lapping at the pebble beach which rounds the West side of the lake.  Looking up and down the shoreline, Roady at first sees nothing, then notices movement down the beach to the South.  The waves do an excellent job at dampening sound, so Roady doesn't hesitate to jog quickly along the waters edge towards the other wolf. Approaching the wolf, Roady slows as the female gray wolf turns finally noticing him. "Oh, its you again."  The gray wolf turns and continues to walk away. Roady prowls up beside her, sniffing her politely.  As she continues to walk, trying her best to ignore him.  "I am sorry." Roady whispers. Stopping, the gray wolf pauses, frozen for a second.  "For what?"  She replies, still not looking at Roady. "I heard what happened, when you replied to my howl."  Roady replies hesitantly. "How did you hear that, may I ask?" "I may be new here, but it seems I already have a friend." Roady replies, "But it also seems I have a lot more enemies." "They don't like outsiders." Says the gray wolf, as she turns to look at Roady.  "They don't like anyone really." Frowning, Roady says "That is what I was afraid of.  I am just looking for friends, I mean no harm." "Doesn't matter to them, they are a very tight group these days.  I wonder why I put up with it, but they are kin." "They didn't kick you out, did they?"  Roady asks. "No.   They didn't.  I just wanted to get away from them tonight.  They will expect me to rejoin them soon enough I imagine, otherwise they will come looking for me." "Were you hurt bad?  I saw the blood...  "   Roady says,   remembering the feather and hinting upwards with his eyes towards the feather behind his ear. "Oh...  That is mostly healed now I think."  The gray wolf turns to let Roady see the wound. Roady hesitantly moves forward, and cleans the wound with his tongue.  His eyes looking into her eyes, locked in a knowing gaze.  Blushing a little, the female wolf turns towards Roady and thanks him with a lick to the chin. "Thanks" she says.  "So, where is your pack?" The dreaded question that Roady didn't want to hear.  "I...  Am alone." "No pack?  Then where did you come from?" "I had a pack.  But...   don't anymore." "What happened." She asks. A tear comes to Roady's eye, as he lowers his head and turns away, ashamed.  Looking back at her after a minute Roady clears his throat, "I was out playing with my kin.  We had seen humans hunting in the area, but...  that is normal, so we avoided them."  Roady hesitated, "But, today, they were not hunting deer." "Oh gosh..." "When my brother and sister, and I got back to the den.  We found blood, but they were gone."  Roady continued,  his eyes wet.  "My brother and sister were both very mad, and chased after the humans, following their scent trail.  I stayed at the den."   He sighs,  "Never saw them again either...    Eventually I decided to wander off on my own,  too many memories there." "I'm so sorry...   That is terrible." "I should of gone with them, maybe they would of been okay...  I could of helped."  Roady cries, sitting down, turning his face away from the other wolf,  "But no, I was a coward.  I let my kin down." Circling around beside Roady, the other wolf tucks her nose under Roadys chin and lifts it a little, looking into his eyes.  "No...    It wasn't your fault." A twig snaps in the underbrush nearby, causing both wolves to look.  Seeing nothing, Roady stands up, as the other wolf prowls closer to the treeline.  The breeze coming off the lake, making it impossible to try to capture a scent.  Roady and the other wolf approach the treeline, sniffing the ground along the brush. "Ah" Says the other wolf, "it was just that silly Panther." having caught Angelina's scent.  Roady comes over to confirm, sniffing near the other wolf's nose, catching a wiff of Angelina's scent.  "Have you met Angelina yet?" She asks Roady. Nodding, Roady replies, "Yes, I have." "What is your name anyhow?" She asks, "Roady." He replies, still sniffling. "I am Sooleawa." She replies, "Nice feather by the way."  As she blushes a little. "Oh...   Yeah it is!" "So, what are your plans Roady? Passing through, or staying in the Valley?" "Well, I do like it over here on the West side of the lake.  I get the impression that your pack claims the North end of the lake, and probably much more?" Roady asks. "We do, and also the mountain, and valley on the other side to the North." She says, looking to the North, the large silhouette of the mountain barely visible against the partly cloudy night sky.   "There is some good hunting up in those hills.  But sometimes the boys get a little carried away." Sooleawa replies. "I would like to stay" Roady continues, "I have found some nice areas.  But then again, it's likely too close to your pack." "Nice areas?" Sooleawa asks, "Like?" "I found a hotspring,  I still need to explore it however.  It isn't too far away." "Want to show me?" Sooleawa asks, murring softly. Roady considers Sooleawas request, "Well, I wouldn't want you telling the rest of your pack where it is..." "I won't, I promise" Hesitantly, Roady begins leading Sooleawa up a small hill, and then along a game trail.  Passing a rocky ledge, which Roady remembers howling from earlier, he knows that they are heading in the right direction.  Sooleawa follows quietly.  After a while, Roady enters the glen.  Turning, he says "Well this is the place." She walks around Roady, and sits down by the pond, taking it all in.  "I like it." Roady smiles, "I thought you might." Sooleawa blushes a little, and looks away, pretending to be distracted.  "It would be a good spot for a Den.  Warm water, and the snow probably melts away around the pond." Roady looks around, realizing he hasn't even thought about shelter in the last week.  Approaching a large old tree, he begins to dig under its roots. "What are you doing?" Sooleawa asks. "Digging a Den." "I am sure that can wait.  Come sit with me." Roady digs a few more pawfuls, then pauses and walks over to Sooleawa, and sits beside her, next to the water.  Grinning slightly, he looks over at her.  "I do enjoy it here." Sooleawa smiles. "So what does Sooleawa mean anyhow?" Roady asks, "Silver" Sooleawa replies, nodding her head down so Roady can see her silver highlights in her fur. Roady wants to tell her how pretty she looks.  But before he can, a crashing is heard behind them in the underbrush. Roady and Sooleawa both get to their feet and turn to look, just as a large gray wolf comes flying through the air and tackles Roady.  Roady tumbles with the gray wolf, and hits his head on a rock.  Going limp, Roady lay where he rolls to a stop, strewn about the ground.  The gray wolf gets up and looks at Roady, growling fiercely, but is pounced on by Sooleawa, "Taima, Stop!" she growls, as she lunges at his neck to bring him down.  A second gray wolf pounces on Sooleawa, and a third gray wolf stands aside. The third gray wolf,  older and wiser looking, with many beads in his fur, and several feathers and other decorations adorning his body, growls at all 3 of his pack members.  "Enough!"   The other 3 stop, and look at the older wolf.  Sooleawa speaks up, "I am sorry Kachinahey, I didn't mean to run off like that...  I promise..." "Silence!" Kachinahey roars.   "You have caused enough trouble tonight.  Taima, Nodin, return to the packlands.  Sooleawa, you walk with me."

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