Copyright 2013. PATG LLC. All rights reserved.

Chapter 13

Unkind Choices

As wolf howls echoed in the black,

Blacksmith turned, and hard looked back.

A low hung branch, with a thunk,

Hit his head, and sent him –Wunk!

Crashing down beside its trunk,

Knocked out cold, and to ground sunk.

“Papa!” Poepi shouted out,

And pulled up Blink, and turned about.

In the distance on the plain,

The howling started up again.

Ignoring thick, the wolfy voices,

Having not a chance for choices,

Everyone quick gathered round,

Close to Smith and breathing sounds.

With a huge lump on his skull,

He slept unconscious, still and peaceful.

Poepi dismounted, all worried scowls,

When from the trees came vicious growls.

Slowly, turning, slowly, slowly,

Everyone faced then, standing coldly,

A second wolf pack, caught in surprise,

All one hundred yellow eyes,

Glaring glaring full of wonder,

Upon what prey they just had blundered.

Forward, forward, paws advancing,

Inching closer, salivanting,

Wicked wolves grew bolder, bolder,

Sensing sustenance was closer.

How nice to find this snack surprise,

In the woods before their eyes,

Enough to sate their endless hunger,

Near where all were set to gather.

Lust overcome, four big greys leaped,

Intending bites and rends and reaps,

But as they leapt, a ring of fire,

Burst from ground, as if the ire,

Of something greater had been wakened,

Keeping Poepi safe, but shaken.

Her friends and blacksmith were safe too,

Not knowing what was done by who,

And the wolves that leapt with lust,

Were instant charred and burned to dust.

All the wolf throats howled up then,

And every frenzied one of them,

Was answered by a distant voice,

While friends of Poepi had no choice,

But to huddle close to her,

Watching wild the ring deter,

Wolves in front and back of them,

From attacking once again.

The stand-off stayed this way for hours,

Until the flaming ring of powers,

From Blacksmith’s magic Poepi thought,

Began to flicker and to flot,

So that the wolves soon came to think,

Their teeth would into supper sink.

Once again they gathered round,

Watching, waiting, close to ground.

Poepi watched and knew it too,

That wolves would soon come rushing through.

She knew not how to save the ring,

And feeling tired as anything,

She watched its flames die down and down,

With clinging friends and desperate frowns,

Yet at the instant flames poofed out,

Before wolves pounced, or bit our grout,

A loud lone howl cut through the night,

And on the plain appeared wolf white.

Poepilandia, on her knees,

Hugged the blacksmith tightly squeezed,

“Wake up, wake up, wake up” she said,

“Don’t leave us here, don’t leave us dead!”

But blacksmith made no sign or fuss,

Unconscious still in dirt and dust .

And that moment was just when,

The white wolf howled once again.

Hugging elves, the mules and Vern,

Having no where else to turn,

Poepi held her Blink and cried,

Sure that in moments they would die.

But all at once, white wolf was quiet,

Along with the entire riot,

And sudden silence made suggestion,

Death was not a sealed projection.

In desperate curiosity,

Poepi ,wide eyed, looked to see,

That wolfish hoards had split apart,

And in the middle sharp and smart,

The white wolf waited, shining might,

Observing Poepi, squinting tight.

“I know you Poepilandia”

Wolf spoke melancholia.

“Poepi-lan-di-a Poupons,

I knew you in the days long gone,

When with your father we would hunt,

For deer and elk and foul and scrunt,

Before his infamous betrayal,

Let loose the Giant’s minions rale,

Upon the lands of Islegrove,

Upon these forests, and which drove,

All the hunting game from here,

And made my wolfkin vicious, queer.

What fateless thread is being wove?

What leads you back to I-sle-grove?

For is this not the road you take?

Speak now quickly, for your sakes!

My starving brothers cannot stay,

Too much a-longer in this way.

Though Poepi did not once remember,

Hunting with father and wolf together,

Poepilandia had nothing to lose,

Or option other there to choose.

So she told about her life,

And of her quest and of the strife,

That had occurred back in the cottage,

From the Kamock brothers’ wroughtage.

White Wolf stood still, growling silent,

While others sniffed her sent a-violent.

One snarl from her and they would rent,

One snort from snout and they’d relent.

Mad minutes passed, slow as hours,

Rough rain pounding heavy showers,

When white wolf’s head bent down and thrust,

Where wolves that leapt had burned to dust.

“Your friends and you may all pass through,

To the nearby village venue,

Whose borders are not long from here,

Being only three days near.

For your father and for you,

In memory, this we shall do.

But first a price of penance paid,

Must by your friends and you be made,

And since your wizard ring of flame,

Is of four wolf deaths sole to blame,

Four of your friends must die too,

Which ones of them I leave to you.

Choose swiftly now without delay,

I cannot long hold wolves at bay.”

And as the wolf finished her words,

She growled at Poepi so she heard.

The other wolves now growled too,

And stood up drooling for they knew,

That not long now would come their kill,

Out of this herd, to bellies fill.

Leaning in anticipation,

Tongues and jaws dripped salivation.

Their hearts beat wildly, muscles tensed,

Hair spines raised, smell incensed.

Then white wolf spoke her calm suggestion,

Of the smartest course of action.

“The simplest choice to make of course,

Would be to choose your mules and horse!”