Tales Of The Chosen "Heroes"
Reason and Markus analyzed a trail that led to dense bushes further ahead.
“Wolf tracks.” Said Markus.
“Yeah, looks like they’ve dragged things through here.”
“Well then, everybody be ready to encounter some wolves, cause we’re going in.”
With that Markus pulled out his longsword and crept forward, Reason followed suit with William and Mary sticking close behind the two. The party moved forward slowly, scanning through the canopy looking for any movement. Reason’s eyes were glued to the woods, acutely aware of his party members around him moving in pace with Markus.
As the minutes passed nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be in the trees, the trail at this point started to become faint. It seemed that they weren’t anywhere near the wolf’s hideout. After half an hour of searching the group reached another small clearing.
It would be a lot easier if one of us new how to track and hunt. Reason thought, still scanning the woods and began to feel silly for how on edge he was being. Turning his head from one direction to the other Reason suddenly found himself falling flat on his face.
Markus turned around in alarm looking at Reason. “What happened? Are you alright?” Mary and Willy looked stared at Reason in concern.
“Yeah, I’m fine, I just tripped.” Reason replied sitting up and brushing off the dirt on him before turning around to see what tripped him.
His eyes locked onto some protruding rock stuck in the ground.
“Guess you forgot to look where you were going.” Billy mused.
“Y-yeah.” Reason turned a slight shade of red, embarrassed that he had ruined all the tension. Mary seemingly reading his mind said, “Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ve ruined the element of surprise, it seems like there isn’t anything in this area.”
“Oh, uh yeah, I need to look where I’m going, what even tripped me?” Looking at the object that was stuck in the ground. Upon examining it further Reason realized that it wasn’t a random rock. The shape was peculiar, the texture seemed off, looking at it more, it wasn’t a rock or a stick. It did look familiar though he couldn’t quite say why.
“Is… is that a bone?” Markus suddenly spoke. Upon that the entire party had their attention on the object in the ground. Reason began to dig it out a bit, unearthing a bit more of the object it very clearly was a bone, a human bone. They stared at in silence for a couple minutes. It seemed that the reality of adventuring suddenly hit them all at once.
“Well… looks like wolves are here.” Billy finally said.
“I thought the villagers said they haven’t killed anybody.” Reason asked.
“It’s most likely the hunter. They said he disappeared.” Mary replied.
“Well, now we know what happened to him.” Billy whispered.
While the three discussed Markus began to quickly patrol around the perimeter, quickly scanning the trees for anything. The forest was still extremely quiet, no sound was heard except for the faint sound of a breeze brushing through the leaves.
Halfway through the perimeter patrol his foot bumped into something, upon impact a small metallic clack was emitted from the foreign object. Confused he looked down, noticing an object laying on the ground.
Kneeling to examine it further he realized that he had just stumbled upon a crossbow, a heavy crossbow. While the heavy crossbow was dirtied and scuffed due to the outside elements, it was still fully intact and seemed to be relatively new. All the parts seemed to have been well taken care of, with not enough weather damage to indicate that this weapon has been out here for more then a few days.
So, this guy really was the adventurer that came here before us. Markus thought, suddenly he understood why Reason was nervous about this quest. Markus quickly shook his head of any thoughts of fear.
He couldn’t be thinking like that, not when he has three party members with him, not when he was the party leader. He had to focus, he had to keep his head clear, if he wants to become a famous adventurer, he needs to complete this mission and to do so means that he can’t be showing fear. He nodded once to assure himself, coming up with the next step for the party, he stood up and turned to face the three still fixated by the discovered remains. But before he could say anything he noticed something.
At first, he thought his eyes were just playing tricks on him, that the gentle breeze was just causing the bushes to move. But then a pair of round amber eyes suddenly appeared from within the bushes. The eyes glared intently on the trio, whom all were still busy trying to piece together the next course of action. Before Markus could open his mouth to alert them, from the bushes leapt a massive brown and green furred creature with gleaming yellow eyes, fangs bared.
Reason, who was facing directly in front of Billy was the first to notice, eyes wide in shock and fear as a massive creature leapt through the air. It’s shadow looming over Billy, standing up as quickly as he could, Reason tried to warn Billy on the oncoming mass. Mary noticing the massive creature in her peripheral began to instinctively leap backwards, stumbling and falling onto the ground.
Billy noticed the fear on Reason’s face turned around just in time to notice a massive twelve foot long, snarling brown and green haired wolf launching itself onto him. He could only stare into the amber eyes that shined with fury before the unnaturally large creature engulfed him.
“GAH-” Billy’s scream was cut short as the wolf slammed him into the floor. The wind being knocked out of him. Stunned and unable to react as the wolf’s fangs bored onto his neck, with a sickening crunch the wolf clamped down.
