Blood Fang: Chapter 6: Howl

To say that Loki’s daughters were excited, would be an understatement.  Yes, they were female elks that weighed a couple hundred pounds, but they were still former human girls who had heard many wonderful tales of hedgehog adventures from their father.  The little hedgehog was real, bouncing happily, waving, and hugged everyone.  Soon tea was made, and served to everyone.  Smaller animals appeared, and filed inside the hedgehog’s home for refreshment.  Mr. Bear chuckled, and watched as the four elk looked through the exposed round windows at the assembly within.  However, in a short time, tea was served in pots and pans for the larger animals outside.  They tried not to drink it all in one gulp, but given the size of Pudgy and the serving method, it was extremely hard.  The tea was warm, and had a wonderfully complex light flavor.  It was hard to describe, save for the accents of pine that wafted from its vapors. 

Pudgy looked up at Cobalt, who had perched himself on a nearby tree.  The little hedgehog wiggled his nose, and then looked up at Loki.  “Pudgy very glad to see you Loki.  Pudgy did not know you had daughters?”  The proud father nodded, “yes I do.  I found them outside of Amarillo, wandering outside of a large cattle ranch.”  Isabella wiggled her ears as she looked down at the little hedgehog.  “Texas is so warm, compared to here.  Is it always like this, Pudgy?”  The critter shook his head, “snow comes and goes … usually with dry but cold stretches in between.  It had been warm and rainy, until one day everything went to winter.”  April giggled, which sounded like a car horn, “we were having fun …until the monster showed up.”  Gretchen nodded, “Pudgy it was so scary … it looked like a wolf, but made from smoke!”  Isabella nodded, “and those glowing red eyes …. But Daddy was able to make the monster leave us alone, so we could escape.” 

Mr. Bear looked at the stag, and shook his head with a large brown paw over his eyes.  “Well, there goes subtlety,” the brown bear said with a smirk.  The little hedgehog looked up, and then started to scamper through the deep snow to hug the elk’s hooves.  Loki spoke with an annoyed tone, “this is just like that time I brought flowers home for their mother.  No secrets …no surprises … MOOOM!  DAD BROUGHT YOU FLOWERS!” The stag said while giving his daughters a look.  The three cows lowered their heads, and said in unison, “sorry Daddy.”  Loki nodded, “Pudgy … it’s like they said.  There was … what I can only describe as …. A monster.  It was double the size of a normal wolf.  The body was swirling with smoke, and insidiously glowing red eyes.  The monster would only let me flee with my daughters, if I told him where Pennsylvania was?  I told him to follow the rivers, and it would lead him there.  We were able to flee, but were trailed by coyotes.  I could hear many, but only came across one.”

Mr. Bear was quiet, and Cobalt chirped from his nearby perch.  “Pudgy, it is safe to assume that Loki and his daughters were followed.  But the key question I have is, why do they want to come here?”  Mr. Bear nodded, “I was wondering that myself?  Loki, on your way here, did you see anything strange?”  The stag nodded, “we were across the Ohio river on the Indiana side, where Louisville is on the opposite side.  A giant glowing green chain shot up into the air.  It started to fade to a milky white color, and then the links exploded.  All the trees and grasses in the area died, the ground shook violently, and then sunk into the earth to be covered by water.”  Pudgy wiggled his nose, and looked worried as he stared at Mr. Bear.  Cobalt chirped, getting the attention of the elks.  “When Pudgy and I went to Kodiak Island to help the bears, Pudgy found a similar chain.”

The little hedgehog shivered and nodded while his eagle friend spoke.  Cobalt continued, “those chains hold up the world, and attach to a big stone archway in the sky.  Each group of animals have a chain, which is their connection to the Great Spirit Gitche Manitou.”  The large brown bear nodded, “the bears and the owls call the Great Spirit by the name of Unetlanvhi.  If the chain exploded … that is a calamity, that bodes ill for us all.”  Loki looked down at Pudgy, who was shivering uncontrollably.  “Pudgy, go inside and get warm.”  The other larger animals nodded, and watched as the little hedgehog scampered back inside of his home.  Isabella whimpered, “I wish we could go inside too.”  The eagle chirped, “there are several rock overhangs in the area.  The caves had been developed into homes, and were too small for you to get inside anyway.  I think I know of a place nearby, that would suit your needs.  Mr. Bear, you should head back to your cabin.  I fear that we are on the precipice of a new adventure.”  The brown bear nodded, and turned around to head back to his cabin.  “I think so too Cobalt.”

