Chucaro awoke to a flurry of activity. Elves and humans were quickly getting items packed away as if they planned on leaving soon. She looked around for Deathwulf, but Creami caught her eye instead.
“Where’s Deathwulf?” Chucaro asked bluntly.
Creami nearly jumped as her attention was elsewhere. “You startled me!” she said as her hand rested on her chest and she breathed heavily.
“Where is Deathwulf? And I won’t ask again!” Chucaro asked in a low voice that was borderline growl and grew in warning.
Creami turned pale. She looked at me for a second, then quickly looked around the large tent. “Follow me.” She said as she quickly made her way to the front, away from prying ears.
Creami stopped and looked at Chucaro, who sat as patiently as she could. She wrung her hands as she didn’t know where to begin.
“I’m waiting…” Churaco warned.
This seemed to pop Creami out of her stupor. She quickly glanced both ways, one more time before offering her explanation. “Deathwulf left the camp during the early morning hours when everyone was asleep. Winterwulf and Sylwith came in from patrol a few hours later and noticed he was gone. Deathwulf didn’t say where he was going, but Winterwulf and Sylwith hopped on the fastest horses we had. Chucaro, I don’t know where he went or how the others can find him.” She said as she couldn’t keep the worry out of her voice.
“I have what the others don’t… his scent. I can get to him before he ends up in trouble.” Chucaro surmised.
“But, Wargie needs you!” argued Creami.
Chucaro looked at Wargie before speaking. “Wargie will get no worse than where she is now… what’s important is to find out where Deathwulf is and why he left suddenly.”
Creami looked at Wargie and back at Chucaro. “Fine, I’ll get my things and we can go after him…” she started.
“No.” Chucaro cut her off. “I can travel faster alone and I don’t have anyone else to worry about.”
Creami’s eyes became tear-filled as she nearly sob “I can help.. what if he’s hurt… I won’t be a burden… you won’t even know I’m there.. please let me come with you…”
What is it with this human? Why is she so concerned with Deathwulf? Chucaro momentarily cocked her head and looked at Creami. Finally, with an exasperated sigh she said, “Fine, you can come. But if you hinder me at all, I will leave you where you are…” That was all she could get as Creami threw her arms around Chucaro.
“Thank you!” she said happily, the smile returning. “I’ll get my things, fast..” she replied as she scampered off.
I headed to the front of the tent to wait for her. Ellenroh caught up with me. “Ah, Chucaro, there you are. I’m not sure where the hunters rode off to, but I think it’s to find the other warg.” He waved his hand dismissively. “Regardless, I must move Wargie to Rivendell. I have done all I can do here, but need the resources that are available there. She is stable, but we need to get her there as soon as possible.”
“Do what you can to save Wargie, elf,” Chucaro said. “I am going after Deathwulf and Creami is coming with me.”
Ellenron looked startled at the last statement. “Why on Middle Earth is she going with you? I guess it doesn’t matter, though the hunters will be fine without you or the minstrel.”
“You forget that I know Deathwulf… I know what he is thinking and, more importantly, I know his scent.”
“Ah, don’t underestimate the ability of Winterwulf’s tracking. I have the utmost confidence that he will find the warg.”
“You aren’t changing my mind, elf. Just be sure nothing happens to Wargie… otherwise, you will have me to answer to.”
Ellenroh blanched and simply nodded. He hurried off to finish his packing, but he looked back at Chucaro, his face still white.
Creami appeared at the tent entrance. “I’m ready,” she said, “Let’s go!”
Without a word, Chucaro was running towards the edge of the camp, with the minstrel in tow. Where are you headed, Deathwulf?
Running fast and without anyone to slow me down, I made it through the flat-lands east of Esteldin in a short amount of time. The smell of goblins and orcs to the south made me pause momentarily, but they were of no concern to me. The local wargs looked at me and went back to what they were doing. I stayed away from the Earth-kin camp and headed straight for the mountains. This was the fastest, shortest way back to the Ettenmoors, but also the most dangerous. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ I make it… I must, for Wargie’s sake.
As I approached the mountains, they loomed higher and higher. The walls were almost sheer drops… from the initial look of things, it didn’t look like there was a path up the mountains. I looked back the way I had come. My heart dropped. I could see a small cloud of dust. So, the hunter is on my trail. I’ve got a few hours head start on him. That should be all I need. I looked around, hoping I could find a way through the mountains. Then I saw it… a large rock by the side of the cliff. If I can make it to the top of the rock, the face won’t be a problem. I took one last look towards the cloud of dust steadily approaching before I went stealth and headed into the camp.
I didn’t have to evade many, so I assumed a hunting party of some size was gone to get food of some sort. I easily slipped by the guards at the entrance and made my way up the path. These giants were slow, both mentally and physically, it seemed, but their strength was unreal. I had been trapped by one when I was younger. The fight was fierce and I took a beating, but I finally did kill him. I shook the memory from my mind and continued on my way… very aware of my surroundings to avoid any traps and such. I stopped and glanced at the cloud of dirt… it was getting larger and the hunter was getting closer. The hunter will have to deal with the giants… that will buy me even more time.
I made it to the rock without any problems. It was large, but it was smoothed from the wind. I should be able to make it, but even with a horse, the hunter will not be able to follow me from this point. It took every ounce of strength I had to make it to the top of the rock. I took a quick look back at my pursuers to see how much closer they were. I could make out Winterwulf… and he had another hunter with him and they were riding hard. No matter… they will have to find another way and that will take time. I easily jumped the distance between the rock and the wall and made my way across the path, still going at a fast clip, but more aware of my surroundings as I have never been here before.
Winterwulf and Sylwith reigned their horses to a stop and jumped off simultaneously. Winterwulf surveyed the ground and looked towards the Earth-kin camp. He thought for a moment before speaking as Sylwith silently stood by.
“Deathwulf was here… his markings are all over the place. Looking at these cliff faces, I would guess he went to the camp.”
Sylwith looked toward the camp with her hand shielding her eyes. When she found the rock, she called out. “There! I would guess he was able to jump on the rock and continue on the path through the mountains.”
Winterwulf followed her gaze to the rock.
“Damn it! We need to get to the rangers before he does. They will kill him in a heartbeat if he gets close. We’ll see if there is a path further south and around. If we’re lucky, we’ll intercept him in time.”
“And if we’re not?” Sylwith asked, already knowing the answer.
Winterwulf gave her a quick, somber look as the hunters mounted up and galloped along the base of the mountain path, hoping they could head off the warg ahead of them.