The wargs slowly moved in for the kill. Tregoan had his bow drawn and aimed at the middle warg. The warg seemed to smile as it crouched down, ready to pounce. The other two wargs moved to either side of the hunter, knowing that even if he took one down, the other two would have an easy kill. The hunter released his bow and hit his target… the shaft protruded out of the center of the warg’s head, dead before it fell over in a heap. The other two wargs howled in rage and leapt at Tregoan.
They were knocked out of mid air as Chucaro and Deathwulf hit the wargs in the side as they emerged from stealth. Chucaro jumped on the warg she surprised. The warg never had a chance as Chucaro’s massive paw slashed the stunned wargs throat… killing it before it knew what hit it. Deathwulf’s blow sent the last warg tumbling on its side towards the center of the pass. Before it could shake off the daze, Creami rode up to it and shoved her sword into the beast’s neck, nearly severing the head. The warg’s convulsions soon stopped as it lay dead.
“Get to the pass!” Tregoan shouted. He spurred his horse forward as the rest followed.
Silentknife glanced at the on-coming goblins. Their methodical pace didn’t change. He also felt the shadowy figure behind him had slowed down. Something felt very wrong. It suddenly hit him. “It’s a trap!” he yelled. It was too late. As Tregoan neared the end of the pass, a dozen goblins with spears popped up to ambush the group. Trgoan’s horse reared up, nearly throwing the hunter off… that rear saved his life as a spear flew by where Tregoan would have been. Two were frozen in place as Sophwen joined Creami and two more ran away in terror. Tregoan had regained his balance, and his bow, as he let fly an arrow directed at the crazed goblin who had thrown his spear. The goblin had one mindset… kill the one he had thrown his spear at, and did not see the arrow shaft streaking towards him. The arrow stuck the goblin in the forehead and sent him flying in the opposite direction. The seven remaining backed up a pace, confusion creeping in at seeing one of their own killed, two of them frozen and two running in fear.
Silentknife made it to the others and turned his horse around. The advancing goblins had stopped at the foot of the pass, uncertain on what to do. The shadowy figure watched from a treetop not far from the pass, keeping a keen eye on what was taking place. Chucaro and Deathwulf had taken defensive positions on either side of the group. There was an uneasy feeling as both sides waited for the other to make a move. That’s when a voice from up the pass yelled, “Incoming!”
Silentknife and the others stood back as they felt a slight tremor in the ground. A slight roar could be heard that grew louder in a hurry, causing the ground to tremble. The goblins near the top of the pass dropped their spears and could only watch… fear had them rooted where they stood. The goblins looked up as a shadow quickly engulfed them… soon followed by a wave of snow that crashed over them. Silence soon settled in… a pristine surface appeared where there was once a force of goblins. With the group at the top of the pass taken care of, Silentknife and the others turned towards the foot of the pass. The goblins watched as their brethren were swallowed up by the wall of snow. Half of the group dropped their spears and ran in the direction that they came.
The shadowy figure watched the group turn and run. No! No! No! Master will not be pleased! The figure looked on and noticed a goblin that was sneaking up the side, amid all the chaos… its target was the warg, Chucaro. The shadowy figure watched, it’s mouth forming a hideous smile at what was about to transpire.
The goblin slowly approached the unsuspecting warg. It was getting ready to launch the spear when it slipped on a patch of ice. The spear was thrown off balance as Chucaro turned to see what the noise was. The aim was off, but the effect worked. The spear caught her, though only a glancing blow. It was enough to daze her and cause her to lose her balance. She swayed dangerously close to the edge of the bridge.
“Chucaro!” Deathwulf cried as he raced to her side. He barely made it in time before she stepped off the side of the bridge. The enraged goblin, however, didn’t stop coming once he threw his spear. He came after the pair with arms flailing and a mad look in his eyes. Deathwulf shielded Chucaro from the initial blow from the goblin’s claws before he turned on the goblin with his full force. The maddened look in the goblin’s eyes left as the goblin’s life did… in the jaws of Deathwulf. He tossed the carcass over the edge and returned his attention to Chucaro.
After the goblin surprised the group, the other goblins charged the foot of the bridge. In one motion, Silentknife jumped off his horse, daggers in hand. He went stealth before he landed. Sophwen and Creami charged into the front lines with the swords drawn and shields at the ready. Tregoan let loose a barrage of arrows to give the others some cover. Amid the chaos, the shadowy figure seethed at the wargs. No! No! No! Must kill! Must kill!! It swooped down, making a beeline for Deathwulf. The shadowy figure hit the warg hard in the side, sending him sprawling. Deathwulf got to his feet after the momentary daze, the lust of the kill in his eyes. The shadowy figure gave a deadly smile as its claws came out, ready for the wargs attack. The shadowy figure was fast, but the warg was faster, as he got the shadowy figure in his jaws. The shadowy figure gave Deathwulf a small, dry laugh as it plunged its dagger-like claws into Deathwulf’s muzzle. In a flurry of pain, Deathwulf lost his balance… he and the shadowy figure plunged over the side of the pass.
