The Quest Begins
- Their long journey is about to begin....
- Three bears from different species-black, polar, and grizzly-are separated from their families when they are only cubs. Each determined to survive in the harsh wilderness, they find themselves brought together on a perilous journey guided by a shape-shifting grizzly cub whose destiny will effect them all. Fate is about to change these bears' lives forever, bringing them amazing adventures, unexpected suffering, and finally setting their paws on a path toward a future they cannot yet imagine....
Detailed Plot Summary
- The book starts out with Nisa telling her cubs, Kallik and Taqqiq about the spirits of the bears in the sky, while they are forced underground by a storm, and Kallik is scared because of the story of Silaluk, and Taqqiq teases her about it. Then they go outside when the storm is over and play, and then Nisa shows them how to catch a seal. Taqqiq teases Kallik about the ice, and then falls asleep.
- The three bears then go to hunt for a seal. When a seal comes out, the white bear family eats it. However, when a bear approaches. Nisa drives her cubs away, and Kallik thinks it's unfair the bear didn't catch it but gets to eat it. They wake up the next morning with Nisa being extra jumpy, and Kallik nearly falls through the ice. Nisa rescues her and they go to find food.
- In the Bear Bowl, miles away, a black bear cub name Lusa climbs on a log and jumps off to get a pear a flat-face offers her. Lusa runs from Yogi, to keep her pear. They literally fall onto and wake up King, who startles them almost more than the grizzly in the next exhibit, Grumps. Lusa's mother, Ashia, tells them not to annoy King. Lusa and Yogi then go inside a cave and play a game where the first one to move loses, and Lusa loses by scratching her nose while thinking about the white and brown bears.
- Lusa and Yogi then go ask Stella to tell them a story, and she tells them about Old Bear, a bear who lived there, and one morning they found him dead. The flat-faces took him away, but Stella claims you can still see his face in one of the trees. Lusa and Yogi try to find the tree. Lusa spots the tree, but is startled by a beetle she thinks is a nose. Yogi teases her, and they follow the flat-faces to eat. Lusa is given a back-scratch before the flat-faces go to give food to the fat grizzly, and Yogi tries to give Lusa a rotten apple. Stella scolds her, saying the apple could have a bear spirit in it, and Lusa dramatically announces she won't eat a bear spirit and she'll "never be able to eat an apple again!" with Yogi and Stella laughing.
- Lusa and her family crowd inside the white dens, except King who likes to sleep in the woods. Stella tells them the story of a black bear cub, who has a star in his tail in the sky. A brown bear always tries to steal it from the cub, but the cub outwits him every time. Lusa goes outside to try and see the cub.
- The next chapter starts with Toklo hunting a rabbit, when his mother, Oka, snaps him out of his daydream, and Toklo abandons his "rabbit " (piece of wood) and flees as a firebeast roars across the BlackPath. Oka scolds him, and tells him to go eat dandelions with Tobi, and Toklo grumbles he hates dandelions and Tobi is weak. When Toklo gives dandelions to Tobi, Tobi eats them like he was chewing a rock. Toklo sighs and tries to eat a dandelion, daydreaming about how much better his life could be if Tobi had not been born. Oka calls her cubs and tells them they are going to leave. Toklo wants to go to the mountains, but Oka says Tobi is too weak to climb there. Toklo gets upset, and Oka leads them across the BlackPath, and finds a roadkill deer for them to eat. Toklo refuses as Tobi eats it, and goes to hide behind the tree.
- Then he remembers some grain some Snakebeasts had dropped on the SilverPath and gets Oka and Tobi to come. When they do find some grain, Toklo finally likes what he eats, until a adult male bear comes, and Oka forces Toklo to retreat. Toklo is angry that bear stole the grain he found. Oka then yells that Toklo and Tobi are skin and bones and announces they are going to the mountains.
