The Wolf bite
As the snarling wolves came closer, I brandished a burning log I had taken from the roaring fire in the middle of the forest glade. A black wolf tried to charge me; I quickly sidestepped and swung my fiery club upon its ferocious snout.
Someone shouted in a grating pained voice, “For gods sake help me!” Looking across the fire behind me I saw a white wolf had James down on the cold dewy ground. With horror I perceived the beast tearing at the soft flesh of his pale neck. Blood sputtered and trickled from where the filthy curs teeth were gnawing. I saw something fly across the fire spinning in circles. It stuck in the back of the wolf and I realized it was an axe. The livid animal keeled over, howling in rage and pain, releasing it's victim from its vice like jaw.
My men consisted offour knights. The other two had managed to reach our horses, where we had carelessly left our swords and weapons. Samuel was there first. He threw me my sword and then thethree of us still standing, fought the vile beasts and vanquished them in what could not have been more than a few minutes.We drove those that were still living, running and yelping into the dark forest that surrounded us.
Then we all ran to where James lay bleeding on the pine needle covered earth.Raphael tore up a silk shirt to use as a bandage and wrapped it round the poor fellows wound. It had been Raphael who had thrown the axe but alas it had been to late. By the time the sun was rising over the snow capped mountains to the east James had perished. We had tried our best to keep him alive but failed in the end. James had been a strong, loyal knight and I would never have thought he would be the first of my men to die. It seems that death chooses whom he will and when he marks us, there is no escaping his black eternal blade. Enough of death, let us shrug and shake from our shoulders these morbid ruminations.
We all rolled up our sleeves and using our hands, dug him a grave in the red clay earth and buried him. Then we all said some kind words about our friend. I spoke first. Standing over his fresh grave I said, “James was a great friend and a loyal knight”. Then looking upon my companions faces, as the sun shone down through the tall pines, I said, “I am sure James will be missed by many people, not least us among them”. I had known James for a long time. I knew I would miss him and I was certain our quest would be harder and more dangerous without him.
Let me properly begin my story by introducing myself. My name is Oscar Wedefoe. I am six foot two. When this all took place I was 35 years of age. I have a fair complexion and blue eyes. I was then a knight who travelled accepting the quests that paid well and suited me best. Ever since I reached manhood, life had been about adventure and the thrill of the fight or hunt. Three weeks before the morbid event I have just narrated to you, I accepted a quest from a king of the name Sherot, whose daughter had been kidnapped by a brutal warlord from the lands to the east. The king was offering huge quantities of gold and land to whoever could bring back his daughter safe from harm. It was known that the formidable warlord who had kidnapped Sherot's daughter, went by the name of Cateril Cormance.He had an army that dwarfed the kings.
It was clear to Sherot that the only way to bring back his daughter alive was to hire a group of Knights strong, brave and skilled enoughto bring her back using stealth and without being detected. I was well aware of the dangers involved and thought that the odds weighed heavily against my companions and I.The thought of the sheer wealth we could attain and what heroes we would be on our return, if there was one, to King Sherots realm seduced and tempted us along the road of likely fate. My companions were friends I had met and gathered from other quests I care not to mention, but let me say that if it were not for them this tale would not be written. Your faithful narrator would be cold and still as a buried stone, in most likely a shallow grave as poor James was.
My band of Knights now consisted of Raphael, Samuel and myself. Raphael who you could say was my second command. He had been a merchant until his family had been killed. He had joined me before we had reached Sherots kingdom. He was tall with fair hair and chestnut brown eyes. Skilled in the ways of the sword and bow and a very friendly fellow, I was glad he was with us.
Then there was Samuel. He was a man of medium height, slightly overweight, with brown hair and beard and marble grey eyes. He had been a monk. When he found he could cope with his boredom no longer, he gave up his religion and joined me for a life of violent quests. I had taught him all he knew in the practice of battle. He also had a quality about him one could not place. With time I realised, it could only be heightened senses that came from all his previous spiritual practice.