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James Oliver Curwood
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about Kazan.

CHAPTER XVI

THE CALL

Followed days of feasting on the frozen flesh of the old bull.  In vain Gray Wolf tried to lure Kazan off into the forests and the swamps.  Day by day the temperature rose.  There was hunting now.  And Gray Wolf wanted to be alone—­with Kazan.  But with Kazan, as with most men, leadership and power roused new sensations.  And he was the leader of the dog-pack, as he had once been a leader among the wolves.  Not only Gray Wolf followed at his flank now, but the four huskies trailed behind him.  Once more he was experiencing that triumph and strange thrill that he had almost forgotten and only Gray Wolf, in that eternal night of her blindness, felt with dread foreboding the danger into which his newly achieved czarship might lead him.

For three days and three nights they remained in the neighborhood of the dead moose, ready to defend it against others, and yet each day and each night growing less vigilant in their guard.  Then came the fourth night, on which they killed a young doe.  Kazan led in that chase and for the first time, in the excitement of having the pack at his back, he left his blind mate behind.  When they came to the kill he was the first to leap at its soft throat.  And not until he had begun to tear at the doe’s flesh did the others dare to eat.  He was master.  He could send them back with a snarl.  At the gleam of his fangs they crouched quivering on their bellies in the snow.

Kazan’s blood was fomented with brute exultation, and the excitement and fascination that came in the possession of new power took the place of Gray Wolf each day a little more.  She came in half an hour after the kill, and there was no longer the lithesome alertness to her slender legs, or gladness in the tilt of her ears or the poise of her head.  She did not eat much of the doe.  Her blind face was turned always in Kazan’s direction.  Wherever he moved she followed with her unseeing eyes, as if expecting each moment his old signal to her—­that low throat-note that had called to her so often when they were alone in the wilderness.

In Kazan, as leader of the pack, there was working a curious change.  If his mates had been wolves it would not have been difficult for Gray Wolf to have lured him away.  But Kazan was among his own kind.  He was a dog.  And they were dogs.  Fires that had burned down and ceased to warm him flamed up in him anew.  In his life with Gray Wolf one thing had oppressed him as it could not oppress her, and that thing was loneliness.  Nature had created him of that kind which requires companionship—­not of one but of many.  It had given him birth that he might listen to and obey the commands of the voice of man.  He had grown to hate men, but of the dogs—­his kind—­he was a part.  He had been happy with Gray Wolf, happier than he had ever been in the companionship of men and his blood-brothers.  But he had been a long time separated from the life that had once been his and the call of blood made him for a time forget.  And only Gray Wolf, with that wonderful super-instinct which nature was giving her in place of her lost sight, foresaw the end to which it was leading him.

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