Refuge Cross “The Exiles”

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Chapter 8


(The tale of Sara)

High up in the mountain valleys near the wolf city of Torstberg, a young wolf was moving through a darkened landscape with purpose.

Sara looked up momentarily to see the same moon that Trex was looking at. But unlike him, she could find no beauty in its majestic and pale form at the moment. The young wolf had no time to appreciate such things anymore. She was simply too busy trying to sort out her mess of a life.

Focusing her eyes once again on her objective, Sara sharpened her senses. Travelling silently and unnoticed did not come so easily to a wolf, their normal reaction was to face things head on, not sneak around like a lion. Sara’s brown fur had been helpful in keeping her out of sight within the forests surrounding the wolf city of Torstberg. Now that she was in the farms of the city’s outskirts, it was more important to be quiet, something that took a lot more concentration. Technically she could walk freely in the city at any time of night, but tonight she didn’t want to be seen. Wolves had a bad habit of gossiping and she could be sure that if she was seen, sooner or later her parents would find out about it. At the moment she was meant to be in bed.

The last two days had not resolved anything for the young female wolf. Sara had returned home and seemingly continued life as normal. She had honestly expected her grandfather to have visited by now, or at least to have sent a message to her. Neither he nor any news had arrived and she was running out of time.

Fera had stayed true to her word and had not said anything. Now that Sara was paying more attention to her family life, she noticed that her older sister was actually getting on quite well with her mother again. Sara, herself, must have really been fighting a lot with her parents lately not to have seen this. Still though, she had bigger problems.

If she was honest with herself, Sara wasn’t even sure how her grandfather could help, but at the moment she had little choice but to try and find him.

The town called Torstberg lay in a large fertile valley high up in the mountains. The old settlement was surrounded on three of its sides by great snowy peaks, its lower end facing south towards the planes and RefugeCross. A winding stream dissected the landscape of the large valley which contained the wolf town. The freezing water was fed by large glaciers further up in the mountains. The waterway twisted and turned its way down the flat valley floor, splitting on occasion and rejoining to make little islands. It was on one of these islands that the centre of Torstberg was founded. Around this central fortified rocky island the larger city had evolved. It was connected by a series of bridges over the narrow fast flowing streams and canals.

Though not as grand as RefugeCross, the city of Torstberg was still charming. Its stylish old alpine like buildings and royal castle complex was made of a mixture of wood and stone, and looked similar to a romantic, cosy and rich medieval European town on our world.

Sara’s grandfather had always enjoyed walking in the forest, so much so that after his wife’s death he had taken a small place closer to the largest woods near the town. It was unusual for such a senior official to live outside of the central administration island, but considering the old wolfs age, he was allowed his eccentricities.

Sara’s grandfather was actually still one of the most influential wolfs in Torstberg, which was not common for a male.

He and Sara’s grandmother had long been respected members of the community and through this he had made his own way up the ranks of power. Upon his wife’s early death, he had held onto his post, his influence too well established to be denied him any more just because of his gender.

Approaching her grandfather’s neat small house from the forest, Sara could see that a light was still burning through the trees. Now closer, she could see her grandfather standing just outside the backdoor on the stone paving that snaked its way down the manicured lawn.

Sara’s grandfather, Mr Thorntreck, was talking to two hooded wolves that stood nearby.

Able to see her grandfathers face clearly against the light coming from inside the house, it was obvious to Sara that he was agitated. At this distance she could not make out the conversation clearly. Sara had never seen her grandfather act anything other then calm and regal, both in the way that he spoke and in the way he acted. This was most unusual. Curiosity got the better of the young wolf. Deciding to get a little closer, she moved to her right, managing to get herself unseen behind a trim hedge that grew to the one side of her grandfather’s garden. From here she would be able to sneak close enough to hear the hushed conversation.

‘I don’t care who authorized this. You’re not getting any more assistance until I get some answers,’ growled her grandfather, his patience obviously at an end.

‘Cool it old man,’ said one of the hooded figures, another male.

Sara’s grandfather almost snapped, his ears flattening noticeable as he sneered at the cocky youth, his tail flicking dangerously behind him.

