As we waited for Lillian to finish eating and the girls to gather their belongings, Justice noted my spear and crossbow.
“If you’re going to use a spear, you need to aim for the legs instead of the body or head,” he said, sounding more like a commanding officer now than a cheerful priest. It was an odd combination, but one I found pleasant. “The beasts can’t be hurt really, but attacking their legs annoys them. How good are you with that crossbow?”
I wasn’t one to boast, but I was the best shot in Homerson with the exception of the White Boar himself. “Good enough to hit an elk in the eye from a hundred feet away. I can hit these beasts just as well. I’ve had to do it for weeks now.”
Justice nodded. “Mr. White said you were a great shot, but I hadn’t known God had blessed you with that much skill. Truly you were meant to be an ally in this fight, friend!” He smiled widely, showing nearly perfectly straight teeth. “If we have you and Mr. White, we might be actually able to drive these beasts back into their hellish origins!”
“Attacks don’t work, though,” I told the man. I wasn’t sure they would ever leave unless they died. Then, a thought crossed my mind. “Have you ever cut the head off of one of the.. er, dark wolves?”
The large man shook his head. “No, my friend, as we cannot seem to actually do it.” He crossed his arms, leaving his spear on the wall behind him. “One of my men named Nova thought it might work. We tried to do this during one of the darkwolves’ attacks but to no avail. My men claimed their blades wouldn’t cut something in the beasts’ necks. Maybe their spine is harder than our blades or maybe it is Satan’s magic at work, I haven’t a clue. The only thing I know is that it does not work.”
Well, that idea was gone. What did you do, Shayleen? I could use your guidance in all this. Without thinking, I pulled something out of my sack; a silver knife. For some reason, the thing comforted me. Maybe it was proof that Shayleen’s death had not been in vain, that our daughters were safe because of her.
Justice nodded to the blade. “Is that what killed the darkwolf?”
I nodded. “Shayleen stabbed it below the chest, I believe.”
“Curious… Mind if I use that the next time I go to face a darkwolf? I would like to see if it still holds power.”
I was reluctant to give the blade away, but I knew how important it was to know your enemies weakness. So, I agreed to the man’s request. We shortly headed out with Melody and Lillian in tow. Lillian was still quiet, but Melody consistently asked Justice questions about his past. Any normal man would have tried to give vague details, but Justice was open and honest about, well, everything.
Once he said he was what people would call a mercenary, I remembered where it was I had heard his name. A bar owner had once told me that a mercenary band had come through the bar. Usually this wasn’t something special, but the man told me their leader was a man named Justice and he acted very oddly, giving money out to all the poor men in the place. I had never knew Justice then, but I had always been curious as to what kind of man gave out money so freely.
Now the man was walking through the forested area in front of me, talking with my daughter like she was some sort of royalty. I couldn’t quite say I was displeased with this. I certainly wasn’t a saint, so it was good she had someone to look up to.
We walked for the better part of the day before we neared Homerson. Melody had long since ceased her questioning and now complained about being tired. Lillian said nothing, of course, but her heavy panting had brought me to picking her up and carrying her the rest of the way. I wasn’t tired, surprisingly, but my mind was troubled with thoughts of Lillian. I had to make her smile again.
“Before we reach Homerson, there are things you must know,” Justice said as we walked down the dirt road. It had once been well-traveled, but now grass nearly hid it. “First of all, you must follow me in a single line.”