The sound of shouting and the raised voices of several men echoed through the stone room. Cold silvery eyes looked up from a sleek, catlike head to assess the origins and meaning of the noises that grew louder. Sharp spikes rustled and quivered, making an eerie sound like wind rushing through dead grass. The spikes that covered the graceful predator slowly bled from a cool charcoal black to an angry red as the creature stood, wary and ready to defend itself and its pack.

Glancing around, the intelligent silver eyes took in the forms of its pack. While the other creatures looked exactly like it in appearance, they all knew that he was something different entirely. Nonetheless, they had been together for too long not to trust him to protect them. After all, he might not have started out that way, but now he was their alpha in truth.

Four other massive forms stood in the dim light of the room, readying themselves as their alpha did, spikes rustling and turning red.

The alpha glanced at them once again, grateful that there were no young to be concerned about, and then focused on the door. The humans that he knew to be the wardens of this damp stone prison were making a great deal of noise, something that he knew usually signified new prisoners and a feeding time. The five predators stood patiently, awaiting the buzzer that would signify their mealtime.

Finally the obnoxious noise came, and the iron bars that caged in the creatures opened with a rusty clang. The alpha led the way, bounding through the stone tunnels like a tiger.

His nose twitched, allowing him to take in and sort through the complex scents that assaulted him. The sounds of shrieks and high-pitched screams of terror and pain told him that his packmates had begun their hunting and feeding, and his upper lip curled. The skittering of heartbeats reached his ears, and the sound of blood pulsing wildly through terrified bodies brought up his bloodlust. Roaring, he began leaping towards his prey.

A few seconds later, his jaws covered in blood, he reveled in satiating his hunger. New prisoners did not come very often, and the wardens only released them to feed when the prison became overpopulated, which meant that he and his pack had not fed in several months.

A voice in the back of his mind spoke up, reminding that he did not have to stay in this dank hole. A human side of him still remained, enough to access the magic that he had been born with and had once used on a regular basis. The alpha creature that was the front of his consciousness snarled at the voice, telling it that they had not been human for many millennia, and they couldn't leave their pack. After all, their first pack had been killed back when they were so very young.

The human voice settled again, content to bide its time to blend with the foremost part of the creature's mind. They didn't have a reason to leave, after all. Not really. It wasn't as if they could die down in this god-forsaken hole.