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    Grumpy Bear
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Arctic Roots - 5. Into the Storm

The next day, the cubs’ history lessons of the 2000’s were put on hold as there was North American Lycan Council business to attend to. Axel, Ezekiel and Joel were all Councilmembers representing the North American werebear population.

The Council consisted of one Supreme Alpha, a post traditionally held by a wolf lycan, eight wolf lycan Alphas holding Councilmember positions, and five werebears also holding Councilmember positions. The werebear positions were new, having been granted to three bears from Canada and two from the United States just six months earlier after several centuries of wolf-only membership on the Council.

Ezekiel, Axel and Joel went into a conference room at one end of the Common Building that was equipped with video screens and cameras so that they could join the Council meetings remotely. Joel’s cub Jacob also attended the meeting, and Axel explained to Adam that since he was officially a bear now, past his first change, he would need to attend as well, since all Bear Councilmember’s Cubs automatically served the position of “Beta” to their Papa’s “Alpha”.

The three elder bears sat together during the Council session, while Adam and Jacob sat off to the side out of microphone range, Jacob quietly explaining things to Adam and showing him what his duties would be.

“We’re basically glorified Administrative Assistants,” Jacob whispered to Adam as the session got underway.

“What’s an Administrative Assistant?” Adam asked.

“Oh shit,” Jacob said, “What’s the outdated 50’s term for it… Secretary. We’re basically our Papa’s Secretaries.”

“Gotcha,” Adam said. “Should I be taking notes then?”

“Probably a good idea,” Jacob replied, “But whatever you do, don’t try to act like Axel’s ‘gatekeeper’ and make independent decisions on who you think deserves the right to talk to him about Council business stuff. The last group of Betas who tried that shit got fifty years in prison.”

“So, I need to take this stuff pretty seriously, then,” Adam remarked.

“It’s only the supreme governing body for all lycans in North America,” Jacob replied with a sideways grin, “So yeah, we should take it pretty seriously.”

“Grand-Papa and Joel both put on sport coats and ties for this meeting, but Papa just put on a black leather blazer over a white shirt. Is that okay?”

Jacob muffled a laugh.

“Your Papa got special permission from the Supreme Alpha himself not to have to wear a tie to these meetings. He seems to be able to get away with stuff nobody else can.”

“Tell me about it,” Adam replied.

During that meeting, Adam learned to his dismay that he was going to have to manage his Papa’s email and computer files, and if Axel was required to make any presentations to the Council during a meeting session, he would need to convert the big bear’s notes into something called a “PowerPoint Presentation”.

“Don’t sweat it,” Jacob said. “Computers may have been huge complex things back in the 50’s that only a scientist could use, but today they’re pretty easy to learn. We’ll go over the basics before the next meeting and within a month you’ll be a pro.”

By the end of the day’s meeting agenda, everyone was fairly tired, but the Supreme Alpha took time before adjournment to recognize Adam for having gone through his first change and becoming a part of the Council team.

“Adam!” Supreme Alpha Taylor said, “I saw you just a few months ago at Gunnar and Mike’s wedding, but you’re a completely new person now that you’ve gone through your change! Move closer to the camera so we can get a good look at you.”

Adam walked over and stood next to Axel and was greeted by a chorus of groans and light curses coming from the wolf lycan Councilmebers.

“Gods help us, there are two Axels now!” one of the wolves muttered, and the entire meeting erupted with laughter.

“Looking good, Adam,” Gunnar said from one of the video screens. “I’m proud of you and your Papa!”

“Thanks everybody,” he replied to the collection of faces on the wall of video screens. “I’ll work hard to be the best… Administrative Assistant I can be.”

“That’s all we ask,” the Supreme Alpha said. “Welcome to the Council! If there is no additional new business…? I call this meeting adjourned. Good evening everyone!”

****

“Papa, I didn’t know that you have such an important job,” Adam said after they had returned to their cozy home for the evening.

“What? That Council nonsense?” Axel said gruffly, “That’s just politics. It isn’t my real job.”

“It seemed pretty important to me. Important enough that I’m going to have to learn how to use a computer so I can be your Administrative Assistant! If that isn’t your real job, what is?”

“My real job,” Axel said, “Is being your Papa!” and he grabbed Adam into a tight bear hug and kissed him playfully on the neck, grinding his hips against his cub’s.

“Oh, you!” Adam said, pushing Axel away. “I’m serious. I’m proud of you for being on that Council. You can be the voice for werebears everywhere.”

“Yeah, well,” Axel said, “I haven’t always had the best track record of being in charge of things. They may come to regret choosing me.”

“I don’t think so,” Adam replied. “I think that you’re just what they need to keep them grounded. That group seems like a bunch who can start to think their shit smells like roses if they didn’t have a rough-talkin’ no-nonsense biker bear to knock them down a peg or two every so often.”

“You figured that all out just from one meeting, Cub?” Axel asked. “You’re pretty fuckin’ smart. You know that?”

