© 2001- 2019 Maxwell
Published on stormrise.com on August 19, 2001
Part 1

StrongCub yawned as he felt the stirrings of life in the small den that he, his mother, and his father called home. His brother had once been included in that list, but by a sad twist of fate his beloved WolfPaw had been killed by the very things he so loved. The sound of his cry still rang disturbingly clear in the small elf's ears as he lay on his furs and dreamed of his lost sibling. StrongCub felt his eyes mist as he thought of all the fun things that he and his brother had done, while living in the now, before his brother's death. He sniffled the tears back down as he struggled with the thought of facing the day.

RayneCrystal's face contorted with sadness as she watched her only living cub laying miserably on his furs. She shuddered thinking of the cub that she had lost only a single turn of the seasons ago. The loss had stricken her mate and son harder than it had her as she had lost a cub before from the time when she had been recognized, but RowanHand had never lost a child before. She felt RowanHand lay his warm calloused hands closed over her shoulders. The elfess looked up at her mate, "Lifemate what are we going to do about are son? He is torn and so will I be if I must see him like this even one more day!"

The chestnut haired male looked at his beloved and sighed, "I know not what to do but to keep his mind from our cubs death. Perhaps we should take him hunting?" RayneCrystal turned and looked hopefully ather lifemate, her green-black braid swishing behind her as she faced him. He nodded and turned to his son, "Ho there StrongCub, would you like to follow your mother and I on a hunting trip?" The cub turned from getting dressed and looked wide-eyed at his sire.

RowanHand smiled as he noted the desired pick-up in his son's attitude. the slim cub was soon dressed and standing outside waiting for his parents. His parents came out a few moments after, StrongCub's sire carrying with him a new dagger that the cub had never seen with his father or mother on the hunting trips. RowanHand approached his son and handed him the dagger with a smile, "This, my cub, is your first hunt so tis only fitting that you recieve your first weapon this day." The cubling stared at the finely sharpened weapon in the light of the mother moon as it rose, turning it over and over in wonderment.

RayneCrystal smiled warmly as she mounted Will O Wisp, her wolf bond and pulled her cub in front of her and asked the tawny wolf to take it easy on him. StrongCub gazed out at the forest as it streaked past them as the family searched for suitable game. RowanHand, the tracker of the family soon sniffed out the tracks of a longtooth and smirked at his lifemate. His only cub smiled at him, he was so proud of having such a talented father and such a beautiful mother. StrongCub watched as his father guided them on the trail to the game for that night.

Soon, however, his mother began to notice a strange scent coupled with the scent of the game. She inhaled deeply and found that it was the smell of poisoned blood. She sent to her lifemate, **Faln, something is not right here. Mayhap we should go back and look for safer game?** RowanHand nodded to his beloved, **I think that you are right Nefra. Something smells truly wrong here, the prey is not safe to hunt.**

The small cubling that sat mounted with his mother remained blissfully oblivious to a serious danger. He did note the sudden stiffness of his mother's posture and the swiftness in which they changed directions. He looked up at his sire and stared at him, "Father, what's wrong? Why are we leaving?" RowanHand turned to him ** No time now StrongCub, we must leave quickly.**

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