The main hall of the castle was all but empty when King Roderick LeClair arrived. He was planning a meeting and he wanted to get there early to speak with someone before the others arrived for the real meeting. As he walked into the room he was sure that the other person hadn't showed up, he hated that people believed he could be walked all over. He was the King and he would be treated like one by his subjects; or they would pay for it. He walked to the throne at the end of the room that sat on a small platform a little above the rest of the floor.The floor was stone, the only part covered in something else was where the throne sat, which was covered by a red rug.
The throne itself was made of solid carved mahogany shinned to perfection every morning by servants, the cushions in the seat were red velvet with gold trim, the throne stood about seven feet tall, and had the family crest carved into the top.
The throne had been built by his grandfather who had given it all of his love and care to make it the finest throne for his family to sit upon. He had carved one that was slightly smaller for the wives of the future Kings and they were just as well crafted.
He remebered watching his grandfather create those beautiful pieces, he always believed in knowing a true trade despite being a King. His grandfather hadn't enjoyed the politics of his crown nor had he truly learned the art of being a ruler. Roderick's father had faired about the same as his father before him. He had embraced the politics, the clandestine plotting, and the luxury of his office. As Roderick took a seat upon his throne he was aware of a figure behind him just out of the dim light of the nearby torches.
"Greetings King Roderick." a deep grumbling voice whispered behind him. "Meeting with your advisors and Sorcerors tonight?" "Clan Leader Mathius." Roderick said stiffly. "I was expecting you three days ago for this meeting when your people arrived to say you were coming tonight. They say you have an offer for me." "That's right it. My clan, what remains of it, wish to aid you in your war against the shadow walkers." Mathius said quietly.
"What are you wanting in return for all of this aid you offer us?" Roderick scoffed. "Only a few minor things that wouldn't trouble you and yours in the slightest I assure you, your majesty." Mathius said clearly trying to curry favor. "What do you want Mathius?" "Well since his majesty had asked.
My clan would like to take possession of the wolf clans home, that old temple, and I would have a request of the Sorcerors here at the castle." "What request would that be Mathius?" Mathius stepped out infront of the king and he could see that the man's face was inhuman like it had been in all their meetings.
His face was too wide and his teeth to large to remain within his too small mouth. One of his eyes was a dark brown while the other was black, his skin was white with dark brown hair sprouting from all over, and his body looked deformed.
Almost like half of it was larger then the rest. It was a disgusting sight to behold. Roderick would believe this hideous creature had been born this way if he hadn't seen him when he was normal, he was a handsome man when he wasn't in this form.
This visage had been what would happen when he tried to hold up his second form for to long, he would start to revert slowly back to his human form though he would fight it.
Which was why he looked the way he did now. "Your visage disgusts me Mathius." he grumbled averting his eyes from the man. "It wouldn't have to if you would grant my people what we want and you've already done it so much for so many others of my kind." Mathius said bowing. "What is it man! Speak now or be gone from me this minute." "I want you to curse us to our true forms or for your mages to do so.
You cursed the wolves, the birds, and even the lowly cats of the far jungles. My people want to be in touch with our true powers and being cursed with the form of our true selves would give us that power." "What is your true form then?" Roderick asked his curiousity sparked.
Mathius smiled his eyes both turning black as he watched the king, there was something about those eyes that would strike fear into a man. He suddenly jerked his body back throwing the cloak from him as he let out a terrifying roar like scream. He convulsed horribly and the sounds of bones breaking and reforming filled the room.
Blood began to leak from his eyes and nose as he convulsed violently, when it seemed he would be killed it happened. The change he was forcing to happen was causing him emmense pain and when it finally happened he shouted joyously.
The shout of joy turned to a roar when his true form was taken. "Well. this will be useful to your king." Roderick said his eyes lighting up at the sight. He could see a plan forming in his mind and it all depended on his nephew not returning from the wolves.
*** Gregor rode straight on until he was back in the fields of his king passing the large herds of sheep by as he went. He was happy to see that the sheep were doing so well this year, so many new additions to the herd. He was well liked among the sheperds and they were there im the fields waving to him when he rode by the last farm before reaching the towns. He was worried about what to say to his uncle when he got back too the castle, he wouldn't be happy with the failed mission.
