Wolves of the Skies

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Wolves of the Skies

Post by WolfTrek on Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:59 pm



 


Wolves


of the


Skies


 





- Introduction -

Deep in the heart of the wilderness, in a vast valley in a mountain range far beyond the reach of humans, lives a pack of winged wolves - The Crystal Falls pack. These wolves, isolated from the outside world, have long lived in relative peace and tranquility. But recently, there have been a series of strange events... all pointing toward another upstart pack that shares the valley. These wolves, dubbed "the Dark-Hearts" by the Crystal Falls pack, are not bound by any code of honor - they are aggressive and don't follow the time-honored ways set by the original pack that still calls Crystal Valley home. They fight for power, and will kill to get it. Will the Crystal Falls wolves succumb to this threat, or will they take back what's rightfully theirs?


This is their story. And it's your job to write it.






News





10th of September, 2016- The plotting page has been completed and the first roleplay post has been made - I look forward to getting back into the swing of things!  Also, I have (once again - I apologize!) changed the initiate stage to 4-12 moons.  I have also decided to increase the senior subordinate starting age from 5 cycles to 6 cycles - I thought it more appropriate given how long the wolves live.


26th of August, 2016- The roleplay page has been remade, hopefully for a final, more permanent time!  Since several members, including Moonfire, Shadewind, Kaworubunga, and Frozenpool, have not made the transition over to these forums, their characters will be killed off in the upcoming battle.  Until then, they will remain as background characters.






Present


Conditions





Season: Early Fall (September)
Moon Cycle: Waxing Crescent
Time of Day: Late Afternoon
Weather: Sunny and fairly warm
Forecast: Clear skies
Prey: Elk and bison herds are beginning to migrate further east in the valley.
Upcoming Events: N/A


Other Notes:   • About three cycles ago, previous Chief Elan set an agreement with the Dark-Hearts, granting them the Lowlands and most of the Evergreens for their hunting grounds.  Both packs were to be allowed to use all four of the elemental training grounds.  This agreement still stands with Keinan as the new Chief; however, in recent moons, the Dark-Hearts seem to be keen on expanding their borders beyond their granted territory...






Info and FAQs





What is a winged wolf?


The winged wolves of the valley look much like normal wolves in other parts of the world; however, their legs are generally longer, they have more lean muscle, particularly around their chests and shoulders to support their wings, and are usually more slender and graceful in appearance.  They are also about 50% larger than an average wolf, but they weigh about a third of what a normal wolf of their size would, due to their hollow bones and slighter build.  Weight for males is generally between 60-80 pounds, while females weigh less, at around 50-70 pounds.  Allegro is currently our heaviest wolf, at 87 pounds.  Their wings are long, wide, and graceful, with notched primary feathers, like most birds of prey.  Their shape is something of a cross between the broad, squared-off shape of a hawk or eagle wing, and the longer, more narrow and pointed shape of a falcon or gull, though they are quite a bit longer than they are wide - giving them a bit of an albatross look - to fit alongside the wolf better when folding.  All in all, they are efficient in providing plenty of lift while still allowing for quite a bit of speed and maneuverability.  When fully extended, the wings are normally a little less than twice the body length of the wolf from base to tip, and the secondary feathers come to rest at a point on the flank just before the hips start.  When folded, the secondary feathers typically extend a few inches past the rump, while the primary feathers are a bit more variable in length between individuals, but usually extend about a foot past the rump.  Wingspans for males typically range from 18-24 feet, while those of females are generally 16-22 feet.  The pelts and wings of the wolves come in all sorts of various colors, from blacks and browns to pure whites and anything in between.  Eye color is similar - most of nature's naturally-occurring eye colors are featured, including yellow, orange, amber-red, blue, green, and brown.
        The wolves are reproductively mature by age three, and females come into heat twice a year - once in early to mid-winter (December-January), and again in late spring/early summer (May-June).  However, a female wolf may only bear one litter per year. The gestation period is about three moons.  Pups are born in early to mid spring (March-April) and late summer/early fall (August-September). Litter size is usually two to three pups, sometimes just one, though occasionally a mother will give birth to four pups; however, with this number, complications during birth are not unusual.  A litter consisting of five or more pups is very rare and almost always results in complications during pregnancy and/or birth.  Puppies are born blind, deaf, and with a short, fuzzy coat of fur and wings covered only with a light, fluffy down, which is usually a similar color as their pelt.  They are completely dependent on their mother for survival.  They open their eyes and ears at around 10 days, and begin to crawl around more at about two weeks. By three weeks, they begin to walk clumsily to the entrance of the den, and will venture outside under the careful watch of the mother and other pack members at around a moon of age.  By six weeks, they begin eating solid food and are seen frequently playing and bounding around outside of their den during the day, but still stay in their den at night until about their third moon, by which time they are fully weaned.  Their down is replaced by pre-flight feathers at two moons, which are a bit more colorful.  Their true, flight-capable feathers, with their full, vibrant colors, will begin to grow in when the pup is nearing its fourth moon.  Pups are not capable of any sort of flight until these feathers are fully developed, once they've passed their fourth moon and become initiates.
        The winged wolves live for much longer than their wingless cousins.  Unless killed by some outside source or disease, average lifespan for the wolves is around 18-20 years; however, a few lucky wolves have lived to be around 25 years of age.


What are the ranks?


There are two packs that reside within Crystal Valley: the Crystal Falls Pack - the original pack - and the Dark-Hearts - a rival gang of aggressive wolves bent on taking over the valley.  These two packs have two drastically different ranking systems, which are described as follows:


~Crystal Falls Pack~



  • Chief- Leader of the pack.  Oversees the performance of the Firstwolf and Secondwolf and makes decisions with their input.  Must be at least 5 cycles old.