- The story goes back to the point of view of Kallik. Her mother finds a BirthDen of seal pups, and after eating them Kallik and Taqqiq start playing with the fins, until Nisa scolds them. When more bears come, smelling the eaten seals, Nisa and her cubs flee. After a few more sunrises, Taqqiq tries to make his first catch of a seal and fails, but Nisa catches the seal anyway. Then the ice breaks and Taqqiq is forced into the water and Kallik is stranded on an ice island. Nisa saves Taqqiq but tells Kallik she has to swim. Kallik is scared of the water but dives in. She drinks seawater but keep swimming until she reaches her mother. Nisa leads them across another break in the ice. They keep walking through the cold and Kallik wonders if this is what it is like to be Silaluk. They then reach another break in the ice and Nisa tells her tired cubs she'll take them one at a time. Nisa takes Kallik first when Kallik sees an orca. Nisa tells Kallik to swim to shore. Kallik reaches the ice and calls for Nisa to come. Nisa is surrounded by orcas. Taqqiq is screaming for Nisa and Kallik. Kallik tries to get Nisa to grab her muzzle but an orca tail thrusts her onto the ice. Kallik sees Nisa telling her to leave and then vanishes under the water. Kallik then sees a snap of teeth, and water, red with her mother's blood, washes up over the ice and onto her paws. She is too tired to call out to her brother, who is crying for them, not realizing Kallik is alive. She sees him wander off and curls up to sleep.
- Lusa is climbing a tree when Yogi challenges her to climb higher than him and that he can see her "favorite grizzly". Lusa responds she doesn't have a favorite grizzly. King tells Lusa she's climbing too slow and will never get to the top. Lusa says she's still learning. King instructs her on how to climb, telling her to act like she's on the ground, and Lusa asks if that's a good idea. King retorts that Black bears are the best climbers. Lusa follows her fathers advice and sees most of the zoo from the top of the tree. Lusa climbs down and asks Stella about the animals. Stella explains the animals and tells Lusa to go tell ask her father more about them as he once lived in the wild. Lusa goes and tells her father about the tigers, monkeys and "flam-ing-os," and asks him if he's seen them in the wild. King replies he hasn't. Confused, Lusa reminds him he used to live in the wild. He replies black bears climb higher than monkeys, stand higher than flamingos and run faster than tigers, Black bears can do anything and asks her why she asks so many questions and that she'll never live in the wild. Lusa's mother comes and tells her to come with her. When they reach the 'mountains', Ashia tells Lusa to close her eyes, and they're in the forest and are surrounded by tigers. Yogi comes by, and Lusa laughs as he's not scary. Ashia sees King and tells Lusa to hide because another bear is coming. Lusa and Ashia climb in the trees. Lusa thinks living like this would be fun and wonders If she'll ever live In the wild.
- Toklo is climbing up the mountain with Oka and Tobi. Toklo asks Oka about salmon and Oka shows him how to catch some. Toklo says he'll catch more salmon than any other bear. Later when he and Oka are climbing he grabs a stick and says he caught a salmon. Oka says the fish are very slippery and takes the stick. Toklo and Oka play-fight over it, and Toklo enjoys it. He is very annoyed with Tobi when Tobi cries he's sick and Oka runs to him, frustrated that she left him out for a moment. Oka carries Tobi on her back and goes up the mountain until almost night when Toklo complains and shows his mother his bloody paws. Oka makes a makeshift den with Toklo's help and sleeps. When Toklo awakes, he sees Tobi with wide eyes, and notices he smells funny. Toklo is scared and asks if Tobi will join the spirits in the water. Tobi then closes his eyes and dies. Oka runs up and wails about Tobi, yelling at Toklo for not waking her up. She looks to the sky and demands to know why all her sons had to die like this. Toklo is confused as he is still alive. After a while he asks Oka if they are going to the mountain. Oka turns to him sadly and tells Toklo it's their fault Tobi is dead and because of them the water spirits will not find Tobi.
- Kallik wakes up and does not want to move. She stares at the water, not believing Nisa is dead. The snow starts to pile on her back. Kallik hears a voice that sounds like her mother's calling Taqqiq, Kallik realizes Taqqiq thinks she's dead and she is all he has left. She gets up and swims to the ice. She realizes this is the first time she's gotten onto the ice without help and has trouble, but eventually gets on. She jumps from ice floe to ice floe, finally reaching land. She sees a bear eating a seal and thinks it's Taqqiq. She yells for him only to realize it's not Taqqiq and runs from the bear. She attempts to catch a seal but is too slow. She travels, seeing gray and white birds and finally reaching big gray rocks. She swims to them, and the water pushes her against one, but she gets on the rock and goes onto dirt for the first time.
