Through The Darkness
A white she bear was staring at a bony, gray male. The white bear, barely white at all, licked her on the muzzle. "Be strong, Iji. Soon, it will be time for me to join our ancestors in the Moon Lands." Iji shook her head. "Iqniq, you will not leave so soon!" Iqniq rumbled happily, which ended in a dry cough. "Please, be brave. Do not--" He rasped, cut off by another throaty sneeze. "Do not be afraid... Be ready to lead our tribe..." He fell into the grasp of another coughing fit, wheezing feebly. He looked up wretchedly, his eyes glazed with age and the burden of all his wisdom. "The warmth will battle the cold..."
A whirlwind of battle spiraled around Tonrar. His eyes narrowed as he spotted a brown bear, larger than the others, slashing with relentless fury at his tribe. He charged down the slope, heading to where the male bear was. He clawed and chomped his way through the mass of surging waves of bears. One black male squared up to face him, not intimidated by his size at all. He was still cub fluffy, perhaps only a few Ice-Melts old. "Hey, white cub! What are you going to do about me? Whine for your mother?" The cub, being surprisingly younger, chuckled and chortled. "Well, your mother ain't here now!" He launched himself into an unstoppable rage, thumping his paws down on Tonrar's ears. The Ice Tribe leader bellowed with frustration, his massive paws groping for his throat. The black male slipped through the flailing claws with ease. He snarled in amusement. "I knew white cubs were easy to beat! You're a bit sluggish on your giant fishy paws, whale breath! Maybe there's more fat and fur on your scrawny bones than actual strong black and brown bear muscle these days!" These words made Tonrar seethe in outrage. How dare this impudent forest muck insult his well trained, striving tribe!
"You're a weak old snow brain." The black cub continued. Tonrar's teeth were glinting now. This cub was going to pay for his audacity. His fangs dug deep into the young forest bear's scruff. His crooked, thorn sharp claws caught the skin of the cub's belly and sunk into the tender flesh. The black bear yowled with pain, making Tonrar's fur hot with satisfaction. He hooked his claws in further, shaking the young black male. Water splashed onto his fur, and in a smooth movement he pinned the young male down. His teeth flashed in a wide sneer. "But perhaps you could learn a little respect for your elders?" He threw the cub into a nearby river, holding him beneath the surface. A spree of exploding bubbles rose to the surface, and with an evil smirk, Tonrar realized the young one was fighting for his life. He pressed harder, and felt the young male bear's life spill out into the fast flowing water.
Tonrar grabbed the dead body and lifted it into the air. A fine spray of blood was staining the pure water crimson, tainting it with the taste of a tangy metallic pang. He felt an arc of glittering water droplets splatter against his muzzle, cleaning his teeth of blood. The bears around him stopped fighting and stared blankly at him. A large black mother was the first to wail in despair, probably the mother of the cub. "Koi! Koi, no!" The grizzled brown bear from before lumbered up to her. "Chula, he's dead. No thanks to these savage killers." He added with a sharp glare at the Ice Tribe. Tonrar stepped forward, dropping Koi. "He made fun of my tribe! AAnyone who dare opposes the Ice Trie will be executed." He growled simply. The brown bear steeped back, and Chula leapt in front of him. "No white snow will touch Fochik!" The brown bear pushed summoned her away with a soft jerk of his brown muzzle. "Chula, calm yourself." Chula would not retreat. She glanced at Fochik, then hissed at Tonrar. "Fochik is a worthy leader. He will not be toyed with, like how you toyed with Koi!" Tonrar's eyes glinted dangerously. "Back down, Chula. Before I make you." Chula ignored Tonrar's warning. She charged forward, claws outstretched to the max. Tonrar effortlessly dodged and clawed down her side, like waiting and grabbing a seal from a seal hole. Chula screeched as blood spurted from her side. Tonrar dove under her belly and made deep claw marks in the soft flesh. She hurled herself at him once she was clear of his claws, but Tonrar blew her aside with a massive paw. Chula was sent sprawling into the snow. She twitched once, and was still.
Tonrar faced Fochik. His eyes blazed, and the brown bear took a step back. "We are not afraid to show our claws. Leave us be, and we will not harm you." Fochik growled angrily. "Fine. But we'll be back, and when we do, we'll show you how a real bear fights!" Fochik barked an order to his ragtag band of bears and they bounded off into the sunset.
Tonrar turned to his bears. They were panting, their pelts matted with dried and fresh blood. Yet despite that, their eyes were shining with the thrill of victory. Uumatik padded up to him. "Tonrar, what do we do now?" "Assign bears into patrols of three. We need prey to eat. Then, we'll disguise our scent and head back to camp." Uumatik nodded. The worthy successor began instructing the hunting patrols. Tonrar sighed as he stood next to Uumatik. "Uumatik, I will go on a patrol with Taqqiq and Siqiniq." Uumatik dipped his head in respect and understanding. Tonrar motioned for the pair to join him by angling his ears, and they set off.
