- 17 (Argentum’s Song – PG)
The young weir was exhilarated by the thrill of her second group hunt. She had scavenged enough meat from the first that her ear had knitted back together while hibernating the previous day. All that was left were the scars showing she was Sharp Teeth’s Thrall.
Runt let out a shout of triumph as the boy sat up screaming. Sharp teeth bore down on him and knocked him over into the undergrowth.
Gray one joined Runt in loosing voice and soon the whole pack was howling. Pack leader had forced them to hold back from the campsite until long after the boy had fallen asleep. It had been torture to crawl step by step toward the prey keeping absolutely silent, but knowledge of Pack leader’s fierce anger had kept them at bay. Now, finally, they could embrace their true selves, hurling threats and obscenities at the two helpless, weak, humans in the clearing.
A yelp of surprise, caused Runt to look back at the human the other three pack members were charging. He had gotten to his feet with his single claw drawn impossibly fast, it shone with a brilliance that blinded if you looked directly at it. Pack leader had skidded to a stop but One Eye had tumbled past where the human had been sleeping moments ago. Dark Hide checked and redirected his charge. Runt could see why Sharp Teeth was beginning to fear for his position as number two. Dark Hide had the sort of physical and mental quickness necessary for a number two in a pack of the size Pack Leader desired to grow, and as Pack Leader’s Thrall, his loyalty was much more secure.
There was a flash of silver and the human’s claw was directly in the path of Dark Hide’s charge. An instant later Dark Hide lay at the large human’s feet, skull split open and leaking it’s contents on the ground.
Pack Leader’s voice ground out the order with an authority Runt couldn’t refuse, even without owing her allegiance directly to him. Within seconds Gray One and her had joined One Eye and Pack Leader in circling the prey. Something in Pack Leader’s eye’s looked confused, almost scared. However his next commands pushed such impossibilities from Runt’s mind
“It will pay for taking Dark Hide from me. Stay out of reach of it’s claw. Charge from behind if you have an opening. The one who takes it down, can keep it.”
Runt yipped in delight. She had dreamed of the chance to have her own Thrall but being lowest in the pack, she assumed she would have to spend many cycles plotting before she could attempt such a coup. Her instincts told her this large man had the potential to become a great weir, giving great status to it’s Liege. Knowing that she had to act fast if she was ever going to act, she charged the moment she was out of his line of sight.
The man was just too fast! His claw spun toward her like a lightning bolt, blinding her and separating her foreleg from her as easily as bark pulled away from rotten wood. Runt yipped and rolled backward over herself and taking cover under the undergrowth of a nearby evergreen. Pack Leader’s face grew ashen.
“Wolfripper … attack as one!”
Pack Leader, One Eye and Gray One all sprang at once. Wolfripper danced in an arc separating Gray One’s head from his body and then sheathing itself in One Eye’s flank. The Large Human spun to put One Eye’s bulk between itself and Pack Leader, freeing the Wolfripping claw as it did so. However, Pack Leader was long gone. He had leapt the opposite direction and taken off running as quickly as possible.
Runt wanted to join him in flight but found it impossible to move any further away from Sharp Teeth than she already was. Her Liege still had his face buried in the smaller human’s body. Likely lost in the decadence of gorging and oblivious to the slaughter taking place around him. Runt felt compelled to warn him but her fear of the blinding claw even overpowered the Thrall bond. She was powerless to do anything other than huddle paralysed in her sparse cover. The man spun once, twice, three times and then released his claw into the air. It flew in a direct course for Pack Leader, streaking through the sky. Then just before it collided with the base of Pack Leader’s skull it lost it’s glow and all but disappeared.
Runt heard Pack Leader’s yelp of pain but also saw him get up within an eye blink and continue on his retreat. Runt considered attempting to attack the now defenceless human, even in her wounded state, until she saw him pull a much smaller claw from his belt. This one didn’t glow but it still looked dangerous so she kept still. She was glad she did when she saw him drive the claw into Sharp Teeth’s spine and heard a cry. She was surprised that it was the cry of a human rather than the cry of a pack member. However, either way she was now sure Sharp Teeth was ended. As quietly as she could, Runt wriggled back into the underbrush and crawled away.