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The Wolf's Brother

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Chapter 1

Wolka stopped to catch his breath in the morning mist, his bay gelding Jumper let out a whine of protest as he tried to find his balance on the uneven rocky ground beneath them. He wasn’t the only one complaining the men behind them were having trouble with their mounts as they tried to balance themselves on the rocks underneath their hooves. The sound of the horses’ shod hooves clacking against the rock-strewn terrain rang in his ears along with their whines in complaint. Wolka looked on ahead to see his father the Lord Almar or Lord of Iron as people often called him for his large size and dominant demeanor, the Lord was a man to be reckoned with known for his strength and short temper. As Lord over land with the richest deposits of iron in all Irama he'd reason for being so domineering as he pushed his soldiers onward his large gray stallion keeping quite underneath his large girth, the loyal steed was just like his master stubborn as hell.

Wolka rolled back his shoulders and moved onward keeping his mount at a steady pace ahead of the soldiers it wouldn’t do for the son of a high lord to be seen falling behind the line with the low end soldiers though in Wolka’s case his father probably wouldn’t have even noticed.Why would he when his two mountain sized older brothers flanked Almar on either side they moved like a pair of bull minotaurs as their horses trotted along his father's. They favored more their sire then their dam in strength and size, the oldest Bennan resembled their father the most with his ,golden sun hair like their like Almar's he kept it cropped short to his head giving him an almost shaved look, he'd the same color eyes like their mother dark brown. He'd the strength and strong bulk like their father with his muscles bulging under the seams of his tunic.

Bennan was a hot head pron to getting into fights and was a real philanderer , fluttering with every girl that crossed his path. He was so open with his coitions that Wolka was certain Bennan was the father of the recent babe born in the maid's quarters. But aside from his handsome looks and charm Bennan, inherited the quick temper of their father and when that happened it was best to remain out of sight unless you wanted to be the focus of his anger.

Wolka couldn’t count the bruises he'd received from such scuffles when he wasn’t fast enough to stay out of Bennan’s way. Only his brother Fell who equaled his brother in size and strength escaped his wrath and also insured that Bennan didn’t go too far when he preyed on Wolka though he did little to stop their older brother’s bulling.

Where Bennan was the brute force, Fell was the smarts behind it much smarter in the books then Bennan cold ever be. Fell could match wits with the best of them though this made him a bit of a know-it-all. He'd the same golden hair like their father which he kept at chin length alongside his light brown eyes, handsome and charming Fell was more reserved when it came to his exploits but his little brother was sure he had a bastard hidden around somewhere. Fell was good at covering his tracks and one could be assured that with him set to task nothing would be overlooked.

And then there was Wolka the runt of the litter with his black hair like their mother that won him the constant giggles from the girls at the hall for it curled no matter how hard he'd brush it out. Though he kept it cut short to his head you could still catch the hint of curls, that along with his blue eyes and smaller stature though he wasn't thin by any means, he'd never match his brothers much to the disappointment of his father.

It only deepened the sour edge in his father’s side for he seemed to be a constant disappointment to him no matter what Wolka tried to do to impress him. Eventually Wolka stopped caring all together about gaining his father's approval and this made him more alienated with his brothers and father.

He kicked his horse foreword as they moved through the stone gauntlet known as the Bone Grave, it was a large rocky region with sharp cliffs and outcroppings. One wrong step and a person would be sliced to pieces by the sharp rocks further down. It always sent shivers down his spine when ever they’d cut through the gauntlet but they had little choice as this was the shortest way to the iron mine of Glaymin the richest of his father’s iron deposits and one that required constant attention than any of the other mines under his father.

They’d been there for over a week looking into some disturbing reports of recent attacks on the workers at night by an unknown creature, two men and an ox had gone missing before his father arrived. At first it was thought to be some orc mischief since the beasts were prone to attack at the worst times. But that idea was put to the grave when the hounds found the fourth victim a young lad who was heading for the bathhouse, he'd been dragged off into the neighboring wood where he was then devoured.

His chest had been ripped open by massive claws, his innards devoured the rest of his body was almost unrecognizable, the crime scene was littered with large tawny feathers, the men knew the lads attacker then it was the work of harpies or she-devils.

The air born demons had the appearance of a human mixed with an eagle, with long sharp winged claws and talons they were formidable creatures able to attack from the sky they were upon you before you even knew they were there. And where there was one harpy hunting around their was usually a flock roosting close by, unless it was male in that case it lived a solitary life but the she-harpies were another story. Wolka had heard tales of harpy flocks destroying whole towns carrying off women and children to their nests in the night, and to have them so close to home made the stories more real.