  • Firstwolf- Second in command; in charge of hunts and battles, as well as border patrols, etc.  Must be at least 4 cycles old.

  • Secondwolf- Third in command; in charge of pup-sitting, initiate training, and choosing mentors.  Must be at least 4 cycles old.

  • The Seers- Wolves born with the innate ability to speak to the ancestors and interpret signs in nature.  They also have some medical training.  They are free to take a mate and have pups, though it is not unheard-of for wolves with this ability to also be barren.  Wolves with the "Seeing" ability do not have to become Seers, and, occasionally, a wolf not born with the ability can develop and hone it through practice.  Seers are full members of the pack and train in normal initiate skills as well as healing and spiritual communication, and they will join the other wolves in the hunt and assist in battle.

  • Senior Subordinates- The bulk of the pack, over the age of 6 cycles.

  • Junior Subordinates- The bulk of the pack, between 1 and 6 cycles of age.

  • Initiates- Upstart wolves between the age of 4 and 12 moons.  Pups 4-6 moons are mainly trained in areas such as flying, agility, and basic hunting techniques.  After that, fighting techniques, powers, and more advanced hunting is focused on.  Initiates are not allowed in battle until they are at least 8 moons old.

  • Den-mothers- Female wolves caring for or expecting pups.  Wolves do not become reproductively mature until they are at least 3 cycles old.

  • Pups- Young wolves from birth to 4 moons of age.

  • Elders- Wolves 15 cycles or older, or otherwise incapable of the hunt.


~The Dark-Hearts~



  • Leader- Encompasses the roles of Chief, Firstwolf, and Secondwolf.  This wolf holds supreme control over all the wolves under him or her.

  • High-Ranking Subordinate- The strongest and most dominant of the subordinates.  At least 12 moons of age.

  • Mid-Ranking Subordinates- The bulk of the pack.  Not as dominant as the high-ranking subordinates, but more so than the low-ranking subordinates.  At least 12 moons of age.

  • Low-Ranking Subordinates- The lowest-ranking and least dominant of the subordinates, these wolves are often cowed and used by the higher-ranking Dark-Hearts as a means to take out their aggression.  They are often less dominant than many of the initiates and pups.  At least 12 moons of age.

  • Initiates- Upstart wolves between the age of 4 and 12 moons.

  • Pups- Young wolves from birth to 4 moons of age.


        Within the valley, there also exist outsiders to both packs. They live on their own, in pairs, or in small family groups.  These wolves have not allied themselves with either side and generally keep their distance; however, the Dark-Hearts have taken to harassing and even forcibly assimilating these wolves into their ranks - especially pups - and killing them if they refuse to cooperate, so life within Crystal Valley has become dangerous for them.


How does initiate training work?


The Secondwolf is the main teacher of the pack's offspring.  He or she typically chooses a small group of 'helpers', or mentors, depending on the number of pups, which are specifically chosen by the Secondwolf to ensure good chemistry between the mentors and initiates.  These mentors aid the Secondwolf in training the initiates.  There are usually just as many mentors as there are initiates, but occasionally there will be an extra mentor to help the Secondwolf supervise training, or one wolf will mentor two initiates.  Each initiate tends to bond with one mentor, and this mentor is the one that works most frequently with that particular initiate, though all the mentors and initiates train together, as well.
        The first thing a young wolf must learn is how to fly.  The Secondwolf often begins by taking new initiates to a small hill or shallow cliff edge, having the youngsters practice gliding down from increasingly higher places.  Once a young initiate feels comfortable in the air and has learned some basic steering and balancing skills, power flight from these cliffs and hills will begin.  The initiates must learn how to keep themselves aloft in the air.  The last step is power flight from ground position - first, the young wolves are allowed to run to get up to speed before flapping off, but later on, they are urged to attempt to lift off from a standstill.
        Agility is another important skill learned early on in an initiate's training.  Racing, games of tag, play fights, and toss are all fun activities that can improve agility and stamina.  Fala in particular enjoyed games of tag when she was young.  Young initiates between the ages of four and six moons are taught basic hunting skills by the Secondwolf, using such things as deer legs to simulate kicks.  The young wolves must learn how to avoid the dangerous and potentially deadly hooves before they take on the real thing. Next comes small game hunting - creatures such as squirrels, mice, and hares are either cornered or captured alive by the Secondwolf and his/her helpers and deposited before the youngsters so that they may learn how to chase, pounce, and deliver the killing blow.  It is only when the initiates reach their seventh moon that they are allowed to participate in a real hunt for big game.
        Power training is one of the more difficult areas of training.  Young wolves generally practice their powers frequently throughout their time as an initiate.  Young initiates are first taken to all four of the elemental circles and told to focus on the energy present; these circles channel the energy of their element (i.e., the Water Circle channels Water energy) and frequently help a wolf to discover which element his or her particular power controls.  Once an initiate's element is found, their mentor will frequently bring them back to their element's circle to help them discover and practice their individual power.






Map and


Locations of


Interest





- Map Here -
- Locations -



Avalanche Passage- A winding passage in the mountain range. It's icy year round, with the exception of summer.  As the name suggests, avalanches are common in this area, and mudslides are a frequent occurrence in late spring and summer, due to ice melt.  This path is high in the mountains, and if the mud and snow doesn't kill you, the fall certainly will.  The wolves have always avoided this passage, which is one reason they hardly meet wolves outside the valley.  Avalanche Passage is, however, still the safest way to the opposite side of the mountain, because flying over would be nearly impossible due to constant bad weather conditions, and climbing over is far longer and more dangerous.


