It had been some time since Ulee had returned to nature. Somberness had crept up in Erth’s heart from his wolf companion’s absence, which had been a violent ending in service to Erth. If the truth were told, Erth would have acknowledged his discontent at that outcome, but he was not one to share such ruminations or even to linger on the past. He preferred, rather, to let natural events transpire with one leading to the next so that he was fully aware of his surroundings. So, it was this unsavory feeling that led him to conclude it was high time for another companion.
Events transpired quickly around this cast of characters that numbered eight-ish on any given day. Now that there was a moment’s respite in the almost daily threats faced by this motley crew he had taken on with, he knew he might not have a better opportunity to conclude the necessary rite for any number of days to come. So, it had been in the twilight hours that he settled in with a preparatory prayer for the strength to begin the rite on the following day.
Waking early, Erth knew at once he was ready to conduct the rite of summoning a companion. With little wasted motion, he gathered a few items to assist him during the day and made his way to the top of the tower that had become the group’s point of operation. None of the group had stirred at this early hour, yet, though he knew the dwarf would rise soon and take to the tower roof for his own routine.
Reaching the tower roof, Erth glanced out over the rugged, uncomfortable city terrain. He tolerated the discomfort of the city as a means of satiating his hunger for knowledge and power born only of experience and as an opportunity to demonstrate the raw power of the natural world harnessed at his command. A pang of disgust roiled within his stomach as he glanced over the city around the tower. Even at this height the stench of the city drowned his nostrils in sickening vapors. Longing for the fresh air of the natural lands and concentration for his task at hand wrested control of his thoughts from the rot below. A natural inclination urged him off the tower with a long, lunging step. Had anyone been observing the tower’s skyline at that moment they might have been horrified to see a man suddenly emerge between the crenellation and step off into a freefall. The horror of this image would then be replaced with surprise as the surely doomed figure was somehow replaced with an owl calmly winging its way out over the city.
Erth flew back down the waterway the group had traversed to arrive at the city. His instinctive sense encouraged him to be aware of a suitable location from which to conduct his ritual. The unease of the city had already passed as he flew purposefully onward. His attention was drawn to a tree taller than the rest. He made some wide-ranging circular patterns around the area in scouting for possible disturbances and until he was satisfied he could remain in the area unmolested. Thus, winging down to the ground he transformed back to his human form and drew a branch of holly from his satchel. Erth began slowly waving the branch from side to side as he began an ethereal whistling of the wood wose spell. Glancing toward his left revealed the translucent green nature spirit that arrived to assist in his needs though he bade the spirit to simply tend the area around him in order to give alert to any unwelcome visitors that would disturb his rite.
Satisfied that he was ready, Erth rested upon the solid ground and folded his legs beneath him while beginning the prayer to summon an ally. The words of the prayer sounded loud in his head as his vision gradually blurred. Soon he was dreaming of a run through the woods. The branches brushed against his body and a thorn bush tore at his sleeves though he paid no mind. His focus shifted as he heard a distant howl. Then another howl and another seemed closer. Still he ran onward. A howl sounded nearer still and as felt a presence approaching. Erth leapt over a fallen tree and became aware of presence overtaking his pace with little effort. They ran on over the land together and Erth observed the great tree that he knew he had camped at earlier. He slackened his pace as the starting point was near. Erth slowed further and drew to a halt as he entered the space of his campsite. Turning back as he settled down to rest revealed the figure that had tracked his run was revealed to be a dire wolf. Erth chuckled with a grin as the wolf stepped closer. Now he was well. Now the somber thoughts had withered like a dead vine. Now he could return to the tower. Ulee had arrived.
The Problem of Sport
1 week ago