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Chapter 16

Trixie felt as if she were drifting in a sea of fog. She couldn’t see or feel anything, even her own body. Suddenly she felt the hardness of ground beneath her feet. Surprised at the abrupt transition, she stumbled and fell to her knees with a yelp.

Her hands met cold wet stone, and darkness once again surrounded her.

*Oh no! It didn’t work!* she thought.

She groaned in frustration and fell head over heels backward down a rocky slope.

“Ouch! Can this day get any worse?” she muttered.

It was now painfully obvious to Trixie that she was NOT in the cell any more. Her voice had echoed back to her faintly.

“Is this some kind of cave? ”

She stood shakily and rubbed her sore backside.

“What am I going to do now?”

She froze. Something had begun to growl directly behind her. Something very, very big.

“Welcome, little morsel. Are you a messenger from Rath, come to kill me? Or perhaps an offering to buy my loyalty?” rumbled a deep, powerful voice.

Something huge struck Trixie, knocking her down and holding her to the cave floor helplessly. A hot fetid wind blew across her face and she realized it must be the breath of the monster.

Her terror rose to a height she’d never known before. Then, the memory of the Elf Queen’s gentle face turned fear into a wholly new emotion - anger.

With a cry, Trixie batted the creature’s face away in fury and so startled him the weight lifted from her chest.

“I have had it! I am not going to let my life end this way! I have been kidnapped, spelled, thrown in prison and transported to who knows where in this Gods forsaken mountain when all I really want is a nice soft bed, something to eat, and this mysterious someone that is supposed to help me save the Elf Queen! Instead I get knocked down and treated like a snack by some inconsiderate monster! I did NOT ask to hold anyone’s life in my hands! All I wanted was to go to Mage school and get some nice job in a quiet city making spells!”

Trixie turned to her side, buried her face in her hands and weeped loudly, her voice hoarse from the cold and her own strident yells.

After a few moments, Trixie quieted to muted sobbing.

“You have quite the spirit, little morsel. You remind me of someone I once knew ... So you are - not from Rath?” the deep voice asked.

“No!” she yelled.

“Rath kidnapped me and wanted to turn me into some kind of horrible thing! An Elf helped me escape.”

Her voice shuddered in the cold and her tears fell freely.

“He gave me a - a spell to transport me to the nearest someone who might help me escape. It must have failed, and sent me here. To get eaten.”

Trixie was startled to hear a strange coughing sound, or was it barking? Could the creature be laughing?

“Are you laughing at me, beast? Do you always humiliate your meals before you feast?”

Trixie rose to her knees and shook her fist at the darkness.

“What kind of a loathsome monster are you?”

A small distant part of her was screaming *what are you doing?* but Trixie felt deep in her soul if she was going to die today it would not be without a fight.

“Hold, little human. You intrigue me. If you are not from Rath as you say, then you are no enemy of mine. And I’ve not seen such bravery from one so little. You would make a fine wolf in any pack I’ve seen. Arise and stand before me.”

Stunned, Trixie rose shakily to her feet. She felt more than heard something move close to her, an immense Presence like she’d never felt before. Instinctively she reached forward with her hands, as the darkness was so complete she could see nothing. Her hands touched a veritable wall of fur and she yelped in surprise.

“A- a fine wolf? A pack? Are you a - a wolf?” she asked.

The deep voice chuckled. The sound was deep and resonant and rippled across the fur Trixie touched.

“Not like any kind of wolf you’ve ever encountered. If you had, I’d say you’d not be alive today.”

Trixie shuddered. “Will you stop? Either eat me or help me! I’m tired of being terrified today.”

From the darkness, a set of jaws closed around Trixie’s torso and lifted her from the ground.

*This is it! My life is over!* her thoughts screamed as she rose in the air.

However, the teeth did not press down upon her body. Instead the giant wolf held her gently but firmly in its jaws and turned to run deeper into the cave. The wolf was so large, Trixie was like a pup in its jaws.

*Oh Thalon, THIS was your idea of someone to help?* she thought as she was carried helplessly into the darkness.


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