I have this story posted on another sight under a different name and have decided to try posting it here as well. Hope you all enjoy
Gregor had better luck with the second village when he explained what he was hoping to accomplish. The village was ready to be done with the wolf threat that they put helping him as top priority. He had recruited the help of a local hunter that had been to the temple a few times tracking the wolves to their lair. He had been planning to hunt the leaaders of the pack and that hadn't ended successfully.
Gregor had paid the hunter part of the gold he was carrying with him.
With that payment they set out for the temple where he had been watching the wolves. It was a few hours by horse going in single file on a small deer trail. The woods were too thick to travel anywhere but the trail with a horse. They traveled over into the forest to where it was so thick the sun barely shown through.
"It's getting quite dark here does it lighten up anywhere?" Gregor asked softly in almost a whisper.
He shook himself then frowning. The forest left one feeling like they were in a place of reverence and the need to be quiet so he doesn't offend them.
"It has that effect on everyone here." the hunter whispered back with a smirk. "It opens up in just a little further and that will be where I take my leave of you. The temple will be in veiw and you couldn't possibly get lost following the trail."
"You won't be going to the temple with me then?" Gregor asked looking at him closely.
"No I'm afraid that this is your quest. Besides the wolves will know I'm coming and they will gather the full pack together at the temple as it is right now it should just be a few of them." the hunter said with a smile. "You should be safe though so long as you don't try to take them all on in the under brush."
"Will I be able to get inside the temple without disturbing the wolves? The inside of the temple is what I need to look at."
"Your not here to kill all of our wolves?"
The hunter turned in the saddle and looked at Gregor who kept his face blank as the man glared.
"My main cause for being here is to investigate the temple for hidden magic that would be keeping the wolves living in the area."
"They need to be put down!" the hunter bellowed.
"Your a hunter and so are the men in your village. You want them put down then you lot should do it yourself."
The hunter turned red in the face and immediately turned his horse to face Gregor he started his horse forward till he was almost face to face with him. The hunter leaned over to him with an angry look.
"I think it best you not stop in our town again on your return trip you might find it isn't as friendly as you remember it." he hissed.
"Well I will inform the king of such matters upon my return. Everyone knowd to threaten an official is to threaten the king." Gregor said calmly with a knowing smile.
The hunter made a loud harrumph sound and truned the horse back the way they had come down the deer trail. He didn't look back at the Gregor as he turned his hors down the dark path disappearing into the shadows of the forest.
With a sigh Gregor turned his horse towards the trail the hunter had pointed out and started to go down towards it. He was hoping to arrive before long he didn't plan on spending the night in the forest and he dreaded the thought of being lost in the dark if he shouldn' leave before night fall. He felt closed in on the small trail with the trees and brush pushing in so close to the actual trail. Looking down he was glad for Hestr's keen eyes as she avoided the creeping branches easily.
It was almost twenty minutes later when he got to the opening the hunter had spoke of before he had left him to fend for himself. Gregor pulled Hestr to a stop to examine where he was before he continued on the trail. He even pulled his sword out and kept it at the ready just in case he would have to fight off an oncoming attack. He was worried about the hunter doubling back to give him trouble more so then the wolves just yet though they were in his mind.
The hunter had been right as well about one thing for sure and that had been that you could see the temple from the trail once you reached the sunlight.
Though he wouldn't really call the structure he was seeing a temple not really anyway.
The temple as it was optimistically called was mde of solid stone construction he couldn't see any wood to it or any mortar to hold it in place. The stones were merely set in the grooves of one another that would fit securely into place and form a slight seal against the weather. It was just one floor tall though stairs lead to the roof that looked like they had seen better days. There were no windows and only the one entrance that he could see which faced the setting sun. The place was over grown with kudzu that made half of the temple look green.
He could see a few wolves walking around the outside of the temple and they seemed to be in a docile mood as it was now. They were in tight groups together and every once in awhile the wolves would glance towards the temple entrance ears flicked up listening. He didn't see anything in the entrance way but he figured the alpha wolf would be inside probably with his mate.
He could see a few of the wolves turn looking to the woods off to the east and they all jumped to attention when two wolves burst from the brush. He could see the two dart inside the temple and the rest of the pack ran in close behind them.
