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Murgoh: Part Five


by zephandolf

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Each day for the next few days pretty much went the same way. Murgoh woke up in time to see Orthas bring him his dinner. He ate, he went to sleep, and woke to eat a second time, again with meat provided by the young shadow Lupe. The brown Lupess came and went from the cave frequently. But the old Lupe, though, spent a lot of time sleeping and only left the cave a few times a day. As time passed, Murgoh eventually grew used to their company, even though he still didn't know either of their names.

      As the days passed, Murgoh grew stronger. On the fifth day, he managed to stand up for a few moments. Two days later, Orthas walked in to find Murgoh limping slowly around the fire. As the days drew on, Murgoh grew closer to his daily visitor, as well. It started out that he didn't say a word to him. When the first week was out, he started saying "hello" to the Lupe when he came in, and "thank you" when he left the meat.

      One day, almost two weeks after his arrival, Murgoh mustered the strength to leave the cave. Limping slightly, he padded around the fire and into the passage that, until now, had been unknown to him. At the end of the passage, the red Lupe found himself standing on the edge of a small cove, surrounded in a horseshoe manner by a rocky precipice. Several caves lined this wall of rocks. The sandy shore of the cove, covered in snow down to the tide line, dipped away from the rock wall to a small pool of salt water in the center, cut off from the ocean beyond the cove with the passing of low tide. Near where the ocean waters entered the cove, there was a tall precipice, upon which a Lupe sat, looking out across the plains beyond the cove.

      It was night. The stars twinkled brightly, unhindered in their brilliance on a moonless night. Here and there on the banks of the cove, Murgoh also noticed a number of Lupes, conversing between each other on the beach, playing in the snow, or moving from one cave to another with various tasks.

      "Murgoh? You're not well enough to be out here, are you?"

      Distracted by the scene around him, Murgoh didn't notice the familiar shadow Lupe until he spoke. Turning to him, he noticed that Orthas had set his dinner at his feet.

      "I suppose I am," Murgoh stated. "Seeing as I'm out here."

      "It doesn't prove a thing," Orthas said. "You may have the energy to get out here, but can you make it back?"

      "Sure," Murgoh said confidently. Turning around, he limped back down the passage, closely followed by the shadow Lupe. By the time he got back to his bed, though, he was feeling a little tired. It was a bit of an effort to climb back into bed, and his companion noticed this.

      "See what I told you?" he asked. "Although, I'll have to admit, you're recovering faster than I expected. I think Nomad is impressed as well."

      "Who is Nomad?" Murgoh asked, having heard the name twice. The other Lupe smiled.

      "Sorry, that's what we call that old Lupe that lives in this cave. I don't think anyone knows his real name, but we knew him as a nomad, so the name stuck. He's been here for a while, I'm told. But…he is getting old. Really old. He's starting to slow down a lot, needs more rest than he used to…" Orthas trailed off, looking back to the passage that led out of the cave. After a moment, he turned back to Murgoh and smiled. "Look, it was nice, talking. But, I need to go."

      "Wait!" Murgoh said. "What about that Lupess who was with him?"

      "Don't know her name, either," Orthas admitted. "We call her Star Child, or Star, for short."

      "Why?"

      "Simple," Orthas said as he turned to go. "She came to us from the stars."

      Murgoh, alone again, pondered what Orthas told him as he ate his dinner. For a little while, he started to wonder how Orthas knew his name. He didn't remember telling anyone his name, in fact. He remembered that the old Lupe, Nomad, knew his father, so maybe he knew his name that way. Then, about halfway through his dinner, it hit him. Nomad and Star Child! Those were the names his sister told him would shelter him when his strength was gone!

     * * *

      The days continued to slide by. Murgoh recovered well from his injuries, but even now, he was still a little weak. He no longer limped, but his stamina had dropped considerably from his injuries. It would still take some time to get it back.

      Once he was well enough to actually move about the cove, Orthas took Murgoh on a short tour of the cove. He was told by this young Lupe that the many caves served their needs and most of them branched out into several smaller caverns, in which most packs could keep themselves separate from the other Lupes, if they so desired. Smaller packs and loners, however, either elected to live in mixed company, or were forced into the position. Unfortunately, there wasn't much anyone could do about this. So many Lupes had moved into the cove, it was inevitable that there would be space issues. Not everyone could have their own cave.

      There wasn't much of interest outside the cove, Murgoh observed, but the tall precipice near the sea. It was about fifteen feet high, and was wide enough to accommodate several Lupes at one time. This, Murgoh found out, was what came to be the "lookout" post. And why not? You could see a lot from up there; rolling hills, rolling waves, and almost every Lupe inside or outside the cove for nearly a mile and a half.

      The only other distinctive feature about the cove was the pool of water in the center, which at this time of year was far too cold to play in. It was fairly shallow at low tide, though, so if someone was in a hurry, they could wade through it. However, such occurrences were rare.

      Before and after his tour, Murgoh thought about Ashley and her strange ability. The more he thought about it, the more it all fit together, but the whole matter confused him. When she went hunting, she knew where the prey was. When they were lost on the plains, she knew that Kelthar's Lupes were coming before they arrived. When they were at Jason's house, she knew that he wasn't going to make it home. She knew what was going to happen before it happened. But how or why were still a mystery to him. Lupes weren't known to have powers like that.

