The boy clasped his dagger and backed away. Wild eyes watched from the undergrowth. The man was too big for him to take on in open combat. Ned thought fast. Glancing at the river, he stood a better chance against the elements than this huge soldier. He moved sideways toward the edge and the man rushed him. Before Ned could make it to the water, he fell and hit the ground. The Malaxian loomed over the boy and lifted his sword up in both hands. The soldier’s monstrous shadow blocked out the sun. After all he had been through, there was nothing Ned could do.
The boy moved his head to take one last look at the forest. Stones moved underneath the fur covering his ears. A darkness closed in. All sound was drowned out by an awful silence. Everything enveloped the boy and he could feel nothing. Smell nothing. This was it. He closed his eyes as a dark shape struck sideways and hit the soldier. Gnashing and growling took the air as the Malaxian was attacked in a pincer movement. Four wolves set upon the man and took him to the ground. The sword slipped from his grasp and clattered on some rocks. He roared and fought back with his fists. Punching one wolf in the head, the animal fell into the water. On one knee, another bit into his thigh. Drawing a dagger, he stabbed the wolf. But there were too many. As one wolf fell from the fight, two more leapt in with savage jaws.
Ned could hear the attack, but still he looked toward the trees. His head moved, but it never came from him. A wolf nuzzled its nose under the boy’s head. Ned heard sniffing. He pushed up on an elbow and saw the soldier on the ground. He was still. A dagger, sword and helmet lay by his side. Blood flowed and formed into a pool. Wolves circled the soldier and snarled. They had suffered three dead. Ned looked at the younger wolf closest to him. He could not be sure, but it looked like the one he saved from the Malaxian warrior about a week before. The smaller wolf sniffed Ned’s wolf pelt. The boy looked through his headgear of wolf’s teeth and saw the pack of wolves staring at their defeated foe.