Crystal Falls- A medium-sized waterfall, for which the Crystal Falls pack is named after. This waterfall takes its own name from the crystals found within the Cave of Dancing Colors, deep in the mountain face nearby.  It fuels the river which runs through the valley.  It often freezes over in harsh winters and floods in the spring, due to snow melt.  The water is crisp and clear, yet understandably cold.  A pool branching off near the base of the Falls (the Crystal Pool) is good for swimming, and many practice water elemental powers here.


Snow Peak- Perhaps the highest point on the mountain the wolves can reach, but only by flying.  Climbing up would be reckless due to the slippery ice often found here, unless it's summer.


The Whispering Circle- Located on Snow Peak, high in the mountains, there is a circle of large stones.  It resembles Stonehenge, with some of the massive stones toppled over on top of each other, while others remain standing.  The constant wind which blows through here creates a whispering sound.  It is said that those who focus hard enough can hear music in the whispers.  This location is sacred to those with Sky powers, and they often practice here.


The Drop-Off- A place high up in the mountains.  It's a steep cliff, a straight fall to your death.  Considering it's often hard to see up there, it's taken many unsuspecting victims.  Some wolves say that it's a never-ending drop, due to the fact that the bottom is impossible to make out from the edge.


The Cave of Dancing Colors- Also high up in the mountains, close to the Crystal Falls, this is where the Seers go every half-moon to speak to the Spirits.  It's a medium-sized cave, about 5 wingspans in diameter, deep inside the face of the mountain.  A small hole in the roof allows the moonlight to filter in and reflect and refract off of a cluster of multi-colored crystals near the center of the cave, which causes colorful patterns to dance on the cave's smooth walls.  The presence of the Spirits is strong here, and there is a constant whispering of many voices.  Only the Seers truly know how to interpret the color patterns and make out what the Spirits are saying... though some wolves of strong faith can hear some of the Spirits' messages, if they listen hard enough.  All initiates are required to visit the Cave once, sometime before they reach their 15th moon of age.


Chanting Hill- A low plateau that lies in the mountains, you can get here by walking up a wide, gently-inclined, winding path through the mountain range.  The wolves go to this small field at the full moon to howl their praises to the Spirits and celebrate the successes of the past moon with song and play.  A joyful place, surrounded on three sides by high mountain peaks, with pine trees, sweet-smelling wildflowers, and boulders to climb, play, and rest on.


The Evergreens- A wide stretch of pines at the base of the mountains.  Berry bushes are plentiful here, which provide a tasty treat, along with several types of useful herbs.


The Forest Circle- In a large clearing in The Evergreen Forest, there is a circle of stones, similar to those found on Snow Peak.  Moss is abundant among these rocks, and various plants have woven themselves amongst them.  It's said that, when one focuses enough, he or she can hear the beat of the Earth here.  This location is sacred to those with Earth powers, and they often practice here.


The Plains- Located at the base of the mountains, stretching between Sun Canyon and the Evergreens.  This vast plateau is a good place for hunting, as it is nearly treeless.  Elk and bison herds frequent this area.


Sun Canyon- A long canyon that cuts a winding path through the Plains.  It gets surprisingly hot, especially in the summer.  There is a narrow, fast-running creek running through it, with frequent sections of rapids, which makes cooling off possible, just dangerous.  Sun Canyon has many dangers, such as crags, ledges, and poisonous snakes.  Loose rock can prove deadly if one takes a wrong step on the edge of the Canyon.


The Sun Circle- Located in Sun Canyon, The Sun Circle is identical to the other circles, except the stones here are more reflective.  When the sun shines on them, it makes them hot to the touch and creates stunning patterns in the reflections.  It is said that if one focuses enough, he or she can see visions in the reflections.  This location is sacred to those with Fire powers.


The River Circle- Located in the shallows of the river that feeds Crystal Falls, The River Circle is identical to the other circles, except the stones are about a foot underwater, making them slippery.  They also have moss growing on them.  It's believed that if one focuses enough, the spirits of the ancestors can be seen in the water.  This place is sacred to those with Water powers, and they often train here.


The Lowlands- In the northeast corner of the valley, on the opposite side from where the pack typically roams, this is a wide, flat expanse of dry, sandy terrain.  It slopes down lower than any other part of the valley, and there is little foliage, except for short grasses and a few sparse trees.  There is also little water here, except for a tiny, trickling stream which ends halfway across the dry expanse, and the weather here tends to be more extreme.  In summer, it's hot and dry, and the sandy areas will burn your paws.  In winter, the snow and frost causes the ground to become frozen and extremely hard.  And, in spring, the snow runoff causes patches of quicksand.  A small herd of pronghorns lives here... but hunting can be treacherous for both predator AND prey.


Aspen Grove - In the southeast corner of the valley lies a grove of aspen trees.  This is a beautiful place, with many wildflowers and a few species of herbs.  White-bark pine trees also grow sparsely here.  These pines provide nutritious seeds for many animals, including the wolves.  When prey is not available, or a special treat is desired, these pine nuts are a delicious option.


The Marshland- In the southern area of the valley lies a stretch of swampy ground, where papyrus, marsh grasses, cattails, and mangrove trees are plentiful, as well as several species of useful herbs.  Otters and beavers can often be found near here, as well as in and around Crystal Lake.


Crystal Lake- In the middle of the Marshland, slightly to the southeast edge, lies a large, deep, cool and clear lake.  This is a great spot for swimming and fishing.  Most of the otters in the valley live here year-round.