      Late one evening, Murgoh found himself on the lookout post, watching the half-moon cross the sky. His thoughts were wandering. While walking around the cove, he spoke with a few other Lupes who, upon hearing his name, recalled the Lupe who led the plains out of the clutches of the same tyrant who threatened them again. Some remembered that Murgoh as being heroic, if only for a few weeks; some of them thought bitterly of him for allowing a pet Lupe to join his pack. Most of the Lupes weren't old enough to remember the old Lupe at all, but those who had heard of him tended to follow the viewpoint they were told. Murgoh, with some effort, decided to hide his family ties. The last thing he needed was dirty looks from bitter strangers.

      While his mind filled with these thoughts and more, he didn't notice anyone else around him until someone walked up and sat down beside him. Looking to his visitor, he recognized the brown Lupess, Star. This surprised him. A lot of the time, when he saw Star, it seemed she was trying to avoid him. He didn't know why, and never bothered to ask. The fact that she sat next to him now baffled him. She must want something, but what was it?

      "It's a beautiful night, isn't it?" she asked quietly, looking up at the sky. Murgoh only nodded. "Winter is drawing to a close, and I think a spring thaw isn't far off."

      Murgoh didn't say anything. Did she want something from him after all? Surely, she didn't come over just to talk about the weather. Maybe if he said something. But what? He decided not to be direct.

      "Uh…There are a lot of Lupes here, I noticed," he said, regretting it immediately. Just looking out at the cove at any time of day, that could be plainly seen.

      "Yes, there are," Star replied. "None of them were here a few months ago. At first, it was just me and that old Lupe." She shook her head. "No, that's not quite right. The first one here was…Nomad." Her fur seemed to prickle in discomfort as if she had almost revealed something she shouldn't. When Murgoh didn't say anything, she went on. "He found the cove, empty, some time ago. He lived alone for the most part. When he got here, he was too old to travel anywhere else. A neighboring pack visited him sometimes. They grew fond of him, and kept checking in on him regularly. I…I showed up next, 'from the stars', as they say. The pack that cared for Nomad found me, half dead from my…my journey, and nursed me back to health. Fyora knows they did their best, but some of my injuries would never heal completely."

      She sighed and fell silent once again. Murgoh knew without a doubt that she was hiding something…several things from him. Namely, her and Nomad's real names. It probably wouldn't do him any good to ask, but he thought he'd try anyway. However, when he opened his mouth to ask, Star continued.

      "The pack allowed me to live with them for a while. I even helped them keep an eye on Nomad. I was fine for a while, but because of what I've done in my life before, I wasn't comfortable living with so many Lupes. I know that's surprising coming from me and seeing what I'm doing now, but bear with me. Seeing as I wouldn't be fully comfortable living with them, I decided to save them the trouble of constantly keeping an eye on Nomad and take care of him myself. I'm not sure what really compelled me to do it. I found out who Nomad was, and maybe that drove me to redeem myself from…"

      She stopped short with a gasp. She looked nervously at Murgoh, who was giving her an accusing look now.

      "What are you hiding from me?" he asked.

      Star didn't reply, staring uneasily at Murgoh. She was saved from his piercing gaze when her name was called.

      "Star! Star!" called a silver Lupe as he dashed up the slope to the top of the lookout post. Star looked almost relieved to be let off the hook, at least for a little while, and concentrate on something else.

      "I think that that's one of Nomad's scouts," she said. This drew Murgoh's attention away from his suspicions about Star. If this was one of the scouts, then maybe he had news of his pack.

      When the Lupe reached them, Star nodded to him in greeting. "Yes, what is it?"

      "We found them!" he gasped, panting from the long run. "We found Savak, and his pack!"

      "What?" Star asked, a tone of worry seeping into her tone. Murgoh didn't notice.

      "Are they alive?" Murgoh asked, hoping against all odds.

      Though he was still panting, the silver Lupe gave him a cynical look. "Of course they are," he said. "They're on their way here now, but they won't arrive until morning. Some of them are injured and can't travel quickly."

      Murgoh's head began to spin with relief. They were alive! Ashley, Melissa…he would even be glad to see Kovo or Kosek if it meant that his pack was safe.

      "T-thank you for the information," Star stammered. She shook her head. "Nomad should be informed as well. He's sleeping in his den. Once you have told him, a place should be found for Savak's pack to settle down for now."

      "Yes ma'am," the Lupe said, nodding sharply. Then he turned and bounded off again. Murgoh watched him for a moment. He almost felt like dashing across the plains right then and there to find his family, but he didn't know where they were. In his moment of relief and happiness, he almost forgot about Star. Turning to where she was, he saw she was no longer there. She had descended silently from the lookout post, clearly wanting to avoid speaking with him for a while. The young Lupe shook his head. He didn't care right now. Star's secrets could wait. His family was alive, and they were coming to the cove.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Murgoh: Part One
» Murgoh: Part Two
» Murgoh: Part Three
» Murgoh: Part Four
» Murgoh: Part Six
» Murgoh: Part Seven
» Murgoh: Part Eight
» Murgoh: Part Nine
» Murgoh: Part Ten
» Murgoh: Part Eleven
» Murgoh: Part Twelve



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