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SilasCrane t1_jasutgq wrote

Shaun had tracked the reports of missing livestock and shepherds to the small mountain village of Vastok. He'd found some of the missing beasts penned up with the villagers' own livestock, but the villagers claimed they'd been found wandering along the trails that wound up the mountainside.

He had no reason to doubt them, for the gory scene he'd witnessed around the shepherd's hut down in the valley was the work of a monster, not of mere thieves. If the monster was what he thought it was, he could easily believe that the surviving flock had been driven up the trail by primal terror.

The village headman, a narrow-eyed gaffer named Arlan, seemed to see his presence as an affront to the reputation of the tiny community, and told him that if it was a monster he sought, he'd find none in Vastok.

He did, however, provide Shaun with one useful bit of information: some Vastok folk said there was a huge shaggy wolf, a loner without a pack, that lived in a cave a few miles outside the village, where none dared venture.

Arlan wasn't sure he believed it, himself, but the village set watchmen at night bearing spears and torches, just in case. Perhaps, the old man opined, the beast had decided to try its luck among the less watchful valley folk?

Common spears would hold no terror for the thing that Shaun suspected was roaming the region, but a burning torch swung at it would give it pause, perhaps. It was worth checking out, in any case.

He left the village, and hiked to the cave.

When he came to mouth of the cavern, it's entrance half-hidden in behind a screen of scraggly pines, he immediately saw signs of his quarry. His sharp eyes spotted a mix of gnawed animal bones, torn sacks, and broken crockery around the cave entrance -- the litter he'd expect from a creature that was both man and beast.

He lit a torch to light his way, and then drew his sword. Common weapons could not harm the monster he hunted, but his blade Rivenstar was no common weapon. It was not made of steel, but was forged of enchanted silver, alloyed with metal from a fallen star.

The holy sword's blade became razor sharp and glowed like the star that had birthed it when in the presence of evil, and it sliced through the dark power that protected monsters from mortal steel as easily as it cleaved their flesh.

Armed with this instrument of divine vengeance, he walked boldly forward into the cave. He followed the winding passage that led out the large entrance cavern, as it wormed it's way deeper into the rock, his eyes searching every shadow.

As he emerged into a larger chamber inside the cave system, a large shaggy gray shape blurred past him, into a side passage. He gave chase, and almost stumbled right into a...bear trap? The thing set traps in it's lair? Proceeding more carefully, he avoided two more bear trap, and skirted around a pit trap lined with sharpened stakes.

Finally, he burst out into another wide chamber, holding his torch aloft. There in the corner, the hackles on its broad back bristling, the creature crouched and snarled, baring long canines. It's overall shape was like that of an enormous man, save for it's legs, which bent like a wolf's, and instead of paws it had clawed hands on its forelimbs. Its head was horrific blend of man and wolf, that glared at him with lambent golden eyes.

It lunged forward, but Shaun warded it back with the torch. He scowled, and raised his blade to strike....

...then he paused. Rivenstar did not burst into light, and its edge did not grow keen.

"Wulver," he whispered, staring at the creature in amazement. "You're no werewolf, you're a Wulver."

The creature looked startled.

"You...know of me?" it growled, uncertainly.

Shaun slowly lowered his sword. "Yes. Of your kind, at least. I know you Wulver are not evil by nature -- unlike the bedeviled Werewolves."

"Few ordinary humans can see any difference between us." the Wulver snarled.

Shaun held up his still darkened blade. "Perhaps. But Rivenstar shines against evil, yet sheds no light on you. To merely have a fearful appearance is no crime. My blade does not condemn you, so neither do I."

He sheathed his sword, and the Wulver's golden eyes widened in surprise. It had clearly not expected that.

"Why do you guard your lair with traps, Wulver?" Shaun asked, curiously. "Protection against the villagers?"

"Aye, human, they come hunting me, sometimes. But I confound them with my snares, and with my knowledge of these caves," the Wulver rumbled.

Shaun sighed, his mouth pressing into a grim line. "I see. They hate you, because they think you're a monster."

The Wulver looked surprised again. He shook his shaggy head. "No, human. They hate me because I'm not."


Several minutes later, Shaun emerged from the cave entrance, the Wulver beside him. After what the Wulver -- whose name was Harreth, he'd learned -- had told him, he wasn't surprised to find Arlan and several of the villagers waiting for them there.

"Well," Arlan sneered. "It seems the worthless runt isn't even up to the challenge of taking down the weakest of prey -- despite our practically gift-wrapping it for him."

Shaun drew his sword, and extended it towards Arlan and the villagers. They cursed and flinched back as it burst into light in their presence. "I am no one's prey, monster. And by the Divine, you will trouble neither the Wulver nor the valley any more, after this night."

Arlan growled, flashing teeth that elongated into fangs in a blink, his eyes turning yellow and luminous. Around him, the other villagers he'd brought with him began to change, as well.

"Stay behind me." Shaun advised the Wulver, setting his stance.

"No..." Harreth growled. He crouched beside Shaun, baring his fangs, as the werewolves of Vostak assembled before them, hatred and hunger in their eyes.

"I am done hiding!" the Wulver roared.


Zagreus7777 OP t1_jasydu2 wrote

What a twist! Absolutely wonderful writing! I'd love to hear more of Shaun and Harreth, this story is very good!

You my friend, have earned yourself a follower!


Hurtjacket t1_jat0row wrote

Great work, there should be a part 2 of this. 👍