Kat swung her arm around and broke his hold with her elbow. She ducked low and sprang away from him drawing her dagger and her sword simultaneously.
“I used to know a woman who looked just like you, moved like you and she had the same crazy notion as you about them Wers. She almost ran away with one of them too but then she ran away with a mapmaker. Do you know her name?”
Kat didn’t move, her glance fleeting between him and the door.
Theodulus slammed against the wall of his cage. Kat flinched.
“Settle down!” Ridnik shouted.
Theodulus slammed against the bars of his cage again.
“I bet you call her mother. You look just like her…Oh I know someone who’d pay a lot of money for you. Little Adrian.”
Kat froze. The jig was up. She could do one of two things, deny it and fight her way out or find out why she was so easily identified.
“How do you know my father?!” She demanded.
“You stupid little girl! Didn’t they tell you anything?! Everyone knows Adrian Parker’s name, his face, his crime. Lord Stratagus made sure of that and he made sure we knew the reward or capturing anyone with information on the scum. He never should’ve stolen Evelyn.”
Theodulus slammed against the bars of his cage once more and this time the bars shook in their holdings. Kat jumped back watching him anxiously. Theodulus charged at the bars. Kat retreated towards the door. Ridnik advanced towards her.
The bars bent around Theodulus’ muscular back and gave way and flew across the room. Kat ducked. He rolled across the floor landing between Kat and Ridnik. Kat backed away rising her weapons defensively. Theodulus turned his back to Kat and growled menacingly at Ridnik.
“Get behind me runt!” Ridnik ordered Theodulus.
Theodulus rose onto his hind legs and whacked Ridnik with his front paws. Ridnik slammed into the door and slumped to the ground. The room erupted with excited barks and howls as the wolves around the room joined in a deafening celebration, each slamming against their holdings. The room shook, dust and cobwebs rained down from the ceiling. The floor rumbled under Kat. Her heart filled with dread as Theodulus turned to face her. Her sweaty grip slipped on the handle of her dagger. She gritted her teeth, ready to defend but not daring to attack. The howling in the cages subsided into a tense silence.
Theodulus took two soft steps towards her. The gentle gaze in his eyes stilled her arms. She lowered her blades as he padded up to her yet somehow she was not afraid. He nudged her shoulder with his large muzzle. In that moment Kat knew what she had to do. She put away her blades and slid her hand over his neck. She reached behind his head and grabbed a handful of his hair. Theodulus crouched down on his hind legs lowering himself so she could climb on.
Ignoring every part of her mind that told her this was a horrible idea, Kat climbed onto the wolf’s back.
Theodulus rose to his full height and charge straight for the wall in front of him.
Kat screamed burying her face in his fur and holding on with all her strength. Inches before colliding with the wall, Theodulus sprang forward breaking the rotting wood with his head and landing out in the street beyond. The citizen ambling about the streets froze for a moment broken from their trance before shattering in chaos.
Theodulus charged across the square. He sprinted passed the shops and houses, dodging frightening stragglers. He ran until the rows of cottages on either side of them came to a halt and they came to a dead end. A wall rose up in front of them made from dirt and rocks. The wall showed no sign of ending in either direction but there were several tunnels carved into the wall.
Theodulus jumped through one of the tunnel openings, landing on the molding ground of the tunnel. He rushed through the tunnel his way lit by weird little orange lamps that looked to contain glowing lava. Theodulus turned through several tunnels branching off from the first. Kat held on tighter with each sharp turn he took, her grip so tight her finger nails dug into her own palm, her skin stretched white across her knuckles.
The tunnel let out onto an alleyway created by two rows of dilapidated houses that leaned against each other like rotting teeth bathed in burnt orange light. Theodulus slowed down as he exited the tunnel. He came to a smooth stop across the cobblestone. Kat slipped shakily down his side and landed in a disgruntled heap on the road. Every muscle in her body ached, her senses were on high alert and her stomach rocked like a ship in a tempest.
She climbed slowly to her knees looking around at the houses that surrounded her. She had only begun to wonder where she was and why it was the wolf had brought her here when her eyes fell upon a wooded sign post. Craved into post was the nameFritter’s Alley.
Kat looked over at Theodulus who was sitting beside her calmly watching her.
“How did you know?” Kat gasped. The wolf’s eyes seemed to smile as he nodded his head slightly as if to say. ‘You’re welcome’.