Two Kainhite warriors came striding toward him across the field. From the whispering of their movements, Loerd knew that both retained their wings. For this moment, he gave that fact no thought. In the reflected glow of their scarlet eyes, he studied instead the wheeled cart they dragged behind them on a length of chain. Upon the cart sat a cage, and within the cage stirred a violent thing.
The warriors stopped a few feet from Loerd, dropped the chain, bowed, and backed away. Loerd approached the cart. The thing penned upon it began to smash back and forth against the bars of its prison as it voiced a throbbing snarl of warning and threat.
“Shhh,” Loerd murmured. “Shhh.”
The creature’s snarl grew instead, reached a crescendo of bestial rage. A dark-furred limb thrust suddenly through the bars and slashed at Loerd with claws as sharp and long as pitchfork tines. They did not quite reach to where Loerd stood, and the master of the Kainhites smiled. Then he vented his own snarl, a very soft one, and he opened the pores on his body so that his scent poured out and over the thing in the cage.
The thing huffed, then backed quickly away as far as its bars allowed. Loerd stepped closer. He drew the soul-black blade that hung at his hip and the dimmest flickers of light played along its edge. The thing in the cage crouched low; a whimper escaped its throat.
“Release it!” Loerd ordered.
One of the warriors who had brought the cart tugged on a rope that it held. The side of the cage furthest from Loerd fell away. The thing within recognized its sudden freedom and leaped out onto the field. But, where moments before it would have been happy to rend and tear every living thing around it, now it fled on swift feet for the woods.Loerd gave the thing a head start before he followed.