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The Pillar of Dominance


Chapter 13
Wooffen’s Curse
Warren awoke at first light. Bloom was still asleep. Warren yawned
and took a sip of water from his flask. It was a very quiet morning. Slowly,
he sat up and looked around the camp. Bloom awoke with a start.
"Where's Nella?" he asked.
"Off with Tigorious and Wooffen?" suggested Warren.
The men looked uneasily at each other, instinctively listening closer to
the sounds of the forest.
"Pack your things," said Bloom. They hastily collected their
belongings and stuffed them into their packs. Warren felt apprehension
building in the pit of his stomach as he blindly shoved his bedding into its
case. Suddenly, Wooffen appeared out of the bushes. The hound tore toward
them with a frightened howl. Yelping, Wooffen circled them, nipping at
their ankles. He tried hard to make them follow him back the way he had
come.
"What is it Wooffen?" asked Warren, getting down on one knee.
Wooffen whimpered a pitiful cry, impatient with Warren's attempts to
settle him. The hound began walking in an odd manner, widening his stance
until his belly nearly dragged on the ground, imitating a stealthy prowl. He
growled and swiped at the dirt with his paw. Then, quickly jumping around
in the opposite direction, he perked up the tops of his long ears as far up as
they would go and lengthened his back. Stretching out his neck and tail, he
began trotting about in a dainty fashion. Wooffen abruptly began acting
catlike once more. He pounced onto an imaginary victim, snarling and
wrestling wildly in the dirt.
Finally, he froze and looked up questioningly at Warren and Bloom.
He stared hopefully at one face and then the other.
"I think he's trying to tell us something," said Warren.
Wooffen let out a forlorn sniff. He sat in the dirt with a thump and
hung his head. He let out a quiet whine as his shoulders sagged in defeat.
Bloom sighed heavily. Crouching down, he patted the dog's head
affectionately.
"I had hoped it would never come to this, and I ask you to forgive me,
my friend, for what I am about to do," he said.
Wooffen looked up at him apprehensively. Bloom reached out, briskly
brushing his hand over Wooffen's unmoving form. He closed his hand. Tiny
light rays emanated from between his fingers.
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