Sunday, 13 March 2011

Alpha And Omega: Death And Rebirth

Chapter 1: Death And Decisions

"No, no, no, NOO! You can't die! I love you," wailed Humphrey as he wept over Kate's body.
Winston padded up to him, "Humphrey, she's dead, there's nothing we can do."
Humphrey looked at his pack leader, only to see his own sadness reflected in Winston's eyes.
"No, she can't be dead, she can't be dead, no," he cried. Humphrey then looked over at Tony, "This is your fault! If you weren't so greedy, Kate would still be alive! You old fool, Kate gave her life to save yours, and you don't even have the respect to mourn her."
Tony flinched away from the cold fire in Humphrey's gaze. "Tony, I think you should take your pack home before mine does something drastic," Winston whispered to his old friend.
Tony nodded, "Eastern pack, we're going home!" Howls of protest rose from the eastern wolves throats, but a powerful look from Tony sent them on their way.
"Humphrey, it's no use. Come on buddy, let's go home," Salty nudged Humphrey's shoulder as he spoke.
"No, there's nothing for me there. I'm never going back there again. I'm going to leave Jasper, and hopefully my pain far behind." Humphrey growled as he stood up. "But first, I am going to bury her, it is the least I can do for her."
Late that night, after finishing Kate's grave, Humphrey left Jasper Park, vowing to never return to the place that had taken away the one he had loved….
The old wolf woke from a horrible dream to see that it had invaded the real world; HE was standing in the cave next to him. "So," asked the old wolf, "have you come to kill me?"
"For her," was the only thing the old wolf heard before he felt razor-sharp teeth tear into his throat.
The old wolf made no noise as he bled out on the floor of his den; but as his killer walked out of the cave, he managed to choke out, "I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused." The next morning wailing could be heard on the eastern side of the river, Tony was dead.

Chapter 2: Questions To Be Answered

Winston awoke to the familiar leader's summoning howl. He immediately realized that it didn't belong to Tony. Nevertheless, Winston answered the call and proceeded to the river where he usually met with his old friend.
When Winston arrived at the river, he was greeted by the sight of the entire eastern pack. "What is the meaning of this? Where is Tony?" demanded Winston.
"Tony was found dead this morning, he was killed in his den," explained one of the senior alpha wolves.
Even after Tony's exploits had caused the death of his daughter three years ago, Winston still felt a pang of sadness at the news of his old friend's demise. "Well, where is Garth, isn't he the pack leader now?"
"Garth left less than a month after 'the Incident', we never found any trace of him" explained the same senior alpha.
"Well," sighed Winston, "now I know why Lily left around the same time, I just pray that they are safe."…
"Come on, Lily, we're almost there," Garth called to his mate.
They had left Jasper Park almost three years ago; Lily, to escape the memories of her sister and Garth, to leave his father's sins far behind. Now, the two were climbing a mountain on their trek south, exploring as much land as they could. "Garth, slow down, I can't run that fast!" Lily cried as she again tripped over a snow-hidden log.
"Shh, I think I hear fighting up ahead, keep your head down, I'll go check it out." Garth hissed as he pushed Lily into the snow.
Garth quickly ascended the rest of the mountain only to see three bears fighting a gray wolf.
Just as Garth was about to step in and help the gray fighter, the gray wolf dashed past two of the bears, tearing open their throats with his claws. The last bear tried to flee, but the gray wolf jumped onto his back and bit down deep into the bear's spine. The bear gave one last roar before it fell on its side and lay still.
Then Garth saw the face of the wolf, "We all thought you were dead, how are you alive?" Garth asked, jumping from the shadows.
"Let them continue thinking that, I no longer concern myself with them," growled the gray wolf.
"Will you let HIM think you are dead too?"
The gray wolf did not answer, just padded away into the night.