‘Watch yourself you insolent exile, or I’ll tear your throat out.’

Age was actually an interesting matter with Anthro wolves and lions, her grandfather’s threats were real. With age, wolves often got stronger due to their increasing ability to harness their emotions. Lion elders were also often more practiced and concentrated then their younger counterparts. The frailty of old age was something not known to wolf or lion. Natural death usually arrived suddenly, often with little warning for the aged.

‘I apologize for my counterpart, Mr Thorntreck,’ said the second hooded figure calmly, stepping between his companion and Mr Thorntreck. He was obviously the leader of the two.

‘He was exiled when young and doesn’t know his place.’

‘Make sure he learns it,’ threatened Sara’s grandfather. He took a second to calm himself.

‘Have the arrangements been made for the northern watch tower?’ asked the hooded speaker who had stepped between the two. He spoke in an elegant gentlemanly voice, much the same way as Sara’s grandfather Mr Thorntreck did.

‘Yes, as planned,’ replied Mr Thorntreck. ‘But I still fail to see what use the arrangement could be to you.’

‘Then there will be no need to bother you any further,’ said the smooth talker, turning away.

‘You two are not going anywhere until I’m told exactly what is going on,’ said Mr Thorntreck. He took a few steps to close the distance to the two cloaked figures.

‘We have been sent by the Mintury high council. Our papers are in order. That is all you need to know.’

‘Not this time,’ said Sara’s grandfather. ‘Your friend’s un-scheduled trip into RefugeCross two days ago almost got my spy caught.’

‘We had to bring forward our schedule,’ replied the hooded figure smoothly. ‘It is unfortunate about your valued spy, but the risk was acceptable.’

‘Not to me,’ sneered Mr Thorntreck, ‘and I also don’t find it acceptable any more to be kept in the dark.’

‘That is not up to you,’ said the figure, starting to walk away again.

‘You don’t have a choice,’ stated Mr Thorntreck, his voice suddenly deadly calm.

After the anger from before, Mr Thorntreck once again returned to his statesmanlike mannerisms, the ones that Sara knew well.

‘I can still stop the instruction to the northern tower.’

This stopped the two hooded figures in their tracks.

‘You would go against the society?’ The elegant speaker asked, without turning around. His calm, yet threatening voice indicating that this was a rhetorical question.

‘If necessary.’

‘You saw the seal that was on the parchment?’ said the slick talking strangers. He had an amassing ability to make even a simple statement sound like a direct threat against your closest loved ones.

‘They can’t threaten me out here, not at my age,’ said Mr Thorntreck calmly

‘And your family?’

‘I know too much… they wouldn’t dare,’ Sara’s grandfather said, his words were as cold as ice.

Sara was kneeling behind the hedge, totally engrossed, what she was hearing was simply beyond her, exiles, the Mintury society, this was heavy.

To compliment this, there was also suddenly a heavy silence.

‘You are right,’ said the elegant sounding hooded stranger after a while. The speaker gave a nod to his companion.

Sara swore she could hear the partial drawing of a sword, her hands moved to her own weapons automatically.

‘You know too much!’ the leader of the two cloaked figures spat out, his formerly smooth voice twisting into something decidedly more vicious.

Spinning around, he already had his sword drawn as he charged Mr Thorntreck.

Reacting on instinct, Sara sprang from her hiding spot, her own sword and dagger where already drawn as she burst through the other side of the hedge. Blinking In the direct lamp-light, Sara’s expression was almost as surprised as that of the three male wolves.

The leader of the cloaked figures stopped in his tracks to size up the newcomer, he was only a few meters away from Sara’s Grandfather.

Who was this strange girl who had just sprung from the hedge? Twigs and leaves tangled in her messed up hair.

Sara saw that her grandfather was already in a defensive stance, years of training alerting him to the surprise attack. Unfortunately, he was holding only the dagger he always carried with him, his sword being left inside his home. The stubborn old wolf wasn’t even contemplating running, preparing to take on both attackers on his own.

