Okami, the Grey Wolf, lie dying in the snow. His alabaster coat speckled with the sanguine shards of his broken teeth. And even as the bright grew dim, the crimson light did not fade from his sky-blue eyes. The cries of his long mislaid whelps echoed in the back of his feral mind as his thoughts lie to rest for good.
Before this, the dying, Okami the Grey Wolf, might’ve been a king, had he not been a fool. He was as fierce as they came, with no rival to match. The glory of his pelt found contest only with the might of his fangs. But alas, he was—at least once—stupid, and that’s all it takes.
The would-be king, Okami the Grey Wolf, became the avatar of folly in his youth. Chiefest among his failings was the loss of his ilk, who were long too-far gone by the time his mind returned.
And so the fool, Okami the Grey Wolf—too stupid to achieve his ends alone—sought out great legends to grant solace where his folly would not rest.
He wandered the wilderness, turning all he encountered to prey.
He explored the wildlands, consuming hidden beauties that will never be told.
He forded vast rivers, challenging the strongest of them throughout nights made of coal.
He climbed the highest mountaintop, his bristles turning to ice while he became the snow itself.
After many hardships, the stalwart, Okami the Grey Wolf, sauntered into the lair of a mythical beast. Within lie a crystalline cave illuminated by brilliant light creating a magnificent pedestal. At the center, with all her splendor (yet no great ceremony), glistened the phoenix.
And so, the bold, Okami the Grey Wolf, beckoned. “Mighty fire bird, I am Okami, the Grey Wolf. I am strong, but I am not wise. Use your gift that I might regain what I’ve lost, and I’ll pledge myself to you in-kind.”
Though the creature of glory looked unto the lost, Okami the Grey Wolf, with kindness, she did not stir.
It is known to some that creatures of legend are fickle, and one must be patient when dealing with greatness. And so he waited.
The tenderfoot, Okami the Grey Wolf, dwelt in the lair of the great fire bird for many days. His fangs remained vigilant, warding against lesser vagrants. He harkened at the crest of every frosty sunrise, and though she did not stir, her swelling flames warmed him through the arctic nights.
After a time, the steadfast, Okami the Grey Wolf, no longer expressed his wish, but the times that came before. He shared the tales of wolf nights in plains unforgotten, of the stars as they gleamed through twilight treetops, of the blood lust that burns when the hunt draws near. As they went on, and her blazes shone ever more ardent, the phoenix’s gaze dwelled just a bit longer than each moment that passed before.
On no particularly remarkable day, the phoenix’s flaming bird lips cracked as she finally spoke.
“Okami, the Grey Wolf. I have shared your time as you have shared mine,” her eyes burned almost sullen. “But our time is now past, and I burn too bright to remain. I cannot give you what you want, but if you seek, anam cara, I have faith you will find.”
And with the splendor of her outstretched wings, the phoenix took flight. The tenacious, Okami the Grey Wolf, tore after the ephemeral myth as she blazed an inferno trail along the cave. His steeled haunches propelled him to his fiery companion as she crested the mouth of the cavern.
The dauntless, Okami the Grey Wolf, leapt as the mythic fire bird broke into the breeze. He snapped his jaws with such wildness that his teeth shattered as he failed to catch more than a single tail feather. The searing quill singed his snout as gravity took hold. From the mighty sky he fell, his wolf body crashing onto the broken cliff below.
And now, the foolhardy, Okami the Grey Wolf, lie dying on the rocks on the side of the great bird’s cliff. High overhead, the sky blazed with sanguine glare as the beast of legend hung above. Down low she swooped, bringing swelter as she approached.
“Okami the Grey Wolf, I’ll grant your request,” she whispered as he scorched. And with her fiery lips she kissed the dying wolf, burning his fur as she grazed his skin. “I wish I could finish, but I cannot stay.” And before he was charred, she flew away.
Many have asked, though none truly know, what became of Okami, the Grey Wolf. Some believe that with her fleeting kiss, his heart burned away. Some think the entire mountain turned to grey. But few hold a different view.
They say on that day the old wolf burned away, and beneath his ashes lie a young pup with ember eyes arisen from the grey. What the whelp did after, and whether he headed for the mountain, the plains, or somewhere else altogether no one is really sure. But rumor suggests that just behind his neck, under the all the flaring fur, lay a small, bird-lipped shaped scar long-since turned to grey.