Pack

Post 75

Now for the soldier. He was still breathing, but only just. A huge man, he lay on one side close to the cliff edge. It was time to be ruthless. The soldier would have killed Ned with no remorse. And the man had almost slaughtered the wolf. Ned was still in mortal danger so this Malaxian had to go. The boy forced him up by pushing his legs and then an arm. It was no good. He looked around and picked up a sturdy branch. He shoved it under the broad body and levered him upwards. Eventually, an arm flopped over the precipice, and then a leg. Pushing the branch upwards, he tilted the man over. The soldier bounced against a rocky outcrop and crashed through foliage growing out of the cliff. He hit the angry waters, a booming froth devouring him. Continue reading

Aftermath

Post 74

The animal rose up and staggered. Growling, it limped forward, then stopped abruptly. Ned moved back and rested on his knees. The wolf leant in and sniffed Ned. It was a familiar smell. The animal hobbled toward the tree. Ned did not feel threatened. The wolf lay down and watched, submissive. For a long moment, neither Ned nor wolf moved. Continue reading

Man Down

Post 73

The warrior ran forward, but the wolf stood its ground. Within seconds, it leapt and they met near the top of the short incline. The warrior stayed low while the wolf jumped upwards. A flash of steel brought a searing howl from the wolf. It backed away, limping. The man walked in an arc as the wolf tried to make it to the crest of the hill. It looked to the right and struggled back. Blood oozed from a leg wound. The wolf staggered to a single tree on the cliff edge. Continue reading

Adversaries

Post 72

Thumps came from the direction he had just come. Ned leapt into a run. He could hear the man behind getting closer. Gritting his teeth, he struck between the trees. He weaved in and out, and onto a grassy area with fern either side. Running as fast as he could, his legs burned. The onset of exhaustion was overridden by adrenaline. Looking ahead, Ned saw a glade. Forcing himself onward, he ran at full speed into the clearing. Coming to an abrupt halt, he exhaled heavily and leant forward with hands on his knees. He could hear the man behind getting closer. Ned looked around the clearing. A hill rose up and stopped at the sky line. The cliff and a sound of water crashing against rocks was just beyond. Continue reading

Scout

Post 70

In the morning, Ned woke and lay for a moment. He rubbed his eyes and peered up through the roof of branches. Breathing in the smell of pine, he listened to water lapping at the shore. But there was something else. A twig snapped. Ned looked to his left. A branch moved. His heart pounded. A deer came into view. He breathed a sigh of relief and stood to look over the open waters. It was an incredible view, but he was still in enemy territory. Ned kicked dirt over the remnants of his fire to cover up his camp. He packed his gear away and moved off toward the Northern edge of the lake. Continue reading

Reflection

Post 69

Ned settled down for the night. He built a fire and warmed his hands. Looking through his crest of wolf teeth, the darkened waters were foreboding. He had moved fast over the hills and his map reading was spot on. Gripping his fur clothing, Ned worried about that shape moving over the moorland. It was not a Malaxian unit, but it may have been a scout. That would be a big problem. On the death march, when the Malaxians made camp, he watched the scouts. They were nasty individuals and tended to stick together. One in particular was an archer who used to sharpen his knife and stare at Ned. Remembering it sent a shiver down his spine. Continue reading

Lake

Post 68

Ned went along the edge of the pine forest, looking for an entry point. The branches were low and thick, so he crawled into a bush and kept on his hands and knees through a bed of pine needles until there was enough space to stand. It was dark and impossible to walk in a straight line with all the dense trees. But it was not long until the ground fell away. Moonlight flowed through the canopy. Moving slower, he realised it was getting dangerous. He walked upwards and carefully around to a less steep part of the wooded hill. At its base, he looked up at the white-blue light. He had to keep going. It was a clear night and the forest was opening up so he moved with care by moonlight. Continue reading

Stream

Post 67

The next hill was immediately beyond the tree line and it was steep. There was no time to lose, so he went straight up. It was about a fifty degree slope, and he used his arms as much as his legs to make progress. About halfway up, he stopped for a moment, panting for air. His chest heaved and sweat poured down his brow. There was nothing else for it. He sat and took out his water container. Putting it to his lips, he drained it. But he had spotted a feature on the map earlier, which spurred him on. He pushed onwards. His arms hurt from the climb and his thighs had pains shooting through. But all that mattered was getting away. The slope evened off further up and he walked to the top of the hill. Continue reading

Climb

Post 66

Ned ran downhill. It took a lot of concentration as the gravel and slippery rocks underfoot were a hazard. He kept going until the land flattened out. It was boggy down there and he pushed on through the peat and water, trying to stand on protruding grasses to get traction on more solid ground. He jumped from one mound to another. And then the land began to rise and dry out. Continue reading