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Savak: The Redemption - Part One

by zephandolf


It was a chilly morning in Neopia Central. A few scattered clouds passed silently overhead. The thin layer of snow that remained on the ground began to melt away as the sun rose above the rooftops.

    Amidst all of this, Savak, a white Lupe, padded along a sidewalk in one of the suburbs of Neopia Central, the gold medallion around his neck gleaming brightly in the morning light. The cold weather didn't bother him much. As a wild Lupe, he had been living in the open all winter on the plains. It was a lot colder a month ago. This early in the spring, it was still cold, but it would warm up quickly in the next few weeks. This was something Savak was looking forward to, among other things.

    Veering from the sidewalk, Savak walked down a narrow path, which cut straight down an open lawn to a two-story house. He'd been to this house several times before. The first time he'd been to this house was late last summer. The owner of the house, Jason, had taken Savak in temporarily while he recovered from a mild state of mal-nutrition he'd come under while alone on the Neopian Plains. The reason for that was rather silly, but as a result of a more serious problem. His pack had been captured while they were hunting what little prey remained in their territory on the plains. Savak managed to escape capture, but he was so preoccupied with finding his pack that he forgot to eat. Jason found him on the plains and, after a quick trip to the hospital, took care of him for several days before Savak set off again to find his pack. Savak did find his pack with the help of Jason's two pets, Lukas the Kougra and Heysha the Lupe. Unfortunately, for Savak, this was only the beginning of his problems.

    Stepping up to the door, Savak knocked on it, and sat down to wait for whoever was inside to answer. He thought back to the reason for his additional visits that began mid-fall. While chasing down the Lupess that had captured his pack, and most of the other Lupes on the plains, he followed her trail to Mystery Island. There, the pack was captured yet again by the local natives. As the natives tried to decide what to do with them, a fight developed between the real natives and the Neopians forced to do their bidding. During the fight, the cages Savak's pack was in were accidentally cut from the tree they were hanging from. Most everyone escaped with only minor injuries, but Jessie, Savak's mother, came out of it with a broken leg. Jason, who had also been captured by the natives, agreed to take care of Jessie while her leg healed. After all, before she joined the pack, she was his pet. Since then, Savak had visited Jason's home just about every other week over the winter. Although, more recently, he had been occupied with other matters and couldn't leave the plains. Last he knew, though, Jessie's leg was mending well. But she wouldn't be ready to join the pack again for another month. Savak sighed as he thought of this. He missed his mother's company in the pack. And the way she was acting the last time he visited, he was wondering if she really wanted to go back.

    His thoughts were disrupted when the door opened, and he found himself looking into the watchful gaze of a young blue Lupess. Her charm necklace glittered slightly in the morning light. She smiled brightly when she saw him.

     "Hi Savak!" she said cheerfully.

     "Hi Heysha," Savak replied as she let him inside. "It's been a while."

     "It certainly has," the Lupess said. Savak noticed something in her eye. But before he could see what it was, she turned away, almost embarrassed. "Uh, Jessie's still sleeping in her room. Do you want some breakfast?"

     "Sure, I'd love some."

    The two Lupes padded through the house to the kitchen where Jason was cooking eggs and bacon. He didn't notice Savak until the Lupe had seated himself at the table.

     "Well, hello there, Savak," he said, stirring the eggs a bit. "Joining us for breakfast, I see."

     "Yeah," Savak said. "How's Jessie been doing since I last visited?"

     "She's walking a bit more now," Jason said. "The doctor says we can get the cast removed soon. Then she'll be her old self again."

    Savak nodded absent-mindedly. He hoped that the "old self" Jason mentioned was the Jessie who lived on the plains, but he didn't voice his worries.

     "How is the pack doing?" Heysha asked, breaking Savak's train of thought.

     "The pack?" Savak asked. "They're alright, I suppose. Why do you want to know?"

    Heysha shrugged. "Just curious, I suppose."

    Savak suspected she was more than curious, but he didn't want to pry. "Well," he said. "Kosek's been doing alright, especially since Lilia's joined the pack. He's been jibing me less and less the more he grows attached to her. It's pretty obvious that something's going on between them, but I'm beginning to wonder when they're actually going to admit it."

     "Love can be a funny thing, I suppose," Heysha said silently, looking down at her empty plate. Savak flicked his ears as he watched her. She was being unusually quiet today, and he couldn't figure out why.

     "Hey, Princess, why so glum?"

    Both Lupes looked to the kitchen door as Lukas the red Kougra walked in. He took a seat at the table across from Heysha.

     "Good morning, Lukas," Heysha said. "Savak's here today."

     "I can see that," the Kougra observed. "How long has it been this time? A month?"

     "Something like that," Savak replied. "We were having some territorial trouble with a neighboring pack. Fortunately, we have it resolved now. I hope," he added silently to himself.

    Lukas nodded, then his expression turned more serious. "Anything new on Kaylee?"

    Savak's fur bristled for a moment at the mention of the shadow Lupess who captured his pack. He shook his fur out before responding. "Nothing," he said. "She's completely disappeared again. But this time, she didn't leave on her own."

