Posted by: nhfalcon | October 15, 2007

Finally! Some More “Wolves”

Just a quick little shot here, but I’d still like to hear what people think…

            “Why have you woken me at this unholy hour, Whisper?” Haldan asked as he splashed water from a basin on a table at his bedside onto his face in an attempt to chase the last tatters of sleep from his eyes. The Elven assassin turned his back as one of the king’s servants entered to take the robe he had slept in off and began to dress him for the day ahead.

            “There is something about to take place I would have you see,” Whisper replied.

            Haldan glanced out of one his bedroom windows, noting the darkness of the predawn sky.

           “How am I to see anything when the sun has yet to rise?”

            “By the time your done wrapping yourself in your finery, it will be light enough.”

            The king grimaced at the elf’s sarcasm, but had to admit to himself that he was right. The sky did lighten as he was clad in smallclothes, stockings, breeches, boots, shirt, doublet, jerkin, belt, and swordbelt. By the time his crown and ceremonial sword (worn instead of his usual blade at Whisper’s insistence) had been brought to him, Haldan had had the chance to eat a small breakfast and wash it down with water fresh from the well, and the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon.

            “Very well,” he said to Whisper. “I am ready. Lead on.”

            Whisper led Haldan through the citadel at a great pace, heading for the second floor balcony that looked out over the field behind Beyvon. Arrayed there before them lay the personal bodyguard of the royal house of the gnomes. Ciaran, their king, looked out over them at the top of a small rise. Two dozen gnomes, clad in boiled leather over ringmail with swords at their hips, knelt with their backs to their king. Each faced his own hound, which sat at attention wearing its own barding of the same material of its master and harnesses and scabbards that held its master’s shield, crossbow, and quiver of bolts. Even from the distance they were at as they witnessed what was obviously a profound ritual for their allies, Whisper and Haldan could feel the bond between each deerhound and its rider.

            Ciaran, his hair and beard braided and his armor covered in a black cape, stood before a marble pillar upon which lay a leather-bound book. Obviously meant for the king to read from, it was immediately apparent he did not need the tome as he lifted his head and raised both hands aloft, the words long ago etched into his mind. Haldan gave Whisper a quick look, but the elf shook his head and nodded towards the gnomes to indicate that the king should watch closely at what was about to unfold.

            The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world,” Ciaran intoned, “the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. When all other friends desert, he remains. He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true. To the last beat of his heart.” Here the gnome king paused, and each member of his bodyguard reached up to hold his hound by each side of its head. Then Ciaran continued.

            “You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”



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