Chapter 1 Sample “Waking the Wolf”
crispness of late, night air hung still about the huts of the Clan of the
Winter Wolf. A strip of the pale
crescent moon shone down through the scant clouds on the Great Northern Plains,
lending to the last snows of winter a soft blue blanket to bring warmth to an
otherwise chilling eve. Young Ravak could feel the nip on his nose and ears,
and could see the small clouds of breath in the air above him as it danced
through the pale vein of moonlight that shone in through the small round window
of his bedchamber. He wasn’t sure what had awakened him. Perhaps it was the
yowling of wolves in the distance? Maybe it was the screech of an owl as
it nabbed its prey out on the unforgiving plain that surrounded the village for
miles in all directions? It sounded something like a scream, but it only
came once to rouse him from his slumber and now he lay there half-awake
blinking as he tried to fight off the sleep and the chill, listening for
another signal that it was not just a dream. He threw off the deer hides he
slept under and slowly rose to his feet, scratching at the sparse hairs that
sprouted around his still youthful chin. Brow furrowed, concentrating on the
silence to catch the sound again on the clear cool night air, he walked out
into the main room to restoke the fire and went about his chore in mechanical
silence, a habit well practised in such a way that he would not wake his
parents. He carefully placed a large log into the now only slightly glowing
coals, squatted down, and drew in a large breath.
he began to blow the embers to flame, he thought he heard it again. Perking up
from his crouch, eyes widening, ears straining for more, he listened; the cry
was much more distinct. He was almost certain it had come from the vicinity of
his Uncle Kerenaan’s hut. He pulled back the curtain, wiped the butt of his
hand against the small round window to clear the frost, and peered through the
smeared glass down the road. There was nothing but a gloomy bluish glow on the
snow. In the distance, the torchlight set on the perimeter of the village to
keep predators at bay danced lazily on the cool night air. He looked up at the
sky to see the moon through the few clouds that listed lazily by. It was just
when he began to lower his gaze again that he caught a glimpse of a shadow of
someone running back behind a hut down by his uncle’s place. He watched more
closely now, standing there in silence for a moment to focus on the direction
of the movement, even holding back his urge to breathe so he could be sure to
hear it if the scream came again.
time the cry for help rang out clear in the silence of the night and he knew
it’d come from his uncle’s hut. A chill shot up his spine as he instinctively
turned to get his clothes and weapons.
You must wake! Something’s happening! Uncle Kerenaan’s hut!” Ravak shouted as
he struggled to slip into a pair of pants and boots.
grabbed his spear and ran out into the night. Massive plumes of thick ashen
smoke, crawling like a beast on twisted legs, already filled the road ahead.
Ravak could scarcely see the torchlights on the perimeter of the village now
through the haze. The air above the village quickly turned from a crisp cool
winter’s eve to a nightmarish, black cloud of smoke that appeared dragon-like
spewing ashen white soot out of its gaping maw. The mudded thatch roves on the
little dome-shaped huts made for good kindling.
Ravak approached the hut, he stopped dead for only a moment at the sight
within. The intruders kicked in the door and hung half off its hinges, smoky
black tendrils like fingers of flame clawing at the glass beckoned him in. The
far wall was ablaze. The entire back half of the hut was a roaring inferno
beyond it. His kin faced terrible danger. Ash and sparks cannoned skyward from
the roof, but the hut stood whole for the moment. He peered into the darkness
through the round doorway. There he saw two small figures bent over a chest
against the backdrop of his kin’s blazing hovel. Thieves seldom caused any
worry for the Winter Wolf. Very few were foolish enough to go sneaking around
the den of a wolf. The little looters argued over one of Ravak’s uncle’s finely
crafted recurve bows.
crept in slowly behind them, stepping carefully in order not to alert them to
his presence. The roar of the fire cut the sound of his approach to the
paddings of a pup’s feet. A Winter Wolf was silent; a Winter Wolf was predator,
never prey. Just as he was about to slide his spear into the back of the first
little marauder, the man of the house, Ravak’s Uncle Kerenaan, let out a
terrible wail from the adjoining room. It startled the two small forms
rummaging through his belongings in the dark. They stood up and wheeled about
to survey the room, finding Ravak poised and ready to strike. Seeing his
enormous frame shadowed in the doorway, they scrambled one to either side and
drew out short, rusted, gnarly-looking swords.
Quite unexpectedly one of them jumped for and went crashing through a large half circle shaped window. While Ravak was focused on the escapee jumping through the window, the other ran straight at him, letting out a blood-curdling scream. The little fellow feinted his attack and at the…….
is a writer from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He spent years working in
marketing and promotions for major fast food companies and local businesses.
Before that he was a fine dining chef working in the best restaurants and
hotels the little city of Regina has to offer. He enjoys hiking in the hills of
the Qu’Appelle Valley with his wife Jackie and their two dogs Flash and Ruby.
He is an avid outdoorsman and also enjoys fishing, camping, archery, snow
shoeing, barbequing and gardening. He is a lifelong lover of epic fantasy and
high adventure. As a child he spent thousands of hours playing role playing
games. He is also a huge fan of comic books and has quite a collection of
comics and collectables. He loves sci-fi and horror movies. He hates black
licorice, turnips and liver especially together. Visit him online at landofshaarn.com, on Facebook @therealpddennison, on Instagram @pddennison and on Twitter @pddennison.