A light snowfall fell over the MacDuncan territory. It was a peaceful night under the moon, not the kind many would think a very special event would occur on; or perhaps, not special but defiant, but special nonetheless to two wolves in particular. These two happened to be the only two gnaw wolves of the MacDuncan clan at the time, the time of the great Liam MacDuncan, the chieftan of the MacDuncans. None of the clan wolves would suspect that these two gnaw wolves were up to something, though suspicions had arisen about the female not feeling well recently and not coming right away when called for byrrgis or other deeds. And when she did participate in the byrrgises, she stumbled quite a lot and found it hard to keep up with the group. Eventually, she stopped coming altogether. Liam finally sent the Obea to check on the two wolves after countless pleas by the clan wolves to figure out what was wrong. If anyone could get the truth out of those two, it was the Obea.
And so, the Obea, a she-wolf named Natisha, walked along the path to the den of Iris, the female gnaw wolf. She hoped for some sort of good news to bring back to the chieftain such as the gnaw wolf feeling better. But the worst news she could think of to bring… she almost felt that it was true. That would be to have to tell the chieftain that Iris was pregnant, likely by the male gnaw wolf, Cilian. The two of them were so odd, born in the same season with the same deformity that made them malcadhs; a missing eye. But what was the oddest about it was that they weren't missing the same eye. Iris had only her left eye while Cilian had only his right. It was as if they were meant for each other.
But if what Natisha assumed was true it would be absolute defiance to the laws of the wolves. Gnaw wolves were not allowed to have pups in fear that the bloodlines would be further contaminated with their deformities. As such, Watch Wolves, wolves that guarded a sacred treasure who were once gnaw wolves and before that malcadhs, where not allowed to have children either. Natisha saw the den of Iris come into her view. As she had feared, Cilian was standing guard outside. His golden fur glowed in the moonlight. Natisha's eyes narrowed. Could it be possible that her assumption would be true?
As she walked closer, she saw Cilian become aware of her coming. He quickly rushed back into the den as Natisha walked down the bluff towards the mouth of the cave. Then she heard the mewling. That confirmed her suspicions entirely. She walked right into the den and glared at Cilian who was standing before her in front of Iris who was lying on the pelt that she slept on, a pup sucking at her teat right next to her.
"Care to explain yourselves?" asked Natisha casually.
"W-what right do you have to come here?" asked Cilian. Natisha narrowed her eyes again.
"I am here on the direct orders from the chieftain Liam MacDuncan," said Natisha fiercely. She could see Cilian's legs shaking violently. Iris put her paw around the pup defensively. Natisha felt bad for the poor girl sometimes. She would attract much more attention than her fellow gnaw wolf if she wasn't one herself. Her silver fur was the most beautiful that the Obea had ever seen. Not that Natisha would say that to the gnaw wolf's face... but Natisha felt odd talking to Iris when she got the chance. They both had silver fur after all. It was as if she had known Iris before she had met her for the first time.
She had not been the Obea to take these two to their tummfraws, but her predecessor who had died from serious wounds from a moose a while back. As far as Natisha knew, she was the same age as both of these gnaw wolves. But she could not produce any children for reasons unknown and as a result, had become the Obea of the MacDuncans. She had first met Iris when she came into the clan shortly after Cilian, after she had first been appointed as the Obea. There was a long pause of silence when finally, Iris spoke up.
"What shall you do to us?" she asked shakily.
"That is for the chieftain to decide," said Natisha. She narrowed her eyes at Iris now.
"Not that I'm trying to help you or anything, but I'd say you should skedaddle as soon as possible," said Natisha. She looked at the pup.
"It is my duty to check every pup that is born into this clan for deformities," said Natisha, "No matter who the pup was born to."
"Go ahead," said Cilian, trying to sound confident, "You won't find any." Iris nodded in agreement. Natisha almost smiled.
"Maybe none for you," she thought to herself. But when she checked the pup, she found nothing wrong. The whimpering was healthy as she poked the pup's belly with her paw (By doing this, she deduced that the pup was male.) and all of his claws were present and he also had no missing or deformed paws. Both ears were on top of his head and he had a tail that was wagging as he was tickled by the pokes. All that was left to check was his eyes. Natisha glanced at Iris and Cilian who were both staring nervously with their right and left eyes. Cilian had walked over behind the one he called his mate and nuzzled her as Natisha looked up at them. Natisha pulled up the lids of both of his eyes… and found two perfect green eyes.
