Chapter Two - Secrets.2Mature

          At first, he saw eyes. Level with his own were seven pairs of deep golden orbs rimmed with veins of red. When they met his own, razor fangs were bared. Pale moonshine dappled their husky forms revealing patches of grey, silver, black, and white fur, the gnarled remain of an ear, forepaws viciously clawed. Twice again as large as any wolf, the Hounds approached on well muscled haunches, yet their long forms were stretched gaunt over their ribcages, showing the wear of their ceaseless hunger.

          Some distance behind came a shimmer and clanking of metal, the mailed Justice Seekers. Each was fully plated in dull steel from cap to heel, only the falling rain lent their suits any sheen. Each suit was identical in height, berth, length, mobility. They approached in step, perfect unison unhampered by the lightless storm. 

          So these are the Grey Seven, Weldyn thought. Not half so frightening as the nursemaiden's tales. Just metaled men. The dogs, now, there's a force a bit more fierce than my liking. 

          The Greys encircled Weldyn, who remained kneeling, eyes downcast. He prayed for mercy while anticipating the mutilation of his flesh, hounds flinging his lifeless form about while his entrails streamed from his stomach like bloody banners. Oddly, the pack had grown calm once prey was in sight, as if the prospect of a rare meal satiated their barbarous temperament. Weldyn hunched before his destiny, convinced that each breath would be the last.

          Time seemed to stretch, the silent circle around him still as a monolith, fourteen tawny eyes boring into his skin, mouth's watering. Will they watch until I drown in downpour? Until I slowly starve to death, then let these mutts tear into my carcass? Just as Weldyn was to rise and dash into the nearest Justice, the Grey circle parted, and gold entered. 

          Weldyn could not believe it. Gilded fire hugged his breast, helm's crest a plumage of ruby. All was bejewled and laced in precious metal, mail worth a kingdom. Several kingdoms. Among the dull he shone like gold fire, plate and mail fit for legend. 

          Prince Rhygaros, self proclaimed Lord of Land, lifted his priceless visor to behold the man he had condemned.

The End

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