Two days passed since they left Eldenguard. The journey felt long and tiring for everyone. For the most time they walked at a slow pace, taking a break every two or four hours. The weather wasn’t helping them either. The clouds in the sky and cold breeze which often swept by threatened them at every moment with heavy rain. Fortunately for them, only a small drizzle dared to slow them down at the end of the first day.
Every time they stopped and raised camp, the knights made sure to secure the area, sending a few scouts deep in the woods and farther up the road to make sure no bandits were lurking around. The soldiers made their own food, but the knights, including Pallas, were given food by the servants. As for how they spent their breaks, they usually chattered between themselves or took care of their own horses and equipment. Only the knights kept silent at all times. They were vigilant and on guard, even when they were eating. As for Pallas, he stayed in his little corner, waiting for the time to pass.
During the first night, the only thing that bothered them was the sound of mosquitoes and the occasional crawling critter on the soldiers. Pallas had the unfortunate event of meeting face to face with as spider when he woke up. Luckily for him, the little thing dashed away as soon as it felt movement from the man.
All this time, they never actually saw the princess leaving her carriage for even a single moment. There were only maids going in and out, bringing food, water, spare change of clothing, and a bucket for her needs. Of course, the drapes were always pulled and there was no way anyone could sneak a peak inside. Pallas was starting to wonder if this was the usual way the nobles traveled in this country or if only this journey was a bit special. None of the other soldiers and knights seemed to raise such questions though.
Besides the strange air between the commoners and the knights, there was also a strange feeling Pallas got from the silver carriage. It was similar to the pull he felt in the castle, but it was much stronger now. It appeared all of a sudden a couple of hours after they left Eldenguard. He knew for certain that whatever had been calling out for him in the castle was with them now, in that silver carriage. What he didn’t know was if it was actually the princess who did this or if it was something she was carrying. This, he wanted to find out desperately and not once, but many times during this trip he got the urge to turn around and stare at the carriage. He wanted to simply go there, rip the door open and find out what was pulling him with such a force.
It was a good thing Pallas was smart enough not to do such a thing, otherwise the knights and the soldiers would have used him as target practice for the rest of the journey. If he wasn’t that lucky, someone would have simply just stabbed him deep in the guts while another severed his head off his shoulders.
During the second day, something peculiar happened to him. It was around noon, when all of a sudden, he found himself with his blood boiling and craving with the desire to rip open the carriage and take whatever was inside of it.
When the attack happened, Pallas needed every little bit of will power to muster the strength he needed in order to control this strange urge and desire. He clenched his teeth and gripped the reins of his horse, who neighed annoyed. His heart was beating fast and his muscles were getting tense, but most importantly his eyes began to turn into red wolf eyes.
Luckily, at that time Pallas was walking in the front and thus, no one saw him struggling to keep himself under control. Only the animals reacted for a short moment, the small critters fled, and the horses shook their heads and neighed. The knights and soldiers only looked at them a bit confused, but since Pallas managed to get a hold of himself quickly enough and nothing serious happened, they didn’t bring the convoy to a stop to search for the cause.
For him, this was incredibly strange. Nothing of this sort ever happened to him before, not even during the full moon. While he felt excited by the rush of energy, he was also terrified by the thought of others finding out about him. When he calmed down completely, he thanked the gods for helping him out, and for once, he was glad the knights didn’t really pay him much notice.
That was scary, but if this happens a second time… I don’t think I’ll be able to control myself. What’s happening to me? Maybe I should run, but no, she is there… I have to find out what’s inside… Pallas thought, but his mind was ripping him apart between the desire to run away and the desire to stay. In the end, he chose the later and decided to risk another attack instead of fleeing like a coward. He hoped he would be able to control it.
With the skies filled with clouds, the darkness of the night approached them fast. In preparation for camp, the knights sent the usual scouts to check to road ahead and the nearby woods. They were expected to return in five to ten minutes tops, but none showed up, even after a quarter of an hour had come to pass.
Sensing something was wrong, one of the knights raised his hand and brought the small convoy to a halt. With sharp eyes, he looked ahead and listened carefully to the sounds of the woods. The soldiers and servants let out a sigh of relief, believing this was just a simple routine stop, but the other knights had the same look in their eyes. Their hands were on the hilt of their swords as if they were waiting for something to suddenly pop out of the woods.
The scream of pain resonated through the area. Everyone looked at the one who screamed as fear raced through their hearts, making them beat faster and faster. Like every traveler out there, they feared a night attack from bandits. If they somehow managed to take out the knights, there was little chance of survival for the rest.