"Alright Hestr it looks like they are all inside. We'll get close and lay in to wait for them to leave for a hunt or something." he whispered to his mare's flickering ears.
The horse let out a soft whicker before he tapped his heel to her sides and she began to walk along the deer trail.
Starting back along the trail they went into the woods along the trail but Gregor never lost sight of the temple this time which gave him some comfort. He felt better being able to see the temple and not losing the sun this time in the forest, it made things feel closed off when he was in the brush in the dark. Gregor was relieved when they came closer to the temple and the trail stopped right at the edge of the forest where they could see the entrance.
He stopped Hestr in the closest shadows and watched the temple straining to hear anything from inside of the temple. The wind was blowing in his favor through the little clearing and he could hear the sound of the wolves growling. He couldn't tell by the noise how many were in the pack and as he watched he saw the wolves coming back out. He could tell that they were less docile now and seemed on edge as if waiting for someone to come into veiw.
They began pacing around the entrance and some laid themselves infront of the door as if guarding it against intruders.
To Gregor this simply ensured him that the King had been right about the magic in the temple and that the wolves remained as it's guardians. He knew it would be hard to get into the center of the forest to the temple but as he looked at the wolves he thought to himself that it was getting harder to do his job. He watched them all start to lay down.
He was about to dismount to hopefully sneak inside or wait for the wolves to leave however briefly so he could get inside but as he watched he saw the one that had to be an alpha. She was a large wolf with a sleek figure that was thin close to her hind quarters like the hunting dogs the kennels in his home town kept. Even standing there unmoving he could see the solid build of muscle she had coiled waiting to be released. As he watched her she turned to look at the other wolves and her eyes locked on him.
The female wolf had black fur with a patch of brown on her chest that was a deep almost mahogany look to it. As she looked at him he saw the deep golden eyes of the wolf look into his eyes and do a slow blink. He saw the intelligence in those eyes and he felt his heart kip beat as she turned to a wolf laying by her feet.
They rubbed muzzles and the wolf stood up slowly turning to look around the clearing. This one was solid black and as he looked at this one he could tell that the wolf was a male. The wolf was muscled and young looking he had a few scars on his muzzle though hinting that he was used to fighting.
Aslaug had been laying down in the darkened temple when Asmund and Asger had come running in. They acted much like they had the night before when they told her about the boy's arrival, she had known that he was coming. The two came in and behind them were some of the pack that all looked a little freightened.
She stood up slowly onto her four legs and looked at each of them in the eyes before laying eyes on the first two that had entered.
"Brother Asger, brother Asmund what is it?" Aslaug growled quietly.
"I'm sorry to disturb your rest Mother Aslaug," Asger barked lowering his head in reverence. "It is just the hunter from the village was back on the deer trail again. His horse sensed we were near and threw him, he is dead."
"I would say it is a shame but it would be a lie." Aslaug barked "What of the boy where is he?"
"We caught his scent on the trail it would seem the hunter left him on his own." Asmund yipped giving a toothy wolf grin.
"Then we are in luck." Aslaug growled returning the grin.
The pack joined together and looked to the alpha female who was looking at them with a deep affection. They started towards the front of the temple with walking to the opening. They were all excited with the coming attraction of the young man, they were angry over his being the King's man.
A solid black male with longer fur then the rest. He had dark brown eyes that seemed to always be thoughtful in a way that worried Aslaug at times. He stopped in the darkness looking at the alpha female with curious eyes.
"Your sure the boy is worth it Aslaug?" he growled his voice deep and threatening in a way.
"Are you questioning me?" she replied in an equally hostile voice.
"I mean no disrespect to you but the alpha wouldn't have - " he began.
Aslaug leapt forward using her front legs to knock the male down her fangs gripping his neck tightly. She could feel his quickened pulse beneath her teeth and tender flesh ready to give way without a fight.
"I am the alpha now! I am the only alpha whose opinion matters." she snarled "If my mate were here then I would not seek the boy anyway."
"I apolegize Mother Aslaug." He whined softly.
"You are forgiven brother Mordred go join the rest of the pack in the front of the temple." she growled "Make no mention of our conversation understand?"
