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Start Something Attn Cham


Doselan
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WhiteWolf

 

 

 

Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Location: UK

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:26 am    Post subject: Start Something Attn Cham 

 

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Owen had never been in Murandy before so before he left the Stedding he sought out those of the Wolfkin who had travelled there before, questioning them on the lay of the land and what he could expect from the inhabitants It was the usual tale of prejudice and hatred, but there were isolated areas where a more enlightened attitude existed. This enlightened attitude did only meant the inhabitants were more likely to turn a blind eye to a person with bold eyes rather than report them to the authorities.

 

Owen had been riding for nearly two weeks, pushing both himself and his horse to the limit. It was not a short journey to find this new Wanderer, and as a precaution Owen had taken along a spare mount. He did this for two reasons, one he could switch mounts and thus maintain a greater speed, and the second reason was that he did not know if the Wanderer had a horse. It would take far longer for them to return to the Stedding if one of them were on foot, it would also make dodging any pursuers much harder. Many a time when Owen had been asked to find a Wanderer the Wanderer was running for their life from an enraged mob, or just family members who thought the change in their eyes was a sign of the Dark One.

 

Owen slowed his pace, letting his horse get his wind back, if a horse was ridden hard and not allowed time to let it’s muscles and breathing return to normal it could suffer an injury and in the wilds that would mean only one result. When he was satisfied his current mount had recovered, Owen dismounted and started to remove a couple of bags from the other horse. When he had these secure on the first horse, Owen mounted the second and set off again. As he rode he pulled a lump of cheese, wrapped in grease proof paper, from a bag at his waist, he cut a piece off before replacing the rest in the bag. When he was finished with the cheese Owen took a drink from one of his two water skins and then fished around in the same bag for the hunk of bread he had there. That was his meal, he did not want to spend time building a camp and preparing something hot, there would be time for that later.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

OOC Cham, Owen will not find you until my next post, so in your post just bring us up to date on what you are doing IC,ok?

_________________

"So let it be written

So let it be done

I'm sent here by the chosen one

So let it be written

So let it be done

To kill the first born pharaoh son

I'm creeping death"

 

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Doselan

 

 

 

Joined: 15 Jun 2007

Location: Alabama

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:24 pm    Post subject:   

 

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The morning was cool, dew had settled across the ground in the night to form a thin blanket of moisture. Cham was down on all fours slowly putting one foot in front of the other, trying to stay as low to the ground as possible and be careful of the short stick he had in one hand that was sharpened to a fine point.

 

It had been almost a week since his father had disowned him, and even the thought of it still brought him a deep pain, like a weight bearing down on his chest. But the pain that he felt this very moment had nothing to do with that. The pain he was now feeling was the pain of deep hunger, he had not been able to eat anything besides certain leaves and flower petals since he had been here; and those seemed to have less appeal than they used to.

Normally under such circumstances he would have hunted with his bow, or set up rabbit snares but when he was banished from the farm, he had not stopped to get anything. He had simply run as fast as he could, hoping he could outrun what he was becoming; a shadowspawn. So he was left with no choice. His father had always said, “When you have nowhere else to turn and nothing left to do, just do.” So, ignoring the sudden heavy sadness that settled upon him, that is just what he did.

 

He had been creeping like this for more than twenty minutes starting at the forests edge and moving out into this small clearing, trying to get as close as possible to his future breakfast, a small doe. She had been grazing on the bushy grasses that grew in the clearing when he first caught her scent from a hundred or so paces away. He now used every bit of stealth he could muster to get close enough to take her down and it was sheer luck that she had not yet looked in his direction. He was now close enough to hear the deer’s slow, steady breaths taken between bites. Just another few paces and he would be able to leap toward the animal.

 

Slowly he let his left hand land on the ground with no sound and began shifting his front weight onto it, feeling a twig that was buried under the grass begin pressing into his palm. When he had enough weight applied to the hand, he lifted his foot and repeated the process until his foot was well in place. And continuing the slow process, he lifted his right hand and began to place it ahead of him when all of a sudden the twig beneath his left gave way and snapped. The noise was not very loud, however it was enough to send the doe’s head into the air quickly to look around, eyes as wide and round as they would go. Seeing him crouched on all fours less than two paces away, the animal leaped into the air and upon landing, bolted into the woods.

 

As soon as the deer had moved, Cham was on his feet in pursuit entering the forest right behind her. He could feel the rush of excitement as the wind blew past his face and the ground seemed to come up to his feet in mutual agreement. Every step was sure and every sense was working at what seemed to be the height of their potential. He was giving this chase his all, dodging around trees, jumping over the large stones that were littered across the forest floor. After what seemed hours of running, Cham felt his body grow tired. If I am to do anything, it must be now.

 

Awkwardly, he pulled the sharpened stick back behind him and with all the strength he could muster, he sent it spinning towards his prey. Cham watched in despair as it struck the animal blunt side first, and bounced off onto the forest floor, which seemed to remind her that someone was giving chase. Suddenly, she almost doubled her speed. Cham tried for a few seconds to pursue, but before he had time to think, the animal was thirty or so paces ahead of him. Cham slowed to a stop and watched his breakfast run out of sight. Anger seemed to envelope him and he knelt down and picked up a stone that was nearly as big as his fist.

 

“You bloody, milk drinking sheep kisser!” he yelled after the deer, throwing the stone in her direction. The stone barely flew anywhere before it struck a tree and tumbled to the ground. He stood for a few seconds before he realized just how out of breath he was. Suddenly feeling very weary, he sank to his knees, and began sucking air into his lungs.

 

Once he had his wind back, he struggled back to his feet and began walking back the way he had come, scanning the ground for his sharpened stick. His hunger pains seemed to have doubled and were now accompanied by a sense of hopelessness that he had never experienced before. Not even on the night that… Once again, his chest felt heavy with sadness at the thought and he let out a long sigh.

 

A moment later, he laid eyes on his stick. He picked it up and examined it to find that it was undamaged as far as he could tell. He took the small stub of a weapon and walked over to a large stone that looked comfortable, and took a seat. What was he to do? He couldn’t go anywhere that people could see him. They would surely know him for shadowspawn the first time they saw his eyes; but if he stayed out here, he would surely die. It might be better for the world that way. The thought distressed him, and seemed to spark anger within him, a spark added to the blaze that was already there.

 

Still sitting he reared back and threw the stick once more. He was about to drop his head onto his hands when he heard a deep, thud. Finding the source of the noise, he stared incredulously at the short length of sharpened stick stuck firmly into the trunk of a nearby tree.

 

The sudden laugh that erupted from Cham’s throat had no mirth in it.

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Last edited by Doselan on Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:32 am; edited 2 times in total

 

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WhiteWolf

 

 

 

Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Location: UK

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject:   

 

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The light rain that was falling did not help to improve Owen’s mood, that and the mist made navigating a real problem and Owen had to concentrate fully on using all of his enhanced senses to guide his horse through the mist. After what seemed like days, the mist started to lessen as a breeze started to blow leaving tendrils of mist across Owen’s path. The drizzle, however, continued, Owen was thankful for the heavy cloak he wore he kept the majority of him dry, but could not stop him feeling damp.

 

As the afternoon wore on the rain eased and the sun finally made an appearance from behind the clouds, which were now scurrying away to the south. Owen flung back the hood of his cloak and let the late afternoon sunlight bathed his pale, almost luminescent, skin. He shook his head, several times, to work the knots out of his long silvery hair. Owen was an albino and the lack of skin pigmentation combined with his golden eyes made him a fearsome sight to those who did not know him and to some who did. Looking around at the countryside, Owen tried to spy any landmarks that would tell him if he was getting close to where the Wolves had told him the Wanderer was. Owen remembered them describing a large forest that was bordered by a range of hills to the south, and a road to the far north edge of the forest. Owen had crossed that road the night before last and had been steadily moving southwards, now it was time to turn east and enter the forest itself.

 

Owen stood very still, straining his senses to their maximum, he had heard something from up ahead, laughter of all things it seemed. Moving in the direction of the laughter, Owen made every effort to keep himself concealed, he did not know who had made the laughter and did not want to walk into something he could not walk out of. A young man sat on the ground, gazing at something Owen could not see, but it seemed whatever it was it was the source of his amusement. Just then the young man turned his head in Owen’s direction and Owen saw the sunlight gleaming on the young man’s golden eyes. So this is who I am here to meet, I hope this laughter is a good sign and not one that he has gone mad.

 

Stepping out from behind the tree Owen kept his hands away from his body, palms facing the man across from him. “Hello there, my name is Owen, or as the Wolves call me, White Fang. I mean you know harm and only wish to help you. I have been asked to come and find you and explain a few things to you. Can I join you?”

