Deathwulf was full after the third kill, but was rather surprised that he was getting tired. He had kept the mountain wall to his left and had been heading downhill. The snow was much less and soon would not be any hindrance to him at all. I need to find a place to sleep and fast… my energy feels like it’s been taken right out of me. The roar of a waterfall had been getting louder for the past hour and he was finally upon it. After looking around, he found an area where he blended in with the shadows, so he laid down to take a rest. He didn’t get to think very long before he was passed out… a few days of traveling took its toll, even for an animal created for tracking.
No matter which way Creami tried to go, Chucaro blocked her way. “Until you answer my question, you aren’t going anywhere. The snow is lessening and soon will be gone… you can only follow my tracks til then. What’s it going to be?” asked the warg.
Creami looked around one last time and finally sighed in resignation. Chucaro is right… I can’t follow either of them… I am not a tracker. “Fine, I’ll answer your question.” Creami found a nearby stump and sat down. Chucaro sat on her hind legs, in front of the minstrel, so her full attention was towards Creami. “It’s hard to put into words how I feel about Deathwulf. Don’t get me wrong… it’s nothing like that!” Creami added when Chucaro started to give her a quizzical look. “To sum it up best, he’s more of a dear friend that I care about. That is the best way to describe it. It would break my heart if anything happened to him.”
Chucaro thought for a minute about what the minstrel had said. Finally she simply asked, “But, why… how can you feel this way?”
Creami thought about it for a while before answering. “I’m not sure… to be honest, even though he is a warg he has the qualities I would look for in a man… strong willed, carries out a decision… very sure of himself and his skills… yet shows he has a heart and cares deeply for those around him… especially you and Wargi.” Chucaro was not prepared for this reasoning and sat speechless.
After a few minutes, Chucaro simply got up and started back on Deathwulf’s trail. She stopped and looked at the seated minstrel. “Well, come on… we don’t have all day and don’t have much light left.” Creami got up and started up after Chucaro. What’s on her mind? Why didn’t she say anything? thought Creami.
The Forsaken Inn was in sight. With the wagon going as fast as the horses could pull it, Ellenroh stuck his head out the front slit. “We can’t stop here. There are no defenses for the Inn. At least we are almost on the road… we have to try to make it to Ost Guruth.” Silentknife and Tracer looked at each other before the burglar replied. “The rune keeper is right. I can still hear the patrol behind us, but we should make good time and make it to the Outpost… as long as the horses don’t give out before then.” Lather could be seen on the mouth of each horse, but they galloped like they were fresh steeds. Silentknife looked around the side and saw Tregoan keeping up easily with the wagon… his bow at the ready should he need it.
There was a sudden jostle of the wagon as the horses switched from the hills to the roads… the wheels creaked, but still held strong. The White Hand party could no longer be heard behind them, so Silentknife gave Tracer the ok to let the horses calm down a bit and catch their breaths… who knew when they would have to pick up the pace again.
The sun had set, so they lost the ability to see what may be behind them. With the noise of the wagon and horses, they would be easy to find, though. Silentknife thought about that as they made their way to Ost Guruth. The burglar was quickly brought out of his thoughts as the wagon slowed and then stopped. Alarmed, Silentknife looked at Tracer. “We have to let them rest… if we push them any farther, we risk losing them entirely… we will have to make camp here. Judging by how far they had traveled, he guessed they were about half-way between the Forsaken Inn and Ost Guruth. “Stay with Sophwen and the warg.” Silentknife said to Ellenroh as he poked his head through the front. Sophwen had moved as close as she could to the center of the wagon and kept an eye on the warg… Wargie hadn’t moved at all since she went down. The slow breathing of the warg could be seen, so at that, Sophwen was relieved. Ellenroh kept glancing from front to back as he kept his hands near his satchel.
Silentknife climbed down from the bench and looked into the night. Something doesn’t feel right, but I can’t put my finger on it. The burglar squatted down and scooped up a handful of dirt, letting it sift through his fingers. He suddenly looked up and went stealth. He moved out of the way as the arrows meant for him plugged into the dirt, harmlessly missing their target. Silentknife saw the two White Hand uruks approach the side of the wagon as Tracer yelled, “Incoming!!”. As the nearest uruk passed the stealthed burglar, his dagger bit into the orc flesh and severed the orc’s tendon. The orc went down in a heap, grabbing its ankle as it writhed around the dirt in pain. The other uruk couldn’t react fast enough as one of the burglar’s daggers cut it across the throat and the other was plunged deep into its chest… it was dead before it hit the ground.
As Silentknife swiftly cleaned his daggers on the dead uruk, he glanced at the one writhing on the ground momentarily before joining the others. A bright light and an uruk flying through the air let the burglar know that Ellenroh was making the wagon very difficult to get into. As the burglar went around the corner, he froze. Tregoan was lying on the ground, unmoving, and his horse was nowhere to be found. The burglar saw a flash out of the corner of his eyes and barely got his daggers out to deflect an attack from an uruk sword. The burglar rolled into a crouched, defensive position and parried the onslaught of uruk blows. He briefly saw that Tracer had his hands full with two uruks, as well. A group of uruks was approaching the wagon with weapons drawn. With Silentknife trying to keep his attacker at bay, he was unable to get to the wagon.
Ellenroh appeared near the back opening and charred one uruk with lightning from the stones. As he was about to hit another one, an arrow went through his left arm, causing him to drop the stones and grab his arm in pain. Silentknife glanced in the direction the arrow had come from and saw an orc archer on top of a stone… he had another arrow nocked and ready. Silentknife tried to yell a warning to Ellenroh, but that was the only opening the uruk needed. The burglar over-extended on a block and the hilt of a sword sent Silentknife flying backwards. His head hit a rock, which caused everything to float around and he couldn’t defend himself as the uruk came in for the kill.
Suddenly, a warg came out of nowhere and locked his jaws around the uruk’s arm. The momentum of the warg’s jump caused the uruk to tumble to the side. That was when chaos ensued. The uruks near the back of the wagon turned at the commotion and went to the aid of their companion when three other wargs appeared out of nowhere and attacked the three uruks. A fourth warg attacked one of the two uruks keeping Tracer at bay. The burglar took a quick look for the archer, but saw an empty rock. Silentknife tried to get to his feet, but stumbled and fell face-first in the dirt. When he again looked up, it was still… the wargs were gone, but the uruks lay motionless… save for the one writhing on the ground. Again, Silentknife attempted to gain his footing. This time, arms helped him to a standing position. He turned around to see Winterwulf looking at him.
“Looks like we made it without a moment to spare.” Winterwulf said as he looked around to survey the situation. Sylwith was already helping Ellenroh and Tracer went to see to Tregoan. Silentknife noticed movement behind the hunter and glanced at a warg who appeared out of stealth. The warg looked at the burglar before going back into stealth… he disappeared from the battlefield. Did that warg just wink at me??
Silentknife went to take a step and staggered… the hunter caught him before he hit the ground. “Let’s get you to the wagon and treat you before we talk about what happened.” the hunter said. As they walked toward the wagon, Winterwulf noticed the writhing uruk. “Ah, but first, I have a ‘guest’ to talk to. Will you be ok for a moment?” Silentknife tested his legs and nodded. At least he was able to stand without swooning. The hunter left him and went towards the uruk. “Hate to be that uruk now.” thought the burglar.