“I must say, I did enjoy mauling the humans a little,” Barcus answered darkly. “Well, at least now we know where some of the Amorak wolf pack has gone.” He hung his head. “Gideon, this is terrible. I killed a couple of them…I had to, they were attacking me…but what I don’t understand is why, why would they join the humans?”
“I don’t know,” Gideon answered with a shake of his head. “But that wasn’t the entire pack. I didn’t see their alpha, Baro. I didn’t see his mate either.”
“They weren’t there,” murmured Barcus, looking back through the bushes at the still forms of the wolves and men that lay scattered on the ground. “Which means that they’re still missing.” He turned back to Gideon. “I’ve never known your bat, Arkas, to miss a battle. Where is he?”
“He is with your Alsvid friend, Mandamus. It seems that Fate has been kind and true to her word, for that matter. Mandamus has met a human, Luco is his name. They are now Bonded.”
“May the belly of Artio stay full!” Barcus roared. “What wonderful news.” He leapt up and slammed his forepaws on the ground in excitement, nearly hitting Inc who scrambled out of his way. “His mother will be happy to know that he is alive and well,” the bear crowed happily.
“Barcus,” Gideon began warningly. “You and Inc must not tell anyone that Mandamus has met a human. Not even his mother.”
“And he who rides a white-eyed steed…” the bear muttered gleefully. “How does the rest of the legend go?”

“Quiet,” whispered Gideon, glancing around. “Not here and not now.
“Alright,” agreed the bear. “I do feel for Mareva, though. She has been so worried, are you sure I can’t say anything? Have you actually seen this human with Mandamus, or is it just the word of the forest?”
“Yes, I’ve seen them,” Gideon answered. “They found a baby dragon, Mytreya’s son, actually. They took him with them and ended up at the River of Lethe with Samhain and Lethe.”
“Mytreya’s son?” said Inc. “Why? What happened to her?”
“The Rakhana killed and skinned her. I went and had a look after I found out. They took her heart, too…for Asura’s blasted wizard, Dazra, I expect. A dragon’s heart doesn’t decay—it turns to diamond. I couldn’t find it anywhere. They just left her to rot, yards away from her own dragonling even,” he said furiously.
Barcus began to huff and heatedly slashed a line in the dirt with his paw. “They will pay for that,” he growled, pacing in a circle. Inc’s eyes flashed.
“Now, now, old friend,” said Gideon patting the bear on the shoulder. “The time to rage over her death is long past. Her son is safe with Samhain. My wife will take good care of him until we can find him a den far away from man.”

Barcus is a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) who lumbers peacefully through the forests of the Silver Kingdom. He is one of three members of the Forest Council that tries Mandamus for his supposed crimes against the Night Mares. He does is best to protect those around him but don’t get on his bad side!

Photo Credit: Cliff Forest

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