Sara on the other hand, shook off the last of her own shock at having sprung forward. Anger welled up within the girl and she allowed it to overtake her system. Though the adrenalin was already pumping through her, she was able to revert to her basic training from school. Sara put her weight on her back foot, raising her weapons before tilting her head up to sound a loud piercing howl, one that would alert all nearby wolves to danger.

‘Kill her!’ growled the leader of the two cloaked figures.

The next few seconds passed as in a blur. Sara saw that the leader lunged at her grandfather before she herself was confronted by the other cloaked figure wielding two short swords.

Fuelled by a need to protect her grandfather, power surged through the adolescent female’s body. Automatically pushing forward, Sara met the lunge head on, catching both blades in her own. Straining to hold his advance, Sara finally saw the cloaked figure’s face close up.

The young adult male had black hair on brown fur, his crazed eyes staring the female wolf down. He was as strong as she was.

Sara didn’t have time to be scared. She was being driven by the most powerful motivator for wolves, the need to protect her family at all costs. The male exile could never hope to generate such power only from his hate and aggression.

Kicking out, Sara pushed the young adult to one side. Deflecting one blade away from her body she stabbed with her shorter dagger. He sprang back for a second but then took the offensive. Blocking two blows, she managed to hit him in the head with the back of her fist. Stunned, he recoiled, having to block two blows before she landed a low kick to his exposed middle. Momentarily winding him she was able to knock a blade out of his hand. Immediately afterwards she landed another kick that sent him flying into the wall of her grandfather’s house.

Collapsing to the ground, he nevertheless managed to hold his grip on his other sword.

Sara saw that her grandfather had managed to survive the original attack and get in close enough to wrestle his opponent. This was the standard move for someone who was unarmed.

Her grandfather’s dagger was holding the other wolfs sword at bay, but he was unfavourably positioned and the other wolf twisted his body to bring the two to the ground. The attacking wolf was able to dig his own dagger into Mr Thorntreck’s leg.

‘Grandfather!’ called Sara, rushing towards him.

The two wrestlers separated. The unknown wolf rolled away into a fighting stance, he then had to further back away as he deflected a series of Sara’s own attacks.

Pushing the attacker away from her fallen grandfather, Sara backed up a little, standing defensively in front of her kneeling relative.

During the fight the hood of her grandfather’s attacker had slid from his head. Sara could see that he had stunning deep red fur, almost the colour of rust, with jet black hair trimmed neat on top of his handsome older face.

To one side, the wolf that Sara had fought was beginning to recover.

Suddenly, another howl could be heard from behind, help was on its way.

‘Let’s go,’ instructed the red wolf, panting from the effort of the attack.

The younger male brown wolf collected his fallen weapon.

Sara watched as the two ran into the forest.

Panting heavily herself, she had to take a few seconds to calm down.

‘Sara,’ said her grandfathers with a strained voice.

Turning, Sara saw that he had collapsed back to the ground now that the threat was gone. Dropping her own weapons, she rushed over to lean beside him.

‘Are you ok?’ she asked, too concerned to think of anything else to say.

‘Sara, listen,’ he said, his breath slightly laboured due to the fight as well as the injury. ‘You can’t tell anyone of what you just heard or saw.’ The old grey wolf was looking with deadly seriousness at his granddaughter.

‘But they attacked you!’ she replied, confused.

‘We are still in a lot of danger, we have to be clever,’ Mr Thorntreck said.

Leaning forward, he touched the knife wound to his leg with his hand, his foot was already soaked red with blood. Bringing his fingers to his small, oval nose he sniffed the blood from immediately around the wound, licking it to make sure.

‘Damn it,’ he said under his breath, spitting out the blood. ‘I need to think…’

Four armed wolves burst around the corner. Sara was momentarily shocked before she noticed that two of them were wearing nightshirts, they were obviously here to help. Blinking at the four, she recognized three as being neighbours of her grandfather.

‘Mr Thorntreck, what’s going on?’ asked an adult female wolf, armed with a large sword.

‘I was attacked by two robbers,’ Sara’s grandfather replied. ‘My granddaughter was luckily visiting and we fought them off. They ran off into the woods.’ He pointed towards the nearby trees.

