The Wolf – Chapter 7

Will’s Tavern was full again. It had been an exciting night and everyone wanted to hear the bartender’s summary of what had happened. The tankards of ale were still being passed out. Stev Pulleny was absent for once, saying that he had something to tend to that night. Old Roche pensively nipped at his drink, with no real appetite for either beer or a well-told story.

“Hey, Will,” Poul called from his table, where he’d wrapped his arms around one of the pretty girls. “Tell us about what happened with the Pack again.”

“Okay, okay,” the barkeep laughed and leaned his heavyset form on the counter. “I think they were raiding the village just west of here...”

• • •

...The torches blazed brightly against the sky. Cries of men and women were heard as Alick’s ruthless soldiers went looking for traitors. The only thing they found were a bunch of peasants, some of them with rather pretty daughters, and more than one of these was violated before her parents’ eyes. One of the girls had pressed herself behind the door, her heart flying like a drum that had lost its rhythm. She prayed a mile a minute, hoping that some god would hear her. Cold sweat broke out as she heard the noise of the soldiers coming closer. Suddenly a big, brutish man broke into the house, his torch lighting up the whole room. The girl looked around frantically for a way to escape. In the same instant the big man spotted her and lunged for her. She tried to slip away, but he caught her nightgown. Unfortunately for her it was well made and did not rip. He dragged her back and out into the gloomy night.

“I think we’ll have a bit of fun together,” he laughed.

“No, please, please don’t!” she cried, but it was smothered by his cruel lips. She tried to pull herself away from him as he forced her to the ground, tearing at her nightgown. He leaned back for just an instant and was suddenly hurled off her. A huge black cat was crouched beside the girl. The soldier leaped to his feet, the left side of his face in shreds. The Cat hissed and bared its fangs. Her adversary was fumbling for his gun, but she was quicker. In an instant she leaped on him, razor sharp claws extended. They cut deep into his shoulders, blood coloring his clothing red. The Cat fell back to the ground, but raised itself up once more, raking its left paw across his neck. He pulled away just in time, so the claws only touched his skin, making relatively little damage. The battle with the Cat had destroyed any interest of his in the girl and he fled into the night.

The big beast turned back to the girl and touched her forehead with its rough, pink tongue. She ran her shaking hands through the glossy fur and hugged the animal. The blue eyes remained watchful, before Tabea prodded the girl back to her feet and into the big house.

• • •

The commander of soldiers was just about to “execute” an elderly man, who was unfortunate enough to be related to Stev Pulleny.

“Tell me where that brat is!” the soldier screamed.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the old man wailed, “I haven’t seen him in months.”

“You lie!” He drew his gun and pointed it at the fearful hazel eyes. “You’ve just lived your last day, old man.” His finger tightened on the trigger. In the same instant sharp teeth closed around his wrist, cutting into the skin. He looked to see the angry green eyes of the Wolf staring at him. He tried to shake his wrist free, but the pressure of the jaws just increased. He dropped the pistol, madly watching his blood run from between the beast’s ivory fangs.

“Please, don’t kill me, let me go,” he cried, falling to his knees. Tears rolled down his cheeks. “I don’t want to die, please.” The Wolf growled and opened his jaws. The man was shocked to see pity in its eyes. He gave a sharp yip and looked at the old man, who jumped up and rushed in the house to get some bandages. While the big beast guarded the soldier, Stev Pulleny’s relative washed and bandaged the bite.

“I hope you don’t have rabies,” the impromptu physician whispered to the Wolf. Dylan just smiled calmly and when the old man was finished, he nudged the commander to stand up. The fearful man complied and slowly walked towards the center of the village, where the Gray Pack had made quick work of most of his men. Several of the rough ones were pinned to the ground by huge wolves one man’s face had nearly been destroyed by some kind of sharp object — possibly claws. Aside from the nearly fifty wolves, who were keeping the men in check, there was one large Cat coming out of the shadows, followed by a very pretty girl with a cloak over her shoulders to hide her torn nightgown. The villagers were standing around, the weapons of the soldiers in their hands. Suddenly the commander realized that the wolves were keeping his men from being killed!

“Sir, I don’t know how I can thank you,” he said, turning to the Wolf. “You’ve spared my life and that of my men. I know we deserve to die. If you were human, I’d rather have you as a lord than the old wizard.” Dylan just looked at him with a queer glint in his eye and something like a smile on his furry lips. He then turned and yipped at the wolves. They  rounded up the soldiers and slowly marched them out of the village, the Wolf and the Cat leaving last of all...

• • •

...”It’s almost too incredible to be true,” Will closed slowly, “and I wouldn’t have believed it, if the commander hadn’t been here himself to show me his wounds. It seems to me that he’s changed quite a bit. He’s a lot nicer now and against the old wizard.” He stood up and ran his cloth over the bar. “Now it’s someone else’s turn,” he finished with a laugh.

Old Roche stared at his still half-full mug and smiled to himself  Dylan hasn’t changed, he thought. He still has that same effect on people, just like when he was a kid. He chuckled quietly and raised his cup to his lips.