Esper

Stands With Claws

Acrid Smoke filled her nostrils as she slowly approached, the fires burning the strange rolling beast the man things used to travel. Her senses, well beyond the woodland creatures detected no enemies, but the iron smell of blood permeated the air. Stalking forward, her strong flanks easing her gracefully among the ground, she approached the foreign site with careful but effortless stealth, springing into the midst of the burning caravan. Stalks in Grey Shadows carefully picked her way around the items scattered among the ground, sniffing for any food to scavenge. She came upon a slumped form, a body stabbed by the sharp metal false teeth the man-beast loved to use, fresh blood pouring from its body. This could be food, but she had never enjoyed the taste of the two-legged prey, preferring her kills to be hunted rather than delivered, but she had pups to feed, although they still sucked at her, she needed the energy and nutrition. Before she could reluctantly feed, a sound alerted her sensitive ears, a shrill cry, like a pup in danger, quickly she bounded in that direction. Rushing through brush and undergrowth, the sleek grey dire wolf quickly saw the source of the sound, a foul-smelling man-beast wickedly waving his false tooth around, carrying a shrilling fleshy pup. She reacted without though, three quick bounds had her upon the beast, dragging him to the ground, her massive maw quickly crushing the life out from his throat. She reveled in the kill, not her favorite, but the thrill of the hunt was apparent. After a short time, she noticed the fleshy pup, a tiny hairless thing, smaller than any man-beast she had ever seen, but it had the form of one. It was helpless, and the cry it omitted was loud and piercing. Stalks in Grey Shadows knew she should kill it, for it was alone and would not survive in the wilds. But, something stopped her, maybe because she had recently birthed pups of her own, and she stalked over to the babe. Her bloody jaws gently picked up the child, and in a flash she was off, carrying it to her den, with the rest of her brood.
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Stands With Claws, stealth as her ally, stocked her prey. The deer had not seen her, as she moved with grace towards it. Her teeth in her hands, she sprang, catching the deer off guard, the creature not ever noticing her before it feel dead at her feet, it’s throat having been torn asunder. She used her sharp teeth to strip the beast, cutting meat from its bones, to bring back to her family. She knew she was not like her brothers and sisters, as she did not have their fur or teeth. Her claws were not long and sharp and her mouth did not devour. And she was 32 seasons, and her brother and sisters were large and she was tiny, less than a third of their size. But her mother, Stalks in Grey Shadows, looked upon her with pride, because though she was different and small, her ferocity and skilled at hunting provided much food for her pack.
She finished gathering the meat and items she had gained from the kill, and using the stripped fur skin as a sled, pulled the bounty back towards the lair. Along the way, her brother, Hunts Under Red Moon, stalked beside her bumping her playfully has he looked upon her kill, a low howl of approval. She was closest with, Hunts Under Red Moon, as he was born a runt, also, being smaller and often badgered by the rest of the pack. But, they had each other, and while she had stayed small and different, he had grown and then grown some more, outpacing his siblings, and eventually became the male alpha of their family. And he was her protector, caring for her first as brother and then as almost her father. She put her strange paw upon his back, ruffling the fur on his back, as he grabbing the fur of the deer with his mouth, helped her pull.
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They were alone. Hunts Under Red Moon and Stands With Claws. Seasons and seasons they had hunted together for their pack, but today they had returned and found death. Her mother, brothers, and sisters all gone. Killed, their skins taken, but nothing else. They had smelled the man-beast. The hunters who had invaded their den. And they had stalked. Finally they were on one of their trails. He was alone, and they would have their revenge. Hunts Under Red Moon bounded ahead, the smell of the prey in his nostrils. His speed and grace guided him, and he was almost upon his target, but the ground jumped out and bit his leg. It dug into his flesh and bound him to his spot as he whined in pain. “Gotcha!” screamed the man-beast, his claw flinging stick pointed directly at the dire wolfs head.
Stands With Claws rushed from the woods, staring helplessly at her brother. The man-beast looked at her, confusing on his face, but making a fatal mistake. Discounting the tiny form he turned back towards the wolf muttering “Sorry little girl, this kill is mine!”
Those words were his last, as the small form bounded upon his back, her hand teeth biting and biting over and over into his neck and back.

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