Shadow and Shade

Posted: June 5, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Shadow and ShadeMy novel is available on Amazon Kindle! Shadow and Shade is a gritty fantasy story about “witches,” wolves, and growing up. It came from a love I have for nature in general, wolves in particular, and a firm belief that wizards should sweat and get dirty rather than wearing pointy hats.

I’ll be posting clips from chapter one over the next couple of days. Enjoy!

The younger deer balked, and paid for it. Logan heard the wolves snarl and then a thud as the deer hit the ground. The older deer tried to pitch itself to the right and run off the trail. Logan came up on his broad side, just as the deer changed its footing to jump a rise. Logan jumped next and slashed his knife twice into its right leg before he had to fall back. The creature groaned horribly. It retreated, crying out as its hoof came down to the ground. Rugh let out a bark to warn Logan to get out of the way. The young hunter was barely off the deer when Rugh lunged. The wolf’s teeth sank deeply into the deer’s right hindquarter. It stumbled, struggling to turn while the wolf’s teeth were dragged deeper into the meat. Logan tucked his legs and hurdled Chika as the other wolf came in behind Rugh, took the deer’s throat and the hunt came to an end.

The wolves began to eat the deer. The young ones snapped at each other to keep away while they ate. Their elders were more patient, and usually a look was enough to make the young wolves shy away. Logan forced himself to breathe. A visceral part of him growled with the wolves. Senses of smell, sight and touch that had intensified during the hunt were still aching for release. The wolves hunted for food, as they always did. He hunted with them to hone his instincts. He had done so for the past five years.

As his blood settled down, Logan took stock of himself and the forest. Logan couldn’t see the sun through the thick layers of leaf and branch overhead. The steamy heat that he had endured for most of the day had grown damp. That, and the deepening of the shade, told him it was late. A needling pain and trickle of blood running down his arm made him realize that his hand was bleeding. Rugh must have nipped him when he charged in. He looked at Rugh out of the corner of his eye. The wolf snapped at Domark, one of the young wolves, to get away from where he was eating. Domark tucked his head down and moved off.

It had been a very, very full day. Logan bandaged his hand, then began to apply ointment to some nicks on his arms. Rough-and-tumble wouldn’t begin to describe how he looked. The odd twig and leaf were still sticking in his hair. Under his clothes and inside his shoes, the crunchy feeling of grit was working its way in. Logan had small dings and scrapes all over his body, most of which didn’t do more than redden the flesh, but some, that he treated now, that would be wiser to take care of. He reminded himself that he might even have to bathe when he got home to clean out those wounds completely. Logan let out a sigh, and finally admitted to himself that he was tired.

In time, the wolves finished eating and they started back to the den. The wolves maintained a trot, just barely faster than his walk, that Logan thought they did on purpose. He had to pick up into a jog once in a while to keep with them. Rugh growled as he came close. Logan grinned. They had a sort of joke between them over who was the better wolf. Logan narrowed his eyes and gave him a deeper, guttural sound in reply. The wolf respectfully moved a step away and they continued walking.

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