Mark Fleming would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Wolf Warriors (Book 1 of the Wolfslayer series)

By Mark Fleming All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

Blurb

584 A.D. These are the Dark Ages. The Roman Empire has fallen and the former colony of Britannia faces an uncertain future. Vikings pillage the coasts, seizing slaves. Bandits roam the countryside, some of them cannibals. Feral dogs prowl the forests. For the native Celtic tribes every day is a fight for survival. The Celts are protected by their ancient guardians, the druids. They have practiced their white magic for countless generations: upon a druid’s death, these powers immediately pass on to their firstborn. But the Celts are facing a deadly new adversary. Anglo-Saxons have invaded from Germany, forging new English kingdoms in Celtic blood. Among these ruthless invaders are shamen who dabble in black magic. Paega, their most evil sorcerer, has unearthed the secrets of shapeshifting. He can transform warriors into werewolves. Kai, a druid, is butchered by a demonic wolf. His daughter Kady must learn to use her newfound powers. Quickly. She has little time to lead her people to safety. By day the Anglo-Saxon warbands are everywhere. By night the forests echo with the shrill howls of wolf warriors: on the trail of druid blood.

Prologue

Kady was transfixed by the claw marks in the man’s skull, the crimson rivulets welling above the eyeless sockets. His terror-stricken mouth yawned and he sucked in a breath but instead of a scream a strident melody sounded. When onlookers roared their approval the vision receded, leaving only perspiration coursing down his features as his rich baritone reached the song’s finale. With a theatrical sweep of his arms he bowed to accept the thunderous acclaim.

Torean clambered atop the table he’d been pounding with his fists in time to the harmonies. The brawny chieftain grinned while steadying himself to raise his wineskin. “Fantastic, Telor! You sing like a fucking robin. A plump, red breasted robin.” A furious belch ruined the image. “The rest of you drunken bastards ... charge whatever you happen to have your snouts in and thank our Gods ... and thank Telor, our wonderful robin ... bard ... for his fitting tribute to Kai, our druid. Everyone ... to Kai ... druid of the Dumnonii … the heartiest of best wishes on your fortieth year!”

“To Kai!” the glowing toast echoed around the hall, signalling vessels to be thrown back, or their contents simply heaved into the air to splatter like sweet rain. Torean leapt into the arms of his bemused bodyguards, the trio collapsing in a dishevelled heap and prompting further ribald roars.

Kai weaved his way through the cordial mayhem, accepting the flurry of handshakes, wincing with each goblet tossed over his already drenched tunic. Reaching Telor he slapped the bard across his broad shoulders. “My friend! I thank you for the fine aria. I feel truly honoured. Torean was right. You sang beautifully as a robin.”

“If robins were in the habit of quaffing flagons of Cornish ale,” he scoffed, swiping the back of his hand over his lips. “I’m surprised I recalled the words … forty verses I composed specially in your honour, Kai … telling the story of your years serving the Dumnonii as their druid … and not just the Dumnonii, my friend … each of the neighbouring tribes has had cause to rely on your powers … many times … especially my own, the Durotriges.”

Kai thrust an arm around the bard’s much bulkier frame. “I cast spells, I help those who need help. I’m a druid, Telor. That’s what I do.”

“And I’m a bard, Kai. I sing. Tell sagas. I entertain. Mostly. That’s what I do! But now my entertaining is concluded. Now I drink!”

“You deserve it … after all, you’ve travelled some way to be here … among this riot!”

“A day’s ride on my trusty horse. I’ll collapse on this floor in the small hours, snore loudly, break my fast heartily long after the sun has risen, then I’ll be back in my own village by the morrow’s sunset.”

“There are many guests here who’ve arrived from far and wide, Telor. I’m flattered. It’s just like the old days.”

“Indeed, Kai. These gatherings have all but died out since the invasion.”

At the mention of the German barbarians who had conquered vast swathes of land far to the east, Telor seized a drinking horn from someone blundering by who remained oblivious. He took an expansive drink then burped. “Tonight we toast our druids, our ancient guardians. Ah … Kai, your beautiful green-eyed daughter approaches! Kady!”

The druid turned to the striking redhead weaving through the scrum of inebriated figures. Although she was smiling at the condition of her father and his friend, a troubled look flitted across her face. Failing to notice, Telor wrapped her in an embrace. “Kady!”