Chapter 3: Rebirth

"Who was it, Garth?" Lily asked as she bounded up to sit beside him.
"I'm not sure, but it looked like…like…HER."
After the stampede, Kate awoke to an all-consuming blackness. "Humphrey, where are you?" she cried.
Her last memory was of Humphrey covering her body with his own to protect her before she felt a sharp pain at the base of her skull and woke up here. "I hope he's okay, he must have loved me just like I loved him," thought Kate.
"He did love you, more that you or anybody else will ever know. In fact, Humphrey is waiting for you to come back to him." A bright light appeared from the direction the voice was emanating from.
"Who are you, how do you know about Humphrey, is he okay?" Kate asked in a rapid series of questions.
A powerful gray she-wolf walked out of the light and approached Kate, "I am the warrior spirit of all the alpha wolves of the world. I know everything about every alpha all across the earth; and don't worry, Humphrey is grief-stricken, but he will survive." the old she-wolf explained.
"Why am I here? Where are the packs? What happened to me?" Kate was on the verge of tears at this point.
"My dear, I am so very sorry, but you were killed in the caribou stampede. Humphrey tried to shield you, but he was too late, you were dead the moment you were struck in the head." The old wolf sat down as she spoke.
"Well, I can't stay here forever; I have to help my pack. I need to be with Humphrey, he'll never forgive the eastern pack… what if he tries to attack them on his own?" Kate was howling with frustration and sadness.
By the time she had finished, the old wolf had come closer to her. "Young one, you have a truly noble heart. I may be able to help you after all. Although you will look different, I can give you new life. In two and a half years as seen by the living, the ritual will be complete and you will have my earthly form. After I give you my earthly form, I will not be able to help you locate your lost love, but I wish you the best of luck on your journey."
As the she-wolf padded off, a bright light enveloped Kate and she once again fell into a long sleep…
Almost three years after she died, Kate was reborn.
"Humphrey, I'm coming."

Chapter 4: Of Hunting And Discovery

Winston returned to his den with a heavy heart, first his daughters had left, and now his oldest friend had been killed in his sleep. Winston decided that he would do something he had not done since the Incident, he would visit his daughter's grave.
He told himself that he was going to seek guidance instead of dwell on the past; but when he saw what had become of the mound of dirt and stone, his pain and sadness was replaced by rage. "Who dares defile my daughter's grave?" he growled.
"The grave was not defiled, Winston, Kate has been given a precious gift by the warrior spirit. She came to me in a dream and told me herself." Eve said, trying to soothe her mate's temper.
"Who came, Kate or the spirit? If Kate is not in the grave, then where is she?" demanded Winston, his hopes flaring for the first time in years.
"I'm not sure," Eve sounded thoroughly confused, "it looked like the spirit, but it spoke with Kate's voice."
"Find our two finest trackers, and bring them to me. I have a special mission for them."…
"Trepex, your job is to find Humphrey. Whatever the cost, I want him home immediately. Lumira, go to Kate's grave. Find a scent that does not belong to myself or Eve and find whoever it belongs to. You will then bring whoever it is here." Winston barked out the orders quickly.
The two wolves in front of him nodded their heads and raced off…
Humphrey left his small den and began to hunt in his small, secluded area of the forest in which he lived. As he was sneaking up behind a large rabbit, a familiar scent hit his nostrils.
He immediately recognized the scent and raised his head above the grass, scaring away his prey. Humphrey disregarded the rabbit and turned towards the direction of the scent. He raced towards it; as he ran, he couldn't believe what he was doing. 'She is dead, what am I doing?' he thought as the scent got stronger.
He slowed to a fast walk until he reached a small, shady clearing. Standing in the middle of the clearing was a shape he would recognize anywhere. The body was in shadows, but the scent made it unmistakable.
He crept into the clearing without making a sound.
He then called out in a soft voice, "Kate?"

Chapter 5: Lovers Reunited

The lithe shape in front of him turned at his calling, "Humphrey?" it called in a hopeful voice.
Even her voice was still the same, "I thought you were dead, I buried you. I… oh, Kate!" Humphrey then rushed towards the shadowy shape.
As he finally saw what she looked like, he stopped in his tracks. "What happened to you, Kate?"
"You were right Humphrey; I was dead for over two years. The warrior spirit of the alpha wolves gave me her earthly form so that I could be with you again." Kate explained as she rubbed her nose against his.
"I may look different now, but my love for you remains strong. I have traveled from beyond death's door to see you, and now we are together once more." Kate wagged her tail as Humphrey pressed his pelt against hers.
"I don't care what you look like, I'm just glad that you're alive. I won't let anything hurt you ever again." Humphrey promised Kate as he led the way back to his den, "Come on, I'll get you something to eat." Humphrey ran back to his cave happier even than when Kate had howled at the moon with him…
Trepex was still heading south after over a month of full-speed travel when he came across two unknown wolf-scents. When he saw them, he howled with delight. "Garth, Lily! I can't believe I found you." He cried as he raced toward them.
"Trepex, how have you been? What are you doing here?" Lily asked when he stopped.
"Winston sent me to find Humphrey and bring him home. Have you seen him?"
"No," replied Garth, "Has something happened back home?"
"Much has happened since the Incident. Let me give you the whole story."…
Kate suddenly awoke in the den, breathing heavily. 'This is very bad, we must get back to Jasper now,' she thought. "Humphrey, Humphrey, you need to wake up." Kate nudged him until he stood up beside her.
"What's wrong, Kate? Are you okay?" He asked.
"I'm fine, but I just received a vision from the warrior spirit. We need to go back to Jasper Park immediately. If we don't everyone we know will die." Kate whispered.
"Well then, what are we waiting for?" asked Humphrey as he padded out of the cave with Kate following.
'I have to tell him'…