     "Yeah," Lukas said with a chuckle. "The Ghost Lupe had a hand in that. Who knows where he sent her."

    Savak just shrugged. Back on Mystery Island, while the natives were fighting each other, Kaylee was taken away by a very angry Ghost Lupe. No one had any idea where he took her. But something told Savak that she wasn't going to be missing forever.

     "Here we are," Jason said as he brought the steaming pan of eggs to the table. "One fresh batch of eggs that everyone can share. Jessie hasn't come down yet?"

     "Not yet," Lukas said as Jason started dishing out the eggs. "Should I go get her?"

     "No, I think I hear her coming down now," Jason said. Savak heard it too. It was an occasional soft thunk as Jessie climbed down. Savak had wondered why she was upstairs once. She told him that she wanted to be in her own room again, so once she was well enough, she surprised Jason by going upstairs on her own and curling up in her old bed. That is, as best she could with a broken leg. Since then, Jason let her live up there. He had no reason to force her to stay downstairs.

    When the blue Lupess entered the room, she stopped in the door, then smiled at Savak. "Well hello," she said, walking over to the table. "When did you show up?"

     "A few minutes ago," Savak replied as Jessie took a seat at the table. "How are you doing?"

     "I'm doing well enough, considering," Jessie said. "I'm actually enjoying myself here."

    Savak nodded slowly. That's what he was afraid of.

    As Jason served up the eggs, Savak and the others shared their news. Savak explained again how the hunting territories on the plains were being disputed over the winter. Now that spring was approaching, tension between the packs were fading, but he was still a little worried that one of his neighbors were going to make a move.

    As for Jason and his family, Lukas mentioned, among other things, that he had been taking Heysha out on more and more trips lately, mostly to undeveloped regions of Neopia. Though he said he didn't know what had sparked her interest in those regions, Savak suspected he knew more than he was saying.

    When breakfast was over, Savak helped his mother up to her room so he could talk to her alone. A single question had been nagging him lately, but even now, he was still unsure how he was going to ask it.

     "Well, Savak," Jessie said as she climbed onto her bed, lying on top of her comforter. "You've been fidgeting all morning. What's on your mind?"

    Savak had taken a moment to look around the room. The moment he stepped into it, he realized he had spent several days living in this very room last summer. He never knew it was Jessie's room. When he realized Jessie had addressed him, he pushed the memories aside, concentrating on what had bothered him for so long.

     "Jessie," Savak said, sitting down. "I…I realize how much you've enjoyed your stay here. This was your family at one time. You have a family on the plains too, and you've enjoyed their company as well. But when I see you now, and how happy you are, I've got to know. Are you coming back to the plains?"

    Savak knew it was an unusual, and somewhat forward question. That's how he came to expect Jessie's reaction. For a moment, she only looked at him, flicking her ears uncomfortably. "Savak," she said, looking out the window by her bed. "I've begun to wonder that myself, really. Whenever I think I should make a decision on it, I always put it off." She looked back to Savak. "I love the plains, really I do. But now that Murgoh's gone, I think my heart lies here now, with Jason and Lukas. "

    Savak nodded sadly. "This is your choice then," he muttered. "Thank you for telling me, and thank you for being honest."

     "When have I not been honest with you?" Jessie asked.

     "Aside from when you didn't tell me that Murgoh was my father, never," Savak replied. Murgoh was the former leader of the pack. Not long before Savak was born, he had invited Jessie into the pack. After Savak found out, he figured that Murgoh allowed Jessie to join the pack so they could always be together. Whether he was conceived before or after Jessie joined the pack was always a mystery to him, only because he had never bothered to ask.

    Jessie rolled her eyes. "Well, if you put it that way, there are times when I hold back little details." She shook her head. "But that's the past. Times change. Now you know. Murgoh and I were going to tell you sooner or later."

    Savak nodded sadly. "That was the last thing he shared with me," he observed, looking down. When the pack returned to the plains after their first ordeal with Kaylee, Murgoh decided it was time he struck out on his own on a final adventure. Before he left, he told Savak the secret he had kept since before Savak's birth. Savak had never seen the old Lupe since. He could only assume that he was gone for good.

    Looking up, Savak asked, "Do you miss him?"

    Jessie seemed struck deeply by his question. But she looked sympathetically upon her son. "Every day," she replied.

    Savak nodded again, standing up. "I should be getting back," he said. "I'm glad to see you're shaping up well, Jessie."

     "And I'm glad to hear that everyone's survived the winter without a hitch," Jessie replied.

    Savak shrugged. "We did well enough," he said. "I'll see you later."

     "Goodbye," Jessie said. "And don't stay away so long this time."

    Padding out of the room, Savak moved down the hall to the stairs. All the sentiment that had been generated since his arrival was starting to bother him. He needed to go somewhere quiet to think about it. He decided that he would find an isolated knoll on the plains to gather his thoughts before he returned to the pack.

    His mind being so preoccupied with this sentiment, he didn't notice the silent paws of a young Lupess as she followed in his footsteps.

To be continued...

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