Part 8: The Creekbed
Roady follows Chitsa, her tail softly swaying in front of him, as they follow a path down the mountain into the pine forest. The ground changes from damp grass and rock, to soft and quiet pine needles, as they walk under the pine trees. Woodpeckers chip away at trees near by, their knocking and tapping echoing from every direction it seems. Small chipmunks can be seen thru the forest floor, scurrying about. The forest floor not as overly lush with undergrowth as the forests closer to the waters edge.
“I am sorry for causing all this trouble,” Roady says shyly to Chitsa as they walk.
“The trouble started long before you got here my dear.” Chitsa replies,
“What happened?” Roady asks,
“I am not the one to tell that story Roady.” Chitsa says, “And sadly, it no longer matters. The pack is so torn up that it might as well be two packs.”
“Oh,” Roady says, frowning, “Well, I guess that is better then having no pack at all.”
“Some days I wonder Roady, some days I wonder.” Chitsa says, shaking her head slightly from side to side.
Roady ponders the situation as he follows Chitsa further down the ridge. The forest becomes harder to navigate as the pine trees become less and less, and the deciduous trees replace them, causing a thicker underbrush. The rocky ridge they travel beside also fades, lowering into the ground diminishing to a rocky scar in the forest floor. Chitsa leads Roady to the left a little, and down a small hill. The morning mist now mostly burnt off as the forest grows even more dense. Rounding a curve in the lightly traveled path, Chitsa begins to speak, but not to Roady, “Oh Kach? Sorry to disturb you hon, but I have someone who wishes to see you.”
As Roady enters the small clearing he sees Kachinahey sitting by a small rushing creek. The sound of the trickling water, soothing and refreshing to Roady's ears. Kachinahey motions for Roady to sit beside him, and then without a word, nods at Chitsa to leave them. Chitsa bows slightly and returns into the forest.
Roady looks over at Kachinahey, his eyes closed, for a moment Roady even thinks he is asleep. Roady looks down at the rushing water in the small creek before him, and closes his eyes too, letting the peaceful sound fill his body. Moments pass before a word is spoken.
“I like a wolf who respects a peaceful setting.” Kachinahey speaks, still not opening his eyes.
“The creek is quite relaxing.” Roady says softly, glancing over at Kachinahey, and then back down at the water.
A moment passes before Kachinahey speaks again.
“You had quite a night last night, didn't you?” Kachinahey finally opening his eyes, and glancing at Roady.
Roady, unable to hide the bump on his head grins slightly, “Nothing I couldn't shake off.”
Kachinahey smiles a little, and is silent again for another moment.
“So you met Chitsa I see.”
“Yes,” Roady replies, “I wanted to formally introduce myself.”
“A brave move considering some of our pack members tried to kill you last night.” Kachinahey says softly.
Roady nods slightly
“Well, you seem like a strong young wolf.” As Kachinahey inspects him from where he sits. “I understand you lost your pack?”
Frowning slightly, Roady nods, “Yes sir.”
“Sooleawa told me a little about you.” Kachinahey confesses.
“Ah yes, sorry abo...” Roady begins to speak, but is interrupted by Kachinahey.
“Nonsense. Don't be sorry about anything.”
Roady stays silent.
“I think perhaps you were destined to meet her.” Kachinahey says softly.
Roady ponders for a moment. “Maybe.”
“I trust that Chitsa already warned you about Taima and Nodin?”
“Yes, she did.”
Nodding knowingly, Kachinahey pauses for another moment closing his eyes.
“Good.” He says finally, “I will let the other wolves know that you are good in my books.”
“Oh?” Roady replies, surprised.
“Yes. I do not consider you an enemy to my pack.” says Kachinahey , nodding “I will spread the word that you are a friend, and those loyal to me should treat you as a friend as well.”
“Wow,” Roady says in disbelief, “I am honored Kachinahey.”
“You have proven your self worthy in my eyes Roady.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Return to your den site for now Roady, for it is still not safe for you here in our land. I will need time to ensure that all my pack knows that you are a friend.”
Roady gets up and turns to Kachinahey, bowing slightly “It is an honor to earn your trust Kachinahey.”
Kachinahey nods and smiles “The honor is mine.”
Roady turns and heads down a trail towards the lake, navigating his way back to his familiar hot spring. Passing the power line he had passed before, he realizes he is going the right way. Jumping down a ravine from rock to rock, he travels quickly, suddenly feeling full of energy and life. Still unaware of exactly where he is in the forest, he begins to pick up a scent. Sniffing, he begins to prowl, stalking through the underbrush quietly.