The eagle coasted down, and landed on Loki’s antlers once again.  The stag chuckled, “oh sure …. Use me as a tree again.”  Cobalt chirped happily, and started to give directions.  Down the hill, and across the frozen beaver ponds they went.  Up the hill, and past the thorn bush, to the scary road once driven by the delivery trucks.  The ground was drifted high with snow, but the outline of a small hill could be seen.  As the four elks plodded along slowly, Cobalt pointed with his left wing.  “There used to be a housing plan here, and this was where my home once stood.  It was destroyed, and sucked deep within the earth.”  As they reached the crest of the hill, the silent forest stretched all around them.  The trees were bare, stripped of any remnant of autumn leaves.  The winds had been terrible, prior to the snow storm, having blown the leaves far away.  As the elk continued to walk slowly, in the deep snow, a large rock overhang became visible.  It was not that far from Pudgy’s home, which was good for everyone.  Two of the cows could stand side by side, and still have enough room to enter. 

As their father went in first, his daughters followed behind.  Cobalt chirped, “my word … this really goes back in a bit, doesn’t it?”  The stag nodded slowly as he looked around, “it is a cave.  Boy, if we could rig a door of some sort, that would cut down on that winter wind.”  The cave was cold and dark, but most importantly, it was dry.  As the four elk stood against one another, their combined body heat was enough to make things bearable.  Cobalt nodded, “I will see what we can do to make this cave better.  But as you can see, my days of building things are done.”  The stag nodded, and watched as the eagle leapt off of his head and flew out of the cave.  April wiggled her ears, “Daddy … I’m cold.”  The stag nodded, “I know … me too.”  The elk, one by one started to drop down, and tuck their legs underneath them.  Huddling as closely together as they could manage, the exhausted animals fell asleep.  Night came, and the temperatures plummeted even further, due to the skies clearing. 

As a waning crescent moon floated through the skies, Cobalt was perched high in his tree watching the stars.  The stars twinkled, so clearly, one might think you could touch them.  The eagle shivered, with faint memories of being warm in the back of his mind.  “Hooot……”  Turning around in his nest, which was not built correctly at all, the eagle could see a white owl flying towards him.  Cobalt chirped loudly, and watched as the bird flew closer.  It was an arctic owl, and had its wings outstretched.  Gliding in for a landing, the owl landed on the branch where the eagle’s nest was located.  The eagle squinted a bit in the low light, but could see the owl approaching.  A feminine voice escaped her beak, “hello there … Cobalt.  I see you have built a nest?”  The eagle nodded, “hello Ice Feather, it is good to see you.  Yes, I have attempted to build one.  Open concept, with clean sight lines, but too bad the jacuzzi is on back order.”         

The owl hooted softly as she giggled, “what’s a jacuzzi?”  The former human rubbed his beak with his wing, “I can’t remember.  But … my memories are much less fragmented now.  Any news from the far west?”  The female owl nodded, “Cobalt, I bring dark tidings.”  The eagle nodded, “let me guess …wolves?  A family of elk arrived earlier today, with a tale of a wolf made of smoke, and flanked by coyotes and black wolves.”  Ice Feather nodded, “yes … we have observed that wolf and his followers.  They travel in accompaniment with hundreds of gray wolves, led by a white wolf Alpha.  Coyotes have joined in as well, and their numbers are close to a thousand.”  The former human chirped a shrill tone, “what would so many predators join one another?  I know coyotes are cousins to wolves, but generally they do not get along with each other.”  The two birds sat quietly as the winter wind blew, causing the tree to sway.  Yawning, Cobalt nestled down, and tried to insulate himself as best as he could.  His nest was poor, made of sticks and branches.  The availability of softer and more insulating materials was extremely limited, so the nest did not provide much protection from the elements.

