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*A discussion between Howl and the Unconquered Sun*

I see you've been doing a good job recently.

Bah, Howl grumbles, you think popping in for a pleasant chat every once in a while is going to make me grateful? These are your champions to save the world? These?

You think I'm wrong?

No, I think your perfect and omnipotent. Never had a poor idea in your life. My internal clock only seems to be off by a couple centuries, no big deal, I'm sure that was just an oversight, nothing at all wrong. These walking dead and poverty are just redecorating.

Howl, am I to understand you don't like your task?

It's not about likes. Howl shifts uncomfortably. It's about duty. And no, I don't hate them, it's just…

What is it, Howl?

They seem lost. Like the large one. Hammer is a caring fool, and I do love him no matter how much I may find him childish, but he needs direction. He's never had it, wandering from one place to another. He's never had a focus, something to release all that pent up good will he has stored up in his enormous arse. I'd bet he'd rip the entire Skullstone Archipelago into a new island chain if given the chance. Rabbit would merrily join in, though I doubt for as good reasons. He's selfish and greedy, but a war is coming and those who crave glory always do well at those times. At least the Monsoon and the Flower have some sense of purpose and balance. They get things done, directly and simply, I like that. The Huntsman too suffers like Hammer, he's a follower, not a leader of men, he too needs a direction. Normally, I'd mistrust your assassins, but he's as steadfast and loyal as any the rest. I just…

You're bored too.

Maybe that's it. Howl stretches and snaps his jaws. We've made ground now, and maybe the locals will give my silly pups something to kill that isn't a potential subject.

Everyone is a potential subject.

Bah, always the optimist…


The desert air is sweet, still. The winds are calm tonight, the sky is clear. An insect chirps in the distance. The sound of his pack brothers breaks the night, the soft rustle of sand as they glide through the dunes. A scent on the wind. Food. As one the pack turns, sliding toward the new smell. Sweat. Humans. A caravan. The light of a campfire appears. Food.

His pack closes, circling the wagon, it's only one! Strange, no one travels these wastes alone. A single man sits beside the the fire. Large man. Food. Bring the pack in. One howls. Fool. Bring the pack in. The man is unmoved. Fool. Close around him. On top of the sand now. He seems aware, not moving. One of my brothers darts in. Jaws wide. Food. He moves! Fast. A hammer swings out, catches my brother in the jaws. Punishing fist. He flies off. The man stands. He's very large. He stops moving. Fool. Again, two now. The man whirls. Twice blocked! The hammer catches my brother in the leg. Crack. He limps. Useless now. What is this man. He stares into the night. His eyes catch mine. A fire? A light? It gets brighter. Its burning like the sun-

Howl snorts and rolls up onto his feet. The salty air of the sea invades his nostrils. The less than gentle snoring of his companion provides counterpoint to the creaking of the ship. Howl shakes his head and lies back down. “If I had known then what I know now, would I have still followed him?”