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

OOC: Cham, Owen has left his horses away from where you are, after your next post he will go and retrieve them.

_________________

"So let it be written

So let it be done

I'm sent here by the chosen one

So let it be written

So let it be done

To kill the first born pharaoh son

I'm creeping death"

 

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Doselan

 

 

 

Joined: 15 Jun 2007

Location: Alabama

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject:   

 

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Cham laughed so hard that he fell from the stone he was sitting on and resumed his seat on the leafy ground. He did not understand his laughing, he was neither happy nor amused; he was enraged. But he could not stop this sound from erupting out of him. Am I going bloody mad? The thought scared him greatly. What if he was losing his mind to the shadow? His laughter only grew more uproarious.

 

Suddenly the wind brought him a strange smell and he quickly fell completely silent, spinning his head to look in the direction of the smell. His breath caught in his throat as he saw, standing before him, what could only be a shadowspawn. The tall man-like figure stood there with his pale skin almost glowing in the sunlight and his silver hair that came down below his shoulders seemed to come alive as the light wind lifted and swirled it around; but what was worst of all were the golden eyes that stared out of his pale face, seeming to glow brighter than the rest of him.

 

Cham started as the stranger began to speak in what seemed to be a normal enough voice, if deeper than his own. The stranger said something of wolves but Cham could not make himself hear what was being said, nor could he look away from those golden eyes. One thought was dominant in his mind. The shadow has come for me.

 

Cham leaped to his feet and ran over to the tree, retrieving his sharpened stick. The stranger made a step toward him and he turned to face the man, if man it was indeed, and pointed the sharpened stick in his direction.

 

“Keep away, shadowspawn. I know that they have sent you for me, but I will not become a child of the Shadow! Now leave me be!” He shouted the last words in rage before turning and darting away. Once again he felt the wind rush past him as he ran full speed, but this time the excitement was not there, this time there was only anger and fear. His ears caught the sound of footsteps in the leaves behind him and he glanced back quickly to find that the shadowspawn was following him.

 

“Leave me be!” he shouted over his shoulder without breaking stride, but it kept coming at him and he knew he would soon be caught. Cham quickly veered off to the left and kept running at full speed. The shadowspawn kept pace easily and was not thrown off-kilter one bit. Cham began formulating a plan in his mind. Having grown up in the area, he knew the layout of this forest and knew that somewhere near-by, there was a twenty pace drop off that lead down into the river. He quickly changed his direction so that he would be heading there.

 

He and his friends had grown up daring each other to jump off of the small bluff and into the river. He had come to find out which places were shallow and which were deep, a thing that could not be determined easily from looking at the surface of the water. He was hoping that he would be able to hit one of the deep spots and the shadowspawn would hit a shallow, either breaking it’s leg or worse.

 

After a few minutes, he began to feel a slight weariness and was sure that he could not run much farther. Suddenly he saw the bluff come into view and quickly grew intensely focused. The distance shrank steadily, sixty paces, fifty, forty, thirty; then suddenly, less than ten paces ahead of him, a large grey wolf stepped out from behind some undergrowth and blocked his path as a myriad of pictures flooded into his mind.

 

Shocked, Cham tried to stop and change directions at the same time, and ended up tripping over his own feet. He tumbled to the ground rolled towards the large animal and stopped with his face just inches from it’s snout. He quickly stumbled back and held himself up with his hands.

 

The wolf was like a statue, standing firm in the middle of this forest with a sort of majestic grace that only kings could manage. His legs were each firmly planted on the leafy ground, and his head was held high, and he had peace and unbreakable resolve painted on a face that held the same mystic golden eyes that Cham had recently acquired. It was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.

 

Cham stuttered to himself as his mind tried to form the pictures into words. He saw a huge open meadow with a sky that was covered in dark gray colored clouds. The clouds seemed to swirl while sitting still, to move with grace while standing firm as a rock. Cloudy Sky. Suddenly he saw another image of a creature with only two legs running which then came to a sudden stop and stayed where it was.

 

Before his mind could put pictures to the words he felt a hand descend onto his shoulder and provide a firm grasp that felt oddly comforting.

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WhiteWolf

 

 

 

Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Location: UK

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:04 am    Post subject:   

 

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Here we go again, another bloody Wanderer who runs at the first sight of me.

 

If it did not happen with such monotonous regularity, Owen would have smiled at the situation he found himself in. Running through a forest, tracking his quarry, was something that Owen had spent a lot of years doing, and no young cub was going to escape him, even in unfamiliar surroundings. Owen followed Cham, not hurrying nor tarrying, keeping to a pre determined pace that ate up the ground and not his energy and stamina.

 

Owen used his enhanced senses to keep track of Cham, it was not difficult as the young man had no idea how to shield his emotions and that meant Owen could sense almost everything Cham was feeling. Because of this Owen knew Cham was planning something, his scent had changed from frightened to what Owen could only class as scheming.

 

Just then a presence entered his mind and spoke to Owen. Owen introduced himself and as best as he could explained why he was there, thankfully the Wolf knew of White Fang and sent Owen a vision of a female Wolf carrying a cub in her mouth away from a stream. Owen thanked the Wolf and slowed his pace knowing now that Cham would not be able to run much further.

 

Owen found Cham standing stock still in the middle of the trail, his attention totally focused on the large Grey Wolf that stood before him. Owen sensed a feeling of awe that was followed by gratitude? Owen was not sure, but he was glad that the chase had ended sooner rather than later and that neither of them were hurt. Gently he placed his hand on Cham’s shoulder and turned him around to face Owen.

 

“Your friend there would prefer it if you did not go running heedlessly through the forest again, and so would I, it would be a shame to have come all this way only to return alone. As I said before, my name is Owen; I am here to help you and will do everything within my power to see you safe from harm. You may choose to sit and talk with me, or you may leave, but if you choose to leave now you will never know the truth about yourself and will forever be pursued by claims that you are Shadowspawn, something that neither of us are. If we were our friend here would tear us both apart and not think twice about it.”

 

Cham stood there, obviously trying to digest everything Owen had just told him, it was a lot to take in and there was even more to come that would be equally hard for Cham to comprehend. “The choice is yours, my friend, you can sit with me and talk, then leave, you can leave now, or we can talk and you can return home with me to be with others of our kind.” Owen backed away from Cham and went and sat down with his back to a large Ash tree, he wanted Cham to fully understand that he was not being forced here, the choice really was his, and his alone.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

_________________

"So let it be written

So let it be done

I'm sent here by the chosen one

So let it be written

So let it be done

To kill the first born pharaoh son

I'm creeping death"

 

 

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Cham stood silently in the middle of the vast forest glancing from the strange newcomer to the large grey wolf that blocked his path and back again.  The wind rustling the leaves on the trees overhead was the only sound to pierce the ominous silence that had settled on the three. 

Suddenly Cham noticed the lack of his sharpened stick in his hand and began looking around frantically for it, finding it stuck in the ground a few steps away.  Carefully he began planning out how he would lunge for the weapon and use it in defense against the large animal, when suddenly the realization came to him that he didn’t need any such defense; something inside him felt at peace around the creature.  Everything just felt right, as if this was why he had lived the rest of his life, just to arrive at this very moment. 

  Once more he shifted his attention from the gray wolf to the yellow-eyed man.  “Owen, you said?”  The newcomer nodded slowly, his silvery hair rustling against his cloak, a sound that Cham should have been surprised to have heard from as far away as he was – should have and would have had he not been hearing, seeing, and smelling better than any man should for the past few months. 

Breaking eye contact, Cham began studying the ground in front of him, noticing every little detail in the thick blanket of leaves.  After a few more seconds he looked back up at Owen to find him still sitting there patiently.  Looking at him intently he asked, “What is happening to me?”

 

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Inwardly Owen sighed, this one would not run, not now that he had broached the subject of the changes he was going through. “I tell you what, why don’t we find somewhere to sit down, then I will answer you question as best I can.” Cham seemed hesitant at first, but once Owen had found a place to sit, Cham made his way over to Owen and sat on the ground, not too close, and Owen could sense the nervousness and apprehension that was pouring from him.

 

“The changes you are experiencing are the same ones I went though, and the same ones anyone that any new Wolfkin will experience when the Wolves choose him.” Owen anticipated Cham’s next question and so provided the answer before the question could be asked. “Why they choose us is a mystery that has yet to be unravelled. All we do know is that from time to time the Wolves have seen fit to choose a human and [i[awaken[/i] the abilities within them. No doubt you have noticed an improvement in your eyesight, you’re hearing, even your sense of smell. The improvement in our senses is the gift that comes when we go through the Howling.”