Chapter 6: A Different Path To Follow

"What do you mean 'there's a catch'? I thought you gave me your earthly form so that I could be with Humphrey again." Kate growled at the spirit.
"I did give it to you, but your true form is still in the realm of the dead. Until you die or find a willing sacrifice, you will slowly lose speed, stamina, and strength to the point where you can no longer move. However, once you find a valid sacrifice, you will get your original body back." the spirit explained. "Death is missing an inhabitant; somebody must take your place. Once the sacrifice is chosen, they can never return to the world of the living," warned the old wolf.
"I understand. How long will it be before the degradation begins?" Kate asked.
"You will begin to feel its effects in just over a year."
"Isn't there any way that I could spend more than a year without feeling the effects?"
The spirit thought for a moment, "Yes, I believe there is. I will speak with Death and see what can be done."
The next day, the spirit came back to sit with Kate in the world of her dreams. "Death has chosen a person to take; with his death, you will have an extra five years before the degradation sets in," the spirit told Kate.
"Thank you, I will make the best of it while I can." Kate stood up and began to leave, but the spirit stopped her.
"If you do not find a sacrifice before the degradation completely sets in, you will never be able to see the one you love again. I'm sorry but even I cannot circumvent the laws of death."
"But there is only one that I can think of that would give their life for mine, Humphrey. If he gives up his life to keep me alive, his life would have been wasted. I can't live without him." Kate argued.
"There must be something, anything else that will work. Why must this be so difficult? Why can't we all just go back to the way things were?" Kate mumbled to herself.
"Calm down, my dear. You made a deal with Death; he does not give up that which he has very easily. If you are willing to risk everything for this Humphrey, then there may just be a way to help you. I must warn you, it has never been successfully done before"…

Chapter 7: Finding Friends Along The Way

Humphrey and Kate raced up the valley, heading north. They left almost a week ago from their den in the woods, and were on a straight path to Jasper Park. They were almost to the place where they would get on the train to Jasper when they heard two familiar voices.
"Kate," Humphrey whispered, "do you hear that?" When she nodded, Humphrey said, "We should surprise them, don't you think?"
Kate smiled; this was the Humphrey she fell in love with. "Let's do it, follow me."
Garth and Lily were standing underneath a large oak tree when Kate and Humphrey jumped on their backs. "Intruders, in our territory? What should we do with them?" Kate asked in a deep voice.
Humphrey, who was pinning Garth to the ground, growled, "Maybe we should kill them."
Lily began to scream and struggle against the weight keeping her down. Kate and Humphrey looked at each other and laughed.
"So, Barf, what brings you and Lily all the way out here?" Humphrey asked as he lifted himself off Garth.
"Humphrey, is that you?" Lily asked in a hushed voice. Humphrey nodded.
"Who is this wolf with you? You seem pretty close," Garth commented with narrowed eyes.
"Yes, we are. She is my mate; I'm surprised that you don't recognize her." Humphrey answered.
"Recognize her," Garth tilted his head, "why would we recognize her? I don't remember seeing her any… wait; she was the one that killed the three bears on the mountain!" Garth exclaimed.
"You never told me about the three bears, were they the same ones we met on our first journey?" Humphrey asked his mate.
"Yes, they were. They tried to attack me; they must have thought I was weak because I was on my own. I have received much strength from the warrior spirit, though, and I killed them easily." Kate explained.
"Were you hurt?" Humphrey asked, sounding anxious.
"No, they never laid a claw on me." Kate reassured her mate, nuzzling his fur.
"I saw the fight," Garth interrupted the moment, "I have seen only one wolf with alpha-skills like that. Can it really be you, Kate?"
"Yes, it is. I have returned. We must return to Jasper. If we do not, the packs will all perish."