Salmon Caves- Carved into the southern mountain range, directly south from the lake, is a series of caverns connected by narrow, winding passageways, collectively known as the Salmon Caves.  The stream the salmon swim up to reach the lake each year flows into these caves, tumbling down in a short waterfall (about a wingspan high) into the wide entrance before flowing through a small passage at the back, with a narrow path running along the right side.  It is a relatively unexplored area, and surrounded by myth.






Relations





- List of Mates and Relationships -


< : First character likes second character
> : Second character likes first character
<> : Both characters like each other
= : Characters are mates
≠ : Characters were mates but broke apart due to death, incompatibility, etc.
Deceased : Character is deceased
?Name? : Character's condition is unknown


MakirMakawee [Children: Oḍeya]
ElanMakawee [Children: Keinan, Chayton]
Nikan = ?Kodra? [Children: Peyhote, Keala]
Akainu ≠ Hätti [Children: Kalake, Two unknown pups]
Tholos = Koilada [Children: Ryyn, Esirinn]
Nodin = Hialeah [Children: Laiko, Elskan]
Wapi = Waneta [Children: Kyynel]
Hae = Makala [Children: Akamai, Eleu]
Korin = Ezera [Children: Yuma, Nascha, Nevinost, Iniki, Kiona]
Leiter = Marikit [Children: Allegro, Maligaya]
Omawnakw = Kolenya [Children: Mikko, Payatt, Litonya]
Keinan ≠ Fala
Chayton ≠ Keala [Children: Acara, Wanook]
Ehu = Awa [Children: Haul]
Koloha ≠ Mikira [Children: Chirin]
Akamai = Kalake [Children: Ari, Aska, Kahili, Chirin (adopted)]
Allegro = Nevinost

Laiko <> Sihti
Elskan <>Muri
Ryyn <> Kyynel




- Mentors and Initiates -


Deceased : Character is deceased
?Name? : Character's condition is unknown


Elan has mentored Fala
Nikan has mentored Chayton
Malaho has mentored Keinan, Laya
Enola has mentored Keala
Muren has mentored Laiko, Elskan, Nakhoda
Keinan has mentored Gayatahi
Chayton has mentored Maligaya
Laya has mentored Sogno
Coquille has mentored Payatt
Hotaka has mentored Wanook
Maligaya has mentored Acara




Last edited by WolfTrek on Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:47 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Re: Wolves of the Skies

Post by WolfTrek on Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:32 pm




Glossary





- Animal Species -


Bald Eagle- A large, predatory bird, the adults are dark brown with a white head and tail feathers, while the juveniles, under 5 cycles of age, are a more solid dark brown.  They mainly hunt for fish, but will also scavenge off of freshly-killed carcasses.  The pack views them with admiration, and they share a mutual respect with the wolves.


Beaver- A large, tawny-colored, bark-eating rodent with long front teeth and a flat, muscular tail.  Most of them build their dams in the lake, though a few choose to live further upstream, which has created some widening in certain parts of the river.  They are sometimes hunted by the wolves during times of scarce prey.


Bison- Massive, thick-skulled animals, they are plentiful in the Plains.  The wolves often prey upon them, but they are strong, dangerous game and require strategy to bring down.  During mating season, the rutting bulls charge each other and hit heads.  The dull crack can be heard echoing for miles around.


Blue Jay- A medium-sized songbird, they are primarily a blue-gray with bright blue wings and tail, gray-white undersides and face, a black 'collar' marking, and black markings in front of the eyes.  They are opportunistic eaters, consuming primarily berries, nuts, and insects, and are quite bold and aggressive, often driving other birds away from food sources.


Bullock's Oriole- A medium-small songbird, the males are primarily a bright orange, with black wings with a white patch, a black tail and 'bib', and black around the eyes extending in a streak to the black crown.  Females are lighter and duller, with gray-brown uppers, pale undersides, pale yellow on the throat and face and under the tail, and an olive crown.  They feed mainly on insects, berries, and nectar.


Canadian Lynx- A smallish, grayish brown, spotted cat with long tufts of ear fur and a great, furry ruff around their face.  They aren't generally seen as a threat and are usually left alone.


Cougar- A large, tawny-colored cat.  One of the main competitors for prey. They are seen as a threat, particularly to pups and younger initiates, though usually prefer to keep to themselves.


Coyote- A smaller cousin of the wolf.  Some wolves see them as pests, especially outsiders - competitors for prey and a possible danger to pups.  However, many individuals are very respectful, even fearful, of the wolves, and much prefer to keep their distance.  Some individuals can prove to be a threat to young pups.


Crow- A medium-sized, pure black bird.  They will eat just about anything, from berries to mice.  Though they prefer fresh meat, they have no qualms about eating carrion.  They often guide the wolves to prey by circling above injured animals or freshly-deceased game.


Elk- A plentiful relative of the deer, often found in the Plains.  They come into the valley in spring to calve and leave in the fall. Frequently hunted by the wolves.


Golden Eagle- Large, golden-brown bird of prey, slightly smaller than the bald eagle.  Though they typically prey on smaller creatures such as mice, squirrels, and hares, they have enough power to take on small deer or even, very rarely, coyotes.  They are admired by the pack, and treat the wolves with respect in return.


Grizzly Bear- Large, brown bear with very long claws.  Very dangerous, especially to pups and younger initiates.


House Sparrow- A small, seed-eating bird.  Females are primarily mottled brown above and gray-buff below, while males are more boldly colored, with a reddish back, grayish underparts, and bold facial markings which include a gray crown, chestnut red flanking the crown on either side of the head, and black around the beak, under the eyes, and on the throat.


