At long last, winter’s icy grip on the valley was beginning to loosen. Rising temperatures had caused much of the snow on Falcon Rise to melt, leaving behind scattered patches of slush. Without that veneer of pristine white, its underlying appearance was now exposed: a vast expanse of rough, craggy earth. Only the hardiest forms of plant-life persisted, and much of what remained had been grazed down by the resident herbivores. The skeletal branches of the trees reached for the sky, pleading for sunlight, and dispersed among them were naked, brittle shrubs. Further back from the ridge, the forest of conifers remained stalwart, pin-straight and unwavering in spite of the harshness of the season.
But while the time for blizzards and flurries may have passed, winter was not yet done with the vale. The time had come for its death throes – for frigid gusts of wind that would claw at the barren landscape and rainstorms that would pelt the earth for days on end. So often the cold would give way gently, thawing in the first warm sunlight of spring and slipping away like melted snow down a hillside. A smooth transition from one season to the next, so subtle that one would hardly notice it before the first shoots of greenery began to appear. But not this time. This time, winter wouldn’t be going down without a fight.
Thunder rumbled in the distance, and Atlas cupped his ears towards its point of origin: somewhere to the west, across the windswept range. The young wolf stood at the edge of a steep cliff-face near the highest point of the Rise, where the elevation offered him an unhindered view of the valley below. The gently-rolling plains looked strangely stark now, no longer a winter wonderland incased in white. Atlas had weathered the season easily enough, yet he longed for the sea of grass that he’d first seen in the autumn. Even as he stood there gazing across the austere landscape, he found himself imagining the familiar, undulating waves.
It wouldn’t be long now, he thought as his bright eyes darted skyward, searching for the sun. A layer of thick, billowing clouds kept it hidden, but he knew it had to be on its way down by now, making its descent behind the cover of darkness. Another day would soon be gone, another day closer to spring. And here they were: their ragtag band of wolves had made it through the winter with little trouble at all, and they would emerge on the other side still united as one. Atlas had never set out to establish a pack there in the valley, but everything had fallen into place so naturally. The others looked up to him, looked to him for guidance. And without really giving it any thought himself, he’d come into the role of leader.
Of course, while they’d been settled in Falcon Rise for some months now, marking the territory as their own and claiming ownership of the land, they were not a pack in the official sense. There were unspoken rules that they all lived by, and they all had their own roles, but nothing was set in stone. And perhaps most crucial, they didn’t have a name – at least until now.
It hit Atlas rather abruptly, coming to him as he watched storm clouds growing on the horizon. It was a summer storm that had brought him closer to Poet and Valentina, when the trio ventured into the Firewing Brotherhood’s turf seeking shelter. More recently, he learned that Valentina had found her place with the Brotherhood wolves, which he found somewhat bittersweet… However, he was proud to hear that Poet seemed bent on following him wherever he went.
Then in autumn, when he and Inigo crossed paths with Oakley again, a coming storm had left them running across the plains with lightning at their backs. That was when the three of them had climbed the incline and reached the Rise for the first time. And when winter set in, it was between blizzards that Gulliver had appeared again, ready to join their motley crew.
Atlas had always preferred the calm of a clear sky… But life wasn’t all blue skies and sunshine. He realized now that the storms were what brought them together – both literal and figurative ones. They all had their own troubles: dark pasts to overcome, fears to conquer, mountains to climb. But all of that made their bond stronger and united them as one.
Lightning flashed, lighting the distant cloud bank in its brief but wicked glow. The sky growled again, and a smile broke through the pensive fog veiling the young wolf’s countenance. Just like that, he had it.
And with that in mind, Atlas suddenly felt impatient. As if he was standing on the very verge of something great. He could sense the air pressure as it dropped, and he could feel the heaviness that signaled impending rain. Somehow, he felt like this was the perfect moment – that now was finally the right time…
Thunder rumbled once more, and once the din faded into silence, Atlas scarcely waited a heartbeat. He lifted his head to the leaden sky and lifted his voice, calling out to summon the others to his location. Low-pitched and deep, his voice carried with ease over the expanse of the Rise and throughout the plains that lay below. He kept his head tilted back throughout, until his howl tapered off. Another bout of thunder followed close at its heels, chasing the call as it reverberated through the hillsides.
At long last, the time had come: the time to christen their pack and solidify its claim on Falcon Rise.
OOC – Okay, LET’S DO THIS~ We’ll wait for each of the members to fall in and post an entrance, but after that the posting order will become lax in order to keep things moving smoothly. Oh, and anyone else who wants to drop in is free to, of course!
Oct 24, 2015 01:44 PM
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