Behind the four, another three wolves arrived; these three were younger but also armed, two females and a male.

‘What’s going on?’ the oldest looking female of the three asked.

‘Two bandits in the woods,’ replied the first wolf who had asked the same question.

The new arrivals looked down at Sara’s injured grandfather, sneering in disgust at the attack. This was an outrage, and anger quickly swelled within the young adult wolves.

‘Come on, lets go,’ commanded the oldest female of the group in a dangerous growl.

The three new arrivals, and two of the first four, run off into the woods to attempt to catch the attackers. The two staying where the two in nightshirts, being the older couple that lived next door to Sara’s grandfather.

Spotting the wound, the middle aged female wolf moved over.

Sara was still in mild shock and had been unable to move.

‘Get some bandages,’ the neighbour instructed her husband.

‘No, wait,’ interrupted Sara’s grandfather. ‘The blade was tipped with sirricon, you had better get the healer.’

‘Sirricon?’ said the neighbour’s husband in surprise, recognizing the poison. ‘I’m on it,’ he said more confidently. The male wolf turned to sprint towards his own house.

‘What is sirricon?’ asked Sara in concern.

‘It’s a nerve poison,’ said her grandfather. ‘It can be deadly,’ he added, not seemingly overly concerned by the matter.

Sara, however, was mortified.

‘I’m not sure what to do,’ admitted the neighbour in a calm but serious tone. The older female was now kneeling beside the senior wolf.

‘Best take me inside to lie down. I have to let it bleed for now. Get some hot water on if you can,’ instructed Thorntreck calmly.

The neighbour nodded, she and Sara carried her Grandfather inside.

Sara felt like a useless extra. Unsure of what to do herself, she also couldn’t help in what needed to be done, everything seemingly happened around her.

Standing in the corner of her grandfather’s large bedroom, she could only watch as a multitude of wolves came and left the room. The healer had arrived and immediately treated the poison. Nevertheless, her grandfather’s condition had continued to deteriorate, his breathing was becoming more laboured and his speech more strained. It was obvious that he was in a lot of pain.

Sara had come to her grandfather’s house to get some answers, what she had found instead was even more questions. She had just been in the first real fight for her own life. They were simply going to kill her and her grandfather! At least the lion guards had just tried to capture her a few days ago.

The deliberate killing of a wolf or lion by another Anthro was unusual. Even in wars the actual death rate was quite low. This was thanks in part to both sides having great healers, but lay mostly in the overall mentality of wolfs and lions that the aim was to beat an opponent, not kill them. The birth rate for lions and wolves was low, being just over two children per family. This meant that all sides viewed life as precious, and most fighting techniques were designed to disarm and force an opponent to yield, not kill them.

Of all the wolves or lions likely to deliberately kill, exiles were the most vicious.

Wolves, with their traditions of strict family honour, had resulted in a social skew. Wolf society was still essentially controlled by females, despite recent moves for equality. Male wolves that ran against the tradition, or were viewed to have dishonoured their family, were often exiled. This banishment from society resulted in the exiles often having to resort to criminality to survive. They usually ended up in prison camps or dead. Occasionally individual exiles would band together, if this occurred, it represented the most dangerous groups that one could come up against, particularly for female wolves. Exiles had such a bad reputation that Sara would rather have come up against lions in the wilds then a group of exiles.

It was because of this that Sara was so greatly confused, what would her grandfather be doing with wolves like that?

On its own, this was difficult enough to digest mentally, but when placed with the other revelation, the Mintury secret society, it made no sense at all. Sara had only ever vaguely heard of the Mintury society as a myth. From what she remembered it was meant to be some type of secret society that prided itself on upholding wolf traditions and values. She remembered her friend saying that it effectively ruled the wolf government. Whatever the truth was, they represented the pinnacle of wolf morality, what would they be doing in connected with exiles? In-fact what would either of them be doing with her grandfather?

Sara was brutally pulled back into the present when the wolf Mayor came into the room. Sara’s ears sprang to attention from their formerly droopy state and her posture automatically stiffened. From a head full of muddled thoughts, Sara was shocked to find her entire focus placed on the new arrival.

