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Saturday, February 18, 2012

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Wacky Animal Facts # 2

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1. PYTHONS can swallow rabbits whole and may eat as many as 150 mice in a six-month period.

2. DONKEYS because of the placement of the eyes enable them to see all four of their legs at all times.

3. PANDAS at birth are smaller than a mouse and weigh about four ounces.

4. OYSTERS can change from one gender to another and back again.

5. FIREFLIES are the only creatures that give off light without generating heat.

6. HUMMINGBIRDS beat their wings 60 to 80 times per second.

7. CHAMELEONS that are blind will still take on the colors of their environment.

8. HIPPOS are born underwater.

9. TURTLES can be distinguished by gender by the sounds they make. Males grunt, females hiss.

10. GOATS in large groups are called herds.

11. SQUIRRELS cannot see the color red.

12. CHEETAH cubs have a survival rate of only 5 to 10 %.

13. FERRETS sleep around 20 hours a day.

14. BIRDS can recognize landmarks.

15. SHARKS are immune to cancer!

16. SWANS have over 25,000 feathers in their bodies.

17. MOLES can dig tunnels 300 feet long in one night.

18. FROGS in a group is called an army.

19. DUCKS when they quack they echo.

20. GEESE in a group on the ground are called a gaggle, while a group on the air is called a skein.

21. HEDGEHOGS have hearts that beat 300 times a minute.

22. HUMMINGBIRDS weigh less than a penny.

23. MOLES can dig tunnels 300 feet long in just one night.

24. BULLS are actually color blind, therefore they will usually charge at a matador's waving cape for no reason whatsoever, whether it is green or red.

25. SPIDERS give more people fear than does death.

26. PORCUPINES float in water.

27. ANTS always fall on their right side when intoxicated.

28. SLOTHS move so slowly that green algae can grow undisturbed on their fur.

29. TERMITES outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1!


30. POLAR BEARS are the only mammals with hair on the soles of their feet.

31. IGUANAS can end their own life.

32. SQUIDS have 10 tentacles.

33. SCALLOPS have 35 blue eyes.

34. SEA HORSES pull themselves around with their chins leading them.

35. SALAMANDERS breathe through their skin.

36. PLATYPUSES have bills like a duck and lay eggs as birds do.

37. KOALAS are one of the few mammals that have fingerprints.

38. SHRIMPS are actually born males and then become females as they mature.

39. CHIMPANZEES are one of the few animals other than humans, who can learn to recognize their reflection in a mirror.

40. JELLYFISH have the largest recorded diameter of 2.3m across its bell, while that rule-breaking creature's tentacles measured 36 m in length.

41. LOBSTERS have the largest ever recorded weight of 19 kg.

42. MULES will not sink in quicksand, while donkeys will.

43. COBRA poison, even just a tiny amount will kill up to 30 people. This snake can grow up to 5.5 m.

44. VULTURES occasionally eat so much they can't take off again.

45. ARMADILLOS spend 80% of their lives sleeping.

46. TORTOISES can expect to live 100 years.

47. BLACK PANTHERS are really black leopards.

48. GARDEN CATERPILLARS have 248 muscles in their head.

49. HUMPBACK WHALES create the loudest sound of any living creature.

50. FRENCH POODLES did not originate in France. Instead, they came from Germany.

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Wacky Animal Facts # 1

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Here is a combination of animal facts I put together from different sources on the internet.

1. RABBITS cannot digest sugars.

2. DALMATIONS are the only breed of dog that gets gout, the same condition that humans suffer from.

3. SLUGS have four noses.

4. HONEYBEES have hairs on their eyes to help them collect pollen.

5. CHICKENS have left legs which are more tender than the right.

6. FLEAS have caused more human deaths than all the wars ever fought.

7. CATS can hear ultrasound.

8. GOLDFISH lose their pigment if kept in dim light.

9. ALLIGATORS of certain Chinese and American species, survive winters by freezing their heads in ice.

10. DOLPHINS sleep with one half of the brain at a time, and as well as one eye shut.

11. KANGAROOS find it impossible to jump without their tails.

12. CROCODILES cannot stick their tongues out, since it is attached to the bottom of their mouths.

13. ELEPHANTS are the only mammals that cannot jump.

14. CAMELS have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.

15. HAMSTERS may blink only one eye at a time.

16. FLAMINGOS can eat only when their heads are upside down.

17. BUTTERFLIES taste with their hind feet.

18. SNAILS can sleep for three years, if the conditions are difficult for survival.

19. PARROTS are one of the only species of animals that can see behind themselves without turning their head. The others are rabbits.