 

Owen paused there, allowing Cham time to come to terms with what he had said so far. As the day was warm, Owen removed his cloak, laying it on the ground and then took a drink from his water skin before passing it over to Cham. “You will no doubt think this is something to do with the Dark One, that you will now come under the influence of the Shadow.” At the mention of the Dark One, a cloud passed over Cham’s face. Leaning closer to Cham, Owen continued talking. “We are not Shadowspawn, nor do we consort with those who are. We kill any of them we can get our hands on and will show the spawn of evil no mercy. You may doubt the truth of my words now, but I think if you search deep inside of yourself you will come to realise the truth of my words.”

 

Owen took the water skin from Cham and placed it on the ground by his side. “Another thing you may have already noticed is how vivid your dreams have become, almost as if they are real.” Cham nodded his head at this. “Well they are real, top a certain extent. You see there is a world that humans are not aware of, that world is know as the Wolfdream, and what happens there can have an impact on the waking world as well.”  Sensing that this concerned Cham Owen continued rapidly. “Do not let this worry you. If you come with me to where my home is, there are people there who can teach you how to behave in this dream world. How to protect yourself, how to develop the ability that has awakened within you. Not only with the dreams, but with the other senses as well. It is not easy, and if you do choose to come with me, you will no doubt regret your decision, at times, but in the end you will become more than you are now.”

 

Again Owen fell silent, he wanted Cham to digest what he had just told him and would not speak again until this had happened.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader.

 

OOC Hey Cham, might be an idea to tell Owen your name at some stage, ok?

 

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Cham sat staring at Owen in silence.  What he had said could not be true, this sort of thing could not be possible!  But it must be, it is the only explanation other than…  He quickly began studying the ground in front of him.  He was sure that he was no shadowspawn and looking back on it he felt as if the gray wolf had been his brother. 

This had all been happening for months, yet it seemed to be hitting him all at once.  Everything that Owen had said seemed to be right in line with the way he had been feeling and acting recently.  What was he to do?  He could not simply leave go off with someone that he had just met to become one of the wolves.  He dropped his head into his hands and sighed heavily. 

His head shot back up as an idea struck him.  “Owen, you must tell my parents all of what you have told me!  Then they will let me come back.”  Owen shook his head slowly.  “No, they must.” Cham screamed.  “They will listen, they are my kin.” 

Owen stood, walked over and put his hand on Cham’s shoulder, “I know it’s hard, but there is nothing left for you here.” 

Cham jerked back abruptly and glared at him, “There is everything left for me here,” arms outspread he gestured at his surroundings, “this is all I have!  I am Chamblin Rugarth!  Not some bloody wolfman straight out of a children’s tale!”  The last words echoed through the trees to leave the two staring at each other in silence.   

Cham stood staring at Owen and trying to ponder over all that was happening.  His thoughts were scattered and he felt as if he would explode.  Suddenly the pictures began forming in his mind again.  There were creatures with two legs running towards a stark white wolf and another wolf that was standing with him.  The two-legs were carrying what appeared to be dangerous objects, weapons perhaps. 

A sudden urgency lit up in Owens eyes as he lunged toward Cham and grabbed his arm, “We must go now, Cham.  We may soon have unwanted company.”

 

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Owen restrained Cham, he was almost bordering on the hysterical and that would help neither of them, they needed to be clear headed to escape Cham’s pursuers. “Take a few deep breaths Cham, focus on your breathing and get that under control.” As Cham was doing this Owen continued to talk to him. “You are not, nor will you ever be a Wolfman as you put it. You cannot change into a wolf, nor will you become more wolf like. That is not what this is all about I can assure you of that and I know it is asking a lot of you to take my word in this but you really need to believe me, all will become clearer later.”

 

With that Owen led Cham and the grey wolf away from the clearing making for where Owen had left his horse. Once there Owen quickly opened one of his saddle bags and rummaged around inside it until he found what he was looking for. Taking the dagger and sheath he handed them to Cham. “It is not much I know, and if it comes to you having to use this then things will look bleak for us, but it is better than nothing and may help.” Cham thanked Owen and quickly added the sheathed dagger to his belt. “We have a long way to go until we are amongst friends. I will set a hard pace so I suggest you do all you can to keep up and above all try not to make any more noise than is necessary. We stand a good chance of loosing your pursuers, but to do that you have to do exactly as I say when I tell you to.” With Owen’s words ringing in his ears, Cham set off after the tall Ranger, doing his best to make as little noise as possible, placing his feet in Owen’s footprints.

 

It was late into the night before Owen called a halt, Cham collapsing to the floor, the pace that Owen had set had taken all of Cham’s strength to keep up and now all he wanted to do was lay down and sleep, that was until the silence was disturbed by a loud rumbling sound, obviously Cham needed food before he could sleep.

 

Owen had anticipated this and was in the process of removing some cheese, bread and pickles from his saddlebag. Owen split the bread into four pieces, handing two to Cham, and cut four pieces of cheese, again handing two to Cham. “It is not much, but for now it will have to do, we cannot spare the time to go hunting, nor can we risk a fire. We are fairly well hidden here so we should be safe for the remainder of the night.”

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger leader

 

OOC: Hey Cham, question time if you have any for Owen…. if not then just give your reactions so far and then move us along to the end of the next day,ok?

 

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The morning came early for Cham.  He was accustomed to getting up before the sun, but not so accustomed to riding all day everyday and feeling like the walking dead; but at least he wasn’t starving anymore. 

He now found himself lying under a small bush in the middle of a forest in northern Murandy.  He no longer knew where he was, which was not saying much; after the first few hours of riding, he had no longer known where he was.

 

“Up now, Cham.” Owen was saying, “Our pursuers will not wait for us to sleep the day away.”

 

Cham rose from his resting spot and belted on his dagger; light, but he liked the thing.  When he and Owen had stopped last night he had taken it out to examine its sharp edge.  It was the first weapon he had ever held and by far the sharpest blade he had ever seen.  His mother’s kitchen knives could not compare!

 

The thought of his mother lead to other thoughts that quickly became unpleasant.  He sighed and bowed his head.  How long would he go without ever seeing them again?  Would it be forever?  Light provide that it was not so!  He had hoped to slip away and run back home to try to explain to his parents what was really happening, but Owen had ensured him that the pictures he had seen in his head were the wolves telling them that people were coming their way and that they meant them harm.  Cham still would have tried to break free, however he seemed to recall one of those pictures of the “two-legs with weapons” strongly resembling his father.  Does my da want to kill me? 

 

“Cham,” Owen spoke once more, “We really must be going.”  Cham abruptly realized that he had drifted off in thought and had stopped packing his things into the saddle bags. 

 

He quietly got to his feet and continued his task.  Owen had been talking to him since last night, perhaps trying to get him to say something, but he had remained quiet.  He wasn’t sure about all of what was going on, all he knew is that he had a strange feeling that he should trust this Owen, and that he should accompany him to wherever it was that there would be more like them. 

 

Before the sun’s rising, Owen and Cham were in the saddle, riding through the forest once more.  They had left the road a while back due to the amount of people that would be riding the roads for Bel Tine, so Owen navigated them through the forest; taking this turn here, and that turn there.  They had crossed streams and rode around larger hills, and over the smaller. 

At the sun’s zenith, they stopped and had lunch that Owen produced from his saddlebags once again.  Cham sat and ate in silence as Owen went out to scout ahead.  After he had eaten all of his cheese and bread, he sat gingerly on a nearby stone- light, but being in the saddle all day could make you sore!  After seated, he pulled out his dagger and began admiring it once more.  He began twirling it around and almost dropped it several times. 

 

Once he had been sitting for a while, he decided that he would rather stand.  So standing he began fighting imaginary opponents with his new dagger.  He would block a thrust here, and then follow through with a slice to the neck.  He had been at it for some time when Owen showed back up, “Fighting ghosts now, are we?” 

 

Cham reddened visibly, sheathed his dagger, and focused on a spot on the ground.  “Well, then?” Owen said with a smile, “Shall we?”  Cham climbed into the saddle and the two made their way again.  It seemed that it took longer for the sun to go down than it had for it to rise in the morning, but eventually the two stopped for nightfall, had another small meal, and went to bed once more. 

 

Cham, unable to sleep, was lying still on the leaves, deep in furious thought. 

 

“Owen?” he said into the silence. 

 

Moments went by without a sound until he heard, “Yes, Cham?  Is everything all right?” 

 

“Yes, I just have a question.”

 

“Go ahead.”

 

“How do you know what the wolves are saying when they send you pictures?”

