|The Adventures of Wolf and Friends: Pages
Author: D Knowlton PM
The boy called Wolf and his friends find more danger and trouble in their quest to become knights. Volume two of The Wolf Chronicles.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Friendship - Chapters: 46 - Words: 147,948 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 05-07-13 - Published: 05-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3024556
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Adventures of Wolf and Friends: Pages
Wolf sought out the Vet and asked if he could participate more in his work. In particular he was interested in anatomy. Although the Vet wasn't licensed to practice medicine on humans he was a licensed paramedic and with the assistance of the school nurse could perform emergency life-saving procedures.
The Vet was happy to accommodate Wolf and took him on his rounds of the camp's animals. They had long discussions on the anatomy of both humans and animals. The similarities were striking; sizes and shapes may be different but the parts matched. By studying animals the vet was able to teach Wolf a fair amount of human anatomy. It was an introduction to medicine and Wolf was learning a lot of the basics.
It was in the late morning while Wolf and the Vet were having a sit-down talk about horses when a page arrived at the Vet's tent and delivered a package. The Vet thanked the page and opened the package. It contained a book. The Vet looked it over a second then handed it to Wolf. It was a book of detailed human anatomy, very thick with very fine paper. There were over a thousand pages mostly packed with illustrations of dissections of the human body. Everything was labeled with its proper medical name. The book looked very expensive.
"I hope you will get as much pleasure out of this as I did."
"I can't accept this; it must be terribly expensive."
"Well, actually it wasn't. My wife bought it for me when I went to medical school. It's a little dated but completely accurate. It was her idea to give it to you."
"How can I repay you?"
"You already have by helping out with the animals over the summer. You will learn fast; that is my payment."
It was only after he was dismissed that Wolf realized that the Vet had said 'medical school.' Wolf wondered if he had studied to be a real doctor. Like other things involving this school, Wolf figured he would never know.
Wolf reported to the main tent to work on the Raven's paperwork for his next class. Fortunately, paperwork was never hard. It usually involved filling the lesson plan and gathering the names of the next group of students. Once he had the list of names he ran out of the tent to report to the Raven.
Wolf promptly ran into a wall. He staggered back. He remembered doing this once before, it had involved the massive horse named Mary. This time it involved a giant of a man. The man reached out and caught Wolf to keep him from falling down.
The man spoke in a foreign accent, "Uff Da, I come to the great mountains to be attacked by a little leaf of a man." The man, besides being huge, had long blond hair, a huge beard, and a mustache that seemed to flow off the corners of his mouth. He was wearing a shirt of chain maille and carried a huge broadsword girded to his waist.
Wolf stared wide-eyed, up at the huge man and finally managed to stammer, "Sir, I'm sorry. I didn't see you."
"That is a first for me; to be invisible. Let me introduce myself; I'm Eric. With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?"
"Sorry, Sir. My name is Wolf."
"Yes, Sir. It is my adopted name. My mother is the Wolverine."
"Ya, I know the Wolverine. I look forward to killing her."
Wolf, the blood draining from his face, stared at the man, trying to determine if he was serious. He decided to challenge him. "She'll kill you first; then I'll kill you."
The man pondered the threat a moment then broke into a broad grin. "Good. I like you. You will make a great warrior. I've just arrived and I'm hungry. Let's go eat and then we can talk."
Wolf still wasn't sure what to make of the man; he acted friendly despite the threat to kill his mother. Wolf decided he had to keep a close eye on the man, or was he a knight? The chain maille and sword that he was wearing suggested that he was a knight. He led the big man to the mess tent where they picked up some sandwiches. They went to the side of a small hill overlooking the camp to sit down and eat.
"So why are you called Wolf? It is a powerful name."
"It's short for, 'Sleeps with Wolves,' Sir."
"No need to call me Sir, I'm not a knight."
"So, do you sleep with wolves?"
"Yes, Sir. Well I did until he returned to the wild. I still run with him when I can."
"I'd like to meet this wolf. He must be extraordinary. How did you meet?"
"I saved him from a trap, Sir."
"A most noble act. You must be very brave."
