The mirwolves were getting closer. Now the three of them were nearing the mountain. The mountain’s shadow had left the surrounding area in early darkness. Visibility was low but for Falrod, Vilkon and Remi that was the least of their problems.
The three men were being pursued by mirwolves. The hope was that once they had entered into the darker territory, the wolves would give up on the chase. That was not the case. The shiny coats that gave them their names made them more accessible to spot at night. That did not make them any less dangerous.
The three knights happened upon an unusually narrow point of the forest. Falrod stopped in his tracks and turned to the other two.
“This is where we make our stand.”
“Yes sir” Vilkon replied. The three of them stopped, turned and waited. The denseness of the forest lowered visibility. However, they could see the reflection of the mirwolves through the branches. The mirwolves would be on them soon enough. Vilko and Remi sought to steady themselves by the trunks of trees. Falrod stood in the most open part of the area.
“Here they come,” Falrod said, “on my signal”. The mirwolves bore down on them they were so close their paws breaking sticks could be heard. Falrod gave the signal, Vilko and Remi sprung from their spots to engage the mirwolves.
The mirwolves thick coats meant that piercing the hide was a more trying experience.
Remi struggled to find an exposed area with his opponent. As he circled it taking swipes with the sword, he caught a glimpse of Falrod in the periphery of his vision.
Falrod had an arm thrust entirely down the throat of a wolf.
Falrod was able to do this because he was one of the few that still had kept his armour.
Remi didn’t know where Vilko was. Taking inspiration from Falrod, Remi threw himself at his wolf. He attempted to get his arm around the neck of the wolf.
The beast bucked, but Remi held tight. Taking a short knife, Remi began to thrust into the underside of the wolf. He felt the piercing of flesh and then hung in all the tighter for it. The wolf yelped in pain and bucked all the harder trying to dislodge Remi, but Remi held on tight.
The beasts jumping and kicking declined in both frequency and ferocity. It hit against trees as it circled an are before finally, its legs gave up, and the creature went to ground. With one final shudder, the beast sighed out the last of the life in its body.
Remi smiled, but his victory was short lived.
He realised that his arm was stuck.
Falrod still had an arm down a throat of a mirwolf and was attempting to dislodge something within the gut. The wolf was biting down on the shoulder plates of Falrod’s armour which as a result was becoming more mangled.
Falrod would have to achieve victory soon or else his arm maybe forfeit. He was also fending off the attack of two other wolves at the same time. Falrod was known for his love of challenges. As the wolves attempted to bite, Falrod fended them off with his sword. He used the wolf he had inserted himself into as a shield.
Vilko emerged from undergrowth with the head of a mirwolf in his hand.
Remi was using all his strength to free his hand which in the meantime had gone numb due to the weight pressing down. One of the wolves that was attacking Falrod had peeled off and set their eyes on the vulnerable Remi.
“Vilko help,” said Remi. Vilko turned to see Remi but did not move. Remi realised that he would have to fight this one on his own. The mirwolf was approaching. Remi knew that he would only have one chance at this so he stood as much as he could. The mirwolf lowered himself down ready to pounce. Remi looked directly into the eyes of his predator. A flicker, the mirwolf jumped. Remi dropped flat. The mirwolf hit into the body of the slain pack member with such force that it rolled freeing Remi’s hand. The beast was stunned. Remi pulled his knife from the fallen wolf’s body. He grabbed the dazed one by the tail and thrusting the blade into a part of the wolf that was particularly tender. The mirwolf collapsed dead from the pain and bleeding. Thick black blood stained all of Remi’s knife and arm all the way up to the elbow.
Remi turned to see his colleagues. He saw that Falrod had yanked the innards from one of the wolves. Falrod was now forcing them down the throat of the other causing it to choke.
Falrod could be heard taunting the suffocating animal, “C’mon I thought you were hungry”. He held the beast’s mouth shut as it shook violently before succumbing to Falrod. Falrod seized the opportunity and sliced the wolf from jaw to belly making sure that it would not wake up.
The three knights stood victorious.
“I dare say Glarman’s bow would have been useful in engagement such as this,” said Vilko.
“Ay but Glarman is dead, and we worked with what he had. Still were victorious. Remi I heard you call for help.”
“That you did sir, a moment of temporary loss of control but that is no excuse. May I offer my ring finger, for no woman should enter union with a coward.”
“A good choice, present it please.”
“Yes, sir,” said Remi taking off the glove on his left hand. He exposed his ring finger on a nearby stump. Vilko brought his small axe up and brought it down quickly, severing the digit. A brief moment of intense pain and it was over. The finger came off in one swipe. Remi tore some undershirt and used it as a makeshift bandage to curtail the bleeding. He put the glove back on.
Falrod walked on ahead before shouting. “Now to get up the mountain.”