Prologue

He pads along the side of the road. The last city is nothing more than a memory to him. The mighty wall ahead is what draws him on into the dusk. He hopes to make the walled-in dwellings before the two legged ones bar the gates for the night. Passing down the road, he reaches the city with no more than 10 minutes to spare. Once inside the gates, he walks along the road of caravaners towards his resting place. A few blocks to the west and he stands before the huge building holding the tomes of the ancients. Pushing the door open with his muzzle, he slips in. Along the shelves with books piled to the ceiling he stalks, till he comes to a dusty corner. The smell of dried scrolls is overwhelming to him, yet he finds comfort in it. The furry adventurer turns around a few times before stretching out. He lays his weary head upon his forepaws and closes his eyes. Letting out a gentle huff, he calls back all those months ago to the day that brought him here.......
 
 

Chapter #1

Across the forest paths I roam in search of food to fill my belly. Past the gently trickling stream, my muzzle draws me upwind, tracking the doe. I have been stalking this fleet footed one for most of the night. If I fail before daybreak, my belly shall be empty for another day while I rest. The doe is crafty, sensing that something is following it, if not sure what. It has used every trick its instincts call upon. Twice last night it has eluded me, once by nothing more than a few strides. The scent of it alone drives me onward with desire. If I padded along the forest with a pack, my hunger would be quenched by now. Yet after leaving the last pack, I felt no need to form another. Many wander alone, yet few survive more than a month unless they bond into a new pack. For some reason, I seem to be thriving alone.
A call can be heard far overhead. Turning my gaze upwards, I spy a black spot marring the brilliant blue sky. It is one of the raptors that ride the currents to parts unknown, yet this one is circling over me. This is unusual to me, my instincts tell me that in a battle to live, I am assuredly the victor. Flopping down on my hindquarters, I watch as it does a lazy spiral towards the emerald treetops above me. Right before crashing into the branches above me, it flares its mighty wings and comes to a gentle rest high in a giant elm tree. Once settled on one of the top branches, my hearing picks up its powerful talons sinking deep into the wood of the branch. I cringe at the thought of those strong weapons being sunk into my hide. Yet the hawk does nothing more than to turn its unblinking gaze upon me.
The wind shifts and starts blowing from the opposite direction. As it ruffles my jet black and gray fur, something is quite out of the ordinary. None of my keen senses can detect anything wrong, but my instincts alert me to it none the less. The wind in the trees speak to me, their gentle sighing call out "COME". This could only mean one thing, my goddess has called and I must answer. There is no other thought than to race as fast as I can to her call. The hawk calls to me once again before drawing air under its strong wings and lifting into the sky. It circles while gaining room to soar high. As I watch it climb, it calls once again before sailing out over the trees to the north. Standing once again, I begin to follow it like the doe before. Yet this time I follow by command, not hunger.
 
 

Chapter #2

The glade is peaceful as I enter it. Many of the creatures of the forest are here. The mighty bear, the fleet footed cottontail, the bushy tailed tree climber, the buzzing sting tails and many others are here waiting to answer her beck and call. All are safe as long as she is within this clearing. To spill blood in this glade would be to heap the ultimate shame upon oneself. She gazes at me as I enter, yet I can not detect any anger or joy at my arrival, only satisfaction that I have come as swiftly as my four paws could carry me. I drop my tail between my legs and slowly pad up to in front of her before stretching out on my belly and placing my head on the ground in worship to her. She leans back to sit down where there is no chair and the ground itself erupts with vines to catch her and form a living chair for her to rest in. The vines and branches sprout all colors of wildflowers around her lithe frame. A blue winged one flits down to her shoulder, she strokes it with a tanned finger while whispering to it.
Turning her gaze back to me, she speaks in a language that any two legged one would here as nothing more than wind among the trees, "I called you here because I have need of one of your kind to do something for me. I have tested many of your type and have found many lacking. Yet you seem to survive where others have failed. The two legged ones used to be my children also but have abandoned me. They now cut down my home to build their huts and plant their fields. They kill the rest of my children for nothing more than sport and butcher each other with gleeful abandon. I need you to slip into their walled cities and study them. Learn what you can, then come when I call again and let me know if there is hope they will return from their wanton ways or if I have to wipe them from my home so that my other children can survive."
She leans forward and barely caresses my brow with a gentle touch. A strange sensation ripples through me as a searing pain can be felt in my throat. She has changed something deep inside of me, yet I am unsure of what it could be. As she leans back, she continues to speak "You shall need that ability that only the two legged ones have ever had the privilege of using. You must go and study, for they have pushed back my home and I can not enter theirs. See, hear and above all remember what you find out. One day, I shall call out to you, to return to my embrace and tell me what you have learned, so I can pass judgment on them. Use your cunning, agility, power and instincts to guide you. Make friends as you see fit. Yet be wary, some will be loving to your muzzle and sink their weapons in your back as soon as it is turned. Do you understand what is expected of you, furry one ?".
I open my muzzle to bark out a reply and promptly swallow hard. Trying again with great difficulty I reply in a way I never thought possible. The language of the two legged ones fills my mouth "Understood Mother Nature". She nods approvingly at me before standing up. Turning, she flits into the forest while turning into a doe. She pauses at the edge of the woods and glances back with a mischievous smile, if a doe can have one.
 
 

Chapter #3

Across the wooden bridge we move. The wagon I just slipped up beside shielding me from the guards on the other side so they can't detect my presence. They inspect the wagon without much thought before waving it on into the city. We pass through the gates and up the road, passing a large building where the two legged ones rest. They call it an inn, yet for the life of me I cant figure out why, they are always coming out but never going in. We move onwards as the crowd parts around the horses leading the wagon, with me following in its wake. The noise around us is incredible as two legged ones sell their wares. Some of them stop to look before moving on, others brush on by without a backward glance.
The wagon turns to the east at a crossroad, blending in with other wagons to form a caravan. Pausing at the corner, I can see a great gathering of two legged ones to the north of me. Glancing after the receding wagon, I continue on to the north and into the great press of two legged ones with some of the horse people mixed in with them. Quite a few step on my paws, most simply lift their feet and look the other way without an apology, some offer a humble apology for their actions. The very air itself is torn apart with a loud report. Instinctively, I drop my tail between my legs while a deep growl rumbles from my throat, warning whatever caused it that death awaits them in my fangs. Backing away from this unnatural occurrence, I see just another two legged one step through the rent. The tear closes with a loud bang and leaves an overpowering trace of sulfur in the air. The two legged ones seem not to mind it, yet my nose is seared with the stench. Backing up against the fountain in the center, I find refuge from the steps of others along its low stone wall. Stretching out, I begin to not only listen to what they are saying, but also smelling the fear, joy and anger they give off as they converse with each other.
 
 

Epilogue

He dreams while wrapped within slumber. Images of a small one he calls "she who blesses all", another he knows as "the large grumbling one", a female called "she who speaks softly" and many others flood his dream. He whimpers in delight at as they stride through his dreams. Others who destroy everything in their way pass by his mind's eye while a deep growl of hatred rumbles from his furry throat.
The light from a window high in the wall awakens him to the morning. He slips out of the room filled with knowledge and out on the road towards the place the two legged ones call Center of Town. He returns to his vigil in hopes that one day his mission will end and he can return to his home The Forest Primeval.