"No, Sir. It just seemed the right thing to do and he let me open the trap. Afterward he kept sneaking into camp to sleep with me. He sort of adopted me. Shadow taught me to hunt rabbits."
"Shadow; an excellent name. So you are the son of a wolf and a wolverine."
"I never thought of it that way, Sir."
"That is all right, I never before thought I would be holding an intelligent conversation with a wolf."
"Shadow can tell you a lot if you just listen right."
Eric stood up. "I shall sing songs about you when I return home. But enough talk; take me to the Wolverine."
Wolf jumped to his feet, "No!" He startled himself with his blunt refusal. "Not if you are going to kill her."
"Wolf, stand down! I will deal with Eric myself." The Wolverine ordered sharply while standing right behind them. "Eric, how 'Pleasant' to see you again." The Wolverine said, seething, as she pulled her sword from its sheath.
Eric pulled his sword and brought it up to match the Wolverine's, "So you haven't forgiven me yet."
"Hardly." The Wolverine circled to the left.
Wolf was still standing besides the man and he reached for his hunting knife.
"Wolf! Stand down and step away; now!" snapped his mother.
Wolf stepped back a few paces and bumped into the Raven who grabbed his arms and kept him from drawing his knife. "This fight doesn't concern you. Let them go at it."
"You left me alone on that island," the Wolverine said and swung her sword first. It came around in a terrible whoosh only to be met by a perfect parry.
"It was an accident." Eric swung a short sweep at the Wolverine's head but she deflected it up and over.
"I almost froze to death." She gave a swing up between his legs. He again blocked.
"You had a warm coat." He swung up and over and she dodged out of the way.
"I was starving." She aimed for his waist and he stepped back avoiding the blow.
"There was plenty of seal to be eaten." He stepped in with a straight thrust which she sidestepped.
"I hate seal; I hate you." She again swung at his waist.
"I love you." His upswing hit her sword at the hilt causing her to lose her grip. Her sword flew up and came down near him, sticking in the ground. There was an audible gasp from the now assembled pages and squires. Eric threw his sword aside and took two quick steps to her and scooped her up into a bear hug. He planted a big kiss on her lips.
She struggled at first, then relaxed and threw her arms around him.
"Doesn't everybody have something to do?" the Raven said in a very loud voice to the assembled pages and squires. They promptly started walking away. He then turned his attention to Wolf whom he was still holding. "You, young man, are coming with me. You have some explaining to do."
"He was going to kill my mother."
"Seeing their fight I seriously doubt that. You had better tell me everything."
Wolf related the whole story of how he met Eric. "Sir, I thought he really was going to kill her."
"When using swords to express love; it is a real possibility. However that was not good reason to put yourself in danger. Your mother can defend herself very well; she is a knight after all."
"Sir, Who is Eric?"
"He is a North Man."
"A North Man, Sir. What is a North Man?"
"The best I can describe him is he is an adventurer. He is half explorer, half trader, and half pirate."
"Why don't you arrest him?"
"He doesn't actually break the laws of our country. Besides he isn't a murderer. He manages to stay ahead of the law."
"Why is he carrying a sword?"
"That is a good question. Do you know what a North Man is?"
"He is a Viking."
"But, Sir. There aren't any Vikings now. Are there?"
"Vikings were clans from the far north who, sailing in their long ships, made their way in the world, trading. Through their sailing skills they had a great advantage.
"Because they come from a wild area of the north and because they traveled to strange lands they became fearsome warriors who would defend their holdings. When they felt the need, they were known to attack villages for supplies. That is how they got their reputation."
"And he raids villages?"
"No. He is more of an explorer. Did you know Vikings discovered the new world?"
"No, Sir. I thought the Spanish did."
"Well, the Vikings discovered it hundreds of years earlier. They just didn't tell everybody. They didn't find the sort of life they were looking for, so they left. The other side of the coin is they didn't decimate the native population like the Spanish did. Eric is a little bit of explorer and a little bit of plunderer. He met your mother on one of his plundering adventures. He shows up once in a while. He is basically a good person; he won't hurt you."
"Is my mother in love with him?"
"Yes, I think so, but she will never admit it."
"Why is that?"