20. PENGUINS can jump as high as 6 feet in the air.

21. BATS have leg bones so thin that they cannot walk.

22. GOATS have eyes with rectangular pupils.

23. GIRAFFES have no vocal cords and so they communicate by vibrating the air around their necks.

24. MOSQUITOES are attracted to the color blue twice as much as to any other color.

25. ZEBRAS never have the same markings as each other.

26. DRAGONFLIES can spot insects moving 33 feet away.

27. GORILLAS can catch human illnesses.

28. OSTRITCHES can run faster than horses, and the males are able to roar like lions.

29. LIONS usually make no more than twenty kills a year each in the wild.

30. PIGS are kept by farmers in China, which account for almost half of their population in the world.

31. FISH are the only of two species of animals that are eaten before they are born and after they die. The others are chickens.

32. COWS can sleep standing up, but they can only dream lying down.

33. FOXES weigh on average 14 pounds.

34. TURKEYS are one of the most famous birds in North America.

35. HOUSEFLIES hum in the key of F.

36. SCORPIONS will go crazy and sting themselves to death when even a small amount of alcohol is placed on them.

37. ANTS never sleep, and they also don’t have lungs.

38. OWLS in groups are called parliaments.

39. ANTEATERS have tongues nearly 6 feet long, yet their mouths are only an inch wide.

40. GRASSHOPPERS can leap 20 times the length of their own body.

41. TIGERS have striped skin as well as their fur.

42. WOODPECKERS can peck 20 times per second.

43. COCKROACHES can live several weeks with their heads cut off, before they die from starvation.

44. GARDEN CATERPILLARS have 248 muscles in their heads.

45. MOTHS have no stomachs.

46. REINDEER milk has more fat than cow milk.

47. DEER can't eat hay.

48. STARFISH have no heart, brain, or eyes!

49. GOATS were the first animals domesticated by man in 10,000 B.C.

50. SLUGS have a longest recorded life span of 1 year, 6 months.

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Project: Memory Jar

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Step 1: Find a glass bottle from a finished beverage or a jar from jam (best if it is completely transparent, but a tint of color may be tolerable). Put the bottle in your sink and run it under hot water to more easily remove the label.

Step 2: Collect interesting materials; dried flowers, leaves, etc. i used gravel, pebbles, and broken shells and sand from the beach. You can also decide upon beads, scraps of colored paper or cloth, and buttons.

Step 3: Decide how you are going to distribute the materials in the container. I did mine in layers: large stones on the bottom, smaller ones on the top, as well as debris, which I made from a mix of gravel and shattered shells. i repeated this over and over again until the bottle was completely full.

Step 4: You can add extra ornaments to the very top of the container. I used straw, driftwood washed ashore, and seagull feathers scattered on the beach. i also utilized sea glass (shards of glass from such as broken soda bottles that people leave on their stay, and that wash into the ocean. They are smoothed by the pounding waves and tossing currents. Sea glass come in an array of colors and hues, not sharp at all to the touch, and have a neat frosty finish.) to decorate the very end of the final layer. You may also decide upon artificial flowers, real blossoms, or make your own abstract concoction.
Tips: most bottles have a strip of sticky glue on a part of the surface to hold the label in place. You can use that to paste on a ribbon and tie a bow. This gives an elegant touch. To make your bottle unique, add something personal, like a card unto the sticky stuff. Also, if you have a shortage of some pretty materials, tip the container to the side, so it lands on the side. Continue pilling up a layer in this fashion, making sure the lesser resources fall on the inside. Put it in a natural position. You should find they are displayed clearly on the outside, and are now visible. I displayed my single blue snail shell like this.