All three could only stare in horror as the wolf raised its head back up and stared down the three. Growling as the blood dripped from the now stained jaw it bared its fangs and focused in on Reason.
There it stood, over twelve feet long and over 6 feet tall, it’s four canines unnaturally elongated. The wolf’s fur was unnatural in colour, a strange mix of dirt brown and a dull green. What’s more it seemed that parts of the wolf’s body began to blend in with the environment in an unnatural way. It looked as if the colours on the fur were shifting and changing to match its surrounding whenever the mutant wolf moved. Its amber eyes stared straight into Reason’s, it bared its fangs and began to growl and approach.
For a moment Reason’s body was washed with fear, his body telling him to turn and run, he almost did. But then his head told that if he did, he would only end up like Billy... Billy wasn’t moving. No focus. Reason couldn’t let his mind drift, not now, not when a wolf several times his size was looking to kill him and the rest of his party. He took a quick breath to steady himself and raised his blade towards the wolf.
They stared each other down for what felt like eons, though Reason new it was probably just a few seconds. Suddenly a small chant could be heard from the side.
“Drip through wood, seep through steel, burn through stone.”
A globe of sizzling green liquid flew through the air and slammed into the left side of the mutant wolf. The mutant wolf for its part managed to turn its head the other direction in time, allowing its shoulder and mane to absorb the brunt of the impact. Upon impact the perfect sphere of liquid splattered across its side and in reaction it howled in pain.
It began press it’s left side onto the ground, rolling around, desperately trying to get rid of acid that was now melting flesh and seeping through its fur. It’s eyes now focused on the caster; renewed hatred ignited within its eyes.
Mary, right hand raised and book in her left, stared at the mutant wolf, trying to keep her breathing steady. Head snapping towards Reason, “What are you waiting for? Get it!” she screamed.
With that Reason moved forward, swinging his sword down at the prone mutant wolf. Reacting just in time the mutant wolf pushed itself backwards, Reason’s blade only making a shallow cut across its muzzle.
The mutant wolf’s right shoulder now partially corroded, had ruined matted fur and a sickening red and purple colour to the flesh, yet it didn’t seem to back down at all. Tt reared back before rushing back in at alarming speeds, dodging a second strike, and aiming to clamp its jaw through Reason’s shoulder.
It proved too fast for Reason to avoid, but before the strike could land another sword embedded into the already wounded the shoulder of the mutant wolf. The blades tip sinking in, the mutant wolf once again leapt backwards howling in pain, retreating a few steps to look at the new foe.
Markus having finally made it over to the fight was now standing besides Reason, his sword’s tip now having recently pierced the mutant wolf. Markus and Reason exchanged a glanced, nodding to one another. With the two of them together staring down the mutant wolf and Mary to support them from the side, their confidence now soared.
Alright, alright, we can do this, we this wolf is nothing with the three of us. Reason assured himself, trying his best to ignore the body of Billy. Mary circled behind Reason and Markus, getting her distance from the mutant wolf.
The mutant wolf stared them all down growling as it did so. Haunching its shoulders it charged towards them once more fangs bared at Markus this time. Markus brought his blade up to cut the creature down, but faster then he expected, the mutant wolf turned its slightly to the side and intercepted the blade.
Firmly clasping its jaws around the blade, it began to yank and pull, the mutants massive strength causing Markus to be yanked of his feet. Having his right side slammed into the ground, pain shot through his entire side, knocking the wind out of him. Yet Markus refused to release his death grip on the hilt, in retaliation the mutant wolf attempted to drag him around the floor. But before it could move more then a step Reason attempted to strike its side. Forcing it to release the blade and leap away, Reason’s blade unable to reach the mutant wolfs flesh through the thick fur.
Reason then began to press his advance, quick thrusts, and small swings to keep the giant creature back. While none of the strikes landed, they were forcing the mutant wolf to retreat, allowing time for Markus to regain his bearings.
With the mutant wolf’s attention now completely focused on Reason, Mary saw her opportunity, and began to chant her spell once more, “Drip through wood, seep through steel, burn through stone.” Raising her right hand towards the mutant wolf, a ball of green tinted liquid began to form in front of her hand.
Then, right before she was going to release it, she heard rustling from behind. Quickly turning her head, she saw that from the thicket on the opposite side popped out four normal gray pelted wolves, charging towards her. In a panic she turned to face them and blindly fired out her spell.
The ball of acid launching towards the wolves and miraculously slammed into the one leading the charge as it leapt into the air. Slamming right into its chest, the wolf was sent hurtling back as the acid melted through it, the sound of sizzling could be heard.
But before Mary was able to do anything else the other three wolves pounced.
Her cry being cut short as the wolves began to maul her. Markus staring at her in horror managed to pick himself up and ran towards her. Longsword in hand he began to swing wildly.