The wolf Mayor, or High-Commander as she was sometimes known, was a sight to behold. Still quite young for her post, the Mayor’s silver-grey fur seemed to shimmer in the low candlelight. Her white-blond hair fell in long smooth waves to the middle of her back. A tall elegant being, her athletic feminine figure was the envy of any female Anthro. Powerful and graceful, she oozed confidence, the sway she had over all around her was palpable. Though she seemed concerned, the wolf Mayor still appeared completely in control, it was simply amazing to watch.

The impressive silver wolf gave Sara a quick sympathetic nod in recognition before moving over to her grandfather.

Atonn came into the room, he saw Sara and nodded to her, the male grey wolf’s expression was sympathetic.

‘Mr Thorntreck, how are you feeling?’ the Mayor asked, her soft yet commanding voice carrying genuine concern.

‘I should make it Ms Petrice,’ the old wolf replied, his cracking voice indicating that this was still not a forgone conclusion.

‘Any idea who did this to you? Or why?’ Ms Petrice asked. Leaning over, she touched Thorntreck’s hand reassuringly.

Sara’s grandfather looked briefly over at Sara. They had not managed to talk alone since help had first arrived.

‘I’m afraid not, bandits of some kind, they were cloaked and desperate,’ he said between shallow breaths. ‘They tried to kill us,’ he continued, looking over to Sara again.

Petrice followed his gaze towards the young female wolf.

‘Make sure you catch them for me,’ Thorntreck requested.

‘Our warriors are scouring the area as we speak,’ stated Atonn reassuringly.

Thorntreck gave the young adult male warrior an approving nod. Looking back at Mayor Petrice, he swallowed with difficulty.

‘I’ll probably be unconscious for a while soon’ Thorntreck said, the volume of his voice noticeably decreasing. ‘Can I have a moment with my granddaughter alone?’

Petrice took a moment to respond, seemingly using the time to read the old wolf’s expression in more detail.

‘Certainly,’ she said, moving away slightly. ‘We will be downstairs.’

With that, she and Atonn left the room, closing the door behind them.

Sara moved up closer to her grandfather, somewhat hesitantly, given his seemingly frail condition.

‘Quickly child,’ he instructed impatiently, his voice suddenly stronger. ‘We haven’t much time. At the top of my wardrobe is a red leather strong box. Bring it to me.’

Sara froze for a second, unused to her grandfather acting so secretively. Moving quickly, she rustled through the cluttered top shelf of the wardrobe, finding the strongbox behind numerous other items and bringing it to him on his bed. The old wolf propped himself up from his laying position. Grimacing slightly with the effort, he produced a key from inside of his lined vest.

‘These documents I am about to give you… you can not show to anyone… not even your mother,’ he instructed, fiddling with the lock.

The poison was starting to affect his body and his hands were shacking too much to get the small key into the locking mechanism. Reaching out, Sara took the key.

The older wolf lay back gratefully.

‘Take them with you. They could save your family if things go wrong.’

Sara opened up the case nervously, as if it could potentially explode. Considering everything else that had happened so far, that would not have shocked her at all. Within the fine old case’s lined interior, all she could see were a few letters. By the look of them, they were quite important.

‘If I die…‘ he started to say.

‘You’re not going to die,’ Sara interrupted, her words being spoken as a mix of instruction and desire.

Thorntreck smiled at her for a second, once again admiring the girl’s determination.

‘If something goes wrong,’ he corrected. ‘You are to take the letters and go straight to the Particons.’

Thorntreck was referring to old friends of the family. They were traditional and well established, with many social connections. Sara always felt the Particons were a little too arrogant.

‘What will I say?’ she asked.

‘Give them the letters and then tell them what happened, they will know what to do,’ Sara’s grandfather said, relaxing slightly. Thorntreck leaned back, happy that he had at least been able to somehow prepare Sara a little.

Sara looked down at the documents then up at her grandfather’s face, with his eyes closed, he actually looked more peaceful. His facial features tensed, as if he was in pain again.

‘Grandpa, should I get someone? Sara asked desperately, distressed at seeing him in discomfort.