Chapter 8: Secrets Revealed

"Lily, I need to speak with you." Kate called from the back of the group.
"Yes, what is it, Kate?" Lily asked when she fell back to talk with her sister.
"There's something I need to tell Humphrey, but I'm not sure how to do it." Kate admitted.
"Well," Lily urged, "what is it?"
Kate stumbled a bit as she spoke, "There's something happening to me that could become a big problem later on. I know that you probably know less about this kinda thing than I do." Kate whispered something in Lily's ear.
Lily's eyes widened as she fixed her sister with a strange look. "Well, you're right. I don't know how to handle something like that, but maybe mom will. She has been around the mountain a few times."
"Come on, girls! We're gonna miss the train if you stand there gossiping." Garth called over his shoulder.
"We're not gossiping!" Lily protested, "Kate was telling me..." Kate quickly cupped a paw over Lily's mouth to shut her up before she said something stupid.
"Whatever you do, I have to be the one that tells Humphrey. I don't want to see his reaction if he thinks that I don't think he can handle it." Kate pleaded with her younger sister.
"Do you think he's ready for this?" Lily queried.
"No, at least not yet. I just came back to him, what would happen if he knew what I was going through. No, I will tell him when I am ready." Kate decided.
Lily nodded and sped up to pad beside Garth. Kate still hung back a little from the others, 'What am I going to do now?'...
one month later...
Garth, who was scouting ahead, came sprinting back to Kate, Humphrey, and Lily. "I can see Howling Rock!" he exclaimed.
"We're almost home!" cried Lily and Kate in one voice.
Humphrey looked lovingly at Kate and then back at Garth, but he did a double-take on Kate. 'What is with her? She looks really preoccupied, I wonder if I can help.'
Humphrey went off and caught the first caribou that any of them had seen in months. "Kate, don't you want any?" Humphrey asked his mate, nudging her with his snout.
"No thanks, Humphrey. I'm already getting too fat from all this food you and Garth have been bringing in. Where did you learn how to hunt so well?" Kate asked, eager to change the subject.
"I kinda taught myself, whenever I left. I knew that if I was gonna live on my own, I would have to learn how to hunt." Humphrey told her, "why are you so interested in my hunting skills if you aren't even going to eat any?" he asked with a mischievous grin. "Is there something that you want to tell me, Kate?"
Garth and Lily, who had been listening intently from the beginning, began to snicker and then howl with laughter.
Humphrey took a step forward. Kate instinctively took a step back before holding her ground. "Yes, there is." Kate answered.
She shuffled her paws, not quite sure how she should begin explaining this to her mate. "Let me guess, you need to use the bathroom?" Humphrey joked.
"Would you shut up, this is important! I'm trying to figure out how to explain that I am going to..." Kate realized what she was about to say and stopped herself.
"You're going to... what Kate? Look, I'm sorry, but you haven't been yourself lately. I'm just worried about you, I love you." Humphrey nuzzled her.
"I love you too, Humphrey. Something is happening to me, and I just don't know how to deal with it; but as long as you are with me, I know that we will all be okay." Kate sighed.
"Don't you worry, Garth and I will keep you and Lily safe, no matter what happens." Humphrey promised.
"Lily wasn't who I was talking about. I meant you, me, and three other wolves." Kate thought that not even Humphrey could miss this one.
"Well, who are the three that are going to travel with us?" Humphrey asked, tipping his head to one side.
Lily and Garth were both laughing so hard, they were in tears by this point. "What are they laughing at?"
"They already know, because they pay attention and are not as thick-headed as you are!" Kate yelled with a brilliant gleam in her eyes.
"Humphrey, my love. I'm... I am... pregnant!" She squealed.
Humphrey's jaw dropped.
So many thoughts went through his head at once: 'I'm going to be a father? I don't know anything about raising pups! I can't believe Kate told Garth before me.'
Faced with all of these thoughts, he did what any omega would do in this situation, he fainted.
"Humphrey!" Kate screamed, she just managed to catch him before he hit the ground.
Seeing this, Garth and Lily began to laugh harder and harder until they couldn't breathe.
Lily was the first to regain her composure, "Garth, I'm pregnant too."
Garth immediately stopped laughing, "Seriously?" he asked.
When Lily nodded, Garth immediately followed Humphrey into the safety of unconsciousness.