Kestrel- A small falcon, they have primarily chestnut brown plumage with black spots on the upperside and black remiges, and a cream-brown chest with brownish streaks.  Females have more black spots than the males, which additionally have a blue-gray head and tail.  They hunt primarily in grassy areas by either hovering or searching from a perch, and then swooping swiftly down upon their prey.  They consume mainly small rodents, but also occasionally lizards, small birds, and even invertebrates.


Margay- A smallish, brown-furred cat with rows of dark blackish rosettes.  They are remarkably agile, with extremely flexible ankles, and are excellent tree-climbers.  They mostly prey on birds, eggs, small mammals, and reptiles.  Though they are not native to Crystal Valley, they are relatively common in other, more lowland valleys, most notably Quartz Beach.


Mockingbird- Medium-sized dusty brown-gray birds with long legs and tails and orange eyes.  Their white wing markings make them easy to identify in flight.  They are well-known for their ability to almost perfectly copy the songs of other birds.


Moose- A very large relative of the deer with great, broad antlers and hanging dewlaps of skin on their throats.  Dangerous game, but provide plenty of sweet-tasting meat.


Pronghorn- A medium-sized antelope, these creatures are good to eat but extremely swift.  There are two small herds in the valley - one lives in the Plains, while the other resides on the other side of the valley, in the harsh Lowlands.  The animals in the Lowlands are tougher, stronger, and more resilient than those in the Plains, making them more difficult to catch.


Raven- A medium-sized, black bird that both scavenges and hunts.  They are very similar to crows, but larger and have a deeper 'rock' call, unlike a crow's distinctive 'caw'.  Like crows, they often lead the wolves to weak or recently deceased prey.


Red Squirrel- A small rodent that lives in trees.  Typically ignored by the wolves, as they provide barely a mouthful of meat, but they are frequently hunted by the eagles and lynx, and can sometimes tide a starving wolf over until bigger game can be found.


Red Fox- Smallish, wolf-like creatures with long, fluffy tails, they typically hunt mice in fields and snow.  Some can be pesky, while others ignore the wolves and typically stay out of trouble.


Red-Tailed Hawk- A large hawk with mottled brown and cream plumage, they are characterized by the adults' reddish tails.  They are opportunistic hunters and will prey on small mammals, songbirds, and reptiles.  They share a mutual respect with the pack wolves.


River Otter- Medium-sized, long-bodied, dark brown creatures.  They are playful, rambunctious, and quite intelligent.  They are friends of the wolves and it is against wolf morals to prey upon them.  The Dark-Hearts, however, do not follow this moral code, and in recent cycles the otters have become wary of all wolves that they do not know well.


Salmon- A large fish that swims down the rapids from the distant ocean to spawn in the rivers of the valley.  They're good to eat for those skilled enough to catch them, but are also the grizzly bears' favored prey, so riverside hunting spots are highly-prized and dangerous conflicts often arise.


Snowshoe Hare- A small, fleet-footed animal with long ears and a short tail.  In summer, the pelt is a tan-brown; in winter, it's almost pure white, with slight bits of black on the ears.  They are often hunted by eagles, coyotes, and lynx, but larger animals, including the wolves, will consume them as well.


Starling- Medium-sized, stout-bodied songbirds with black-brown iridescent plumage that can shine green or purple depending on the light.  Each feather is tipped with white on the body and face and brown on the wings, head, and shoulders, giving them a speckled appearance.  They are extremely gregarious, and often form large, very noisy flocks, able to mimic just about any sound they hear.  However, their aerial displays are a miraculous sight to behold.


Steller's Jay- Medium-sized songbirds with a blue-gray body, black head, and bright blue wings and tail.  They have a pronounced feather crest, blue streaks on the forehead, and a white marking above each eye.  They are omnivorous, eating just about anything, from nuts and seeds to insects and small rodents, and even nestlings of other small birds.


Swainson's Hawk- A medium-sized hawk with mottled dark browns, rusts, and cream undersides, and also commonly a white 'bib'.  Though they prefer to eat insects such as dragonflies and grasshoppers, they are opportunistic hunters and also prey on small mammals, small birds, and reptiles.  They have a mutual respect with the pack.


Western Meadowlark- A medium-sized songbird with grayish brown uppersides streaked with black, black-streaked white flanks, and bold yellow undersides with a black 'v' marking on the chest.  They are mainly insectivorous, but will also feed on seeds and berries.


White-Tailed Deer- A medium-sized deer which the wolves frequently prey upon. 




- Plants & Herbs -


Aloe Vera- A low-lying, thick-leaved desert plant.  The gel-like juices found in the leaves are good for soothing burns and scrapes, as well as moisturizing dry and cracked paw pads.  This plant is found only in the Lowlands.


Aspen- A fairly small tree with white bark and round-ish, green leaves that turn gold in fall, they are scattered sparsely across the valley.  However, there is a large cluster of them in the southeast corner of the valley - a place known as Aspen Grove.


Blackberry- A sweet, dark-colored berry which grows on a medium-sized bush.  They're good to eat, and many animals, including the wolves, will consume them when other food is unavailable, or just as a tasty treat.  Blackberry bushes are found primarily in the Evergreens, though there are also a few bushes in Aspen Grove and scattered along the riverside.  There are also several bushes on Chanting Hill.


Borage- Distinguished by it's hairy leaves and small, star-shaped flowers, which can be either bright blue or purplish in color, consuming the leaves and roots of this plant helps to bring down fever.  Its seeds and leaves are also good for increasing the milk supply of den-mothers.  It is found most commonly in the Evergreens and Aspen Grove.