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Knowledge

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This is a true story:

A man, upon hearing another has an accent, boasts: "I'm smarter than you because I was born here!"

The foreigner asks: "How many languages do you know?"

"One. English."

"Well, I know three. So who's smarter now?"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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My Story Chapter Two

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When she awoke, Jena almost forgot where she was. Then she remembered last night.

She was in Tyvana’s dwelling, which she occupied alone ever since her mother died; her father lived in a completely different place, and her older brother Meran now moved in with his mate-to-be.  An autumn breeze swept into the room while the cold sun shone above.

Right now the room was empty since Tyvana had left her bed long ago, probably in the early hours of morning. Good. No one to scold her about sleeping almost to noon.

Jena gazed around the hut, which was smaller than Resmorha’s but far neater. Tyvana’s vacant bed was folded, as well as all her clothes. However, there were hardly any personal belongings. Tyvana’s remark from yesterday seemed to echo in the rafters: “Father prefers not to show favoritism. I’ll have to find my own place in the pack.”

With a sigh, Jena bent up from the soft furs on the floor and decided to change. Tyvana had left a set of clothes for her in the corner of the room, not because she was being nice but because they were those of a large man.

Jena began to slip of her tattered hide leggings when she saw the scar.

It stretched from her hip to almost the middle of her thigh. It was horribly ragged. Under closer examination, there were a few old wounds on her chest too, including one over her heart.

What had happened to her?

Jena tried to remember in vain. She slipped on the several sizes too large clothes and stepped outside.


Brown leaves spiraled around as a wind flopped Jena’s enormous shirt around. In the daytime the camp looked different; less menacing without the dark forest circling around it, and devoid of the fires burning spookily through the night.

 

She was about to go back inside when she noticed Tyvana up ahead, carrying a bow and a set of arrows. Jena waved to the teenage girl but she ignored her, walking towards the North Entrance.

 

By the way, there were only three ways in and out of camp. The North Entrance was the only one really used. The other two (East and South) were small paths only to serve as exits in the case of an emergency.

 

“Obviously, we’re only going to lay our scents on the main entrance, so any enemy is going to think there are no others,” Meran had told her as they were walking to the mage, his dark ponytail swishing as he walked.

 

“Wait a heartbeat,” Kani broke in. “Why are we telling her? Isn’t she like our enemy?”

 

“Well actually, you idiot, we’re going to keep a close watch on her. In fact, we should tell her, so we know how she’s going to try to escape!”

 

But she didn’t seemed to be watched at all. Could she possibly… explore, since Tyvana had definitely left camp?

 

As soon as she thought about this someone struck a blow on her shoulder. Jena sprang around, only to see Tyvana’s sneering face.

 

“Why did you do that? I thought you left!”

 

Tyvana paused, lips twisting in amusement.  “Ah, you thought, human. Can’t I give you a little test? instead of staring into space, do something!”

 

“Well, I –“

 

“I as usual had to get up at dawn, even thought I was on the night patrol yesterday. Where I found you. And speaking of you, the leader wants to see you.”


Jena became even colder with anxiety as they passed by trees creaking with wind. Tyvana’s father wanted to see her?

The world wailed as winds spun through camp, sending the first fallen leaves around in circles. Above spanned the sky, still brilliant blue but yawning with cold. Jena wrapped her loose clothes tighter around her body.

Tyvana slowed down as they reached the largest hut in camp. The girl with the arrows paused to bow before stepping through the curtained doors. Jena, unsure of what to do, kneeled as well.

Dozens of woven mats lined up in the dark interior. The place was scented with fragrant smoke and fresh tree sap. At the very front stood a row of imposing chairs, the first ones Jena had seen so far. A dim figure was seated there now.

“Greetings Alpha Lahon,” Tyvana spoke.

“Tyvana Lahon, I summoned for the newcomer. Is this her?” His eyes were illuminated by a few wax candles and they flickered to Jena.

“Yes, Alpha Lahon, this is the Unmarked newcomer.” Was it just her, or did Tyvana’s voice just tremble?

“Daughter, you may be dismissed.”

With only the slightest movement of her gown Tyvana slipped through the entrance curtains.