‘No!’ he replied hoarsely. ‘Listen. Something has gone really wrong. I think that Ms Filfia is in danger.’

‘Sage Filfia?’ repeated Sara, instantly recognizing the senior wolf Sage’s name.


Thorntreck again closed his eyes, the extra effort was taking its toll, and he did not have too much longer before he lost consciousness.

‘I think the exiles may try to kill her… she has to be warned…’ he said, his voice trailing off. ‘Don’t expose Mintury… or your family will die… they are too dangerous… no one can know.’

Sara moved forward as her grandfather’s words became quieter, trying to make out the last of his whispered instructions.

‘There are no bears…’ he said finally, then fell quite.

Sara stared at the older wolf. He appeared to be asleep. Checking his breathing and pulse for her own piece of mind, she sat back for a minute, trying to take it all in.

Finally able to gather enough thoughts to instruct her body to move, Sara decided there was no use in staying there any more. Securing the letters away in one of her pockets, she returned the strongbox to its place in the cupboard. Going back to her grandfather’s bed, Sara took one of the thin sheets and tried to make him more comfortable. Satisfied with her efforts, she walked to the door, there was little more she could do.

Sara found everyone waiting in the living room. Mayor Petrice, the senior healer and the neighbouring older couple were all sitting down, talking amongst themselves. Atonn was nowhere to be seen, he had probably gone to check up on the search for the attackers.

The room fell quiet once the wolf girl entered. All eyes turned to her expectantly. Sara faltered for a second, unused to the attention of such important wolves.

‘He’s drifted off,’ she informed the others. ‘His breathing seems normal.’

The kind old female healer immediately got up from her chair.

‘I better go check,’ she said simply, smiling encouragingly at the young female.

‘Will he be ok Ma’am?’ Sara asked the healer.

‘We won’t know until he wakes up again,’ she replied. ‘And that could take a few days I’m afraid. I will do everything that I can.’

The healer put a reassuring hand on Sara’s shoulder. The young wolf instantly felt calmer. This healer could physically ease tension just from a simple touch, Sara felt even more reassured that the healer must be quite skilled.

‘Sara?’ Mayor Petrice called out once the healer had left the room. ‘Do you think you could you tell us a little more about the attack?’

The wolf leader voice was calm and full of concern, Sara felt at ease with her, and the idea of lying to her was difficult. Sara knew she would have to be extra careful. It was difficult to lie to older wolves at the best of times, skilled individuals being able to pick up on even small lies easily from the emotions they picked up from the liar. Wolves not only learnt to project emotions, they also learnt to read them as well.

‘I’m afraid I don’t know much Ms Petrice,’ Sara said honestly.

‘That’s ok,’ said Mayor Petrice reassuringly. ‘Please take a seat.’ The elegant grey wolf indicated to a chair near to her.

Sara moved over, sitting down a little hesitantly. Though she had seen the wolf leader around, Sara had never talked with her directly. To say Sara was intimidated would be an understatement.

‘Do you visit your grandfather often?’ asked the Mayor.

Sara thought about this, it was likely that Mayor Petrice knew the answer to this herself. Sara’s family’s affairs had been a well-run topic in the Torstberg rumour-mill for many years now.

Sara’s grandfather and his wife, the family Thorntreck, had only had the one son, Sara’s father Patt. He had gone against tradition and married for love, to a girl from a much lower family, an orphan, Sara’s mother Sallice. This had been scandal enough at the time. Then a few years later it emerged that Sallice’s only known direct relative, her older sister Sharlee, was mother to a half bread, and even worse, was marrying the lion father. This explosive news had made it all the way around the Wolf Kingdom. It was almost the scandal of the decade. Though Sara’s father Patt had taken his wife’s family name after marriage, as was wolf tradition, it had still caused the Thorntreck family no end of grief. Because of this, it had subsequently also caused Sara’s parents no end of problems. These had only mostly ended when Sallice had broken off all contact with her sister Sharlee. This drastic decision had left a great division in both families, and was still a problem to this day.

Deciding that Mayor Petrice’s comments were more out of courtesy then anything else, Sara answered honestly.

