Gulrag Whiptail sat in his tent, brooding over how to infiltrate West Region. It should have been easy enough, but . . .
“Your Honor!” A fox dashed in and fell to the floor in front of the warlord.
“What is it?” the wolverine asked impatiently.
“We’ve been driven out of another township!”
“We don’t know! It was late last night, and the guards were all paying rapt attention. Then, all of a sudden, silver and red shafts started coming down at us! After we’d lost five creatures, somebeast released two huge piles of timber that we’d collected for building the wall around the village. Almost a score more animals were crushed, and seven more were injured badly. The rest who hadn’t been killed ran off.
“I went back to see what had happened once everything had quieted down. Nocreature was there, and the only thing I found was this, pinned to a wolf’s chest.” He pulled out a bloodstained arrow, shining with silver metal and fletched with red feathers. It was thrust through a piece of parchment. Gulrag snatched it and glanced at the paper. This was all it said:
The Rogue Captain is coming, and bringing with him a new age . . . one of Clandoran.
Gulrag howled in frustration. “These infernal rebels! And their ‘Rogue Captain’! Who is he? Who by Deathgates is this creature?”
“They say that he’s the king of Clandoran . . .”
“I know that! But who? Who is he? Who . . .” He trailed off. The fox watched nervously as a slow smile spread across the warlord’s face.
“Go get Commander Reckson.”
“Yes, Mightiness!” The fox backed out of the tent and scampered off to find the commander spoken of.
Commander Reckson was the wisest wolf in all of Gulrag Northwind’s army. The wolverine often came to him for advice, so this was nothing new to him. He followed the fox into the tent, brushing the flaps aside and standing boldly in front of Gulrag. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes. You know Crigon Retchonit?” he asked.
“Aye!” The wolf smirked. He knew everyone in South Region.
“She knows the old ways? Of the kings that I killed?”
“Aye!” Reckson replied again.
“Go learn everything you can about the Foxwolves,” Gulrag ordered.
The commander turned to go, but was stopped by the warlord’s voice again. “Reckson.” The wolf turned around to sharp claws and a powerful paw lifting him bodily by the neck. Reckson’s eyes grew wide and he tried to say something.
“Don’t overestimate your influence in this army.” The ruthless ruler dropped his commander and pointed, standing over the wolf. “Go!” Reckson’s breath rattled in and out, and he stumbled out of the tent. His pride was gone for now.
It was Gulrag’s turn to smirk. He sat back on his throne, lounging in his red cloak.
Icefurr sat at the end of a long table in an underground cavern, laughing at the story of the most recent escapade. “And then,” an arctic rabbit from North Region explained animatedly, “O’Malley over there let those logs go, screaming something strange that sounded like, ‘Klinkaboodleay!’, or something. Just that made the soldiers turn with looks like this!” The rabbit contorted his face into a sarcastic representation of a stunned armybeast. Icefurr and the others around him laughed even harder. “But when the logs came down at them, they looked like this!” This time, somebeast snorted water out of their nose onto a nearby hare, he was laughing so hard.
“Good work, O’Malley!” Icefurr called out among hoots of laughter. “That’ll get them thinking twice about Western Region!”
Since he came to the rebels, he’d assumed a sort of leadership position. Previously, they’d been overseen by a wolf by the name of Jennter Mc’Kallen. He’d immediately given up his position to the Rogue Captain. Icefurr found that it was easier for him than he’d thought.
They were all gathered in a cavern complex on the intersection mark between North, South, and West Regions. It consisted of a mass dormitory, dining hall, kitchen, and strategy room. This room contained diagrams, models, and demonstration weapons of all kinds.
Now the rebels were all gathered in the dining hall, eating dinner and listening to hilarious and exaggerated accounts of what happened at Conollan Township. Somehow, not all of them seemed completely true.
“Oi, Keefe! Don’t get snot all over my tables!” the chef yelled good-naturedly at the poor fox who’d snorted water.
Once he’d recovered, Keefe called back, “Don’t worry! The only thing with snot on it is Ryder over here!” The hare was, indeed, covered with a nasty mixture of mucus and water. In return for the comment, he gave Keefe a big, wet hug. All the fighters, the otters the most, roared with merriment.
Icefurr looked around him. I did the right thing, he thought. Not only was he accepting his destiny, he had new friends to do it with. The fox had changed, too. He could see that just by looking in the mirror. He wore no longer his silver cloak and travel stained tunic, but now sported a bright chainmail tunic and a surcoat of silver and red. It bore the crest that he’d been given by Jennter when he joined as a knight of Clandoran: the rebel sign in red halfway through the surcoat, then Gulrag’s symbol the other half.
Icefurr had requested it. He’d made it clear that it was very important to him that he not just forget his past, so Jennter soon agreed to his chosen crest.
The Rogue Captain was starting to feel tired, so he retreated to his private chambers next to the dormitories. Then, the foxwolf got down on his knees. He bowed his head.
And started to pray.
The rebels had taught Icefurr quite a few things about old Clandoran. One of these was this: Clandoran wasn’t only ruled by a king, but the king answered to the highest power -- Doranfather.
Clandoran was named for him. Doran was an ancient word that meant all. Therefore, Clandoran literally meant Clan of All. In the same context, Doranfather meant Father of All. Doranfather, or more often referred to as Doran, had created everything. This was who the Rogue Captain was honoring at this very moment.
Icefurr finished and rolled over into his bed. He was out like a light.
Gulrag was woken from his sleep by a screech from outside his tent. He stumbled out of bed, grabbed a random spear from the corner, and flung open the flaps. “Who disturbs me?” he growled.
Reckson held his paws over his ears as an old ermine screamed behind him. “Death cometh to this place!” was what she said. “Doom! Death, death!”
“Silence, old crone!” Gulrag commanded. She shut her mouth, but shook her paws and the bangles on them. The warlord turned to Reckson, who was standing further away in the darkness. “Who is this? Crigon?”
“Aye, lord. She told me all, but then followed me here screaming about death,” Reckson said, moving out of the shadows.
“Meet me in my tent,” the wolverine commanded. “Captain Deathwing!” A huge eagle swooped down from a perch in a nearby tree. “Have three of your guards watch this ermine. Make sure she doesn’t leave.” Deathwing nodded and screeched, calling a group of mountain kites.
Gulrag turned and walked back into his tent. Reckson stood in front of him, paw on lance. “What did she tell you?”
“She told me that the Foxwolves answered to the Doranfather, and he was who gave them their power. You know of this, lord. Your back . . .”
“I know!” Gulrag spat. “Mention it again, and I will impale you on your own lance.”
“Yes, lord.” Reckson backed away.
“A name! Give me a name! I vowed to never know the name of the king I killed, but it shan't matter. By Ending, tell me!” Gulrag picked the spear back up.
“Swiftblade! Mc'Kenthon Swiftblade! That was his name!” Reckson said hurriedly. He stumbled backwards away from Gulrag, tripped, and scrambled out of the tent door as fast as he could. Gulrag put down the spear.
“Icefurr . . .” Gulrag sneered. “The runaway. So, he’s this ‘Rogue Captain’.
He thought for a moment. "That explains a lot,” the wolverine mused out loud.
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.