Zarak, a young shepherd boy, grows up fearing the wolves that terrorize his small village in medieval Kashmir. But when the tyranny of a neighboring emperor threatens his tribe, he takes to the hills. When his father is killed in a devastating raid on his village, Zarak escapes farther into the mountains, too afraid to return.
Here, in the heart of the forest, he finds himself in a territory ruled by unruly packs of Himalayan wolves. He is almost killed in a vicious attack, barely escapes a drowning, narrowly survives deadly fever and frostbite.
For many years, he lives in fear, surviving on berries, mushrooms and small game. For many years, he watches the wolves from a distance. The wolves too get used to his presence. Slowly he learns the ways of the packs. Slowly, he learns the meanings of each howl, the baring of teeth, the movements of jaws. Slowly, through small acts of kindness, he starts collecting stray lone wolves, gathering them into packs of five and six. The wolves too, start acknowledging him.
His ability to arbitrate, to settle pack wars, to mediate truces, to treat the wounded, and to re-integrate lone wolves earns him regard in the canine circles. Slowly, they grow receptive to his calls. With a wave of his hand, he orders one pack to leave, and with the flick of his fingers, summons the other towards him. With a whistle he orders one to patrol the woods, and with a loud howl he reins in the violent alphas.
Many years later, when the emperor orders the clearing of the forests for the construction of a great wall, Zarak (now fully grown) realizes that the time has come to atone for his past. He has a long moment with himself, falls into a deep sleep for three days, dreams of his father and wakes up on the fourth day with tears in his eyes.
With a spear in one hand and a staff in the other, he now leaves on a very long journey deep into the uncharted ravines, calling upon every breed of wolf therein to unite under one banner. He goes from pack to pack and returns having raised a formidable army of ten thousand wolves under his command.
Will Zarak be able to save the forests from being cleared? Will he be able to make peace with the memory of his father? Will the armor-clad truimph or the fur-clad? Only time will tell. Stay tuned to Zarak the Wolf by Arcticus. Not coming anytime soon.
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Jun 5, 2023
Thanks for stopping by to view my side profile. Behind me is the valley of Sonmarg, once an ancient gateway that lay along the Silk Road from Kashmir to Tibet - part of the longer land route that stretched from Rome to China. Perfect place to go to with Arcticah, and to brainstorm my Zarak the Wolf Shepherd story idea.
(Go home Arc you're tipsy)