|The Old Gray|
|No image available|
|Species:||Dinaelurus illumina sapiens|
|Book Appearances:||Ratha's Creature|
The Old Gray has sour, smelly, patchy gray fur, a grizzled head, yellow worn and worn teeth, possesing "hunters' eyes" despite being witless, and her rheumy eyes are green and empty.
The Old Gray makes her first appearance when she and her companion, an intelligent spotted cub who bares no name, in Ratha and Bonechewer's territory. As Bonechewer inquires the cubs if other travelers will come as well, Ratha believed her to be blind as her eyes seemed "strangely unfocused and diffuse" but later revealed was not true as they moved where the cub walks past. The little spotted-coat reminds Bonechewer of "the wanderer's claim" when he tries to shoo them away and allows them to eat at the carcass, much to Ratha's disbelief and outrage since they haven't earn the rights to the kill.
When she eats her fill, Ratha blocks her path and prods her with questions. The old one response with a near swipe to the head and the spotted-coat replies that words on her were wasted as she cannot speak and barely understands him. She apologizes but the cub points out that she wouldn't care, that he liked her company because she is a good hunter and that she didn't talk. She finds herself without words and the two depart soon after, leaving her disturbed by the encounter.
She isn't seen again until the first raid, where she and Ratha is are being lead under the Young Spotted Coat. She has abandoned her cub companion and attached herself to Ratha, despite the threats and cuffs she deals to discourage her. Ratha is further disgusted by the emptiness she carries. The Gray takes pleasure making her miserable with her sight and smell, with the small strand of mirth of understanding Ratha's fear. When Ratha is almost killed by Srass, she along with the Un-Named overpower him and savagely maudilate his body even after his skull is crushed.
She is frequently seen hualing herd beast back to the pack and standing guard with the progressively pregnant Ratha. Despite her ampathy for her, Ratha grows to tolerate her company and even shares the meat Bonechewer sneaks to her. It is unknown what became of her when the promise of warmer weather encourages the pack to return to their abandoned territories.
Ratha: "Old one, if you eat of our kill, you must give us answers in return. Who are you? Where is your home ground? Where do you journey in such bad weather?"
Little Spotted-One: "Save your words, muddy one. The old one can't speak. She barely understands what I say to her."
Ratha: "Why? Has she lost her wit to age?"
Little Spotted-One: "She never had any. That's the way she's always been."
Ratha: "I'm sorry for her."
Little Spotted-One: "Why be sorry? She doesn't care. She doesn't know anything else. She's a better hunter than most of the others. I like her because she doesn't talk."
~The Old Gray in Ratha's Creature, pages 132-133
"It isn't age or dirt or rotting teeth that sickens me so. There were aged, dirty ones in the clan. Old and smelly as they were, the wisdom in their eyes made me respect them. There is no wisdom in hers, and she has lived her life with this terrible emptiness. She knows only enough to taunt me for my fear of it."
~Ratha's thoughts on The Old Gray in Ratha's Creature, page 167