“Ice Feather … the elks described something.  They saw a world chain form, to the south of here along the river.  It was glowing green, just like Kodiak Island, but then faded to a milky white.  The chain exploded, the plants died, the ground shook, and water covered it.  Do you know what is going on?”  The female owl hooted softly and nodded, “yes I do.  The wolves are destroying the world chains.  I know not the reason why.  They attacked the caribou first, then the big horn sheep, then the land of painted horses, then the desert lands where the cacti travel, and finally the land of the muskrats.  Each time, they drained the magic from the earth, and destroyed the chain.  What is equally worrying, they have begun to target the ley line nodes, eliminating them, as well for reasons unclear.”  The two birds sat quietly, watching an errant cloud float past the moon in the skies above.  An unsettling silence filled the air, while the eagle processed the information provided.    

Cobalt looked at the owl, who was staring at him with a quizzical look.  “The eagles … are watching an area to the north of here.  Across the great lake, to where the wolves have been amassing.  I was instructed to return here, to monitor the area.  If the wolves are south of here, what exactly are the eagles keeping an eye on?”  Ice Feather nodded, “an excellent question.  We can not get close to the area, without being chased away.  Perhaps you might be able to find out, given your change in standing?”  The eagle shook his head, “no, I do not have any power or rank within the flock.  I’m tolerated at best, when I check in with my superiors.  Perhaps in time that might change, but that doesn’t help us now.”  The owl nodded, “please tell Pudgy I stopped by for a visit.  I will return tomorrow evening.”  The former human nodded, “I will.  May I ask where you are going?”  The female owl hooted softly, while leaping from the branch, and taking flight.    After watching her fly off, the tired eagle fell asleep. 

The night passed quickly by, and soon the sun was brilliantly shining in the sky.  Deciding against checking in with his hedgehog friend, Cobalt took flight from his tree.  Flapping his wings hard, he gained altitude quickly, and soon was soaring over the snow-covered land.  The eagles had assigned him a territory to patrol, and was supposed to report in anything out of the ordinary.  While the events of the day’s prior would constitute a reason to report, he chose not to until he had more information.  Veering off his normal flight path, the eagle crossed over where an old glass factory once stood.  The derelict buildings had deteriorated even further, and had fallen over.  The forests had grown thick with trees, reclaiming all land which once was developed by the humans.  Frozen ponds dotted the landscape below, as creeks were continuing to freeze over as the cold temperatures persisted.  After a couple of hours had passed, he found the Youghiogheny River. 

This was the river that fed into the Monongahela River, and stretched deep into the lands once known as Maryland.  Following the twisting river, as it weaved in and out of forest covered mountains, the eagle eventually made it to where humans once drove far and wide to play on the river.  As the bird’s wide wings adjusted to coast lower, Cobalt flew over a rusted sign that read: Ohiopyle.  It was not long until he started to see something moving between the trees.  With his keen eyes focused on the ground below, the clear presence of the wolves became apparent.  Black wolves, gray wolves, brown wolves, and more coyotes than he could count in all directions.  They were encamped in the area which once constituted the state park parking area.  It was a long stretch of concrete parking lots, that ran along the river.  Sightseeing stations used to be built along this stretch, so humans could watch more daring people float by on rubber boats as they navigated the rapids. 

The former human landed in a tree that was safe, far above the sea of predators below, and watched from above.  The combined smell that wafted from the ground was strong, a mixture of natural musk and excrement, and almost was choking to breathe.  It was just as Ice Feather described; the combined packs were too numerous to count.  The wolves seemed to be exhausted, and were clustered in groups beneath the various tall pine trees in the area.  Younger ones were milling about, while some were at the river drinking.  Howls of various kinds were scattered on the winds, and filled the forest with a terrible sound.  Though none was as terrifying, as the mixture of demonic tones and wolf howls, as to when the wolf like creature strode out into the center of the groups.  Cobalt clenched his beak, trying to stifle any noise that might escape.  The creature was double the size of a normal wolf, and his body was formed by swirling black and gray smoke.  Flashbacks of the Kaiser’s shades filled his mind, especially when the blood red eyes came into view.

