B10 – NIGHT’S DARK TERROR
03 FYRMONT OF 1005 AC
HILLS TO THE SOUTH OF THE VOLAGA RIVER.
Tiberius watched helplessly Marjana, crouched behind a tree, covering her ears with shaking hands and her face streaked with tears. Whenever she heard the heartbreaking neighing of horses, slaughtered and devoured to death, her body was shaken by waves of pain and uncontrollable shivering. At first he tried to console her, Adrik himself had tried to comfort her, to no avail.
“BITCH!” growled Brannart through clenched teeth. “It cannot go on like this all night.”
Tiberius, Dan and the Klantyre man exchanged quick glances. They knew very well that this was the intent of werewolf female and that they, helpless, had no way to stop that horrible carnage. “How many may she have caught in such a short time?” asked Adrik, referring to the wild horses that the she-werewolf and her pack, had managed to capture during the night. His question fell on deaf ears. “We talked about this. It is unthinkable, without Vaeris, to follow the trail and hunt her down at night.” The paladin, perhaps for the first time since he had assumed the leadership of the group, felt he did not have the full control of the situation and, above all, that he did not have a clear way before him to deal with that situation. “It is not your fault and I am convinced that even Vaeris would have agreed with your decision.” said Dan dryly.” Unfortunately we are dealing not only with a bloodthirsty monster but also a cunning beast. Bailakask knows better than we do the territory and ..” The young of Specularum weighed his words carefully before continuing. “I’m really struggling, now, to see if we’re really chasing her or if the role has been reversed.”
Dan had always had two peculiar gifts. Irony and frankness. His friends appreciated his company for that. At that point, however, Tiberius and the others would have probably appreciated, less candor and optimism.
Each time Tiberius had to take an important decision, he began to walk back and forth. Back and forth. Tireless. He cleared his mind and tried to retrace the events of the past two days. Ever since they left the Petrified Forest and Vaeris and Stoik had left the group and ridden straight to the north, toward the area of the hills where they had seen the last time Loshad, the lord of horses. The meeting with the chevall, the mythological creature halfway between a human and a horse but, unlike a common centaur, also able to take the form of a stallion, had been at least curious. Curious because for the first time in days the gnome Glimreen, that all the time had remained silent and aloof, had started to scream in a strange language. To Tiberius it seemed a bit like elven, although with shorter words and much harsher sounds. “Language centaurs … I speak!” had only said the gnome and everyone had thought he was crazy. At least until Loshad had emerged from the ridge of a hill, accompanied by his personal guard composed of a pair of mighty wild horses. In the following Marjana explained to them the honor that the chevall accorded them in manifesting in his true form, the hybrid between man and horse. His mantle was dark as night, with a powerful and muscular body.
The tanned and shapely torso had brought back to Tiberius the memories of his childhood, the years lived in Thyatis and the statues of the ancient emperors located along the fora of the capital. Loshad had studied them for a moment, the eyes as dark as pitch, the long hair tied with leather laces and eagle feathers in a thick braid. The full, well-groomed, beard ended in a sharp triangle just above the breastbone. In his hand he wielded a strong wooden pole with leather laces and mystical carvings on its surface. “I will point the way to Xitaqa, The Lost City of Hutaaka ..” he told them at the end of the short meeting and the equally concise bargaining “..but in return, for me and the other noble beasts living in the hills, you will put an end to the reign of terror of Bailakask, the werewolf and her son Kalkask!” Yes, the son, Kalkask. Tiberius had stopped and now watched in horror the naked, lifeless and pale body of the boy, lying dead at his feet. In human terms how old might he be? 13? 14 years old? But was a werewolf human? Or at least, had he ever been, human? The large pool of blood, following the fatal gash he had dealt with his sword a few hours before, was now completely dried and the crimson blood had now taken a tone more similar to a dark puddle of mud. The paladin stared for a few moments the face of the ruthless enemy they had been hunting for the entire previous day. Pale freckles decorated the face of the child, now peaceful in death. He had an innocent look and nothing remained of the ravenous and bloodthirsty beast of a few hours before. This made it even more difficult to proceed. He drew his sword from the sheath and it hissed like that of a fair ready to jump on its intended victim. “What do you do?” asked Brannart cautiously.
“If we want to hunt down a ruthless beast and full of hatred and resentment, we must harness his hatred and thirst for revenge to our advantage. We will give her even more reasons to hate us, and then, when it will be completely blinded and at the mercy of her own feeling, we hit her straight to the heart. Without mercy !! “