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Smiling to himself Owen glanced over at Cham. “That will only come with time and practice my friend. I have a wolf companion who I rescued when poachers killed her mother. We have been together now for most of her life and it is only through repetition that I have been able to fully understand what she is telling me. This has helped me to understand the images when I am talking to other wolves. Try not to let it worry you for now, when we reach the place we are going there will be many there who will help you to develop your new talents and before you know it you will be conversing with the wolves as if you were born to it.”

 

For the moment Owen’s answer seemed to satisfy Cham but Owen knew that it would not be long before more questions would pop into the young mans mind. “I suggest for now that we concentrate on getting some rest. Although our pursuers are not close, we need to keep our strength up otherwise we could make a mistake and who knows what would happen then.”

 

The next morning saw Owen and Cham again doubling up on Owen’s horse and they made good time moving through the forest. Towards the end of the day the forest started to thin out and Owen decided to find a place to rest for a few hours. “I think we would be better served moving across open ground during the hours of darkness Cham. By now you will have noticed that you can see much better in the dark than you ever could before the Howling. This is one of the benefits we gain when we go through the Howling and it is one we should use to our advantage. If you cannot sleep now, I suggest you take the time to rest as much as you can. For now we are safe enough, I have been in contact with two wolf packs that are not far away and they have agreed to provide us with warning should our pursuers come to close.” With that Owen choose a spot for himself and sat with his back to a large Oak tree, his hand resting on his sword, Owen closed his eyes and was soon asleep.

 

By the time Owen woke, the moon was high in the night sky and the stars twinkled down at them. Obviously Cham had managed to get some sleep and Owen gently woke him. “It is time we should be moving again Cham. We will eat on our way, and I am afraid it will be cold rations again, but that is better than nothing at all. For the first part of the journey we will walk, my horse needs to rest and I do now want to over tax his strength, we may need that later.”

 

For a while they walked in silence only the sounds of the nocturnal hunters breaking the calm of the night. “So tell me Cham, how are you doing? This must seem very strange and unsettling to you?”

 

[i[Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader[/i]

 

OOC Hey Cham, sorry for the delay on this, the move and everything has meant a steep learning curve for me. I hope to be back to my more normal posting schedule now,ok.

 

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Looking into the night’s sky, Cham saw no moon at all, and realized how dark this night should be.  With a sigh, he continued walking alongside his newfound friend –his only friend – Owen, who suddenly spoke into the night’s silence, “So tell me Cham, how are you doing? This must seem very strange and unsettling to you?”

 

Strange and unsettling!  Light, having his vision and hearing increase suddenly in his father’s fields was strange and unsettling, being able to suddenly smell peoples emotions was strange and unsettling!  By now, he was far beyond unsettled.  Truthfully, he had become numb to the whole thing, dumbfounded by what all had happened to him in less than a months time.  Appreciating Owen’s kindness but sure that he didn’t want to hear his whining, Cham simply replied, “I’m doing all right, thanks.”

 

Hearing Owen sigh, Cham looked away and kept his steady pace towards what was to be his new home.  He had come to a decision earlier that day as he was trying to fall asleep in broad daylight; he could never go back to where he came from.  He was different now and so must be his home.  His father had said it, Chamblain Rugarth was dead. 

 

After hours of walking, Cham looked at the rising sun with surprise.  Could it really be daylight already?  Had they been traveling that long?

 

“Be at ease, Cham.” Owen said with a chuckle, “It’s no illusion.  You will find that traveling without the sun beating down on you makes quite the difference.  Most can cover two to three times the ground at night that they could under the sun, so long as they can see.”  Owen stopped his horse and began unpacking cold rations once more.  Cham took them gladly and made a small breakfast out of them. 

 

After they had finished their food, Owen took a seat at a gum tree’s massive trunk.  Cham took a position on the ground, retrieved his dagger, and began whittling away at a small stick, bringing it to a sharp point.  Once the stick was sharp enough, Cham threw it into the ground, sticking it up through the leaves. 

 

He shot a short look over at Owen to see his eyes closed and his head leaning down.  Looking up, he imagined that he was being attacked by a trolloc.  He threw up his dagger to block the terrible spiked axe, blocking it, he rolled backwards and put a foot in the trolloc’s stomach, throwing it on it’s back behind him.  Cham then leaped up and stabbed the dagger into the forest floor where the trolloc’s chest would have been. 

 

The sound of Owens hand’s clapping brought Cham’s head back up to look over at him.  “Bravo,” said the yellow eyed man, “He almost got you there.”  It was all said with a friendly smile, but Cham felt his face going red.  How had he gotten seen acting like a fool twice?  In front of Owen no less?

 

Retaking his seat, he focused his attention on a spot on the ground and sighed, still feeling the heat of embarrassment coursing through him.  Thinking back over the experience an idea occurred to him and his head shot up to look at Owen, who had now resumed his earlier position, head down and eyes closed. 

 

“Owen?” he said, wondering if his friend had fallen asleep.

 

“Yes, Cham?” he kept his head down and his eyes closed.

 

“I was wondering…” Cham searched for words, trying to keep the childish eagerness out of his tone, “Well… If we are going to be stopped here for some time, could you show me how to use my dagger?  Maybe even every day, like training or something.”   

 

 

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Owen slowly opened one eye, his gaze settling on Cham, he was so full of energy that he just could not sit still nor keep quiet, not that Owen really minded this it was good to see that the recent experiences had not quashed the boys spirit. “We will not be here long Cham, we may not be able to see our pursuers, but they are still out there, and no doubt they will continue to pursue us until they either lose interest, lose out trail or we persuade them that we are more trouble than they need.” The rage that was always bubbling just below the surface in Owen, at the thought of two-legs harming any of his kin was barely evident, but it was there, like an ever present shadow, lurking just out of sight.

 

“I tell you what Cham, we do not have time for any formal instruction, but I will show you enough so that you do not harm yourself, or more importantly, those around you.” Owen’s smile returned to his face as he saw realisation dawning on Cham’s face. “I would never….”

 

“I know Cham, I was only pulling your leg. Seeing as you are full of energy right now how about I show you some basic moves. First we can start with the correct way to hold a dagger and move on from there.” Owen shrugged off his cloak and stood up, the morning sun shining from his snow-white hair. As if by magic a dagger appeared in Owen’s hand and he made it dance across his knuckles, first one way and then back again. “There really is no great secret to this Cham, all it takes is common sense and a realisation that we are not invincible. Whatever we can do to others, others can do to us and no matter how much training we do there will always be someone out there who knows more than we do. Keep that upper most in your thoughts and you will do well. Now show me how you think a dagger should be held.”

 

Owen watched as Cham held the dagger out in front of him, his knuckles white as he gripped the handle. Knowing there was not a lot of time Owen decided he would have to be a bit more rough in his approach to training Cham and so easily knocked the dagger from Cham’s hand. Cham rubbed at his wrist, pain blossoming from the blow and a hurt look suddenly clouding his face. Owen bent down and retrieved Cham’s dagger and handed it back to the young man. “You need to relax your grip Cham, the tighter you hold something the easier it is to make you drop it. When a blow connects with your dagger you need to be able to rolewith it, to absorb it and deflect it, not meet it like a brick wall.” Obviously Cham was not so sure about this. “Let me put it another way, you see that Willow tree over there, the one that has branches that are touching the ground?” Cham turned to look where Owen was pointing and then nodded his head. “Well would you say that tree stands a greater chance of surviving a storm than say.” Owen looked around until he spotted an Oak. “Than the Oak over there? The Oak is much bigger and stronger, yet the Willow will bend and absorb the force of the wind, the Oak will not. Sooner or later that Oak tree will be blown over, where as the Willow will still be standing. It may be bent and look bedraggled, but it will still be standing. You need to be that willow otherwise sooner, rather than later, you will become the Oak.”

 

Owen worked Cham hard for the next few hours, and by the time Owen called an end to the lesson, Cham had not only learnt how to hold his dagger, but also Owen had shown him two defensive moves that he told Cham to memorise. “Most importantly of all though, you need to know when to fight and when not to. There is no shame in running away, at least then you will be alive to fight another day, and more importantly you will have learnt a valuable lesson.”

 

Once he stopped talking, Owen picked his cloak up from the floor and wrapped it around himself, sitting down Owen settled back against the tree and closed his eyes, he was not going to sleep, he needed to enter the Wolf Dream so that he could inform John where he was and that he could do with the Rangers help in setting up an ambush for the people who were following them. “Bring two other Rangers with you John, Lorelai and one other will do fine. Meet us at the pass through the gorge and we will see just what our pursuers want.”

