[Vfw-times] MK Winter Assault part 65 - Long in the tooth

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Tue Dec 25 02:28:27 CST 2001


The chapel was a lot like the Temple; very quiet atmosphere, almost a pall 
hanging over everyone; people huddled into masses, many praying to their god; 
and one cleared area filled with the wounded and dying.
"So who is it you wanted me to see,  Allart?" asked Rick.
 "It's Lisa," Allart replied, carefully leading the way between the wounded. 
"We had a run in with a werewolf and she lost an arm. Ralls was also injured 
-- broke his leg so we left him here to help - though the rest of us managed 
to get away with only dings and scratches. We're afraid that Lisa might have 
been infected. Father Hough looked at her, but since he doesn't know anything 
about magic, he couldn't tell us anything for sure. Lisa is still unconscious 
so she can't tell us anything either. Since you've had experience with these 

 The raccoon grimaced, his hackles rising. "Few things are worse than 
lycanthropy. I'll look at her, tell you what I can about her condition, but 
I'll warn you now that I can't cure it. If it is genuine, we might want to 
consider putting her out of her misery now."

"Somehow I don't think Misha will approve of that idea. Anyway, here she is."

The two knelt down next to the blanketed form if Lisa Ringe. The AR had been 
wrapped securely in blankets to help against shock, but she was deathly pale 
and still out cold. Rickkter pulled down the blankets to and began to inspect 
the stump where her right arm used to be. "How was this treated?"

"First aid on scene," the age regressed medic explained. "Tourniquet to cut 
off the flow of blood to the arm and then bandage afterwards. Unfortunately 
this happened in the midst of the fighting and the other Longs weren't able 
to get to her for a time, so she lost a lot of blood. Also, she was thrown 
against a wall when that happened. There's a lump on the back of her head, 
probably a concussion."

"Father Hugh helped her with his prayers," Misha interjected. "She would have 
died otherwise."

Rickkter had taken the stump in his paws and was gently probing around the 
thickly wrapped but still bloody bandages. "That would explain both why she's 
so pale and hasn't woken up yet. Her life force is very weak."

"Lisa's a fighter, all Longs are. She'll make it."

"I hope so," Rick muttered. "Did you cauterise this after?"

"Yes. It was a horrible tear and I had to cut off some pieces to get it to 
seal good, but we did."
"Well that's good. What did this werewolf look like, anyway?"

Allart went on to describe the werewolf, placing emphasis on its massive size 
and strength. Rickkter listened and looked at the arm some more as the medic 
spoke, then ran his paws over Lisa in a probing manner. "This is very 
strange. I don't suppose I'd be lucky enough that someone took a souvenir 
from our werewolf before he was torched, would I?"

   "Actually, I saw Meredith taking something from the body as we were 
preparing to douse it." He called out to the bear, his voice echoing across 
the chapel. He quickly made his way over to where Lisa was.

   "What is it, Allart?"

   Rickkter answered instead, "Did you save anything from the werewolf's 

   "Actually, yeah. I cut out one of the big bastard's fangs for a trophy." 
He passed it over to the raccoon.

   The tooth around two inches long and made Allart shiver as he considered 
the damage that a mouth full of those had done. Rick just studied it quietly, 
rolling it over in his paws. Eventually the mage came to a verdict. "Well, 
the good news is that this didn't belong to a werewolf. Or rather it didn't 
belong to a natural werewolf."

   Misha nodded his head. "We suspected as much.

   "What was it?" Meredith asked.

   "Well, all lycanthropes have a kind of magic about them that causes their 
change. This does not have it." He passed the tooth back over to the bear. 
Rick was about to say something more when his elbow touched something behind 
him. Looking down, he saw that it was the nose of a crouching dire wolf.

Meredith could have sworn that the raccoon jumped about ten feet, most of 
those straight up. When he landed, Rick had managed to draw his katana and 
was holding it in a defensive posture before him as he snarled at the wolf. 
The wolf snarled in return and slinked back a few feet into a crouch. "Great 
maker, what the hell is that doing here?!" Rick yelled.

 "Wait, wait," Meredith told him, stepping between the mage and the dire 
wolf. "She was one of the pack of dire wolves that led us to the 

"A pack?!"

 "Yes, about twenty of them," the bear answered. "The others should here 
somewhere," he said nonchalantly as he looked around. We found them in a 
store room and were bringing them back here when that werewolf ambushed us 
all. At first we thought they would attack us too but they helped us! As near 
as we can figure it, that thing was their alpha male, and not a very good 
one. They were quite happy to help us get rid of him."

Rickkter glared at the bear and the wolf a little more before returning his 
sword to its scabbard. "Well, that would fit with what I found on the tooth, 
but damn it, Meredith don't let her sneak up on people like that. Damn near 
scared me half to death."

"So I saw," the Long admitted with a grin.
What was that about the tooth?" Allart wanted to know.

