The Wolf

A story of magic, transformation, and new worlds.

Audio Book Version

In order to provide additional ways to enjoy my stories, I have created a Podcast dedicated to audio book version of my stories. These are available on most Podcast markets, including iTunes. The inspiration to do so was done mainly for the visually impaired but also for those who prefer to listen rather than read.

Currently, only Part 1 and 2 are available in audio format. [Part 3 coming soon.]

Introduction

In the company of various beasts, he sits, patiently observing... blending in... Protecting his kin... waiting for something to change... waiting for his chance to fight... waiting for his turn to die.

He does so differently than many. The demise he awaits is a beautiful death filled with honor, skill, and unmatched ferocity. He seeks a challenge for his skills, forever in anticipation of another to outwit his intelligence.

Be cautious... he's as devious as he is gifted. He lures you into a false sense of confidence and waits to strike. If you bring an army, your honor will dissolve quicker than your life. He is connected in spirit to those that aid him… They are bonded. Deception will only cause his support to flood the battlefield undetected… Just as he has you, he will strike suddenly and rip you apart. That is only the beginning. His viciousness is one of the few things that outranks his intellect.

He only has one rule. He doesn’t take survivors…

Part 1

He calmly waited in purgatory. The once free and mighty wolf, dishonorably captured by the enemy... but he is not what you expect. He is not the animal you see in your mind. He is a young man, chained to a post, sitting on nothing but pine needles, red forest dirt and spots of thick grass. He is shirtless and filthy, covered in telling scars. Unlike the uniformed soldiers in the camp, he wears his hair just past his shoulders and his body shows the strength of his trials, yet not completely. He favors dark leather armor but only has remnants of a total set… left with nothing but torn pants.

The enemy was everywhere, armed to the teeth with finely smithed weapons, superior leather armor and fur covers for blending in and keeping one warm in the cold forest. They outnumber and surround him on a dramatic scale, but pay him little mind. The entire encampments size was hard to make out within all of the surrounding trees… It seemed to stretch on throughout the forest for quite a distance. The various ranks of soldiers went about their day, only walking by to shame him or give him a good knock on the face. A simple act to disgrace their new captive slave. They underestimate him.

He quietly sat, taking the abuse. Only moving his eyes to watch, to calculate... waiting for the right time.

His weapon, intelligence.

His strength, patience.

His capture wasn't an accident... This is exactly what he wanted. For him, this is all just a game. He continuously searches for a better challenge.

This day, his challenge was near.

It was a battle of wits.

He knew something secret to those around him. There was something lurking on the edge of his sanity... something vile, unrelenting, vicious, and unable to be restrained... Paired with an unquenchable thirst, a rage beyond understanding... Once released, it would do more damage to his mind than the pandemonium brought by its wake. When he allows it to take control, it becomes stronger and takes its price… A small piece of who he is becomes locked away… If not used wisely, it would soon take all that is left of him and assume full control… He’s not afraid. He was already lost to it. What difference did it make? So much had already been taken from him.

He once feared the change, now he almost craves the pain it brings... The day will end soon. The night will bring only death. The warning had been made, but in normal human fashion, it was disregarded and discredited.

Predictable.

As he watched the sun go down, just over the mountains in the distance, he displayed a calm and emotionless face. Just before he allowed himself to be captured he had already mapped out his entire plan in great detail. All he needed were locations. While he was dragged deep into the dark forest, then paraded through their camp, he was able to note all areas of interest. The final part of his plan was complete. He knew exactly where he was going when the opportunity presented itself.

Watching in silence, he sat motionless. The soldiers and officers, all over indulging in the rum and ale looted from their last run. The fools were too inebriated to fight well. False confidence.

A group of elite guards known as sentinel stood careful guard over a collection of tents. They were more cautious and seasoned fighters than the average soldiers that made up the army. They do not partake in the immediate spoils and are the most battle-hardened warriors in the entire encampment. Armed with the most advanced weapons their kingdom could make. Some specialized in different fighting styles… so each was provided with the tool of their trade… Uniquely crafted by a magical blacksmith that imbued them with special traits… They had an important job, but doing so also gave away a great detail to those that seek it. These were their leader's tents.

They would kill their own if one came too close, uninvited. The only one more experienced among them was the betrayer, their leader, the one they guard with their lives... but even they seemed a little too relaxed and would occasionally make jokes and boasts about glory and war stories.

The Wolf breathed in deep as he closed his eyes. The power flowed freely through him as he turned himself over to a sinister meditative state.

The change in the air was palpable... Most soldiers took no notice, but the sentinel started to look around as their laughter died out... They could feel something but they were all very puzzled. The ranks were all too loud and drunk to silence... sight was their only friend, and even that was limited on this dark night. Only the campfires and torches provided light. This dark forest limited the moons access to the surrounding area. As they looked toward each other for answers, things only seemed to become more confusing.