One of the wolves, preoccupied with sinking its teeth into the young mages arm didn’t notice the angry adventurer’s blade as it swung down on its back. With a deep swing Markus blade caved through the back of wolf, felling it instantly.
The other two wolves now focused their attention on their new opponent, hackles raised, growling at him. However, they refused to approach him, wary of the blade.
Reason looked behind him, taking a glimpse of the ensuing fight between Markus and the wolves. The mutant wolf used this momentary distraction to strike. Here it pounced, Reason unable to parry with his sword in time found a large set of canines clamped onto his left arm.
Reason screamed in pain, it felt as though his entire arm had just been shattered. The mutant wolf then dragged Reason of his feet, released its grip on his arm and hurled him of to the side. Reason slammed spine first into an old oak tree, pain spreading through his entire body, before sliding into the ground in a crumpled heap.
The mutant wolf seeing that Reason was no longer a threat turned towards the last standing annoyance in its way. It slowly stalked towards Markus, its large paws making no noise as it moved closer and closer. Parts of the creature’s fur began to shift with its surroundings once more.
Markus noticing the mutant wolf approaching him began to try and back away. Before his back contacted the dense underbrush, he realized that the wolves would get him if he tried to run.
The mutant wolf looked at the cornered adventure, and Markus could have sworn it saw it grinning. Fine then. Swallowing the fear that was threatening to burst out of him, he stared at eh wolves in defiance, “Come on, I’m not scared!” Markus’s voice cracked as he screamed, his mouth dry, his heart thumping out of his chest.
While the yelling didn’t deter the wolves, it did help wake Reason from his daze. Reason gave a quick shake of his head, trying to focus his thoughts. Clenching and unclenching his left hand, testing to see if he still had any feeling in it. Every time he moved his arm he could feel pain, though right now that was a good thing. At least it’s not broken. He thought meekly. Got that going for me.
Reasons back and ribs ached from the throw, but he didn’t think anything was broken yet. Willing himself to get back up, he made it onto his knees, and witness the wolves circle around Markus. He realized that he needed to hurry, he crawled over to his sword, grabbed its hilt with his right, and used it to help him get back on his feet. Reason began to rush over trying to get to Markus in time.
Markus currently wasn’t aware of anything but the wolves standing in front of him. To focused with not getting mauled to worry about anything else. But Reason noticed that the large mutant wolf seemed to be giving the other two wolves instructions. Whenever it barked or snarled, the other two would move. It didn’t feel like a leader giving orders, but more like someone controlling puppets.
Before Reason could process anymore the wolves move in on Markus. The two normal wolves attacked first, attempting to pounce on top of him. But a few quick swings from Markus’s blade caused them to scamper back, unable to approach him.
However, this exchange with the wolves forced Markus to move his back away from the underbrush. Now he unknowingly had his back face the mutant wolf, and it wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass.
Reason unable to warn Markus in time could only watch in horror as the large mutant wolf approached him from behind and bit down onto Markus’s left shoulder. Screaming in pain he dropped his sword, as the mutant wolf began to shake him around.
Then hearing Reason approaching it from behind it quickly released Markus and leaped back, not before Reason delivered a slash across its side, causing it to yelp in pain. In retaliation one of wolves leaped forward, Reason responded with another slash. This time his strike rang true and struck down the wolf, dead before it even hit the ground.
The mutant wolf stared at Reason with newfound hate, but what’s more it seemed like it was thinking about its next move. Reason not wanting it to formulate another plan charged in. Not expecting the small human to actively charge into it, the mutant wolf was caught of guard and unable to avoid a thrust in time.
The mutant wolf reared back in pain, retreating as far as it could. Reason tried to strike again but the mutant wolf rearing on its high legs proved to be to far for him to reach. Scrambling back, it now stared at Reason with caution, now blinded with one eye.
For a moment the mutant wolf seemed as if it wanted run, but then suddenly its one eye glazed. It blinked once and its gaze hardened, it shifted its position to pounce once more.
Reason looked at this strange small mental battle that mutant wolf seemed to have within itself. Reason during this very brief reprieve was starting to piece things together.
He remembered what Mary had said earlier, the shift had changed things. Whatever the shift is, it caused this wolf to mutate and become this. No wonder the wolves were too much to handle for the villagers. It also explained why the wolves are acting against there normal nature, something about this wolf has caused it to not only seek out destruction but manipulate other wolves.
Before Reason could think anything more the mutant wolf began to move once more. Reason now refocusing in on its two opponents realized that the other wolf could only move if given a command. Just like a puppet. Reason thought. Alright then, I can work with this.