Aslaug slowly removed her fangs from his neck and and stepped off of the male walking gracefully down the dark hall till she came to the edge of the sunlight in the chamber. She watched the others walk the field and some laid themselves in front of the entrance. She watched Mordred join them laying by Asmund she could see an intense anger boiling under the surface, she may have to watch him for a challenge to her position.
As she scanned the are she looked to the woods feeling worry in her gut. The reason the pack was so small was because the others had taken to hunting the north side of the forest and this was troubling. The humans didn't fear wolves enough to not kill them their some didn't even know the legends behind them. She was expecting them bakk that evening and was more then ready to be at full strenght again.
As her eyes wandered the tree line she saw in the brush an interesting sight.
She recognized the young man immediately and as she stared she realized he was barely older then a pup himself. So young and the king would send him to her, she was sure that he would be unaware what was going on here. As the female looked at the man she saw him tense up in fear as his eyes locked with her's. He was the one and she was absolutely sure of it now that she looked at him, he was striking but not to sure he would understand.
She approached Mordred and felt sure he would be a hindrance to what was going on here today.
"Mordred my friend, I need you to go check on the rest of the pack in the north. I want you to bring them back it feels like they have been gone for to long." she said rubbing her muzzle against his.
Mordred's eyes were surprised but as he watched her he slowly nodded his head.
"I would be happy to go to the north for you Mother Aslaug but when I return I have something to discuss with you if it please you." he said a rumble in his chest.
"Very well. Be safe and be swift." she rumbled back.
Mordred lept to his feet and ran towards the tree line heading to the north along paths well known to the pack.
"The boy is here isn't he?" Asmund asked tongue hanging from his mouth as he panted.
"In the trees."
Aslaug turned herself away from the others and walked slowly back inside the temple. The human boy wold come inside when he was ready and then she would talk to him.
Gregor was shocked by the intelligence reflected in her eyes when she had looked at him, it had stunned him as he sat further back in the saddle. Gregor turned himself slowly to look down at the mare who was slowly shifting as if in impatience waiting for him to decide on the next move.
His choice was made when the large black male wolf stood up and shot into the woods at full speed, maybe heading back to the trail to circle them. He immediately realized that if the wolf had run back to the trail he could be trying to come up behind them to run them right into the rest of the pack.
Gregor turned his mare towards the clearing where the temple was located and started to press his heels into her side. He drew his sword and held it facing forward with the edge glinting in the sunlight. He leaned low over Hestr's neck and saw the wolves all leap to their feet scatterin as she cut between them to avoid any waiting attacks. Gregor could see the one of the wolves running towards him then getting alongside the horse.
The horse shied away from the brown wolf as it tried to get back into range of him. The horse let out a loud fear filled whinny as the wolf darted close. Gregor could see the rest of the pack had fallen in step and were chasing the horse one of them bypassed them to get to the entrance of the temple. There was only one wolf that was getting closer to him and he decided he needed to take action against this one before it spooked his mare to much more.
With gritted teeth he turned slightly in the saddle and swung the blade towards the wolf. He saw the wolf's eyes widen as if in understanding as the sword came towards him at the full speed that Gregor was capable of. Gregor saw the sword cut into the wolf and heard it's loud howl of pain as it's front legs crumpled and he rolled over onto himself landing in a motionless pile. The wolf didn't move but a puddle of blood was already forming, it had even left a trail.
Gregor knew that his sword had cut deep into the flesh of the wolf tearing through all of the muscles on the wolf's chest.
Gregor heard outraged howls and snarls of the other surviving wolf's that came from all around him. They had been almost docile but now they all charged the horse which caused the horse to rear back in fear. He tried to hold tightly to the reins and he managed for a bit as the horse started to fall backwards. The horse was toppling over due to his weight and he knew that he was going to have to let go before they both fell to the ground.
Gregor started to topple backwards and he released his death grip on the reins falling back. He fell backwards hitting his head on the ground and his horse ran full gallop away from the wolves trying to strike out when they got too close.
Gregor hit his head on the ground hard enough for his ears to start ringing and his vision to start going black at the corners. He saw the wolves approach jaws open but suddenly the female alpha lept forward letting out an angry bark of command.