From the ground, the monster had not yet noticed the eagle high above, and was only focused on the various wolves and coyotes camped in the area.  The creature hissed, and tendrils began to form out of its back, wrapping around a coyote that had mouthed off.  The smaller animal was tossed a fair distance away, then ignored as a white fur wolf strode up from underneath a large pine tree.  The two leaders seemed to argue for a short period of time, before they turned to face the river.  Eagles were blessed with exceptional sight, but hearing not so much.  The former human wished he could get closer to listen, but that would be too dangerous.  He had seen all that was needed, so the eagle leapt from the tree, and started to flap his wings hard.  Circling the area to get a better view, he started to fly northwards. Purposely heading to the north and east, just in case he was followed. 

Occasionally glancing below, there was no sight of any wolves running below on the ground.  So, Cobalt banked to the left, and began to fly on a more direct course home.  Over the river valleys, and their thick forested hillsides, the eagle flew as the light of the sun was diminishing.  The clouds were thickening, and flying low in the skies.  Soon small flecks of snow began to float down from above, which meant he would need to find a place to land soon.  Flying for as long as he could manage, Cobalt saw the outlines of a lake.  The body of water had frozen over completely, and snows were drift all over.  Gliding in, he outstretched his claws, and landed to perch in a tall elm tree.  “No nest, far from home, it is going to be a miserable night.”  The eagle remarked, as he approached the main trunk of the tree.  Tapping on the bark with his beak, Cobalt began to carve three vertical lines.  The middle line was higher than the others, and once carved into the tree bark, he closed his eyes. 

This was a magic taught to him by Striped Feather, when he was separated from Pudgy in Iron Wood.  It was similar to a glyph, or magical symbol.   In essence, it was a temporary means to communicate with Iron Wood.  Cobalt chirped out the command to activate the glyph, “Iron Wood rises from the sea of trees, I beseech the aerie for assistance.”  The cold of winter quickly disappeared, and all sounds with it as well.  The darkness was soon filled with ethereal images of eagles, standing in a circle.  An immensely tall silver feathered eagle looked forward, and then down with a quizzical look.  The former human bowed low, and kept his head down, “I am sorry for communicating so late in the day.  I have news of the wolves.”  A female voice chirped to the right of the silver eagle, “ahh Cobalt.  You have been late with your report, so we were wondering what was happening.  You usually are very punctual, and if you were any further tardy, we might have had to send someone to look for you.”

The former human stayed in the bow position, “I am sorry Striped Feather.  May I give my report?”  The silver feathered eagle nodded, “rise, and proceed.”  As he stopped bowing, the former human began to give his report.  He told the tale of encountering the elk from the south in the human city that was once known as Pittsburgh.  They were former humans as well, and were needing to speak with Pudgy.  Cobalt took the newcomers to the hedgehog’s forest, and told him tales of a smoke-filled creature.  On their journey along the rivers to the north and east, they saw the summoning of a world chain.  The chain’s subsequent destruction, and how the land reacted was described in matter-of-fact terminology.   Upon successfully reaching the forest, the meeting with Pudgy and his friends occurred.  The elks were settled in a cave nearby to where the former human’s home once stood.  In the evening, Cobalt encountered Ice Feather of the arctic owls, who both confirmed the elk’s story, as well as provided additional details.  The former human decided to investigate further, and flew southwards, far from his normal territory.  The discovery of the wolf encampment, and the appearance by both the white fur alpha, and the smoke monster along the river finished out the report. 

Once finished, several shimmering eagles asked follow up questions.  Cobalt answered them with all available information he had.  After the intense rounds of questioning had ended, the silver feathered eagle nodded.  “Hmm … we have multiple reports of wolves encamped to our west, past the great river, and north of where the grand lake is located.  Now reports of an approaching additional force, led by what can only be described as a monster.”  Striped Feather nodded, “Cobalt … you said that Ice Feather landed in your tree?  When was she to return?”  The former human nodded, “it was to be tonight.  But I was not able to return to my post.  The snows have started, and I needed to land.  I am perhaps a couple of hours away from it, and can reach it by mid-day tomorrow.”  The tall eagle that stood to the left of the center one chirped loudly, “you need to get there tonight for that meeting!  We need more information.”