Gregor sighed deeply thinking about the disappointment, anger, and the resentment he would no doubt get from the king. He was worried for a few minutes but then he thought about the bite on his arm which lead him to briefly forget the king. The wound hadn't really been a problem though it would feel warm or it would itch. He was worried about the wound but it didn't really appear to be infected just a little irritated was all. He had no fever or anything that would impair him and it had been two days.
Though he had noticed a few times hearing things that weren't there or smelling things that he didn't believe to be there at any rate. "Hestr we are almost home now and that means no more wolves for awhile at least." Gregor sighed giving his mare an affectionate pat on the neck. Hestr gave a snort and tossed her mane to the side seeming to agree with him on the matter at the moment.
Gregor rode through town without halting till he reached the castle gates where he knew he would need to be on his guard. He was eager to reach the king and give him his report on the outcome at the temple.
He didn't know how much to tell King Roderick about the mother Aslaug who had been generous as was possible to the man who murdered her brother. He stopped at the gate looking at one of the guards. "Greetings Gregor welcome home. How were your travels?" the guard called with a big smile. "It was informative. Can you tell me where the King is?" Gregor asked returning the smile. "He is in the throne room meeting with the advisors and his mages." the guard replied.
"Well I will have to wait for the King to finish, have someone find me when the King is free." "Of course Gregor." Gregor dismounted and took hold of Hestr's reins leading her away from the gate. He could see the the stable hands running his way eagerly waiting to attend to his horse.
The stable hands were young sons of the soldiers and the servants who worked for the royal family in the castle. They were hoping that one day they would be able to join the army and fight the king's battles.
They loved running out to ask the returning warriors to tell them stories of the battles they had won or to teach them new skills for their swords. The first one ran up and took the reins from Gregor's hands leading her back to the open stables.
The others looked up at the man eagerly, their eyes like those of lost puppies. "What happened out there?" one boy asked eagerly. "Were there any monsters out there that you had to kill?" another asked. "Will you teach us some new sword tricks?" the first asked again. "Easy kids. It was just a short survey for the king, no there weren't any monsters, and I don't really have time to help you boys train right now I'm sorry. I have to go to see the king but I'll be back in a little while." Gregor said with a smile patting the closest one's head.
The kids looked a little disappointed but they smiled when he said he'd be back later. They turned their attention to the horse and their duties as stable hands.
Hestr walked away with the kids and seemed ready to be to rest up in the stall they always had prepared for her. The kids would remove her tack and then brush her until she got tired enough to rest. The horses loved the children and especailly Hestr who was used to such special attention by now. Gregor walked away from the stable heading towards the barracks where he would be ready to relax until he could be received by the king.
*** Aslaug laid in the temple sleeping with her pack around her, even though they were missing Mordred who still hadn't returned with word of the rest of the pack. She was eager for the rest of her pack to be back within the safety of the temple territory, it made her uneasy in her sleep. She was eager for the return of her pack and the possibles return of the young Gregor De Monte, he was sure to seek her guidance within the next few days.
Aslaug awoke when a sound from outside the temple got her attention, she lifted her head and listened closely. She could hear someone walking outside the temple and it sounded like they were trying to walk quietly. She cautiously sniffed at the air waiting to figure out if the smell was one familair to her from the local village. "What is it mother Aslaug?" Ylva asked, she was a grey and white female. Aslaug looked over at the young female and then back towards the temple opening where she still heard someone moving around out there.
She stood and walked over to Ylva where she was laying. "Everything is alright Sister Ylva go back to sleep child." she said soothingly. Ylva reached up with her muzzle and licked gently at Aslaug's own muzzle. She turned to the temple entrance as the younger wolf returned to sleep beside her twin litter mate Edon. She stepped out of the temple to see a man walking towards the her when he finally noticed her he paused as if in surprise at the sight.
He was one of the hunter's sons and as she looked at him she knew that the young man was the son of the drunkard. Aslaug stepped towards him as he looked at her his eyes lighting with fear as he shakingly drew an arrow from his quivver. Aslaug could see the fear in his eyes as he watched her approach him. The young man notched the arrow in the bow and lifted it in his shaking hands ready to fire at her.
