Hunter of Evil Ch. 03bymrPIT©
Chapter 03: the Wolf Pack
Motion out of the corner of father Austin's eyes caught his attention and he looked up from the board he was holding, causing an eruption of swearing from the town's carpenter. "That will be ten Hail Mary's for you," replied the priest without turning. Two figures were approaching the little town of Northchester from the southwest, where there were no roads but only forests. The man caught his attention first. A tall and broad chap, he fit the description of any random fighter one might find about the land. However, he wore no armor, nor carried any weapon – not even the tell tell signs of a concealed dagger. His clothes were ragged and dirt stained and carried many memorials of bloody battles. His hair was cut in a short, haphazard manner, standing up every which way in a wild, fearsome manner. Even his beard, though full, had thin patches where someone had torn clumps from. On his back was a large pack that showed the bulging of provisions, not a sign of any weapon. And his eyes... they were an impossibly dark brown, such that Austin wondered if this man might be a son of the dark, not of man and woman.
The woman that tread by his side was such a beauty that for a moment, the priest's heart ached with a mournful passion (though later he rationalized that the woman's looks were heightened by comparison with the man next to her). Her black hair was also cut unusually short, just down to her neck though it did frame her face well and seemed to make her blue-green eyes sparkle that much more. She was about the normal height of most women, but a life of travel and hardship had thinned away her fat and toned her muscles into gorgeous curves. Her lips were almost as pale as her skin, further demonstrating her lack of access to the makeups even some of the poorer women possessed. Her lips too were slightly parted, but rather than appear as if her teeth were too big for her mouth, this instead gave the woman the appearance of ever on the verge of a stunning smile. She too wore no armor and carried only a tall, smooth walking staff. Her clothes were simple as well, ones that could almost be mistaken as those of a man's if her midriff wasn't exposed scandalously by the refusal of her tunic to meet her pants.
"Can I help you?" asked father Austin as he approached the two strangers, his hand slipping into his robes to grip the rosary he carried there next to a small vial of holy water.
"I am Murdoch, this is Alaine," the man answered. "I've been sent here by Bishop Corsini to deal with a... problem your village is reported to have."
The priest studied the young man a moment, waiting for the punchline. When none came, he looked to the girl but her gaze confirmed Murdoch's seriousness. With a sigh, Austin gestured for the two to follow him and led them to the town square where the full destruction could be seen. "As you can see... you're a little late." Alaine gasped in horror and even the stoic Murdoch seemed a bit uncomfortable.
Very few of the remaining buildings were undamaged. The least destruction were windows that had been widened beyond design. Other huts had large holes smashed through their thatch roofs, while large piles of rubble stood where buildings had their walls smashed in and collapsed. Murdoch stepped close to the priest so he could whisper, "I thought the full moon was tonight."
"The wolves come out the night before and after the full moon as well," sighed Austin. "We were lucky this time, only four people dead, none converted. But what about tonight? When the beasts reach the peek of their frenzy?"
"How long have you had this problem?" asked Alaine as her partner started to drift about, scouring the area for clues.
"Three generations ago, we have records that werewolves attacked before," the priest answered neither hiding his voice nor inducing a reaction from the people within earshot. "But it seems that... we thought they were wiped out."
"Think this is a matter of revenge?" Alaine wondered aloud. "Descendants being attacked for the sins of their forefathers?"
Austin was about to respond but the question wasn't directed at him. "Or a statement," answered Murdoch from a crouch, his back to them.
"Find something?" asked the priest as they joined the hunter.
Murdoch pointed to a spot on the dirt road which had become damp enough with last night's rain for an impression to be left: a paw print.
"I don't understand," said Alaine, "it looks like just a normal wolf track."
"Except the inner toe is too large," replied Murdoch. "It's not unlike a human's thumb." Then, he leaned down, putting his face almost in the mud.
"What's he doing?" grumbled Austin.
"Getting the scent," said Alaine.
They watched as Murdoch stood up and scanned the village, his nose flaring. They followed him as he wondered the neighborhood, studying each resident, ever sniffing the air. They had almost made a full circle, heading back toward the town's church when he suddenly grabbed a young boy by the back of the neck.
"What are you doing?" demanded the priest as Murdoch hauled the protesting youth to the town square.
"Blacksmith!" he shouted with a booming voice. "Bring any iron cage you have and secure it before the alter in the church. Now!"
Mummers of disapproval rumbled through the villagers even as the blacksmith obeyed (for Murdoch's command was hardly one that could have been disobeyed by even the stoutest heart). When the cage was brought through the crowd and taken into the church Murdoch ordered, "Go about your business." When protests began to form, he shouted, "This youth will not be harmed, but I have reason to believe he is connected to your current troubles."
"Please," said father Austin in his most soothing voice. "Sir Murdoch is here in order to save us from this wickedness. I will ensure Paul's safety."
"I cannot keep you from their anger indefinitely," snapped the priest when they were behind the church doors and he had locked them. "You show up at our village without warning or notice and proceed to accost our young men! I'm sorely tempted to let my parish give into their murderous desires toward you," he barked as Murdoch hauled the kicking and screaming boy down the main aisle.