Jena’s heart raced as she realized she was now alone. “Sit,” Lahon geatsured to one of the mats. The weave of bark and wood scraps poked through her clothes. Her hands were ice.

“As you might already know, this is the Alpha Council House. This is where pack meetings are held; Where clan leaders discuss the current state of things and declare war and make peace. This is also where I live when I am not busy with the pack.

“Whereas in the outside world we are all equal demons, here you will refer to me as Alpha Lahon, for I am your superior. The more wrathful from of the Place of Spirits witnesses the comings and goings here, and it had decreed boundaries will be set in the heart of every clan.”

The silence allowed Jena to ponder on the strong perfumes in the massive room and wondered, What lies beyond the back curtains?

“As I am now your leader beyond further notice, you will respect and do everything I say. Understand?”

Jena nodded although she doubted he could see her.

“You will ask my daughter to go hunting with you and show you the forest. You are dismissed.”

She stumbled to find Tyvana.


 

Monday, February 6, 2012

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Moon Chapter Three

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“Is it weird being the leader’s daughter?”

Tyvana didn’t respond as she checked her arrows. “Sometimes,” she muttered as she stared straight ahead. “ Alright, so we came here to show you the forest. We’re right now in our pack territory. To the west and south there are more packs; to the east are the hills; and to the north is wilderness. If you’re smart, you are never to cross the creek that runs a few daywalks ahead. That would be death, human. We are taught to protect our lands from intruders of any kind.”

The faint light streaming through the canopy pierced Tyvana’s wolf eyes. Jena tried again. “Why is there no one living in the north?”

The wolf girl turned away with an exasperated sigh. “Bad prey. Plus the land’s too small to support any pack. It runs for a short while before opening up into coastal cliffs.”

Jena looked at Tyvana’s short tied hair and contemplated her long, loose style. Unlike Wolf-girl, she had no bangs. “And the hills?”

The teenage hunter smirked. “Can you imagine us eating grass?”

Jena wasn’t really that curious about the territories. She was just trying to figure out where she had come from. “So, about my arrival. Am I really going to stay with the pack? Will everyone accept me?”

Tyvana glared at her. “Until further notice, yes. Lahon wants Resmorha to keep a look out for signs, and he’s going to assign you tasks pretty soon. As for the rest of the pack -” Worl-girl smiled, “that’s your problem.”

Jena let out a stream of mental curses at Tyvana. Who does she think she is? Just because she’s the leader’s daughter doesn’t mean she has to be this cruel!

Wolf-girl stopped in a clearing a while later. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t forced to… Like, a child would know this already… “ She closed her eyes and went on. “But, as Dying Earth deepens, we have different prey, and we can’t rely on plants anymore.”

“What’s Dying Earth?”

Tyvana rolled her eyes. “You know, that season when all the leaves turn color and fall off?”

Jena started. “Oh, you mean autumn!”

“Yes human. I see you know some old terminology as well. We don’t use human words since they’re really not appropriate to our way of life. But since you mentioned it, I’ll give you the four seasons: Dying Earth, Cold Earth, New Earth and Full Earth.

"With each Tree Passing there are twelve moons, sometimes thirteen. The Tree Passing officially starts with the first bud, and we celebrate it with a large festival."

“So, is the Tree Passing something like a year?”

“Yes,” Tyvana drawled then froze. She looked cautiously through the trees and whipped out an arrow. She cocked her bow, then released as a flash of silver fur blurred in the distance.

“What was that?” Jen whispered.
“My grandfather.”

One look and Jena needed answers. “How? How a wolf?” she pleaded.

Tyvana’s face was rigid as always. “Though we all share the same… hybrid biological structures… there is a difference between the genders in a spiritual sense. When a hierarchy reaches a certain age – that’s our word for a man – his wolf aspect turns on is human one and starts to devour it.”
Jena’s hands turned cold.

“Eventually there is nothing left but wolf. It happened to my grandfather when he was of sixty Tree Passings. Mages always know. Resmorha ordered Lahon’s father, then leader, to send him out into the forest. To save him Resmorha ripped out a bit of his human aspect and put it into a jar. No one likes to haunt their pack as a complete wolf.”
Okay, this was now too weird. “What do you mean, haunt?”