- Lusa sees Ashia and goes to her. Ashia starts talking about the first zoo she was in, and mentions a cub named Ben. Stella explains this to Lusa, and Ashia spots her and says Lusa looks like her. Lusa says that she's Ashia's cub and Ashia rolls over. King tells them to leave her alone. That night Lusa sleeps her first night without her mother's comfort. When she gets up she finds Ashia exactly where she left her and Lusa tries to talk to her. Ashia says "Lusa," and won't eat. Lusa tries to get the flat-faces to come in and help her. The flat-faces finally understand and come in. Lusa notices a man carrying a long, smoky stick. The flat-faces make a fence around Ashia and shoo Lusa away. Lusa climbs to the top of a tree and watches the man shoot her mother with the smoky thing and Ashia falls. They carry Ashia in a blue-thing into a fire beast, and Lusa pleads them not to take her mother.
- Toklo wakes up the next morning to see his mother still holding Tobi. His mother and him bury Tobi, and Oka ask the spirits to take care of Tobi. Oka marks Tobi's grave and leaves. Toklo tells Tobi's spirit to follow him. They reach the lake, and Toklo sees bears. One bear comes up and introduces himself as Shoteka. First he tries to flirt with Oka, than says Toklo is too old to travel with Oka. Oka growls at him and walks away. Shoteka tries to kill Toklo but Oka fights him off. They reach the lake, and Toklo sees his mother talking to the lake, asking the water spirits to take care of Tobi. Toklo asks if Tobi is still down the mountain, but Oka growls at him that he knows nothing about death. Toklo tries to teach himself to fish, but gets swept away by the current. Shoteka tries to drown Toklo by holding him under the water, but Oka saves him just in time. Toklo apologizes for trying to fish, but Oka tells him that all her cubs die. Toklo remembers hearing about her first litter, which all died. She tells Toklo to leave, that they will starve here, and if he has to die, to do it away from her.
- Kallik reaches land and sees a ridge. She hopes that is she goes up there she'll see Taqqiq. She gets dirt in her fur. Kallik reaches the ridge and hears the waves, wishing Nisa was still alive so Kallik wouldn't have to hear the sound. Kallik doesn't like the fact she left the ice - and the bear spirits behind. Kallik sees a tree for the first time and is fascinated by it. She finds a place to sleep, a den-like space between some roots. Kallik sees the Pathway Star her mother told her about which leads to a place where it is always frozen. She sleeps wondering if the Pathway star could lead her to Taqqiq. Kallik wakes up and goes to find food. She tries to eat grass and thinks it's gross. She sees another white bear and thinks about following it. She then sees another white bear, not following the other but going the same way. Kallik realizes they're going to a gathering place her mother mentioned. She thinks she might find Taqqiq there. She decides to stay on the ridge. Later she takes her first bite of berries and loves them. She eats a lot but realizes they're too tiny to keep her full for long. The next day she wakes up and goes toward the gathering place and is startled by caribou. She eats a frog. The next few days she wanders and is attacked by a bird when Kallik tries to eat it's eggs. She decides to follow the Pathway star.
- Lusa wakes up five days after Ashia was taken and wonders what would happen if a bear was sick in the wild.The firebeast returns and brings Ashia back. Lusa runs to her mother and tells her how she saved her some berries. Lusa, Yogi, and Stella ask several questions until Ashia tells them what happened. She says she woke up inside a cage in a flat-face den. She says she dreamed about forests, rivers and berries. Ashia says the green flat-face took care of her until she returned. She says she saw giraffes and elephants. Ashia also says she saw a large, beautiful mountain. At this King forbids anyone to speak of the wild.
- Toklo stands in the water and stares at Oka, who is ignoring him. Toklo get angry and sits on a rock and watches her. Oka paces, frightens away other bears, walks in circles and then falls asleep. Another female bear comes and asks Toklo where his mother is. Toklo responds he's waiting for fish, as he does not want to mention Oka. The bear says she thinks salmon stopped coming because some flat-faces built a dam. She asks again where his mother is, and he points out Oka. The bear tells him he should return to her. Toklo watches his mother sleep, then falls asleep himself. In his dream he dreams he is in his BirthDen with Tobi and has dirt and leaves in his fur. He sees Oka saying a death ritual over him, and tells her he's still alive. She snarls he should be dead and chases him. Toklo promises himself he will learn to live on his own.