"If I'm wrong, the boy will be repaid with armor of pure gold," he replied as he stuffed Paul into the smith's cage.
"It's too small!" the boy complained. And indeed it was obviously designed to hold nothing much larger than an average pig.
"Quiet or this will all become far less comfortable," Murdoch snapped, as he crouched before the cage and studied Paul intently.
Alaine who had been silent and almost invisible during the entire scene, lay a hand upon her partner's shoulder. "What is it?"
"This boy reeks of wolves," the hunter growled. "He's one of them."
"That not true!" Paul screamed, pounding the cage.
"Sir Murdoch, do you have any way to support your claim?" demanded the priest.
"By nightfall I will," he answered as he stood.
"And if the boy doesn't transform?"
"As I said, he will be laden with treasure. Until then, we need to prepare the village." Then, leaning close to Alaine, he whispered, "Stay here."
The girl nodded and watched the two of them exit to the still disgruntled rumbles of the villagers. Once they were gone, she curled up on the front pew and studied the humble church's gorgeous architecture. She didn't know how long it was but at some point she became aware of the sound of soft weeping. Glancing at the cage, Alaine saw the boy curled up with his back facing her. "Begging for forgiveness?" she asked.
"What forgiveness?" he choked out.
"The forgiveness that is offered to all who come to Christ," she answered.
"There is none to be offered to one such as I," replied Paul as he sat up best he could and looked at her.
He nodded. "Murdoch's right, I am one of them."
"Two months ago. I was helping my dad hunt for our meal that night when we got separated. I stumbled upon this beautiful woman with dirty blonde hair, bathing nude in a pool of clear water. She bade me to come and..."
"You fornicated with her."
Paul nodded. "When we were finished, she nibbled playfully on my neck – though I learned later that was when she bit me – before straddling my face with her loins. Then I was forced to drink of her juices. A few weeks later, the full moon came, and I found myself drawn to the woods, where I found that girl and her pack."
"So before now, you've just been playing off in the forest."
"You can't imagine what it was like. When we transform... every inhibition vanishes. Every desire is given free reign and we do whatever we desire. I can't pretend to be possessed or acting beyond control. Everything I've done while in wolf form... it's all things I've wanted to do. The scariest fact is... I'm starting to enjoy it. We eat whenever we want whatever we want and often the pack erupts into a frenzied orgy."
Alaine got down from her seat and crouched next to the cage. "What did you do last night?"
Paul tried to answer but tears and sobbed wracked his body.
"It was someone you liked wasn't it?"
"A girl in the village. A girl you always wanted and... last night you took her."
"I... I can still hear her screams," he weeped. "All of her pleading, her begging, it only fueled me on as I took her; first as an object of lust, then as one of gluttony."
"Help us stop them, and maybe we can save you," whispered Alaine, holding her hand against the bars.
"What do we do?" asked father Austin once Alaine had finished relaying the information Paul had given her.
Murdoch's brow was furrowed in concentration for several minutes before he answered. "Gather the village into the church. You said they had an aversion to silver?"
Alaine nodded. "They have a distaste for iron as well but not one as strong as the Fey. Silver is the strongest repellent."
"And you trust Paul?" asked the priest
"We're about to find out," answered the hunter. "Gather all the silver in the village. Touch the boy with a sample of it and see if he hurts. If so, we need to melt it all down."
"So the blacksmith can plate it over the church doors. We'll also need to ground some silver into a fine powder, mix it with salt and line every windowsill."
"Going a little overboard?" questioned Alaine.
"I don't think holy ground is enough to repel them alone. Judging from the broken headstones yet the unharmed church, I think we can assume that some of the normal rules apply, but not as strongly as against ghosts or vampires. We also need to get Paul out and secure him somewhere else. I doubt he can escape but I don't know the limits of werewolf strength. I'd rather not have an escapee wrecking havoc among refugees."
At first the village was reluctant, but at father Austin's urging they at last rallied and, with Alaine's and Murdoch's help, they preparations were almost finished by sunset. Every man, woman, child and weapon was gathered into the church and every possible entrance was secured. When the sun was halfway to its rest, Austin met the two hunters on the church steps.
"We made a pair of weapons for you," he said, holding out the gifts. "The spear is for you Alaine. We put a silver tip on the end of your walking stick. You should be able to kill them without getting to close to their bite. We didn't have much left but made the best sword we could," he said to Murdoch.
"It's a sword? I swore it was a dagger," the hunter remarked as he turned the double-edged two foot blade over in his hands.
"As I said, the best we could do. Sure you don't want a spear?"
"Their bites don't concern me. I had the smith fashion the silver on the doors into a cross since there wasn't enough to cover them as hoped. Now listen... the wicked cannot generally break a stain glass window depicting a holy event. But all the same, even with the salt, keep everyone back from them."
Austin nodded his understanding and started to enter the church while Alaine hung back. "You sure about this?"
