I led Chucaro out of the cave the same way the hunter led me in… and into a clear, warm night. Chucaro turned to the cave entrance and saw boulders. She tentatively touched one and asked, “How do we know where to return, if we need to?”
I went to a nearby tree and marked the base. “This will help us find the entrance, should we need to come back here.” A quick scan of the area came up empty of any friends or foes… at least by scent… only the local wildlife could be detected. We went stealth and headed west towards the blast area, trying to keep to the hills as much as possible. We turned more towards the northwest, higher into the hills. Outside of the occasional lynx and hawks, we did see a couple Dourhand scouts, who were quickly dispatched before any warning could be sounded.
We were a ways north of the blast zone and getting closer to our target… numerous small camps of the dwarves were popping up. There were still a few hours left until dawn, so we had enough time to work with to try to locate Wargie. After scouting the perimeter, we found the best course to take. Climbing a large hill brought us to another small camp with three dwarves… one sitting by the campfire, cleaning weapons, one semi-patrolling the camp’s perimeter and one passed out in the tent, his feet sticking out of the entryway. Chucaro made her way to the tent to take out the sleeping dwarf while I made my way behind the dwarf by the fire.
I watched the tent as I saw the sleeping dwarf’s leg spasm before going still again, for good. One down, two to go… As the patrolling dwarf stumbled to the far edge of the camp and out of view, I attacked. I flung my paw around the dwarf’s head, pulling him backwards to the ground with a thud. With my paw covering his mouth, the drawf’s eyes bulged when he realized what was going on… his attempt at a scream was stifled as I ripped his throat out. I removed my paw when his body went still. I went back into stealth as the patrolling dwarf came into view.
“Hitting the bottle, yourself, are we?” the dwarf mocked as he approached his fallen comrade. I watched as the dwarf knelt down to check on him. “Come on now, get on your feet. Your turn at watch is up next,” he continued in a slurred voice. He reached down and slapped the dwarf’s cheek a few times. “Aye now, did you hit your head and knock yourself out?” He asked to the dead dwarf as he pulled his hand back. He looked at his hand, realizing they were wet and raised them to the fire. His eyes went wide as he realized it was blood. I lunged at him from stealth, his face turning white as he saw me close on him… his alert muffled as my teeth clenched onto his throat. He thrashed his body violently as I lifted him off the ground. I lost the grip on the dwarf as his body fell to the ground. Chucaro had hit him from behind with her paw so hard that his head snapped back, nearly severed from his body… his spinal cord the only part that kept his head from flying off.
“This camp is clear,” she said, a hint of vindication in her voice, “let’s find Wargie.”
I nodded and we moved along the hillside towards a stone walkway leading over a valley littered with countless other camps. We slowly crossed the walkway in stealth, which took us to the outer courtyard of Ost Galumar. Looking out to the north, countless campfires could be seen dotting the hillsides… the hunter was right… the dwarves were massing together.
Looking into the courtyard, we saw three pairs of patrol units. There was another pair at the far end of the walkway, leaning against a tall stone statue of some sort… both dwarves apparently passed out. They were dispatched without trouble, so we turned our attention to the patrols in the courtyard. We silently moved back across the wall towards the walkway. I pointed to an archway down in the courtyard below. “We’ll jump down here and head to that archway from the outside. We’ll wait for a patrol unit to go past the archway and take them out.”
Chucaro nodded. “I can smell Wargie’s scent,” she added, “she’s somewhere close.”
We carefully jumped down to the ground below and made our way around the corner to the archway… each of us taking one of the sides, waiting for the first patrol. As expected, the first pair marched past the archway and walked into the shadows before they turned around to march back through the archway… they never completed the turn to march back. We propped their bodies against the wall and waited in stealth to see if any other patrols would come by. After a short while, I peeked around the corner of the archway to look… the second unit was split about midway, one on either side of the courtyard and the third unit was near the far side of the courtyard, near a narrow opening. I headed over to Chucaro.
“Either we’ve been extremely lucky, or we are falling into a trap… whatever the case, we can’t turn back now… we need to rescue Wargie,” I explained.
“Death, if anything should happen…” Chucaro began.
“Nothing will… we are all going home after this,” I stopped her, “now let’s go show these dwarves they messed with the wrong wargs.”
Chucaro gently touched her nose to mine before we moved through the archway… Chucaro taking the right wall, me the left. As we approached this set of guards, they also appeared to be dozing off and again, were easily dispatched. Are these dwarves that arrogant on their abilities? Something just doesn’t feel right…
As we approached the last group, they too appeared to be nodding off at their posts. I motioned to Chucaro to take out the right and I would take out the left. Why does this seem so familiar? With lightning quickness, both guards were dispatched without a sound. No other sentries could be detected. I turned to tell Chucaro to wait while I scouted ahead, but her look stopped me in my tracks.
“We’re in this together,” she simply said.
I nodded and lead the way through the opening… my hair was standing on end as something kept gnawing at me. The dream!! At that point, it was too late, as a half-dozen dwarves blocked off our exit. I had turned around as Chucaro let out a warning growl… another dozen dwarves blocked our path in front… we were trapped!
“Ah, just like our leader predicted… the mice got caught in the trap,” a voice said as some of the dwarves moved to the side. A heavily armoured dwarf approached us. He stopped a few meters from me and stood there with his arms crossed against his chest. He let out a hearty laugh before he continued talking. “Deathwulf and Chucaro…” he said with a sneer, “the ‘vaunted’ wargs from the ‘Moors who came to rescue their young whelp.”
“You seem to know enough about us,” Chucaro responded, “yet we know nothing of who you are.”
“My name is of no concern to you… you can simply remember me as your executioner,” he said as he slipped his great hammer from its holster. “Your journey ends here,” he said as his guards drew their weapons.
Chucaro and I prepared for the onslaught. We aren’t going down without a fight, you bastard!