Monday, November 3, 2008

There will be blood

One of the wolves suddenly lifted its head. She turned around and could see Darron coming out of the woods together with the wolves. Too little wolves! Not again! Half way towards them she could see that Darron was wounded. And two of the wolves were missing.
"Darron, what happened?!" She put her hands around the stumbling man to hold him up. "Another attack! They ambushed us three hours from here near the big clearing. I wasn't vigilant enough! I'm sorry mylady! We lost Dorn and Arto. It was sheer luck that we survived this time! Their attacks are getting better every time!" He was breathing hard and only now did she spot the arrow shaft sticking out of his back. As they reached the door, the two maids already came running to help her. "Bring him to my mother! I'll take care of the pack!"

She reached the wolves who were waiting patiently in the yard. After a succinct whistle, they followed her dutifully to the kennel and she followed them inside. Two of the younger ones were badly injured, forcing her to cast some healing. She noticed that the old hunter had already used some spells on them. He could have healed himself, but he seemed to get more sentimental in his dotage. The wolves were his life!
Dorn and Arto dead. They had been promising young wolves.
She looked at Korm who was sitting next to her. The old wolf was almost as tall as her. The two arrows sticking out of his shoulder didn't seem to bother him. She guided him out to his own kennel and walking next to him she noticed another wound at his side. Looked like a sword wound again.
The wolf looked at her gratefully after she had healed the cut and removed the arrows. He was one of the oldest and most experienced. He was generally a calm sentinel, bust since he lost his mate in the first attack, the fire in his eyes never completely vanished.
Looking around him for more wounds she noticed the blood on his front paws for the first time. It was a lot of blood! Pieces of skin in between his claws suggested that he had killed or at least seriously injured one of the attackers. She didn't feel a bit of mercy. At least they also suffered!

The first attack had ended in a quick but ferocious melee fight. 12 wolves had been killed, amongst them three of their most experienced elite sentinels. The attackers had come out of nowhere and had had a wizard with them. From what they gathered after the battle there had been 11 attackers, three of them never left the yard. Korm had killed two of them as they tried to get to her and there was not much left of them afterwards to identify them. The attackers had learned that a frontal attack hadn't been a promising option for victory and started ambushing the packs on their training excursions. They were also refining their strategy after every attack, adapting more and more to the fighting behaviour of the wolves. They had to do something or more wolves would be killed, threatening the whole breeding program.

Closing the door of the kennel, she looked back at Korm. "It seems that you will get your revenge soon. Defense is not an option anymore. We have to find their hideout!" She could see in his eyes that he understood! They had just finished training the new pack of trackers. This would be their final exam!

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