Burdock- In the thistle family, this plant has tall stems and dark leaves.  It has a strong, easily-distinguished smell and large, fat roots.  The roots can be chewed up and applied to wounds to keep infection away, and the leaves can be chewed and applied to wounds clear of infection to speed up the healing process.  It can be found in Aspen Grove and near the edge of the Evergreens, bordering the Plains.


Coltsfoot- This is a small, flowering plant, which looks somewhat like a dandelion.  It can have yellow or white flowers.  Its leaves can be eaten to help reduce shortness of breath.  It is found most commonly in the Lowlands, but can also be located in the dry, loamy soil of the mountains.


Comfrey- This plant has large, long leaves and clusters of pink, white, or purple bell-shaped flowers.  The roots can be chewed into a paste and applied to wounds to help soothe them, as well as spread over a broken bone to help it in healing.  This plant is found in the Marshlands.


Feverfew- A smallish bush with daisy-like flowers, the leaves of this herb can be eaten to reduce fever or chills, and can also boost the immune system.  Don't give to pregnant mothers - however, it can be used during labor to stimulate contractions.  This is located most often in sparsely-forested areas and on the Plains, but also on Chanting Hill.


Juniper- This is a large, evergreen bush with dark-colored, needle-like leaves.  The dark, purple-colored berries can be eaten to soothe bellyaches, and, when consumed, the leaves can help to ease breathing and reduce coughs, as well as strengthen the immune system.  It shouldn't be eaten by pregnant or nursing mothers, but can be used during labor to stimulate delivery of pups.  Bushes of this plant are found in the Evergreens and Aspen Grove, close to the dry, rocky soil of the mountains, as well as growing sparsely in the Lowlands.


Lavender- A small, flowering plant with tall clusters of purple flowers, the leaves can be eaten to soothe the throat and stop nausea, vomiting, and convulsions.  The unique scent helps to calm the nerves and reduce stress.  The juice can be rubbed on areas to reduce inflammation and calm painful joints and muscles, and dabbed on the forehead to ease headaches and fever.  This plant is found most often in sparse forested areas, but can also be found on the Plains.  It is especially common on Chanting Hill.


Marigold- Also called calendula, this is a small plant with oblong green leaves and many-petaled, orange-yellow flowers.  The flowers are frequently used in a poultice to help heal cuts, scrapes, bruises and other minor wounds or soothe the itch or sting of insect bites, as well as to decrease inflammation.  They can also be ingested to soothe stomach cramps, but should not be consumed by pregnant females.  This plant can be found throughout the Plains and in meadowy areas within sparse forest, as well as on Chanting Hill.


Poppy- A bright orange-red flower, the seeds of this plant can be consumed to induce sleep, help with pain, and calm the nerves.  The entire flower heads can be consumed to help with coughs, and the petals and leaves can be chewed to improve sleep.  It can be located on The Plains, as well as in the Lowlands and on Chanting Hill.


Snakeroot- A fairly tall plant with large leaves and clusters of small white flowers near the top of the plant.  The roots can be eaten in small amounts to aid fevers and diarrhea, and can be chewed up and applied to snakebites to draw out the venom.  Consuming too much of this plant can cause weakness and nausea.  You can find it in areas with sparse vegetation, such as on the edges of forests, as well as in thickets and on the edge of the Marshlands.


Tansy- Easily distinguished by its feathery, dark green leaves and clusters of round, bright yellow flowers.  Its flowers can cure coughs and the leaves can be chewed to relieve aches, but it must be used only in small doses, as it is toxic.  NEVER give tansy to a pregnant female, as it can cause miscarriage.  It grows on the edges of the tree lines, as well as in sparse clusters of trees or clearings in the forest.


Thyme- A short, strong-smelling green plant with numerous woody stems and flattish round leaves that grow in pairs.  It flowers in summer, with the small, bluish purple flowers growing in clusters.  Can be used to aid in anxiety and help bring on sleep.  It can also repel insects.  Should not be used by pregnant females, as it can cause miscarriage.  It grows in the Plains and the Lowlands.


Watermint- A green, leafy plant, this can be fed to individuals suffering from bellyache.  It can be found in the Marshlands, as well as in the shallows of the Lake and the streams and rivers of the valley.


Whitebark Pine- A tall evergreen with soft needles, the nuts of this tree are a very important food source for many animals, such as bears, birds, and squirrels.  Also a tasty and nutritious treat for the wolves.  There are small patches of these endangered trees scattered across the valley, most notably in Aspen Grove, the Evergreens, and near Avalanche Passage.  There are also a few trees near the entrance to and on Chanting Hill.


Willow- A medium-sized tree with long, thin branches that droop down.  The small leaves are a grayish green color.  The flaky bark can be eaten in small doses to ease pain, lower inflammation, and help with diarrhea and fever.  These trees grow most often in the Marshlands, as well as near rivers and streams.


Yarrow- A fern-like plant with soft, grayish, feathery leaves.  It can be consumed to induce vomiting, or chewed and applied to wounds to relieve pain and prevent infection.  It grows in sparse forested areas, such as at the edge of the trees or in clearings in Aspen Grove or the Evergreens.




- Pack Terms & Other Words -


Alula- Plural, alulae.  The 'thumb feathers', attached to the pollex - the first digit of the wing.  These feathers are normally held flush against the topside of the wing, but can be spread outwards to create more lift and thus slow flight.  They are especially helpful when landing.  The number of feathers that make up the alula varies between bird species, though there are generally between three and five.  The winged wolves have four alula feathers.