"Are you searching for something boy? Trying to prove yourself perhaps?" she asked laying down with her paws crossed. The boy's eyes widened and he actually dropped the bow without firing at the female wolf. She kept her eyes locked with his and as he watched she laid her head on her paws slowly. "You speak?" the boy coughed. "Of course. And it would appear you do as well human pup, what is it you seek child tell mother Alsaug." she spoke.
"My mother's people believe that if we can kill a strong creature such as you that we're given the strength of that creature." he replied. "Mmm so your looking for power then?" "Yes mother Aslaug." "If you want power child travel to the south for a time.
There is a sage that can teach you all you need to know about true power, I learned from him when I was a child." "But your a wolf." Aslaug chuckled dryly and barked "It wasn't always this way. You'd best go before the pack awakens, safe travel boy." The boy watched her walk away before he gathered his things and turned his travels to the south, he wanted to find this sage. Aslaug laid down and rested her head at the front of the temple where she could watch for the return of Mordred.
She was ready for her friend and advisor to return to the pack with the rest of their numbers. She laid down and slept again. *** Roderick looked at Mathius with a new found respect and if he was honest, he had a few new plans he was ready to put into order now that he had such. a powerful ally on his side. "You want the wolves' land and you shall have it but first you will have to kill them off.
I'll send you there as part of the retaliation when we receive word of my nephew's tragic death." Roderick said with a smile. "Remain with me and we shall speak to the mages together." Roderick sent for the mages and his war advisors so they could discuss the deal with Mathius' people.
He was ready to put the power of the temple at his disposal and the only way he could do that would be to kill off the protectors of that power. With the power at his disposal he would send his army to the north to finally invade the land of the shadow walkers, he would finally rule all the lands under. Roderick was ready to be king of it all. The advisors and the mages walked inside to throne room.
He smiled and briefly introduced them to his new ally against the common enemy. They welcomed him hesitantly before turning their full attention to the king.
"Firstly what has become of my nephew?" he asked feigning concern for the young man. "Well sire he's in the barracks resting himself after his journey. He's got a small injury on his arm but nothing more then that." the captain of his guard said with a big smile.
Roderick scowled slightly but quickly masked it with a relieved smile. "Wonderful when we finish here send him to me will you captain?" "Of course my lord it will be done." he said bowing low. "Mages I believe Mathius has a few things to discuss with you in the tower. Grant him whatever he ask within reason and so long as it's checked with me first." the king said with a smile. "My plans to attack the temple will be put into action after I speak with my nephew of his findings." "What if there is no magic there sire?" the mage asked frowning.
"Wouldn't the people be so happy to have the wolf problem taken care of regardless of the temple magic?" Roderick demanded. "Well of course your grace." the captain said bowing. "Only those are people inside those wolf bodies they are still aware of the curse you placed upon them lord." The king saw the look on his captain's face, one that spoke of his distrust and his disagreement with the discision against the wolves.
"May I remind you captain that your predecessor didn't agree with my having the tribes cursed either. He was thrown in with them and now lives his life as lowly snake. His family grieved his loss for a time." "I understand sire." the captain said softly. "Good now send me my nephew so I can discuss his findings with him then we will decide from there what will be done about the wolves." The mage, the guard captain, and Mathius turned away from the king walking towards the doors.
They each had their own doubts to the king's words. The mage didn't trust Mathius and the king's choice in granting his wishes. The captain was worried about the wolves being treated unfairly in this war and what would happen to Gregor.
Mathius was having his doubts already as to wether the king would truly uphold his agreement with the bear clans. *** Gregor was cleaning the wound which had already started to heal enough to the point where it's already two angry red lines where her teeth had torn his skin. It didn't hurt anymore but as he looked at it he was sure he was sweating more then he should be if he didn't have an infection.
But his body seemed to be fighting something that was in it.
He had just got done redressing in a nice black silken suit to go see the king when he was done, when the guard captain entered his rooms looking worried. "Captain what's wrong?" he asked concerned. "The king is ready to see you Gregor." he replied smiling. As the Gregor started for the door the captain restrained him a moment. "I don't like how the king is acting currently. I don't think it will matter what you say about the temple, the king will have the clan of wolves wiped out.
