I kind of feel sorry for Morgan Barod, at this moment.


The mage didn’t seem to be in too much trouble, yet, but he wasn’t exactly brushing off the critters, either. These particular critters looked like mutated squirrels, puffed up to the size of beagles and tricked out with claws and fangs. Pack hunters, too, thought Morgan. Wonder if they have an alpha? And indeed, they did; there was one that seemed to be directing the attack. It looked like it was about halfway through the process of becoming a grizzled, wily old nemesis of the forest, the kind that would unerringly prey on the weak and unprepared, its scars bearing mute witness to a lifetime of cunning and savagery.

So Morgan attacked it first. He figured that somebody ten years down the line would thank him for that — no, wait, they’ll never know I did ‘em the favor, he thought. Oh, well. It was still a good idea to kill the really nasty buggers before they completely grew up.

Half-grown or not, the pack-squirrel alpha was viciously fast, and Morgan was very quickly happy that he was wearing good boots. And a cup, because the little bastard also could leap. For one horrified moment Morgan was worried that the fangs could actually manage to rip through the chain mail, leather, and stainless steel covering his important bits: but it couldn’t, quite.

And it wouldn’t let go, either. Morgan tried to spin it off, and maybe smack it against the barrier in the middle of the highway, but the pack-squirrel was having nothing of that. And he couldn’t quite get a good stab in. Well, Morgan could get a good stab in, but what if he missed? Eventually he settled for trying to use the edge of his shield to pop the damned thing off, or at least smash it in the head enough times.

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