The final pillar of smoke beckons you from across the city. The rest of the party gathers itself after scouring the final corners of the criminal den. Your agreed upon path leads you via the major roads. As you approach the an alley exit your legs suddenly buckle beneath you. A sharp scream erupts from somewhere very close by. Pain ripples across your flesh, as you panic you look down at your arms to see thick dark hairs sprouting from your skin and your claws lengthening. The sensation is familiar but somehow twisted and alien. Changing forms isn’t normally accompanied by pain.
You begin to concentrate on recalling the feel of your natural skin and willing yourself to resume your normal form. It appears to work as the thick fir begins to recede. That’s when you notice an immense and powerful presence at the edge of your awareness. It’s gaze shifts away from your body and focuses intently on your mind. Your awareness of everything else fades into the background, all you can see, all you can feel all you can think is that you want to relax, to calm down and go with flow. After what seems like an eternity you become aware of your body again. The calm reassurance has spread and infused every extremity, every muscle and bone. Lazily glancing down you notice that your hands are now small paws covered in a dark gray fur.
It seems like what ever was happening has run its course, your companions faces bobble around staring down at you with puzzled expressions. That’s when you feel it, this is something completely unfamiliar. You, no it, lets out a howl, no no you both together let out a long pained howl. Through this sudden discomfort you are both suddenly made aware of everything there is to know about each other. You feel like your personalities have merged forming an entirely new entity that is neither truly one nor the other. You share your love for the thrill of combat shifting forms so you can claw and leap upon your enemies, you love the elation of finally closing in on a hare, tripping it’s hind foot before snapping it up into your waiting jaws. Then just as suddenly as you were thrust together it no he begins to slip away, you grasp after him but you are plummeting away and you can’t get a solid purchase. Its then that you notice that you can’t feel anything, well its not that you can’t feel anything and more that you can’t remember how to feel anything. Your hurtling along through a blank expanse and you can hardly remember what it means to be you, what it means to feel like yourself. Then everything starts to fade.
What feels like days latter you awake drowsily prying one eye open. Moonlight filters through the canopy above. A dull ache in your right foreleg lets you know that you’ve been sleeping on it awkwardly. You roll over and stand up before stretching your paws, loosening the stiff muscles. Around you are you pack mates, a group of wolves numbering about fourteen. They are mostly resting, with three or four keeping an eye on the perimeter of the camp.
Sudden movement in the undergrowth erupts revealing another member of your pack, Shadow paw. A flicker of concern in his eyes and some quick snarls and barks indicate that trouble is approaching. The small clearing is suddenly a frenzy of action, those resting are suddenly up and alert readying themselves for battle. Five wolves peel of into the undergrowth taking up flanking positions. Shadow paw turn hurriedly and returns the way he came, the remaining wolves form a semi circle. Remembering your role you fill one of the few gaps remaining in the circle formation.
Some moments latter pained yelps are heard, shadow paw judging by the pitch. As the yelps approach the clearing you make him out limping heavily on one paw. Bursting from the undergrowth behind him you see three large reptiles rapidly gaining on him. These massive black scaled beasts remind you of small dragons only without the wings, and with large spikes covering their heads and spine. You have seen guard drakes before but never any of this size. You begin to panic as you notice shadow paw is about to be overrun. Glancing around you see that the other wolves are are strangely calm readying their pounces. No he’s not going to make it, if only a little further you think. Then just as the foremost drake is about the strike Shadow paw nimbly leaps forward regaining his previous grace. A puzzled expression passes across the drakes features, but it is too late the trap has been sprung.
Turning on his heels shadow paw crouches before launching himself at the throat of the front drake, as he does so blurs of fur and fangs can be seen streaking towards them from all directions. Leaping forward you join the battle pouncing on a leg and restraining it in your teeth just as it was about to fell one of your comrades. Shadow paw is flung aside and the drake grabs a hold of a nearby wolf crushing it in it jaws. You teeth find a tendon and you draw them along it cutting it through. Leaping backwards you circle the drake looking for another opening. Another drake screams as it collapses on in forelegs three wolves firmly gripping and dragging its head to the ground. Next to you a pained yelp emerges from a fallen wolf thick deep cuts exposing its ribs.
The drake you’re circling lowers its mangled leg testing its strength, it however providing no support causing it to teeter slightly. Before it can recover you throw yourself at its side. Your small size however is not quite enough allowing it to begin to right itself. Another thud echoes next to you as Shadow paw connects his leap. Together you force the drakes entire weight onto is bad leg, it topples, landing with a satisfying crunch. With its underside exposed the remaining unengaged wolves strike pouncing and tearing. You spin on your perch tearing with your forepaws, biting hard and tearing away at soft scales. The drake shrieks as the press of wolves leave it unable to recover, it legs lash out hoping to strike flesh, but your nimble dodge ensures they only reach empty air. You and your companions make quick work of it’s underbelly, opening grievous and fatal wounds on it’s flash and the organs below. Raising your now blood drenched maw from the gaping wound you quickly scan the battle. One drake lies collapsed wolves gnawing on it’s neck, legs twitching. The other has turned to escape, two wolves grip its tail in their teeth, though they are barley slowing it down.
Issuing a warning howl Shadow paw alerts the pack, the final drake must not escape alive. Leaping up from their felled opponents the entirety of the remaining pack member throw themselves at the remaining drake with renewed vigor. With such a press of numbers the drake is soon wrestled to the ground. You securing yourself a place along it’s neck, you bite down hard. The delicious taste of fresh blood flows over your tongue as the drake lets out a gargle.
The battle complete your blood begins to cool, your muscles relax. Shadow paw orders the pack to take their fill. Food in these woods is scarce at best. Nothing must go to waste. The dead are dragged away from the camp and the injured are bought haunches of meat torn from the drakes as their wounds are licked clean.