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I am no storyteller, so perhaps I should have asked my sister to tell this tale. However, I shall do my best, as this howl is a howl for chiefs and for our new "Way."

We are wolfriders, decendants of Timmorn Yellow-Eyes and his daughter Rahnee, who was the first true Wolfrider. Our Tales say that after her long healing sleep, Rahnee awoke and Recognized many times again, creating the beginnings of a new tribe of Wolfriders.

One of her children, named Kinshah, became our first chief. He was the one who led us from barren lands to a lush land full of game and good hunting. The land was also one of unpredictable weather--nature could be docile one moment but strike hard the next. Because of this, Kinshah named our new home Stormrise. And that was a time of peace.

The lives of three more chiefs of Stormrise passed -- Blacktooth, Snarl, and Treeleaf -- before we learned what it was to be at war.

Crimson, our fifth chief and my Mother's sire, so aptly named because of the ever-presence of blood on his blade, led us against the humans who tried to drive us from our home.

Peaceful times lasted again through the rule of my mother, Plainswalker, and through nearly five tens of turns of the seasons after I, Wildlight, tied my hair into the chief's lock.

This is where our story truly begins, for when you reach its conclusion, you, too, will see that our lives can never be the same.

My sister, Wren, was young when the changes to our tribe began. She had only recently
found her soul name and had earned her adult name for her hobby of talking to the smallbirds of the forest, when a heart-wrenching cry came from the woods near our home.

It was Wren, kneeling and keening over the newly-slain form of her wolf-friend, Brightfire. The wolf had dragged himself back to her before he died. An arrow protruded from his side and he was covered in gashes as the last of its lifeblood drained to the ground. I knew within my heart where that arrow and the wounds had come from, but I didn't want to believe it. I had foolishly hoped our troubles would just go away.

And Wren hated me for that. She sent, **I'll prove the picture is more than what it seems,** and didn't speak to anyone else for what seemed like many dances of the moons.

Time passed, and my sister seemed to draw within herself more and more. She spent more time in the forest with her small feathered friends, speaking to them with her strange way of making perfect bird-call. We worried over her. She would speak to no one else. Never had one who had lost her wolf-friend taken the death so hard.

But we could hardly expect what would happen next.

My sister had been gone, withdrawn, missing, away from the holt, without word to any of us. Sends went unanswered. We had feared she might have taken her own life. With heavy hearts, we gave my sister up for dead.

Many dances of the moons later, out of the sky, we heard a sending--It was Wren! She had returned to us--riding one of the creatures from the great lofty peaks--a griffin! My sister, who had such an affinity for birds, had found a way to bond with one of the fearsome flying creatures from near the sea.

Somehow, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. But now others of my holt have bonded with the great beasts, too. It is the beginning of a new way.

And now, I hear the whisperings of war on the winds of the coming White Cold.

The humans have returned, and they no longer build houses of skins to take with them as they move. No, they build houses of immovable stone. They build great stone circles and grow crops in patches they dig in the ground.

The humans are here to stay.

Will our new flying friends be an aid to us in this war? The High Ones only know. I would have it that we would live in peace with the tall ones. They really aren't that different from us, from what I see-- they love, laugh, and smile, just as we do.

But the humans won't see it that way.

-Chief Wildlight

 

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