The Blood King – Driven Back

Acacia tightened the buckle on the strap of her quiver, adjusting the placement of the bow so that she could easily reach and draw it.  A stray beam of sunlight caught the dagger at her hip sending a rainbow of sparkles through the room as it reflected off the crystalline surface and the silver hilt.  The various rumors that had reached her played through her mind. the Sayter Dishan had been the first, and then the other mentions in the Tavern.  When Baelwhealar had mentioned that he had sent the rangerlord Jayded to investigate and she had not returned with word, it had become clear that something was amiss.

The flight to Lundene had been uneventful, clear skies and a wind behind her so her timing was good.  A flash of movement in the woods below her caught her eye. Cautiously she spiraled down to see who was moving in the woods below her.  Landing on a thick branch in a large and spreading oak she smiled to see a pack of wolves moving through the woods.

Calling out to them in the language of fae and druids, *Brothers of the hunt, can you tell me…*  The look in their eyes as they turned to face her caused her to pause. She looked from where she stood on the branch to the ground, She should be higher than they could jump, but she drew her bow.  Standing her ground, arrow nocked, but bow, held to the side, she tried again. *Brothers of the hunt, I am not your enemy*  The only reply was a low growl, a clear challenge.  The largest of the wolves lept at the tree, his claws gouging deep tears in the bark of the tree. She felt the tree shudder beneath her, but she was reluctant to draw on a wolf, even ones that were clearly saw her as a snack and nothing more.

She leaned back into the tree, reaching out and feeling the water of the earth spreading slowly up in to the tree, the bright green earth energy of the tree. Keeping her eyes on the wolves as they tried one after the other, Lifting their heads and howling in rage at each miss, she spoke softly, “Green grass, binding vine, around these wolves twine and wind” She pictured what she was asking, the vines and even the grass to wind around the wolves.

Vines and grass sprang from the Earth winding around the legs of the animals, quickly ensnaring the smaller and weaker of the pack. The larger beasts great leaps made them difficult targets for the vines. The trapped ones opened their mouths to howl, but the tone was different, and this she could clearly understand. It was a call, a call full of vehemence and hate.

Her attention turned back to the vines, repeating the spell, “Green grass, binding vine, around these wolves twine and wind” She felt the same reluctance to hurt or hinder the wolves that she had for shooting them.  The elemental forces knew that the wolves were one of their own, and while they were trying to kill her, they were were acting to their nature, they were hunting. Something had driven them, for this was not the honorable hunt she associated with wolves.  It was then that the first bat struck her, knocking her from the tree. Her wings reacted without out need of conscious thought, and she sailed upwards narrowly missing being caught by the  snapping teeth of the largest wolf.

She turned sharply in the air as she caught sight of a bat heading towards her wings. This placed her shoulder in the path of the bat and it hit teeth and claws tearing into the soft flesh. The scent of blood seemed to drive the wolves into a greater frenzy. Using her bow, she swung at the bats, knocking away from her. One fell only to fall prey to the pack below.   She felt the sharp pain of another bat biting into her leg.  Seeing that the bats circled around her, she landed on a higher branch, and melted into the tree. Slowly and painfully, moving from tree to tree until she was to the very edge of the land. She emerged, and heard a howl of a wolf nearby. She could not tell if it was one of the pack, or a different one,  but it mattered little, so she lifted from the tree, flying across the sea towards home.

 

 

 

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