It was dark now. Taqqiq had been fishing, and caught two trout and a pike. Siqiniq went into a nearby grove of trees, and came back with three lemmings and a muskrat. Tonrar headed into a tunnel, perhaps leading to Ivy Cave, and flushed out a skinny rabbit, four tiny moles, two baby voles, and two scrawny snow hares. As they dragged their prey back, Tonrar decided it was time to discuss what had been on his mind. "Taqqiq, Siqiniq, why did you go back to Flash, Leopard, Claw, and Silver?" He knew the answer, but he wanted to hear what they thought. Siqiniq stumbled over her muskrat and Taqqiq almost spat out his fish. "What?!" They exclaimed at the same time. Tonrar gave a satisfied rumble. "You should've told us. We thought you had left!" Siqiniq was the first to speak. "We... We thought you wouldn't let us go..." Tonrar shook his head. "We would've." He began, once he had placed up a paw to silence Taqqiq. "I understand the meaning of grief." Following the Path of the Ancient Ice had taught him much, and had given him hope. "Next time, I want you to tell me before you leave." Taqqiq nodded, Siqiniq's eyes glimmered with respect, and they both replied, "Yes, Aput Tonrar!" Aput Tonrar meant, "Snow Devil", so many of the tribe used the formal title when addressing him seriously. Tonrar was pleased as they headed off, back to their tribe.
Series 4: Book 4: Calm Before the Storm
Bonus Scene! The Cats and the Bears
Droplet felt water gush into his mouth as his tiny muzzle opened to cry out for help. Beside him, he noticed a ginger flash. Beside him, green eyes glittered for help. "Robin!" He thought with a jolt of despair. He fought the current, twisting out with his hind legs in a vague attempt to reach his litter-sister. It was hopeless. His tiny paws slid through the rapids, providing little defense against the wild river. A cold whirlwind of icy snow was whipping the water. Suddenly he felt calm. Perhaps he had calmed himself? He felt it was useless to continue fighting, to battle his impossible odds. He blinked, and a million thoughts flew past his head. He was older than Robin! He had to save her! But at the same time, the brotherly love he felt faded away as doubt crept across his brain. "I can't save her... Even I can't fight this!" For a moment, Droplet thought time had stopped, and that he was the only one able to think. Determination crossed his watery, glazed gaze. But he could try.
Droplet's tiny, thorn sharp claws unsheathed. He looked forlornly at Robin, fear shoving away his previously strong inspiration. Could he help? He couldn't even fight the powerful stream! How could he assist an other, let alone save himself! "Stop feeling cowardly! Be brave!" He narrowed his glare. His paws beat the water, pushing with all his might. He thought about Robin, her bright smile, her happy exterior, and his own tough show. He had to be courageous. He had to be strong. He had to be a true litter-brother
Droplet clamped his jaws around Robin's loose, wet scruff. He noticed the water that entered his slightly ajar muzzle was salty, not fresh and pure. He sunk deeper with the extra weight, but Robin noticed him. She smiled feebly, before losing consciousness. Her trust in him gave Droplet strength. He hit the bottom of the creek. He was stunned for a moment, and almost dropped Robin. But instead, he remembered her faint smile, and he pushed up with all of his strength as the ground disappeared from beneath him. He exploded into the cold, frosty air, inhaling deeply through his nose. Panting around his mouthful of russet fur, he clambered out weakly. Collapsing onto a stretch of cold ice, he closed his tired eyes and felt sleep overwhelm him.
Robin's drooping, heavy eyelids blinked open. A large, white bear was staring at him. It gave a rumble, which her groggy mind could not understand, and another bear came. This one was a she bear, with a tiny hint of blue in her fur. She nodded to the reddish white bear, and suddenly she felt herself being lifted. Next to her, she saw a limp bundle of dripping dark blue fur. "Droplet!" Her litter-brother had saved her! She fell asleep once more as she was taken away.
When she awoke, she was warm, dry, and nestled in the comfortable curve of a nursing she bear's belly. She looked up, and realized it was the same bear that had saved her and Droplet. Rising to her paws, she noticed the tinging sensation beneath her paws was not firm, damp earth. It was ice! Thick and steady, it didn't shift as she scrambled all over it. She felt how strong it was, and let out a squeak. Droplet, who had been sleeping beside her, was slightly conscious. He groaned, covering his ears with his previously-cold paws. "Be quiet. How is anyone supposed to get some sleep around here?" Robin giggled. "Come on, sleepy-mouse!" She was determined not to et him get away with teasing her. "Can't sleep enough?" Now Droplet was fully awake. His ears shot up and he mock growled, "Is that a challenge? Bet you can't fight me!" She felt a fierce pang of satisfaction when he stumbled forward, only to trip over his own paws. "Bet you can't catch me!" She ran out the den, squealing as her litter-brother snapped his jaws near her tail. Perhaps they could get used to the ice.
Copyright © 2014 Xie