When he started to come out of his stupor it was to an odd sight around him and as he looked around from where he laid on his back he could see a stone roof. It took him a few minutes to come to the realization that he was laying inside the temple where the wolves had been, he also realized that he wasn't dead. Gregor didn't move from were he laid one because he was worried about being attacked by wolves from the temple pack.
He could hear the sound of clawed feet scratching against the stone floors and he knew at least one of them were inside with him.
Slowly Gregor sat up holding his head a little and then he started to reach around for his sword wondering where it would end up being. He felt his heart sink as he looked up at the female wolf who had walked back inside.
Her eyes were locked on him and he could see thinly veiled anger as she stared at him. She walked into the room and sat a few feet away from him her head held high as she stared at him, she seemed so refined as she looked at him.
"Easy, easy girl." he said soothingly as he sat up a litle more.
"Do not talk to me like I am that mare you rode in on boy." She growled with venemence in her voice.
Gregor's eyes widened as the wolf watched him with cold eyes saying "You... you can talk? The king said-"
"The king is a fool. He wouldn't know if we could talk because he wouldn't have cared to know, we are useless to him due to us refusing his request to aid him." she snapped her jaws dripping saliva.
"I ... I meant no disrespect it's just when I was sent here I was misinformed of what I would find." Gregor whispered softly still a little shocked.
"I am aware of your lack of knowledge of us. Maybe if you had been informed you wouldn't have killed my brother." she snarled again "But what's done is done, we must work to move forward from here. Startng now, allow me to introduce myself I am Aslaug the last alpha of this pack."
"My condolences lady Aslaug."
"Alpha females are refered to as Mother, Gregor De Monte."
"You know me?" he asked shocked.
The wolf lowered her head looking into his eyes with a wicked glint that was amused. She stood up and started walking to him stopping right at his feet reseating herself.
"The hawks told me of your coming and I know why the king would send you out here. But I'm afraid you will find no magic here that has long since been gone." She replied softly. "The only reason we remain is this is our home. Search if you must but you will find I do not lie."
She stood up slowy and turned towards the opening of the temple to walk back to her pack peeking back at the human. Aslaug stopped herself before she got to the exit and looked back at the human male.
"Search in here till your heart is content and then join me outside. I will allow you to return to your king but I must soothe my people first, their hearts are heavy enough thanks to your King."
She disappeared out of the temple and he could hear the sounds of the rest of the pack barking at the door. He heard one growl that was louder and more pressing then the rest, all the others fell silent in an instant. He felt a warmth pass over him as his face flushed and her words finally were understood by him. She was protecting the human that had murdered her brother for defending their land, he admitted he had been protecting himself also though.
When he got to his feet he realized that he was alone in a one room temple that was dark inside and he could barely see in front of his face. He realized that the king had in fact been wrong he didn't feel any kind of aura or presence like he did when they had been around magic. It always made you feel something when in it's presence and he didn't feel that here, maybe it had been at one time. He had made the trip for absolutely nothing.
"Dammit." he grunted to himself. "The king won't be happy about this."
Gregor walked out of the temple slowly to find that the sun was already starting to sink below the horizon, he was going to be going home in the darl now. He saw the wolves all gathered in front of the temple all eyes on him as he walked out.
In the center was the alpha female and she walked forward her four long legs moving in a silent grace as she stopped by him. One wolf walked up with Hestr pulled along behind as he clutched her reins in his mouth, another nudged his sword towards him.
"You are welcome to take your things and leave us now. Ulric will guide your horse out though you will not see him from the shadows, he will only take you to the edge of the deer trail." she replied with a bark.
"I am sorry for your brother." Gregor said bowing his head.
"Oh there is one thing only I forgot to mention. You drew blood on our land we will draw some of yours in kind." Aslaug growled softly.
Gregor looked up to see her launch herself at his exposed arm and she grabbed hold with her jaws on his arm. She shook her head one good time and the skin ripped, he felt the blood spurt from the tear. He cried out in pain as she jumped back looking him in the eyes, he snatched his sword quickly.
"You...-" he growled angrily.
"You murdered my brother. I only marred your skin and gave you a little surprise for later; leave and be greatful pup."
Gregor looked at her in shock and nodded his head slowly. He took his sword and the reins of his horse in hand, then he slung into the saddle riding away from the pack.