Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 113,211,275 Issue: 226 | 3rd day of Awakening, Y8
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Murgoh: Part Eleven

by zephandolf


A cold winter breeze whipped its way across the cove, whistling a mournful cry as the sun dipped below the horizon. Just to the east, a hunter's moon rose in its full glory, chasing the sun as it began its long trek across the clear night sky.

      Murgoh sat silently beside his father as they watched the moon rise above the rolling, snow-covered plains. They had been waiting there much of the afternoon, and now the young Lupe's tail twitched nervously in anticipation. Then came the sound that both Lupes had been dreading all week:

      A mournful howl. The rallying cry.

      "They are coming," Savak said as the howl faded. "Right about when I thought he would. But…I would have expected a stealth raid."

      Murgoh had to agree, but he said nothing. He was too nervous to say anything.

      The preparations for this moment had been complete, and it had taken them nearly the full week to do that. Everyone who wanted to stay and fight was separated into groups and given separate orders accordingly. Anyone who didn't want to fight was evacuated closer to Neopia Central in case they failed at the cove. All the Lupe pups that weren't old enough to fight were banned from the battle altogether, whether they wanted to or not.

      It wasn't long before Kelthar's army appeared over the slopes just beyond the cove. Somehow, it was smaller than Murgoh had expected. Perhaps he didn't bring everyone with him. But what really caught his attention was Kelthar himself. He looked just as he did when Savak had encountered him on the plains.

      "I thought he was supposed to be a Werelupe," Murgoh commented.

      "So did I," Savak said. "But it was, after all, just a rumor."

      Murgoh nodded, casting an uneasy glance in the direction of the opposing army. From what he could see, most of them were already covered in scars. Some of them even looked sick. But they all had the same, evil glint in their eyes. Something told him that words would not stop these Lupes, though his father told him that they at least had to try.

      Without another word to his son, Savak moved forward a few yards, and yelled across the open field. "Kelthar! We need to talk!"

      For a moment, Murgoh wondered if Kelthar was going to do anything. To his surprise, the brown Lupe raised his paw and the army stopped, growling and whining in disappointment. Leaving his minions, he crossed the distance between his army and Savak, stopping a few yards short.

      "Here we meet again," Kelthar growled. "You're not getting away from me this time."

      "Look what you've done!" Savak snapped. "Is it worth ruling the plains if there's no one to rule?"

      "Silence!" Kelthar snapped. "Your death, especially, will be satisfying."

      "You're going to have to work for it," Savak said. Then he looked over his shoulder. "Haklar!"

      On cue, a sizeable army of Lupes emerged from the cove, lining the field behind Savak. Murgoh couldn't tell for sure, but a look of uneasiness seemed to flash in Kelthar's eyes. The moment past quickly, and the brown Lupe snarled at Savak again.

      "You've held out on me," he said. "But I've held out, too. You see, few realize that the transformations of the Werelupe affliction can be controlled."

      Murgoh dreaded the meaning of the Lupe's words even before his body began to change. His forward torso swelled to nearly three times their former size. His fur grew longer, and he stood on his hind legs, glaring at Savak with his blood-red eyes. Grinning maliciously down at the red Lupe, he barely contained an evil cackle before he spoke with a deeper, gravely voice. "Now, son of Murgoh, do you really think you and your ragtag band of outcasts can defeat me?"

      "That is yet to be seen," Savak said coolly. Murgoh couldn't understand why he wasn't quivering in fear right now. He was. Savak continued. "You see, those who are free would rather die than have every aspect of their life determined for them. I discovered this early in my life. And I also discovered that those who lust for power, even if they attain it, are doomed to utter failure in their own lives."

      "Enough of this!" Kelthar growled. "I did not come here to talk! RAHHHHH!!!"

      Murgoh managed to quickly scamper out of the way as the Werelupe launched himself into the air at Savak. Coolly, Savak watched his attacker in his arc of attack, and stepped aside as Kelthar was closing on him. Before the Lupe could react, Savak kicked him aside as hard as he could. The Werelupe rolled a few paces before his massive claws dug into the snow, and he got to his paws again. Shaking his head, Kelthar glared in hatred at Savak, and then howled in rage to the sky.

      As if on cue, Kelthar's army moved from their position on the other side of the field of battle, yowling and snarling and barking all the way. Savak's army, at this point, needed no signal, and plunged into the fray on their own. When the two armies met, many of the yowls were lost in the confusion of battle. Murgoh, himself, was suddenly pitted against a Lupe twice his size. He did his best to dodge the Lupe's blows, but a pawswipe caught him against the head. When he regained his senses, he saw the Lupe hovering over him. Expecting a final blow, the Lupe was suddenly bowled over by a familiar Lupe from his father's army.

