- The Micro-Wolves
Varuna is a small, egg-shaped minor planet which orbits the Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune, and in Earth terms it takes approximately 279 years to complete one orbit. Also from Earth, Varuna seems to be constantly changing shape as it rotates rapidly, sometimes appearing oval, and at other times, circular.
Varuna is a red world, although not dry like Mars, and has a cold surface, with canyons filled with ice. It is within these canyons the Microwolves can be found, usually in small family groups of up to eight, but for some mysterious reason, the families seem to be larger at both extreme ends of the oval planet.
The dusty, rocky surface is affected by severe sandstorms around the much warmer equator, and ferocious thunderstorms all over the remainder of the surface.
At the base of the canyons, small bonsai-sized trees grow; looking like miniature autumnal jungles if seen from above… and these jungles are the homes of the Microwolves, which give a true reflection to their size.
They aren’t microscopic, by any means. Their sizes vary between that of a large mouse to a small-sized cat, which means in some places the Microwolves actually appear larger than the trees they live in, but there is enough shelter beneath the larger trees for them all.
The Microwolves squeak to communicate with each other, and seem to be the only species of wolf that doesn’t howl. They hunt for small fish, rodents and birds at night, which is the majority of the time as Varuna is so far away from the Sun, and forage for berries during the daylight hours. There are quite a few daylight hours on the world though, thanks to the arm of the Milky Way, where a bright cluster of stars grants the world with some semblance of daylight.
The Microwolves vary in colour. Their thick fur can be white, beige, brown or black, and their eye colour compliments their fur. The fur colour isn’t limited to family packs, however, so a family of black Microwolves could have a beige cub.
They have a social structure; a hierarchy dominated by the Microwolves with the largest crest of hair, which at times look like a Mohican hairstyle. Those with the largest Mohican rule the roost in their particular territory, and those with the smaller Mohicans are more submissive. This means a newly born cub with a large crest of hair automatically takes dominance over a long-time pack leader, although the current pack leader accepts this new cub as their own and teaches them their privileged ways until the cub is old enough to lead the pack themselves. When this time arrives, the outgoing pack leader takes up the mantle of second-in-command. There are times when the leadership of these groups change often.
The Microwolves are excellent swimmers, and with their near-perfect night-time vision swim deep into the streams that lead to vast underground reservoirs where they go in search of fish, which are plentiful.
The Microwolves don’t appear to have ever left Varuna, and so far, this is the only world where they’ve been discovered… although there are hundreds or even thousands (if not more) of other worlds out there where these (or their similar cousins) may also exist.
Next time… the Winged Wolves of Wild
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