Sunday, 2 September 2012

Beware The Shadows As They Are Deadly When Wolf Scouts Are Abroad...

Fear will destroy any creature's will to fight eventually. Enough fear will unsettle a man, throw of his aim and make him forget his training however rigorous it was. Those who can create fear are therefore already a step ahead.

One of the most soul destroying actions in the book of war is striking an enemy where he thinks himself invulnerable. Scouts do this... swiftly, with devastating effect and often without even being seen.

This packs leader Jurgen Einarr was born a scout...

Every Space Wolf is chosen from among the men folk of Fenris as a result of some heroic under taking or deed witnessed by a wolf priest. Jurgen wasn’t chosen in the normal circumstances however.
Living among the isles of Fenris Jurgen of the Dragon Bane clan was the son of one of the clan chief’s shield bearers who was also the clan’s prized knife fighter. One fateful evening an opposing tribe the Troll Slayers raided the Dragon Bane village killing the men folk including Jurgen’s father and taking the women prisoner for slaves. The Troll Slayers had long coveted the relatively safe and plentiful island the Dragon Bane clan inhabited and so claimed it for themselves. At the time of the raid Jurgen and a handful of his friends has been on a hunting trip but returned to find the village partially destroyed with their rivals sleeping in their beds. Anger swelled and boiled in all of them and a plan of attack was soon decided upon after oaths of vengeance were sworn.

 The plan according to Jurgen’s rash fellows was simple – kill as many as possible, however Jurgen had other ideas. One man had made the final decision to carry out this act, reasoned Jurgen – the Troll Slayer chief – he would pay in the end but first Jurgen decided to make life for the rival tribe unbearable on the island. His friends rejected Jurgen’s thinking when he tried to reason against their suicidal attack and hence they packed their possessions and prepared for the attack.

Armed with their hunting spears and knives the teenagers attacked the village by night.  Unlike the Dragon Bane people the Troll Slayers had positioned sentries around the camp. The sentries soon spotted the boys emerging from the dark and had alerted the camp by the time the teenagers had started their war cries and charged the village. They were cut down easily by the men of the village and flung into the waves which crashed against the islands cliffs. Jurgen sat atop a nearby hill in the darkness and watched his friends’ demise.

He, however was unaware that he himself was being observed. Hearing of the promised Troll Slayer attack on the Dragon Bane camp Olaf, Wolf Priest to the Great Wolf had flown in to watch the event in the hope of finding a worthy candidate for the Space Wolves. Disappointed by the battle Olaf had been ready to leave when the old scent of the Dragon Bane clan arrived on the wind once more. Deciding to investigate he had tracked the boys to their camp and watched silently. He now stood a mile away gazing at the ‘coward’ Jurgen sitting and watching his friends die. Then he noticed the blade clutched in the youths shaking hands as Jurgen carved the rune names of his dead fellows into the flesh of his arms.

After the pitiful attack the Troll Slayers relaxed in the thinking the last of their ancient enemy had been slain. Fewer sentries were posted in the evenings and foragers and hunters were sent out to gather food. All the while a cave on the other side of the island was being stocked with flint spears salted meats and stolen food by Jurgen along with warm furs.

The wolf priest had watched Jurgen sharpen his flints and harden his spears with smoke for weeks and was beginning to tire of the youth’s preparations when he found a Troll Slayer forager party of three men dead on the island, spear wounds in their backs. A smile twitched the corners of his mouth.

In the following weeks every foraging pack was killed, every hunter party slain by an unseen assailant. Food stocks in the village started to run dangerously low and tempers started to grow short. Meanwhile Jurgen’s skills were being honed and sharpened and he was soon able to move through his old village clad in his dark fur cloak without being seen. One evening his crept through the camp and opened the tap on every barrel of ale in the brewer’s stores. No one noticed the creeping tide of ale until Jurgen set it alight and vanished into the darkness, the screams and shouts of the camps inhabitants carrying on the wind.

In the morn the camp was a smouldering wreck, virtually every building was a smoking pile of ash and confusion reigned, no-one knew if the fire was accidental, the work of the same hand that had seen the hunting and foraging parties killed or the work of the Gods.

