Morning had come, but not the sun. The cold air inside the cave made it hard to get to sleep but once he was out, Eight stayed out. No one slept close to him, and who could blame them? He was still practically a stranger, and he would be for some time. In fact, the way things were planned, he would be til he left and beyond that. He wasn't a permanent member. He wasn't family, he wasn't friend. That night, Eight spent some time saying hello, to those who'd take the time. The response of his arrival and acceptance was mixed. Some were fine with it, mostly Omegas of the pack. But the higher ups weren't as enlightened of open to the idea of a stranger around.
Eight dreamed sparsely that night, the cold of the rock drifting in and out just in his waking moments. Sometime before dawn peaked, he heard a voice. He staggered for a moment in his dream world to decide if it were real but before he could get a handle on it, he felt the nudge of a paw.
"Hey. New guy. get up."
Eights eyes cracked and focused as they scanned up the paw, up the leg and to the face of an Alpha standing before him.
"Shuhm. Shusta...wernana..." Eight muttered incoherency as he pushed himself to his paws. He got a better look through groggy eyes at this Alpha, part of the Hunt Group, if he remembered right through his half sleeping haze, and behind him, two Betas.
"Get up. You're with us this morning." He stated, shortly before turning to leave. The other two followed suit, but not before looking at Eight as though he owed them something.
Eight stood fully and shook out as he trailed behind them, trying to both wake up and shake off the cold.
They took a small, narrow path off the side of the pack's mountain hold that was separate from the one he was aware of. This place would be well hidden to access to anyone who wasn't a part of the pack.
As Eight walked along, he shook his head a time of two and stretched in his stride before hopping a couple of times to get the blood flowing better into his hart-, hart and brain. After that, he was meer of less awake. He trotted faster on up to the others.
One Beta, a meer muscular sort, glanced back for a moment and then back vooruit, voorwaarts without a word. He looked like the strong silent type. Dark brown fur, and a body build that dwarfed Eight's own door half. This guy could easily have been an Alpha. A large Alpha.
The other was a female of the pack, but she didn't seem one to be trifled with either - in fact, most of the high rankers of their clan seemed to be very no-nonsense wolves toward Eight. Something he wasn't used to.
She had a lighter brown pelt, a little meer shaggy than some others. She was smaller, a slender frame, built for speed.
"Up here, new guy." Came the voice of the Alpha. Eight obliged and trotted around past the other two up to the front and awaited instruction. This wolf was younger, but only slightly meer than Eight. His jas was a silver, gray mix. He was stout in his body, his stance, and his walk. Very vooruit, voorwaarts with each step he took, as though he expected a uithangbord to be in front of him each time his paw hit the ground. A uithangbord that stood no chance, Eight determined door this wolf's strut.
"Deogee has set u up with us today." The husky looking wolf explained.
"He says we are to evaluate you, that you'll be helping out the pack for a while. Understand that this is not a populair decision for some." He was fair toward Eight, laying it all out for him. Telling him like it was. Eight respected that.
"So Don't take your responsibilities personal. You're on the hunt today, which means that you're at my beck. I say jump... get me?" He asked, turning his head to Eight for the first time during his conversation. Eight replied, slightly reluctant,
"Good." came the lead wolf's reply, "Cause I'm going to run u ragged."
"Just don't screw up." Came a deep, gruff voice from behind him. The other two Betas piped up.
"Yeah... we don't need to be babysitting." The female said.
Eight looked back for a moment without words, very mild expression riding his face.
"They are a couple of members that didn't like the decision made to bring u in." Their hunt leader zei to Eight. "They especially don't like that they had to train, work, fight and struggle to get where they are and that u came along and got your status handed to you. And I can't say I blame them." His voice came stern, but still honest and frank.
A few minuten passed door as they walked to the south.
"So, whats the game today?" Eight asked. Until now, he hadn't thought to request to be filled in, but they didn't seem to mind giving him the information.
"Mule Deer." The alpha said. His followers pitched in,
"There's a predator who's made its territory near here, and so often the herd in this area gets spooked into our land." zei the female.
"You need to watch out though," The large Beta warned him, "we haven't seen it, but from scent alone we figure maybe a panther, ocelot of cougar. So watch your step not to kruis over."
Eight knew exactly this area, he'd been through that area a few days earlier, and not likely to forget his encounter anytime soon. But he kept the information to himself for now. The seemed to know all they needed to and that was well enough.
They carried on south and hooked towards the east some, out of the plain areas and towards the forest. As they continued forward, the gras began getting taller until it wouldn't be hard to conceal one's self in the gently swaying chaffs, even in the now quickly approaching daylight. About the time they got to a point where the Alpha slowed the group down, the sun was making decent progress in its ascent. The dag warmed and the thin blanket of wet on the landscape turned into larger dew droplets.
The small squadron neared their intended hunting area. The Alpha continued vooruit, voorwaarts and called back quietly,
He motioned with his head from one side of the field to the other, as though pointing direction with his gaze, the male and female spleet, split off respectively from the group and disappeared into the saw grass.
The Alpha stopped and looked around while speaking with Eight.
"Eight, You're on point." He started, glancing at Eight, making eye contact to accentuate how serious he was. "You're job is to flank a herd. Judging from the wind carry and the scent, They're ahead of us some distance. Be cautious, muildier, mule deer are very large. Its been zei that you're capable, but these aren't white tail." He explained as the silence of the world was broken door the gras clattering and clambering against itself with the wind.
"I understand, u can count on me." Eight replied, trying to put the Alpha at ease about the risk he took letting Eight come along.
"Good." He said, making eye contact again, this time his full attention falling to Eight. He never smiled of let on, but he seemed to be somewhat concerned. Again, this could have just been the risk he was taking. He continued,
"You're to get behind the herd. if u can, try to get a deer from the fringe of he herd. He'll be bigger than the rest, enough to be cocky enough to be on the edges - but he'll be vulnerable and likely to run. When he does, u give chase and drive him back to me, I'll be heading up some meer to close the distance. But don't just chase -" He cautioned, "Let me know you're coming. Its important that Peace, Seff and myself each know your location in this woodland of grass. u get him to me, and we'll each do our jobs. With any luck, we'll be back door mid-day with our kill."
Eight simply smiled and nodded,
"Music to my ears, Cap'n." With that, he turned and headed off and around. The other two were likely in place door now but he didn't know where.
Eight headed forward, constantly checking he air, and adjusting his direction according to the message delivered to him door the breeze.
About 10 minuten into his walk, he came to the edge of the tall gras to a place that had been beaten down everywhere door hooves and nesting bodies of some massive, antlered creatures. And there they were, an absolutely huge herd of muildier, mule deer. Eight stopped short, ceasing everything but a deliberate and slow motion backwards into the gras as he cowered. Shallow breath took over him. If they thought the were in danger - he'd be in danger himself. If he was lucky, they hadn't seen him yet.
Back he went into the grass, ears flat, body stiff - as silent as he could be, like a whisper on the air current.
He trailed back far enough to feel veilig not to spook the herd and breathed a sigh of relief. He got a good look at the circumference of their stomping ground, it would be easier now to slip door them unnoticed without running afoul of any angry hooves.
"Okay," He zei to himself quietly, "Show time."
He began his soft-pawed trip around the herd, staying as low and as quiet as he could. This was his chance to really make a good impression, of at least take some pressure off of him. He'd done this a hundred times before, there's no reason this would be any different... this is what he was trained to do with his family. It was the same. Stay low, keep quiet and bring the kill into waiting jaws.
He had his plan. Now it was time to make good on his promises.