Stanrick Looked out at the line of watchtowers as the moon hung high in the cloudless sky. Although the night was still young the snow made the world as bright as day there was little to no movement in the night and the sound of a lone ocarina played filling the night. Smoke hung low from his pipe and no soul moved outside the out post. It had been mouths since the humans had left for some other adventure and deep inside he wished that he could go with them and see the world that they spoke of. He pulled the cloke in tight and took a long draw of his pipe.
“Any thing out there?” Stanrick turn to greet Yawn as he came up the watchtower.
“No, not even the wind.” He passed his pipe to Yawn and went back to the view.
“I found two more from the village dead in the pines today… fell through the ice and froze to death.” Stanrick just nodded. “Haven’t seen you in the tavern in town lately. Don’t tell me you have been here the whole time.” Yawn passed the pipe back and Stanrick took a draw. “Rill didn’t tell me to leave.” The words were low like the smoke coming out of his mouth. “Still you at least come down to eat don’t you?” Stanrick shook his head no. “don’t even leave when someone else is on watch but most like the company with things as quiet as the have been.”
The two watch out across the snow covered field and the ocarina song was all they heard.
It was this way for quite some time till Yawn spoke up again. “Why?” But Stanrick just looked out as the trees. “I mean why don’t you go to town?” Stanrick passed the pipe. “3 months… 3 months and not a single Mordok attack. Have you seen any signs on your patrols?” Yawn looked out dumbfounded. It had been 3 mouths since the shaman had attacked with an army of Mordok and now he had not drawn blood. And for some reason the only one that knew was Stanrick who the village thought went nuts after the events that had happened. After all it was winter the attacks did slow up every year at this time, and mostly every one else was worried about food. But to not see the obvious was strange. “What if I get down and they come back?” Stanrick smiled his teeth glistened in the moonlight. The two laughed at the thought that if it was as simple as keeping one ulven in one place and the village never need fear again.
“So that’s not why you’re up here… why then?” Stanrick took the pipe back and he took another long draw. “I have been thinking we owe the Graytide a little pay back for what happened. The village needs food. And if you head that way there is a Graytide camp 3 days away.” He had been thinking about this along time. “Your Crazy! We would freeze or starve! And if not there must be 30 or more of them and Gia knows I would go just to see you rip them a new one but that would start a war! And no one else would go with you! What would Rill do if she heard you were thinking about this?” Stanrick went to the ladder. “Lets find out.”
Stanrick had jumped down the later landing on the frozen ground with a thud nearly scaring Magrat to death. The green Syndar had took up residents in side the walls of the out post and did more then her fair share of work with out her tracking abilities it would be safe to say that many more would have starved. She dropped the bowl of soup she had been bringing up to Stanrick. At the sight of his eyes in the moonlight. The ground was harder then he recalled but his legs worked fine. He made his way to the fire to warm his hands. Rill was not inside the walls but he expected her soon for she had went to the back of the out post to get more wood. The Ocarina had stopped and the young ulven got to his feet. Stanrick had a reputation as a lone wolf before he took Yawn under his wing. “Your down from there?” Stanrick glared at the stupid question. “And seeing its your turn at guard duty you better get up there, AND NO SLEEPING!” the young one ran up the ladder and took up his post. Stanrick warmed his body and watched the flames dance. His mind had been troubled for dreams of walking dead that Magrat had told stories of. For a syndar He liked her, and even tolerated her as he kept watch at night. But the dreams bothered him. Magrat walked over to the fire. “I thought you were never coming down what is on your mind?” she handed him a drinking horn with mead. He took a gulp and wiped his mouth “Graytides. For too long they have been causing problems. I think its time to remind them that you can’t hurt some one under our protection. So I plan to go to the nearest camp and remind of their place.” She had spent quite some time talking to the Grumpy Ulven and felt she knew a little about him so this did take her by surprise. “Are you sure that Really what you want to do?” Some how she felt she could talk him down from this bull headed plan.
But he was not going to back down from this his mind was made up after the Mordok attacked in mass and the other events of that day Stanrick had been Shoved from his post and the anger was more then he cared to put up with he garbed a number of weapons and took off down the trail with Yawn on his trail the 2 ran half a day before they found a gray tide from the hunting party who was giving aid to the Syndar that had shoved him to the ground this could have been the end of it and the 2 would have went home but the hunting party had been more then the 3 that had came to the outpost for the next 4 days the 2 long fangs chased Graytieds back to there camp. The 2 never talked about what happened out in the forest but when they returned Stanrick had a helmet he didn’t leave with.