The mutant wolf suddenly gave its head a cock to the side and was a quick bark. The other normal wolf began to move forward. Reason took this opportunity to charge in and strike at the mutant wolf once more, managing a cut across its left shoulder before it could get away.
With that exchange the other wolf stopped in its tracks and simply stared at Reason. I get it now. A ghost of a smile appeared on the face of Reason; he was starting to figure out a strategy to fight.
Even though the mutant wolf wanted Reason dead, it itself was worried of getting hurt, of losing its own life. Reason could use this to his advantage. Moving so that his body would protect his injured left arm, he held up his sword with his right and prepared to finish the fight.
Despite his injuries and fatigue, Reason began to move to a rhythm. Slicing and stabbing whenever the mutant wolf made a mistake of drawing to near, dodging and weaving whenever it tried to strike him, and counter striking whenever possible. It looked as if Reason was in a strange dance with the mutant wolf, it all seemed to be second nature to him. Reason seemed to have completely focused his attention in on the mutant wolf, studying it, predicting it, beating it, and Reason made it seem effortless.
The mutant wolf on the other hand seemed to get angrier by the second. It was frustrated that Reason was still alive, it was frustrated that it had lost three of its for wolves, it was frustrated that it was losing, and it was scared that it might die.
The longer this duel went on the more desperate the mutant wolf became. Trying more wild attacks and more predictable movements, it in turn was only awarded with the taste of Reason’s blade.
After another bad exchange for the mutant wolf, it retreated back, scarred, bloody, and panting. It stared at Reason, the fire in its eyes still not gone, it crouched back down ready to reengage the swordsman.
Reason at this point, while doing his best to not show it, was exhausted. His left arm felt as if it was on fire, his entire body ached, and his legs felt like lead. While he had been landing several strikes on the mutant wolf, none have been critical. As he watched the mutant wolf ready itself to pounce Reason knew he had to beat the mutant wolf in the next exchange, or he was dead.
He watched the mutant wolf carefully, ready to deliver a killing blow in the next attack. But before the mutant wolf made a move a flash of movement caught Reason’s peripheral. Unknowingly to Reason the mutant wolf had been slowly moving the other wolf to position during the entire fight. Now with a moment of respite the mutant wolf sent the other wolf charging into Reason’s side.
The wolf came flying in, clamping its teeth down onto the already injured left arm of Reason, he screamed in pain, before quickly bringing his blade down on the wolf. Managing to fell the beast its grip loosened, though the pain in his arm had now tripled. A sinking feeling entered Reason’s body when he realized that the wolf was just a diversion.
Whipping his head back towards the mutant wolf he saw that its face had curled up into a smile. It had won. Reason’s blade was still embedded in the wolf, he couldn’t bring it up to protect him. The mutant wolf was going to kill this annoying adventurer and then it was going to finish of this annoying village.
Sudden sharp, stabbing pain came from his hind leg. The mutant wolf found that it was unable move it’s rear left leg, it turned its head in confusion trying to find the reason. Looking down it saw the source of the problem.
Markus had crawled over and embedded his dagger into the leg of the mutant wolf. It had made a mistake; is hadn’t checked if Markus was still alive. Markus was wounded, bleeding and barely conscious, but still alive. It snarled at the barely conscious adventurer ready to kill him, it began to turn towards Markus.
Then the mutant remembered the real threat in this fight, frantically it tried to turn around in time. But it was to late, Reason had recovered from the wolf’s attack and charged towards the two. His blade piercing through the neck of mutant wolf, as it stared back in anger.
It stood there staring at Reason in silence, it opened its jaws to give one final dying snarl. Before the light in its eyes faded out and it collapsed onto the floor dead.
Giving sigh of relief, he let go of his sword, exhaustion washing over him, he dropped to his knees heaving for air, staring at the mutant wolf body. Before realising that Markus needed help. Scrambling over to him he checked Markus’s wounds.
“Hey… we did it.” Markus croaked, offering a small smile.
“Don’t talk your hurt.”
Reason gave Markus a once over, no vital organs seemed to be hurt, but his leg and left shoulder were broken badly. Perhaps beyond any non-magical means, and Reason knew that they couldn’t afford any magical healing at this level. He can’t use his arm anymore. He thought, his heart ached as he realized just how badly he had failed.
Markus noticing Reason’s downtrodden face, “Hey, don’t look so sad, we completed the quest.” Markus tried his best to smile despite the pain.
This comment snapped Reason back to reality, looking back at Markus he gave a false smile, “Yeah your right.” Nodding once he began try and stop the bleeding.
Despite what happened Reason couldn’t get lost in grief, not when his party member is serious condition. He lifted Markus up and tried his best not to look at the bodies of his fallen party and began to head back towards the village. He had to get Markus help, then he will go back to the others. Supporting Markus on his shoulder he began to walk back towards the village.