‘I have been visiting him a lot lately. He has been giving me extra military training. I was hoping to join the royal army after school.’

‘Really,’ commented Petrice. She took in this new information. ‘Isn’t it a bit late to be training?’ she asked, no hint of malice present in her voice.

‘I was actually just here to talk to him Ma’am.’

‘So what exactly happened when you got here?’ asked Petrice.

Sara thought about this for a second, trying desperately to keep herself calm so as to come across as honest.

‘I arrived just as my grandfather confronted the two in his backyard…’ she said carefully, pausing for a second.

‘They exchanged words… during which I snuck closer,’ the young wolf added, happy with how her story was coming together. ‘Then they attacked, and I rushed in.’

Sara looked directly into the eyes of the older female wolf when she had finished, trying hard to come across as honest to the town Mayor.

Petrice looked back kindly, her expression the perfect example of consistency.

‘Did you hear any of what was said?’ the grey wolf asked eventually.

Sara kept her own gaze steady.

‘Nothing that made any sense,’ Sara replied, this being her honest opinion on what she heard in any case.

Still looking fixedly at the Mayor, Sara was becoming uncomfortable. Though the older female was not actively intimidating her in the slightest, Sara couldn’t help but feel uneasy. She felt as if not telling the Mayor the whole truth was somehow to her own disadvantage. Compelled to give extra information, Sara suddenly found herself talking again.

‘I did get a good look at them though when we fought,’ Sara said, before she could stop herself. ‘One was a young male wolf with brown fur and black hair, the other was an older male and had red fur and black hair, and he spoke as if he came from a good family.’ Sara realized that she had given away much more information then she had intended. ‘Ma’am’ she added, just to indicate to Petrice that this was the end of the information.

‘I thought you said you didn’t really hear what he said?’ asked Petrice, her question being framed innocently.

‘It was from the few words I heard him speak,’ Sara replied instantly. She then clamped her mouth firmly shut, to ensure that there would be no more slips of the tongue.

The wolf leader thought about this for a second. Sara was beginning to fidget a little, hoping against hope that this was the end of the questions.

‘I was actually hoping to be getting home if you don’t mind, Ma’am,’ Sara found herself saying. This was slightly against protocol, but she felt that it would be acceptable given the circumstances. ‘You know. To tell my father,’ Sara added.

‘Certainly,’ replied Petrice, getting up.

Out of habit, all three of the other wolves in the room began to rise from their seats, though the elderly neighbour couple immediately sat back down again.

‘Is there anything you need to get before you go?’ asked the elegant silver wolf.

‘No,’ replied Sara.

‘Well then, let me walk you out.’

Petrice strolled through the door to the kitchen. Sara quickly thanked her grandfather’s neighbours for all their help. The concerned elderly couple offered to send a message as soon as there was a change in her grandfather’s condition.

Walking through the kitchen, Sara met up with the Mayor in the backyard. In Petrice’s hands were Sara’s weapons, someone had placed them on the kitchen table, Sara had forgotten all about them in all the commotion.

‘You did a very brave thing tonight, Sara,’ the older female said, offering Sara back her weapons.

‘Thank you Ms Petrice,’ replied Sara, honestly happy for the compliment from someone like the silver female.

‘The fugitives should be either caught or long gone by now. But I can offer you an escort home if you like,’ offered the adult female, looking out into the night.

‘Thanks, but I should be fine Ma’am,’ Sara replied confidently. She was actually happy she was about to go, despite the fact she was leaving her grandfather in his current state.

‘If there is anything that you need,’ said Petrice, turning to the younger wolf. ‘Don’t hesitate to contact me.’ She gave Sara a genuine smile, laying a hand on the young female’s shoulder encouragingly.

‘Thanks Ms Petrice, that means a lot,’ Sara said with a tired smile of her own.

Petrice gave Sara another encouraging nod before leaving her to re-enter the house.

Sara stood alone in the cool night air for a second, once again going over what had just happened. Turning to walk towards the street that headed out of town, she decided that there was no use trying to avoid the hurricane that was her life any more, whatever was going on she was in the middle of it, now she just had to find a way out, without getting herself or her family killed it seemed.

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