There was a new man present at the meeting a man named Mathius and he gave him full run over the mage's tower." The captain said "It doesn't bode well not at all. I'm worried about this. Be on guard when speaking to King Roderick." "He's my uncle I should be fine but I don't think the wolves are a threat to us." Gregor shook hands with the captain and he started off towards the throne room ready to get this meeting over with already. He started moving quickly and he could see people looking to him with concerned faces.
He didn't want anyone to think something was up but he was ready to get to the king. He couldn't get rid of this nagging thought out of his mind that things would not go well. Gregor walked into the darkened throne room and closed the heavy wooden doors behind him so they had some privacy.
He looked towards the throne and saw the king sitting in a shadow, the torches around the throne doused out. Gregor could see the king's crossed legs clearly in what light was in the room but the rest of him, including his expression, was hidden. "Gregor it is a relief to see you home safely.
Please approach the throne and tell me what you have found." King Roderick called beckoning him forward. "It is a relief to be back. I heard there is a new ally in the castle this is good news." Gregor said standing a few feet in front of the throne. "So tell me, what of the temple is there magic still there?" Roderick asked eagerly. "Well there are no magics left in the temple it is simply a building now. The wolves there are harmless and they do remember the king's people." Gregor said hesitantly.
"I think it would be best to leave them in peace." The king was silent for a few moments and then he leaned forward into the light his cold eyes locking on the young man. He was angry but was keeping it held back as much as he could. His steel grey eyes sent chills down Gregor's spine. "Well if that is your opinion I respect it. You don't know how much the crown has appreciated this great service you've given today." Roderick said leaning back into his chair. "I will alert the mages to what we have found out.
Did the wolves send any messages back to us? I'm told they are still self aware." "No the alpha said simply that they wished not to be involved with our war." "Fair enough then.
Unless there is anything else?" "No that was all my king." "Good you are free to return to your bunk I'll have a proper reward sent to you in the morning." "Thank you good evening your Highness." Gregor bowed and said softly. Gregor back a few steps away watching the king as he went before turning fully and walking to the door.
He felt the burn of the king's gaze on him as he went, it didn't bode well for him he knew. *** Roderick watched as his nephew walked out the door and he beckoned to the nearest guard that had been hiding behind the stone pillar. "Your orders my king?" he asked with no emotion. "First you will get together a group of able bodied soldiers then go to the temple to kill the wolves our people will love it, send word when it's done. Until then someone will have to keep Gregor busy, I don't need my heir to the throne getting hurt now do I?" Roderick said with a smile.
"Of course lord. When shall we leave?" "Leave at dawn." The guard nodded his head then turned to the door. Roderick stood and walked towards the door exiting, if he had looked down the other hall he would have seen his nephew. Gregor knew what had been said in the meeting.
Breaking out in a sweat and a fever he turned ready to leave. He had to warn Aslaug and he had to beat those guards there. *** Aslaug was laying on the roof of the temple where she could see everything in the clearing around her people.
She saw Mordred approaching at a full run before he even made it into the clearing, she could see he had blood on his fur. She stood and fear gripped her, had he been hurt? Aslaug lept into action and ran to meet him at the edge of the forest the rest of her pack following closely behind her as they reached her friend. Morderd arrived in the clearing blood staining his coat, muzzle, and face he seemed exhausted. He collapsed onto the grass panting heavily as he lay there eyes clouded.
"Aslaug. It's the pack. the king's scouts. the pack they . they killed them." Mordred panted his body quivering hard. "What?!" "NO!" The pack let out either outraged barks or mournful howls of pain. "Mordred please tell me what you saw brother?" Aslaug whined softly leaning down to nuzzle his cheek. "Aslaug it was horrid." he whined mournfully. "I followed the scents to the edge of the woods where the king's men hunt and I saw.
they put there heads on pikes. The packs bodies had been skinned." Aslaug turned to the rest of them, then she realized that the few numbers they had there were all that was left of her people. They had lost everyone.
"We have no choice now. They will move on the temple next, we can't defend this alone not now." Aslaug said softly. "What will we do now?" Ulric barked. "We have to go north they will welcome us there but we must wait at least for a few days. Mordred must rest and we shall see who Gregor follows." The wolves all walked back to the temple where they laid in mourning.