Cry for the Wolf, Chapter 8. by Richard Walker

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Chapter 8.

The golden light of morning stole softly through the chilly morning mist, slowly burning it away to tattern phantoms as it gilded the tawny sands marking the shore of the great Dansis River. The fleeing mists reluctantly revealed the body of a man as he lay half-buried, just under the sands which were still luke-warm from carrying his body heat through the cool of the night.
He twitched ... then again ... then he tossed in fitful sleep .

... dark images of wolves on the hunt ... hot on his heels, he runs as hard as he can, clear crisp air setting his lungs aflame, but his feet seem leaden, his limbs bound so that every movement seems to stretch on endlessly. The beasts continue to race towards him, flickering ever closer like streaks of lightning; suddenly they are al/ around him, right before him. The heaviness binding his limbs snaps and the effort concentrated on his movement hurls him forward to sail into their snarling maws. Red tongues framed by ivory fangs that grow before his very eyes to the size of longswords, the wolves' mouths stretch to encompass his whole body and he finds himself sailing between their waiting jaws. Just as he is about to be consumed, awash in the stench of blood and death, a spark of argent light cleaves through the wolfs, showing them to be no more than ephemeral shadows. He is wreathed in shining light, blinding white edged with tints of gold, blue, and green. Too-bright images of warriors encased in strange suits of shining white metal emerge from the light, surrounding him even as the wolves had beforehand. He sees that their mouths are silent, but there is a sort of music. The warriors are accompanied by a song as they move. The warriors and the song are one. They sing without words like the ringing of tiny faerie bells, and he knows it is the metal that sings to the world of the men it protects, and he sees in the light that flows over it strange shadows dancing in patterns ancient even to the archaic traditions of his own people.

It was the Wyrd.
He felt its presence, and shuddered …
With the first touch of light upon his face he awoke, as was his custom, but this time with a start that held an air almost of desperation with which it was obvious he was uncomfortable. Brow creased in consternation, he rubbed his eyes. He stood then and stretched his massive arms overhead, his bronzed skin gilded in the rising sun. Tall he was, with broad, thick shoulders, deep chest, and a back wide as a pair of barn doors, muscles like corded masses of chiseled stone, all. His brow was high and square and his jaw held enough bone for at least three other men. Braids of sun-bleached blonde hair hung to his mid-back, even after being swept up again to his head where they were tied with a spray of horse hair and pony beads. He had not allowed his hair to be cut since he joined the Horse Men, the greatest of the warrior societies of his tribe. When not tied up as they were the braids hung down to his knees. At his narrow waist hung a hunting knife in its fringed, hide sheath, the belt securing a breechclout hemmed with squirrel tails that hung mid-way down his thick, tree-trunk legs.

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