Lugah feral intent, p.4
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       Lugah - Feral Intent, p.4

          Adrian Juhl / Fantasy
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Chapter Four

The small party followed Sito as they moved through the thick bush in silence. The scent of the werewolves permeated the air, forcing them to take their time. Long, overhanging branches blocked their view of the broken path in front of them. Olim marveled as Sito faded from view and pushed through the thick leaves. The party paused and waited for his return. He was the perfect scout.

Lugah looked at Honey. “Spit it out.”

Honey ignored his look as she replied, “Please, I’m no savage. I’m delicate.”

“You know what I mean. What’s on your mind?”

Honey refused to return his look. “Nothing.”

Lugah dropped to one knee. “Listen, Honey. We’re a team. We know each other.”

“Oh? If that’s the case, then you would know already,” she replied.

“I see. So it’s either some Methuselan or Aazronian.”

She turned her head. Tears threatened to spill from her large black eyes. “Wrong again.”

Lugah froze. “Lucas?”

Honey thought for a moment and then nodded, reaching into her small leather pouch. “You really need to take more time with that special boy. He may not be a warrior, but I know he’s destined for something greater.”

Lugah pursed his lips. “Honey, you know I care about the boy. Let’s not go down that path. The time will come when he will grow up and put aside his childish dreams. Until then, he can treasure those dreams as long as he can.”

“No. You misunderstand me. His special…gift.”

Lugah replied with a drawn out, “Yes?”

“He had a bad dream. No, it was a waking dream, like the Druids. Just before everyone ascended to the planet to search for technology to free our people.”

Lugah’s legs began to shake. He tried to hide the quivering in his voice. “They are just that. A product of his virile imagination. Ferals don’t have magic.”

“Lugah! You know they are more than that!”

Olim interrupted. “Shh. You know the werewolves can hear and smell better than we can.”

Honey pulled out a parchment and gave it to Lugah. As he unfurled it, his hands shook; knowing that Honey spoke true. His eyes scanned the rough letters, written in plant dye.

“Lucas is writing already. Now that’s a rare skill indeed. Not too helpful for a warrior but…”

A sharp look from Lugah stopped Olim’s sarcasm in its tracks. Olim placed his hand on Lugah’s trembling shoulder.

“Sorry, sir. Just easing the moment.”

“Read it to us, Lugah,” said Honey.

Lugah nodded and moved the parchment into the moonlight. He cleared his throat and began to read.



With a deep breath and a heavy heart,

Under the light of the planets three

They steady themselves, ready to fight

Come what may in a bloody sea.



Bakers, Smiths, and Farmers

Rush to serve their Chieftain’s call

Against the black wraiths inside the mist

One by one, they are culled and fall.



They steal inside our lion’s den

Concealed inside the foggy moor

A child’s scream fills the night

Delivered unto death’s door.



So caught up in Lucas’ vision were they, that Sito’s arrival went unnoticed. He tapped Olim on the leg.

“Hey!” Olim leapt high into the air in surprise. “Don’t do that, I nearly soiled my pants.”

“But you’re not wearing any,” retorted Sito.

“Well, that would just be embarrassing then, wouldn’t it?”

“Quiet, quiet, quiet,” uttered Sito, as he dove under a tall tree into a pile of thick leaves. A pair of yellow eyes were all that Lugah could see.

Dismayed, Honey shook her head. “It’s tonight. It’s happening tonight. I thought we had another day, but the planets are in descent. We need to return now!”

“Perhaps Lucas got it wrong,” Lugah replied.

“Your boy? That kid never gets anything wrong,” Olim interjected.

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“Of course you wouldn’t. It’s because the boy’s smarter than his old man. Take my word for it, that young fellow could get himself out of a Coliseum fight with just his brain.”

“Then it’s a good thing the Coliseums disappeared with the Sundering.” Lugah stopped and tilted his head, sniffing the air.

A thin, yellow finger reached out from the leaves and pointed at Olim. “You did it, you did it.”

The sound of howling werewolves, and the cracking of branches behind them drew closer. Snarls filled the air.

Honey looked up at Lugah, pulling anxiously on his hand. “I was so sure we had another night. The village, Lugah. We need to return!”

“That’s impossible now. The wolves have our scent and are between us and home. Our only choice is to retrieve the workers and plead to the ant queen to help us.”

Olim reached into his pocket and pulled out a small portal stone. “Or we could head up to those planets and then back to the village.”

Honey shook her head. “The planets are in descent. By the time the stones recharge, we would end up on the other side of Ketu, or worse—we’ll be trapped on the planet watching Ketu speed away.”

Panicked, Sito jumped out of the leaves. “Stop talking and run! You talk too much!” He disappeared down the path, away from the werewolves.

Olim looked at Lugah. With a lightning slash of his serrated tail, the head of a werewolf rolled out of the bush behind them. “I guess we follow Scales then?”

“I concur,” nodded Lugah. He reached up, grabbed a werewolf as it leapt toward him, and smashed it hard into the ground.

Honey wasted no time. She pulled out her two, chain-barbed silver whips. With a quick flick of her wrist, the chain severed the head from the werewolf as it clambered to its feet. Enraged, she bared her sharp white teeth and leapt into the bush behind them. The snarling of the werewolves turned to yelping, as the angry Honey Badger’s weapons bit deep into their thick hides.

