Since she bribed me with precious jewels into helping murder the man who killed her niece Martialla and I have mostly been a duo. I would never admit this to her overly wide plain face but I would probably be long dead if she hadn’t become my faithful and loyal minion.
Martialla said that would like us to have a pack of loyal and vicious hounds with us, I would choose a fellow by the name of Perle to back us up in this situation. Perle was hired muscle who unlike most people I hired to muscle managed not to die right away and traveled with us for maybe nine months before a minotaur tore his head off.
Perle had two qualities that made him a good fighter. He was willing to do whatever he needed to do to stay alive but he wasn’t afraid of death. I’ve been shocked since my exile from high society how many fighting men only have one or neither of these qualities. Get real people. Perle had another thing that set him apart from the available pool of murderers that made him a great goon, he was a natural born killer but he wasn’t a dick. You know what I mean?
Perle liked two things, fighting and erotic drawings of ladies. He didn’t go in much for strong drink, or gambling, or good food, or money beyond its ability to buy him erotic pictures, or any of the other vices that you traditionally find in fighters. He wasn’t a mean bastard who liked hurting people, he just liked to fight. He’d slit throats if that’s what the job was but what he wanted was a good tussle.
Perle wasn’t the strongest or the toughest or the bravest or whatever other superlative you want to throw out there but he was a fearsome warrior nevertheless. He’s the kind of ugly mug you want at your side when things take a turn because he won’t panic, he’ll just put his head down and try to fight his way out of the hole without thinking about it. Good man that Perle, until a minotaur ripped his head off.
Here’s the funny thing about Perle, besides having the name of a courtesan who can’t spell, he loved his nude pictures but as far as I could tell he had no interest in actual real ladies. You’d think a man with a backpack full of nude drawings would be chasing women and visiting brothels every chance he got, but no, Perle just liked sitting under a tree and looking at his pictures. Can you beat that?
Since Perle is dead on account of his head got ripped off by a minotaur Martialla and I had to shoot the first werewolf all by ourselves.
Here’s another tip I’ll give you about man (and woman) wolves. They’re total fuckers. “Uh yeah Ela, we know that already, they eat people!” That’s not what I mean. If you kill someone you might as well eat them, they’re already dead anyway, and lots of monsters do that – bugbears and manticores and whatnot. Werewolves are people after a fashion, and people are the worst in a way that no bugbear ever will be.
See, only the older werewolves can change when they want, and only the really old ones can keep their wits about them very well when they do it. So what they do when it’s not a full moon time is they send out some of the women to lure you into a trap. “Oh, help, help, us we’re just naked maidens trapped under a very heavy branch! We’d be ever so grateful if someone would come along and help us!” Or they send out some of the young ones to cry and pretend to be lost in the woods. You go to help and then grandpappy wolf jumps out of hiding and rips your arms and legs off.
We told those morons, we told them and told them, that ANYONE across the river aside from us is going to be a werewolf. No one else is over there. Anyone you see other than me or Martialla or the fifteen of you is a werewolf for real and for true. They’re all werewolves. We also told them even if you think for some reason that someone you randomly meet isn’t a werewolf don’t go near them – get Martialla and me and let us deal with the situation. We told them and we told them and we told them again.
So of course, one of them fell for it. It’s not even that clever of a trick, it’s just that it plays on your sympathy and that always works on someone. As my grandma used to say good men are dumber than a bucket of horse testicles. That makes more sense than you think because I used to work with her in the stables and I sometimes would carry a bucket of horse testicles, gelding you know.
The guy with the big forehead and the sandy colored hair saw a helpless maiden laying on the ground, covered with blood and obviously badly wounded, so he went to her aid and fell in a pit full of sharpened sticks. It wasn’t a deep pit, not even five feet down I bet, likely because even when you have wolf-strength and wolf-endurance digging a big pit sucks a bucket of horse testicles. As a benefit of that shallowness though that meant that the “maiden” and her sister who jumped out of hiding as soon as went down were able to stab big forehead sandy hair guy with long sharp sticks once he was impaled and helpless down there.
So one dummy fell for it, but because things always have to get worse, when they saw their friend being gleefully stabbed again and again the guy with the clubfoot who still moves fast and the potbelly guy ran to help him. Even though big forehead sandy-hair was already dead and even though what they should have done is run to get Martialla or me.
One of the girls grabbed potbelly and threw him into the pit too. He was unlucky/lucky enough to get a sharp stick through the ear in the fall and die quickly. The two of them had clubfoot between them and were twisting his arms in ways they don’t go when we got there.
Here’s another thing a lot of people don’t know. Even when they can’t change wolfmen (and women) are stronger and faster and tougher than many a strong fast tough man. They got a bit of the wolf in them no matter what they look like. That’s why two teenage looking girls can throw one man in a pit and break another’s limbs like a doll.
Martialla and I shot down the one with tatters of a red scarf around her neck but the other fully nude one darted away into the woods. They’re quick as rabbits they are. Quick rabbits.
I had Martialla bash clubfoot’s head in with the butt of her rifle to put him out of his misery while I took the rest of our band on a special trip to view the one we shot. When you hurt them bad enough, which three silver bullets is plenty bad enough, man (and woman) wolves change involuntarily even if they can’t do it on their own. Reflexively I guess that is.
I told them to watch her as she writhed on the ground, dying, in her revolting wolf-form. Watching someone die is a pretty bad time anyway, and in all the cracking and honking of an involuntary shape-shift and it’s enough to make you hork up your morning breakfast.
“Does everyone get it now? I don’t care what you see or what you hear, anyone over here that you don’t know, this is what they are. I don’t know how to make it more clear to you. When I say anyone, I mean anyone, anyone, anyone. If someone approaches you or you just spot them, I don’t care who it is, you get me or you get Martialla. And if you can’t get us you do your best to try and kill them. They are the enemy. Period. No exceptions. No one else lives over here, it’s all them. Anyone you think you see is a trick. Two little girls just killed three men. Your friends and neighbors. Good men, strong men, dumb men. Smarten the fuck up if you want to live.”