Wolfe Chapter 2: Zane's Determination
The guards on the road below scattered; two ran forward while the other three retreated back down. They narrowly missed being pummeled by the canines as they flew off on either side of the cat; taking with them chunks of flesh. Both dogs slammed hard, sending dirt flying in all directions. The feline smashed on its side, busting a small section of the road which tumbled down in pieces along with it. Still sliding down, the beast managed to right itself. Reaching the next tier, it landed on all fours before jumping off to the bottom.
Six more hounds started their descent, taking the same path only gracefully. One of them was an Elder’s wolf who took lead. It became clear this was not being taken lightly. The twins stood at the edge, peering below as their beasts stood up to join in pursuit. This was where training came in; greater distance between master and animal meant that less control with willpower could be used. The more training the more reduced any chances of them losing focus and running wild.
Sam was half glaring at his son. Part of him was angry, these things weren’t done without an instructor present due to the inherent danger; but at the same time it was an impressive feat, he expected no less from the boy. If only Zane had maintained control of it there wouldn’t be a problem. Bria recognized that look in his eye though; her brother was going to get a talking to for sure. At the moment he was too smothered by his worried mother in a most humiliating hug.
“Mom, everyone’s staring…” He moaned. “I’m fine…promise.”
“Sam, what happened here?!” Mathias huffed, stomping over to them. “It was one of your brats, wasn’t it?!”
“Calm down, it’s not important right now.” That tone was also familiar; dad was definitely in that mode.
“Calm?! Calm?! I’ll show you calm!”
Sam grabbed him near the collar of his open coat as he stepped closer. “Shut…up!” Came out in a low, threatening growl.
“Take your hand off me!” Mathias replied in a similar manner.
After a moment of testosterone exchange, a loud thud broke out. “Enough!” Elder Damien said as he pounded his cane into the ground while standing amidst the ruckus.
Everyone promptly stopped talking altogether; silence finally took over. It was his wolf that went chasing off leading the pack, accompanied by dogs from his two protégé who stood next to him on either side.
“Will someone tell me what I just sent Raulf chasing after?!” He was referring to his long-time friend and pet.
Damien may have been old, but he was physically strong enough to not even need that walking stick he carried; everyone knew it was just to make him look more distinguished, though no one dared to say it. Zane looked at his father whose green eyes met him. There was no need for words; Sam had always taught him one thing. He could here an echo of his dad’s voice, every speech he was ever given always ended the same way: ‘be a man’.
The boy was finally starting to understand what it meant. It wasn’t the cruel admonishment of an overbearing parent like he used to think of it as; no, those words were supposed to take root and teach him to be a leader someday. Knowing full well what needed to be done, he stepped forward to address the question.
“Wise Elder” he said appropriately for someone his age when speaking to a “gray hair” as the youngsters called them, a nickname that wasn’t considered to be in good taste. “A fiend is attacking the town.” He said in a confident voice that was enough to tug on Sam’s smile wrinkles.
“Well I know that, kid. Tell me something I don’t!” Damien interrupted.
After a quick swallow, Zane began to quickly explain the situation, mentioning also his part in it. Of course the old man just stood there waiting for it to finish with those unsearchable eyes. Once the briefing was over, the Elder Wolfe disregarded him entirely with no response. Instead he turned to give out orders for a secondary strategy should the pack fail to take down their prey and possibly end this rampage before it went too much further.
Immediately several beast masters jumped into action. Two ran off, one going North and the other South heading for the rivers. A woman on a nearby rooftop gave a sharp whistle, summoning a large hawk that came screeching through the air. A man also did the same, only he called a pair of owls. The birds didn’t even need to land, as soon as they came in close enough proximity, rapid metamorphoses took place.
Soaring overhead, they cast a shadow from the moon while displaying razor sharp claws attached to powerful feet and legs. Their wingspan was suddenly enormous, but instead of losing feathers like the others did fur, they became larger instead, though not able to hide the massive increase in muscle which swelled throughout. The ability to command birds was of much greater difficulty than land or sea creatures; it required the master to also transform the feathers for flight which were inanimate.
Zane had always admired this; seeing the giant fowls soar above captured his mind for a moment. There wasn’t time to gawk though; he had made a mess and everyone else had to clean it up. His hands balled into fists as he heard the roar of his failed creation down below heading for the town. After trying so hard for so long only to have it end-up like this. He remembered being surpassed when the twins first made their beasts; his sister was also left behind by her friends. Some were speculating that their father had married a lemon since their mother Sarah couldn’t pull off the simplest of mutations.
That was blatantly wrong since the proof was about to destroy Wolfegate. At this point though, Zane had gone from a failure to a problem. He was also aware that not only did his actions reflect on his father, but also on his family. If he just continued to do nothing, then he’d live with that shame as well. ‘There has to be something I can do’ he thought. He watched as the birds flew off to chase their prey, and that’s when Zane had an idea.
The two men who had broken off for the rivers Nordri and Sudri had arrived at their respective places and put their hands in. As lightning is channeled by water, willpower is also transferred through it easily. The rushing waterfall wasn’t a problem either; they could feel the life force of those dwelling in them for miles. Even in the ocean they could command creatures to rise up and obey. As long as they touched the water, their will could control them.
Several townspeople had heard all the noise and some were shouting about a tremendous beast they saw headed down the slope into the valley. Panic ensued on the eastern side and confusion permeated rapidly with it until even those near the sea were afraid of what might be happening. Several villagers from all three districts watched as giant fish suddenly burst out of the rivers and swam to and fro. This in itself only caused mild fear due to the fact that the water and fish in them were used to protect the town. What had people concerned was why such a tactic was being used. What was so dangerous?
