A byrrgis is a large hunting or, sometimes, traveling formation, often including more than one pack of wolves. It is symbolic of the strength and unity of the pack. Byrrgis captains are high-ranked with skreeleens above them and captains below them.
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This article contains plot details from one or more of the books.
The meaning of the word byrrgis is a flowing line of wolves. A byrrigis can be used to take down prey or to explore new land.
SweeperThis is position of a gnaw wolf. The task is to look for the scat and urine of the prey to make sure it is healthy. The exception is when when there is a gaddergnaw byrrgis. During that time, regular wolves take this spot, and gnaw wolves are treated with more respect and run in higher-ranking positions. Heep and Faolan were among the sweepers during the events of Shadow Wolf.
The position of a strong and quick she-wolf. They run in the front at first to get to the prey and then fall in the back as the male wolves go for the kill. These she-wolves are quick on their feet and are highly ranked in the byrrgis ranks. The most notable ones are Mhairie and Morag.
PackersPackers are the big, strong males that go in for the kill rush at the end of the byrrgis. Faolan was this posistion in the byrrgis in the gaddergnaw in Shadow Wolf.
Line wolves are the keys to passing signals in a byrrgis.
Turning GuardTurning guards are the wolves at the edge of the byrrgis and help turn the herd, as their name suggests. The only notable ones known are Caila and Cathmor.
At the beginning of Shadow Wolf, Faolan ruined the byrrgis by running ahead of the outflankers and making the bull moose charge at the byrrgis. Then Faolan had to do the Trail of Shame with a bone of shame gnawed by Heep. The Trail of Shame is where the gnaw wolf must go to each of the pack's outflankers and beg for apology.
In Shadow Wolf, Faolan ruins the spirit of the byrrgis, and he is put on to the Trail of Shame because of it. Another byrrgis is held to make up for that one. Mhairie proved herself in that byrrgis. Later, a gaddergnaw is held and there is a byrrgis commpetion. Creakle came in first place.
In Frost Wolf, there is a two pack byrrgis in the MacDuncan clan. Liam hesitates, stressing some runners. Liam took so long to pass a signal that a captain barked out a command, breaking a rule of the gaddernock. The byrrgis fell apart in chaos; something considered blasphemous to happen, and the prey got away.Faolan's brigade uses this formation to travel across the Ice Bridge. After Abban fell into the Frozen Sea, Faolan worries that they wouldn't be able to keep the young ones safe, so he and Edme come up with a formation called the Fortress. The adults would be on the edge while the pups and cubs walked along the middle.