Deathwulf was flown through the air in a rush. Granted, the shadowy figure made an effort to make sure nothing hit the warg while in the air, but the way Deathwulf was tied up was anything but comfortable. It would take a while to stand, as the blood had left his paws a long time ago and the circulation wasn’t there. Deathwulf was determined, however, to find out where or who he was being taken to… whatever it took. While he hoped everyone else was spared during the battle on the pass, he didn’t have the luxury of worrying about them. He kept his eyes closed knowing that the shadowy figure knew where he was going, or that he was eventually going to die… that was a risk with any mission, and didn’t fear him in the least. He felt a pang of guilt for those he would leave behind, but that was quickly banished from his mind with the task at hand.
The beating wings slowed down and the air had changed considerably… it was windy, but felt relatively warm with the sun beating down. Now, it was cooler and damper… he wasn’t about to open his eyes to try to see and guessed they were in a cave of some sort. He sensed they stopped moving forward and felt the ground under his back… it was nice to have support. The shadowy figure tested the knots on the twine to make sure they were tight, and then he left, as the sound of beating wings grew fainter and fainter.
He opened his eyes a crack when he couldn’t hear the beating wings. When his eyes adjusted and he was sure he was alone, he tried to rub his paws together to get the circulation going and get a bearing on where he was. He had no idea how far or fast they traveled, but judging by how the air was thinner and it was colder in the cave, he guessed they were still in the Misty Mountains, though up high somewhere.
The sound of beating wings could be heard, so Deathwulf closed his eyes once again. Something plopped on the ground near his jaws… judging by the smell, it was a freshly killed rabbit. He could head the shadowy figure eating his kill not too far away… and he wasn’t discrete about it, either. Deathwulf could hear the flesh being torn from the bones and could even hear the shadowy figure chewing on the bones themselves. The shadowy figure stopped eating and Deathwulf sensed he was approaching the warg.
The shadowy figure prodded the still warg with his sharp nail. “Eat!” it said as it prodded the warg. Not sensing any movement from the warg, the shadowy figure moved the dead rabbit closer to the warg’s massive jaws. He lifted the warg’s muzzle away from his teeth and laid the carcass against it. When the warg didn’t move, the shadowy figure glanced around and swiped the rabbit in his greedy little fingers. He hurried back to where he perched and, with his back to the warg, sucked down the rabbit. “Can’t let this go to waste… no, we can’t.” it said as it looked over it’s shoulder to check on the warg. Satisfied, it turned its attention back to the rabbit and dug in.
When I have what I am looking for, you are mine… promised Deathwulf to himself as he laid there.
It was getting colder and the clouds were beginning to move in. They made good time as they approached the mountains guarding the east… the mountains were well within their sights. Silentknife glanced at the mountains in the distance and the light they had left, trying to calculate if they would make it in his head. He had to swerve to avoid Tregoan, who had stopped where he was to track the wargs.
“What’s wrong?” asked Silentknife.
“Chucaro came through here, but her tracks turned abruptly and they followed the line of the mountains.”
“So why the concerned look?”
“They weren’t alone.”
“How far ahead are they?” asked the burglar, trying to keep his thoughts on the task at hand. Doesn’t do any good to think about things that ‘might’ happen.
“It’s hard to say… I wouldn’t think they are too far ahead of us… but from the looks of things, we need to get to them as fast as we can.”
Silentknife turned the sled and followed Tregoan through a clump of trees. Near the edge, the big hunter help his hand up to stop the sled. Tregoan quietly unslung his bow and nocked two arrows. Silentknife and Sophwen quietly came up behind the hunter to look. There in a clearing, not too far from the tree they were hiding behind, were Creami and Chucaro, with their backs towards the mountainside. Surrounding them were about a dozen wargs. A pile of warg bodies littered the area around the two companions… seemingly, a direct attack didn’t work, so the remainder of the pack was trying to surround them.
Without a sound, Silentknife had his daggers in his hand and went stealth headed towards the nearest wargs. Sophwen had her horn ready and nodded to the hunter. Tregoan took aim at two nearby wargs. One had stopped as it got a scent of the new prey, but before it could get a warning howl off, it fell dead on its side… an arrow protruded from its eye. Another warg near it went down as an arrow found its throat. The remaining wargs stopped in confusion. Silentknife appeared between two of them, his daggers danced and they were dead before they knew it. They fell to the ground, lifeless. A horn could be heard in the trees as one warg was stunned and another ran away, howling in fear. The remaining wargs tried to make a run for the trees… But Chucaro’s jaws found a victim, as did Creami’s sword. The stunned warg didn’t have a chance, as it was dispatched as quickly as it was stunned. The other wargs were able to escape with their lives, but the group was tensed, waiting for an attack that wasn’t going to happen.
