Appearance and Personality
Volarian slave-hounds are larger, faster and more thickly muscled than any other hunting dog. Their eyes are glaring yellow, filled with hate. They are savage beyond belief at times but possessed of a rigid hierarchical code. They are bred to track escaped slaves in the Volarian Empire.
Scratch has numerous scars on its snout, and is unswerving loyal to Vaelin. He is an oddly cheerful animal considering he had been bred to hunt and kill people
Brothers Makril and Tendris are using three Volarian slave-hounds to track a dangerous young denier called Sella in the Urlish Forest. The hounds pick up the scent, but it leads them to Vaelin, a novice brother of the Sixth Order on his Test of the Wild. The three dogs attack him, and Vaelin manages to kill the pack leader and the one who would have replaced him. The last hound submits to Vaelin as his pack leader. Vaelin keeps him despite Tendris advising him to kill it, and names him Scratch due to the numerous scars on his snout. Scratch soon proves useful, helping Vaelin find a deer in the snow.
After the test, Vaelin returns to the order house, fearing that Master Jeklin, the keeper of the kennels, will not allow him to keep it. However, Jeklin prove more welcoming than he expected. Throughout his training, Vaelin feeds and exercises him daily. Scratch eventually mates with a Asraelin wolf-hound bitch and has a litter of six pups.
During Frentis’ Test of the Wild, when he doesn’t return, Vaelin and his brothers go to find and rescue him. They track him to tunnels under an inn, thanks to Scratch, where his kidnapper One Eye is eventually killed.
After graduating as a full Brother of the order, Vaelin rarely takes Scratch on campaign, fearing that he has become to enjoy the taste of human blood too much. However, he does take him to the Alpiran war. At the end of the war, the Empire sues for the peaceful surrender of the city of Linesh, provided Vaelin gives himself up as their prisoner. Vaelin leaves Scratch with the Governor with instructions to set him loose at nightfall. At Vaelin's camp, Barkus arrives and reveals himself to be a minion of the One Who Waits. The two fight, and Vaelin kills him thanks to Scratch However, Scratch is mortally wounded and dies in Vaelin's arms.