A side story about Hiulfger and Rannon. Main story is called Shadowlands

Hiulfger, born of wolven father and wolven mother; His father was mighty; his mother was strong. Because of this the two mated. The two Wolven found little fault in each other beyond the fact that no love grew. Together they patrolled their territory and fought the small skirmishes typical of their kind. For him, the first years of his life were hectic. The father left his mother when he was a young one. Where most women would have been bitter at being left with a newborn, his mother strove on. No love had been born of their union, only Hiulfger. When Hiulfger was born with his twisted back and clubfoot, his mother kept him. Most wolven mothers left such poorly formed babes as him to the forest. But he was kept, and he was loved. Although he was disfigured, his face was fine, his hands agile. His mind was bright; he learned quickly those arts that involved delicacy of hand. Although his back was twisted, he was strong. With the few tools the wolven used, he was gifted.

"My son," His mother said one day. "If you try to live as a wolven would, you will die. I cannot hide you from the perils of this world. You must leave me and find a place for one with a body such as yours."

Hiulfger bowed his head and left the next day to fulfill his mother's wishes. For 3 days and 3 nights the young man traveled, now only having 17 years upon this earth. His pace was slow and ponderous, but his stamina was inexhaustible. He walked many miles in those 3 days. But on the last night he came across a wounded wolven who lay across the path. Hiulfger labored to one knee and gently turned the stranger over. And what should meet his eyes but a face that was like and unlike his, so similar in appearance, yet distorted by a pained grimace. Tousled hair the color of blood lay in a pool beneath the man's head, and skin the color of old wood. In his heart, Hiulfger knew who this man must be, and saw through the man's haze of pain that he too knew who the boy was. Each regarded the other for a moment. His father was the first to speak.

"So you're the pup Yunir birthed," he gasped between clenched teeth. " My son. Disfigured, and lumpish, but ah what a face, my face! The gods were kind enough to leave you that much."

"The gods have given me much, Father. A pity you were not around to witness it." Hiulfger slowly rose to his feet and began on his way again. He was a ways down the path when he heard the labored hiss and stumbling step of a wounded man behind him. He stopped and turned to look at his father. Even though it appeared that the wound in his side was more than lethal, he had managed to rise and follow.

"Boy, wait."

Hiulfger turned and began walking once more.

"Boy! Wait for your father!"

Hiulfger, sudden consumed by rage, stumped quickly forward and shoved the man. His father fell with a small whuff and muffled yelp of pain. Hiulfger stared down at the wounded man and contemplated ending his life then and there. But no, like his mother had done for him, he would spare this man's life. As he thought upon his mother's kindness he shook his head in wonder at this wasted beast of a man on the ground before him. It was obvious where Hiulfger got his muscles. If his back were not twisted, he would be the spitting image of him, he thought.

"You were right," He said as he struggled once again to his feet. "You're very gifted. You have my strength."

Hiulfger only allowed a cautious nod of his head. He did not enjoy that the idea that this man had anything to do with his life, but it was clear. His face was this man's face, and his body was but a perverted copy of this man's body.

"Hiulfger Noclan." He grudgingly said as he held out his hand. His father smiled and took it.

"Rannon Peltrender Noclan," Rannon winced and clutched his side more tightly. "Now that introductions are out of the way, mind lending me your shoulder, son? We have a ways to go yet before I can get this hole in me closed."

And so father and son, one bent by birth, the other from injury, limped slowly through the woods as the night slowly gave way to day. To where they went, he couldn't say, but for the first time he knew his father. And for the first time, father knew son.

The End

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