“Telor. You’re soaked through! Are you drinking to toast father’s birthday or merely emptying it over yourself?”

“A bit of both, beautiful one.” With that he drained his horn before tossing it over his shoulder.

“I’ll bid you good drinking, Telor,” concluded Kai. I would have a word with my daughter.”

Telor grasped Kady’s hand, kissing the back of it, repeating the gesture with Kai. Then he about turned, becoming enveloped in the boozy gaggle beyond.

Kai’s grin remained in place even as he lowered his voice and bowed closer to the teenager. “You appear puzzled, Kady?”

Pausing for a moment while she considered her response, she sipped from the goblet clutched in her slender fingers, studying the intricate patchwork of tattoos flourishing from her right shoulder to the back of her hand. “Telor’s face …”

“As you said, Kady, he is soaking. His hair and clothes will reek of ale!”

Kady glimpsed the bard through the crowd. He caught her eye and winked. For a moment she saw the vision again – his features bloodied, bruised, disfigured – before the image faded into his jovial self.

“No father, that is not it. I keep seeing ... imagining things.”

Premonitions? Good. I’ve been seeing them, too, daughter. In time you will be able to channel your visions of the future ... and the past. Of many things.”

“It’s Telor ...”

“Yes. I will urge him to be cautious on his long journey eastwards. There are bandits in the forests. And wolves.” But Kai relaxed, linking arms. “Even a few months ago you would’ve only seen a drunken bard, Kady. I’m aware of your druid powers growing stronger with each new sunrise. And you know your destiny, Kady. When I pass, you will become the tribe’s druid. You will inherit my magical powers. You will be a powerful enemy for anyone who would harm the Celts.”

Kady nodded. But she’d already sensed a shift in her latent powers, a rising awareness of the abilities that would be transferred to her one day. Glancing at her father she wondered if this was perhaps some indication of his impending mortality. She was about to articulate this when something else demanded her attention. Dancing in the background were the party of guests who’d travelled furthest, from the marches where the age-old Celtic realm of Dumnonia bordered the kingdom their enemies now called Wessex. For a flickering second their figures were not dancing but jolting from the impact of numerous arrows, and their garments were wreathed in flames.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Drew C. Elyon: I've only read one chapter so far, but from what I've seen, this is steampunk at its best. The narrative flows so beautifully I could envision every scene in an almost cinematic fashion. I believe in the complexity of simplicity, and this story has that in its descriptions.

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

Bad: The Setting was applicable to the characters, the readers can relate to the story.The author use the POV which the readers can feel, and the author keeps hook in every chapter and it will make you to rethink about everything.It was a hooking story, since from the beginning to the end, it has many...

Capsi.rum : Story is unbelievable but i m bit off about end because there should be reunion of hamilton with all of his friends that's it

Dr.Strangelove: not the ending I expected.

More Recommendations

NancyRichFoster: This second book of the Anmah Series was as awesome as the first story, I disagree with spare runner. The names were ordinary names with different spellings, which I for one loved. I am now going to read the third book in this amazingly awesome story!

Kevin Brand: My overall rating: 4.8/5 starsLoved. Every. Second. Everytime I came back to continue reading I got this overwhelming feeling of getting hooked on the first sentence... Over and over and again!The only things that were missing for me include more descriptions on what happens when Reuben touches s...

Jason Phang: I'm pretty new to Inkitt (this is only my 4th book) and I must say I've been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the authors here. Remnants of Chaos is an excellently written book that hooks the reader, and doesn't let go. There are some grammatical and typographical errors, but nothing too se...

bloodrosemaiden: I love this book!! I have read it several times and though there could be improvements I applaud the author. I know positive feed back is appreciated!! I enjoy reading about the learning the different character's backstories, and the affects in the overall story!

jennywren313: This is a throughly engaging and ripping yarn ... I loved the writing style .. the flashbacks so real that the current moments forgotten .. it is a great read and one I would recommend to anyone that enjoys a bit of a mystery .. wrapped up in a story .. carried by well described characters .. and...

Warren Bull: I thought this was a fast=paced thriller with elements of several other genres woven seamlessly in. It hooked me early and held my attention throughout. I liked the humor and surprises along the way. I really enjoyed the novel. I am not a big fan of romances or paranormal works,but when those ele...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.