"Well, what I found there was a curse, much like our own. It seems that Nasoj 
went and 'rewarded' one of his lieutenants or something, with the ability to 
change from human to what you described and placed the pack at his command. 
It also seems that our old friend learns from his mistakes, or rather *our* 
inventiveness; this curse is slightly different in construction than ours, 
and the counter is different also. They're very close to what we have here at 
Metamor, but different enough to make it obvious. I just wish that wolf was 
still alive so I could study it better; the tooth isn't large enough, and 
without life, the spell is already decaying." He shrugged. "Who knows? It 
could have led to a cure for all of us."

Meredith snorted. "We could only wish."

"Well, that's good news anyway," Misha admitted as he scratched at his ear in 
a very canine fashion. I'm going to talk to Hough and Salius, see how things 
are on their end."

The two scouts and the mage nodded and headed off in various directions. 
Meredith followed Allart in order to act as his assistant while the medic 
plied his trade. Rick went off on his own with a similar goal in mind. He 
didn't get too far when he ran across a familiar looking form knelt next to 
an unconscious warrior.

"Elvmere? Elvmere, is that you?"

The other raccoon gave a slight start at the mention of the name, his ears 
flattening out against his head. When he looked and saw that it was Rickkter, 
the ears straightened up a little and he stood. "Yes, it is I."

Rickkter nodded. "Well, I must admit that it's good, if rather surprising, to 
see you again. I remember you telling me how you were going back home to 
Jetta." He gestured at the clothing the other raccoon was wearing. It was a 
black clerical cassock that looked to have been rather amateurishly altered 
to fit his new physique. "And what is with this get up?"

Elvmere lowered his head and groaned, though it came out as more an 
animalistic murrr. "I have a confession that I must make to you, Rickkter. 
You were a good friend to me when we first met. You took the time to show me 
around Metamor. In return, I... was less than honest with you."

He looked up when he heard Rickkter start to chuckle. "My dear Elvmere, I had 
not known you for more than a minute before I knew something was amiss." 
Rickkter clasped the other raccoon on the shoulder, his whiskers perked up in 
a smile. "You sir, are horrible liar."

 "Well, I suppose I can take come comfort in that fact," admitted Elvmere as 
he flicked an ear and grimaced. "And you can stop calling me that." He 
straightened his back and looked Rickkter in the eye. "My real name is Bishop 
Vinsah of Abaef. Until recently I served the people of Abaef and directly 
under the Patriarch himself. I believe that will explain the cloths.
Rickkter's muzzle had dropped a few inches. "Bishop Vinsah?"

"Yes, Rick, Bishop Vinsah. Though I let my friends call me Vinsah."

The other raccoon gaped at him a few moments more before turning his head to 
the side and busting out in full laughter. Slapping his thigh and shaking his 
head, all the while still laughing, he turned back to Vinsah. He pointed a 
finger up at the bishop, his muzzle dropped open in a smile. "Of all the 
people I had suspected you of being, I NEVER would have guessed that. The 
fact that they said you were dead, killed with the rest of the convoy, didn't 
help matters." He chuckled and shook his head again. "I have to say, the 
Sathmoran name was a thing of beauty, though. I mean who would suspect a man 
who worked at the highest levels of one of this word's major religious groups 
adopting the name of his most hated enemy."

"I wouldn't have figured it to be that uncommon."

Murring, Rickkter tilted his head and rolled his eyes back a bit. "Um, true. 
But you still did things that I wouldn't have expected from such a devout 
Follower. The spending time with myself being paramount. Your people are 
rather... infamous for their treatment of mages. From what my apprentice Muri 
told me of your meeting, you weren't very fond of the idea of your Patriarch 
associating with someone who knew magic."

Vinsah inhaled deeply and let it go in a rumbling sigh. "Yes, I know. I know. 
But Akabaieth came here to try and change all that, and I intend to try and 
follow that. Since coming to after the attack, half transformed into my 
current form, I've learned a lot about the people here. Whether I ever wanted 
it or not, Metamor is my home now. I'm doing all I can for our people, Rick."

"So what are you doing? Offering comfort for the spirit?"

"Body and spirit," the cleric answered. "In these times people need comfort 
for both."


Rickkter turned back.

"No hard feelings about my lying to you the whole time?"

"None," the grey raccoon admitted with a smirk. "After what happened to the 
rest of your caravan, I don't blame you for hiding who you were. There's not 
a man, woman, or child here without secrets, Vinsah. Personally I believe 
we're all entitled to have them. Though I am glad you told me the truth 
yourself." He nodded. "I'll see you when this is all over."

"May the Lord protect and watch over you," said Vinsah as he made the sign of 
the cross. "See that you don't get killed."

Rickkter smiled back, his tail wagging slightly behind him. "That's the motto 
I live by."

End part 65
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.integral.org/archives/vfw-times/attachments/20011225/570f9221/attachment.html

More information about the VFW-Times mailing list