Ancestors- The spirits of those wolves who have crossed over and joined the Great Link.  The wolves look to them for guidance, particularly during difficult times.


Bear-Dung- An expression of frustration.  Can also be used as an insult.  Stronger word than rabbit-dung.


Coverts- The smaller feathers of the wing that form the smooth, aerodynamic shape.  There are several layers - the closer to the wing bones, the smaller the feathers become.  On top of the wing, the coverts together are known as 'upperwing coverts'.  Several layers make up the upperwing coverts.  The 'primary coverts', or the first layer of coverts above the primary remiges, are the largest.  The remainder of the first layer of coverts, above the secondary remiges, are called 'secondary coverts'. The next layer, on top of the secondary coverts, is made up of 'median coverts'.  The several smaller layers of coverts above these are known as 'marginal coverts'.  On the underside of the wing, the coverts are known as 'underwing coverts'.  The layers correspond to the layers of the upperwing coverts, but are less distinct.  The 'axillaries' are the coverts closest to the body, and overlap the base of the wing.


Feather-Brain- An insulting term for a less-than-intelligent individual.  When one makes a bad decision or acts foolishly, they are often said to be feather-brained.


Great Link- The great swath of stars in the sky, where all the Spirits of those who have passed on reside.  The most honorable of wolves will typically quickly find their way to the link, usually with the help of a close friend or family member who has already passed.  However, some others may have a bit more difficulty, and may wander around on the Earth as pure energy for some time before making their way to the Link.  Those who have committed crimes, and have never redeemed themselves, will have to pass many tests to be accepted, or may never find their way at all and remain Earthbound for all of eternity.


Moon- A month.  A quarter moon equals a week, and a half moon is equal to two weeks.


Moonhigh- When the moon is at its highest point in the sky, usually midnight.


Primaries- The first ten flight feathers (or remiges) of the wing, these attach to the wing's 'hand', or manus.  Sometimes, they are 'notched', meaning that, about three-quarters of the way down the feather, it cuts in toward the feather shaft before turning down once more, causing a more pointed tip to the feather.  This notch is present in most birds of prey, as well as the wolves, and helps with maneuvering.


Pup-Down- The fuzzy feathers covering the wings of young pups.  Can also be used as an insult - individuals who act irrationally are often said to have a head full of pup-down.


Rabbit-Dung- An expression of frustration.  Can also be used as an insult.


Remiges- Singular, remex.  The primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries together.  They are also collectively referred to as 'flight feathers'.


Season Cycle- Term for a year.  Also just called cycles.


Secondaries- The remainder of the remiges, attached to the ulna, these are more rounded at the tip, with no notching.  The wolves have 11 such feathers, plus five tertiaries, for a total of 16.


Spirits- Another term for the Ancestors.  They are the soul energy of wolves who have crossed over.  Can also be used singularly to describe one soul in particular.  They guide those that remain in the physical world.


Sun- Another term for a day.


Sunhigh- When the sun is at its highest point in the sky, usually at around noon.


Tertiaries- The innermost secondaries, attached to the humerus.  Most birds have three, but the wolves have five.  When the wing is folded, they rest on top of the other secondaries.


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Re: Wolves of the Skies

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Re: Wolves of the Skies

Post by WolfTrek on Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:48 pm

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Re: Wolves of the Skies

Post by WolfTrek on Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:59 pm


Elskan's POV


        Elskan lay in a patch of long grass sheltered by a few scraggly aspens and a cluster of large rocks on the side of the mountain, his chin resting on his forelegs.  His eyes were closed as he listened to the steady breathing of the three she-wolves sleeping close by, but he himself was wide awake.  He knew from the sound of Laiko’s breathing that his brother was not asleep yet, either, and he knew why.  He still had yet to explain one big, glaring thing to him: who was Muri, and how was it that she looked, behaved, even smelled, just like Saria, the brothers’ old pup-sitter?
        Sure enough, after it was clear that his chocolate-furred companion, along with Kali and Sihti, were fast asleep, Elskan could hear Laiko get quietly to his paws and pad away.  With a soft sigh, Elskan opened his green eyes and stood as well, glancing briefly to the three she-wolves before following Laiko to an outcropping of rock a short distance away from the patch of grass.  He sat down next to the taller male, and the pair stared out over the valley below for a short time before Laiko finally spoke.
        "So... I suppose you know what I’m going to say, eh?" he murmured without turning his head.
        Elskan nodded wearily.  "Yes.  I know."  He was silent for a few heartbeats before taking a deep breath.  "I don’t know who she is, and I don’t know why she’s so much like Saria.  I’ve run it over and over in my head for moons now, but... it’s just... impossible.  She’s impossible."
        "Doesn’t it concern you, though?" Laiko questioned, finally turning to look at the grayish wolf with a frown.  "Couldn’t she be some sort of imposter?  The Spirits know we’ve seen those before."
        Elskan shook his head.  "I don’t think so.  Her behavior and mannerisms are far too exact for that."
        "Then some sort of time travel?  Perhaps she never actually died at all, and jumped forward in time instead?  Her body was never recovered, after all."
        Elskan frowned.  "I don’t know... perhaps.  But I truly believe she has no idea who Saria is -- was.  Earlier, when I questioned her about it, she reacted with confusion."  He paused.  "In any case, I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter.  Muri’s my friend, and I care about her, regardless of her relation - if any - to Saria."
        Laiko didn’t say anything more on the subject, but Elskan could practically sense the mixed curiosity and concern rolling off him in waves.
        The pair sat there for a while in silence, both lost in thought.  It was a little while before Laiko broached a different subject.  "It's... it's good to see you, you know," he began hesitantly but with feeling, his voice barely louder than a whisper, his honey-colored eyes drifting over to rest on Elskan for a moment before dropping to his paws.  "When I returned home, all those moons ago, to find everyone dead... I searched for you, everywhere I could think.  It was impossible to follow any scent trails on the battlefield, but when I couldn't find your body I thought, perhaps, somehow, you'd survived.  Finally, I saw you lying in the bushes - I thought you were dead, you were so still.  Then an enemy patrol came along - nearly caught me - and... I had to leave."  He paused, swallowing.  "And now I know that I left you there, all alone.  If they'd killed you, it would've been my fault..."  His voice broke.  "I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry."
        Elskan watched his brother sadly, his green eyes welling with emotion.  He remembered the hurt and confusion he'd felt when he'd detected Laiko's faint scent in that little mountain cave several moons back, remembered seeing the pawprints in the sun-baked mud at the edge of that river, recalled how he'd wondered if he was going insane and imagining the signs.  But none of that mattered anymore.  His brother was alive.  He also sensed there was much more to Laiko's story - something that had caused a great deal of emotional trauma - something the brown male wasn't yet ready to tell - but Elskan wasn't going to press.  Gently, he reached out with his right wing and draped it over Laiko's trembling shoulders.  "I know," he murmured, his own voice wavering.  "And it's alright.  I missed you, too."
        Laiko met his gaze with a look of immense gratitude, and, slowly, reached up with his own wing in turn, resting it over Elskan's.  And together the brothers sat, looking over the valley in silence.


