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A wolf picked his way through the carnage that was once the Thornbriar Pack. He’d heard the final howls from his own territory that bordered theirs. The two packs had not been enemies but they’d had little contact either despite their proximity. Even so, when he’d heard the desperate howls and cries, he’d run here as fast as he could but whatever had destroyed them was gone before he could get there. He raised his muzzle, searching the scents on the night air.

A low growl vibrated his throat as he found the familiar scents of several Nightshade pack members. The pack was vicious and had fought with his own for generations. He wondered what the Thornbriar back had done to earn their wrath. His ears swiveled as a small sound broke the silence.

Cautiously, he picked his way through the bodies and wreckage strewn where once had stood the Thornbriar pack’s housing, his ears and nose attuned to his surroundings. There was another sound, this time unmistakably the whimper of.. a pup? Not the piercing cries of a human infant but the sound of an actual wolf pup.. which was strange.

Finally, he followed the sound to a pile of scorched timber that was all that remained of the packhouse. He found an opening in the pile and crawled his way underneath, his keen eyes quickly located the curled ball of purr that was making the soft noises. As it caught his scent it curled up into a tighter ball, going silent.

Slowly the wolf crept forward in the small gap that had formed beneath the wreckage, careful not to catch his paws in what appeared to be the broken pieces of a nursery. As he reached the trembling bit of fluff he gently nosed it, making a small yip. The pup whimpered once more. He brushed his muzzle against her back and licked her flattened ears, trying to show her he meant her no harm.

The pup raised her head, looking at him with silver eyes filled with terror. The elder wolf cocked his head, entranced by those wide silver eyes, so rare among their kind but he collected himself and yipped at her.

The terror in her eyes lightened, but only slightly as she quietly yipped back. She started to get to her feet but stumbled, one of her front paws giving way beneath her tiny body. The wolf frowned and looked around, finding a blanket in the broken pieces of what must have been a toddler’s bed. He dragged the blanket in his teeth, wrapping it around the pup and using it to carry her carefully out of the wreckage. She didn’t struggle, apparently deciding to trust him.

He carried the pup through the woods and back to his own territory, all the while wondering at the fact she was a pup and not a human child. It was nearly unheard of for any werewolf pup to shift so young. Most shifted at 16, though some would shift as early as 12 and some not until they were 18. As he approached the Silverthorn packhouse, several curious eyes fell on him, widening with their own confusion once they saw what he carried in the blanket.

One younger boy approached, frowning at the bundle.

“Michael..” he gulped at the wolf’s warning growl and corrected himself. “Alpha Silverthorn, what’s with the pup?”

Michael gently set the pup down, still wrapped in her blanket. He watched her curl tighter beneath the soft folds, hiding from the growing crowd around him. He gently nudged the bundle in a silent promise that she was safe before shifting. He slid into a pair of pants brought by one of his pack members and frowned at the boy. “It looks like the Nightshade Pack decided to put down the Thornbriar pack. She’s all that’s left. As to why she’s shifted.. I don’t know.”

Michael smiled softly as his Luna found her way to the small group. She knelt by the bundle of blankets and carefully uncovered the pup, her eyes filling with tears as she lifted the small thing into her arms. She picked up the blanket and covered the trembling ball of fur as she cuddled her close, crooning softly to comfort her. She raised her gaze to Michael, tears for the pup standing in her eyes. “I’ll take care of her Michael.”

Michael nodded ascent, ignoring the murmur that moved through the rest of the pack. It wasn’t often that packs took in new members unless they were mates from outside the pack but they couldn’t very well leave a pup to wander a rogue. None were left of her own pack to take her in and she’d surely die out there alone, particular with one leg injured.

The alpha straightened, his eyes moving over his pack as his voice resounded with his alpha strength both vocally and in the minds of any that weren’t already present. “From this day forward this pup is part of the Silverthorn pack and will be raised and protected as such.”

Every wolf bowed in whichever form they held dipped their heads slightly to acknowledge their alpha’s decree. His luna nodded, cuddling the pup closer before turning to take her into the packhouse.

The pup stayed in her wolf form for two weeks, shying away from everyone but Michael and his luna at first. After 16 days she finally shifted to her human form, a toddler no more than two years old. She stared out from behind bangs the same color as her wolfs fur, black as night with a bluish sheen to it, looking up at the luna that had been trying to coax her to play with her. Her silver eyes locked onto the lunas blue ones, staring up at her for a long moment before suddenly brimming with tears before she screwed them shut and started sobbing loudly.

Once again the luna found tears welling in her own eyes for this lost little pup. She pulled her tiny frame into her arms and held her while she continued in deep wracking sobs while the luna rocked her. Finally her tears slowed and her cries faded to occasional soft hiccups.

“What’s your name little one?” the luna asked softly.

“Erista,” the toddler whispered, her voice still hoarse from her tears.

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