Disclaimer: I do not own the names or rights to the Balto Franchise or any of the characters or stories therein. I do not own the names to any of the places mentioned in this work as they are the property of the nation-states of America and Canada. All of the characters and ideas directly relating to this work are my own.

That's done, ridiculous litigious society.

Prologue: The Hunt

The blizzard pounded the ground with mounds of snow, wind whistled though the night air, cracking trees like lion tamer's whip, a storm is on its way. It's sound pierced only by the thunder of a wolf packs howl. A pack on the hunt; not for food, but its own. A forbidden act forced two betrayers to run for thier lives. Maverick a strong husky, proud and true. As well as a beast that would be mistaken for snow itself. Aniu, once the prime of her pack was now hunted by those she trusted the most. They could not believe those they loved where hunting them, had killed their family. But what haunted Aniu is that the one that she trusted above all allowed this to happen. They had barely escaped with but one of thier pups, a small runt.

"Maverick, I can hear them, they're catching up.", solemnly stated Aniu.

"It's my fault, darn leg, I wish I saw that log.", he said, his voice muffled by the pup in his mouth.

"This is no time to talk, run!" she yelled has she heard her pursuers getting nearer.

The duo ran for their lives and soon found themselves in a narrow canyon. With snow piled high on either side, and the remains of a recent avalanche blocking the way ahead.

"Hurry, up and over." Aniu commanded him.

"I'm a husky, not a mountain dog; I'll never make it, not in my condition."

Just then two wolves turned into the canyon and let out a howl, breaking the through the building storm.

Even miles away, though the storm, Nagu' could hear his brother's cries.

"Ha, Fultan found them, get them before that fool figures this out." he snarled, his compatriots did as they were told without question or hesitation, like Nagu' they despised Aniu for betraying her heritage, and betraying Nagu' to whom she was birth righted.

"He is losing his touch," Nagu' said to himself. "His decisions have turned one tradition away after another, but this is the twig that breaks the bears back, I will die before Niju grows up with an abomination, this ends tonight." With that he leapt over the craggy rock from which he was perched and bounded towards his prey.

"Maverick, now! We don't have time to argue, more are on their way! I can hear them!" Aniu implored.

"No, I am not as fast as you to begin with and with my injury all I will do is get us all killed!" he couldn't believe what he was saying "But I can buy you two some time to get away."

"Maverick, I don't like what you are saying."

"There is no other way, please, take the pup" he said giving her the small creature, "I'm sorry, I love you.

Now go! Run!" she reluctantly picked up her son and nuzzled Moreland. Aniu could not believe this, but she forced herself to climb over the debris, and she looked back one last time.

"Tell my son that I love him." then he turned and charged the two dark wolves behind them, ramming one in the side sending it hurtling into a rock and kicking the other in the face with his back paw and then rounding, biting the wolf on the tail. It gave a whimper and tried to get in a bite of its own, but Maverick was faster, his leg was still in pain, otherwise he would be done with these two by now. He head butted the wolf under the chin; knocking it out.

"That's two down, only another two dozen to go."

"Well, well, well, aren't we the little fighter tonight, hmmm?" said a voice from behind him.

"Nagu', you are behind this, I should have known. Why are you hunting us? What did we do to you?"

"You know exactly why, house pet, you don't belong here." Wolves appeared behind Nagu' seemingly melting out of the dark until Maverick counted fourteen surrounding him.

"I am exactly where I belong, between you and my family." he said undaunted.

"You just had to make this fun didn't you? He's mine." and Nagu' launched himself at Maverick.

The two entered combat and began trying to strike, claw and bite each other into submission. Maverick rammed him inside then hit Nagu' square in the nose with his front paw.

"You can fight, I'll give you that, but we both know who is walking away from this."

"Shut up and fight." Maverick still knew Nagu' was right, he couldn't take them all. He dashed the thought and turned for another round but he put too much weight on his injury and fell. Nagu' took the opportunity and charged, he bit Maverick on his leg and pinned him to the ground.

"What did I tell you, you wouldn't walk away." Maverick's eyes filled with fear and dread. Teeth flashed in the night.

Aniu suddenly stopped; she felt it, and a single tear rolled down her cheek, now is not the time. She needed to honor her mate's sacrifice by saving the pup. She looked up and saw a sign,

NOME 1 MILE pop. 593

Humans, well humans are better than wolves in this case. She started running again, soon she saw lights and smelled the smoke of the fireplaces, off to her left was what looked like a derelict fishing boat. 'That will do', she thought. Then a howl was made in the distance. Acting quickly, she put the pup in the corner of the wheelhouse and covered him in a blanket she found below decks.

"Nagu' is too stupid to look here." She heard another howl, this time much closer.

"But I stick out like a sore paw; I have to lead them away."

The blanket moved and her pup's head poked out.

"What's happening," the pup said looking around, "Mama, where's Papa?"

Aniu thought quickly, turned and said "He's taking a trip son; he said that he loves you before he left, I'm, going to have to go with him."

"Can I come?"

"No, it's a long tip, trust me you won't like it, someone will come for you. Don't worry. Now go back to sleep."

