Akira sat on an older couch that was covered in fur and had a few stuffed cushions that felt a little lumpy.
Azura sat across from him on a wooden chair, there was only a small wooden table between them.
She was currently staring at Akira and it was making him a bit uncomfortable.
“So you’re my sister?” asked Akira trying to end the awkward silence.
“You got a problem with it?” asked Azura.
“No…” said Akira. He decided it might be better if he just stayed quiet.
“Are you going to stay with the clan from now on?” asked Azura with an unreadable face.
“If I can, I would like to. I have gone through a lot of things just to get here.”
Azura nodded her head. “Good, we have an extra room here that you can stay in.”
“What about my friends?”
“There are several empty houses or an inn that they can pick from and use for however long they wish to stay.”
“Can I go live with them as well?”
“No,” said Azura shaking her head.
“Because you are my brother. You are not some random person that it doesn’t matter where you live. You may not know anything about werewolf culture or the ways the clans and the Earth tribe run due to being away for so long and only just now returning. This does not change the fact that you are still the son of the former clan chief and the grandson of the Grand elder. So you will be staying here with me and grandfather.”
The door opened and Wulfric walked into the house and took off his shoes. He had entered just in time to hear Azura’s last sentence.
“Azura good idea. This way we can monitor him as well as keep him safe from anyone that has a dumb idea and stop them before they can do any harm. Also this way you get to live with your big brother and have him pamper you like an elder brother should. What a sneaky move,” said Wulfric teasing Azura.
Azura blushed slightly and turned her head away from Akira and looked at Azura her face growing stern.
“Grandfather, get over here so we can continue the talks from earlier and inform him on all that he needs to know,” she said with a stern voice trying to hide her embarrassment and not look at Akira.
Wulfric sat down on a rocking chair that was at the head of the wooden table between the couch and the wooden chair.
“Ha-… My granddaughter has such a mouth on her. Almost everyone in the neighborhood heard you shouting outside. Well, Akira at least you got to meet someone from your childhood. That must be nice,” said Wulfric letting out a sigh as he started to rock back and forth in the wooden rocker with a smile.
“No, it’s not good. How could it be a good thing that the first person he meets other than me is that weirdo,” said Azura.
“I honestly have no clue who he is,” said Akira.
“Akira as a bit of a warning I’m telling you this now so that you are not surprised later. There is a high possibility that when everyone in the clan hears about your return there will be many that will have high or even unreasonable expectations of you. So you need to learn everything about the clan and the Earth tribe quickly. I do not know your full strength or skill at fighting only what I saw when we were escaping and that was well before you were fully awakened. I can not vouch for your strength. Later you will need to prove to the elders and the rest of the clan that you have the strength and the brains to lead. Otherwise, there may be some that will not recognize you as my grandson,” said Wulfric all traces of laughter gone from his face.
“That’s right! You can’t disgrace our parents. So you better not turn out to be a coward,” said Azura.
“I am no coward. I have fought in many battles against many monsters, humans, and even some demon races. If I have to I will not shy away from a fight,” said Akira.
“Good I have faith that you will not shame the memory of my son and daughter-in-law.”
Wulfric stopped rocking and reached for a bowl on the table that was filled with yellow bananas. He removed one from the cluster and tossed it to Akira.
“Have a taste. It’s a fruit called a banana that only grows in the swamplands. It should be able to hold down your hunger until later when we have time to make a meal.”
“Thank you,” said Akira taking the odd-looking yellow fruit and biting into it without peeling it first.
Akira’s first opinion of the fruit was it was rather hard to eat and tasted really bad, but he didn’t want to be rude so he continued to chew it and swallowed.
Before taking another bite he saw that Azura and Wulfric faces were a mixture of shock and amusement.
“pfff…” muffled laughter escaped Azura’s mouth before she covered it with her hands and regained her blank serious face after a minute.
“What is it? Do I have something on my face?” asked Akira as he tried to wipe his face with his hand to clean it.
“You’re not supposed to eat it like that. You peel the outer layer and eat what’s inside,” said Wulfric.
“*cough*…I see,” said Akira trying to hide his embarrassment as he peeled the rest of the banana and took a bite. Hmm… yes it tasted much better without the outer yellow skin.
“We don’t have a super long time until I have to inform the other clan elders that you the former clan chiefs son has returned. So I will try to give you a crash course of some of the more important things you need to know.”
“Alright, I’m ready to learn,” said Akira sitting up straight.
Wulfric cleared his throat and looked to the ceiling trying to gather his thoughts and put them in order.
“Upon learning about my son’s death, I was forced to come out of retirement and take on the job of being the clan chief. It was only a few years ago when the last Grand elder passed away. When the other elders of the clan gathered I was elected to take over the position as the new Grand elder. As the Grand elder I can not hold the position of the clan chief as well. So Azura has been the temporary clan chief for the past few years now.”
“As for the matter of how I was able to find you, It was due to a rare vision one of the clan shamans had. The vision revealed that there was still hope that you the son of the deceased clan chief was still alive.