Lord Almar wouldn’t have his mine ravaged by men nor beast so he’d summoned a force of twenty men with bows, nets and spears to find and destroy the harpies and their nest. His wife the Lady Kemla insisted that neither he nor her sons go on such a death stricken hunt and pleaded for Almar to summon the wolfmen of Howling Stone the werehall for which Ironhall looked to for protection against the dark children of Modar. Wolfmen were men born apart from the normal folk of Irama alongside their enormous demonic wolves they were the first line of defense against all dark creatures in Irama when a village or town had a problem with orc or minotaur ,wolfmen were called to slay the beast.

Wolfmen did the jobs that normal men couldn't, there were many legends and fables told over the fire about the deeds of the wolfmen, some go as far back as the time of the old kings. The tales spoke of the great bravery and the strong bond between the men and their wolves. Wolka and all lad his age thought the wolves were the best part in every tale told, how famous it would be to be bonded to such a creature to share strength and will with each other in a bond that normal men could never understand.

Such stories of courage were rarely heard around the fires in Ironhall of late, Lord Almar detested the wolfmen so much so, that he'd spoken openly against them though no wolfmen were around to hear his words. To the relief of the hall folk, to talk such ill will about the wolfmen was considered heresy for without them halls, towns and entire cities would be reduced to rumble by Modar's children.

Lord Almar spat on anyone who allowed their sons to join such men regardless of their ability to keep Modar's children in line, and whenever the time came for the wolfmen to collect boys for their wolves he made sure his sons were long ways from the hall.

Wolka recalled the horror stories his father told them of the strange behavior of “these so called men,’’ how they slept in caves filled with bones of their prey and how they slept amongst their wolves in the skins of those who ventured to close to their territory. He was particularly explicit about what they'd do to young lord boys they'd taken for their wolves, though at the time Wolka and his brothers were just young children when his father told them these twisted tales.

Wolka didn’t believe all the stories he'd heard,though he couldn’t help but fear that maybe some of them could possibly be true. After all the wolfmen were a secretive lot and hardly anyone went to visit their strong holds anymore. Strongholds nestled in the most remote regions far from outside interlopers except for the few villages that erected themselves close by for added protection.

His father didn't believe the wolfmen were as immortal as the fables foretold, he didn’t believe in such nonsense. The wolfmen were just ordinary men in his eyes and whatever job they could do a lord could do on his own with the right men and weapons.

So here they were out on horseback doing what should be wolfmen’s work due, to his father’s stubbornness and constant need to boost his prowess which Wolka thought couldn’t get any bigger.

He pushed Jumper into a trot and pulled closer to Fell’s bay stallion who snorted in discomfort as they climbed another steep hill. “Easy Boomer easy,’’ Fell said patting his stallion's neck as he made the final climb up the slope. “ The horses know this is a bullshit mission,’’ Wolka muttered so only Fell could hear, thankfully their father and Bennan weren’t in earshot, “Don’t let father hear you say that,’’ his brother warned though his eyes told Wolka that he was in agreement. “ We’ve been out here for two days and haven’t seen or spotted any signs of a harpy,’’ he grumbled as they moved on the terrain becoming more intricate which made the horses even more unsteady and edgy. “I suppose he believes will just run onto them,’’ Fell grunted as Boomer steadied himself, “With the way things are going the horses will have their fill of it and knock us all off and head for home.’’ Fell joked making his brother chuckle and they pushed onward.

The hounds started howling and barking around sunset, by then most of the men had begun to see this as nothing but a wild goose chase. The hounds were let loose and went charging forward barking and howling hot on the scent. Lord Almar’s voice boomed with excitement, “You see men your lord hasn’t gone insane yet,’’ he roared and kicked his stallion into a run with Bennan hot on his tail. Wolka sighed heavily as he and Fell followed the pair the men right behind the sounds of armor clacking and hounds barking filled his ears with an annoying ring.

The hounds in their excitement had out shot their humans and were now turning around the bend it was then that Wolka felt that something wasnt right. That’s when they heard a sharp, Yelp! from one of the hounds.

Which were soon followed by whines and barks that were all silenced by a monstrous screech, “ They’ve found it,’’ Lord Almar shouted with spear raised high, “ Onward men to glory.’’ And he kicked his mount sharply and they pushed forward men shouting at the thrill of action.

