The moment his bare feet landed just beyond the threshold he immediately slipped on the tile which was strangely slick. He quickly raised the spear in a defensive position, thinking the guards had laid a trap for him and at any moment would fall upon him and cut him to shreds, but no assault came, and only silence answered his challenge. Realizing he was safe for the moment he cautiously began to rise for the sticky tile, keeping his guard up for any sign of movement around him. As he began regaining his balance his senses were overwhelmed with the powerful stench of rot. As his eyes began adjusting to the dimly lit entry way, they widened in an expression of terrible horror. Bodies hung from large iron hooks connected to the ceiling, the bodies of some of the slaves who came to his aid that day, and some were of the guards who had failed to stop them. Death knew no station and the same terrible wrath was unleashed upon them all. The bodies were covered in lacerations from head to toe, and upon seeing that he realized that the sticky substance that had caused his fall and now coated a good portion of his body was the blood of these poor souls. Like the crack of a whip his mind returned to his purpose and he began searching the faces of the bodies hanging there for her, the reason he was here, and for a few moments in time he was gripped with a soul shaking fear that he had never known before. A fear that he was too late and that all that had transpired had been in vain, that he had doomed all those who followed him to a similar bloody end. He jumped from body to body expecting that the next corpse he gazed upon would look upon him with the wild dark eyes, now robbed of life. But the moment never came, she was not among the bodies hanging in the entry room, and he exhaled long and deep after holding his breath for what seemed like an eternity. He steeled his resolve to continue his pursuit and bowed his head to the hanging bodies in the entryway, they were all equal now. There are no masters in the grave. He turned on his heel and began silently prowling down the only hallway open to him the bronze spear clasped tightly in his right hand. The further he ran into the chambers the more fires were lit along the length of the hallway and soon it felt as if he was running under the full sun the heat was so intense. As he ran headlong down the corridor he tightened his grip on the spear in his hands, there was no way for him to hide and catch any guards further inside the citadel by surprise.
As he followed the lit corridor the wolf caught a red flash at the edge of his vision, something was following alongside him. In one fluid movement he leapt away from the red shape and raised his spear in a defensive posture to stop any oncoming attacks. As he looked up to face the mysterious shape he was met with beast drenched in blood with teeth bared. It was some kind of demon sent by the master to tear the wolf apart. his eyes grew wide and he ran down the hall in a headlong rush to get away from the beast and certain death. Time seemed to stand still and all he could hear was the sounds of his bare feet upon the stone floor. No matter how far he ran the beast was always there, just on the edge of his vision. He felt the desperation grow in the pit of his stomach, the creature was as fast as he was, there was no escape. His only option was to face his fear and conquer it. He leapt to the side away from the creature lunging to his left and struck. The head of the spear struck home into the beast’s crimson chest, and the sound that accompanied the lethal thrust was like a hundred thunder strikes. Something slashed at the wolf’s face, like the whips of the master cutting into his flesh. He stood there a moment and watched in awe as the crimson beast shattered and fell to the ground. He came to realize that the beast which had pursued him was himself and that what he saw was nothing but a reflection like those he had seen before in the water trough back in the masters slave yards. As the wolf’s fear subsided, his rage returned, and he remembered his purpose. With the spell of the hall of mirrors broken he renewed his headlong dash down the long corridor of the master’s palace. Nearing the end of the corridor the wolf’s steps slowed to a hunter’s crawl. A large antechamber opened up and across from where he stood was a massive door, with two guards keeping silent vigil over their master’s lair. The men squatted before the door, rolling dice in apparent disregard for their duty. Who could penetrate the holy sanctum of their divine master?
The guards halted their revere as a scream issued from the chamber beyond, a female scream. They simply looked at one another and laughed, one speaking in the man tongue and gesturing to the door. The wolf’s every fiber tensed to a degree that made him feel as though he was about to burst. As he pounced and began to approach the guards at full speed another sound issued from the chamber beyond an inhuman wail entirely unlike the first. So unusual that the guards looked towards the door in fear, with the wolf going totally unnoticed. One of the guards issued an order to the other and they began the process of opening the massive door together. As the opening became large enough for a man to pass into the chamber the wolf fell upon his prey. With a beastly snarl he plunged the spear between the shoulder blades of the nearest guard and left the weapon buried deep with his corpse as he lept at the other guard pulling the dagger from the belt of his loincloth. As prey and predator met the ground together, the wolf plunged his blade into the ribs of the startled guard again and again. The wolf left the body of the second guard once it had given out and ceased its struggle. As he rose his thoughts were of nothing beyond what lay beyond the door ahead. He launched himself into the opening between the doors, dagger in hand and prepared to fight and to die to save she who lay beyond. The sight that awaited him stopped the wolf dead in his tracks and shook him to the core.
The master’s chambers were more lavish and decadent than the wolf believed was possible. The roof had an opening in the center to allow the smoke of the fire on the floor to flow outside and the wolf beheld that the false night still reigned the land outside, unaware how much time had passed within the windowless corridors. The she wolf stood in front of that raging fire, her naked brilliance turned into a brutal display of the masters sadism. Covered in shallow cuts designed to cause pain but not kill she stood, and at her feet was the body of the master staring with dead disbelieving eyes, his throat a bloody torn mess. At the sound of his entrance the she wolf turned and as her eyes met his she sighed and collapsed to the floor. The wolf wailed and ran to her limp form upon the polished floors of the master’s chamber and pulled her to his chest as tears streamed his face. The wolf pressed his ear to the female’s breast and breathed with relief as he heard the slow steady beat of her heart. The she wolf’s strength had evaporated when she looked into the eyes of her beloved but she lived and with that knowledge the wolf took her in his arms and laid her gently onto their former masters luxurious bed. He had one more task this night. He walked slowly onto the large balcony that overlooked the courtyard of the master’s palace and as his own strength began to wane he looked to the sky once more and issued one last howl to all the world in defiance of those who would call themselves master. The night did not leave such a cry unanswered as the throats of his hidden brothers and sisters joined him in his exultation. The signal had been given and the wolve’s overran the palace killing the remainder of the guard. With that the wolf’s strength was spent and he walked slowly to the bedside where his beloved lay, her dark eyes now open and gazing at him. As he reached her side he knelt and nuzzled her soft hand with his face, still wet from tears and exertion. This night they had freed themselves and as she laid her other hand on his shoulder, his thoughts turned to the coming dawn and the future she had won for them all.