Seeking Siblings

                                        By Sharon D. Go (c) 2001


It was like a dream, a long one she could not wake from. It all started when Snowbear looked into the deep hazel brown eyes of Daggersharp, and 
heard "Lava" echo in the depths of her soul. She had never known that recognition could lead to such happiness. She could feel the new life 
stirring inside her. She was troubled, though. Talltracker and his brother Quickthrust were slowly working up to a challenge for being Chief of the Holt. Those troll-cursed Humans were slowly forcing them into hiding, and limiting their hunting grounds. They were being forced to live on their stores, and what little 
the gatherers could forage in the hours of darkness. The tension between Quickthrust and Talltracker came to head in an argument over how to deal with the humans. Talltracker, taking a much more offensive position. Quickthrust was cautious, keeping the welfare of those who would be unable to fight in mind. Talltracker lost his patience with Quickthrust and dared  to challenge him for leadership.
A warning howl echoed from the Holt's perimeter as the elvin bond open sent, **The Humans are attacking!**
What followed changed the sweet dream into a nightmare. Humans poured into the holt. The snarl of wolves, battle cries of both elves and Humans; and 
screams of pain and dying deafened Snowbear. Daggersharp was out of sight. **LAVA** now lock-sent in terror, even as she reached for her weapon. From her side, came a blood curdling snarl, and she felt a heavy weight slam against her. Snowbear fell to her side, and instinctively rolled away. 
When she looked up, her bond had a Human armed with a metal sword by the wrist, her huge jaws working as she tried to break the bone. The human's 
howl of outraged pain spurred her to action. She leapt to her feet and went to fight at her bond's side. A second howl of rage came from behind her as 
she heard Daggersharp coming up behind her. Dagger's bond, running fast leapt and stuck the human full in the chest. As the Human fell to the 
ground, Snow's bond lost her hold on his arm. The human, his arm now freed sliced her bond nearly in half. The wolf suddered, gave one last difiant 
snarl before falling to the ground, dead. Dagger's bond had the Human by the throat and blood sprayed everywhere as his teeth pierced the invader's 
Dagger had his arms around Snowbear and was dragging her away from the battle scene, **Come, let softpaws guard out backs.** Daggersharp and 
Snowbear worked through the horrible battle, trying to help packmates when they could. They could hear Softpaw's gasps, and whimpers as he tried to 
keep up. Daggersharp slowed and started to turn back to check on his bond. Softpaw bared his teeth and snarled at the recognized couple.
**GO, FLEE, NEW LIFE MUST LIVE,** Softpaw open-sent. To his bond, he lock-sent, **Go brother. I pass in glory, defending my pack, and 
territory.** The wolf turned akwardly and attacked a human attempting to flank Daggersharp and Snowbear.
Daggersharp's eyes filled with unshed tears as he raised his head and gave a howl of loss, and anger. **We must do as Softpaw said. Our cub must live.**Snowbear and Dagger were nearing the edges of the holt's perimeter when they were confronted by two humans in mortal combat with three wolves. The wolves were not familiar to Daggersharp, but he had to admire the fury of their perfectly concerted attacks. They started to go around the battle 
when Snow and Dagger spotted another human sneaking up behind the wolves, armed with bow and arrow. Snowbear didn't hesitate, just raised her weapon 
and charged the unsuspecting archer. Daggersharp was only a step behind her, a battle howl rising in his throat. One of the Humans battling the 
three wolves managed to alert the archer.The archer dropped his bow, and drew his sword. Snowbear, being in the lead received a shallow slash to her shoulder. Daggersharp closed with the attacker and sank his dagger into the cursed creature's side. The stab was not a mortal blow, and the Human raected by striking Dagger with the hilt of his sword, sending Dagger rolling. Snowbear saw her mate rolling from the powerful blow. Bloodlust filled her soul, intensified by the wolfsong singing in her blood. She bared her teeth and snarled at the Human, a mad light in her eyes. She charged the human, and at the last minute, threw herself to the ground in a sommersault putting her behind the human. She slashed with her dagger, hamstringing the Human.
The human screamed in pain, and fell to the ground, unable to walk. Snowbear was trying to roll to her feet, but the human swept her feet from beneath her with the flat of his sword. Snowbear fell heavily, her breath knocked from her. Suddenly a deep voiced send filled her ears, **Stay DOWN.** A solid furred form soared over her to land on the Snowbear's opponent. A deep snarl issued between bared teeth as one of the three wolves engaged her enemy with fang and claw. The Human did not last long under the wolf's assault. The wolf, bleeding from many shallow cuts looked at her, **I'm Slowstalker. Climb on. We go find my siblings, and your mate.** Snowbear shakily got to her feet and mounted the wolf who'd saved her.
She could see that one of the other wolves was nuzzling Daggersharp, with sharp insistant yips. Dagger reeled to his feet, and feel across the wolf's 
back. Shadowstalker sent, **My sister, Shadowly will care for your mate. We flee.**She saw the third wolf trotting along beside Daggersharp and Shadowly. Slowstalker sensed her attention, **The third is my sibling, Starfire. We thank you for guarding our backs. We have choosen to stay with you and your mate...and the cub you bear.**Daggersharp, Shadowly, and Starfire caught up with Snowbear and Slowstalker. Dagersharp was pale and sweat beaded his forhead as he clung desperately to his mount's back. Snowbear's bloodlust was waning, though the wolf song rang through her soul, she began to feel the pain from the slash on her shoulder. She sawyed slightly before managing to get a good grip in Slowstalker's ruff. She pressed her good hand against the slash to stem the bleeding. **We have hidden den nearby. A little longer, fair one.**
**Beloved, hold on, just a little longer,** Snowbear sent to Daggersharp.He looked up and gave her a sweetsmile, **Anything for you my only love.**
Slowstalker gave an audible sniff as he picked up Daggersharp's send. Snowbear, too wear, and worried about her cub, missed it. But Starfire 
hadn't. She lock-sent, **Brother, they are mated. Behave yourself. Never having mated yourself, you wouldnt' understand.**
Slowstalker responded in a sad lock-send, **I am sorry, sister.**

The wolves took them to a dark shadow in a rocky overhang. Instead of stopping in the shadow, they wolves moved deeper into the darkness. **Climb 
down. Small hole, need crawl through.** Slowstalker ordered. The exhausted elves slid off their mount's backs and collapsed to their knees. Starfire 
whimpered and nuzzled them.Shadowly open sent, **Warm, dry, safe inside. Follow Starfire.**
Snowbear was first behind Starfire. Daggersharp followed, with Shadowly and Finally Slowstalker entering the den. It was warm and dry. Just large 
enough to be comfortable for the full grown wolves and the injured elves. Starfire moved to the back of the den into the deepest shadows and curled 
up, her tail covering her nose. Snowbear felt tears filling her eyes. Daggersharp took her into his arms and held her tight. Snowbear leaned into 
him, finding comfort in his warmth, and strong arms. He gently stroked her hair, letting her cry out her grief. As he held, her he wondered if his 
family had escaped. He had seen Flamedancer and her bond, Silverstreak sneaking out of the holt a short time before the attack. He had no idea 
where his parents, or Sweetflute had been when the troll-cursed mutts attacked. They fell asleep in eachother's arms.A time later, a cold nose shoved roughly against her cheek. **Wake fair one! Others of your people outside.**

(to be continued.)