“Want to come with? I’m sure your skills would be put to use.” The fact that an ulven who for the most part won’t trust other Ulven let alone Humans or Syndar would even suggest this brought a strange pride to Magrat, “No… I can’t I don’t want to start a war.”
Stanrick shrugged “oh it’s going on right now I just plan to strike them before they attack us in the spring. With or with out Rill’s permission” the fire danced in his green eyes.
“No, you WONT!” Stanrick bowed his head and grumbled. Somehow the scolding had taken the fire out of his words. And now he felt like a pup, he knew this wouldn’t fly it was not the Ulven way. “You will not drop to their level! If they want to turn back on honor then the great wolf will deal with them. We are all children of Gaia and that includes the graytide.” He glanced at the watchtower and wished he had stayed put. “I know that we a warriors and that I have to send many to fight and die, but is your life worth so little that you would risk it for a cause that the great wolf would not hear your name?!?” somehow Yawn and Magrat had slinked away from the fire and took the pipes with them. “And what of Yawn? You know he would just fallow you not concerned of what happens he is still young and you should be showing him the path not teaching him bad habits!” this went on for quite some time and would have continued if it wasn’t for the fire going low, and Rill remembering what she was doing before she put Stanrick in his pace. This gave him the chance to slink away knowing full well that if he went now that he may lose his pack and family to pride. He went out the gate and plopped down in the snow. Much had happened and yet he was not part of it. He longed to fight along side with Harlok and Kargon. He stared at the moon as it started to set to the East the sky stated to burn red as the sun would soon rise. He needed sleep and so he did… his eyes closed and he drifted off to a land of dream as he lay in the snow.
It was dark and the grass was covered with dried blood Stanrick looked out over the valley of fallen humans, syndar, and ulvens, he turned to look behind him. A large tent with the flap open had a table with a map. A man in gold armor had been keeping council with others. Some faces he knew others he didn’t, there were banners flapping in the wind.
One man walked out he had heavy plate armor with a blue handprint. “Thank you for keeping your end of the deal now if you excuse me I have some bees to attend to.” The man smiled and walked off. Stanrick turn to the valley of death. The bodies stated to move coming his way he drew his sword, and joined in a charge but all around was death soon he was standing on top of a pile of bodies but more kept coming he started to be over run. “Be not afraid for I know your name.”
He woke in a cold sweet. But not in the snow he was by the fire it was dark again.
“Please Stanrick think before you act I lost too many to the cold.” Rill had covered him in a blanket. Her and Magrat were sitting by the fire. Rill needed to give stanrick a propose in all the year she knew him he had been loyal and she feared that his acting up may have been her fault, if he was acting up would others? “We need supplies I want you and Yawn to see if you can hunt up food. There is a village about 2 days away normally they send food but as of late they have not. See if they can spare anything.” Stanrick sat up this would most likely a better use of his time then what he wanted to do. Without Mordok attacks and the Graytide in winter camp he was just eating food that was not there and this would most likely get his mind off revenge.
“Yes, my lady it would be an honor.” He still felt shame for the foolish acts of the last day. “Then Gaia watch you.” This put her worries to rest if he had been truly ready to disobey he would have strait out said that no honor was in this task. But his head was back on strait and he knew that food was needed if the outpost would make it the rest of the winter.
It only took about 15 minutes to walk up the road to the village that over looked the outpost. And even though 3 ulven had just walked down the road just hours before. The snow had blown over their tracks. Stanrick was nervous this was the first time he had returned to the village since the incident. After running in to the Garytieds 3 months ago the 2 Ulven had spent 4 days nearly bathing in the blood of what ever got in their way. They stunk of death and their tunics stained dark red. The village was in shock when Stanrick brought a sack full of Mordok heads.
Yawn had got off with just a week staying at the outpost. Stanrick spent that week in the stocks the others in the village started rumors that Rill had favored him for one reason or an other. After she let him out he went to the outpost and only left to run the watch line every other day. Once the snow fell he went up on the platform and stayed till 2 days ago. On that platform he ate he slept and was the only place he talked to anyone. But now he was stepping foot in to the village the moment of nervousness was gone.
2 children were grappling in the village green. But once they looked up they stopped and ran off in to a near house and hide. Clearly some one was using him as a “what not to do” To the children of the village. Yawn Pointed to the mead hall. “Lets get a pint before we go on our trip.” Stanrick looked at the Mead hall. “Yeah we can do that.” The 2 walked into the mead hall only a few Ulven were inside before the incident Stanrick was held in high regard but now he lost honor with members of the pack namely the 3 sitting at the back Table.
