Wargie stood across from me… her eyes ablaze with fire and hatred… there was no sign of recognition. I braced myself for the next attack, but the deep gash in my side made it difficult to put any pressure on my hind leg… I could feel the blood dripping down my side. I was in a bad position… with walls to my side and behind me, I was penned in. Wargie seemed to sense this as she crouched, preparing to deal a killing blow. I crouched down low in an attempt to meet her attack when a flurry of arrows stuck in the ground around her, capturing her in a heavy net. Suddenly, Chucaro appeared from out of nowhere and barreled into Wargie’s side, sending her to the ground.
“Are you alright?” she asked me as she stood in front of me, shielding me from Wargie.
“It’s just a scratch,” I replied.
“My ass…” she retorted. “Winterwulf and the others finally showed up… that’s where the trap came from, but it won’t hold for long… can you move?”
I glanced up on a distant wall to see Winterwulf and Sylwith crouched with crossbows aimed at Wargie. “Yeah, I can move ok… we need to get with the others… Wargie is too strong to try to take alone.”
I barely got my response out as Wargie let out a terrifying roar… in one quick motion, she had shredded the netting and was streaking towards the hunters… I had never seen such speed before! I followed Chucaro to a safer area as I watched the scene unfold. Wargie blasted through the wall as if it were paper, sending debris shooting out in every direction. The hunters barely had time to leap from their perch… Winterwulf dove away from the impact, tucking and rolling to land on one knee facing what remained of the wall he was just on. Sylwith leaped backwards in a somersault, but Wargie was too fast… before she could hit the ground, Wargie caught her in mid air, her jaws clamped around the huntress’ midsection. In one violent motion, her jaws crushed the elf’s body… a single scream was all that escaped Sylwith’s lips as her ribs and spine were crushed. Wargie tossed the limp body away like an old play toy and turned her attention to Winterwulf.
The hunter drew his hammer and club out just as Wargie charged him… “The fool! Why doesn’t he move? She’ll slaughter him!” I thought to myself. Then Wargie stopped as if she hit a brick wall… it was then I noticed the trap the hunter had set up in a heartbeat as Wargie dealt with the huntress. A sudden flash of light struck Wargie, stunning her momentarily, as Ellenroh appeared near Winterwulf… his rune stones glowing brightly, energy crackling all over the elf’s weapons and his hands.
With the battlefield taking my full attention, I hadn’t noticed the music surrounding me… I looked quickly and saw Sophwen and Creami tending to my wounds… they worked feverishly to stop the bleeding and mend the wound. I glanced back at the momentary stop in the fight and thought I saw a slight smile form on Wargie’s face… and in an instant, she disappeared!
Everyone tensed, not knowing where she was… neither Chucaro nor myself could detect her… both Winterwulf and Ellenroh slowly backed up… I finally saw where she was… her form appeared directly behind the elf. Before I could warn him, he turned around, seemingly knowing she was there. He brought the stones together and reached to attack her, but he was too slow! Her massive jaws clamped around his hands! She twisted her jaws quickly, sending the runekeeper tumbling backwards to the ground, bloody stumps were left from where his hands and stones were… his body twitching on the ground for a few moments before he went still.
I went stealth and raced off towards her, with both minstrels screaming at me that they were not done working on my wound… I didn’t have time to waste… Wargie had to be stopped! I leaped at her, but was met by one of her massive paws… it was as if she saw me, clear as day. I was thrown into Winterwulf, sending us both tumbling backwards to the ground. Winterwulf was back on his feet, trying to shake off the daze, but I didn’t have a chance… before I could roll to my feet, Wargie was on me… I could barely keep her at bay as her snapping jaws were a mere inches from my neck… my body felt as if it were being pulled in all different directions….
“Wake up!!”, someone yelled.
I opened my eyes to find myself on my back, my legs flailing aimlessly, with Sophwen tugging at me frantically.
“You’re crushing Creami! Get off of her!” she screamed.
I felt the wagon come to a sudden stop as I rolled to my side and watched at Chucaro grabbed Creami’s neckline and drug her near one of the benches. Sophwen rushed to her side to check her injuries as Creami was on her knees, clutching her chest and gasping for breath. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she started sobbing, despite the best efforts of Sophwen’s attempts to comfort and console her.
“What happened in here?” Winterwulf asked, trying his best to keep his voice controlled.
“We had all fallen asleep during the ride,” Sophwen answered, “I was awakened when I heard Creami crying out… I barely heard her as her cries were muffled. I woke up to find Deathwulf rolled on top of her, crushing her.” Winterwulf shot me a questioning look as Sophwen continued, “He was still sleeping, Winter… he wasn’t aware of what was going on. We were finally able to get him off of Creami when we woke him up.”
Winterwulf looked at Chucaro. “It’s as the woman says,” she answered without a prompt… her look of deep concern never leaving my face.
“Follow me, now!“ Winterwulf ordered me, barely able to control his rising anger.
We must have been out of the city for some time as our surroundings had changed. We had pulled over to the side of the main road… the remaining members still on horseback, watching the two of us with great curiosity.
“We’ll be back.” Winterwulf said simply as he lead me a ways away from the wagon and out of earshot of the other. “What was that all about back there?” he asked point-blank.
“Apparently I had a bad dream… isn’t that common amongst the free people, as well?” I countered.
“It’s more than that. I’ve noticed that you’ve been pre-occupied lately and I want to know what’s going on. I don’t want anything jeopardizing our mission and I expect truth and honesty in all I am working with… even if it’s with an enemy I am allied with. I won’t ask again, but if I find that anyone has held back anything that could help or harm anyone in the party, they will have me to answer to.”
I looked at the hunter, unsure whether I should mention the dreams or not, after all, they were just dreams, weren’t they? Winterwulf always appeared easy-going and even-keeled… not much seemed to rattle him. But he comes across as one who means what he says… it would be an interesting challenge to battle him one-on-one… I shook my head, now is not the time for these thoughts. I let out a deep sigh and started, “I’ve been having recurring dreams ever since Wargie was taken… no, not recurring, but dreams that have been playing themselves out… mostly about an imminent battle against the dwarves, but…” I hesitated.
Winterwulf was watching me intently with his piercing eyes, not saying a word. “Wargie was there, too… and she had been transformed into some kind of hellish killing machine. Many of our group were slaughtered. I was in a fight with her when I was last woken up.”
The hunter stroked his chin thoughtfully, digesting all I had told him. After a few minutes, he spoke, “Whether these are just dreams or they truly are visions is not for me to decide… however, I think the others need to be aware of what you have told me. If it can give us any kind of help in what we may be facing, we can surely use it.”
The snapping of a twig brought the two of us to our guard. Making their way to us were the two minstrels, Sophwen and Creami, as well as Chucaro. “Creami wanted to make sure Deathwulf was alright,” Sophwen said. Creami looked at Deathwulf with concern.
“I’m fine,” I said, simply, “and I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
A bright smile broke out on Creami’s face. “Oh, I know you would never hurt me! I just wanted to make sure you were ok.”
“Deathwulf is fine,” Winterwulf interrupted, “Let’s head back to the others. We have some things we need to discuss.”
As we made our way back to the others, Chucaro walked up beside me. “I wonder what color bows and ribbons she will decorate your fur with?” she said in a lowered voice.
“Not a chance in hell… I am nobodys ‘pet’,” I said, irritated that things had gotten this out of hand over nothing based on reality…