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

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Nightsfire had been dozing when he received Owen summons in the dream he immediatly woke up knowing what needed doing.  Quickly dressing and gathering his weapons he strapped his bastard sword on his back and slung his bow over his shoulder. 

 

Heading outside he found a young Wanderer and sent her off to pack some rations for the journey and sought out Lorelai.  Once he had explained Owen’s need he left Lorelai to get ready and quickly found Teos at his cabin.  He helped the young Ranger gather his things and they quickly met at the stable.  The young Wander had delivered their food stores to Lorelai who was the first to arrive and the three quickly mounted and were off.

 

They rode south out of the stedding most of the night at a brisk pace careful not to use too much haste and risk injury to the horses.  It was well past midnight when they stopped to sleep, consuming a cold meal and setting a watch before taking turns resting.

 

Dawn found the three back in the saddle and emerging from the mountains.  The three talked of what they needed to do when they reached their destination.  They would need to coordinate with Owen through the dream to be sure they arrived at the spot that the Ranger leader and his charge would pass.

 

Reaching out with his senses he found Quickening and summoned her to shadow them with some other wolves.  Nightsfire held not pretense that this would not be dangerous.  Any thread that Owen felt needed more Rangers was not to be taken lightly.  Leaning close to Lorelai as they rode the two senior Rangers plotted.

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Cham never thought it could be, but he was sure that he did not want to see his dagger for some time after what the past few hours had given him.  Owen had set him to work learning how to hold his dagger –which took more time than he ever could have imagined; he always thought you were just supposed to hold the thing!- and memorizing two forms for defense against an attacker. He had made him practice them over and over and over.  Not just the parts that he had wrong, but from start to finish, and every time he did something wrong, he had to start all over.  If that weren’t enough, he had almost broken Cham’s wrist!  Light, what good will I be to him with a broken wrist?  Cham had resumed his seat, rubbing his sore wrist, and left his dagger stabbed into the ground.  He looked over at Owen who had apparently gone to sleep, his head down and his eyes closed once more. 

 

Letting his head drop down onto his hands, he sighed heavily.  His muscles had been aching for the past few days, but come tomorrow they would be on fire!  Light! 

 

Suddenly catching himself, he realized that he was whining; something that had always been strongly discouraged around the Rugarth Farm.  “If you gotta’ do something, I don’t wanna hear you whining about it, Cham.  It wont do you any good, and it only slows things down and gives you a bad attitude,” his father would say.  Light, his father… What was Cham to do if he really was being chased by his own father?  Putting those thoughts firmly out of his mind, Cham decided to stop whining, suck it up and train through the forms that Owen had showed him once more.   

 

Slowly he took up the first defensive form.  Block, jab.  No, no, no.  It had to be smooth, like one move instead of two.  “Give the enemy too much time between, and he will ruin the move for you.”  Once again he tried it.  After four more tries he successfully executed the first form, and moved on to the second.  After fouling up the second, he pondered just trying it again without completing the first again, Owen was asleep after all, but Cham would know if he cheated, and that was all that mattered.  He started again with the first form, and when it was successfully executed once more, he went on to the second. 

 

Just as he had almost completed both defensive forms five times in a row, he felt someone grab his dagger hand. Quickly, and on instinct, he spun to deliver an elbow to the stomach of his assailant.  His elbow was deflected and folded back behind his back with an ease that would have made an on-looker think that Cham had wished it so.  Held fast and unable to retaliate, Cham looked at his assailant for the first time; Owen.  “You’ll have to do better than that if you are attacked, Cham.”  Cham reddened as he was released and almost fell to the ground.  “It’s time that we set off once more.” 

 

Without a word, Cham sheathed his dagger and climbed up behind Owen and they set off riding towards their goal:  safety, a place where he could belong; home.   

 

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Learning that Owen had requested her presence was shocking. Ever since they returned from the rescue mission, he hasn't spoken a word to her. With every passing day her fear of losing his friendship grew. But when John approached her, a little sparkle of hope lit up. Perhaps Owen was sending for her through John. Sadly, that wasn't the case. But the subject was equally important. Owen needed her help, and it was all that mattered. That was what Lorelai was waiting for. An opportunity to show him that she was still loyal to him.

 

Getting her gear ready, Lorelai met up later with John and an unfamiliar Ranger. They departed from the stables, riding hard towards the south. Lorelai asked John to repeat word to word what Owen had told him in the dream. The danger must have been dire if Owen felt that he couldn't get away without help. That meant multiple pursuers. And there were only two possibilities. Either they were after Owen or the wanderer he picked up. Neither was better then the other, since both exposed the other person to the same dangers.

 

"We're in a tricky position, John. We need to be invisible to the pursuers yet at the same time we have to be visible to Owen. Finding him would be twice as hard, since he's probably moving around and keeping his presence hidden from them. We might be better trackers then them but we're not superior to Owen's skill. This is going to be like searching for a needle in a hay stack and if we're not careful, we might get pricked."

 

 

 

Lorelai

Ranger

 

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They had been on foot for the two previous days. Their horse had been shot from under them and it had taken all of Owen’s skill to get them free of the ambush that they had ridden into. Owen had not realised just how skilful their pursuers were until that moment and now was cursing himself for not taking more care. Cham and Owen had been running virtually none stop for the past two days and even Owen was nearing the end of his endurance, which was almost legendary, according to some of the Wolfkin. Glancing over at Cham Owen realised that he could not carry on much longer and there was no way Owen could carry him. Food had been another factor, and they had not eaten a hot meal for three days now, existing on berries and what scant supplies Owen had left in his rucksack.

 

“Cham we have to find some shelter, somewhere we can hole up for a while and find something to eat. If we continue at this pace we will drop from exhaustion.” Cham did not answer Owen; all of his concentration was taken keeping up with the pace Owen was setting.

 

They were running uphill and Owen suddenly pulled Cham to one side. “Look Cham we have to do something, and I think I know what. When we get to the other side of this hill, I want you to look for a low hanging branch and when you find one swing up into the tree. I will carry on running and hopefully lead our pursuers on a merry chase and then make my way back to you. Under no circumstances should you leave the safety of the tree, no matter what you stay in that tree and I will return for you.”

 

Before Cham had chance to respond Owen was off again, charging uphill with renewed vigour, dragging Cham with him. As they crested the hill, Owen quickly glanced behind them and saw no sign of their pursuers, they were still there somewhere, but for now it looked as if they had gained some modicum of time on them. Heedlessly Owen ploughed down the other side of the hill and when he reached the bottom he pointed out a large oak tree to Cham, one that had a low hanging branch. “Swing yourself up into that tree and climb as high as you can, I will return before the moon is full…now go and do not look back.”

 

With that Owen set off again, making sure his sword was free in it’s scabbard and that his bow and quiver were still safe on his back, a new determination gleaming in his eyes.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

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Owen had said, “as high as you can,” but Cham wondered if that meant he should stay on the ground.  After so much running he could barely stand, much less climb a tree!  Even still, under the grim eyes of his companion he climbed into the large oak with no small difficulty and began climbing higher. 

 

Every time he ascended a limb, it felt as if his legs would give out and he would fall, yet he kept going, trying to put most of his weight on his arms; pulling himself up from limb to limb.

 

Eventually he had climbed as high as he could.  He was used to climbing trees larger than this at the farm, so he wasn’t un-nerved in the least by the rhythmic motion of the tree’s swaying top.  Carefully he found a place to sit on one of the tree’s fatter limbs that seemed to be made for resting, it’s length curving upwards so that he could lie down it’s length while sitting up slightly.  Rest… finally he could have some rest.  Sure, it was no cushioned armchair, but it beat running through the forest.

 

After a short time, his comfortable resting place grew quite un-comfortable, as tree limbs always do.  Changing his position, he let his legs- which were beginning to feel like jelly –dangle down from the limb.  Sighing deeply he laid his head back on the limb, trying to gauge how long the sun had left in the sky when a thought suddenly struck him.  Owen had not said he would be back before nightfall, but before the full moon!  Franticly he tried to figure out when the next full moon would be, hoping that it was indeed the coming night.

 

Unable to determine when the next full moon was going to rise- he had been paying little attention to the moon’s cycle this past week or two- he decided not to worry about it.  He would stay in the tree as long as he must and one thing was for sure, Owen had said that he was coming back.  So whether it was that night or next week, Cham knew that Owen would be back.

 

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The three Rangers pushed their horse’s hard stopping only to rest for a few hours sleep so they could stay sharp and focused.  Those pursuing Owen would have no way of knowing that he could send a message for help and it would be their undoing.  Nightsfire and Lorelai spoke as they rode the younger man Teos content to take point as they rode.

