Part I – Argentum’s Source
Argent blew two short blasts on the sentry horn. Before he removed the horn from his lips Simon was already on his feet by the camp-fire. His creased, weathered face took a moment to sweep the frost covered clearing before his dark eyes looked up the redwood and locked with Argent’s.
Argent didn’t need to answer. The beasts had heard the horn as well and given up stealth. Their blood curdling war-cries echoed off the mountain pass slightly south of the clearing where the caravan had set up camp. The merchant, servants and other guards were beginning to wake but most hadn’t even made it out of their bedrolls by the time the two attackers charged past the last of the foliage.
Argent hefted a leg over his perch and slipped to a branch below. Moving as quickly as possible, he wrapped his arms around the large limb, swung so his legs dangled and dropped. His bent knees absorbed most of the shock of landing on the frozen ground. He grabbed Barwolfripper from where he had left it standing against the tree and spun. He had the claymore half out of its sheath before he realized he was too late.
In the time it had taken Argent to get out of the tree, Simon had already dealt with the creatures. The grey one had been cut neatly in two down the middle, probably before it even knew what had happened. The darker one had made it to the camp-fire before Simon’s Wolfripper had found its mark mid-spine. Its face still shuddered slightly, stunned at the metal that had paralyzed it so easily. The shock almost made the twisted and distorted features compassion worthy. Almost, but not quite. Particularly because Argent’s mind was occupied by the fact that he had once again been too slow to make his first kill.