A Bard’s Tale (Excerpt) 12/24/18
Neil’s mind was busy thinking about thinking about the possibility of leaving Laeris with Faleth, Cade, and Tevarin as Willow pulled the cart merrily down the road. Even though the horse heard and smelled the wolves that were following them, Neil’s mind was miles away with his hands off the reigns as they normally were on the trip.
Neil’s attention snapped back to reality as a wolf darted from the edge of the woods and snapped at Willow. She reared up to avoid the attack and bolted at a near full gallop as soon as her front hooves returned to the road.
Neil fell from the cart at the sudden movement, landing heavily in the dirt as the cart careened away leaving three wolves circling slowly around him. He sprang to his feet and put his hands up as he moved slowly toward the tree line. His father had taught him early to scale a tree if ever faced with wolves, which often preyed on the area.
He was only a foot or so from the edge of the road, and ten feet from the nearest tree when the first wolf lunged at him. He ran for the tree, jumping for a branch, and pulled himself up narrowly avoiding the teeth of the wolf around his leg.
His heart racing, he waited and watched the wolves circle the tree for nearly twenty minutes before they lost interest in him and wandered off. He was high enough in the tree to know that he couldn’t simply jump down if it meant landing on the twisting roots that surrounded the base of the tree, jutting from the earth in a tangled mess of wood that reached for nutrients.
Great,” he muttered as he began sliding his way down the branch trying to reach the trunk of the tree, “This is exactly what I needed today.”
A sharp crack sounded from the trunk of the tree and the branch broke, falling with him to the ground. Even though he tried to land softly, his foot landed halfway on one of the roots and twisted sideways.
Neil cried out as a loud pop reverberated through his body when his ankle reached it’s limit and continued bending. He crumpled to the ground in a heap, reaching for his ankle at first, but the barking of a wolf nearby brought his attention to more pressing matters. Through the pain he was able to grab a stick from the ground and scoot himself so his back was against the tree when he spotted the first wolf as it returned.