After a few moments had passed, with the group heavily breathing, Silentknife got a nod from Tregoan that they were in the clear. The burglar sheathed his daggers and took a step towards Creami. She smiled and then collapsed in the snow. The three rushed to Creami’s aid and it was then that Silentknife saw the wounds on the minstrel and the warg. They didn’t come out of this unscathed, but they did put up a ferocious fight. He gently scooped up Creami and Tregoan quickly found a dry cave they could rest in for the night.
“Thank you for coming to our aid,” Chucaro said, “and thank you for caring for the minstrel. I need to get to Deathwulf.. you can follow when you are ready.” As she started to head out, Tregoan blocked her path.
“And where do you think you are going, Chucaro?” Silentknife asked, knowing the answer… his smirk letting that be known. Before the warg could argue, Sophwen was looking at the wound on the warg’s side. “It’s only a minor injury, but you should let this heal and have something to eat while you rest. We can go after Deathwulf in the morning.” Chucaro saw that she wasn’t going to win the fight, so she laid down to let the minstrel tend to the wound. Tregoan quickly set up a small campfire and left to get the sled and hunt for the night’s meal. “Will Creami be ok?” Chucaro asked.
“She will be fine with some rest. She is just exhausted. When you were in a catatonic-like state, she was with me on guard almost the whole time. We were all worried about you… that you had given up.” the burglar answered.
Chucaro looked at the burglar for a long while before she answered. “Yes, I had given up at that point… I felt I had nothing to live for. I thought Deathwulf had given his life for me but this mission was centered around him. I honestly felt like I was simply a burden…. I longed for death.” Chucaro stared out at nothing in particular… just remembering how she felt as if it just happened. “Then I heard a voice… I wasn’t sleeping, but I did think I was hearing things… a ghost or something… I don’t know. The voice sounded familiar, and as I listened to it, I realized who it was… I knew it was Deathwulf and he wasn’t dead! He was taken and trying to reach me for help…. that is why we were where you found us.”
Silentknife was listening to the warg and taking in what she said. Sophwen momentarily stopped what she was doing and glanced up at the thinking burglar. When she saw he had heard the warg, she went back to her tending.
“But how do you know where he is?” Silentknife finally asked.
“I don’t know… really.. I just know this is the right way.”
As Silentknife pondered this information, Tregoan arrived with a half dozen fresh rabbits and their supplies from the sled. The burglar could see the sled propped up against the cave wall, so that was taken care of.
The hunter threw four of the rabbits on the fire and gave two to Chucaro. She tried to nose one back to the hunter. “I only need the one.”
“You haven’t eaten much in a few days, so I’m guessing you are rather hungry. It’s ok… tis why I hunted more,” smiled Tregoan, “besides, who knows when we will need your strength.”
Chucaro didn’t argue the point and finished off the first rabbit without even thinking. She didn’t realize how hungry she was til she was halfway through the second rabbit. She slowed down finishing the second rabbit, and then sleep started to overtake her rapidly… she didn’t realize how much energy she spent…
The others watched her as she feel into a deep sleep. “You laced her rabbits, didn’t you?” Silentknife asked.
Tregoan smiled, “I found some berries not too far from here. They give off a sweet taste, but they are great for knocking out foes.”
Sophwen let out a laugh. “Makes me glad I am fighting with you two, and not against you. I will take first watch as I rested a bit on the ride here.” she said with a smile.
Silentknife checked on Creami before he unrolled his bed.
“Wake me when it’s my turn.” Tregoan said as he laid down. He was out before Sophwen gave her ok.
Deathwulf felt something hit him in the side. It wasn’t big, and judging from the smell, it was a bone from the rabbit. The warg opened his eyes a crack and saw the shadowy figure perched on the same rock. He appeared to be asleep, but he was having spasms… almost like a bad dream. That must be why the bone was thrown in my direction. The warg closed his eyes as the shadowy figure suddenly woke up to the sound of a distant howling. It sounds like a warg.
The shadowy figure glanced at Deathwulf briefly, and then went to see what the noise was about. With the shadowy figure busy, Deathwulf tried to reach the bone with his mouth tied up. He could touch it, and was trying to get it between his teeth and gums before the shadowy figure came back. Deathwulf thought he was sweating when he finally got the bone tucked away just as the shadowy figure came scampering back.
No! How could they find where we are this fast? Must think.. must think…
It glanced at the prisoner briefly as if another thought had entered its mind. It went away briefly and came back with the branches, Must get to the master, first. Can’t let them find me… must get to master!
Deathwulf felt the branches go under his tied paws and felt himself again lifted off the ground. The warg let the bone fall out, hoping the noise of the flapping wings would drown out the sound the bone made when it hit the cave floor.