But nothing prepared them for the scene in front of them , as they looked on in horror as a hound’s head came flying across the canyon blood raining onto the ground. It rolled four times before stopping at Lord Almar’s horse's feet the hound’s face still scrunched in a snarl.

The men looked in horror as the harpy dispatched another hound its long clawed wings cutting right down the dog’s belly spilling out its innards and killing the poor beast. It screeched in triumph as it turned eagle like eyes on the men, she stood taller than a man with her clawed wings like spears covered with blood as were her tawny feathers. Wolka could tell it was a hen from the color of her wings for the male harpies had more colorful plumage, and plus the female’s feathered breasts were also a give away.

She eyed them like a cat that just cornered a mouse, and hissed baring sharp fangs. The horse screamed and snorted in panic at the smell of blood and the she-harpie's gaze. The men didn’t falter as they fought to control their mounts, he wouldn’t shame any of them if they’d taken a step back from the horrendous she-devil though.

The way the harpy's eyes stared at them made his blood turn cold.

Lord Almar snorted, “Nothing but an over grown turkey men.’’ He shouted and pointed his spear towards the harpy who gave a mocking screech before flapping her massive winged arms and taking flight.

Lord Almar followed by the two remaining hounds were fast on her heels though to Wolka it seemed almost like the harpy wanted them to follow her. As she kept a steady pace ahead of them but she never made any attempt to lose them are dive at them.

“ Something’s wrong,’’ Wolka called to Fell as the horses galloped onward kicking up rocks and dust as they trampled on chests heaving at the urgency of their masters. “ I know it’s a trap of some sort,’’ Fell said looking up as the harpy screeched from above her massive wings moving fast as she lead them further into the canyon.

She suddenly stopped flying when they reached a dead end, he’d thought she was going to wear them out before she attacked. But instead she circled overhead calling frantically it was a horrid chilling sound as if she were summoning something.

Wolka and Fell exchanged grisly realizations as they caught on to what the harpy was doing she’d led them straight into a trap after all. His father and Bennan seemed to catch this a second to late as the harpy’s calls were then answered by similar calls from all sides. The horses screamed in panic and a few bolted kicking off their riders as they took off far from the scene as harpies came pouring out from the cracks and crevices of the crater. The men shouted in panic as the sky was filled with harpies all holding short spears in their clawed hands.

Lord Almar wasn’t fazed he’d faced tougher challenges and had come up the victor, and with his sons beside him he felt even more invincible. Though this time he might have underestimated his opponents as the harpies hovered above, the largest one the female they’d given chase to was in the center of the flock she was grinning wickedly and hissed, Attack my sisters devour the man flesh. She ordered her voice as dark and deadly as the god of death, Modar.

The harpies wasted no time in their attack, a storm of spears soon rained down on them, Lord Almar was quick to action, “Shields!’’ he ordered as he jumped off his mount, the soldiers were quick to follow his orders coming forward shields raised they blocked the frontal assault, but the spears were just a distraction as the harpies then dived down upon them. Eat my sisters eat, the queen harpy shouted as her clan dived down on the humans.

Lord Almar smirked as he locked in his crossbow, “Foolish turkeys thinking their little decoy would slow us down.’’ He laughed, “Come then turkeys you’ll look great on my wall.’’

The fight was a bloody one with both men and harpies falling; three harpies were brought down with nets and two more fell on spears. Wolka and Fell managed to bring down one with their arrows but it was an exhausting fight and it was taking its toll on the men as the harpies had managed to bring down five men already carrying them off and then ripping them into pieces mid flight.

Wolka tried his best to focus on the fight at hand and not the screams of the men being ripped apart above his head, he watched in anguish as men were carried away and then dropped to their deaths with a loud, Crack! Like a bird crushing a walnut.

This is a fight we shouldn’t be in. he cursed his father for his stubbornness as he ducked away from a diving harpy’s talons, she let out a shriek of laughter , I’ll get you little lord, she hissed and he braced himself for the impact as he readied his crossbow.

The harpy’s talons were ready to grasp him and take him midflight and then she’d shred him to pieces before anyone could stop her.

He fired his first shot, but the harpy barrel rolled out of the way and hissed, Missed pretty prince. She cackled as she turned swiftly around aiming for him. “ Who said I was trying to hit you,’’ he smirked as the harpy then let out a foul screech of pain as Fell's spear pierced her back straight through her feathered chest.

