Chapter Nine

March 5, 2011


            We decide to get all the townsfolk into the tavern and adjoining buildings, with the wounded on the top floor.  We position ourselves around town, and prepare for a fight with the wolves.  After a while, we notice the rams start to position themselves around the ewes.  Shortly thereafter, two small pieces of metal fly through the air, and a creature falls in a heap across the clearing.  Brianna calls out, “Wolves!” and we’re in action.

Finn fires and drops another, while I fire and get a solid hit on a third.  Ulric charges into the fray, and impales a wolf on his lance.  Briggette, who had apparently fallen asleep on Chancellor, wakes up to an attack by two of the wolves.  They appear to be going directly for her legs rather than attacking the horse.  She retaliates, and hits one of the wolves.  Chancellor attacks and kills one of them.  Brianna closes on the remaining wolf, and hurts it, but doesn’t kill it.

At this point, a massive wolf jumps from the roof of the tavern onto the balcony with Korvinean and attacks him.  This beast is nearly the size of a horse!  He grabs Korvinean and jumps to the ground with the elf still in his mouth.  Finn draws his sword and jumps down after the creature, but he injures his leg in the process.  His sword, however, finds purchase, and injures the wolf.

Back on my side of the corral, I notice two more wolves hiding between two buildings.  I fire and hit one of them, then scurry up a nearby tree.  I begin firing down on the two wolves clambering at the base of the tree.

From a distance, we hear the sound of wood rending apart.

Ulric slices through another wolf, while Alabaster goes for another and makes mincemeat of him.  Korvinean now has another wolf trying to eat his feet while the first continues chewing on his shoulder.  He struggles, but cannot safely get free from this savage tug of war.  Briggette charges the larger wolf, and injures him, but he doesn’t let Korvinean go.  Brianna smashes her fist into the wolf attacking her, and grins to herself as she feels brain matter squish between her fingers.  Ulric makes quick work of the last wolf on him, and turns toward the tavern.

The big wolf turns to look directly at Briggette, and says, “I will eat your heart.”  He lets go of Korvinean and turns toward Chancellor.  Korvinean breaks the other wolf’s hold on him and gets to his feet.  Briggette and Chancellor both attack the abomination, once again dealing damage, but not bringing him down.  Brianna has joined the fray, and attacks the other wolf. 

Suddenly, the doors of the tavern burst open and the townsfolk begin flooding out.  The large talking wolf carefully withdraws and slinks between two of the buildings, yipping slightly as he goes.  Two more wolves jump out of the tavern and follow him away.  The two wolves at the bottom of my tree also turn tail and follow him.  Brianna chases them around the corner and throws two shuriken at the large wolf.

Ulric remounts and rides into the tavern, finding one child still alive.  The townspeople are scattering and hiding amongst the sheep.  Korvinean rounds the corner and shoots at the large wolf.  Things appear to be calming down, when Finn yells, “Oh, crap!  Briggette went after them!”  Korvinean runs into the tavern and tells Ulric to go after them.

Ulric quick mounts Alabaster and takes off after Briggette.  He grabs Brianna on the way by and slings her up behind him onto the horse.  After three solid minutes of riding, the wolves reach the edge of the woods and Briggette follows.  Ulric follows behind her at full tilt as well, bursting through into the woods. 

“You might want to shield your face,” he says to Brianna.  A bit further on, Briggette enters a clearing.  She sees the pony-sized wolf, a large mastiff-sized bitch wolf, another mastiff-sized wolf, and three normal wolves.  Next to the large wolf, she sees a human woman with blonde hair.  She is in robes and carries a staff.

Briggette pulls up and yells, “Who are you people?”

The woman does not respond, but starts chanting, and a giant dire weasel appears in the clearing.  Ulric enters the clearing and charges the largest wolf while Brianna throws shuriken at the same animal.  He is hit firmly, but still doesn’t go down.  He leaps up and attempts to rip Ulric from the horse, but cannot get him to fall.  Ulric turns and attacks in return, and Alabaster rears back.  He brings his hooves down on the beast and stomps it into oblivion.  Brianna tumbles off the horse.  The woman takes a step or two and uses a spear to stab into Alabaster’s side, but only injures him.

Briggette and Chancellor attack the dire weasel and send him back from whence he came.  Brianna attacks the woman with stunning blow, leaving her unable to cast for a moment.  Finn impales another wolf on his lance and keeps moving.  Ulric moves toward the woman and attacks her, dealing little damage but keeping her from casting again.  One of the mastiff-sized wolves rips Finn from his horse!  He tries to stand up, but the wolf drags him down again.  Ulric lances the woman once again, and bloodies her further.  The wolves all attack, and each one misses.  The woman takes a moment to drink a potion, and suddenly disappears.  She blinks back into existence five feet to the side, right in front of Brianna.  Briggette misses, but Chancellor hits.  Brianna hits the woman in the face, and she goes down.

Suddenly, a large orange and white cat with black stripes jumps into the clearing from the woods.  Ulric attacks the bitch-wolf, and hits her, but she misses when she retaliates.  A wolf tries to pull Brianna down, but fails.  Briggette charges the large cat and she and Chancellor destroy it.  The party continues to battle the wolves, and Ulric finally kills the alpha. 

Brianna ties up the woman, who is bleeding to death, then begins to search her.  Ulric hops down and binds her wounds. 

About this time, Korvinean arrives to see the carnage in the clearing.  He makes a rudimentary sled to haul the carcasses back into town.  Ulric takes the woman on his horse, and very slowly and carefully rides back through the woods toward town.

The next day, Ulric conducts a trial for the woman.  He questions her about her activities.  “What are you doing to these people?”

“Removing them.”

“Who gives you the authority to remove people from the Count’s land?”

“These are my woods.”

“No, these are the Count’s woods.”  Ulric details the borders of his father’s land.  “Are you challenging the authority of the Count?”

“I challenge the authority of anyone who claims to rule these lands.”

“So, you are seditious, then?”

“Sedition.”  She laughs.  “To admit sedition implies that I recognize any authority here.  These woods belong to no one.”

“These woods were handed down from St. Cuthbert . . .” he details his father’s lineage and his right to hold the land.

“I serve those who were here before Cuthbert existed.”

“Ah, treason, as well, then?” Ulric is losing patience.  “By the authority vested in me by Count Zurwald, I find you guilty of murder, sedition, treason, witchcraft and some sort of black magic I do not understand.  You are sentenced to death.”  He swings his sword and beheads her.