"Incredible," she said in amazement, "A child of two gnaw wolves and no deformities." She pushed the pup back to Iris where he began nursing again. Both wolves breathed a sigh of relief. They each nuzzled their pup. Natisha felt tears forming in her eyes but she held them back. Obeas were not supposed to be emotional about anything at all. They were supposed to be barren and cruel and not care about anything that happened to the wolves that they abandoned. And yet she felt as though she should help out these two poor wolves. After all, she hadn't abandoned them; it had been the previous Obea who had done so. As she began to leave the cave to head back to the gadderheal, she turned around and saw that the two gnaw wolves were staring at her.
"You have defied the laws of the Beyond," said Natisha, "That takes courage to do. Good luck." She left the den of the gnaw wolves and headed back up the bluff towards the center of the MacDuncan clan.
After Natisha had left, Cilian turned to his mate.
"What shall we do now Iris?" he asked hopelessly.
"We'll think of something," said Iris. She didn't sound too confident. Tears were welling up in her eye. Cilian was sure they both felt proud of their son. To think that a child of two gnaw wolves could have no deformities! But still, it was defiant of the laws of the Beyond for two gnaw wolves to produce a child, or any gnaw wolf for that matter.
"We could try running away and becoming free runners," Iris said softly as she looked down at her son. Cilian shook his head.
"They would just hunt us down," said Cilian, "We'll have to wait for their decision of our fate. Then we shall make our move."
"But Cilian…" Iris couldn't finish because tears were streaming from her single left eye down her face. Cilian put a paw on his mate's shoulder and she lifted her head. He licked the tears off of the left side of her face.
"Our son isn't worried about this is he?" asked Cilian, "We shouldn't be either." He licked Iris's muzzle.
"Relax now," said Cilian, "We'll be just fine." Iris nodded and looked back at the pup. He had fallen asleep now but he was still sucking. Iris licked his silvery fur lovingly.
"He is our child," she said softly.
"And our hope," said Cilian.
Natisha almost stumbled into the MacDuncan clan's gadderheal. It was truly out of nervousness, about something she had been pondering ever since she left the cave.
"Should I lie for those gnaw wolves?" she kept asking herself quietly. But if she did that then she would be breaking a law by not being honest with the chieftain. Liam's eyes bore into her as she walked into the gadderheal. She ducked down into a submission posture.
"Well?" Liam growled.
"I am here to report that the gnaw wolf Iris is… is…" she stumbled on her words. Could she really lie for the two gnaw wolves?
"Go on," said Liam.
"She has birthed a pup!" Natisha blurted. Immediately, her face fell. The truth was out. There was squabbling all over the gadderheal. Liam barked for silence. The group went silent.
"So the gnaw wolf has decided to defy the laws of the Beyond, eh?" said Liam, "Do we have any idea who the birth father is?" Natisha saw her chance to say something. But she felt a twinge of remorse at the words that were about to come out of her mouth. So against her own will, she didn't say the words that she was going to say.
"Yes," said Natisha weakly, "The pup's father was guarding the cave. It is Cilian who is the father of the pup." Almost immediately she felt regret. She had just put the lives of both of the MacDuncan gnaw wolves in danger. The gadderheal was loud with conversation now.
"Two gnaw wolves having a pup together! It's profane!" someone yelled.
"Put them to death!" another yelled. Natisha shrank into her pelt at the chaos she had created. Liam barked loudly for silence again and the gadderheal became quiet.
"Is the pup a malcadh?" asked the chieftain. Natisha almost died of relief at that question.
"No," said Natisha simply and plainly. There was a murmur of shock that ran through the cave.
"Unbelievable," Liam said quietly, "Absolutely unbelievable." The whole gadderheal went silent for a few seconds. Liam stood up on his pelt.
"Tomorrow when the sun rises, I will see the two gnaw wolves Cilian and Iris here in this gadderheal," Liam announced, "You are all dismissed with the exception of the Obea, Natisha." Every wolf left the gadderheal. Natisha pulled herself off the ground.
"What is it honorable chieftain?" she asked.
"Go to the gnaw wolves and deliver my news," said Liam. He glared at her. "And come right back." Natisha nodded and left the cave eagerly so as to get out of the chieftain's sight. Her decision was made now. Liam was onto her from the moment she stepped into the gadderheal. He knew she was up to something but not what it was just yet. She still had time. And those two were going to need all the help they could get.
A/N: I really have no clue where this story is going but I'm hoping that it will turn out well. Please review!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Wolves of the Beyond if that wasn't obvious already. All Wolves of the Beyond characters, ideas, locations, etc. belong to Kathryn Lasky.