Staring at the neck of his wagon mule, holding reigns loosely in each hand, whispering a song he had herd in an inn three nights ago, the merchant rode. And as the merchant rode, the sun’s head slowly ducked behind the crest of a mountain, patiently reeling in its bright orange rays off the valley and over the rocky mountain ridge. Wind stirred in the evening air pushing the merchant’s cheap, dirty, tan cloak behind him and over his cart. This was the merchant’s second love. Solitude. Sweet solitude he would tell himself. He looked forward to the moments everyday. The merchant’s second love caressed him in a soothing flow of thought and melody while his mind traveled to that days sales. He chuckled to him self over his soft singing when he remembered the days last transaction. A young orc, Durak was his name, had purchased a book the merchant had found off of a dead Imperial. The merchant had sold the book assuring the Orc that it would reveal the secrets to battle axe mastery. The fool bought it for nearly four hundred gold. As his mind replayed the transaction the sound of his coin purse seemed to grow louder. The merchant chuckled again and eagerly reached for his coin purse in his satchel. This was the merchants first love. Coin. He pulled out his coin purse and shook it next to his ear. The merchants smile grew wider and his singing was sung louder, as the coins jingled in the bag. He stuffed his hand in the purse, lifting a hand full of coins and let them slide off his palm back into the bag, glittering in the setting sun’s orange rays as they tumbled back into the pouch. The merchant’s two lovers, solitude and coin, caressed the merchant like…well…two lovers. And the merchant was pleased.
A wolf howl.
The merchant lifted his head, perked his ears, and quit his singing so suddenly the shift would have made a man jump. The mule stirred and slowed down. He slid his gold back into his satchel without taking his gaze from the darkness from whence the howl came. Anxiety crept upon him; his heart beats quickened, like little fists trying to break out of his chest cavity. The merchant shut his eyes and began to hum to the melody his mother had sang to him during the days when werewolves prowled the moonlit nights outside of his old homestead. He hummed, and the melody seemed to radiate from the merchant rather than coming directly from his mouth. The music was encasing and all around, and seemed to fog the atmosphere with magic. The merchant reached behind him under the carts tarp and searched for a torch and a bow with his hand. The merchant starred at the blunt of his torch and ignited the damp cloth with a minor spell. He tossed the torch 20 yards away from the wagon, knocked an arrow before the torch touched the ground, and continued his humming as he waited to draw his bow. He waited. Then two pairs of eyes, then another pair, and another pair, reflected in the darkness surrounding the torch light. Condensed clouds of breaths reflected in the orange light from deep, rattling breaths. The merchant then stopped humming, but the song remained, seeming to echo in the air around him. The merchant let two arrows fly in between two pairs of bright reflecting eyes. Two massive figures dashed forward over the torch light, heading toward the wagon. The merchant dropped his bow and pulled two knives out from his belt before a wolf lunged five feet in the air out of the darkness towards the merchant. The merchant arched his back nearly 90 degrees, dodging the lunging wolf. The beast soared over the merchant as he shoved a knife upward into the bulge of the beast’s chest. Another leaped onto the wagons edge just next to the merchants feet. The merchant punted the wolfs head beneath its jaw before the dog could get its back legs on the wagon. Two throwing knives slid down the merchant’s sleeves into his hands. He slung the knives down at two wolves snapping at the mule’s knees, the wolves dropped as the knives severed their spines. Then silence. The merchant stood glancing around his wagon in a defensive stance. He waited, then slowly let his guard down and exhaled a long breath as the echoes of his hum slowly faded in a cold breeze. He jumped off his wagon and examined the wolves. Easily bigger than myself, the merchant thought, pelts could fetch a fair price in Dawnstar. Night was already upon him though and the roads were growing more dangerous, but the merchant ignored his better judgment to retrieve the wolf pelts.
My name is Caelan Freeman. I decided to post this story that I wrote for a writing class that I took last semester. Hope y'all enjoy!