She stood there in the bushes an' bracken. Her
silver optics shyly fingered each moving an' unmoving object, her soft paws
pressing into the ground. She lifted one paw, watching with amazement
as the dirt fell from their fragile pads, the crumbled pawprint set into the
dry earth flecked with sand. Her optic's cool glance turned into one of innocent
joy, as she leapt into the clearing and pounced at the gorgeous moonlight, attempting
to turn it over and under with her ivory claws. She shook her apex with utter
astonishment, then suddenly cowered into the shadows as a large shape entered
the clearing. His keen eyesight picked out the pup, and his voice was deep as
he spoke. "Do not say you have betrayed me yet again, Lupisana?" Two giant wings
unfolded from his strong back, glittering with a purple-blue hue.
Trembling, the pup stood and bowed. "M-my apologies,
Limasini. I just wanted to -"
"To feel the moonlight glowing on your back,
to hear the many howls of YOUR kind fade away in the background, to see the
glimmering lights of moon and sun connected at early dawn," said Limasini, sounding
almost slightly bored as he spoke. "I know all these things, Lupisana," he explained
as he saw her confused look. "We're all connected in our right minds."
The white pup shook her apex angrily, then stepped
back nervously as two more Kougras came forward: one was as blue as a glacier,
the other as white as the oncoming snow but with a few little decorations added:
a blue and Christmas Kougra. The glacier-blue Kougra, obviously a male, yawned
and stretched, then said, "MASTER Limasini, what do you wish of us?"
"Thank you for actually appearing finally, Oak,"
said Limasini, his voice trimmed with anger. "Could you control this little
"Yes, SIR," sulked the white Kougress sulkily,
pulling at a blade of grass. Limasini sighed. Forever was his favourite female
and he had challenged and won her from a Christmas Kougra pride to the south.
"No Forever, I was not going to ask you to obey. But please actually cheer up,
and get a move on. To the east pride tonight: we're seeing if the Servant Lupe
Pack is dwelling there."
"Whatever," sighed Forever, nodding at Oak with
sympathy and padding out of the clearing. As soon as she had exited, her pace
became quicker and quicker until it was a trot, jog, sprint...the forest world
seemed to flash before her eyes as she speeded closer an' closer to the Eastern
Kougras, until finally she noticed the burning fire straight in front. Signifying
the oncoming welcome of the eastern sunrise. It had to be the Eastern Pride.
"So Forever, how's it going with Limasini?" asked
a young green Kougress, padding up to Forever. She had yellow stripes painted
over her black markings, the tradition of the Sun Kougra
"Oh, Green Dandelions, it's awful," sobbed Forever.
"Yea, it might be a great thing to be known as the Alpha Femme of the whole
land, but really I'm just nothing, inside."
"Aw, come on honey," coaxed the Kougress, patting
her friend on the back.
"I'm not finished yet!" cried Forever, her shouts
coming out in coughs and hiccups and uncontrollable sobs. The village Kougras
began to stare at her. "For every one of you, Limasini is evil. Ignore what
he says, all the rubbish about not supporting gods. You need your own personal
god to survive what he puts you through."
There was a shocked silence through the busy
village. Everybody had heard. Green Dandelions kept by Forever's side, snarling
slightly at the silent villagers. Suddenly Forever adjusted the braid clip in
her small neatly-cut fringe, and whispered, "If any of you were decent...you
would believe me."
An angry Buzz swept through the villagers, who
all snarled back at the two females and set back to their work. Forever's optics
were fringed with tears, but she shook her apex with as much confidence as she
could muster, the tears disappearing from her eyes in a second, and growled,
"If they won't believe me...I'll have to PROVE it."
"Prove what, my dearest?" murmured a calm voice.
Forever and Green Dandelions swung around to meet the eyes of Limasini, who
dragged a tiny white wolf pup in his overgrown paws. He swung his jet-black
hair out of his eyes, and tucked the small pup into his dark purple cloak. "Forever,
get a decent cloak on, and follow me. We're setting camp up in the Sea Valley."
Trembling with anger, the Christmas Kougress
tossed a dark black cloak out of her rucksack, slung into over her tattered
rags, bid a silent farewell to Green Dandelions and followed her husband with
as much dignity as possible in that time of grief and hatred. The red curtained
walls angrily beamed, absorbing all incoming light and leaving Forever in a
bind of her own darkness. She must find a way to escape. Escape. Get away from
this prisoning 'home' and take all prisoners with her. But...who were the prisoners?
