Calm Rage

After the funeral, Ned was told to leave the lodge so he built a small wooden hut at the edge of the village. The orphan lived there with only his dog, Skar, as company. He was given a job as a labourer on a farm and worked hard in the fields during the warm months. During the cold, dark winters, Ned toiled down a chalk mine. It was not an easy life for one so young, but he had known worse. A lot worse. The boy was self-sufficient and had his own place to live. Of his few possessions, the most prized item was the wolf pelt, which was nailed to an inside wall of his hut. It was rickety place and not water-tight, but it was home. He earned his own food and fended for himself. The boy was treated as well as could be expected by the farmer and mine owner.

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Enemy

It was overcast in the morning and Ned’s family were to be buried in the Snook cemetery. Ned was escorted by soldiers and allowed to stand beside Lord Snookington for the proceedings. The crowd parted as military men led the boy to the designated plot, which was set apart from the other graves as a mark of respect. Many people owed their lives to Ned’s father, who had fought so valiantly against robbers and Malaxians alike.

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Ned Nobody

The villagers gossiped about Ned. Some called him wolf boy. Having spent much of his life in the depths of the forest, they guessed there was no need for a family name. Not a single person knew who his family were. When the boy was feeling better, Lord Snookington summoned him to the manor house. Ned left the lodge and walked across some meadows. As the imposing house loomed in the distance, he walked over a moat and stood before a massive oak door. He rang a brass bell and the door creaked open. A butler ushered him inside. The hallway was dark, with an oaken floor and cladding on the walls. He had never before been in such grand surroundings and looked at his own dirty, torn clothing.

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Discovery

A soldier ventured into the burned out shell of the cabin and found the charred remains of a woman and two children. It looked like they had been slaughtered inside before the building had been set alight, but it was hard to tell. The four forest dwellers were laid in a line on the grass outside. Soldiers searched the area and an eerie quiet descended. The horses could sense something. Soldiers stood still, wielding their swords at the ready. They waited.

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