Chapter 9: Returning Home

When Humphrey finally woke up, he noticed that Kate was laying right beside him. "I still can't believe it, I am going to be a father!" he exclaimed.
Humphrey flinched as he saw Kate shift in her sleep from his outburst. Humphrey crept quietly out of the cave and almost collided with Garth.
"Humphrey, can you believe it? We are going to be dads!" Garth almost shouted.
Humphrey nodded with a large grin on his face, but suddenly absolute terror gripped his heart like a claw made of solid ice. "Oh my god." he whispered.
"What, what's wrong with you?"
"Eve is going to kill us." Humphrey replied in a terrified voice.
Garth's eyes grew large and round in fear before he again fainted...
one hour later
"Oh no, Garth!" Lily cried as she rushed out of her den to see Garth passed out at Humphrey's paws.
"Lily, what happened?" Kate asked as she too darted out of her den.
"I just realized," Humphrey explained, "and told Garth that your mother is going to KILL us when she finds out that we got you two pregnant!"
The two she-wolfs looked at each other for a moment before beginning to chuckle.
"Hey, it's not funny! Your mother is going to rip Garth and I to pieces for this. How do you expect us to help raise pups if our bodies are scattered all over the territory?" Humphrey argued, but to no avail...
later that morning
"If we hurry, we should be able to make it to the Howling Rock before the moonlight howl. Phew, what an entrance that would make, eh?" Garth asked, breaking into a full run.
The others soon followed, happy to be heading home, happy to be together, happy to be alive...
At Howling Rock, there was almost absolute silence. Every wolf was there, but nobody had it in their heart to howl that night.
Tonight was the four-year anniversary of Kate's death.
Winston got up from beside Eve and began to head back to his den when he heard a howl that lifted his heart to the skies, Lily!
Another howl joined in with hers, Garth!
Soon they appeared almost at the peak of Howling Rock. Winston began to run towards them; but he stopped and starred at the peak of the mountain, just as every other wolf was doing.
Two gray wolves stood side-by-side at the summit of the mountain.
As one, they howled with so much passion and love that it brought tears to every eye in the valley.
Humphrey had returned home; and somehow, so had Kate.

Chapter 10: The Begining Of The End

When Kate and Humphrey finished their howl, the rest of the valley burst into song. The tension and grief was washed away by relief and happiness.
Winston darted up the mountainside astonishingly fast for a wolf of his age. "Humphrey, Lily, Kate, Garth, it is so good to see all of you again. Did Trepex or Lumira find you?" he asked.
"Trepex found Garth and I, but we never saw Lumira." Lily answered.
Winston narrowed his eyes, this was not a good sign. "So you never saw Lumira, but you saw Trepex for a short time?" Winston asked, checking to make sure he was right. "This is very bad, they haven't come back yet. I believe that something may have happened to them."
Winston turned to Eve, who had come to sit beside her daughters, " All that matters now is that you are all home."
Kate and Lily exchanged glances and took their mother away for a private conversation.
Winston shot a questioning look at the males, but they turned their heads shamefully away.
Winston showed the smallest hint of a smile, "So, it looks like I am going to be a grandfather, am I?" he asked the two wolves in front of him. They both nodded their heads, not daring to look him in the eye.
Winston laughed, loud and hearty. "What are you afraid of? Did you really think I didn't know this was going to happen? I was a young male once myself you know." Winston stood between the two wolves, a paw on each of their shoulders. "Let's hope that Eve isn't angry with you two, 'cause if she is you are on your own."
They heard a loud growl, followed by the sight of Eve hurtling towards them, killer intent in her eyes. Humphrey and Garth looked at each other; both ready to defend themselves, when their mates leaped forward and tackled Eve to the ground.
" As long as I live, no harm shall ever come to Humphrey." Kate growled into her mother's ear.
"And I wont let you hurt Garth either, no matter what." Lily exclaimed.
"Come on girls, let your mother up." Winston ordered, "Eve, be nice to the boys. If Kate and Lily are willing to have their pups, then I will allow it. I must warn you though, if either of you two hurt my daughters in any way, you will answer to me." Winston said gravely.
"On that note, good luck with your pups, because you're going to need it." Eve said cheerfully, a complete turnaround from her earlier actions.
Humphrey looked at Kate and Lily, "How does your dad put up with her mood swings?"
... later that night...
"Kate, Kate you must open your eyes."
Kate's eyes fluttered open and she jumped up on her paws. "What's wrong? Why have you brought me here? Kate asked, recognizing her surroundings as the lair of the alpha warrior spirit.
"I have discussed your proposition with the other spirits, and we have reached a consensus. We will give you another chance, but" the spirit warned, "you will not be an Alpha anymore. If this works correctly, you will be an Omega forever." the spirit explained.
"I don't care about my rank. Maybe if I become an Omega, none of this will ever happen" Kate mused.
"Perhaps, but remember, you will be the only one that will recall anything of this time-line." The spirit began to glow with a bright light, "Your wish shall be fulfilled when you are reaching your end and the beginning of others. The council wants to show you that you have to suffer for what you want."
Kate nodded as the spirit faded away into the darkness...
These last three months had gone by in a relative calm. Winston had been acting a bit strange, but Humphrey attributed it to nervousness about becoming a grandfather.
"Humphrey, Kate!" Eve screamed their names as they returned from a walk around the territory. "Winston is in his den, he needs to see you both now!"
Humphrey was about to race to the den when he looked at his heavy-bred mate. There was no way that she could keep up with him if he ran, "Kate can't run, we will be there as soon as we can."
Eve nodded at him, eyes betraying fear for the first time Humphrey could remember.
"Get there quickly, Winston is very ill, I can't do anything for him. He's going to die!" Eve began to cry on the spot, Humphrey let her lean on his shoulder as they slowly made their way to Winston's den.
"He tried to hide it from me for so long, but I could tell that something was wrong. He didn't want the pack to get worried about him, so he kept it a secret." Eve explained as they got closer to the den.
When they got inside, Kate immediately laid down and began to pant heavily.
"Kate, what's wrong? Did we go too fast for you?" Humphrey asked worriedly.
"No," she replied, "we got here just in time." She was interrupted by an odd spasm.
"It's time, the pups are coming NOW!"

