It felt like I was floating above myself… no pain, no soreness.. nothing…
I could vaguely make out a figure… no, two figures… one is on top of the other, almost hiding them.
It looked like the one on top had the others hands pinned behind them… then the one on top began fumbling with something…
All of a sudden, there was only the figure laying down….
“Creami? Creami.. wake up… Creami??”
The minstrel groaned as she went to lift herself up. She didn’t make it up far as a terrible headache forced her back down. When her vision came back, she saw Chucaro standing over her with a worried expression.
“Are you alright? Did he hurt you?” asked the warg.
“What are you talking about? Who…” then the minstrel saw the body of the soldier who tried to have his way with her in Glan Vraig. She tentatively reached behind her head and winced at the knot she felt. When she pulled her hand away, she saw the dried blood on it. “I’ll be fine when this headache goes away. What caused the lump?” Chucaro moved her head towards the empty alcohol bottle. There was dried blood on the corner where it caught her in the head.
When the minstrel thought she could stand, she slowly got to her knees. Chucaro moved to give Creami some support, which the minstrel gladly took. With a slight wobble, Creami was able to make it to her feet. She slowly walked towards the soldier lying on the ground.
“I wouldn’t…” was all Chucaro could get out.
Creami turned the soldier over and let out a gasp when she saw his throat was ripped out. She also notice his leggings were down and his eyes were wide with fright. “Did he try to have his way with me when I was unconscious?”
Chucaro nodded. “When I saw what he was trying to do and you were unable to fight back…well, I took it upon myself to make sure nothing happened. The look on his face when I came at him out of stealth was priceless, though. I’ll wager he thought he was safe and you were alone back here.”
Creami dropped to her knees and hugged Chucaro fiercely. “Thank you…” Creami sobbed into the warg’s fur. “You’re safe,” Chucaro said, “hop on and we’ll head out of here.”
“What about the body?” asked the minstrel as she wiped tears from her eyes. “We don’t have time to hide it. Besides, just blame it on a creature of the night.” Chucaro smiled. This got a small laugh out of the minstrel. “There are no wild animals here. It’s supposed to be a safe path… but you are right, we don’t have time.”
Creami got on Chucaro’s back and the warg took off, being careful not to jostle the minstrel.
As they got closer to Ost Ringdyr, Chucaro suddenly stopped and growled. Not far from here, a number of rangers had her targeted.
“Get away from the warg! We’ll take care of the beast!” one of the rangers said.
“No! I won’t let you hurt her!” said the minstrel as she got off the warg’s back and tried to protect her as best she could.
“Get out of the way, minstrel! We don’t want to hurt you.”
“No! She’s done nothing wrong!” Creami screamed back.
“Creami, I can take care of myself… get to safety!”
“No… you protected me when I needed you, now I can return the favor… I won’t let them hurt you.”
“What’s going on here?” came a familiar voice. Creami looked up to see Winterwulf looking at her and the rangers.
“Creami? Chucaro?” asked the hunter. “Stand down, rangers. They are not a danger.”
All but one of the rangers faced their bows to the ground and release the tension on the string. “I said to stand down!” said Winterwulf as he approached the young ranger.
“That warg killed my brother! It will pay with it’s life!” said the ranger, tears rolling down his cheek.
Winterwulf looked at Chucaro. “Is what the ranger says true?” he asked.
Before Chucaro could answer, Creami blurted out, “She saved me! That soldier was going to have his way with me while I was unconscious!”
“That’s a lie! The warg killed him because that’s all it does. It has to be killed!” said the ranger.
The other rangers started to bring their bows up… a confused look on their faces.
“I said stand down!” said Winterwulf. “Creami, is this true? Is what the hunter said what really happened?”
“Chucaro was protecting me when I was knocked out from a thrown bottle. She killed him before he could have his way with me!”
Winterwulf came up to the minstrel, keeping himself between the ranger and the warg. He hugged Creami to his chest and felt with his hand the lump on the back of her head. He took his hand away when she flinched and noticed a spot of dried blood on it. He wheeled on the ranger.
“So you are saying that the minstrel is lying?” asked the hunter.
“I’m here to protect innocent people from being attacked by animals… by the likes of that warg!” the hunter seethed.
“So your friend was ‘innocent’ though he attacked the minstrel?”
“He’s my brother! And he would never do that to anyone! They are lies!” yelled the ranger.
“So you would let your brother get away with attacking any female? What do you call this?” asked Winterwulf as he raised his hand so the ranger could see the dried blood. “If you are supposed to protect the free people from animals and the enemy, would you let your brother do something as heinous as this?”
The ranger looked from Winterwulf’s hand to his face. “But… my brother…” he said as he collapsed in tears against the hunter. “You two,” he said to the nearest rangers, “bring him back to Ost Ringdyr and get a replacement… he is in no shape to protect anyone right now.”
The rangers nodded and gently took the ranger from the hunter. They carried him back to Ost Ringdyr as Winterwulf ordered.
As the hunter watched, he told the remaining rangers that he would handle things from this point. The rangers saluted and went back to their posts.
When Winterwulf was sure the rangers had gone back to their post, he turned around and hugged Creami. “I’m sorry you had to go through this.” He looked at Chucaro. “And I’m sorry that you are involved in this. I assume you are going after Deathwulf…” the warg nodded. Winterwulf again whistled a code… the whistle was repeated down the line. “I’ve bought you a little time to get through, but it has to be now. Find Deathwulf and make sure he is safe.”
As Chucaro nodded and turned to leave, Creami gave the warg a big hug. “Thank you for all you’ve done… I know this is goodbye, but I hope you find Deathwulf before he finds trouble,” the minstrel smiled.
Chucaro smiled back. “You’re a strange one, minstrel, but I am honored to have met you.” And with that, the warg stealthed and was off into the ‘Moors.
Winterwulf was by her side. “Something tells me we need to find the others before Deathwulf is found.”
Creami nodded and they made their way to Glan Vraig.
I came out of stealth around wargs meant to guard Dâr-gazag. They ignored me as I traveled to the ruins. As I made my way to Dâr-gazag, I veered to the right… toward the entrance to the Delving of Frór. I had been in the Delving many times before, but there was an evil presence about this… something in the back of my mind told me I may not make it out alive. I took a look towards Gramsfoot, wishing I could tell the others and have their aid, but this was something I knew I had to do alone. I looked behind me in hopes I was followed and I wouldn’t have to do this by myself, but I was fooling myself.
I looked ahead with firm resolve and entered the Delving of Frór.
Silentknife was beyond restless. Sure, the elves fed them, quite nicely, but he still felt like a prisoner and wouldn’t be let out of the area. Ellenroh was the only one from the group allowed to traverse the grounds of Rivendell, but he was focused on a particular task and kept mumbling to himself. It felt like Ellenroh forgot the others were even there, save for the occasional look at the wagon. They wouldn’t even let Sophwen about, and she was one of their own!
The burglar even tried to stealth his way to see if he could get out of the area. He was met by the armed guard and his contingent. He hadn’t heard from Winterwulf since the hunter left them at Ost Guruth, either. “Damn! This is starting to wear on my nerves!” thought Silentknife. The longer he was kept in the area, the more antsy he became. He checked on the others. Sophwen was keeping an eye on Wargie, though her status never changed, Tregoan was taking a nap since his arm was in a sling and he couldn’t really do anything and Tracer was making sure his bow and arrows were clean and ready for action, should he need it.
Silentknife sighed. “Guess I have time now to think about what Winterwulf meant back at Ost Guruth,” thought the burglar, “hell, maybe even find a way out of this mess.”