“So if it ain’t the Syndar lover, make any green half breeds as of late?” this was the first time that Norgoth had enough mead in him to say anything. “No.” Stanrick Sat down at the bar and began to drink his mead. “Stanson did you think you could just walk in here? I’m running village patrol and you can just run to Rill to save you.” And with that the pint of mead was gone. “Have a nice day Norgoth I have real thing to do then fight a self proclaimed village parole.” Stanrick went out the door and out to the village green. “You think you are so important but your not! Your nothing!”
By now the whole village was out side seeing what the commotion was about. “DUEL ME!” Stanrick stopped in his tracks. “Your drunk that would have no honor.” Norgoth smashed his mug on the ground. “You have no honor mix breeder! Fight me!!!” one of the elders walked up to Stanrick ready to over see the fight. “No” Norgoth Jump at Stanrick knife drawn but was tacked by 2 warriors and grappled to the ground.
“ENOUGH!” shouted the elder. “Take Norgoth to the stocks and let him sit till he burns off the rage from all that mead.” The elder walked back to Stanrick “ Son most others would have snapped after claims like you put up with. That shows that you have much restraint. True warriors only fight when they need too not because they want to. I know were you are going and why, no others offered to do what you 2 are going to do the Great Wolf will know your deeds. Gaia be with you.”
With elders blessing and a belling from the village Stanrick and Yawn went off to the village of spruce grove.
The two had been on the road for hours traveling into the night and now the sun had come back around. They had been making good time and had already passed the half waypoint. This was as good of a place as any to rest. It was a high point on the road and over looked the surrounding area. Yawn opened his bag and pulled out a sack of tobacco. “Only two pounds each? That won’t last 3 days!” Stanrick looked over the horizon before lighting up his own pipe. “You smoke to much.” He laughed at the thought the two had been know to fight while smoking away at their pipes a skill that not many could handle. “So before we left the elder said something to you… what was it?” Stanrick turned to face the young Ulven. “While we are out to find out what happened to our supplies we also are to keep an eye out for the bastards they have an idol that in the wrong hands may or may not be dangerous…” he knew it was but didn’t want to get yawn concerned. His younger companion had grown rather fond of ‘the tall red Gollum’ and if he knew that he might have to fight the bastards then who knows what he would do. “What if they don’t want us to have it?” Stanrick took a draw on the pipe. “We take it by force. If we even see them.” Yawn nodded a little. “Well that would be a shame. I don’t hate them. After all they did clean out a good chunk of swamp.” Stanrick nodded “lets get going I want to put another 3 hours behind us before we rest.” The two picked up there bags and went off twoards spruce grove.
Another hour had passed and Stanrick thought about everything the elder had told him. He didn’t tell every thing to yawn. He left out the fact that the Priestess was planning to invite Magrat in to the village to hold council. She would be the first non-ulven to set foot in the village. Some of the ulven there had only heard about humans and syndar. This was a great honor, one that he felt she deserved. The elder asked if Stanrick trusted any other humans or syndar. The bastards had come to mind but unless they willingly handed over the idol with out any force needed he could not vouch for them. Humans bothered him greatly after all a number of them had tried to over take the outpost and had been almost wiped off gaia’s green earth if not for some saving grace that they crawled out of the outpost and regrouped. He had seen humans do foolish thing run into the pines at night with out a plan bring children out into the wilds. Yes it was hard to trust any of them and even after all the bastards had done the fact that they turn and ran from their homes. Why should they stand and fight for his.
As he was thinking about this he smelt it… broken Iron an odd smell that with out fire meant one thing to Stanrick. Blood. It was coming from down the road. The two sprinted around the bend in the road. And there was the source the snow was stained with blood and a number of bodies mostly Ulven lay in the snow a few humans had been with them and what ever they had was taken. “So I believe this is why we have not received any supplies.” Stanrick sniffed the air. “One is alive.” He went over to a man who lay face down in the snow. He had a number of arrows in his back. The two helped him sit up.
“What happened human?” Stanrick asked. The man looked around. “I thought I was going to die here… we were taking supplies to the Onsallas outpost… we thought that the outpost had been getting shipments but the last group that went had one survived who made it back to the village. The Bandits use a trail that takes 2 hours off the journey to the village they must have a camp on the trail I believe they must have at lest 20 of them hiding out that way…” he stated to cough up blood. “Your longfangs right? I heard about you…. I was hoping to see the outpost I hear stories of your pack and wanted to help out the pack that keeps back the Mordok….” Yawn looked at the prints in the snow leading off down a rough trail. Stanrick pulled out a small vial. “Here take this and make peace with your gods, this will ease your passing.”
