Meet the Horde - Part 4: Ulf
“Welcome, arsehole.” The voice was no more than a whisper and so close to Punnr’s ear that he felt its breath. He turned in bewilderment and looked straight into the face of the man with the effeminate mouth and black eyes whom he had goaded in the warehouse. “We’ve been hunting you.”
Before Punnr could react, the man stepped back and threw him a punch that sent him sprawling. It was followed by the full weight of the man. Punnr felt his long hair grabbed and his skull thumped against the mountainside. Fingers found purchase on his face and sought his eyes. Desperately he forced his knee beneath his assailant and kicked. The man was knocked to the side and Punnr rolled on top, but before he could steady himself, his attacker coiled like a snake and rolled him again. A fist slammed into his face and then hands found his throat. He kicked and hit and squirmed, but it was no use. The hands clung on and crushed his windpipe. He saw stars and heard blood roaring in his ears. He tried to drag a breath but nothing came. The night grew deeper and he was falling and spinning and then it started to feel pleasant, like dropping through endless layers of leaves to a warm embracing mattress.
He was almost gone, when there was a voice. “That’s enough! Game over. We have a winner.” Punnr felt the man yanked from him and Halvar’s rough hands were shaking his shoulder. “Are you still with us, laddie?”
Punnr took a savage, hoarse breath, sucking the mountain air into his lungs, and his vision returned, along with an almighty pain across his face. He blinked up at Halvar and tried to nod. The Perpetual stood behind Halvar, rigid with anger, his jaw clenching and his hands still balled into fists. He stared at Punnr with raw hatred.
Halvar grabbed his arm and pulled him onto watery legs. “Now shake and make up, ladies.”
The Perpetual approached and regarded Punnr with cold interest. He held out a slim hand and as Punnr took it he thought how those same fingers had moments earlier been around his throat.
“What are you called?” the Perpetual asked.
The man considered this. “And I am Ulf, the Wolf.”
“You almost killed me.”
“That was my plan.”