So I continued to send out people to search for any traces. That was when Yuki told me of a strange meeting she had many years ago when she was traveling in the north. She thought that the person she had met fit the description of the person we were looking for. There are only a few survivors from the fightback then and they have all sworn that they would keep the knowledge of your existence secret until you returned to the village.”
“I expect that some of the elders will want you to take up the job as clan chief, some out of loyalty and some might only want to see you fail so that they can promote someone else of their own choosing. I don’t think anything like this will happen right now but there have been cases like it in the past history of the clans.
This is why I said you can not show any weaknesses. The majority of the elders will want you to prove yourself before they agree to you taking over control of the clan.”
“Whoa! I didn’t expect to be bombarded with such an important responsibility. What if I don’t want to become the clan chief?” asked Akira.
“Don’t be a chicken! You think I wanted to waste the last two years taking care of the clan while all my friends were having fun?” asked Azura.
“You can not refuse. You either take on the job of clan chief or you might as well not live here,” said Wulfric.
“Fine if I decide to stay I will take the job.”
“Continuing where I left off…You may have wondered why the houses are built up in the trees. It’s because when spring comes it rains for over a month and the ground below us is flooded with fast-moving water. Most of the werewolf clans are nomadic and only stay in one place during the spring rains. There are several clans that watch over different sized villages and cities with extra room for the wandering clans to stay during the spring rain and during dangerous times such as war. Our Blue moon clan is one of those clans. We watch over this medium-sized city and make sure that there is enough housing for the nearby wandering clans. Are there any questions that you have before I continue?” asked Wulfric.
“How many clans are there? What is our strength compared to them?” asked Akira.
“Currently there are 15 werewolf clans that make up the Earth tribe. Of those clans, there are three large clans, 5 medium and 7 small clans. Our clan is one of the 5 medium clans. As for strength, the 3 large clans can each muster at least 2000+ warriors. The 5 medium clans have 600-1000+ warriors, and the 7 small clans have somewhere around 500+ warriors. Our total fighting force is somewhere around 14,500 max warriors. All of those numbers include the clans retired warriors like me that are in the reserves.”
“The warriors of each clan are not normal soldiers that get paid to fight like the big countries to the north of us. Each clan has a militia made up of the ordinary people that reach a certain age. They hold ordinary jobs during the day, but at times of war, they drop everything and pick up their weapons and put on their armor to defend the clan.
Every month the militia has training to make sure everyone is in proper shape and good health. It is also a time to make sure that everyone is able to understand proper orders and form simple formations.
Our clan’s strength is somewhere around 1000+ warriors when you add the current active militia 700+ and the 300+ reserves made up of the older werewolves. Don’t underestimate us just because were retired. We can still fight and protect the clan if needed we probably have fought in more battles than you can ever dream of.”
“Grandfather you’re always complaining about how your body aches,” said Azura interrupting Wulfric.
“When you get to my age and have fought as many battles as I have then you will understand why I complain!” said Wulfric.
“Anyways do you have any other questions?” asked Wulfric.
“I have too many to count. But there are two on the topics discussed. First, you keep mentioning things like elder and Grand elder how are they different and is it important? Second, of the 15 clans who are our allies and enemies?” asked Akira.
“Yes, these are some important things to know. Elders are not much different than you would find anywhere else in the other kingdoms, but there is only 1 Grand elder for each clan. We Grand elders meet once a year during the fall warm months. We represent our clans when we meet to talk business and vote on certain things that will affect all the clans in the Earth tribe. The Grand elders of each clan are the most respected people in the whole tribe even more than a clan chief. So if you meet one from another clan you are to never be rude and must always show the highest respect to them.
For enemies there are none we all get along some clans are nicer to others while there may be a few old grudges there isn’t anything that is big enough to cause a problem.
Since we are all part of one tribe everyone can be considered an ally. But if you mean who are we close to then the only one I can think of is Red moon clan. We both share a common ancestor from long ago, and more recently your mother was the granddaughter of the Red moons last Grand elder.”
Before they could continue their discussion the knocking on the door interrupted them.
Wulfric got up out of his rocking chair and answered the door.
“I’m sorry to bother you Grand elder but a messenger from the Bloody-claw clan has arrived. He is waiting to talk to you down at the guest house near the guard outpost,” said a guard that had half of his face horribly scarred from old battle wounds.
“Ah, it’s already that time of the year,” said Wulfric nodding his head, “Inform them that I will be down shortly.”
Wulfric closed the door and walked back over to Akira and Azura.
“We’ll have to continue our discussion later. I can answer your other questions later and after that, we’ll have to put you through some tests to see what your strengths and weaknesses are. But right now you two come with me to go and meet with the Bloody-claw messenger. It is better that we let them know about the fact that you have returned then to try and hide it,” said Wulfric motioning them to follow him.
He walked to a row of hooks on the wall next to the door and pulled down an expensive-looking cloak and put it on.
Akira didn’t think it was needed due to the horrendous heat and humidity outside but thought it was probably used to show his status as the Grand elder so he didn’t say anything.