That night the remaining members of the Troll Slayers tribe, which was now  less than a quarter of  the strength it had been when capturing the village, slept in the stone long hall which had survived the flames. The chief had decided to post sentries around the camp to be sure that if the fire had been started by the unknown foe he would be butchered before he could do any further damage.

This didn’t trouble Jurgen. Moving though the dark like a wraith he spotted the sentries from the cover of a shadowed grove of trees. He could see three burly men all staring out into the dark watching for something...anything. What they didn’t see was a pair of axes flying end over end towards them through the night. The two unlucky men dropped to the ground clutching their shattered bodies, the axes having broken ribs and cleaved flesh such was the ferocity with which they’d been thrown. The third man looked at his fellows in horror aghast until he too dropped to his knees after hands had smothered his mouth and plunged a soot blackened knife into his throat, ripping through his windpipe.

Moving into the camp Jurgen left less of a mark than the wind, all the while being watched by the Wolf Priest. Jurgen dispatched two more men while moving toward the long hall stabbing into kidneys and armpits. On his last kill a slight cry left his victim and the only remaining Troll Slayer warriors stormed out of the hall, four hulking brutes and the chief himself. In one smooth movement Jurgen let fly another axe hurling it straight into the neck of the closest warrior and drew his father’s knife. The remaining men charged at the slight youth presented before them axes in hand. Jurgen sidestepped the first man slicing at his hamstrings and sending him clattering to the floor screaming in agony, he then followed through from his low fighting crouch bringing his knife up faster than the next warrior could see and cut the man’s wrist severing nerves, arteries and veins in one and then drove his bloodied knife up into the man’s rib cage tearing at his heart. The next warrior faltered after seeing this display and fled only to be cut down by his companion’s axe flying after him. Now only the chief was left.

The chief raised his axe in challenge and charged axe, raised high. Jurgen met the charge head on but at the last moment jerked slightly to the left and jumped into the air just as his opponent’s axe began to fall and buried his blade in the thick corded muscles of the chief neck. The jump carried Jurgen on through the air and crashed him into the ground. The chief’s initial war cry had died and he gave a grunt of pain as he pulled the knife from his shoulder grinning as he tossed it away into the night. The grin grew as he started to move towards the now unarmed youth. The grin twitched as he became unsteady, beginning to stagger. Coughing blood, anger crossed his face as he stumbled, then fell flat on his face, gurgling in his throat as he drowned in his own blood. The knife had reached all the way to into his lungs and slices many of the delicate blood vessels resulting in a tide of blood filling the chief’s lungs.

High on one of the hills overlooking the camp Olaf smiled as the chief died, he’d found one worthy and he began the walk to the village.

 Jurgen searched until he’d found his father’s knife in the darkness and returned it to its sheath on his belt but quickly drew it again as another figure moved in the darkness. A titanic figure clad in an ornamental suit of black armour strode out of the darkness. By the time the giant’s hand had been raised in a gesture of peace Jurgen’s knife was already in the in flight but the giant casually plucked it from the air. A low grumble emanated from the giant’s lips “you’ll need a lot more than that to fell me laddie. Come with me”
From this moment on Jurgen’s path was set to become a Space Wolf. He passed every test the wolves could throw at him and soon took up a place in a blood claw pack but resented the company of his fellows recognising the same fiery eagerness that had killed his friends. Often Jurgen disappeared for extended periods of time half way through a campaign only to be found weeks later striding from the wreckage of a hidden enemy post having torn it apart with few krak grenades and a ‘borrowed’ melta bomb. His pack gradually grew used to his disappearances but rather than treating him as an outcast they soon came to realise that Jurgen’s targets were often poorly defended communications arrays, artillery pieces or officers which could have spelled danger for his comrades either by calling in reinforcements or ordering artillery fire on the packs position. Eventually the wolf priests gave into the youth giving him the freedom of a scout. With the honour of being one of the few scouts to be promoted from a blood claw rather than a grey hunter resting on his shoulders Jurgen quickly became a scout of unequalled cunning and a tactical genius. He now serves Morkai as his chief scout and a valuable member of the wolf guard.

Long may they hunt...

Praise Russ

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