Tyvana gazed at her carefully. “When a demon – us – dies, their two aspects still walk with their birth clan for as long as they lived. Then they disintegrate. If a mage doesn’t want a certain member to haunt the pack, they could do a banishing ceremony. But they generally don’t do that, because everyone needs a place to haunt after death. Their aspects would weaken from the exile.
“I remember when I was a child, I’d always see an old face at the foot of my bed at night. I’d always freak out, but then Resmorha told me it was just my great-uncle watching over me.”

“But I still don’t understand. How can spirits – or aspects or whatever – walk with you?” Jena stated.
“They really do walk and live with you. Most people can’t see them – even in the night when they’re the strongest – but like always, mages know. And I know. And that’s why Resmorha wants me to become a mage.”
 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

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My Story Chapter One

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Here's a new story I'm writing... Tell me what you think! -Jadefireeyes

She awoke in the forest.

The night pressed in and the sound of night creatures surrounded her. More importantly, she didn’t remember how she got there.

As she got up from a laying position on the cold ground, voices came from her left. She began to run but one of them abruptly came at her. She was pushed back to the ground and the sharp point of a weapon bit her throat.

“Who are you, and why are you here?” A deep menacing voice.

Her own response came out shaky. “I don’t know why. I – And as to who I am-”

“Silence!” A female voice cut her off. “If you’re going to speak, girl, answer our questions!”

A torch suddenly was lit. She stared in shock as its blazing light revealed their faces for the first time.

There were three of them; two males she believed, and a female. They grasped their spears with long black claws while wolf ears emerged out of their heads. The female’s tail was even visible, who was standing sideways. But the most disturbing thing was instead of having normal human noses, they had dog-like ones.

They seemed to be as surprised as she was. “Who are you?” the burly male asked again.

“I’m Jena.” At least she could remember her own name. That made her a bit relieved.

The wolf-girl took to interrogating again. “Are you an Unmarked or an Exile?”

“A what?” She was getting even more nervous. The trio was closing in.

“An Unmarked or an Exile?” the female repeated. She raised her spear. “Because of you’re an Exile, we’re going to have to kill you.”

“Unmarked!” Jena quickly said.

The strange wolf creatures didn’t lower their weapons. “There’s only one way to find out,” spoke the other, slimmer male for the first time. “By taking you to the pack mage.” He and the other wolf-thing grabbed her arms, pulling tight. She tried to pull away; got crushing pain instead that would give her bruises the next morning. Two of them, one of her. No hope of escape.

The female lead the way through the dark forest, her silvery ears illuminated by the burning torch. After a while she turned around. “You do know what a mage is, don’t you?” she asked suspiciously.

“No, I… They heal, don’t they?” Jena suddenly remembered. “And they… they…”

“They receive signs from the Place of Spirits, which ultimately affect the entire well-being of the pack.” She turned around again. “If you are lying, she will know.”

Jena broke out in fear. What if she was an Exile, and she just couldn’t remember?

They continued walking through the forest. Mosquitoes swarmed out of the bushes and Jena tripped on roots, much to wolf-girl’s amusement. The two males on either side refused to loosen their crushing grip.

Finally feeble lights began twinkling in the distance. Wolf-girl motioned for everyone to stop, as she raised hands to her mouth and started to howl.

It flew through the air with its chilling beauty, like the wind on a stormy night. The slimmer male released his hold to join in as well. Whenever someone stopped for breath the other filled in the gap, so it sounded like one seamless song.

The howling most likely was a signal because a party of more wolf-creatures broke through the trees. The teenage trio bowed before the adults, who bore much more sophisticated weapons.

“What is the emergency?” a man who was bedazzled with the most splendid clothes said. “Tyvana?” He looked expectantly at Wolf-girl.

She kept her eyes downcast before the leader. “Well, we have here a girl who could either be an Unmarked or an Exile, we don’t know.”

The leader’s features darkened at the mention of Exiles. “Well if she is, get her to Resmorha, now! You know how much I can not stand their kind!”

Tyvana nodded respectfully, then added, “Resmorha might need guards. We have no idea how serious a situation this might become. Should I send Meran and Kani?”