It had taken some time to get the bodies together and prepare them for the funeral rights but to leave the bodies would be insulting to their names. One of the humans had a book with him he told the story of what lead to this blood bath how one man had ran away from the fight a week before. Some of the bodies where the ones from that party. The book had names even deeds listed. “You understand all them markings?” asked Yawn.
“Enough to know he was studying our ways. I think he wrote all of this in hopes of finding the lost Ulven and send them on to the Great Wolf….” He was a bout to light the pier when he heard the footsteps of someone coming from the direction of the out post. “Someone is coming.”
Stanrick was taking painstakingly care to prepare the bodies ever wound was rapped and every arrow removed in tacked so as not to leave the heads in the bodies. The bodies where then wrapped the best he could with the rags that had been left behind. He took a number of small stones and said a blessing over them, then placed them on the harts on heads of the dead. “What’s that for again?” asked the green syndar. Magrat had been fallowing the two since they left the village with out Stanrick and yawn around she didn’t feel right. And although she had seen a few ulven funerals this was the most she had seen in one place. 8 ulven and 3 humans 3 of the ulven were from the first group judging from the rot. “This will mark the heart and mind, when we burn the bodies part of the sprit will stay with Gaia. So it will become the rocks and ash. The rest goes on to the great wolf.” He placed the rock and Yawn helped him put the bodies on the pile of wood the two had gathered. “Will it burn hot enough? That wood looks still green.” Yawn laughed a little. “Clearly you forget, Stanrick made this…. It will burn.” The last body was in place and Stanrick pulled out a flint from his pouch and struck it the flame took and soon the whole pier was a blasé.
They tended the fire and Stanrick took tales from the book that he had found so the great wolf would know the deeds that the warrior had done. Magrat had pulled out her hookah and the 3 of them smoked and sang songs till the sun set. Then Stanrick went to the pile of arrows 73 of them that he had removed and split them between him self his brother and the Syndar. “Now we will return them to they who theas belong.” The fire was high now and the smoke would be seen miles around Stanrick hope this would cover them as they went down the side trail to the bandits camp. Hopefully they would think it was a wild fire and be concerned of their camp not. Not an attack.
The 3 moved swiftly in the night and the smoke covered the moon. Torch light cold bee seen in the distance and yelling could be heard. 3 men ran past them.
“Hurry we will need to see how far the fire is from camp!” said one of the men as they ran past paying no heed to the 3 in the woods. “How could this start? Mordok?” they continued on their way.
The camp was small, only a dozen men. Far less then Stanrick expected, and only a few keeping watch. This raid would be quick. Stanrick knocked his Bow and took aim.
FWAP! His arrow hit true. FWAP! FWAP! And the watchmen fell Yawn drew his Mace and Stanrick his Sword. The two went in to the camp and began to cut down the men that had been talking by the camp fire not a scream escaped their mouths arrows flew from magrats bow Striking down the guards on the other side of the camp. Then almost as soon as it started it was over. “Get supplies we camp here tonight. Yawn you have first watch the others will be back soon.”
Magrat was glad to see Stanrick in a better mood then what she had been use to. At the out post it took some time for him to open up. Now he treated her like she was one of them she sat by the fire listening to his story. “Wait… You Fought Yawns father when he was courting his mother? He never told me that.” Stanrick smiled “Why should he? We share the same mother. He is her last pup; all but I have gone to meet the great wolf. I was the oldest, but mother grows old I can not let her youngest pass till he gets his fangs.” He checked the fish that was frying in the fire the bandits had food, weapons furs wine and mead. All taken from the supplies that were meant for the longfangs. Tonight they would eat well and rest before moving on to Spruce Grove.
Yawn made a hoot telling Stanrick that the others were returning. “Its us Mekihal the fire was just the ulven burning the dead, get every one ready we might get them on the other side! All was left was ash get the boss!” Stanrick put up his hood as did Magrat and they turned so the fire was to their back. “Did you hear me? Lets go! Wait where is every one?”
Stanrick pulled his sword. “Dead and soon you will join them.
The three took turns keeping watch through the night and when the morning came they took all they could and burned the camp. Spruce Grove was only a few hours away and they reached the village around 2. After talking to a number of people Stanrick Figured out that the bastards had been this way with Kragon they gave him the idol and went off their own way. This was a good sign and he would be glad to report once he got back home. They spent little time in spruce grove just enough to tell the elders that the road was clear again then started Back to Onsallas outpost. Stanrick didn’t talk much heading back, and they only stopped to put a marker where they had held the funeral. The snow was melting and soon the road opened to show the outpost in the valley below. “Come, they will be waiting for you.” Stanrick said to Magrat as they walk down the winding trail.