Silver Claw rubbed his beak with his silver feathers, “I concur.  Cobalt, you are to proceed to your post immediately.  Report back as soon as you have more information, no matter how small.  You are dismissed!”  The shimmering eagles quickly disappeared, and soon Cobalt found himself in the tree.  He was covered in white snow, which was falling hard from the skies above.  Orders having been given, he had to follow them, and leapt from the tree.  Flapping hard to get the snow free, and gain altitude, the eagle once more was taking flight.  His belly was empty, and his body wracked with pain from the intense cold, but still the former human pressed on.  The light continued to fade, but with the snow covering the ground, the scant light reflected.  The winds were calm, thank goodness, but the falling frozen precipitation only increased in volume. 

By the time the eagle had returned to the forest, his body was covered with a thick layer of snow.  His eyelids were frozen open, and even his eyeballs were hurting.  As he weaved between the trees, a familiar voice soon came from above him.  Ice Feather had just awoken, and was on her way to visit Pudgy, when she happened upon the eagle.  “Cobalt, it is not safe for you to fly in snow this hard.  Follow me in to our hedgehog friend’s home.”  The snow-white owl helped him navigate through the trees, mainly due to her hooting sound.  The former human had reached his limit, and unceremoniously flew straight into the ground.  Thankfully it was covered by a thick layer of snow, which cushioned the hard landing.  The arctic owl landed in front of Pudgy’s doorway, and tapped on the wooden door with her beak.  “Pudgy, open up, it’s Ice Feather!”  The little round windows had been illuminated with a soft glow, but soon a shadow passed by them, as the little hedgehog scampered past.  The door opened slowly, with a gust of warm air escaping from inside. 

Pudgy bounced happily, “HI ICE FEATHER! Pudgy so glad to see you, what are you doing in Pudgy’s forest?”  The owl hooted softly, “coming to visit you of course.  I found Cobalt flying in this bad snow.  Let me go get him, please get something to dry him off.”  The hedgehog watched as his owl friend bounced over to a snow drift, that had a huge hole in its top.  The winter snow had returned, and it was falling hard from the sky with flakes almost as big as the hedgehog.  The owl helped pull out Cobalt from the snow drift, and led him towards the underground home.  It took a couple of tries, but soon the former human was able to squeeze through the round door and into the underground home.  Ice Feather also had a bit of trouble getting inside as well, but soon both birds were inside, and Pudgy was able to shut the door. 

Pudgy scampered past, watching the snow and ice cling to Cobalt’s shivering body all over.  Ice Feather hooted softly, “you have a wonderful home Pudgy.  A tad bit too warm for me, but this is just what Cobalt needs.   Once he had warmed up, we can figure out why our eagle friend here was out in such a bad storm flying?”  The little hedgehog got out several towels, and scampered over to help dry off his friend.  The wood stove was going, sending a fair amount of heat throughout the underground home.  So after several tense minutes, the former human started to speak.  “Th … thank you … P…Pudgy.  I … flew …to … the south.  I found … the wolves.  It is …. As bad as … Loki said.”  Ice Feather’s golden eyes went wide, and looked at Pudgy.  The little hedgehog timidly stood there, wiggling his nose.  The room was silent for what seemed like an eternity.  Until the eagle began to speak once more, “Pudgy … they were at Ohiopyle.  That is roughly an hour away by car, or half a day by flight.”

Ice feather softly hooted as she preened her white feathers, “it was as I feared.  They are heading this way.  Pudgy, I think I know why … it is the ley line node.  This node in your forest, serves as a hub to connect multiple lines.  The parliaments have observed the wolves destroying the nodes.  This means we can not travel, or communicate through certain points anymore.”  The hedgehog whimpered, but did not say anything.  He scampered over to the stove, and started to make hot water for tea.  In time, the water was ready, and Pudgy added the spice bush leaves he had remaining.  As the tea steeped in its white porcelain pot, the hedgehog turned around.  “This is not good, what can Pudgy do?”  The owl hooted happily, “we need the services of a resourceful hedgehog to help protect the ley line node.  I have requested reinforcements, which are incoming as we speak.  We need your friends to help as well, because if that node is destroyed, it will cause a major delay in our travels as well as our defenses.” 

Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy will ask all friends to help Ice Feather.  Cobalt, can the eagles help too?”  The former human looked better, and was not shivering anymore, but his eyes were still glazed over.  “I can ask Pudgy, but I am not sure if they will come?”  Ice Feather softly giggled, “well, then what good is your aerie then?  How can you contact them?”  The eagle chirped, “I have a way, but I must be alone to use it.  I will contact them tomorrow.”  Cobalt explained the terrible sights and smells he experienced today, when he investigated the wolves’ encampment.  The smoke-filled fold like creature was there, along with a white fur alpha wolf.  After explaining what an alpha wolf was to Pudgy, both owl and hedgehog were quiet.  The tea was ready, and soon served in bowls for the birds, and a little mug for the hedgehog.  The animals sipped the hot tea slowly, and for the eagle, the warm spreading within was a godsend.  After the tea was finished, Ice Feather waved at Pudgy.  “Can you please open the door so I can leave Pudgy?  I need to attend to some owl business outside.” 

The hedgehog scampered past Cobalt, and to his front door.  As the female owl approached, he started to hug her, resulting in a return hug by the happy owl.  The embrace was released with a soft hoot, and the door opened.  As a gust of cold air came in, the arctic owl squeezed out and took flight through the snow flakes.  Pudgy quickly shut his door to keep as much heat inside as he could.  The heat from his wood stove was consistent, and soon the temporary drop in temperature had equalized once more.  Pudgy scampered up and started to hug Cobalt gently.  The eagle chirped happily, but was falling asleep.  Soon he dropped hard on the concrete floor, and was out cold.  Scampering past the eagle, Pudgy went to get the big blanket he would wrap Argente in.  With a quick series of movements, the blue blanket was soon over his friend. 

In the winter, Pudgy could not sleep for long periods of time, because he had to keep the wood stove going.  This was more important now, since his friend was in bad shape.  So, the hedgehog slept on a big floor pillow, and under his own much smaller blanket nearby to the wood stove.  Every couple of hours he would wake, and reload firewood into his wood stove.  By the time morning had come, the snow was piled high above his exterior windows and doors.  The only thing still visible from his home outside, was the chimney pipe’s top.  The heat from the fire kept the snow melted back enough to allow the smoke to escape.  As the little hedgehog yawned and stretched, he could see Cobalt was still sleeping.  He headed over to his wood stove, and opened the firebox.  Adding more wood to it, the flames rekindled, and soon were dancing once more inside the stove.  Shutting the door, and locking it, Pudgy headed to his interior door that led into the big storehouse room.       

Opening the doorway, he quickly darted inside, and shut the door behind him.  Heading over to where his light switch was, he pushed the button to turn on the interior lights.  The lights flickered, since there was not too much power left in the batteries.  The snow had completely covered his one solar panel on top of his home.  With the water wheel destroyed, the primary source of power was gone for his home.  So, in days like these, he was at the mercy of winter weather.  With enough light to see, Pudgy headed over to the metal door marked with the yellow and black caution tape.  Opening it, the room inside was very cold.  The rows of deep cycle batteries were intact, with no leaks.  “Good, power room still safe.”  Pudgy said, while pulling the door shut once more.  A squeaky voice called out, “Good Morning Pudgy!  Can you come help?”  The hedgehog turned to see Mrs. Field mouse peeking out from the tunnel door.  “Yes, Pudgy was just checking power room, be right there.” 

Scampering past the store house stalls, safely locked behind bunny proof cages, the hedgehog reached his mouse friend and hugged her.  The field mouse giggled, and soon the two were scampering up the tunnel, and towards the exterior gate entrance.  Unlike normally during the day, there was no light coming through.  Mr. Field Mouse had pulled the gate open, but a wall of snow was blocking the exit.  As Pudgy scampered up, he hugged the timid male mouse, before heading to the snow wall.  As the hedgehog investigated, he determined the snow was light and fluffy, which meant he was more easily able to clear it.   It took time however, and after an hour or so had passed, the rush of cool air started to come inside of the tunnel. Pudgy climbed through the snow, and soon poked his head out from underneath.   