“It runs in the family,” Adam replied and gave Axel a peck on the lips. “Now, are you too worn out to tell me the next chapter in your 1648 Siberian expedition?”

“Never too tired for you, Cub, but I want to tell the next part in bed. I have a feeling that I’m going to be pretty drained by the time I get this story told…”

****

At the urging of Semyon Dezhnev, the five-ship fleet continued East along the coast of Siberia in search of the Pogycha River and its bay that was rumored to have the most abundant natural resources in all the Arctic.

On the first of September, Igor called out from his position on watch in the bow of the ship.

“Fog bank! Dead ahead!”

“Dezhnev,” Alexei called out across the water to his employer’s vessel, “Close ranks and maintain voice contact! If we lose visual contact with each other, we can follow each other’s voice!”

The five vessels navigated close together, but when they entered the fog, visibility was reduced to just a few dozen feet. A man in the bow of a ship could not even see the stern of his own boat.

They sailed East in this manner through the fog for hours, periodically calling out their own names and listening for the names of the other Captains to be called out in return.

“Dezhnev here! All is well!”

“Alexei here! All is well!”

“Alekseyevich here! All is well!”

“Piotr here! All is well!”

“Ivan here! All is well!”

Over time, Alexei began to notice that Piotr and Ivan’s voices grew gradually softer each time they called out to each other.

“Dezhnev! Alekseyevich!” Alexei called out, “We’re losing Piotr and Ivan! Full Stop!”

The other two Captains called orders to their crews and the three ships slacked their mainsails and pushed their booms hard back against the wind, bringing them all to an immediate stop.

Alexei, Alekseyevich and Dezhnev called out to each other to mark their current locations, and they all seemed to be within one hundred feet or less from each other, sitting still in the water.

“Piotr! Ivan!” Alexei called out, “Respond!”

“Piotr here!” they could hear very faintly.

“Ivan!” Alekseyevich called out, “Where are you?”

Only silence answered Alekseyvich’s call. The fog seemed to press in upon them from all sides.

“Piotr!” Alexei called again, “Respond!”

This time Alexei’s request was also met with silence.

They dropped anchor and held their positions in the water, periodically calling out to their lost companions, but they never again heard an answer. Piotr, Ivan and the thirty crewmen aboard their koches were lost to the unforgiving Arctic Sea.

It was two days before the fog finally lifted. The three remaining ships could see that they had drifted about a mile farther away from the shoreline than they were before entering the fogbank, but that they had otherwise stayed on course. Igor used his sharp eyes to scan the horizon in all directions for the other two ships, but they could not be found.

Deciding to forge ahead, they raised anchor and continued following the coastline, looking for any river mouths that could possibly be the fabled Pogycha River and their destination.

On the twentieth of September the ships sailed past a massive rocky promontory. Once past this point, the coastline no longer continued East, but instead angled to the South. The ships adjusted course to keep the shore in sight of the vessels, and they soon found that to follow the coast they were forced to navigate to the Southwest.

The ships pulled alongside one another so that the captains could discuss the navigational situation.

“How has it come to pass that we are now traveling West again?” Alexei asked. “We have not yet found the river that you seek, but we have seemed to come to the end of Siberia!”

“Do you not realize what we have done?” Dezhnev shouted with excitement. “We have found the passage to the Pacific!”

“You believe that we have crossed into the Pacific Ocean?” Alekseyevich asked with suspicion. “How can that be possible?”

“It is not only possible, but inevitable that some adventurer would be the first to find the passage and we have done it!” Dezhnev cried. “When we return home, we will not only be rich, but we will also be famous as well! They will sing songs of our discovery! Companions, we must continue farther so that we may confirm this beyond a doubt.”

“How far would you have us go, Dezhnev?” Alekseyevich asked, “Are we to sail all the way to Japan to prove this discovery?”

“Please, let us follow this coast for just two more weeks so that we may chart it,” Dezhnev asked. “After that time, we can turn about and head back for Srednekolymsk.”

It was the third of October, the penultimate day before beginning their return trip when the storm approached quickly from the west.

The wind lashed at their sails and the waves rose to tremendous heights and battered the ships back and forth.

“Captain! Alexei!” Ivan called, “Rocks ahead!”

Alexei saw the rocks that Ivan had spotted but steering in the storm was useless. His ship was smashed against them and was splintered through the middle, breaking in two and quickly sinking to the bottom of the sea.

The crew and their captain clung to the rocks that had sunk their ship and called to their companions through the storm. Dezhnev and Alekseyevich dropped anchors and deployed skiffs in the rough seas to rescue the survivors of Alexei’s ship.

The sailors from Dezhnev’s vessel arrived first in two skiffs and Alexei called out the names of the eight crewmen to be rescued first. When he called Igor’s name, the young Cossack attempted to refuse, not wanting to be separated from his beloved Captain, but Alexei gave him an order, and forced him onto the skiff and to safety.