The knight let out a groan as he grabbed his chest. He was heavily injured, but still alive. The scent of fresh blood slowly made its way to Pallas’ nose. The other two knights and soldiers immediately took out their weapons from their scabbards, preparing for an attack.
“Ugh… I’m not going to die here…” said the injured knight as he groaned.
His hand gripped the reins as hard as he could, making sure he wasn’t going to fall off his saddle. He steadied his hand on the arrow, but then another one came flying at him. Pallas was able to hear it and turned his head just in time to see it stabbing the knight through the visor of his helmet, killing him instantly.
“Lucas!” shouted in horror the knight stationed behind him at the back of the carriage.
The dead man fell off his horse, his body hitting the ground like a heavy rock.
Now, one of them was already dead, and there was no time to lose. The knights shouted the order to prepare for the incoming attack, and everyone rushed to their places.
For Pallas, the scene went rather slowly. In a single moment the soldiers scattered around the carriage forming a defense perimeter. The servants fled behind the soldiers, praying for their own safety, and the remaining two knights calmed down their horses. Pallas was the only one who stayed there like a fool. He knew what was happening, but he didn’t know his role. They never told him what to do in this situation.
Was this the reason why the Grand Sorceress wanted me here? To witness this? thought Pallas as he looked once more at the body of the dead knight.
“Get ready men!” shouted one of the soldiers.
Their shields were up and their swords were ready. They had no more time to think or plan. The enemies were coming, whomever they were. The three archers who accompanied the convoy hid behind the shielded soldiers. They placed an arrow in their bows and aimed it at the woods. They steadied their breath, getting ready to release it at the very first thing that moved.
Still, this was no common bandit attack. The shots were too precise. Only the best of marksmen would be able to pull them off. Pallas knew this and so did the knights. The sun had already set, and the darkness of the night was spreading at a frightening speed. This increased the difficulty of those shots. No ordinary bandit archer could have ever pulled them off.
Deep within the forest, hidden between the branches of a tall tree, a small grin formed on the lips of an elf woman. She lowered her bow and watched their reaction with her elfin eyes.
“Fun time, boys!” she said, but where she stood only the forest was there to listen.
“WARGH!” a loud beast call was heard coming from behind the trees and suddenly, a monstrous being struck the silver carriage with its legs.
The creature was three times bigger than a normal man and covered in a thick dark-colored pelt. It showed no problem gripping on the carriage with its long strong arms and small bulky legs. Unlike ordinary animals, this beast had six huge fangs, which sprung fort from its three jawed face. It was a truly frightening beast.
In that very moment, a dozen men wearing leather armors and wielding steel swords ran out of the forest and attacked the convoy. The servants grabbed whatever they had closer to them as weapons and tried to protect themselves, while the soldiers fought bravely against the attackers. Arrows flew from one side to the other while screams of pain filled the entire area.
The royal silver carriage was heavily damaged and knocked over. The door was bent inwards where the beast had struck it. Two of the four wheels were broken and because of the sudden shift, the coachman was thrown off. The poor man landed head first on a rock, killing him instantly. The horses weren’t doing any better either. The sudden shift broke the left horse’s legs, and the other fell on top of it. The poor animals were neighing and trying desperately to get up and away from the beast behind them.
At first, the monstrous creature didn’t seem to care about the battle that went on around it, or the easy prey in front of the carriage. Its fist act was to open its three jawed mouth and then roar as powerfully as it could, shaking the spirits of the soldiers and servants. When it was done, the beast jumped forward, landing between Pallas and a knight who was currently engaged in battle with one of the attackers. The beast got up on its small bulky legs and then swung its arms at them. The knight dodged, leaning back and pulling on the reins of the horse. The only ones who were struck by the beast were Pallas and the man fighting the knight. They were both sent flying through the air, smashing into the nearby trees, more than four meters (thirteen feet) away.
It hurts… thought Pallas as he spat out blood.
The other man had his spine and rib cage completely shattered by the impact. He was dead. Maybe if Pallas wasn’t so stubborn with sticking to his humble appearance all the time he could have dodged that strike, but he was afraid. The man was too afraid to show his true power.
The three jawed beast roared at the sky as it went for the knight. Only through incredible skill did he manage to dodge its strikes, but that was all he could do. As much as he tried there was no way for him to attack.
The other knight was by the carriage. He was defending it with all his might against these bandits, or whatever they were. He showed no mercy as he skillfully struck them down one after another.