Argente and Mary were busy playing in the deep snow, and bouncing happily.  Mr. Drew, his red panda friend was busy rolling snow to make a snow man.  Pudgy called over, “HI EVERYONE! Can you come over to dig out tunnel?”  The animals looked and wiggled their ears, and headed over as quickly as they could manage in the deep snow.  Soon the red panda’s paws were digging snow out, and with Pudgy’s help, the exit was revealed once more.  The hedgehog shook the snow off of his body, and shivered a bit.  “P … P …Pudgy need to put winter clothes on.  Everyone meet Pudgy inside Pudgy home; Cobalt is already inside.”  Drew looked at Pudgy, “wait … why is Cobalt inside your home?  He usually is up in his tree.    The hedgehog waved and scampered back into his tunnel, and soon was followed by the field mice.  The two foxes, and red panda no longer fit inside the tunnel, so they scampered through the high snow, to reach the front door of the hedgehog’s home. 

After short work of clearing the doorway, the animals soon were entering their friend’s home.  As Pudgy stated, Cobalt really was inside, and covered with a blanket.  He was awake now, and being hugged by the hedgehog.  The underground home was really full, and there was nary a free spot to sit nor stand, but all within listened intently as the former human spoke of what he had seen.  Wolves too numerous to count were less than eighty miles away to the south of the forest.  All available information to be had, indicated that they were approaching the forest.  When the existence of the smokey wolf like creature was explained, the animals all grew deathly quiet, and listened intently.  Argente was the first to speak in a whimper, “this is just like the Kaiser all over again.”  The silver fox described to the newcomers what she meant, and soon both Mary and Drew were whimpering as well.     

Mary cleared her throat, “Pudgy … what do we need to do?”  The little hedgehog stood up on his kitchen table, so everyone could see him.  “Ice Feather said the owls are sending help.  The wolves want the ley line node, to destroy it for some reason.  We need to protect it, otherwise our forest is cut off from the owls and their help.  Cobalt is going to talk to the eagles today, to see if they can send assistance as well.  Pudgy need help, we need to protect forest.  Mr. Drew, can you go tell Mr. Bear what is going on?”  The red panda nodded, “you got it Pudgy!”  The hedgehog turned to Mary, “Can you please let Mr. and Mrs. Waffle Cat know what is going on?”  The snow fox nodded, “yes I will Pudgy.”  Cobalt turned slowly around to look at Argente, “Argente … the elks are located in the cavern where my home used to be.  Can you go get them, and bring them over here?  They can help drag timbers to block the grove at the stop of the hill.”  The silver fox nodded, “yes I will.  I hope this is the last time we have to defend this forest!”  All the animals nodded in agreement, then started to file outside of the hedgehog’s home.  As they dispersed through the high snow, Cobalt squeezed out the front door, and then took flight.    

In the hours that passed, the elks arrived, and were dragging dead trees through the forest and up to where the clearing normally was.  A series of barricades were stacked in places, to make it extremely difficult to pass through to the ley line grove.  At the top of the hill was the ring of ancient oak trees, and a narrow opening.  At the opening, branches and large stones were piled up in such a way, that only a hedgehog or mouse could get through to the interior.  The hill dropped sharply down the other wise, which meant that ascending the hill would be extremely difficult.  As Mr. Bear and his father were moving one last large log into place at the barricade in front of Pudgy’s home, their ears perked up.  It was faint, but noticeable.  The howls of wolves were increasing in volume, signaling the predator’s approach.  Grandpa Bear grimaced, “once more they approach … may the Mother of all Bears watch over us today.”

By Cobalt

Cobalt is a normal guy that goes to work. Pudgy is his hedgehog friend who lives in a hobbit style home nearby, and goes on epic adventures. All Pudgy stories are copyrighted to Cobalt. Doomcock, Harvey Cthulhu, and Xanadoom is copyrighted to Overlord DVD.

One reply on “Blood Fang: Chapter 6: Howl”

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