"Because she is a knight sworn to uphold the law and he lives just at the edge of the law."
"Oh... What is he doing here?"
"I don't know. He may be trying to renew his friendship with the Wolverine or he may have a larger purpose. Whatever it is, he is sure to profit from it. Beware, he can be very persuasive."
"I don't like him."
"You might before the day is out."
Later in the day when Wolf was taking care of Nudge in the stable, Eric approached him. "Unnskyld... sorry. I should have made allowance for your age. I did not really intend to kill the Wolverine."
"Why did you say you were?"
"Love does strange things."
"From what I've seen of it, I don't care for it."
"That is too bad. It is worth fighting for."
"Do you plunder?"
"I find things other people lose or discard."
"If you don't mind, I need to take care of my horse."
The North Man walked around Nudge and examined him with a critical eye. "He is a very beautiful colt. I would guess he is a Percheron."
"Someday, when he is grown, I would like to breed him with my mare. He is that good. She is in the other row of the stables. You should check her out when you have a chance." Eric turned and left.
Wolf initially was determined not to look at the mare, but while he was hauling manure he found himself walking by the stable housing the mare. He looked in and was stunned. She was the most beautiful horse he had ever seen. She was white with a gray mane and tail. Her hooves were covered with more gray hair. She was big; not as big as a draft horse but very strong looking. She was the very definition of Destrier. Wolf knew Destriers were normally stallions and as a rule were hard to control. A mare would not have that problem. He had to admire the Viking on his choice of a war horse.
The page later that evening went to see the Wolverine and ask her his most burning question. "Mother, who is Eric?"
She looked at the boy a long moment while she thought about her answer. "He would be my lover if I let him."
"Love again. That's all I hear."
"Love is overrated. It is definitely more trouble than it's worth. It sounds like you have your own problems."
"We will talk about it later. You asked about Eric. I've known him since I was newly knighted and went to investigate a ship being beached."
"Did he cause it?"
"No, but he was there pretty fast and he made a huge profit salvaging the cargo. The problem is, he is not just a professional salvager. He is a tomb raider; an archaeologist who can be hired for profit."
"And you love him?"
"No... Yes... Maybe, I don't know. He's right. He did kill me, sort of."
"Yuck. Does Red know?"
"Are you going to tell her?"
"I guess I'll have to now."
"Mother why is he here?"
"I don't know. Whatever it is I don't trust him. That is all I want to say for now." The Wolverine dismissed Wolf.
Wolf, when he retired for the night, had a talk with his tent mates about the Viking and what it meant that he was here. Apparently there had been a lot of speculation in camp since his very public display of sword fighting with the Wolverine. The leading theories included him being the leader of an invasion of the valley, that he was looking for recruits to go pillaging, or he was on the run from some law agency. Wolf didn't think anyone was close to guessing his purpose.
The next morning during breakfast Wolf went to talk to Grace. "What do you think of the Viking?"
"He tried to kill the Wolverine."
"Is everyone blind? He's got to be bad news."
The Lion's page, Sally, approached them and announced that they both were to report to the Lion's tent. When they arrived they found the Viking, the Bear, the Raven and the Wolverine, as well as squires Red, Bob and Bill. There were not enough seats or logs to go around, so Wolf and Grace had to stand.
The Lion started, "Thank you all for coming, I have been made a proposal by Eric that bears some worthy attention. Eric is in charge of security for an archaeological dig that has been plagued by bandits. He is asking us for extra manpower to help with the dig and to provide extra security. The adults will provide security and the students will provide manpower for the dig. It will be an eye opening experience for the students and a way for the adults to support the school."
It was Eric's turn to speak. "It is obvious why I chose the adults. You are the most fearsome warriors short of my Northmen. The students I picked because you have all expressed an interest in science or you have seen action."
Wolf threw a questioning look at Grace. "I decided to major in biology," she said.
When Wolf looked at Sally, "I told you I was interested in science."
The Lion again addressed the students. "This is voluntary. It will mean missing the rest of summer camp but the education you receive will be invaluable. Who wishes to do this?"
As a group, the students raised their hands. Wolf surprised himself when he raised his hand.