Forever looked around the room. She stood up
and peered out of her window tearfully, seeing three green Kougras playing Catch
in the courtyard. Limasini appeared from a window, shouting unheard words at
the children, and they moaned and tossed the tennis ball down. The Kougress'
eyes widened as she noticed the many chains attaching them to the ground, their
saddened expressions obvious. They were prisoners. They must be helped.
Forever looked around the room once more, then
quietly muttered, "Kougras Prisoners." Then she took a glance about, and shouted
"Kougras!" One of three turned to her: his eyes were crimson, and his fur very
shabby compared to the others. He looked the eldest and most tired out of all
three, the burden of caring for the young on his shoulders. He yelled back,
"What, Blue Eyes?" The other two hid their sniggers, as if it was the most funniest
The Kougress eyes flared. "For your information,
that's Queen Forever you're talking to!" she yelled. The Kougras were silenced
in awe. "Yet I have no need for royalty. I wish for freedom, just like you three
do. Give me your names."
"I'm Ashley, the only girl," chirped up the smallest
of the three Kougras, "and these are my brothers Kurt (pointing at the unspoken
Kougra) and my big brother Simon - who fancies EVERY girl except me in existence."
"Oh, shut up Ash," said Simon, his ears turning
pink. Forever rolled her own optics and said, "Don't worry, Kurt, Ashley and
Simon. ASAP, I'll get you out of there." She disappeared from her window, and
as she left Ashley hissed, "Queen of Kougras! Hey Simon, you fancy her TOO,
"I might," grinned Simon, staring at the empty
windowsill. Oakenhoney, the white Lupe pup, Simon, Ashley and Kurt...Forever
counted her entries. That seemed to be enough for now. She tossed the piece
of untidy paper into her rucksack along with eight apples, three loafs of bread
and two sausages, tied the ends together and cut the weak ropes bounding her
to the walls. Over time Limasini had lowered the chains from steel, gold, silver,
strong cable, weak cable and finally rope. Humming some songs made by "The Lighthouse
Family" under her breath, she tucked her favourite dagger into her cloak pocket
and leapt over the windowsill. The fall was low and onto grass, and she nodded
at the three Kougras, putting her finger to her lips. She raced over, cutting
the also-weak ropes with her dagger, and rummaging in her bag she handed them
all an apple, munching into a slice of bread as she did. "Stay here," Forever
warned "and don't move." She hesitated, then ran up to a long pipe on the castle
wall and started steadily climbing. No idea that Simon was dazedly watching
her. Reached a high windowsill, grinned at the Kougras, entered.
It was the servant's room. Oakenhoney was there,
just as warned, and Forever instantly grabbed him by the arm and pointed at
the pipe. Oak silently trembled but staggered down it, suddenly slipping to
the bottom at about nine feet to the ground. His paws crumbled, and out of his
dark green cloak stumbled a white Lupe pup, blinking in the sudden sunlight.
Worriedly, Forever slid down and hugged her servant friend, then picked up the
pup and said, "So, you're Lupisana, eh? I'm Forever. You're gonna get to know
a LOT more about me...soon." She tucked the pup under her cloak and beckoned
the Kougras forward. It was time. "Well, thank me," snapped Forever, tossing
her long autumn hair and glaring at all five pairs of eyes. "I got you out of
there, over the spiked walls without raising a fuss, otherwise the guards would've
seen. I got you right out of there, and now I have the silent treatment. I have
much more at stake to lose than you: sure, Lupisana, you'd probably lose your
pathetic little life. And you three Kougras, but of course first putting up
a fight. Oak, you might be killed, you'd certainly lose your job. But me...I
will lose my dignity."
"Erm..." began Ashley.
"Quiet!" ordered Forever, her eyes flashing dangerously
from blue to red. "But there's a problem. Where are you all gonna go? Lupisana,
I'll escort you back to your own kind if you want. Oak, you can go to the outborders
to your own kind. I dunno about you Kougras, so I'll leave you to it. However,
I'm not going back to my pride in the south: I'm gonna change colour to a black,
skunk or something, or white, and then follow Oak."
As they started getting ready for camp, Simon
came forward and shyly said, "Forever?"
"What?" asked the Kougress, staring deep into
"Um..." he faltered at his gaze but continued.
"Can I...erm...follow you to the outborders?"
Forever stared. Then grinned. Simon smiled back.
Things seemed to be following into place after