The ground started to fade into an increasingly dense mist that materialized before their very eyes…

Part 2

A gentle night breeze tickled one of the sentinel’s ears followed by an uncomfortable silence. For a moment, it was as if time stood still. They could no longer hear the clanging of ale mugs, or the rowdy soldiers. The fog was beyond dense. It eerily crept up to the slope and started to appear as if it were a white lake, resting on a dirt beach. One of the sentinel walked into the fog until it was about waste high and reached out to touch the white slurry, expecting to see what it felt like. As his hand breached the vapor, he could feel its grip pulling him in. He fought to take his limb back but it was too late. It would not let him go. He soon realized that his legs were also stuck. He started to panic and fight, which only caused more of him to become ensnared in the fog.

Although the rest of the sentinels watched in concern, they were seasoned battle masters that had seen a great many things. They also knew that each member of their team was a formidable opponent, which made them fear what might be in the fog. Fear caused them to hesitate. They weren't fond of things they didn't understand. One of the other guards came closer in an attempt to help his mate.

Suddenly the struggling guard was pulled into the fog and his attempt at a scream was quickly silenced once his head breached the thick white mist. It all made sense now. Why the majority of the camp was completely silent. Whatever was in the fog had already gotten to them. But how? There were so many in the camp. The second guard decided to investigate to show that he was stronger and no coward. He picked up a large branch and slowly approached the fog, sticking the end of the branch in to feel around. He tried to pull the branch out and soon realized that he couldn’t, he could only put it further in. He quickly dropped the branch and hurried back to the others to report his findings.

One of the other sentinels decided that it was time to notify their leader and his entourage while having the others scout for an escape route. As he made his way into the main tent, blood curdling screams filled the air behind him causing him to lose what little confidence he had left. He rushed over to the table as many eyes stared at the tent walls around them in confusion, listening to the pandemonium outside. “We need to get you out of here NOW” The guard demanded.

Just as they were about to make their escape, something dark came tearing through the canvas wall. In mere moments, the dark being had torn through every sentinel and many of the royal court members in the tent. The betrayer stood still, in shock at what he was seeing. He wasn’t completely afraid of what was happening, but rather, shocked at who he was seeing. In front of him stood the silhouette of a man, a man he knew all too well, but something was different. The dark figure looked mostly human, but with dark grey skin and red glowing eyes. Its teeth were menacing and more jagged than normal. It had claws thrusting out of its fingers and the majority of it was patchy with black hair. It had a dark aura about it, almost a void energy that seamed to dampen anything nearby.

It was him. The wolf.

The betrayer reached his hand out to cast a binding spell on the creature but before he could act, the wolf severed both of his arms causing the spell to fail. The betrayer screamed. The rest of the royal court members in the tent were paralyzed with fear. Witnessing their associates arms flop onto the ground only caused them to go unconscious or watch in complete terror. The betrayer cried, “You can’t do this! Join me! We would be unstoppable! We could rule all of Zennindor! You can’t kill me! We are brothers DAMNIT!”

The wolf smirked and watched him for a moment.

In a deep and hollow voice, the wolf spoke. “Brother?... I have no more time for your games. You should have thought about the consequences.”

The betrayer wanted to appeal to him. He cried, “I have changed. I am sor..” The wolf tore the betrayers head and spine from his body and threw it at the remaining spectators.

“I have no room for sorry.” Growled the wolf.

“Now. I leave the rest of you with a dead army and a message.”

“Tell your false king that terrible death awaits him. His actions brought death upon his regime. This is what happens to his defector wizards. This will be the fate of all wizards that betray the order. There is no turning back, he has awoken the wolf.”

The remaining royal court members watched as the wolf walked out into the misty moonlight. It was only then they realized that there were dozens of dark silhouettes with glowing red eyes outside. They needed to get word to their king… the fabled stories were true. The Wolf has risen.

Part 3

The chatter was loud and there must have been hundreds of people there at the banquet. The royal hall was filled with many court members, lords, ladies, and other nobles from around the land. Many of which were various races. There were several Olgiary’s in the mix. Defectors. Olgiary’s were a type of priest dedicated to the Kings service. They were once considered highly trained wizards, but they defected from the Order in order to become more powerful. They usually were converted on seemingly noble terms and then corrupted. They sought only power and the kings favor. But many were only wizards for selfish reasons to begin with.

The weather outside was beyond beautiful and everything seemed to glow peacefully in the early afternoon light. The birds were singing their songs and preparing for the great migration. The royal hall had large open arches on the left side that faced toward the south. Large tapestries hung from each of the pillars between the archways, telling different stories of the glorious king. The openness of this royal hall not only provided an abundance of natural light, but it also provided the royal court with an unparalleled view of the surrounding mountains, forests and meadows. The distance of the view available was astonishing. The fact that the castle rested atop a plateau only added to the intensity of everything.

It was a paradise.

What made it even more irresistible was the fact that it was mid-autumn and all of the colors provided by the leaves alone made for a magical array of beauty. It was one of the most desirable locations in all the kingdom for this reason, let alone the fact that everyone wanted to be a part of the royal court, with all the other benefits such pedigree obtained you.

Power.

