Icefurr strode off towards South Region. It would take him two or three hours at a run to reach the village. Sundown was coming quickly. The foxwolf sped up to a sprint, but had to settle for a jog, as his armor was weighing him down.
The sun was almost gone from the horizon when Icefurr had the old rebel settlement in sight. His paws barely kicked up snow as he finally neared the edge of the wreckage. Since he had been here last, months ago, the houses had fallen down, the wall was burnt up, and everything was strewn about. Icefurr had to cover his muzzle with his sleeve. The smell -- he didn’t want to think about what it was from -- was horrible, and reeked of decay and terrible things.
The Rogue Captain looked around, but didn’t see a soul. Where are you, Gulrag? he thought. He sniffed the smelly air. Just rot, but besides that . . . something else . . .
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a laugh. “Captain Swiftblade, hello!” Gulrag stepped out from behind the framework of a hut. He flicked it, and the whole thing fell down. He was still wearing the same red cloak that he always did, and a chain mail tunic. He carried a massive scimitar. Icefurr looked at it and drew his own curved sword.
“What do you want?”
“Among other things? Your death. However, that’s of no consequence right now,” the wolverine chuckled. “Right now, we can discuss your probable surrender.”
“Why would I do that?” Icefurr growled. He was still taking in the scents around him.
“If you do, I promise that I will leave North Region alone.”
Icefurr started. This was unexpected; the warlord could still be planning something. He swung his shield around onto his arm. Gulrag looked at his shield, then the surcoat. “Oh! Ha! What’s this?” He pointed a claw at the foxwolf’s chain mail. “How quaint. A badge of rebellion, is it?”
He paused. “Well, what say you?” Gulrag stepped closer. Icefurr stepped back.
Gulrag’s face became a mask of fury. “No? NO?!?” He took a huge, round black shield from his back. It made Icefurr’s diamond shield look small. However, Icefurr noticed something. Gulrag was, indeed, thicker than Icefurr and very tall, but Icefurr’s wolf ancestry caused him to stand at the same height as the wolverine. “If you won’t give up, then you WILL fight!” the wolverine yelled. He swung the scimitar in circles above his head, then brought it down in what would have been a killing stroke if Icefurr hadn’t jumped out of the way. The foxwolf looked about hastily. Ermine, wolves, hawks, and even a few otters surrounded him.
He was to die this day. “Doranfather, help me!” he breathed.
Suddenly, a shout came from the snowy hills behind the Rogue Captain. Blue and green and silver and white all flashed behind him as rebelcreatures poured down into the village. “No!” Gulrag cried. “You said that you’d come alone!”
Icefurr looked around, then jumped at the wolverine. “I’m never alone!” He jabbed with his sword.
Gulrag deflected it with his shield. “I will make you alone!” he screamed. His scimitar thrust towards Icefurr, catching him in the footpaw. The foxwolf smiled.
“I have something that you don’t, Gulrag, something that you can never have!” The Rogue Captain suddenly looked much taller than Gulrag. The wolverine backed away, the clamor of battle almost drowning out Icefurr’s voice.
“I have a Father.”
“I killed him!” The wolverine’s fury was evident.
“No! He cannot be killed!” Icefurr’s voice was rising in power. Disregarding the wounds being inflicted on him by the warlord’s creatures, he pushed towards Gulrag. “Aah!” he suddenly breathed.
A fox cackled behind him, with a spear in his paw. It was thrust through Icefurr’s back. An otter struck the fox down, but the damage was done. Icefurr sank to the ground.
Strike the ground, Rogue Captain. Icefurr could hear a voice speaking to him. “Doran?” he whispered.
“He is Doranfather! Father of all . . .” Something flew out of his mouth. "Akthali Doran eqtana rithna!" With one final burst of strength, Icefurr drove his sword down deep into the snow, ice, and earth.
Gulrag screamed, “NO!” This had happened before; scars twisted down his back, evidence of another king, in another battle, with another sword. He ran, paws pounding the cold ground and scimitar batting away creatures in his way.
A blast of white-hot light rippled out through the air in a circle around the dying prince. The enemies of Doran’s creatures shrieked in pain as their bodies disappeared, leaving nothing but armor and weapons. Gulrag was last. His back twisted in agony as the light tore across his hulking muscles, burning his fur and sending him to Darkdoor, where all persecutors of Doranfather’s children went. “Nooo--!” His scream was cut off as he vanished.
Icefurr had no time to wonder at what had just happened. His blood was almost run out, and his eyes were getting misty. “Captain!” a voice yelled, and Jennter ran to his commander’s side. “No, no! Why? Why did you do it? You knew it was a trap . . .” The big wolf couldn’t stop a tear from running down his cheek.
“Doran’s . . . will . . .” Icefurr’s voice trailed off. “Months . . . of fighting . . . we did it . . . Leo? Where have you been, you old soldier?” Jennter started. What was Icefurr saying? “I’m . . . alone here except for you . . . no, Doran . . .” The brave young foxwolf stopped again, and his eyes misted over.
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
I love fiction, fantasy, roleplaying, and reading. Nice to meet you too. All of my tales are little kid-friendly, except perhaps a few stories in the Rogue Captain universe. Those are more geared towards teens. Check with your parents, just in case.