Lugah reached into the dense bush and grabbed Honey by the scruff of her neck. She snarled and struggled as her whips lashed out in all directions.

“Time to go!” Lugah demanded.

Olim’s tail arced out again, slaying another werewolf. One of Honey’s whips sped past Lugah’s cheek as she tried to free herself. His cat reflexes responded, evading the sting of the whip. With a quick flick of her wrist, Honey flew into the air in front of him. Landing on her feet, her momentum carried her forward to land hard on her knees. She stood up and brushed off the dirt.

“Well it’s about time, you know. You can’t expect me to do all the work.” She twisted on her heels and headed after Sito.

“Is that the last of them?” Olim asked.

With a single leap, Lugah landed on a tree limb high above Olim. His eyes narrowed and blinked, switching vision streams. The night illuminated in green to reveal the outline of werewolves running to help their comrades. He blinked again, and the green turned to black, revealing the warm-blooded creatures around him. Sharp claws sprung from his fingers as he saw a heat signature advancing on Olim, who stood beside it unaware.

Lugah dropped to all fours and crept along the branch. His ears stood erect at the side of his head, focused on the sound of his prey. Lugah steadied himself for a moment, waiting for the opportunity to strike. A heartbeat later, the opportunity presented itself. In absolute silence, he raised his arms as his legs propelled him. His hand reached for his sword mid-leap, while he pulled the round shield off his back.

A shrill howl echoed in the air as Lugah’s shield knocked the attacking werewolf to the ground. Lugah turned and threw his sword cutting through the neck of a second werewolf. He jumped as a third werewolf lunged at him, baring its deadly teeth.

“A bit of warning next time!” Olim shouted. His tail severed the head of the third werewolf as Lugah landed on his feet behind it.

“Not my fault you were daydreaming,” he replied. His claws dug deep into the first werewolf’s chest as it recovered from his shield strike. He pushed his shield against the neck of the creature, and dropped all of his weight against the hand embedded in its chest. He gave a grunt and pulled. A sucking sound ensued as he stood victorious, holding its beating heart in front of its face.

Olim looked at him in disgust. “That”—he paused as he attempted to control the bile in his throat— “is just nasty.”

“And cutting off heads is better?”

“That’s quick and merciful. I don’t even know what to call that. I mean, look. It’s still alive.”

Lugah looked down at the werewolf. Its claws dug into the ground as it pulled itself towards him.

“It’s war. Get over it,” Lugah replied.

Olim stared at him, his large red eyes piercing Lugah’s heart. “Looks to me like you’re toying with your prey. If you can’t control your instincts, am I safe around you? I’ll tell you now, I don’t feel safe. Am I wrong? I mean, I’m rat after all.”

Lugah lowered his head and sighed as Olim continued. “I thought we were in control, unlike the Rabids or the werewolves or…”

“Enough, Olim!” Lugah caved. “Is this what you want?” Lugah argued. He kicked the werewolf onto its back, knelt down, and shoved its heart back in its chest. Small fibers wrapped themselves around the heart. New artery connections formed, joining the severed ones as the werewolf’s bones mended. Olim and Lugah stared in disbelief as muscle and skin healed over them.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Olim whispered. “How did you know?”

Lugah replied, stunned, “I, I didn’t. I was being stupid.”

“No argument here, said Olim, backing away slowly.

Lugah looked closer at the werewolf. Its chest heaved. A small locket hung around its neck. He grabbed the locket and tried to open it. His eyes narrowed as he searched the surrounding area for more werewolves.

“Honey! I need you here. Now,” he commanded.

“We don’t have time for this, Lugah,” said Olim.

“Then you open it. I’ve never seen a native wolf with one of these.”

Olim’s slender fingers fumbled on the locket as Honey and Sito approached. “It’s probably from its last meal. You know how they like to collect things.”

“Native wolves don’t collect. Only the turned. I imagine it reminds them of something they lost.”

“This thing had better not try anything funny,” Honey said, as she grasped the locket.

Sito paced behind them, his eyes flitting from tree to tree. “Hurry, Honey.” His lizard tongue tasted the air. “They are close, so close, and very close.”

“You’re not helping, Scales,” said Olim.

The clasp of the locket opened to reveal a picture of two people holding a newborn. On its other side, the symbol of the storm wizards was engraved.

“It’s from Aazronia. Look, there’s writing.”

“Well hurry up and read it.”

“No time, no time,” Sito called out. His skin began to change to match the surroundings.

“It reads: To my beloved husband. My heart is always with you.” Honey closed the locket and attempted to remove it.

“It’s not native?” Olim asked.

Lugah shook his head. “No, it’s not.”

“If that’s the case, then their Rabid masters are not far away.”

Honey drew her whips. “We had best put it out of its misery then.”

“No,” Lugah ordered, sternly. “It’s time to go.”

As his friends moved down the path, Lugah stared at the recovering werewolf. The howls of the approaching pack startled him and, with a quick leap, Lugah disappeared into the trees.

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Comments 1

Matthew Stewart
Matthew Stewart 8 June 2018 04:04
0
A fast great read. Nothing like what I expected. A must read series!
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