• I raced through the forest, the trees a blur, my strong legs moving gracefully beneath my agile, lithe body. Tears blurred my vision. I slowed to a trot and took a couple of ragged breathes, hoping I had gotten far enough away to stop for a minute. My breathing was pained, but I still planned to get another day between me and Qualisti. I took another couple of breathes, my heart beat and breathing returned to normal. Tears still streamed down my face. I looked up at the dark sky, "Why?" I whispered hoarsely. The sky split open and freezing rain fell on my face.

    "Why?" I screamed brokenly. I leaped from a stand-still to a full sprint, weaving in and out of the trees towering above me, making me feel smaller than before compared to the world.

    If only I hadn't been born, my tribes wouldn't be fighting now.

    Thanks to my mother and father, instead of creating peace like they had thought you would by having a child when their parents and tribal leaders told them not too, they created war between already feuding tribes, oh, yeah, and don't forget they made their only daughter an outcast for the rest of her life unless she finds the one thing that has been missing for over three hundred years......

    I ran.

    If I wasn't sure of anything, I could be sure that even if running from my fears didn't do anything, it would help me move on.

    So, I ran.

    Soon, I was sure Qualisti was far enough away that I knew I could stop for the night, but I didn't.

    It wasn't until the pearly white false dawn came and the rain stopped that I collapsed beside a small brook.

    I had never been so exhausted in my life, but I had also never been so scared in my life.
    I closed my eyes to try and get some sleep. But every time I closed my eyes, I saw it.

    Steel crashing on steel. Teeth bared, saliva flying. Daggers drawn. Claws flashing. Blood flying. But the worst, the worst was the screaming.

    The agony-filled scream of dying men. The pain-filled screaming of women as the saw there husbands and sons fall around them. The high-pitched screaming of frightened children. The keening screaming of babies wanting their mothers. The screaming of wild animals as they fled for their lives.

    I opened my eyes, panting again. I shook my head to clear the panic-stricken voices in my head.

    I sighed deeply, looking into the water of the brook. A silver wolf stared back at me. One ear black, her slim muzzle tinged with red. Two forest green eyes filled with grief, horror, and panic. They were the eyes of one much older than they should be, the eyes of one who knew more than she should, the eyes of a child of war, the eyes of an outcast.

    They were my eyes.

    A branch snapped behind me.

    I started inside, but outwardly remain calm. I forced herself to pretend I didn't hear anything and casually looked around. A dark shadow emerged from the bushes on the other side of the river. It raised it's majestic, noble head and starred straight at me.

    "Hello," a deep melodic voice came from it.

    I barred my teeth. "What are you doing here, fleabag?" I growled.

    His voice rumbled in what I assumed was silent laughter.
    I growled again.

    He shrugged his broad shoulders. "It's not fun at camp when you're not there for me to tease."

    I glanced at him. "Aww. You miss me already," I said sarcastically.

    I actually hoped that he did, that someone did miss me and wanted me back. But of coarse, no one would miss me, no one wanted me back. My nose twitched. Tears threatened me.

    No, I told myself, I will not cry. Not now, not when I am running from my tribe.
    The other wolf splashed across the river towards me. His black, dark grey, and light grey pelt shinning in the barest light of dawn. The brook barely reached his white under-belly.

    I looked away, no matter what I thought, I still shed tears.

    He came and stood beside me as if unsure of what to do, eventually he sat down beside me, and after more hesitation, he wrapped his bushy white tail around me. I tensed for minute, before relaxing into him, sobbing into his chest.
    "Shh," he soothed, "It's okay, it's okay, I'm here."

    After awhile my sobs subsided. I looked up into his handsome, strong face, "Why are you being nice to me, Erik?" I asked him hoarsely. Even though we had known each other from birth and knew and cared more about the other than we liked to admit, even to ourselves, we still hated each other for reasons even we were unsure of.

    He looked into the trees as if considering his answer carefully. "Because," he said slowly, "I learned after the fight that life's to short to hate people. I guess after all the death and destruction I experienced, I found out that if we hate people, we miss out on other stuff."

    I nodded, I had to say I liked the change in him. I wondered if I had changed too.

    "But this doesn't mean I'm going to stop teasing you," he grinned slyly at me.

    "Dang it, I was looking forward to that." I gave him the first genuine smile I ever gave.

    He smiled back at me, his one blue and one green eye glowing.

    I felt my face heat up and quickly untangled myself from him. "Well fleabag, I guess we are a team now. We better get moving if we want to get to Solanm before next season," I said good naturally.

    He laughed, " Okay Captain, lead the way."