 

The plan they decided on was simple for such plans often worked the best.  They would ride until they found a spot where only one or two men at a time could pass.  A break in a cliff wall most likely considering they were coming into the foothills out of the higher mountains.  As they traveled clouds rolled in from the west grey and leaden covering the sky.  Smiling Nightsfire looked over to Lorelai.  “It seems as the fortune favors us.  The clouds will help hide any shadows and let our presence less easy to detect.”

 

Nearing mid day they found the perfect spot to set up their trap.  A fissure that must have formed during a earthquake went all the way through one of the smaller hills.  Two or three men at best could get through at the same time. 

 

“We will set up here, Teos I want you to scout the fissure and make sure that it serves our purpose.  Lorelai and I will prepare a few surprises for out guests.”  When the finishing touches were put on the snares and traps, which every Ranger knew how to set in the dark,  Nightsfire found a cool shaded spot to lie down. 

 

Quickening roamed close by senses checking for dangers as he left himself drift into the dream world.  It took him only moments to find Owen and he told the Ranger leader where they had set up and the traps that lay in wait so he could avoid them.  Rising from the ground he found Loreali seated to the side of the entrance and he joined her.  Pulling a water pouch out from his pack he drank deeply.  “Now we wait.”

 

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Now that he was alone and unburdened by someone less experienced then himself, Owen easily laid a false trail for their pursuers and led them a merry dance deep into the forest and far away from where he had left Cham. Once he was certain he had the pursuers convinced them were still following Owen and Cham, Owen disappeared into the night like the ghost he was often mistaken for. There were few among the Rangers, who could match Owen’s skill in the woods, and no one outside of the Rangers could and Owen proved this yet again, thanking those who had taught him so well. By the time he returned to where he had left Cham, Owen was feeling better than he had in days, now they stood a chance of reaching safety. Quietly Owen chuckled to himself, as drifting down from the tree was the sound of Cham’s soft snores, obviously the young man had quickly come to terms with the shock he had felt and had decided to do the only think he could while waiting for Owen to return, sleep. That was something that Owen would need to do at some stage, but for now it was more important to find something to eat and a safe place to hold up for the remainder of the night and the next day. It took Owen a while to attract Cham’s attention but once he had they made their way through the forest, heading in the opposite direction to the one Owen had led their pursuers.

 

The next day the sun was obscured by the clouds, which sped across the sky as if an invisible hand was pushing them, so fast was the wind blowing. Owen took the opportunity to check the snares he had set out the night before, and while he was doing this Cham walked the short distance to the fast flowing river to get some water for their morning meal. When he returned to the camp, which was situated under a large tree, the roots of which were partially exposed, Owen already had a fire going and the smell of cooking meat brought a smile to Cham’s face.

 

“Sit down Cham, we are fortunate to have caught two young rabbits last night, so this morning we will have our first hot meal, I also have news for you. I spoke to Nightsfire last night, and he and two other Rangers are waiting for us, about a days walk from here. Once we reach their position no one will be able to harm us. Rest easy my young friend, we will not be on our own for long now.” Their first hot meal for days was a merry affair, both Owen and Cham feeling much better after they had eaten and had a hot drink. Owen decided to try his luck by the river, and showed Cham how to tickle a fish. “All you have to do is find an area of still water, one where you can lay down and cast no shadow over the water. Then slowly place your hand in the water and wait. If you are lucky a fish will come along and you can wait for it to come to you then you can literally tickle it into your hand.”

 

Owen could tell that Cham did not believe him, but that soon changed when Owen pulled a large Rainbow Trout out of the river. Seeing the success Owen had, Cham tried the to emulate his new friend.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

OOC Cham, post having success or no success with the fist….then later in the day get us moving towards where Nightsfire, Lorelai and Teos are waiting for us. At some point have our pursuers find us again but not capture us,ok?

 

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The water was colder than Cham had expected.  He had rolled his sleeve up to his elbow and had been waiting for some time for a fish to swim up to his submerged hand.  Trying to keep himself as still as possible he looked out into the flowing water waiting for his prey. 

Soon after he felt something brush against his hand and looked down quickly to find that a small trout was swimming around it.  How did I miss that?  He wondered as he waited for the fish to move closer to his grip.  As soon as it had gotten close enough, he began trying to tickle the fishes belly.  The animal actually began moving into his grip!  Excitement overcoming him he grabbed for the fish and pulled his hand up out of the water.  It took a few seconds for him to realize that he was empty handed.  With a heavy sigh he lay back down, preparing to try to catch another.

He felt a hand on his back and looked over to find Owen crouched down next to him, “There will be plenty of time for that when we get to where we are going, Cham.  As for now, we really must be on our way.”  Owen offered a hand that Cham took and was pulled up off of the soft grass.  It took very little time to get ready and they were off again.  Cham had certainly enjoyed the bit of rest he had received last night and, even though his legs still felt stiff and sore, taking the trip on foot wasn’t quite so bad anymore.  In fact, it seemed to ease the soreness in his legs a little when he kept them moving. 

The pace that Owen set for today was no where near as strenuous as the previous few days; but it could, by no means, be called slow.  “I may have given our pursuers the slip,” Owen had said, explaining why they were still in a hurry, “but you never underestimate your enemy, Cham.  They may find my false trail to be just that, false; and then they will turn back and give chase.  We will keep this pace until we reach the safety of our friends.”

At a quick jog, they made their way across fields and through copses of trees, small and large.  Cham had become used to the dagger bouncing around on his thigh while he ran.  It had bothered him to no end for the first day of running, but soon he had learned to deal with it.  It was just a matter of course now, like it was becoming a part of him.  The thought thrilled him, maybe he could be a weapon master like Owen one day. 

Soon they had come to a large stream that was overflowing its banks.  It didn’t take long for Owen to find a way for them to cross, a spot that seemed a shorter distance from one side to the other, and had a few sparse stones to hop across. 

After explaining that the current was quite strong and that it was very risky to cross, Owen hopped across the stones, seeming to glide from one to the next. 

“Heads up,” he said as he threw a rope over the small stream.  Cham caught it and tied it around his waist.  “Ok, now cross slowly, be sure of your footing before you jump, it is quite slippery.  In the event that you fall in, keep your head above water but don’t struggle with the current, you’ll only zap your strength and make it harder for me to get you out.”  Tying the rope around his own waist, Owen signaled for Cham to begin.  Carefully, Cham jumped to the first stone and almost slipped into the rapids.  Regaining his balance he checked his footing, and jumped over to the next stone.  This was easier than he had thought, only one more stone lay between him and the other side.  It wasn’t really that bad, crossing this little obstacle.  As he jumped for the next stone, his foot slipped causing him to lose most of his distance, and landing him in the water somewhere between the two stones.  As soon as his legs hit the rapids, they were pulled out from under him slamming him into a large stone just beneath the water's surface, knocking all breath out of him.  Light, but the water made ice seem warm!  He was quickly carried downstream at a breathtaking speed.  Trying his hardest to stay clam, he forced his head above water, something that he seemed to be failing at as he was taking as much water into his mouth as air.  He reached for calm, to stay relaxed as Owen had said, but he only barely kept from thrashing around in panic, wondering which rock would be the first to slam into his head.  Before seconds passed, the rope tightened and pulled painfully at his waist, causing the water to flow over him and pull at him fiercely. 

At Owen’s barely heard instruction, Cham grabbed the rope and began pulling his way toward the bank.  He could barely see, but he did notice that the rope was bent around a rock that was protruding from the water.  As if he did not have enough to fuel his panic, he noticed that the ropes strands were snapping free on the rock’s jagged edge. 

That was when the struggling began.  Cham frantically pulled himself up the rope, fighting the strong current.  With water up his nose, in his mouth and even behind his eyes, he pulled and struggled.  He thought he heard a faint chastising scream from Owen right before he heard the man yell, “Nooooooooooo!”  and the rope broke loose. 

Cham was overwhelmed by the force and speed at which he was swept away, overwhelmed until he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head.  His vision began to tunnel away as he frantically fought with the waters of the stream.  He was sure that he would drown, if he let himself lose consciousness but he could not seem to fight it back.  Darkness.

 

 

Gregorin and the others had been following the bloody shadowspawn for more than a week now and he was sure that thorns and weeds had taken over his fields, and he needed to plant his crop in less than two weeks. 