Murdoch stared into her eyes for a moment, admiring their beauty. "Kill every wolf tonight. We'll determine those that are men later. Take care of yourself and be safe." Then he leaned down and kissed her lightly on the cheek before heading off into the darkening woods.
With the thick tree canopy, the forest grew dark with a frightening pace. Before the sun was at full rest, Murdoch heard the howling. He stopped and readied himself as a rustling began to grow around him. Barks and growls darted through the trees, a code spelling a challenge and his doom. Though all of his senses had grown sharper, Murdoch smelled the wolf pack before he could even see them. Pausing in a place where the trees seemed to grow closest together, he threw his small sword into the ground and watched as half a dozen gray and white wolves melted out of the darkness. They were huge, their shoulders as tall as any man. Powerful muscles tensed as teeth bared.
Murdoch waited as the pack coiled to pounce before crying out his own challenge and charged the beast to his right. His actions threw off the pack's timing and two wolves leaped while three charged. His target stood on its hind legs, revealing nasty claws and fangs that glistened in the moonlight. But Murdoch ducked and tackled the wolf about it's midsection, slamming it against a tree with enough force to cause bark to explode and the sound of bones breaking to drown out all other noise. With one hand he gripped the wolf's fur and spun, shoving the injured into the fangs of it's pouncing pack-mate as his left hand flew out and backhanded another charging beast with enough force to shatter its jaw. Releasing his captive, Murdoch spun to the other wolf who was still sailing toward him. Grabbing it's muzzle, he used the beast's momentum to pull it over his head and straight into the ground. The remaining pair paused and backed away. This prey was clearly faster and stronger than any they had faced before. The third that had been given a taste of his own kind stumbled to his paws and joined the circling predators. Murdoch pretended to not noticed them as he tilted his head to crack his neck. Then, without warning, he charged forward. This time the wolves tried to scatter, but he caught one by it's back. Picking up the whimpering werewolf, Murdoch gave it one hard shake that snapped its back before using it as a projectile to bring down one of its fleeing friends. The other he ran down before it got far and broke both of its legs.
The wolf lay at his feet whimpering with pain and, for a moment, he felt a bit of pity for it. Until a shrill voice pierced the air. "When they heal, their wrath will make even Satan cower in fear."
Murdoch looked up to see a young man, not much older than Paul, crouching on a log a few feet from him. He was naked but it hardly mattered as most of his body was covered with gray fur. On top of his head was a pair of pointed ears and a tail could be seen swinging into view from behind. His nose and mouth were elongated and when he spoke, pointed fangs glistened. "I guess werewolves are a diverse lot."
"They are young," the newcomer laughed. "The longer we live, the stronger we become, until... we become the perfect blend of man and wolf."
While he was speaking, seven more like him – all males – melted out of the darkness and surrounded the human.
"After so long... we don't even need the full moon to obtain our true form."
"You're going to blab me to death? You are evil," sneered Murdoch.
Their eyes met and an understanding passed between the two warriors before the wolves attacked. The werewolves speed, strength and numbers would have slaughtered any man, but Murdoch was in motion seconds before they. To any outside observer the entire scene was a blur and over in seconds as the human ducked under the first wave of claws and drove his fist, feet and head into any part of any opponent he could reach. Two dropped and their chief (he assumed the one who had spoken to him was the pack leader) fell back, gasping for air. Another almost had his paw on Murdoch when the hunter whirled, grabbed the wrist, and turned, breaking the arm in two places and dislocating the werewolf's right shoulder. One tried to land on his back but was flipped over and his head twisted to an unnatural position. When another tried to claw Murdoch's heart out, the human grabbed the attacker and pulled it to him, biting into its neck. Those members of the pack that could still move began to regroup.
"What are you?" demanded the chief.
Murdoch dropped his meal and licked his lips, savoring the taste of fresh blood in his mouth and the flood of power that coursed through him. "Me? I am the nightmare of nightmares."
He could smell the fear and panic roll off the werewolves like steam but they didn't retreat. Instead they all charged at once, howling. It twenty seconds they all lay upon the ground moaning in pain.
"All this time I've been longing to face werewolves and this is it? That was disappointing," Murdoch sighed as he turned to retrieve his weapon. He found a woman bathed in a ray of moonlight holding it. Where her fingers touched the silver blade, smoke emitted and an intense scent of burning overwhelmed the nostrils. Motion caught the hunter's attention and he notice three other girls come toward him. Every one of their nubile bodies was unclothed and the smell of sex smothered the area, causing Murdoch's head to spin and his loins to stir.
"Not many can defeat a pack of werewolves," said the first woman, her voice husky. "Even fewer would deliberately disarm themselves."
"I... like to work with my hands," Murdoch gulped, trying to concentrate.
"You're very strong," she said with lust dripping from her words as she approached him. By now all four girls had reach Murdoch, their hands running over his body, but his gaze was locked into the pale eyes of the one speaking to him. "We could use you."
With that, the women tore his clothes from his body, causing Murdoch to gasp as the cold night air struck his boiling cock. But the women quickly covered him with their own bodies and dragged him to the ground with kisses and fondling that threatened to overwhelm his senses...