Redrought fell silent as he thought this through. He'd spent most of his life
fighting the Wolf-folk and other creatures from beyond his northern borders.
He'd had neither the time nor the inclination to wonder if they thought about
anything. But he was a good king, and shrewd enough to know that something
important lay behind his daughter's questions. "Why do you ask? What's
Thirrin took a deep breath. "The werewolf could have killed me today, but it
didn't. It disarmed me and could have ripped out my throat. But when I punched
it in the nose and told it to make it quick, it stopped and let me go. It even
stuck my sword in the ground and left it for me to collect. And I don't
understand why. If Wolf-folk can't feel and think, why did it let me live?"
Redrought didn't know, and at that moment he didn't care. He just felt an
enormous sense of relief sweep over him. Suddenly he gathered his daughter in a
bearlike hug that made her gasp for breath almost as much as the wolfman had
when it sat on her. "You will not take such risks again! Do you hear me?" he
roared, his anger fueled by the terrible realization that his daughter could so
easily have been killed.
"But, Dad, I didn't take any risks. Werewolves don't usually come into the
forest. How could I have known it was going to be there?"
Redrought knew this was true, but it didn't make him feel any better. He
released her from the hug and sat down again heavily. "I'll send out a full
"And I want to lead it."
"Oh no, young Madam. My daughter and heir will stay safely here in the
castle. Let some other hotheads earn their spurs," Redrought said decisively.
"But they'll need me to guide them to the right spot. Nobody else knows the
"Apart from your soldier escort," the King said, a hint of triumph in his
"Apart from my soldier escort," Thirrin was forced to agree reluctantly.
"Good! Grimswald, call in the captain of the guard. You can give him details,
Thirrin, and then run along to your tutor. Geography today, if I'm not
Grimswald piped at the door for the guard, who arrived in a clatter of armor.
"Captain Edwald. The Princess reports a werewolf close to the city. Take
details and send out a patrol!" the King boomed, stroking Primplepuss gently.
The kitten screwed her eyes shut against the huge blast of Redrought's voice,
then as Thirrin and the captain withdrew to confer, she rubbed her tabby face
against the King's enormous finger as it tickled her cheek.
From The Cry of The Icemark by Stuart Hill, pages 1-11 of the hardcover edition. Copyright 2005 by Stuart Hill. Fist published in the United Kingdom by The Chicken House. Published in the USA by Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
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