Innis woke blind, something hot and rough lathing his cheek. He didn’t move till in curled wet and loud into his ear. “Tha’s enoof” he meant to say but a gurgle came out. He sat up, not liking how his skin was taut, like he had been badly sewn. The tongue crossed his eye and cleared enough blood that Innis realized it had been stuck shut, not put out. It was dark out, night again. His wolf’s mostly brown face had a white patch between his eyes that blurred there like a bit of mist caught in moonlight until he managed to focus and see fur and wide worried eyes. It whined and cleared his other eye for him.
The plain was covered in bodies. If one woke up in the Underworld it would look like that. Nothing else was moving. His sword was lodged through a man that lay over him, pinning his legs. By the length of blade coming from the man’s back, it had been to the hilt.
He must have been the last.
“Iniiiis” a distant, hoarse voice.
His neck pricked…he wasn’t in the land of the dead was he? No, why would a pure and simple creature like a wolf follow him there. He looked that way but it was too dark to see far. The voice again-it was Maeglin.
The wolf put his ear forward and back. The other was missing.
“Can ye” he tried to speak again, swallowing dry blood “go get ’im?” It only warked, like one of those crows in that happy place. But the wolf understood. Thank the goddess for the intuition of beasts.
But he was alone in the field of the dead then, under a black sky, with the wind rushing towards the mountains like a gasp unending. I must have killed every one He didn’t remember and black and gold in the flickering badly edited reel that played as the last day – Maeglin’s troops had steered wide of him. He was the monster unleashed. That stopper in his soul that could be tugged free and all the light rushed into it. Or all the black rushed out. Had he really escaped the emptiness in Garin’s eyes? Could it come here too? He didn’t want to be alone. Why had he told Laerwyn to stay away…
The wolf was like a gull heralding land to a lost fisherman. White and alone, but he knew salvation followed.
Maeglin was running, leaping bodies. “Innis you’re alive!”
He took him in arms without caring how filthy he was. “I thought we wouldn’t find you.”
Gar was there. Innis looked at him over Maeglin’s shoulder. Like the wolf, Gar understood what he wanted to ask. “Three days. This is the fourth night.”