She came crashing in a feathered heap blood coated her feathers and the ground as she twitched and clawed at the ground frantically. Fell put a stop to her suffering with a quick swipe of his sword, “ Nice work Wolka,’’ he grinned with perfect white teeth, Wolka nodded turning towards the sky as the harpies scattered higher out of range of the crossbows, the leader was eyeing them all mockingly even though she’d just lost another sister. “ We need to take her down after that the others will scatter.’’ He said as they joined back with their father and Bennan, “ Well she’s not going to come down willingly Wolka,’’ Lord Almar snorted as he glanced over the battle field as the men tried to regroup and get the injured out of harm’s way.

“ We need to bring her out of her defensive circle somehow,’’ Bennan said wiping sweat from his brow his tunic was covered with feathers and blood he and father had been the first into battle and brought down two of the harpies single handedly before Wolka, Fell or the soldiers could even help. “The men will shower them with arrows,’’ Lord Almar said locking his arrow in place, “Then you boys and I will take a shot at the queen while her defensive shield is down.’’ He shot up like a bird in flight, “ Men to me now!’’ he ordered, the men quickly followed his orders though a few were hesitant to come after the harpies gruesome attack but the fear of their lord over powered any fear they had of the harpies.

Lord Almar smiled, “This will be are triumph.’’ He shouted as the men readied their arrows, he glared at the lead harpy who didn’t seemed fazed nor did she give any sign that she was going to send her swarm down on them. No she seemed calmer rather too calm for Wolka’s liking but he dare not speak out against his father less he wanted to be reprimanded later.

“Fire!’’ Lord Almar shouted his voice echoing around the canyon as the men released a stream of arrows, the harpies didn’t flinch are fluster as the arrows headed their way instead they did something that sent shivers down Wolka’s spine.

The harpies intentionally made way for the arrows that were now aiming straight for the queen who smirked, Foolish men, she hissed and with a wave of her winged talons she summoned the wind to her aid and Wolka felt sudden panic as he realized what she was up to, “ Harpy Mage!’’ he shouted, just as his brothers and Father took realization as well but it was too late.

With a wave of her clawed hand the harpy-mage sent the arrows spiraling back down towards them with her wind magic. The men below scattered like ants at an approaching boot, Wolka and his family managed to get underneath the shelter of some rocks but some of the men weren’t so quick an fell screaming as arrows struck their legs and turned backs.

The harpies above cackled in amusement as the humans scattered in panic most of the horses had already fled the scene even Lord Almar’s mount had taken off when it felt the harpy witch’s magic. Animals were very sensitive to magic and when they felt its presence they’d take off in a fright whether it be good or bad magic.

“ Will have to retreat and regroup at the mine,’’ Almar reluctantly said through gritted teeth, he hated retreating but with the damn she-devil’s magic now against them he needed to regroup and come up with another plan less he wanted to risk the trust of his men. “ All men fall back to the mine we regroup at the mine.’’ he shouted turning on his sons, “Stay together and keep your bows loaded,’’ and with that they all took off running trying not to look back as the men gathered the injured and retreated.

Run like mice puny humans, the harpy-mage hissed as she used her wind magic again forming a ball of wind in both her claws and threw it towards them the spheres shattered rocks and boulders sending them flying at the men crushing many who were helping the injured. They screamed in panic as the harpies then dived in to finish their mistress’s work picking off the men and carrying them off to kill. Wolka would remember those screams for the rest of his life as he ran , he was too busy running to notice the mage harpy was following him and his brothers until it was too late.

Die sons of the great Iron Lord. She shouted as she formed a large wind sphere and sent it flying their way and with a loud, Boom! That shattered rock and eardrums all over.

The whole canyon seemed to rumble from the impact, but Wolka could hardly tell as the impact from the harpy’s magic had sent him and his brothers flying and leaving him in a crumbled heap with his ears ringing. He heard people shouting at him but he couldn’t tell who it was as he staggered to his feet, his ears still ringing he couldn't understand what his brothers were saying as they rushed towards him arms waving frantically.

“Run you idiot!’’ Bennan was shouting as he rushed towards him, Fell was by his side with their father in the lead, “Behind you!’’ Fell shouted frantic as he aimed his bow behind his little brother. Wolka turned to look, to see one of the harpies hovering behind him, her talons posed to finish him off, he felt his blood go cold as he saw his death fast approaching. Even if his brothers got an arrow loose the harpy would have her talons in him before it struck counting that she didn’t carry him off to kill.

