The Chronicles of 'Team B' - Chapter 31 - The Sheep Will Be Scattered
Zalyn, lost during the heat of battle, looks out over the devastation. Three of the wolves lie upon the ground, wounded. The rest are trying to gather themselves, and attend to the fallen, after Lokan's attempt to take control of the pack. Her erstwhile companions have all vanished down the dark hole at the base of the tree. She approaches Tserg, who came through the battle better than most, and glances at him sideways with her arcane eye. She then asks him to accompany her down the hole, to seek out her party, and keep her safe from whatever might be down there. Tserg does as she bids. After the pair finds themselves on the dark, snow-covered ground of the other realm, they hear the voices of the rest of the group up ahead. Catching up, they find Augusta, trying to keep a candle burning in the chill wind, along with Lokan, Agapia, Yuri, Svetlana, and Zorina. Soon, a huge, ominous fortress made of living trees, and with a gaping wolf maw for an entrance, stands before them. A large, hirsute man with yellow eyes and fangs appears from a thicket to the side. He tells them that his name is Kolovul, and that he represents the Grey Wolf - master of this realm. If they would speak to him, he bids them to enter through the maw. Agapia immediately runs through, and the rest follow. On the other side, they emerge in a huge domed chamber made of trees and vines. All appear to have made it through, but Agapia is nowhere to be found. A low, booming, disembodied voice welcomes them, and thanks Lokan and Tserg specifically for having heeded the call. To the rest it says that in the interests of fair play, it will let them go to prepare for what is to come, for the wolf people are now gathering, and preparing to lead the assault on those that long ago treated them unjustly, and drove them away. In response to numerous questions, the voice calling itself Grey Wolf says that long ago, his people, the Children of Darkness, lived in harmony with the Children of Dazhbog - the god of Light. After the latter left for southern climes, the Children of Dazhbog were left in charge of these lands. Because they were wise, they became the priests, magi, and leaders - the volkhvy, and the princes. But after the coming of the New Faith, humans turned against them, and tried to destroy them. Now, in possession of the one who has swallowed the Egg, they once again have power on their side, and will mete out justice to those who wronged them. Lokan objects that the humans have numbers on their side, and that other creatures will not be under the wolves' control, but Grey Wolf counters that all creatures of Darkness - including Zalyn and Zorina will feel the pull, Nezhit' will fall under his control. As for humans, they can decide for themselves whether they want to seek out a place for themselves in the world to come. Those that refuse will be destroyed. Lokan submits that Grey Wolf makes a good point, and is sent out, along with Tserg, who is suddenly unsure about why he is there, to rejoin Danifa's pack, help guide it to their hideout, and await further instructions. Most of the rest realize their predicament, but feel like staying here is not an option, and decide to take the opportunity to leave. Augusta in particular tells Yuri that the reasonable thing is to leave, and to fight another day, but the cossack refuses to leave without Agapia. This elicits a reaction from Svetlana, who accuses him of abandoning her for the girl. When Yuri says that it is his duty to protect Agapia, just as it was his duty to rescue Svetlana, Svetlana shouts out that she is pregnant, and storms out of the exit that has appeared. Lokan, wondering aloud whose the child is, follows her out with Tserg, Augusta, Zorina, and Zalyn. Yuri remains behind. Soon, the doorway opens again, and Kolovul enters. Grey Wolf's voice commands Kolovul to finish it, and the hairy one changes his form into that of a wolfman, and lunges at Yuri with a cudgel, and snaps at him with his teeth. Yuri holds him back with his spear for as long as he can, but he is hurt and exhausted by the battle, and Kolovul soon overcomes him.
A sacred icon, supposedly helpful in accessing a lost cavern
- Yuri stands up to Grey Wolf
- Yuri and Zalyn arrive in Malinka