The Lion said, "You leave tomorrow before first light and will ride light, carrying your clothes and weapons only. Red, if you will let Wolf ride Easy Rider it will be easier for the school. There will be a train waiting for you at the village. Dismissed."
Outside the tent the Viking caught up with Wolf. "Can we go for a ride? We have much to discuss. I've cleared it with the Raven."
"Yes, Sir." Wolf replied somewhat reluctantly.
They saddled their horses, Wolf riding Pinto Bean. At the Viking's insistence they headed west. The Viking's mare was named Quicksilver and Wolf could tell she lived up to her name. She seemed to move effortlessly.
"Would you like to ride her?" The Viking offered.
"Yes, Sir," said Wolf, surprised at the offer.
They dismounted and exchanged horses. When the Viking mounted Pinto Bean he was way too big for the horse. Quicksilver was a different matter, she accepted Wolf's small size perfectly and, at the Viking's insistence, the page took the mare for a gallop. The horse did indeed live up to her name; she was the fastest horse Wolf had ever ridden and he had no problem staying in the saddle standing on the shortened stirrups. He returned at a canter to the Viking and they re-exchanged horses.
"There will be room for Nudge if you want to bring him. I will help you train him."
"Yes, Sir. I would like that. Mary would like it too."
"There would also be room on the trip for Shadow if he will come."
"I've made arrangements for the wolf to travel as a working animal. I'll have papers ready."
"Sir, how is that?"
"He is a rescue wolf. It is very legal I assure you."
"I don't believe you. Besides he has returned to the wild."
"Suit yourself. It would be an opportunity to show the world how good a wolf is. Look, is that him?" The Viking pointed to a low hill where the wolf was sitting, looking at them.
Wolf dismounted and started running for the animal. When he reached Shadow he engaged in a playful wrestling match. After a few minutes of fun he looked up and saw that the Viking had ridden up to them with Pinto Bean in tow. "If you don't mind, Sir; we would like to hunt rabbit."
"Please do. I want to see the great Wolf in action."
Wolf and Shadow crisscrossed the meadow until they found a warren. Soon they each had killed a rabbit. Shadow promptly tore into his and Wolf gutted his. When he returned to the Viking, the man was preparing a small cooking fire. Wolf promptly skinned the animal, spitted it, and set it over the fire to cook.
"The Bear taught me never to kill an animal just to waste it. It must be eaten and the skin used."
"I chose well in asking for you to come along."
"Red is better at it."
"It is well. We will be living off of the land for some of our food." It took a while to cook the rabbit and they shared in eating it. "I think it is time to return to camp. I'm sure you have preparations to make."
"What about Shadow?"
"Invite him. He either comes or not. I wouldn't want to force him."
Wolf was highly surprised when Shadow did follow them back to camp. The wolf spent the night in the boy's tent where none of the pages got much sleep. Wart and the rest of the Brotherhood of the Wolf pressed the page with questions about the Viking but there were too few answers.
The Raven awoke Wolf about three o'clock in the morning. He quickly dressed and grabbed his saddle bags and weapons, then headed for the stables where he met the rest of the party. They all saddled their horses and walked them to the edge of the camp before mounting up. From there they went at a canter south to the entrance of the valley and eventually to the village and waiting train.
The train consisted of the engine, one box car and one passenger car. The horses were quickly loaded and unsaddled. Nudge was settled in with Mary, his mother. Shadow made his appearance and climbed into the passenger car. Grace had Lady, her not-so-small puppy, in her shoulder bag. When the entire party was boarded the Viking picked up a phone handset and instructed the engineer to start the train.
Wolf had a chance to check out the car. It was a richly appointed private car with plush seats down the sides and a large wooden table. It had a small platform on the rear that one could stand on as the train moved. The train was a fast one, moving at about one hundred kilometers an hour.
They had breakfast on the train and Grace sought out Wolf who was sitting next to Sally. "May I join you? I have something to say."
"Sure," Sally said. Wolf stood up and invited Grace to sit.
"This Viking is rich; way beyond rich. I bet this car cost a pretty penny to rent or own," Grace said.
"It's probably rented," Sally suggested, "there are not many around."
