'Prerequisite to an Ambush'

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'A Tundra-Wolf Story'
Part Five

The evening air was crystal clear giving Anthon a breathtaking view of the vast swath of brightly shining stars held in the inky blackness of the night sky. He looked out to the East over forest covered hills that seemed to march on forever into the distance. The dim lighting from the stars above set the top of the forest canopy aglow in a soft grey light while patches of pitch black peeked out all throughout the undersides. Anthon waited on the rise of the Full Moon, the moon the Wolf Witches called the Flower Moon at this time of the turn. He wanted its cold white light to aid in his ride to the hill above Crescent Cove.

Anthon was dismayed when the moon finally showed. Instead of seeing a bright white light peeking through on the horizon he watched as a dull ruddy-red glow came into view. A Full Blood Moon was rising into the night sky. It was a bad omen for sure, and there had been far too many of them this turn. As the moon came up over the trees it gave barely enough light to aid the camp handlers as they unloaded wagons and set up tents for the temporary camp. Anthon was hopeful the Blood Moon would not affect the sleep the War-horses, Rangers and Tundra Wolves needed to get tonight. The Over-Captain wanted them rested and ready to ride in the early morning when they moved to the horse lines above Crescent Cove a mile away.

The men were quiet, the usual banter around the campfire while they ate was very subdued. They did not even bring out their lutes and other instruments to play as they sat around the fire. As the Blood Moon rose Anthon could see it weighed heavy on everyone. He knew they would have one eye open and stay in groups watching each other. Demons were let loose on the world during a Full Blood Moon and they roamed the earth trying to possess some poor soul. Anthon said a prayer to the Maker asking that his men not be visited tonight. It would be a terrible omen towards tomorrow's battle.

The Tundras left when darkness fell. They barked and howled as they ran through the forest and into the wild lands beyond. The Full Moon brought out the hunt in them and the Blood Moon intensified their primal instincts while bringing them closer to their fathers, fathers' memories. Fortunately the Wild Wolf Magic within each of the big wolves protected them from the evil let loose under the ruddy-red glare. However, their smaller cousins the Gray Wolves and the mangy Grim Wolves were not immune to the demons touch. Fortunately the Gray Wolves still remained shy of man even when possessed, and especially if Tundras were about. The cowardly Grim Wolves, who were already filled with enough evil, became more emboldened under a Blood Moon, especially if a demon took hold. Thank the Maker the black devils lived in the Snow Forest far away to the north.

Anthon sent thanks through the bond to Granit for leading the Tundras southward, away from the Roman army. Given their hatred for the enemy soldiers it would not do for the packs to hunt anywhere near their lines. Anthon knew the Romans were aware of the big wolves and that they fought for the defense of the Wolf Lands. If they saw packs of them running about it could put them on alert and lessen his chance of a surprise ambush. However, Anthon had little concern if enemy scouts heard the barks and howls of the big wolves off in the forest. The voices of the Tundras were no different from those of any other wolf as they mingled with the night noises of the wild forest.

As Over-Captain Anthon needed to ensure with his own eyes nothing had changed on the hilltop above Crescent Cove. He rode Arkumus to the place from which the attack on the Romans would begin. A small group of Wolf Pack Captains trailed behind to lend eyes making sure everything was ready for tomorrow. They made little sound as their horses walked on a thick bed of pine needles carpeting the forest floor. All weapons and armor were tied down and padded with gossamar cloth so there was no clanging of metal on metal. All that could be heard coming from the line of Rangers was the crunching of pine needles as their mounts walked the trail. The Rangers were not alarmed by the noise the horses made because it blended in perfectly with the sounds of the surf below and those of the forest at night.

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