And with this entry... I've broken 40,000 words on Misery In Middale.
Gregory glared at the werewolf stood grinning before them before sinking to his knees, clinging to his greatsword for support. He was the last to do so and each of his companions had done similar already, exhausted and injured. Addy was slowly moving between them with her healing supplies, cleaning and bandaging the wounds they had suffered in the vicious fight.
"You fella's turned up just in time." Aylix said with a nod taking a slug of whiskey from his hip flask before tossing it to Aston. The High Father snatched it out of the air easily took a shot back and in turn passed it on to Gregory.
"There was enough howling going on that wasn't part of my packs, we had to make sure something wasn't tryin' to move in on our territory. Then of course there was, the rangers howl - how could I refuse the call of that?" he said with a grin, glancing around cautiously before sitting down cross legged in the middle of the path. Eliana rolled her eyes, but smiled all the same. "And we are most grateful you are - we were about to lose at least one life."
Aston shrugged. "Jus' protecting our borders. If the High Father had called upon his Ladies last it would have been a good death no doubt, but we'd just be left with his body to bring new life to the woods."
Eliana frowned, looking as if to argue with Aston's cold analysis of the entire situation but was interupted as the hip flask landed in her lap. "I wouldn't bother arguing lass." Aylix called over. "Let's just say we're greatful no one died and the wolf is happy that no rogue werewolves were encroaching on his land."
Aston snarled. "They were not werewolves. They were twisted creations formed of greenskin."
"Skarahi?" Grundown spat the word with disgust, hawking a glob of phlegn into the bushes. "The grobi have no love of them - what were they doing with them as pets?"
Aston had no answer for the Dwarf, merely shrugging. "We know the minds of orcs about as well as you do dwarf."
"Enough talk of the dead though, I assume you came into the woods at twilight for a reason? The children of the Mother of Monsters and the coconspirators of the Great Liar?"
"We've found where they're going to be doing the ritual." Crow said through gritted teeth as Addy tended a vicious claw wound on the bald skin of his head. "The problem is their numbers and a large force of undead nearby who plan on attacking while the ritual is occuring. The heretics have enough numbers to make sure that the undead are kept at bay though, so we still need to attack and disrupt the ritual, but there's six of us, and only about forty volunteers from the town - we've come to ask your help."
Aston raised his eyebrows, giving it serious thought. "Lead my pack into a horde of undead and heretics while they're fightin' each other to disrupt a ritual planned for by the followers of the Great Liar?" he laughed throatily. "The pack would have my head if I refused."
The companions looked visibly relieved. "You'll help then?" Gregory asked, eagerly.
"High father, there's probably enough ears in the woods around us to have heard everythin' you've said already. Even if I said no, there's be some that'd have made up their minds to go anyway. The pack of the Fang is with you. Where and when do you want us?"
"The previous rituals had to be completed when the sun reached its zeinth, it will take roughly an hour to get from Netherthong to the site with the force we have with us. We will make sure that everyone is ready for ten bells in the morning." Eliana said with a nod.
"I'll make sure I have some wolves in the woods to make sure we know what's going on before we get there." Aston mused, running a hand through his thick hair. "You all better get some rest, long day ahead of us tomorrow." he stood suddenly, breathing in the night air deeply before glancing appraisingly over the group as they all stood as well, understanding that they had been dismissed. "The stars were consulted last night, and will be again tonight by our augurs. They tell of great deeds being done tomorrow as well as great loss." his gaze lingered on Aylix and then Addy. "But the stars are sometimes wrong and I hope for your sakes that they are."
The group exchanged looks, Aylix frowned at the wolf before turning away with a shrug, starting back down the path towards Netherthong. "Until tomorrow wolf." he called, resting his hammer easily on his shoulder.
The rest of the group followed him except Addy and Crow. The Kharachian pulling the Traldan into an embrace in response to the look of horror on her face. "Come on." he said quietly, his voice reassuring, as the group started to disappear into the gloom. "We'll talk back at the camp."
From the trees, the pack of the Fang watched the group leave before returning to their lands a howl raising in the air as if to bid them farewell.