"My point is, why does he need us? He could have archaeological students from any university he wanted. He could also hire security as needed. He doesn't need knights as hired guards."
It finally struck Wolf, "He wants the Wolverine. That is what this is all about." Wolf jumped up and ran to the front room of the car where the adults were sitting. He faced the Wolverine and pointed at the Viking, "He's using us. He's using us to get to you."
By now the other pages and squires were standing behind him, open mouthed. The Wolverine looked directly at Wolf and smiled. "Of course he is. From what I see it looks like it might be working. However he doesn't have me yet and I'm pretty sure it won't work."
"It's all about your education. It is a risk I'm willing to make to give you the experience in life that you need. Don't worry; for right now Eric and I remain just friends. I see no need to discuss this any further at this time."
Dismissed, the students went to the rear of the car. Red took the opportunity to hit Wolf on the shoulder. "You idiot. Now the Viking knows you hate him."
"Actually it's pretty obvious," Grace said.
"You're right." The two girls pushed Wolf into his seat. "Don't move. Ever," Red threatened.
Sally sat next to him. "You can't fight it, Wolf. They're grownups."
"Where's Shadow?" Wolf asked. Everybody looked around. The animal was not there.
"Last I saw him, he was with the Viking," Bob said.
Wolf jumped up to confront the Viking but Bob and Bill grabbed him and forced him back into his seat. "Calm down," Bill said. "Nobody is doing anything to Shadow. He is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Remember you said he was a good judge of character. Now is the time to prove it."
Bob was next, "Has the man done anything to you personally besides trying to kill your mother? Think about it. Think long and hard. It won't do you any good to be adopted by the Wolverine and then kicked out of school for trying to kill someone."
"It's not like he is a pirate," Sally said. "He is a good man. He certainly is a good match for the Wolverine. There are very few men who could live with her. She would be hard pressed to do better."
"You should be friendly with him," Grace said. "He has offered to teach you some important stuff. This is your opportunity to use him. Besides, from what I've seen of him he could be a valuable ally in a fight."
Wolf stewed for a half hour while the others talked. He finally got tired of being angry and calmed down. Once he was settled he started to think about what everybody was telling him.
Red finally had a talk with him. "I know she is our mother, but she is an adult. She has earned the right to be courted by whom she wants to. I hate to tell you this, but the man is good looking and he gets to do some pretty neat things. You don't have to like him but you can at least be civil. It is part of your duty to the Raven to treat the Viking with respect."
The train pulled into town and stopped at the depot. The Viking ordered the horses unloaded and saddled. The party mounted up and headed around the edge of town to the small airport nearby. When they arrived they found a cargo plane waiting for them. They rode to the rear of the plane, dismounted, and lead their horses up the drop down ramp. They unsaddled the horses and secured them against falling with slings. The Viking warned them the engines would start and they were very loud. Wolf stood by Nudge and Easy Rider and when the engines did start Shadow was right at Wolf's side, very nervous.
After everyone was secured in jump seats the plane rapidly accelerated down the short runway and angled sharply up as it left the ground. Once the plane had climbed to altitude and leveled off, everyone was able to get up from their seats. They formed into two groups, adults and students. Bill produced a deck of cards and the students engaged in a game of poker. The Viking opened a large cardboard box and issued bedrolls for everyone in the party. It would be a very long flight.
The plane eventually landed on an island to refuel and while they were waiting they took the opportunity to exercise the horses and clean the mess in the plane which had started to smell like a stable. There was a beach nearby so they rode the horses bareback to the water. The three squires held an impromptu race. Wolf rode Easy Rider bareback, with Nudge on a long lead, down into the ocean surf to swim. Shadow was shy of the surf at first but quickly got into the fun of swimming. When their two hour break was up, the party headed back to the landing strip where the students hosed the salt off of their animals and then re-boarded the plane. They secured their horses and Wolf discovered more supplies had been loaded onto the plane.
Once airborne the Viking directed that several boxes be opened. One of the boxes contained straw hats; the second box had light-weight white long-sleeved shirts. There was no doubt in Wolf's mind that it was going to be hot wherever they were going. The next box told him how hot; it contained bullet-proof vests.