The pup fell asleep to her warm voice and she covered him back over.

"I love you." and she turned away "I love you so much." she jumped over the side and ran as fast a she could in the opposite direction, tears running off her face. 'I don't want him to grow up like this, a killer, after I am done with Nagu' I'm leaving the clan with him.' she thought to herself.

"Time to give Nagu' a piece of my mind." she muttered, as she streaked in the direction of the howls. Not before long she found Nagu' himself, blood on his snout.

"Nagu', you will pay for what you have done!"

"Aniu, Aniu, all of this unpleasantness could have been avoided if you stuck to our ways then-"

"I would be 'stuck' with you, I would sooner die."

"That can be arranged, tell me, where is the abomination? Tell me and I promise I will make it quick."

"Drop dead."

Nagu' snarled in anger and leapt at her, she was much faster and dodged aside, whipping her tail into his eyes then rounding for a bite at his neck but only caught his ear. This issued a loud yelp from Nagu' and made him jump forward. He quickly turned and caught her tail; he yanked her around and slammed her into a boulder. She fell on her side, shooting pain throughout her body, she tried to get up, but fell back down, her leg obviously broken.

"It is time you got your wish." He readied himself for the kill.

"Nagu'! STOP!" he froze in place and then turned around to see none other than Nava, their alpha, accompanied by a dozen large wolves.

"What exactly are you doing here? I just found what was left of Maverick and I take it you killed all of his and Aniu's pups. Now I see you trying to kill her. Explain yourself. NOW!"

"Simple, you have abandoned our old ways, all in your self-sanctifying manner. And to even allow this to happen has dashed all of our honor. I refuse to allow this to continue anymore."

"To stop that you would kill Maverick? Kill my Daughter? Their innocent pups? All for what? Honor? Tradition? You disgust me Nagu'," Nava began to snarl and growl, then the snow around Nagu' swirled around him until it enveloped Nagu', then he was gone.

"Anyone care to join him? No? Then be gone, I never want to see you again." he said with a violent calmness.

Just as Nava said this they melted back into the night from whence they came.

"Aniu, Aniu! Can you hear me, come on girl wake up, it's okay. Papa's here now."

"Papa, is that you?"

"Yes, yes it is me, can you hear me Aniu?" he felt her slipping away "No, no, Aniu no, please no!"

"The pup." She said weakly

"Aniu, is one still alive? Where? Please tell me!"

"He's, he's in a boat near-"

"Where, Aniu please. No" He felt her heart stop."No, no, no!...please, no." He lost had lost his world in a single evening.

"Take them back to the clan, we will send them off, as our ways demand." His loyal wolves did as they were asked. The pup was all but lost, his sent covered over with blood.

APPROXIMATELY 1000 FEET UP

Boris Goosinov was flying home to the old country, he so enjoyed spring in the Ukraine, such beauty, maybe even a few lady geese on a moonlit lake. What would happen next would be far more extraordinary. A warm and soothing voice came to him seemingly out of nowhere

"Hello." it said.

"Wha, Cha, who's that?" Boris asked, "Ugh, this is last time I fly in storm, now I hear things,...oh boy." his beak dropped down to his flippers, now the voice had a face, a wolf face in the cloud and it was real, it had to be.

"I don't have much time, there is a small pup in a boat near the town of Nome, find him. Please, it is my final request, care for my son."

"Hey, lady cloud, do I look like wolf? No!" before he could finish his tirade the wolf face disappeared.

"Oh boy, so much for my wonderful spring vacation in the Motherland"

He flapped his wings and not before long, saw lights below him, but as soon as he dipped below the clouds he was thrown through the turbulence and slammed into a big piece of wood. Boris woke up to the rays of the sun catching his face.

"What a nightmare." He looked around and then up wondering where he was all he saw was a boat above him. Rubbing the new bump on his head he was dumbfounded.

"Not nightmare" He turned and saw the path of wreckage behind him.

"Oh wonderful, the one time I don't get lost it is when a talking wolf cloud tells me to find a random derelict boat in the middle of nowhere! Where am I anyway?" He flapped up top and saw a large cluster of buildings in the distance.

"So that is Nome, eh? Not exactly New York now is it. So, where is this bundle of fluff?" He heard a quiet whimper below him. He dropped down and picked up a musty looking blanket to see one small pipsqueak, yelping and barking away.

"Who are you?"

"I'm, Boris, I am friend of your parents, tell me, where are they?"

"Mama said that she and papa where going to take a long trip and someone would be along to take care of me until they got back, then she told me to go to sleep."

"Oh, boy," he knew that they would not be coming back. "What is your name then little boychik?"

"My name? I don't have one yet."

"Oh, right, now I remember, your mama said your name was eh," Boris began looking around frantically, he eventually saw a cargo boat off in the distance one of the containers said in big, yellow bold letters,

BALTO INTERNATIONAL TRNSPORT INC.

"Balto, she said your name was Balto."

"Really? I like that name."

"Da, me too."Boris said, what he was thinking however was 'This is the last time I make promises to any old cloud I happen to fly by, talking or no.'