Silentknife and Tregoan saw the warg’s battle, but moved too late to have any impact. They did, however reach Chucaro as she regained her senses enough to keep her from going over the side after Deathwulf.
“Deathwulf!”, Chucaro screamed as she was held tight by the burglar and hunter. Even though she was in a prone position, it took all the strength Silentknife and Tregoan had to keep Chucaro from moving.
“Let him go! We can’t help him!” the burglar said, his face buried into her fur. Tregoan didn’t say a word, but the tears in his eyes betrayed what he thought happened to Deathwulf.
Creami and Sophwen made it to the others. “The battle is over. More goblins fled when we rushed and the handful that fought were quickly dispatched.” Sophen said.
It was then that Creami noticed Deathwulf was missing from the group. “No…” was all she said as she clutched Chucaro’s side, sobbing. The warg slumped down, her mind reeling as the thought of losing Deathwulf overwhelmed her. Nobody said a word as the sudden grief and realization hit the group. Silentknife heard the snow crunch nearby and was in a defensive crouch, daggers drawn as he moved to protect the group.
“Easy there, fella,” said a dwarf as he and an elf approached the group carefully. “We saw a group of goblins mass like we haven’t seen before, so we thought we’d give them a surprise. Now I know why they were there.”
The elf didn’t say a word as he kept his bow down, but arrow nocked and ready should he need it. Silentknife kept his position and didn’t move an inch.
The dwarf stopped. “Forgive me… where are my manners? I am called Eywind and this one here is called Nogmeldir,” the dwarf said pointing with his thumb, “and you are?” the dwarf asked, looking over the group. He gasped when he saw Chucaro. “A warg! Get out of the way! We will deal with Sauron’s spawn easily enough!” The elf took aim at Chucaro.
Without hesitation, Silentknife stood between the elf and Chucaro. “Get out of my way! I have a clear shot!” said the elf.
“You’ll have to get through me, first, and that isn’t going to happen.” Silentknife said in a low voice… his rage beginning to boil over.
Creami also stood by Silentknife’s side to protect Chucaro. “You will also have to go through me. She is no ordinary warg and she is one of us!” the minstrel said, fighting to keep her tears at bay.
Nogmeldir slowly lowered his bow, a questioning look on his face as he looked from Silentknife to Eywind.
The dwarf stood with his arms crossed, hand to his chin. “My, My… I’ve never seen anything like it! Well, if ’she’ is one of you, then ’she’ is welcome in our camp as well.” The dwarf looked at the slumped warg, who never moved a muscle during the whole encounter. “Is she ill?”
Silentknife cooled a little and slowly put his daggers away, but kept an eye on the elf. He looked back at Chucaro and moved a few steps away, pulling the dwarf with him.
“There was one other in our group… another warg.” Before Eywind could say a word, Silentknife help up a hand to stop him. “Deathwulf went over the side as he went to Chucaro’s defense. The shadowy figure he attacked went with him as well.”
The dwarf thought for a moment, then looked over the edge of the pass into darkness. “With the loss of daylight, it would be dangerous at best trying to find his body now. We best wait til dawn. You and your friends are welcome to rest at our camp until the light breaks… then we can look for the warg.”
Eywind motioned to the elf, who took off in the direction they had come. Within a few minutes, he came back with a sled and some supplies. “We can put the warg in the sled as she doesn’t appear to be moving. The camp isn’t far, and we will be in front of a warm fire shortly.
Tregoan bent down and picked up Chucaro to put her on the sled. She didn’t move a muscle and, though she was heavy, Tregoan did not ask for any help in carrying her. He gently set her down on the sled and followed closely as they made their way to the camp. Silentknife took the rear, watching for any sign that they may be attacked again.
They made it to the camp without incident. Once more, Tregoan gently lifted Chucaro and placed her protectively near the fire to get warmth, but out of any clear shot should they again be attacked. Not a word was said as the group made camp. The shock of what transpired earlier still hadn’t worn off.
“I’ll take first watch.” Silentknife finally, said, breaking the silence. Tregoan looked at him and nodded, then laid down near Chucaro and watched her. Sophwen sat down near the big hunter and looked after the warg, as well.
Nogmeldir spoke up, “I’m not tired at all, but will take watch with you and make sure the back of the camp is secure.” Silentknife simply nodded and the elf silently went to his post. Eywind had his arms crossed with his hand to his chin, regarding the burglar. “Are you sure you’re all right taking first watch? It would be no trouble at all to let you and your friends rest, with the day you have all had.”
The first hint of a smile crossed Silentknife’s mouth. “I’m glad you came when you did. We may have lost much more than just Deathwulf had you not shown up.” Eywind regarded the burglar a moment before he spoke again. “Aye, that may be true.” The dwarf’s voice grew quieter and softer. “We will find your friend, don’t worry about that.” Silentknife gave the dwarf a smile and bid him a good night before he took his position. Before he could get too deep in thought, Creami was at his side. Neither said a word for the longest time… both just stared out into the night, thinking to themselves. Nothing needed to be said as Silentknife put his arm around Creami and she silently sobbed into his shoulder.