Die little prince, she hissed and came at him talons opened ready to split him open, Wolka still stunned from the blow from the last magic attack could only watch helplessly as she came on him, he braced for the inevitable to happen. To feel her sharp talons in his back carrying him off to rip apart in front of his brothers and father.

That’s when the howling followed by shouts from above the canyon broke through the chaos forcing the harpies to pause their attacks.

The harpy didn’t stop her decent though as she was still set on killing Wolka. But she was intercepted by a wave of arrows that pierced her chest and she fell screeching as a grey and tan wolf pounced on her. It tore into her throat without hesitation its chest fur was stained with blood as he savaged her neck shacking in violently as if trying to snap it off. Other wolves joined in, attacking the harpy at different directions some going for her wings others her legs pinning her down as the tan wolf shredded her throat.

Wolka’s legs soon found him and he worked his way back, away from the battling wolves, his eyes were still locked on them, he was stunned at such precision they had at knowing exactly where to attack without having a master to order them, But then these are no ordinary wolves, he realized as the wolfmen climbed down into the steep canyon jumping from perch to perch like mountain goats. They soon joined the battle alongside their wolves firing arrows as they cleared the field, making way for Lord Almar and his men to escape.

Lord Almar looked on in disbelief as the wolfmen fought with their wolves; they attacked any harpy in unison that fell to their arrows or any harpy that hadn’t flown out of range in time for the wolves to pounce on and tear into. He felt a sudden rage at having to concede to wolfmen saving him and his boys, “ Damn dogs and their wolves,’’ he muttered under his breath as his eldest joined his side, “I’ve got the men gathering what injured they can, we best pull back now father.’’ He said urgently as Fell came with Wolka he'd a nasty scar on his forehead and his wife will no doubt chew him out for it, " He should've been quicker." Almar cursed as he and his sons watched the wolfmen deal the harpies another deadly blow.

The wolfmen had the harpies on the run the mage harpy could see that now and she was too wise to come anywhere near them. Retreat my sister retreat. She called and her sisters soon stopped their decent after losing half their force to the wolves and their masters. The harpy-mage glared at the wolfmen and hissed, Die devil dogs. And she formed another pair of magical spheres in her talons, but the wolfmen didn’t seem worried one of them their leader perhaps quickly shouted orders to the men and wolves who like a ripple in a lake took shelter behind rocks.

“Silver bombs!’’ The wolfman shouted his wolf the grey and tan furred one that saved Wolka was by his side hackling, its eyes a blood red as it barred savagely at the harpy it didn’t even flinch at the magic forming around it like the horses did, he’d heard that demonic wolves weren’t affected by magic like common animals were.

The wolfmen were quick in their attacks as they lit sphere bombs filled with silver powder and other herbs. The bombs were tossed into the air then exploded into clouds of silvery dust that choked the air above them, the harpies started screaming in pain as the silver blinded them and stained their feathers. The harpy-mage screamed in agony her spell interrupted as the silver took effect blinding her and stopping her magic, this was what the wolfmen wanted. “Fire arrows!’’ The wolfman leader shouted and a stream of arrows were flying into the cloud of silver and the canyon reverberated with the sounds of harpies screaming.

One by one harpies fell by arrows and the wolves descended upon them tearing through feathers and flesh, bloody feathers covered their muzzles as they savaged the harpies their eyes blood red as their blood lust took hold of them.

Lord Almar and his sons looked on in disbelief as the men and wolves made short work of the harpies. Finally the harpy-mage came crashing down arrows pierced her chest and wings, but she wasn’t finished she still stood up strong and hissed even with the wolves surrounding her growling with teeth snapping, tails erect ready to charge at their masters' call. The wolfman leader drew his sword then and charged forward along with his wolf, his men following their leader as the wolves lunged forward the harpy didn’t stand a chance.

Wolka watched as the harpy clawed wolf after wolf each time her clawed wings swung out in a massive swipes the wolves danced harmlessly out of her way ,every time she lashed out another wolf darted in to take a chunk of feathers and flesh out of her legs. They were trying to cripple her so their brothers could finish her off. But she proved more stubborn then they realized as two wolfmen fired arrows into her open chest, she screeched releasing a mighty wind from her mouth that bushed them back.