The next alarm that something had gone horribly wrong was the birds of prey swooping down from the Wolfe family district. This was enough to alert the entire town that something bad was coming. There wasn’t much time to flee though; several people barely managed to escape as the monstrosity plowed through the stone barrier wall and ripped through a house, shattering it to pieces like a toy. It had made its way into the Birk district; shops and trade stands were being smashed left and right.
Raulf, Damien’s wolf, was right behind it followed by the dogs from the old man’s students. Even the Elder’s beast seemed like hardly a match for this creature, but still it led the way against the odds. The cat’s lopsided arm seemed to be synchronizing with its body before it expanded in size again; the growth itself threw it off balance which staggered the cat into a building, ripping half of it away. For some reason, either from fear or anger, Zane’s mutation continued to charge forward.
The wolf and its pack were fast; they dashed across the splintered wood left in the wake of this rampage and caught up with their target in no time. Three of the dogs managed to grab hold of its backside which slowed it down just enough for Raulf to jump up. Latching on to the cat’s shoulder, he dug his sharp nails into its skin. His intelligence was shining as he used his will to direct the other canines into position. This was what a gifted animal could do; having been trained for so long by the Elder, he was superior enough to not only conduct an attack but also able to understand willpower and use it.
It didn’t matter though; there wasn’t much that could be done. One of the dogs tried to bite down on a leg in an attempt to trip it; but was flung off and sent sailing into a small house which collapsed from the impact. Two more tried similar things, and that’s when the kitty decided it was time to fight. The road opened up a bit which gave the monster enough room to spin around as it stopped; digging claws into the ground and sending the three on its back flying off. Raulf was still on top of it, but that didn’t last; a huge paw came up and several nails stabbed him then threw him to the ground.
This small break in the beasts charge was valuable to the townspeople; many were able to escape the middle district and make their way over the bridges spanning the wide rivers. The schools of fish would be more than enough to at least contain the threat and keep it from coming over as well. Even with the cat’s enormous size it would still have to jump in the river to cross and that alone would be enough to end this. Hungry fish with teeth against a cat in water makes an easy meal, even with a dramatic difference in size.
“You know there will be repercussions after this…” Elder Damien said, addressing Sam.
There was no reply; he knew all too well what something like this meant. Not only was the Wolfe responsible, but his son specifically. They were standing near the edge of the cliff where the fence was smashed leading down. The battle was in full view from there with a path of destruction leading up to it. Every time a building collapsed it drove home the immense danger that was unleashed simply due to carelessness. The old man could feel Raulf fighting the fiend; their connection was so great that his wounds practically hurt him as well.
“Do you think we can stop it?” Sam asked, knowing that it won’t be easy to say the least.
Damien glanced at the hawk and two owls “let’s find out…”
At that moment they came swooping down at their target, the plan being to inflict as much damage as possible while distracting it from the Elder’s wolf. The owls didn’t even have a chance to pick this thing up, they merely followed suit with the leader, using their talons to rip open its back and sides. It was highly effective at first and certainly served its intended purpose. Raulf had time to plan his next attack and the throbbing pain from his bleeding wounds was a constant reminder that ending this quickly was the key to survival.
Once again his pack went for the legs while the wolf ripped at the beast’s throat as it snapped in the air trying to fight the opponents above. Some bleeding came out of the attack, but it just wasn’t nearly enough. He wasn’t able to dig his fangs in enough before being knocked aside. The wolf knew that strategy was the key here, but there weren’t enough pawns to use. His side was in agony where the claws had dug in earlier, but he couldn’t let that affect him now. Finally, he heard his master’s voice; their telepathic link raised his spirits in this overwhelming fight.
“Raulf, this cannot be won with force, you need to lead it away.” Damien told him.
Saliva mixed with blood dripped from his snarling mouth. His crimson teeth flashed in the moonlight. Several small fires had broken out from oil lamps all around them. The birds were coming back down for another strike. Four of the dogs were relatively fine and ready for combat while the other two were in worse condition as they picked themselves up out of some rubble. The cat was announcing its anger through a series of growls; it was on the brink of charging again.
“Father, I can stop it; I just need to get close.” Zane had gathered his determination and formed a plan. “I started it, so I’m the only one that can reverse it. I know I can do this, and you know it’s not going to just leave.” His voice was remarkably calm for what he was thinking about doing.
Sarah was standing nearby gawking at the scene splayed out before them, but what he said snapped her out of it. “No, you aren’t going anywhere near that thing, you hear me?! You should be inside having those cuts bandaged.” She reached out to pull her son back to the house. “Bria, you too, inside, we’ll be safe in the basement.”
Zane had always respected his mother, but this wasn’t the time for her pampering. He waved her hand aside gently, but firmly to let her know he was serious about this. “I need to get down there and the fastest way is to be flown in. All I need to do is get on its back and this is over. Either that or you can take your chances and hope it doesn’t go too far.” His voice was stern now, and he was talking to the Elder as well who silently took note of the boy’s words.
“It’s too dangerous, listen to your mother.” Was all Sam said; he was glad his son wanted to do something, but he’d much rather the town be destroyed than lose a child.
Damien just stood there acting like he wasn’t paying attention. His dark, hooded cloak flapping in a gust of wind, both hands on his walking stick; his white beard was sticking out just enough to be seen at this angle. He wasn’t about to interfere in this and Zane wasn’t about to ask him to.
“After all that talk about how I should take responsibility for my actions, how I should do what I know is right…how I should be a man?!” What the sixteen year old wanted more than anything was to finally be accepted by his father. He also wanted to be treated with respect from the family for once. Lastly, he knew this whole incident was not only going to fall on his head, but his actions also reflected on the Wolfe as a whole.
“I’m gonna’ try…are you gonna’ stop me?!”