Through Wolf's Eyes

Through Wolf's Eyes by Jane Lindskold Read Free Book Online

Book: Through Wolf's Eyes by Jane Lindskold Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jane Lindskold
Seer said. "Look how he marks that tree with his scent and cuts the bark away from another."
    "At this pace, they will reach the Burnt Place when
the sun is at peak or soon after," Firekeeper said. "Let us go back and
watch the others."
    Blind Seer agreed and they ran swiftly, ignoring the
scolding of squirrels and the frightened flight of a doe and fawn.
Wolves needed to eat either frequently or heavily, but when something
interested them, they could forget hunger. Fire-keeper possessed less
stamina than her kin, but she had long ago learned to ignore her
belly's plaints.
    They found the larger, slower-moving group by
following the reek of the not-quite-elk. As the wolves slowed, so as
not to startle their subjects, the falcon called greeting.
    "How goes it with Tawny and Mountain?"
    "Well enough," Firekeeper answered. "And these?"
    "Slow! So slow!" the great bird shrieked. "These men are like ants though, steady."
    "We will watch here if you wish to hunt."
    "Good! Then I fly ahead to see what the others do."
    Firekeeper was far less bored by the two-legs' slow
progress than Elation had been. Other than young possums clinging to
their mothers, she had never seen one creature riding another.
    "Most other animals," she commented to Blind Seer,
"carry their babies in their mouths. Two-legs sit on these elk as if on
a rock."
    "They go more slowly than they would on their own feet," Blind Seer added. "I wonder why they bother?"
    Firekeeper shrugged. "Another mystery."
    The sun was slightly past midday when a bleating
bellow, rather like that of a moose but not quite so, called out from
the west. The sound stirred great excitement among the two-legs, who
had persisted in their steady progress, even eating their food while
perched upon the backs of the not-elks.
    Hawk Nose, the One of the two-legs, took a curving
thing the color of antler from where it had hung on his belt and,
putting it to his lips, made an answering sound.
    "He blows into it!" Firekeeper said, amazed and
laughing. "Look how his cheeks round out beneath their hair! He looks
like a bullfrog courting in the spring!"
    Blind Seer laughed with her, then added, "So these
two-legs howl, too, in their fashion. The thing he puts to his mouth
makes a fair cry."
    "Just as the Fang gives me teeth like a wolf,"
Firekeeper thought aloud, "this thing gives Hawk Nose the lungs of a
moose. Are all their things ways of being more than they could be
alone?"
    "Two-legs," her brother replied teasingly, "are weak,
hairless creatures with flat teeth, no strength, and little wit. This,
though, I have known long before seeing these, eh, Firekeeper?"
    Accustomed to such jests, Firekeeper sprang on him,
forgetting stealth in the joy of the puppy game. Only when they heard
the shrill huffs and screams of the not-elk, the shouts of the
two-legs, did they think about the consequences of their actions.
    "Oh, well," said Blind Seer, mouthing her arm
affectionately as they sat up on the leafy ground. "We have frightened
them. Let us hunt, then go ahead to where they go. There is no need for
this slow progress when we know the trail's end."
    "I agree," Firekeeper said. "The not-elk have our
scent now and the two-legs will move more slowly if their pack mates
are afraid. I want to see what will happen when they find the Burnt
Place."
    "The beasts are quiet now," Blind Seer observed.
    "Then away with us."
    They melted silently into the brush and were well
away before Jared Surcliffe, coming with great trepidation to
investigate the commotion, found their watching place and gathered from
a low-slung briar a grey hank of wolf's fur.

    D ERIAN C ARTER WAS IRRATIONALLY RELIEVED when they caught up with Ox and Race. Irrational because this glade was
no safer than any other place, but relieved nonetheless because his
nerves were still on edge from the ferocious snarling and growling that
had broken the woodland peace a few hours before.
    Not that he was afraid of the wolves—or whatever the
noise had

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