First Fur had gambled with her life and won. She’d claimed the albino human as her life partner and in so doing, made him into one of her people. He was as family to them by tradition and when White Tuft had moved to attack him, the doubts she knew were there had been her saving grace. The others weren’t willing to destroy one claimed by their people on the petty vengeance of a weakened leader.
White Tuft was dead now, but there was no clear leader to take his place or certainty on things to come. That meant that even though this human was saved, the order to move to war with the albino humans was still in effect. The others stood about, looking at one another and at the human First Fur had standing behind her nervously. None of them really wanted to take this action, but none had been a clear killer or challenger to White Tuft.
“We need to take action.” Three Claw finally broke the awkward silence.
“Yes, but White Tuft is dead. Who coordinates the attack?” Sings to the Moon
“We should not attack the humans.” First Fur pleaded.
“Taking a human partner who you can’t even take as a mate does not mean you are suddenly able to direct our actions towards other humans.” Three Claw rumbled.
“I am not an expert, but this is wrong.” She gestured towards White Tuft’s body, “Our leader was not doing what was best for our people. Why should we continue with his madness even into death?”
“And you expect us to ignore that the pale humans used their magic on White Tuft then?” This time it was Monkey Eater.
“No. I expect you to realize that White Tuft captured one shaman and was provoking others out of some personal insanity. The first albino human, the pale shaman, nearly died thanks to White Tuft. The only reason the wrath of the shaman’s spirit isn’t on us is that I managed to help him reach the their shaman among the albino’s.”
There was a stunned silence among the assembled. She had been the only one to see the old albino escape and none had believed White Tuft insane enough to have done any harm to a shaman. The human said something in his strange language. First Fur placed a paw on his arm to still whatever he was intending. The last thing she needed was for this careful circling to be interrupted.
“I claim leadership.” First Fur said suddenly. “I alone stood against White Tuft’s madness when others would not and it is through my actions that his madness was revealed. I didn’t strike him, but it is I who challenged his leadership and my actions struck him down.”
Silence again as they all looked between one another. First Fur’s heart pounded hard. If anyone else wanted to make a claim, she was going to have to fight them or back down. Either one could result in the humans dying.
Three Claw stepped forward slowly, eyes narrowed. A few steps away and she began to tense. Just as she was about to bear her teeth, he lifted his head and revealed the white of his neck. Slowly the others did the same. Her people were submitting to her. She was now the chosen leader.
Looking at the albino human, now her life partner, she marveled at the surreal nature of events. Most scary of all was that this was just the start of things to come.