- Kallik rests beside a tree and looks at the Pathway star, wondering if Taqqiq was looking at is too. She finds a dead rabbit and eats it. She later finds five plovers fighting over a fish. She kills and eats a plover. She continues on and finds a wide patch of brown water and does not want to swim in it. She walks around, hoping to find a way to avoid the water. She finally goes through it and thinks the cold water feels wonderful until she bumps into something. She sees she bumped into small, gray whales. Kallik continues on, seeing a large gray whale and two small gray whales trying to catch up with the rest, and wishes she still had Nisa and Taqqiq. She reaches land and finds a place to sleep. The next day, Kallik continues walking. She reaches a ledge and looks over it, seeing thousands of walruses. She tries to pass them. One tries to charge her, and scared, Kallik runs. She runs farther and farther away, and wonders if Taqqiq met walruses. She asks the ice spirits to help her brother.
- Over at the bear bowl, leaf-time begins, and Stella tells Lusa to play with Yogi. They start playing on the mountains, when Lusa sees Flat-faces bring a bear into the Grizzly enclosure. Lusa notices the new bear is skinny, and Grumps doesn't want to go near her. The grizzly mutters Tobi and Toklo in her sleep. When the new she-bear wakes up, she gets angry and charges at the fences. When the bear wears herself out, Lusa asks her name, and gets the reply, "Oka". Over the next few days, Oka stays outside. Stella says rain is coming, and Lusa worries about Oka. The next day Lusa asks Oka about the wild. Oka snarls at Lusa when she says she wants to hunt, and Oka says there is no food. Oka wonders if Toklo is good at catching fish, and Lusa asks who Toklo is. Oka ignores her and asks Tobi why he left. Lusa asks who Toklo and Tobi are. Oka continues to ignore and says she's sorry. Lusa wonders what happened to Oka before the bear bowl. A few days later Lusa asks Oka if she lived in the mountains. Oka replies she's been to many mountains. Lusa and Oka talk about the Fire in the Sky (lightning) until Lusa mentions the bear spirits and Oka tells her to go away. When Lusa wakes up the next day, she wishes she was in the wild. King tells her to stay away from Oka, and Lusa thinks that's unfair. Ashia tells Lusa her father is right, and when a mother loses her cubs, her heart gets sick. Lusa realizes Tobi and Toklo must be her cubs. Lusa climbs up a tree and gazes at the bear watcher, Arcturus, wishing she would know what it is like to live in the wild.
- Toklo, starving, travels through the woods. He smells prey and runs to it, in a spot where four trees grow close together. He eats some, and runs into a massive male bear, who says that he is in his territory. The bear demands if he stole his stock of prey, and Toklo lies, leaving before the bear realizes that it was him.
- When Oka almost kills a flat-face, she knows that she will be killed. Lusa talks to her, and Oka pours out her mistake - that she abandoned Toklo, and he didn't think she loved him. Lusa swears to her that she will find him and tell him the truth, which Oka is grateful for. The next morning, Oka is taken away to be euthanized - and Lusa pretends to fall ill, and escapes from the Bear Bowl, and goes through a few gardens before going to the forest.
- Toklo discovers Ujurak, an injured shape-shifting cub. After helping him, they begin to travel together. Toklo becomes annoyed whenever Ujurak shifts, and had to convince two grizzlies to leave the river to save Ujurak as he had accidentally turned into a salmon.
- Kallik ends up discovered by flat-faces and is taken to a place of polar bears in cages. She panics at first, but is comforted by a she-bear named Nanuk, who promises to look after her as the Kallik needed her and the flat-faces wanted Nanuk to think that Kallik was her cub. Kallik wakes up being carried in a Metal Bird, and is petrified, but Nanuk is in the net with her, and assures her that the bird was taking them to the ice. However, the bird crashes and Nanuk dies.
- Ujurak shifts into a hare and is chased by Lusa who is hunting him, thinking he is a real hare. Toklo stops her, and Lusa realizes he is Oka's cub.
- Ben (mentioned)
- Old Bear (mentioned)
- Unnamed deceased male bear (mentioned)
- Ujurak (Shape-shifter)
- Unnamed she-bear
- Unnamed male bear
- Unnamed male bear
|The Original Series||The Quest Begins • Great Bear Lake • Smoke Mountain • The Last Wilderness • Fire in the Sky • Spirits in the Stars|
|Return to the Wild||Island of Shadows • The Melting Sea • River of Lost Bears • Forest of Wolves • The Burning Horizon • The Longest Day|
|Mangas||Toklo's Story • Kallik's Adventure • Lusa's Tale|
|The Quest Begins Chapters|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10 • Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 • Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapter 21 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27 • Chapter 28 • Chapter 29 • Chapter 30|