Copyright 2013. PATG LLC. All rights reserved.

Chapter 12

Howling Bones

Long hours they rode in drenching rain

Through woods and plain and rough terrain.

The squall stayed with them without stall,

For every slip and trip and fall,

And ran down into every crack,

‘Tween hair and neck and collard back.

It came down solid like a sheet,

So that at night no one could sleep.

It came down cold, and chilled deep ire,

Which could not be warmed by fire.

The donkeys brayed, the horses neighed,

And everyone was much dismayed.

While all the while, the blue gem swung,

Twixt Poepi’s breasts, on chain wet hung.

After ten days without sign,

Of any break in rain for shine,

No one talked or thought or stewed,

About what they’d set out to do.

The blacksmith glared, wet and stern,

Riding slumped his gelding Vern.

The elvish pair and both their bows,

Were soaked to skin and walked in rows.

The pixie hid within her box,

Or under Poepi’s drenched hair locks.

Poepi too, rode foul in mood,

Scowling underneath her hood,

That also covered Blink’s behind,

While she rode him, wind to wind.

A thought that helped to keep her going,

Was hugging Blink, and always knowing,

That he would never leave her side,

And be with her until he died.

She patted him and dried his neck,

And gave him food and soft ear peck.

And as she did so, feeling meek,

Rain mixed with tears upon her cheek.

Her love for blink had checked her spurrage,

And lit within her, sparks of courage,

As lightning lit up bright the sky,

Above the clouds, dark grey and dry.

Down on earth the puddles grew,

And horses’ hooves and donkeys’ too,

left their track marks in the distance,

Over-sloshing elvish foot prints.

On day twelve, they passed where Gar,

Had battled with his brother Bar.

And there, the land and ground still wrote,

The scars of what their conflict smote.

The rocks were rent, the trees were bent,

And lingered still a pungent scent,

From which all knew spawned not from near.

But way by far the things most queer,

Were picked clean bones of wolf dead here,

As if so laid with reverent eyes,

In every shape and smell and size.

They were not strewn or hewn or popped,

But piled up tall with skulls on top.

And all the piles formed circle round

Where Gar and Bar had fought to ground.

Blacksmith knelt by one piled skull,

And gave a sharp fanged tooth a pull.

“Oh please don’t do that!” Poepi said,

Her heart fast filling, full of dread,

And fearing this strange spot was cursed.

Her dread was then made much more worse,

When from behind her, throaty howls,

Echoed out of hungry jowls.

Mules began to shift and shimmy,

Horses tossed their heads and whinnied,

Blink’s brown nostrils flared and steamed,

Vern reared up and horsed a scream,

Then everyone quick set to running!

A pack of hungry wolves was coming!

Across the plain, against the breeze,

The horses galloped, to the trees,

Smith and Poepi, bouncing flailing,

Short leg mules, behind trailing,

Elves a-sprinting, pumping blood,

Legs a-bolting through the mud.

Thundered cloudbursts clapped and cried,

And on the plain, sharp wolf brains eyed,

Six running dots quick disappear,

And thought it queer, no wolves were here,

At this pointed time of year.

The pack had traveled many days,

Browns and blacks and reds and greys,

To be here now right at this time,

Through mud and wind and rain and slime.

Running fast, and in a line,

Without a whimper or a whine,

Wagging wolf tongues yowled and groaned,

Straight to sacred howling bones.

Lightning flashed, illuminating,

Wolf bone shadows, waiting, waiting.

As the pack, criss-crossed the ground,

Circling round, circling round,

Sniffing bones, harking for sounds,

Smelling something to be found.

And frightful were the howls up went,

When they caught Blink’s sweating scent.