      "Wretched Chia brain!" Haklar called. "Pick on someone your own size!" When the Lupe didn't return, the old blue Lupe turned to Murgoh. "Are you alright?"

      "I'm fine," Murgoh said, getting to his paws.

      Haklar nodded curtly. "Well, I don't really care how old you think you are," he said. "It's not a good idea for anyone to kick off their fighting career by getting themselves killed."

      "I'll keep that in mind," Murgoh said.

      Haklar only smiled in return before plunging into the fray again. For a little while, Murgoh could still hear him. "Hey Slorg breath! Come over here and fight me! Hey! Where are you going you yellow bellied…"

      After this, Murgoh lost himself in the confusion. One moment, he was dodging around a Lupe who wanted to bite his tail off, the next he was trying to keep himself from being trampled by a vicious conflict among several members of both forces. At one moment, he felt something bump into his hindquarters, and he quickly reeled around, about to bite whatever had touched him when he came face to face with a familiar blue face.

      "Melissa?" Murgoh stated, though it was a dumb question.

      "There you are!" his sister snapped. "You don't know what I've gone through trying to find you."

      A pair of Lupes tangled in their own fight rolled by. "I can imagine," Murgoh replied aptly. "Where's Ashley?"

      "She's with mom," Melissa replied.

      Murgoh nodded quickly. "Right. Let's go find dad. I think he'll need our help."

      The two young Lupes quickly wove their way through the battle, trying to find Savak in the fray around them. As they looked, Murgoh noticed the many Lupes around him who had already fallen. Most of them he didn't recognize, but their general appearance helped him to distinguish most of them as belonging to one side or the other. Unfortunately, there seemed to be less of Kelthar's fighters on the ground than the free Lupes. Things looked bad.

      "Murgoh, look!" Melissa exclaimed. The young Lupe looked to where Melissa was pointing and saw at the top of the lookout post a red Lupe fighting a massive beast.

      "That's dad!" Murgoh yelled. "What's he doing up there?"

      "Come on, we need to help!" Melissa said, dashing off without her brother. Murgoh quickly followed. He knew there was enough room on top of the lookout post for several Lupes to be up there, but there wasn't enough room for a fight. Who's bright idea was it to go up there, he wondered desperately.

      As he chased after his sister, his path was suddenly blocked off, and he plowed directly into a shadowed pelt. Both Lupes fell in a heap, and quickly scrambled to their paws, snarling. Then Murgoh dropped his guard slightly.


      "Murgoh!" the Lupe replied. "What in the world are you doing?"

      Murgoh didn't reply directly, but he looked back in the direction his sister had gone. "Come on," he said. "My dad needs help. He's on the lookout post with Kelthar!"

      "What? Is he nuts?" Orthas asked, but it was to a Lupe who had already dashed off. Questions like that could wait. Just him being up there with an enemy Lupe worried him enough. But if Kelthar got the upper paw, he could throw Savak over the side.

      Not far from the base of the precipice, Murgoh broke out of the field of battle with Orthas right behind him. His sister was already halfway up the slope, and he was gaining on her.

      Then he looked up to the top where his father was, just in time to see Kelthar deliver a crushing blow to Savak. The red Lupe fell on his side, and he didn't get up.

      "No!" Murgoh growled, putting on more speed. He had to get to the top.

      Triumphantly, Kelthar howled to the clear night sky. He picked up Savak and walked to the ledge closest to the sea.

      "Now, I will have my revenge on the son of Murgoh!" he yelled.

      The next moment seemed the longest stretch of time Murgoh had ever experienced. He expected that the Werelupe was going to throw Savak over the edge. Then a blue streak caught his attention. He stared in amazement as Melissa dashed across the lookout post, launching herself to hit Kelthar square in the lower back. The result of this was that Savak fell out of Kelthar's paws backwards, landing in the snow behind the Werelupe as Kelthar fell forward off the ledge. But, to his horror, his sister disappeared over the ledge with him.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Murgoh: Part One
» Murgoh: Part Two
» Murgoh: Part Three
» Murgoh: Part Four
» Murgoh: Part Five
» Murgoh: Part Six
» Murgoh: Part Seven
» Murgoh: Part Eight
» Murgoh: Part Nine
» Murgoh: Part Ten
» Murgoh

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