Chapter 11: Ending And New Begining

"Now?" Humphrey asked, fear making his voice squeak, "What do you mean, now?"
"What do you think I mean by now?" Kate growled at her mate, "I mean right now!" Kate whimpered as another spasm racked her body.
"Humphrey, go speak to Winston. I will handle things here." Eve spoke calmly as to not frighten him any more than he already was.
Humphrey nodded and padded over to Winston, "Oh, my god. Not now, this can't be happening now."
"Calm down, Humphrey." Winston soothed, "Kate is a strong girl, she'll pull through. By the end of the day, you will be a father; and Kate will become the leader of the packs."
Humphrey's head shot up at this comment, "No, you can't die now. This is when Kate will need you the most. You have to be here to help her with the pups!"
"Humphrey, promise me that you will protect Kate and the pups with your life. You know what it is like to lose the one you love, but losing your pup is much worse than that. Promise me that you will protect them, my son." Winston begged.
"I will never let any harm come to them, dad." Humphrey swore with tears in his eyes.
Winston nodded, closed his eyes one last time, and passed peacefully into the next world.
Humphrey then rushed over to Kate's side, trying to help Eve in any way he could. Kate screamed as more spasms racked her body over and over again, making Humphrey feel scared and useless. Humphrey had just stepped out of the den to get some fresh air when Hutch skidded to a stop beside him.
"Humphrey, sir, there is a band of southern wolves headed straight for us. What are your orders?"
Humphrey growled with anger, "I will take our five best fighters and stop them, you stay here with the rest of the wolves and protect Kate at all costs. Tell Eve where I've gone." Hutch nodded and raced off to gather all of the pack to defend the main den...
Humphrey, Garth, and four other wolves raced to the place where Hutch's patrol party was being attacked. Humphrey's rage had continued to build until he felt nothing but blood-lust for the ones who would harm his mate and pups. His rage was such that he had run so far ahead of his patrol, they could no longer see or hear him. He leapt into the clearing and crashed into a southern wolf so hard, that it was slammed into a tree with back-breaking force. As all the wolves in the clearing froze in fear of the waves of murderous intent rolling off of Humphrey, he turned toward the southern pack, "Who wants to die next?"
The patrol party, sensing their safety, fled back to the main territory. The rest of Humphrey's patrol was still far behind him when all of the southern wolves jumped at him as one. For a moment, he was covered by a mass of fur and flesh; but he broke free and started slashing the wolves with a deadly rhythm. Humphrey had taken their numbers down to half of what they originally were before he was taken down by three southern wolves that had snuck up behind him. Noticing that he was weak now, the rest of the wolves began to close in on him; but Garth and the rest of the war patrol stopped them in their tracks. Candou helped Humphrey escape the three wolves that had ambushed him before joining the Garth looked back at Humphrey, all he saw was a bloody mass of gray fur lying on the ground. Garth ran over to him, placed Humphrey on his back, and began to run back to Eve's den...
Kate was still whimpering in agony as Garth returned to the den, carrying a heap of bloody fur. Eve snapped her head up at the scent of blood.
"What happened? Who is that, Garth?" Kate managed to whisper.
"Kate, I'm so sorry. I couldn't stop him, he just ran ahead of all of us. When we got there, he was buried under three southern wolves and surrounded by the bodies of twenty more." Garth explained.
Kate gasped, "Humphrey!" she tried to get up, but screamed at the pain.
"Kate, you must stay still. If you don't, you could kill yourself. Don't worry about Humphrey, he'll be fine." Eve tried to calm her daughter's racing mind, but only made it worse.
"What do you mean, 'Don't worry about Humphrey'? He is dying because I wasn't there to help him!" Kate shrieked.