-----


        Elskan awoke the next morning to a bright shaft of sunlight beaming down through the trees onto his muzzle.  He blinked open his eyes and yawned, arching his back in a stretch, before getting to his feet.  Laiko was already beginning to stir, as well, so he padded over to the closest of the she-wolves - who happened to be Muri - and began to prod her gently with one forepaw.
        "Wakey-wakey, rise and shine," he woofed.  "It’s going to be a hot day, so we’d best get moving while it’s still early."



Akamai's POV


        Akamai woke to the sound of birdsong and an infrequent but steady drip-drip.  Blinking open his yellow-green eyes, he gazed out of the small cave he and Kalake were nested in to see that the layer of snow in the ground outside was shining a blinding white.  Squinting slightly, he got to his paws and stepped out of the nest of grass and feathers, padding softly to the den entrance.  Peering up, he saw a clear blue sky, broken only here and there with a few wispy white clouds.  The Spirits had graced this day with perfect weather.
        Turning around with a wag of his tail, he headed back over to the nest and gently nosed his mate’s cheek.  "Kalake, wake up, " he murmured softly.  "It’s time for us to leave."



Keinan's POV


        Keinan lay on a large, flat stone to the side of the little rock cave at the edge of the clearing the pack was bedded down in, gazing out over the sleeping wolves.  He had been awake since before dawn, worrying over what this new day may bring.  Maligaya’s return the day before had alleviated some of his worries, but the news she’d brought him of the Dark-Heart attack - and of her previously thought-to-be-deceased brother’s involvement in it - had brought new concerns to the forefront of his troubled mind.  He’d discussed a course of action with Mali, Mahalo, and Kelsingra, and together they had come up with a plan that could help shed some light on Allegro’s place within the rival pack, as well as that of Keinan’s own brother, Chayton.
        However, the idea was a potentially dangerous one, and the Chief had yet to ask the would-be infiltrator if he would be willing to participate; he hadn’t wanted to disturb him the night before, as he’d already bedded down.  Keinan knew Ryyn had been sleeping with the shy she-wolf Kyynel in the trees lining the clearing for the past few days - much to the Chief's appreciation, as he'd been concerned about the she-wolf for quite some time - and he expected that was where the young snowy white male was now.  Soon, the pack would begin to wake, and Keinan hoped he could catch Ryyn before he left on patrol.



Nevinost's POV


        At the edge of the Dark-Heart densite, Nevi lay silently next to the trunk of her favorite pine, chin on her forelegs, trying to ignore the uncomfortable sensation of eyes burning into her pelt.  Much to her distaste, Roth had been put on watch over her for that morning, and, as per usual, the scrawny male was apparently attempting to set her on fire with his stare.  Why can't he just leave me be? the she-wolf thought uncomfortably and a bit irritably.  What does he want with me?
        Nevi knew all too well what he wanted, and the thought of it caused the fur on the back of her neck to stand on end.  Surely even he wouldn't try something like that on a pregnant female, though?  What sort of creep would do that?  She risked a glance at the goldish male out of the corner of her eye, and, noting the scars marring his muzzle and ears, and the gleam in his sickly yellow-green eyes, she knew.  That sort of a creep.
        Just then, before she could look away, Roth noticed her eyes on him and grinned, getting to his paws and slowly beginning to pad his way closer to her.  No, no, don't come over here!!  I wasn't inviting you!! Nevi thought with a flash of panic, squirming closer to the tree trunk and dropping her wings over her swollen flanks protectively.  Not stopping to think about the possible consequences of her show of insubordination, she turned her face toward him, flattening her ears and showing her teeth.
        "Take one step closer and I'll tear off the rest of your ears, you piece of bear-dung!" she snarled harshly.
        Roth grinned further but stopped about three tail-lengths away, a low, raspy laugh rumbling in his throat and his thin tail wagging slightly.  A shiver of disgust and fear ran through Nevi from nose to tailtip.  What would she do if he started forward again?  Nerys had saved her from finding out once before, but she wasn't here right now, and she had little doubt that the rest of the wolves in the densite would do nothing to help her if he made a move.
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