It was craved by many but obtained only by a few. At least compared to the vast population that made up Zennindor. The problem was, such cravings bread corruption and unfortunately for the kingdom of Zennindor, evil was at the helm of power. Corruption had taken over what was once a pure and peaceful kingdom. Many close to the throne were aware of the evil that existed, but to an outsider, it would appear to be a wonderful place to live and a wonderful royal family to support. The king seemed a kind man and his face was often furnished with a enchanting smile.

Deception.

The veil of empathy, kindness and charity covering the underlying intent. He was a tall, muscular man with long, bright blonde hair. His eyes were a piercing blue and his gaze was comparable to that of a hawk. His beauty was beyond measure and he appeared to be only a little over thirty years of age. His appeal only added to his overall charm over people in conjunction with his seemingly kind nature. Many never truly knew where they stood with him. One would always appear to be in his good graces and then suddenly disappear or end in a horrible fashion. Something about him was unexplainable. He seemed almost alien to the land. They knew him as King Drefan.

As the day wore on, their daily banquet was coming to an end. People started to exit the royal hall and return to other areas of the castle. Nobody made a big deal out of it and would just saunter along, as if hoping for further engagements along the way. The rest of the castle was massive. It was filled with open courtyards, gardens, businesses, living quarters and more. It was like a large city in itself, yet resting on the edge of an even larger city. It was an unbelievable site for outsiders and the population grew by the week. Most of the people that lived in the castle walked around freely and dressed in different robes with various adornments and more. It was a community of corrupt and privileged individuals that thrived on slavery and rarely lifted a finger to do any kind of work or tasks for themselves. A drastic difference from the previous lineage of kings and queens. Because most were cared for by slaves, many spent their days doing whatever they desired.

Zennindor had a warmer climate than many other kingdoms and only saw snow when it rested on the surrounding mountain ranges. They were truly spoiled.

As the court members continued about their day, a commotion started to rise near one of the courtyards outside the great hall. It was a few of the extended Lords from southern Zennindor, but they weren’t slated to arrive for another weak, and were to have the entire southern army at their backs. What was additionally strange is that they were without their Leader. A powerful wizard should have been in their midst. These southern Lords seemed frantic and were telling anyone and everyone they could of something terrible. They were trying to get to the King with a message but were far too overcome with fear from what they had seen. Because of their erratic behavior and unbelievable tale, the guards seized control of them. The guards took caution and sought the advice of a local sentinel, a high ranking kings guard. The sentinel asked for a presence with the king in order to obtain guidance on what to do with these Lords.

Sentinel Relyn approached the king and kneeled. "Rise, Sentinel." King Drefan said softly. Sentinel Relyn rose and informed King Drefan of the bits and pieces he could make out from the ramblings of these newly arrived guests. The King was very intrigued by the story and wanted to further discuss the situation with one of the newly arrived Lords. He asked that the sentinel bring back the most well composed of the lot and have the rest escorted to the dungeons. He did not need bad behavior leaking out into the population. He needed to keep this quiet and find out more. One of the newly arrived individuals, Lord Fasian, was chosen to represent his fellow lords and the story to the King. When Lord Fasian arrived into the royal hall, carefully surrounded by other sentinel, he approached King Drefan. He commanded the sentinel to stand down and allow Lord Fasian to approach unguarded. King Drefan stood up from his throne and walked down the large set of steps to approach the unstable Lord. He slowly reached his hand out to Lord Fasian as if to welcome him for a walk. He took King Drefan's hand, shakily. They walked through the large arches together and out to the vast balcony outside.

King Drefan spoke, “Lord Fasian, correct? I am so glad to see you. The Sentinel Relyn has stated that you have some concerns and you arrive without leadership. You have been through quine an ordeal as I understand. I am here for you." Lord Fasian looked the King in the eyes but hesitated. "You have my ear. You can tell me anything and when we are done, I will see to it that you get some much-needed rest. I will send the best ladies to your new quarters and provide you with a warm bath. What have you seen, my child?”

King Drefan softly caressed Lord Fasian’s cheek with his hand. Feeling less anxious, Lord Fasian began to speak, “The Olgiary Raish, our leader… he… he was ripped to pieces by a vile creature… they destroyed the entire southern army." Fasian burst into tears and continued to try to speak, but all that came our were broken words, "Eyes glowing red. Teeth… so many teeth. COMING… coming for YOU. False king... brother. many. SO MANY…”

Fasian’s words continued to turn to gibberish and the King reached out and touched his forehead. Lord Fasian appeared to be in some sort of trance. The King, with one touch, reached into his mind and took the memories for himself. He could see that Lord Fasian was speaking the truth, and now had a better understanding of the ordeal. He now had all he needed. Without warning or hesitation, he threw Lord Fasian over the edge of the balcony, turned, and headed back into the royal hall. It was a long fall and Lord Fasian would only be greeted by jagged rocks and shelves on his way down the cliff.

King Drefan made his way to the throne again, sat for a moment and thought, resting his hand on his fist. He motioned Sentinel Relyn closer.

“Sentinel. Bring Olgiary Veren. I must speak with him at once.”


[To Be Continued....]