"Kate... Eve is right, I'll be... fine. I'm just a little... tired is all." Humphrey stood up and began to limp towards his mate. He rubbed his nose against her muzzle before he fell to the ground, never to rise again.
"Nooo!" Kate screamed as she saw him die right before her eyes. She screamed again when the first pup began to emerge from her belly. Blood pumped from her body as Eve pulled the pup out of Kate's body.
"Garth, get me something to stop this bleeding. If we don't stop it soon, she might not make it." Eve ordered.
"It doesn't matter anymore, he's gone." Kate whispered solemnly.
"Just a little longer my dear, and all the pain will be washed away." the warrior spirit spoke to Kate in her mind.
Kate took a deep breath and pushed with all her might. When she opened her eyes, there were three small wolves lying beside her. Kate smiled as the world around her went dark.
"Kate, don't you dare close your eyes!" her mother ordered.
She did not heed her mother's orders this time and slowly began to pass into the void, following her beloved to the very Gates of Death...
A paw grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. It was the warrior spirit, "Kate, my dear, you have braved the ultimate sacrifices. You have proved to the council that you are worthy of their blessing."Kate made an attempt to smile at the kind spirit, but it came out as more of a scowl.
"I know that you are hurting, but soon you will be reunited with all those that you have lost."
A deep, booming voice joined in with the warrior spirit's, "It is time for you to go back, back to the beginning."
A white light enveloped Kate as she lay down to sleep. Her dreams were filled with visions of Humphrey bleeding out in front of her and of her father wasting away before her very eyes.
"Kate," they said in unison "we are so proud of you. We love you more than we could ever put into words."
Kate ran towards them, screaming their names, as they began to fade away...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~EPILOGUE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Humphrey...dad, wait. Don't leave me, WAIT!" a young, golden-brown she-wolf squealed as she awoke.
Panting heavily, she looked around the den, she was still alone. She was about to start crying again when she heard a voice.
"Kate, are you alright? I heard you scream." Winston called as he padded in through the entrance to the den.
Kate threw herself at her father and began to cry, he was still alive. "It was awful dad, I had this dream where you and Humphrey left me all alone. There was nobody else, and I was so scared."
Winston patted her on the back, "It's okay, honey. I'm not going anywhere and Humphrey is probably still asleep. If you are so worried about him, go see if he wants to play with you." Winston urged.
Kate nodded and raced off towards the Omega den to see if Humphrey was awake. 'I could never be happier than right now, they are both still alive.' Kate thought as she pushed herself into the den where the Omega wolves lived. She spotted Humphrey sleeping at the back of the cave and crept over to stand next to him. Kate looked lovingly at the sleeping pup. "Sleep well, my love. I will be here when you wake up, just as you always were for me," she whispered into his ear. Kate then curled herself around his sleeping form as best she could, swearing that she would protect him from anything that would try to take him away from her again.
Winston and Eve were watching from the entrance to the den, "Well, Winston, I think that our little girl has made her decision." Eve commented, still watching the two sleeping pups.
"Yes, it would seem that she has. I think that she truly loves him, even if she doesn't know it yet." Both of the Alphas starred at their daughter as she slept beside Humphrey and smiled.
This was the beginning of love to their eyes, but to Kate's, it was what was always meant to be...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THE END~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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