But she was weakening and with that last effort of magic and along with the wolves tactic she was over powered. She collapsed in exhaustion pinned down by the wolves she screeched as they tore into her. It was the wolfman leader that ended it with his sword raised the cool silver glinting as it caught the sun’s light, with a swift swing he severed her head in one clean swipe ending the battle.

Lord Almar waited for the men to collect the scattered horses and the injured men before he made court with the wolfman leader. His pride pushed aside as he walked over to thank the wolfman though Wolka knew his father loathed doing it but as politics played it was his duty as lord to see such a heroic act rewarded and acknowledged despite his hatred of the wolfmen.

The wolfmen were an impressive sight they were tall men finely built looking warriors in their leather grey vest over chain mail tunics, they had embroidered claw marks on their shoulders black and red the colors of Howling Stone. They had strong warrior faces that gave off a certain wildness, it was in their eyes especially they had the same wild look their wolves had. It’d been said that wolfmen once chosen by wolves turned into some sort of half man, half wolf creature themselves. Of course this was nonsense, but it was hard not to believe it when he saw them first hand alongside their wolves.

The wolfmen leader greeted Lord Almar with an open hand once he saw to the head of the harpy mage which he quickly stuffed into a sack while his men took care of the harpy bodies piling them up to form a pyre. The heads were all taken from each harpy slain for what purpose, Wolka could only guess at as he joined his father and brothers. The wolfmen leader was an impressive sight he was a few inches taller than Lord Almar, he was strong built though not as massive as Bennan.

He'd a handsome warrior's face though he had a scar over his left eye which gave him a rather fierce appearance, with his short light brown hair and eyes a beautiful green. His wolf was even more impressive its shoulders reached to his human’s waist it was a light tan and grey color though it was a shade darker thanks to the drying blood. He was the most beautiful animal Wolka had ever seen and he felt very nervous being so close to a creature that when on his hind legs could stare him right in the eye.

The wolf tilted his head at him his gaze locked on Wolka, as if understanding that Wolka was talking about him, his grey stone eyes gazed up at him for only a moment before they turned back on his human.

The wolfman and Lord Almar grasped hands briefly before he introduced himself, “My lord, Wolfmen Nodd and brother,’’ he nodded towards his wolf, “Aatu of Howling Stone at your service.’’ He said with a slight bow his wolf giving a sharp nod in respect as well. Lord Almar was a little taken back by the wolf’s jester but quickly got hold of himself and bowed in turn, “ It is I who should be thanking you my lord for you saved my youngest,’’ he said giving Wolka a slight glare as he spoke making Wolka look away timidly. “ No need my lord only doing our duty as the Goddess Faharis intended.’’ He said referring to the goddess of wolves Faharis who was said to be the first to befriend a demonic wolf an started the wolfmen order. Lord Almar gave a weak smile, “As it should be.’’ He said through greeted teeth. “Your men came to our aid just in time my lord.’’ Bennan said looking at the wolf his eyes transfixed on its powerful build. “Yes it’s quite odd that you’d happened to find us just in time.’’ Lord Almar said raising his eyebrow accusingly.

Wolka feared the wolfman would take offense but instead the man brushed the sly comment aside, “We’ve been stalking this canyon for sometime my lord we’d gotten word that Glaymin was under siege by some strange creature so we came to check it out. Our wolves had gotten whiff of the harpies so we’d been searching around the canyon hoping to find their nest, that’s when we heard the commotion and came to your aid.’’ He smiled and patted Aatu the wolf rumbled happily tail wagging. Lord Almar didn’t look pleased with this bit of information but there was little he could do at this point the wolfmen saved their lives so he was in their debt though he detested the very thought at being in debt to men he saw as mere beasts, oddities he thought should be expelled from human society not embraced as heroes.

But there was little for it, he bit back his tongue and played his role as a grateful lord, “ Well I’m in your debt please accept my thanks and my invitation to stay at my holding so that we may celebrate this victory.’’ Wolfmen Nodd bowed his head excepting the lord’s invitation. “You honor us my lord. My patrol will join up with you as soon as we burn the bodies and insure there are no survivors.’’ He said and he gave a quick bow and turned from them to see to the work on the pyre.

Lord Almar quickly had the men on horses and the injured laid on stretchers pulled by horse teams. They were off once the wolfmen had burned all the bodies and bombed and destroyed every crevice they could find insuring there were no eggs or hatchlings stowed away. Before mounting their own steeds and following, their wolves running ahead of them all their tails raised high.

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