Chapter 11: Lycanthor
The moon cast silvery light through the trees. Every now and then they heard a howl or a distant growl—Lycanthor’s Wood Wolves were close. Sometimes they would hear wolves closer, but for some reason they held back.
“I have a bad feeling about this. Why aren’t the wolves approaching?” asked Jasyra.
Evooku made a pattern with his hands, a circling motion in the air.
“That’s right,” said Jack, understanding, “They’re shepherding us somewhere. They’re taking us where they want us.”
“We’d better be ready.” said Jasyra.
The trees ahead thinned out and the three companions came to a large clearing. In the centre was a crumbling old tower, stone walls half collapsed. Burnt timbers rose from rubble, suggesting it had once been part of a small village. Jack wondered what had happened to the people who’d lived there—no doubt they had met a grisly fate if Lycanthor was involved.
Jack saw something in the trees and tensed. Evooku placed his hand on his shoulder. Around the edges of the clearing, red eyes glowed from the trees. The Wood Wolves had indeed led them there, and now the heroes were surrounded.
Jack held the emerald staff close and cleared his mind.
With a rumbling sound, something rose from within the tower. Rocks fell to the ground as a massive, furry hand gripped the edge of the tower walls. With a deep growl, Lycanthor stepped out.
Jack gasped, marvelling at the sheer size of the beast. It appeared even bigger since their last battle. As tall as three men together, Lycanthor had a man’s shape but was coated in thick silver fur. Its hands ended in long, sharp claws and his head was that of a wolf, but with glowing red eyes.
Lycanthor started at the companions and smiled before raising his head high and howling. All around Jack, the striped Wood Wolves howled in response, filling the night with a terrifying noise.
“Lycanthor!” yelled Jasyra. “You have a piece of the Dragon Fyre Blade. Return it to me, or I will be forced to take it from you.”
The giant werewolf paused for a moment before letting out a barking laugh. The rest of the wolves growled and barked with glee.
“Daughter of a dog! You threaten me in my own domain?”
“This is not your domain, Lycanthor!” said Jasyra. “This land belonged to the Wildermen and the creatures of the forest. Your evil master stole it and gave it to you! You have no right to be here.”
With that, Jasyra raised her bow and aimed an arrow at the werewolf. Evooku did the same. Jack hefted the staff and pointed it, too, hoping he could control the blast this time.
“If it is battle you wish for,” growled Lycanthor, “you may have it!”
Lycanthor jumped and three wolves leapt out from the bushes attack. One of them, large and ferocious, bit Evooku on the shoulder, making him drop his silver-tipped arrow. Jasyra managed to fire her missile but it soared through empty air.
Jack had kept his eye on Lycanthor, watching as the beast ducked to avoid Jasyra’s arrow. When it rose again, he aimed his staff and let loose a bolt of green energy. Yes! It slammed directly into Lycanthor’s chest, and the werewolf howled with pain. Jack didn’t have time to celebrate, as he had to duck and roll to avoid the sharp teeth of one of the wolves. Jasyra somersaulted, then drew her bow up to let loose an arrow into the nearest wolf.
Jack watched in shock as furry wolves approached from every direction. They wouldn’t even get a chance to battle Lycanthor— its minions would finish them off first. Backing up, he felt Evooku behind him, and looked to see the green-skinned warrior holding a vial of wolfsbane.
In the distance, Jack could see Lycanthor moving around, keeping his eyes on the action like a hunting animal. Its great jaws dripped foul drool.
“Hold on, Evooku.” said Jack. “Wait a second more.”
Feeling the hot breath of the wolves around them, Jack prepared his mind, imagining the beam of energy he’d need to create with the staff. He had to be accurate. There would be no second chance.
Lycanthor prowled closer.