In anticipation of the launch party, each day I will be posting an excerpt from my new book. The main character is Kyler and most of the book is from his POV, however, there are other chapters from the POV's of his friend Darcy, his Aunt Martha, and Walter the Wolf. Today we meet the shapeshifter, Walter of the Woods.
Name: Walter of the Woods
Age: He stopped counting after he changed permanently into a wolf at 18.
Occupation: Runs a safe commune for animals.
Desires: To help and protect animals.
Skills: Shapeshifting, the ability to talk to and understand all animals.
Friends: Martha and Ernie
The road sloped down toward the fishing port at an awkward angle. Walter loped over patches of dirt and rubble, while looking at the view before him. The dwellings he approached could scarcely be called homes. They were hovels pasted together with sticks and mud. Many leaned against trees for support, while others stood on their own with piecemeal stone chimneys to support their weight.
Children ran around with dirty faces and bare feet. Some of the women stopped working as Walter passed through. The hunger in their eyes betrayed greedy thoughts, but no one had enough courage to chase after a wolf.
Glad to leave the smelly hovels and hungry eyes behind, Walter raced over cobbled paths. The closer he drew to the port, the more the smell of salt water filled his nose. He drank in the damp air with a pleased snort. The port was still at least a mile ahead, but from his vantage point he could see the water’s edge. Large vessels of all kinds lined the banks. His keen hearing picked up the hollers of men as they off-loaded barrels and crates.
As far as his eyes could see, homes were crammed together like puzzle pieces. They rose between twisted streets and alleys, making the city into a maze. Walter wasn’t sure the salty air could cover the stench of a human population so tightly packed into a city. Closer to the docks, large warehouses sprang up like gophers from holes. He stopped on the path, waiting for Martha to catch up with him. A wolf alone was a sure way to get captured by traders. He needed her presence as his master to use as a disguise.
“I see you finally decided to stop.” Martha’s voice floated up from the path behind him. “I was afraid you’d run all the way down to the port.”
While turning his head, he cocked an eyebrow in her direction. “What? And miss a grand entrance with you?”
Reaching his side Martha scratched his thick head. “I think someone’s a little full of himself!”
“You know the plan won’t work without you holding me by a leash.”
The plan was to listen to the gossip of the village. Martha figured that with all the comings and goings of a fishing port there were bound to be rumors and real information floating around. Their job was to separate the junk from the treasure. Key phrases like “large flying monster” or “missing villagers” would be tip-offs. With Martha holding his collar, he would appear to be no more than a tame pet. They’d be able to eavesdrop on all sorts of conversations.