Soon after, two more skiffs from Alekseyevich’s ship arrived for the last eight, and Alexei and seven of his crewmen were ferried to one of the two remaining koches.

As Alexei boarded the ship, he looked across the waters and saw the rest of his crew on the other two skiffs boarding Dezhnev’s ship. Igor stood at the rail and waved to his Captain, unhappy that they were no longer together aboard the same vessel. Alexei waved back… and that was the last time he saw the young Cossack before all hell broke loose.

The winds increased as did the waves battering against the anchored vessels. Alexei saw that Alekseyevich had not yet ordered the sails properly lowered, and before he could shout a command to the crew to rectify that, the mainsail ripped loose from its ropes with a terrible noise and then was simply gone in the wind and the rain.

The next noise they heard was a groaning from the bow cleats where the anchor line was attached.

“Alekseyevich!” Alexei called out into the rain and confusion on deck, “We need to let out more anchor line! The cleats are about to break!”

“The line is out as far as it will go!” Alekseyevich called back, “There is nothing we can do!”

At that moment, as Alexei had predicted there was a splintering of wood as both of the bow cleats broke away, and the ship immediately heaved with the waves having no more anchor holding it in place.

The next two hours was a living hell as the ship was tossed eastward by the waves and heavy winds far out to sea. There was no means to steer or control the vessel any longer; they were entirely at the mercy of the savage weather. Just as all men aboard clinging to the ropes and rails for their very lives lost all hope of ever seeing land again, the land unexpectedly rushed up to greet them. The ship crashed against the western shore of an unknown land, and the koch was smashed to pieces. All hands were able to successfully scramble onto the shore and they huddled together as a group thankful to be alive.

The storm passed with the arrival of the dawn, and the explorers surveyed their new surroundings. The land itself did not appear that different than Siberia, and Alexei and Alekseyevich quickly divided the twenty-two surviving crewmen into three units. One was assigned the task of scouring the nearby coastline for any parts of the boat or supplies that could be useful. A second group was assigned to find sufficient firewood to build a bonfire to keep them all warm. The third group was sent to scout inland and see if there were any wild game that could be found to feed them.

The first group found no crates or barrels of supplies, but they did find sufficient wooden boards from the wrecked ship that they were able to begin the construction of a crude cabin.

The second group had found a grove of dwarf willows and had cut enough wood to build a roaring fire. Soon they were warm again, and many stripped out of their wet clothes and attempted to dry them out next to the fire.

The third group was gone for hours and had not yet returned by sunset. The men huddled together in their makeshift cabin and fed the fire that provided warmth and life waiting for their companions to return.

At dawn the next day, one of the men reported spotting the third group heading their way across the tundra, and a great sense of relief flowed through the camp. However, that relief was short-lived. The group that arrived at their camp were not their companions, but rather natives, dressed in furs and skins. They shouted at the explorers in a language they did not understand and bound their hands together with long strips of leather. They were forced from their shelter and marched across the tundra for hours, covering many miles until they finally arrived at the natives’ village, populated with a few hundred men, women and children, living in domed tents made from willow branches covered in stretched animal skins.

Alexei and his companions were herded into one of the tents where they discovered the missing men from the third group, similarly bound and huddled together for warmth.

The unlucky explorers knew not what the natives planned to do with them or what ultimate fates lay ahead of them, but for now they were all still alive. Strangers in a foreign land.

****

“You already know what happens next, Cub,” Axel said to Adam as they spooned under the covers in their warm bed.

“Right,” Adam replied. “Next is when your Papa came to the village and took you away with him. But you still have to tell me what happened after he turned you into a werebear, and why you eventually left.”

“That’s a tale for another night, Cub,” Axel replied, adjusting his hips against Adam’s rear so that his cock rested comfortably in the cleft of the cub’s ass.

“Do you feel like fooling around, Papa?” Adam asked, wiggling his butt along Axel’s thick tool.

“Raincheck, Cub,” Axel said. “We’ll fool around in the morning before breakfast.”

“Promise?” Adam asked.

“Cross my heart,” Axel replied with a yawn, and within a minute was fast asleep.

Adam snuggled backwards against his Papa’s hairy chest and let out a contented sigh. The more he learned about his big, rough, tough, and gruff man, the deeper he fell in love. Axel draped his arm across Adam protectively, and feeling safe and secure, Adam too drifted off to a pleasant sleep.

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Axel's story gets more interesting by each chapter. Adam is turning into a great Cub.

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1 hour ago, chris191070 said:

Adam is turning into a great Cub.

Adam's chance to really shine is just around the corner!

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A chapter to move the story forward.  The past is littered with those that try to forage a new trail; some made it and the glory was theirs but others perished never to be heard from again...  

I hope that Adam does not get overwhelmed with his new responsibilities.  I am sure that Jacob will do what he can to help, but Adam must learn quickly and become acclimated to the present time.

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