A lone hunter

It was a dangerous place to be in.  No allies around, and enemies as far as the eye can see.   But, try as he might, the hunter could not find the wargs he was looking for.  It’s been a long time since I was in the ‘Moors… and back then, I was fighting for the free people and attacking the armies of Sauron… little did I know things would change and I would be looking for the help of a warg… a second time even! This last thought made the hunter chuckle.  He glanced over his shoulder and saw the banner of the free people flying over Lugazag.  I’m not sure how long it can be held, but I don’t plan on it taking long to find the wargs.

It was after midnight, but still a while until the dark watches set in.  The darkness helped keep the hunter under its blanket, though he was adept at keeping himself hidden, if need be.  Winterwulf looked down at the ground to see if one of the two wargs he was looking for had been in the area recently.  His mood brightened a bit.  Chucaro! He almost laughed, in spite of where he was.  He quickly looked around to make sure he wasn’t being tracked.  When he felt certain he wasn’t, he brought his attention back to the tracks he had found.  They went off towards the slugs.  He could feel the other wargs around him… the ‘normal’ ones, if they could be called that.  The air was still, so at least his scent couldn’t be carried on the breeze.  Well, if I run into them, they will be easy enough to kill… but I’d rather not risk any of that.

As Winterwulf followed the tracks of Chucaro, he noticed a second warg had joined her.  He stopped behind a rock and went stealth.  Again, he looked around to make sure he wasn’t being tracked… the further he went in, the more heightened his senses became.  When he was sure he wasn’t being tracked again, he kept moving ahead.  The wargs tracks were easy to follow.  Well, when you are in familiar territory, why bother hiding them? He looked at the tracks he was following and the ones that had joined Chucaro had veered north to Gramsfoot.  He stopped when he realized that Chucaro’s tracks ended abruptly.

Winterwulf froze where he was and silently went stealth.  He knew he was being tracked suddenly, but didn’t know how many there were.  His crossbow was in his hand in a heartbeat, and he slowly turned around in a circle.  There, about fifty yards to the south, was a boulder that would at least give him some cover.  He slowly made his way over to the rock as his senses screamed at him…  whatever tracked him was getting closer! Winterwulf wasn’t sure that he could get to the rock in time, but there was always a chance.  As he got closer to the boulder, he went stealth.  This should confuse who was tracking me, at least momentarily. He glanced down and saw Chucaro’s tracks went in the same direction he was headed.  When he was sure he wasn’t being tracked and there was nobody in the vicinity that he could see, he came out of stealth and approached the boulder.  As he turned to get behind the boulder, he was attacked by a figure that moved faster than he could react and he was shoved to the ground.

—————————

Chucaro came out of stealth as she was about to deal a killing blow to the human… but something didn’t feel right.  The figure she was on top of didn’t fight back.  I’ve smelled this scent before… “Winterwulf?!?!”

The hunter under her grinned his signature smile.  The warg got off the hunter as he stood up and dusted himself off.  “What’s wrong with you? You could’ve gotten yourself killed!”

The hunter stopped brushing and looked at the warg, smiling again.  “Oh come now… did you really think I didn’t know it was you all the time?”

“You assume that I would remember you and that I wouldn’t kill you in a heartbeat.”

“True, but I was betting on my gut feeling… and that has never been wrong.”

Chucaro grinned and shook her head.  “I’ve not met anyone like you, nor do I think I ever will.”  Her smile faded as the seriousness returned.  “But what are you doing out here?  Why risk your life to find me?”

Winterwulf answered her.  “I need to find Deathwulf.”  Chucaro waited, but the hunter wouldn’t elaborate.  She thought about questioning him further, but thought against it.  He wouldn’t answer her questions anyway, so it was just better to get Deathwulf and see what the hunter wanted.  She looked around for a second until her eyes sought what she was looking for.  “I’ll bring him to the Delving entrance.  Wait for us there.”  Before Winterwulf could get a word in for a response, the warg went stealth and was gone.  It still amazed Winterwulf at how fast they could move.

Winterwulf slowly made his way to the side of the entrance and waited.  After what seemed like only a few minutes, he could sense he was being tracked.  Not being sure it was the wargs, he ducked around the stone entrance.  He barely made cover as an arrow ricocheted off the rock wall.  Winterwulf could hear the heavy breathing of a nearby uruk.  Going stealth, he quickly looked around his surroundings to find anything he could use.. there was nothing, save for a few rocks.

“I can still smell you, human.  It’s just a matter of time til I find you.”  The uruk came out of the shadows and sniffed the air, his bow nocked and ready.  Winterwulf wondered how smart the uruk was.  He quietly bent down and picked up the smaller of the stones.  He tossed the stone behind the uruk to see if he would follow the sound.  The uruk turned towards the noise, which didn’t surprise the hunter.   He picked up a larger stone and threw it sharply at the uruk’s head.  The uruk’s hand suddenly came up and he caught the rock, inches from his head.  “You must think I’m stupid to fall for that trick,” sneered the uruk.   He grinned evilly as he looked at Winterwulf.  As the uruk raised his bow, Deathwulf appeared between him and the hunter.

“Grimsniper, stand down!” Deathwulf spoke, as if between clenched teeth.  The uruk lowered his bow but did not release the arrow.  “Get out of the way, Deathwulf… this hunter is mine!”

Deathwulf took a step towards the uruk, keeping himself in the line of fire of the hunter.  “The human is under my protection as long as he is in the ‘Moors.  Does that register under that thick skull of yours?”

Grimsniper let out a ferocious roar.  He seethed as he looked from the hunter to the warg and back.  “Watch your back, human,” the uruk sneered, “the warg will not always be there to protect you.”  He took one last look at the warg and was gone.

Chucaro appeared beside Deathwulf as he turned to face the hunter.  “The uruk is right, you know… I bluffed that I could protect you here, but if he wanted to, it would’ve been hard to stop him.”

Winterwulf dropped down to a knee and smiled.  “Deathwulf… it’s been a while, my friend.”

Deathwulf looked at the hunter for a second, then shook his head and laughed.  “I don’t know about you sometimes, hunter,” the warg said with a smile and extended his paw.  The hunter shook the warg’s paw.  “Well, all formalities aside, Chucaro said you needed to talk to me?” the warg asked, his tone serious.

Winterwulf matched the seriousness of the warg.  “Deathwulf, I need your help.”

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