When he left out after the one creature, he had intended to have killed it and be back within two days time, but he had not intended for it to join up with another of it’s kind.  Just the previous night, one of the evil beasts had given them the slip and sent them on a wild goose chase that they were just now recovering from.  Three of their party were now arguing over which way the shadowspawn had really gone, and he was fed up with hearing their bickering.  Quickly he made his way toward the nearby stream that he had been able to hear flowing before they had started all of their noise.  Feeling his sword bounce on his hip, he realized that he had rather gotten used to the feeling.  The old relic had been stashed away in his basement for a long time before he had been summoned to go hunt shadowspawn, and he had to get used to the pull on his belt all over again. 

When he arrived to the stream, he took one knee by the overflowed banks and cupped the cool water in his hands before splashing it over his face.  Remaining on one knee next to the water’s edge, he breathed easily and allowed his mind to wander. 

He was abruptly disturbed from his peace by a splashing sound over to his right.  Standing he looked over and saw a young man struggling to stand up in the water, struggling but failing; with another great splash, the boy fell into a shallow place in the stream.  Walking over to help the lad, he asked, “You alright, then?” 

Gregorin’s breath caught as the young man looked up at him with shining golden eyes.  “Shadowspawn!”  he yelled back to the camp, and standing over the creature he drew his sword and prepared to strike it dead.

 

 

Cham opened his eyes to see the sky through the treetops.  His head felt like it was full of water and he was unable to feel his legs.  Looking down, he saw that he was all still there, and that he was still lying in the water in an apparently calm, shallow area.  A cold wind blew over him and he caught the scent of a man that was nearby.  In a sudden fear, Cham attempted to stand up so he could run away.  He quickly realized that not only could he not feel his legs, he couldn’t use them very well either.  With a loud splash he crashed back down into the icy water.  Knowing that he must get up and run away, he tried once more, and once more he crashed into the shallows of the stream. 

“You alright, then?” the stranger said, and Cham glanced up at the man, wondering what he could possibly do now. 

The man assumed a look of recognition and horror right before he yelled over his shoulder, “Shadowspawn!”

Cham’s heart stopped beating as the man drew his sword and held it high overhead, feeling for his dagger, Cham found that it was still there, but realized that he had nowhere near enough strength fight.  Before he could wrench the dagger free an arrow’s fletchings bloomed in the man’s chest and he stood there, ankle deep in the water, dumbfounded.  Before the man had even fallen over, Cham felt a hand grip his shoulder and pull him to his feet. 

“Can you stand?” Owen asked him quietly.

“I don’t know if…”

“Well, you will have to.  We wont be here alone for too much longer.”  Cham began hearing voices raised behind him and he turned to see a group of men with glittering steel making thier way through the forest towards he and Owen. 

Cham did not know where it came from, but suddenly he got a burst of strength and took off in pursuit of Owen.  Every so often, Owen would turn and loose an arrow that was soon followed by a grunt or a scream behind them.  Cham kept expecting an admonition from his new friend for his foolish behavior upon falling in the stream.  Had he remained calm like he was told, then the two of them would be almost free of these wretched men.  The admonition never came, perhaps he was too rushed now to stop and have a talk with him, but Cham was sure he would hear it tonight.  If tonight ever came.  With that thought, Cham ran hard; ran for his life.

 

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~They come~

 

Quickening’s message came sooner than Nightsfire expected but they were Rangers taught by Owen to always be ready.  The three Rangers quickly took up their positions elevated above the opening in the cliff face.  Lorelai had a look of grim fiercnes on her face as all three notched arrows in their bow and waited. 

 

The quiet of the earlier morning would soon be shattered by the shouts of men dying as the Rangers practiced the art that Owen had trained them so well in.  The men pursuing the Ranger Leader and his charge would show no mercy and so neither would they. 

 

The wound of pursuit reached Nightsfires ears and he knew the chase had entered the cliff opening and in moments would emerge below them.  All of his emotions were feeding the spring and the world was alive and in focus as he waited. 

 

Suddenly Owen emerged from the gap followed by a young man that he was pulling with him as he encouraged him to keep up.  Nightsfire let out a low whistle and Owen looked up spotting him his eyes burned with determination as he gave a slight nod.  Only seconds seemed to pass when the first of the pursuers burst forth followed by the others.  The sound of bow string releasing filled the air and the unfortunate ones in the lead died before they knew what was happening. 

 

Owen had reached Nightsfire and put the young Wanderer behind a boulder out of harms way and turned to join in the slaughter.  As they notched another arrow a wolf howled in the distance sensing the hunt was at an end.

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Owen knew they were nearing the position where John and the other Rangers were waiting. Owen had recognised the landmarks John had told him about, and even though he was dragging Cham along, Scrabbling over the loose rocks that littered the ground and tried to trip Owen and Cham up. Just then Owen heard a shouted warning and recognised Lorelai’s voice and so threw himself and Cham to the ground, just in time to feel the air move as two arrows passed over their prone bodies.

 

“Come on Cham, this is no time to be lying around sight seeing.” His face covered in dust and sweat, Owen grinned like a madman at Cham and dragged the Wanderer to his feet. “One last effort and we will be amongst friends and you can rest easy then.”  Picking Cham up by the Scruff of his shirt, Owen literally threw him towards where the Rangers where and then vaulted after him; the only difference between Cham and Owen when it came to exhaustion was that Owen hid it better.

 

As they finally came abreast of the positions the Rangers where in, Owen glanced over to where John was. “Took your time getting here Owen, you must be getting old.” The grin on John’s face belied the potential trouble they were facing. “With a wit like that John you would do well to avoid cutting yourself you are so sharp.” Grabbing a water skin Owen gulped down two mouthfuls and then emptied the rest over his head. Shaking his head, the water cascaded from his long white hair. “Cham you find a rock and stay behind it until one of us calls for you. Lorelai, you take the right flank, find some high ground and make these two-legs regret the day they tried to kill us. Teos, you take the opposite side and do the same. Do not wait for my signal, just kill anything that is not Wolfkin” Owen saw Lorelai’s glance at him. “This time Lorelai there is no reason not to. They want to kill us, and we have no option but to stop them. You can try wounding them if you want, that is your decision, but I will do what I have to, to make sure my family stay alive. After this is over you can tell me again what a fool I am, but at least you will be around to tell me.”

 

Once Lorelai and Teos were on their way, Owen called John over and quickly filled him in on how many men were following them. “They are on horse back so we need the two on our flanks to stop them from coming behind us, although they will be hard pressed to do so in this position, you choose well my friend. Now let us put an end to this once and for all and then we can go home.” Before Owen and John could move away Cham grabbed hold of Owen’s arm. “You will not kill him will you? I would like the chance to talk to him one last time.”

 

Cham was not pleading, but Owen could hear the sincerity in his voice. “If he allows us to we will let him live Cham, but I make no promises, now go find a good safe place to wait.”

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

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Cham’s burst of energy that he had suddenly found lasted only a minute or two and before long, he could feel that Owen was having to pull on him to keep him from falling over on the forest floor.  Slightly disoriented, he continued to trudge along, unsure of whether he would ever see the light of the moon again.

The light of the moon?  Why do I care… The thought was interrupted by the sudden smells that hit him.  There was someone up ahead.  He almost paniced, but seeing that Owen was still as calm as a willow in the wind, he tried to achieve that calm as well, moving towards the unfamiliar smells. 

Before too long, a low hill of rock came into view filling his vision.  Down the middle of this formation was a large crevice, and on either cliffside was standing a cloaked figure with bow in hand, releasing arrows faster than Cham had ever seen.  Whether it was the blur of motion, or his disorientation, he was unable to see very much about them.  What he was able to see without fail, however, were the golden eyes shining out of both of their cowls.  That sight, that had scared him a week or so ago to the point of fleeing for his life (even fleeing from himself), now brought a great sense of relief and safety. 

Before Cham could think, Owen had dropped him onto the ground and commanded him to hide in the rocks.  Cham hardly heard the command as everything seemed to be all fuzzy.  What was the matter with him?  Suddenly, like a knife cutting through the fog, a realization hit him.  He looked up as Owen began firing away at their pursuers.  Those men out there were dying, which would be fine except; unless he missed his guess, those men were from his village.  That meant that his father was among them!

He struggled to his feet and stumbled over to where Owen was now standing and firing away arrows as soon as they were well knocked.  Cham grabbed his arm and the words poured from his mouth before he was able to form them well in his mind, “You will not kill him will you?  I would like the chance to talk with him one last time.”

Owen’s piercing golden eyes stared down at Cham; at first harder than the aged stone that surrounded them, then a sudden light hit them and they became soft, and sad only for a split second before they became stoic once more.  He looked back at the oncoming attackers, “If he allows us to we will let him live Cham, but I make no promises, now go find a good safe place to wait.”