Pallas was looking at the battle, but his senses were fading. He didn’t want to get up yet, he didn’t want to join the fight. He feared what others might think of him even if he was able to turn the tides of this battle. With the golden moon rising up in the sky above them, his body started to cry out from the pain and the desires hidden in his blood. He slowly closed his eyes and faded out of consciousness.
The battle didn’t wait for him to recover. The soldiers and attackers continued to clash their swords fiercely and mercilessly. The arrows flew above their heads, hitting shields, armors, and occasionally flesh. Their mortal screams echoed in the nearby woods. Among these attacks, a single arrow with a purple tip flew through the air and struck one of the servants, right in heart. The poor man wasn’t even close to the soldiers, he was cowering somewhere in the back, away from the battle. He died instantly, and his lifeless body collapsed on the ground. The nearby soldiers and servants witnessed his unfortunate fate, but as they watched, a purple flame sprouted forth from the tip of the arrow, enveloping him completely. The magic startled the nearby servants, forcing them to step away from the dead body. They looked at it confused, but then the purpose of the magic was suddenly clear to all of them. As the purple flames were put out, the man started to move once more, but he was still as dead as he could be. The servants and soldiers looked at the undead with horror in their eyes.
“A morgar!” screamed one of the servants as he pointed at the walking corpse.
A few more arrows with purple tips flew through the air, striking the dead bodies of the fallen soldiers, and before they knew it, the attackers had backup from more than ten morgars.
Of the two remaining knights, one was fighting with the three jawed beast and was unable to run over and help his comrades, while the other was keeping a few attackers at bay. It was clear which of the two threats was deadlier and so, the knight disengaged the human attackers and lightly kicked his horse in the ribs, making him go towards the morgars.
As soon as he reached them, the knight swung his sword and eliminated the first one with a clean decapitation. As he turned around to strike the morgar once more, the knight found himself thrown off the horse, struck by an arrow in his chest. Normally, one shouldn’t have been able to do that, but this one was magically enchanted and made to explode upon contact.
The knight struggled to regain his senses, but before he was able to do so, two morgars jumped at him pulling and shredded him to pieces. His dying screams were mixed among those of the other men as the battle quickly turned for the worse.
It was now when Pallas opened his eyes. His body was finally healed from the creature’s attack. He recovered in mere moments from an injury which should have taken a normal man weeks to heal.
Without getting up, he looked to the left and saw the soldiers being massacred one after another. His gaze slowly moved in front of him, and he saw how the last surviving knight died as well. Since the beginning, the man fought bravely against the three jawed creature until an arrow made its way into his back. The strike was perfect, stunning him for a moment. The creature took advantage of this and grabbed him by his right arm. The beast pulled him towards it and then threw him right into a nearby morgar. The knight tumbled on the ground, but before he had a chance to get up, a morgar finished him off by ripping his throat out with its bare teeth.
What’s going on? This isn’t a bandit attack… and that thing can only be a mauller, but those are human bandits… the arrow… Pallas tried to think, but his thoughts were scrambled and the pain in his healing ribs was not helping at all.
He groaned and then looked once more to the left. The morgars were devouring the last three soldiers. Their screams of pain ended with their last breath of life. His gaze then turned towards the damaged carriage. He could still feel the pulse coming from inside.
Why… what is it?… Why does it call me? he thought.
Confused and still wearing the mask of his peasant disguise, Pallas feared to let it go. It was an illogical fear that compelled him to give up and wait for the moment to pass, but the pull was too strong.
Who’s calling for me? asked Pallas in his mind.
The mauller turned towards the carriage, while the morgars slowly circled around it. There was no escape for whomever was inside. Pallas looked at the impeding danger, but it wasn’t himself he was worried about, but whoever was in that carriage. He was worried about the princess or the object of power, which pulled him to it so desperately.
His heart began to beat faster. His whole body felt the pain from trying to resist this urge. Pallas groaned and got up on his feet. He felt the power slowly building up, and the golden moon wasn’t helping him at all with calming down. His breath was heavy, but his gaze remained focused on the carriage and it’s incredible pull.
A bandit saw Pallas and approached him. The man was smirking, thinking he found the last easy prey. Pallas didn’t even see the human because his vision and mind were focused on the carriage and the danger approaching it, the mauller and the terrible morgars.
Suddenly, the door of the carriage opened, and he heard a soft voice coming from inside, but Pallas was the only one who could hear it.
If you want to read the rest, you can buy the book here: