“There!” Deadrick called to Nerui, who twisted the wheel of the Windglider and lowered the roaring flame, and the ship began to descend into the forest below.
They set down in a clearing and turned the flame off, allowing the natural silence of the surrounding life to replace the noise of the roaring fire.
“Are you sure that’s safe?” Nerui asked, “What if they come for us?”
Deadrick swung a leg over the ship edge and got a footing on the ladder.
“They won’t,” He said, with a very audible sense of assurance in his voice.
“And why is that?” She asked, following him down the ladder.
“Because,” Deadrick said, stepping down onto the grassy floor, “This area is infested with werewolves,”
Nerui’s eyes were wide as she climbed off of the ladder.
“What?” She gasped.
“It’s fine, we’re far enough away from their hunting circle, but deep enough in the forest for the soldiers to think twice about coming after us,” Deadrick said, taking a look around the clearing, “and they won’t get anywhere near us without setting off my sixth sense-“
There came a burst of life from the bushes, snarling barks filled the night air, as they were quickly surrounded by dozens of werewolves.
Danyel peered over the side of the ship.
“Fantastic,” He groaned.
Deadrick panicked, he hadn’t sensed them, they had somehow avoided any detection.
“Come on then!” Deadrick cried, yanking his gun from its holster. He was about to fire when one of the creatures stepped forward, not threateningly, but with its huge paws in the air.
“Wait!” It said, as calmly and humanly as it could, “Please, wait,”
Deadrick kept his gun raised.
“You aren’t fooling me, dog,” Deadrick said, waving his gun over a few choice werewolves, “You’re cunning, granted. But not cunning enough,”
“No, please, I am Skrule… this is my pack, we have come seeking aid,”
“Sorry, we don’t help murderers,” Deadrick growled.
“No! You do not understand, we are kan madu gral,” Skrule pleaded, “The starved turned- we do not hurt your kind or any others like you!”
Deadrick was listening, but his hand was still firmly gripping the gun.
“We hunt only to survive, we keep to the same laws your kin do!” Skrule lowered his arms, “Please, just hear me out,”
Deadrick put his gun to his side, telling himself that if any of the dogs made a move, he would have time to raise and shoot.
“One of our kind… one of our hunters, he was injured. The ghost of death clouds the air around him… we can feel him leaving the world,” Skrule explained, “We have no knowledge of healing, and we fear he will be dead by sunset if we cannot find a way to help him,”
Deadrick holstered his gun completely, they were telling the truth. He had heard of the kan madu gral, the ones who refused to follow the lead of the other packs. And he could tell by simply looking at them, they looked smaller in stature than most werewolves he had met, visibly weaker, some were even wearing ragged clothes.
“We cannot help you, we-“ Nerui stepped forward interrupting Deadrick.
“I can help,” She said, Skrule and his packs’ eyes lit up, “I can make some healing herbs, but you need to take me to your hunter now,”
Skrule made a gesture into the trees.
“This way,” He said.
Deadrick was dumbfounded.
“Nerui,” He said, “You can’t honestly trust them?”
But Nerui had disappeared into the forest, Danyel climbed down from the ladder.
“No offence, Deadrick, but I’d rather be with her and a few dozen werewolves, than you in a secluded forest clearing where nobody can hear me screaming,” He said, making a wide circle around Deadrick and heading after Nerui and the wolves.
Deadrick looked around for a minute, growled, and grudgingly went after him.