Light, but don’t let the man be a fool.  Stay back, father.  Don’t make them kill you.  Settling back against a large boulder, Cham closed his eyes and listened to the soft hum of arrows leaving the bow-string followed by the sounds of men screaming and dying.  He felt oddly detached from the whole experience.  And he felt, warm; no hot, in fact.  The world seemed to swim around him. 

The soft hum ceased and he looked up to where Owen was standing, now grasping the wrist of one of the other bowmen in a greeting.  Then it happened, the third bowman descended the rock face to greet Owen and Cham was not sure whether his sudden lightheadedness was from the energy being drained from his body, or from seeing her face, but either way the world went black and he was on the ground. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The battle, if one could call it that, did not last long, once Cham’s pursuers had realised that they were surrounded and their enemies had the flanking high ground all the fight went out of them, as was the want with bullies and their ilk. While Teos and Lorelai disarmed the survivors, Owen had John separate Cham’s father from the rest of them and when Cham had recovered sufficiently, Owen led him over to where his father stood. “Now listen Cham, these meetings never go as we would want them to. I have been present at several of these and only harm seems to come from them. So no matter what he says to you, no matter how he tries to blame you just remember this, it is not your fault what has happened to you, nor what has happened here. It is the fault of people who are afraid of things, or events, that they cannot readily explain; it is the way of folk and always will be. Now wait here a moment, there is something that I need to say to your father before you speak to him.”

 

Owen made his way over to Cham’s father, receiving the sort of look that he was more than used to and which now slid off him without causing Owen a moments pause. He knew his worth, his worth to his friends and his extended family, this two-leg would never come to know that. Owen spoke softly, hoping that his words would make a difference, but knowing that they would not. Eventually, not wanting to waste any more of his time, Owen signalled for John to accompany him and the two Rangers left Cham to talk alone to his father.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

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Cham walked up to stand a few paces away from the man that he called father; the man he used to plow in the field with every day, the man who would go fishing and hunting with him every day.  And now he stood a few paces off and stared sullenly at the leafy ground and wouldn’t even look up at him. 

 

“Da…”  Cham started, taking a step toward his father who still stood there silently.  “I didn’t mean to…”

 

“You’re mother killed herself three days after you left, boy.”  As his father spoke, his gaze rose to meet Cham’s.  “You killed her, just like you killed your brother and all these men here today.”  Cham almost fell over again.  It could not be!

 

“I didn’t mean to…”

 

“You didn’t mean to what, Cham?!” the man was now screaming, fists clenched and eyes aflame with hate.  “You did mean to jump up and rip out your poor brother’s throat didn’t you?”

 

“No, I…”

 

“Yes!  Yes you did, because you are a bloody shadowspawn, boy!  I wouldn’t doubt that you plotted your mother’s death as well, you Light forsaken creature!”

 

With a wordless scream, Cham drew his dagger and rushed a few steps closer to his father, ready to strike, before he stopped himself within arms length of the man and held the dagger steady. 

 

“That’s it, boy!  Kill me!”  His father was in an outrage, flailing his arms and pushing on Cham’s chest, “Do it, you coward!  Do it quick, like you killed everyone else!”  Cham turned aside and flung the dagger away from himself feeling the anger in him being replaced with guilt. 

 

Suddenly he felt a breath-taking blow from his side as his father tackled him to the ground and began slamming his fists into him.  Cham did the only thing he could and fought back.  He eventually gained the upper hand, with his father on the ground under him, receiving the blows.  When he realized that his father had stopped hitting back, he stopped to stare at the man who was now shielding himself from the on-coming attacks, shivering.  Cham hurried off of him and sat on the ground to one side in silence; a silence that stretched on for several minutes until.

 

“I never want to see your face again, boy.”

 

“Da…”

 

“No, Cham.  You have killed all that I loved, even my chance for revenge.  Just leave me to die alone, and I’ll leave you to your ways of the Shadow.”

 

“I’m not a bloody Shadowspawn!”

 

Cham’s father grunted incredulously, “Well whatever you are, it’s not natural and it’s only brought pain.  So go cause it somewhere else.”  With that, the man- bruised and bloodied –stood to his feet and walked away. 

 

Cham watched him stumble through the undergrowth until the trees hid the man who used to be his father.  With unshed tears welling in his eyes, he stood to his feet and walked back to where the others were. 

 

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Nightsfire sat with Owen both men listening to the conversation between Cham and his father.  Their heightened sense of hearing allowed them to hear every word and the two men watched the confrontation carefully ready to intervene if needed.

 

When the meeting ended as both Owen and Nightsfire knew it would they shook their heads and Nights found his pack and pulled out an ale skin.

 

Walking over to Cham the Ranger handed it to the young man who smelled over hurt and loss.

 

“It is always the same Cham, most in this world do not understand nor do they try to understand.  With most people issues are black and white and they do not try to understand that some things are beyond their limited knowledge.”

 

Cham drank deeply from the ale skin then lowered it still looking off to where his father had disappeared into the trees.

 

“You have had a difficult journey but hope awaits you.  The Stedding is not far off and there is a new family waiting there to embrace you.”

 

Quickening emerged from the trees, the big grey she wolf padding up to them and licked Cham’s hand.

 

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The sudden sense of loss left Cham feeling as if his middle were hollow.  He had thought that the last two or three weeks had been the worst that he could ever possibly endure, but knowing what he now knew and hearing what that man- he wouldn't call that man his father! -had said had been worse, one hundred fold!  How could... Cham heard a foot crunch in the leaves behind him and turned to see one of the other ones like him that Owen had called upon for help. 

 

He handed Cham a skin that smelled strongly of alcohol... Cham drank deeply as he listened to the man explain about how the world would now view him, as a freak; and how there was a place where he could belong, a place to call home. 

 

Suddenly a grey wolf walked out from some nearby undergrowth.  Cham's eyes met hers and he suddenly felt a strange sensation of belonging, one he had never felt before.  The large animal came over to him and nuzzled and licked his hand.  Cham stood straight and tall, feeling a large weight lift from his shoulders as he accepted the fact that there was no going back.  With one last look back towards where that man had departed- no longer a look of longing or loss, but one of release, and... hope -Cham turned towards the man that had come over to speak with him.  "Thank you," he said simply, no more, no less; and then made his way back over to Owen.

 

"Owen, I am ready now.  Can we go to this place that you have spoken of?  I would like to meet the rest of my family."  For the first time in weeks, Cham smiled, both inside and out. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The journey to the Stedding went much more smoothly once the group of Wolfkin left the area of the battle. They kept a wary eye out for the first few hours of their journey just in case Chams father and his few remaining friends decided to behave in a stupid way, but for once they were left alone. They continued their journey until early evening and then stopped for the night, settling down in a small shady dell, the babbling of a nearby brook the only sound to disturb them. The hours were spent eating, drinking and above all talking. Owen caught up with events in the Stedding while he had been away. Not only did this allow Owen to relax, but it also allowed Cham an opportunity to meet more than one member of the Wolfkin and this, Owen hoped, would help Cham realise that they were not monsters, or dark friends, but just normal people who it happened could speak to the wolves.

 

The next day the pace was much more relaxed and again the day was spent talking and answering Cham’s many questions. As was usual, Wanderers had more questions than there were answers for, but the four Wolfkin did not tire of answering them no matter how many times they were asked. The evening was spent in a cave as towards late afternoon large black clouds had come rolling in and a stiff northeasterly wind had sprung up. Just as the sun was setting the rain started to come down in large drops and the distant sound of thunder could be heard. By midnight a full-blown thunderstorm had settled overhead and Owen and John sat at the entrance to the cave watching the lightning and reminiscing about another night early on in John’s Ranger training when he thought Owen had gone totally mad and thrown himself off a cliff.

 

Midafternoon of the third day the five travellers had entered a large forest and it was not long before each of them passed through an invisible barrier, one that announced to them that they were nearly home and were now within the boundaries of the Stedding. Owen had asked Cham to wait and not move until he said so. The young man had given Owen a strange look but did as he was asked. There was a reason to Owen’s request, he loved to watch the first time reaction of a Wanderer when they passed through the barrier around their new home, it was just like being doused in ice-cold water and always brought a surprising response.

 

Owen was not disappointed in Chams reaction and he quickly forestalled any inquiries from the young man and explained what he had just experienced. Chams eyes grew even wider as Owen explained and his grin bigger, if that was possible. “Take my word for it Cham, it never gets old experiencing that feeling, and it always signals that you are safe and can proceed without harm. From this point on and until you leave the Stedding you do not have to worry about anyone doing you harm. Here you are well protected and can go about your life in safety.

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

OOC Cham post your feelings to all of the above and then for my next post I will show you some of the Stedding and then leave you in the competent hands of a Sage.

 

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