Winterwulf, alone, approached the uruk carefully. This one was severely hampered, but there was no doubt it could still do some damage. With that, the hunter was able to easily talk to the uruk, but he kept at a safe distance.
“I see the burglar did a nice job on the tendon. Must be very hard to walk.” The hunter started saying.
The uruk gave the hunter a look of hatred, but didn’t say a word.
“As much as I don’t think I sound too bad, I didn’t come here to hear myself talk.” Winterwulf bent down and gripped the uruk’s ankle, digging his thumb and pinky into the wound. The uruk cried out as a wave of pain lanced through its body. As the pain subsided, the uruk looked at the hunter with malice and spat towards him. The hunter easily avoided the fluid. “I’m not asking again… why did you attack us?” The uruk, breathing heavily now, watched the hunter, but still kept quiet. It braced itself when the hunter clamped his hand on its ankle. “Still refusing to answer?” Winterwulf asked. The only response given by the uruk was a cry as the hunter again squeezed his hand.
Winterwulf got up and wiped his hand on a cloth he pulled from his pack. “I really don’t have time for this, but I see it’s going to take more ‘coaxing’ to get you to talk.” He reached down his boot and pulled out a wicked-looking dagger. He bent down near the uruk’s good foot and pressed the blade against the uruk’s ankle. “Is it really taking this long to get you to talk? I mean, you do have a tongue, don’t you?” The venomous glare that the uruk shot the hunter was answer enough. With a swift cut, the uruk clutched at its other foot, screaming, as the hunter casually put the dagger back.
Even though the uruk could withstand a lot of pain, it was close to passing out and Winterwulf knew it. Before the uruk could react, the hunter grabbed an arm and drug the uruk to a wagon wheel. By the time it had gotten enough strength to wrest its arm away, Winterwulf had securely tied it to the top of the wheel. Winterwulf moved like lightning and had the uruk’s other arm behind the wheel in a heartbeat. The uruk couldn’t do anything as the hunter reached into his bag and pulled out a strap. Within a matter of seconds, it seemed, Winterwulf had the uruk tied to the wheel in a prone position… the uruk couldn’t move.
This time, Winterwulf crouched down over the prone uruk, his face about a foot away. “Now, I am only going to ask once again… who sent you?” The uruk only glared. The hunter sighed. “Suit yourself.” With his dagger, he slowly sliced into the uruk’s side… not deep, but enough to cause a great deal of pain. The uruk howeld with fury-laced pain. “Enough, human!” the uruk finally said. Winterwulf slowly wiped the dagger blade against the uruk’s cloth before sheathing it. “Then tell me what I want to know.” was the hunter’s reply.
Silentknife watched the conversation, if it could be called that, while leaning against a large boulder. “Well, he’s definitely a professional at extracting information,” he thought to himself as he watched Winterwulf. “Of course, not much difference in the way he does things versus the way I do… must run in the family.” he chuckled to himself. He wished he could be there helping his brother, but he knew Winterwulf liked to work alone. “I’ll just let him get what he wants and see if he’ll talk about it later,” he decided. He watched as Winterwulf tied the arms of the Uruk to the wagon wheels. Silentknife smiled to himself at that. Then he watched as the hunter crouch down, say something, and then slowly drag his dagger across the far side of the uruk. Silentknife flinched as the uruk howled in pain, in spite of himself, but admired how the hunter did things. The burglar watched as the hunter deftly wiped and put away his dagger, apparently satisfied that he would get the answers to his questions. Then the dagger was instantly in the hunter’s hand and the hunter sliced the uruk across the throat. Silentknife started towards the two, but caught himself before he even took a step. He met Winterwulf’s eyes briefly, but the hurt and betrayal in them said more than words ever could. He watched as the hunter took one last look at the lifeless uruk before Winterwulf went off into the darkness by himself.
Silentknife went to see how the others were doing. With Elleroh sitting on the wagon near the back, getting aid from Sylwith, Sophwen had left to treat Tregoan. They wanted to keep Wargie in their sights at all times, so it was safe for the minstrel to leave. Tracer went to see to the horses… the White Hand spooked them and it took a bit to get them calm.
Sylwith listened intently as Ellenroh told her what to do. She snapped the arrow near the feathers and slid the arrow through. Though it caused pain to get the arrow out, it could’ve been much worse. Ellenroh cast an incantation with the stones moments before the arrow hit… that incantation made sure the arrow missed the artery and made a major wound very minor… yeah, it did puncture the arm, but it was clean and would heal up nicely.
The burglar went over to where Sophwen and Tregoan were. The hunter’s head had been bandaged from the fall off the horse and his shoulder had been broken from trying to brace himself… it was in a sling to help keep it immobilized. Sophwen did what she could, and said he simply needed rest to heal the ailments. He could ride in the wagon the rest of the way. When the burglar was sure that the minstrel and hunter didn’t need him, he went to help Tracer with the horses.
The hunter had gotten the horses to calm down and was talking to them softly while stroking their necks. Silentknife watched him as he talked to the horses. “He’s amazing with animals,” thought the burglar. He watched the hunter for a few more minutes then went to scout the perimeter. We’re dinged up pretty good, but it could’ve been a lot worse… it was fortunate that Winterwulf and Sylwith showed up when they did… and the wargs…
He felt at home in stealth… his element. He looked far out from where the others had stopped in case something tried to come upon them. It was a quiet night, however, and it was calm after the attack from the White Hand. His mind instinctively went to Winterwulf suddenly slashing the uruk’s throat. What did he say to the hunter that would cause a reaction like that? The burglar let a soft sigh escape his lips. He went from the hunter to the wargs. Why did the wargs help us and not attack us? That one I still can’t figure out. He filed that in the back of his mind as he continued his patrol.
As the burglar silently patrolled the perimeter, he saw Winterwulf sitting upon a boulder. He had mixed emotions and didn’t know if he should go up to the hunter and say something or just sit and watch him. He chose the latter. I know he knows I’m here. I’m at a loss on how to bring up the subject. Besides, if he wants to talk about it, he will. After a few more minutes, the hunter slid down from the boulder and headed back to the camp… apparently still deep in thought. The burglar watched him and didn’t say a word. When the hunter was out of sight, the burglar continued his patrol.
When Silentknife made it back to the camp, he saw that Winterwulf was mounted and there was another horse with him. When the burglar recognized the horse, a huge smile appeared on his face. “Where did you find him?” he asked.
Winterwulf smiled briefly. “We saw him tied to a tree when we killed three of the White Hand looking in a nearby cave. They probably saw the horse and figured someone was in there… they figured wrong. Sylwith and I made quick work of them.”
Silentknife took the reigns and gently talked to the horse, rubbing the horse’s neck as he did. “I’m riding to the rangers of the moors alone,” said the hunter. Before Silentknife could protest, Winterwulf continued, “Sylwith will stay with you on the rest of your journey to Rivendell. I can travel much faster alone, and I know these lands like the back of my hand. I have to make it to the rangers before Deathwulf does, if he is to live.” Silentknife could only nod at the hunter.
“Oh, one more thing,” Winterwulf added before he left. “If you head back to Esteldin, be wary of Orthonn.”
The last part was said in hushed tones and only so Silentknife could hear them… what did Winterwulf mean?