IMW: Chapter 3: Night of a Thousand Howls
Chapter 3: Night of a Thousand Howls
It was the night of the full moon, there was no soul in the western reach that was not on edge. Every soldier was ordered on parade on what was their former battlefields. But that was where the similarities between the theaters ended.
In the South, there were few Knight Valiant but a glut of Priestesses who had accompanied Millianna with her supplies. Sivian had been brutal in her removal of the wounded and eventual treatment of the afflicted when the supplies finally arrived, but there could be no way to know how effective her efforts were until the moon was up. The Priestess were centralized in camp, their cleric bodyguards encircling them. The Valiant who had been there were interspersed with the soldiers because they were the most likely to be affected and change under Lorna’s watch.
In the North, with the bulk of the force soldiers stood arms length apart on their former battlefield, raging bonfires were set up on the edges of the formations to give even more light than the full moon could provide. Priestess and Clerics were ordered back, a single knight Valiant protecting them. 12 Knight Valiant and their Squires patrolled with their Novitiates in reserve with replacement weapons and shields.
Back at Omari’s Respit where the bulk of the wounded had been evacuated to, tensions were even higher. 23 Knight Valiants and their squires patrolled the camp, the most that had been gathered in one place in many years. Novitiates were ordered back with the civilians behind temporary bulwarks, but all of them were chomping at the bit to be out with their knights to build a name for themselves.
The Moon crept above the trees, and as it inched higher into the sky anxiety peaked in all locations. As the moon lifted to it’s zenith the first howl was heard, deep and big, but it wasn’t from within any of the camps. It came from deep within the woods. Single howls turned into dozens calling to the moon in an almost awe inspiring chorus. Howls that had been almost beautiful turned into roars of rage.
It was not long until the howls and screams only came from without.