“I think that's unnecessary,” he replied, but it was clear the leader’s thoughts were somewhere else. “I have faith in your fighting. Come,” he gestured to his party. “We will not tell the pack about this any sooner than required.”

Jena was watching them head off west back into the forest when a familiar pain hit her upper arms. “Can’t you be a little more gentle?” she grumbled, but they did not reply.

As they headed along a sandy path, Jena couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at all the tension over her arrival. Could Exiles really be that bad?

And what if she was one?



The mage lived in a small hut with a chaos of herbs cascading from the thatched roof, and the floor was empty but for a small mat covered in a deer skin. The mage was sitting there now, silent and with eyes closed.

She did not open them as they arrived but the woman questioned, “Tyvana? What is the matter?”

Tyvana took a deep breath and said, “Well, mage Resmorha, we…Uh, this is going to come as a shock but we…”

Resmorha finally looked up. “I see you have found an Unmarked human.” She dipped her head back down.

Jena gave a relieved sigh.

“So…She’s definitely not an Exile?”

“Of course.” The mage laughed. “I sense no more than the usual evils. You, I remember, once stole your father’s prized knife and left camp with it - ”

“Stop!” Tyvana angrily exclaimed.

Jena looked a little hesitantly at the mage. Like all the others, she had wolf ears an a canine nose. But unlike everyone else, she was no longer youthful. Her hair and tail fur was gradually turning white and deep wrinkles lined her face. Still, her eyes were kind, so Jena decided to trust her.

Other than the three of them, the hut was empty. Her two "guards" had left when Resmorha had told them to.

“What is an Exile, and an Exile for that matter?”

Resmorha looked questionably at Tyvana, who shrugged. “She was like this in the Forest.”

“Where have you come from?” the mage asked Jena, the kind face morphing into a penetrating stare.

“I don’t know! I don’t remember anything at all, except for my name: Jena.”

Resmorha narrowed her eyes in thought. “This is going to need some looking into. But for now, you need to sleep. I’d offer you a bed here, but some sick pack member is bound to come to me next morning. Tyvana, you’re going to have to take Jena in.”

“Why me? Why not someone else, like the widows?”

“Tyvana, I am your mage and your grandmother. Do as I say!”

“Fine!” the wolf-girl snapped. She turned to Jena. “Don’t touch any of my stuff, and change out of that old clothing while you’re at it. I bet it smells.” Tyvana marched angrily out of the hut. Jena had no other option but to follow her.

The mage’s hut was built at the very edge of the camp, probably so she could receive signs from the Place of Spirits in peace. The heart of the camp spilled with commotion, even at night.

“Quick, the night patrol’s coming in!” Tyvana mouthed.

They took an abrupt turn near a stand of trees and hid behind them. More questions were nagging at Jena. “How can you tell they’re coming? I don’t see them,” she whispered.

“Because the wind is blowing from the west. Like, I can smell them coming?”

“Well, maybe you can, Wolf-girl with your nose, but I can’t smell farther than two feet,” Jena retorted.

“See, I always knew humans were weaklings. If you can’t rely on your sense of smell, you’re dead in the Forest,” Tyvana sneered.

“Shut your mouth,” Jena began to say, but was cut off. “You shut up, they’re going to hear us now!”

They froze as the same party they encountered before passed by their trees. Their capes billowed in the night breeze and their necklaces of feathers moved like lithe birds. The leader was in a foul mood. “Why didn’t you get it? I gave you a block from the left; your way was open!”

“Relax Lahon,” someone said. “I’m sure we can get the moose tomorrow.”

“But it was good prey. Now we have nothing to show for tonight.”

What Jena didn’t understand was why she and Wolf-girl were hiding when they were already seen by these hunters. What’s to hide, anyway?

As they left Tyvana whispered the answer in her ear. “Father loathes Exiles. He was probably looking forward to your execution tonight. But it seems you aren’t one”

Jena suddenly realized. “Wait. Not only is the mage your grandmother…”

“But the leader of this pack, Lahon, is also my father. And the reason he hates Exiles is because one killed my mother long ago.”

The moon shone very brightly that night.

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