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Reprints the first 3/4 or so of the 1978 ElfQuest #8:

In the village at Sorrow's End, Ember answer's the pups-call and greets her first WolfFriend, Choplicker (awwww). Later that night as the tribe meets, Leetah wonders at actually missing Cutter, he'll only be gone one year after all. Moonshade complains that her place is at her mate's side and *she* never would have stayed if Strongbow went away and Nightfall comes to Leetah's defense and states that Moonshade would, too, have stayed if she had cubs that needed her! Moonshade's come-back that the tribe would take perfectly good care of the cubs isn't answered.

In private, Leetah tells Nightfall she didn't stay for the cubs' sake, but because she was afraid of something NEW and condemns herself as a coward.

Back in the woods near where the old Holt was, Cutter catches a mount for himself. Nightrunner is disgruntled that Cutter will ride another mount. Cutter tells him that his paws are too raw (both wolves have bandages around their paws now), he's old and besides, the first of the creatures they caught kicked him [Nightrunner] in the eye when he bit it in the rump, and he can barely see. After all, these creatures are for riding, not eating! Commenting that these creatures (horses?) look like smaller no-humped versions of the zwoots, they dub them No-Humps.

So they continue on for 3 moons with no sign of any other tribes, human or elfin, and wonder if Aro lied to them, but finally they enter a bog and then see a large, dense forest. Cutter, in a good mood to see TREES rescues a drowning squirrel in the bog, which runs up his bow and bites him on the hand. In his pique, he throws the squirrel into a tree, overbalancing himself and falls into the bog, nasty water and his new rodent-bite and all.

They enter this strange dark new forest and doff their sun-gear, back to being "barbarians" again. As days pass, Cutter gets irritable and Skywise worries, until finally Cutter collapses. Skywise realizes Cutter is burning up with fever and sets off with Starjumper to find 'whistling leaf" to treat the infection. Cutter's delirium increases and while reminiscing about the cool touch and soothing heal-song of Rain, the old tribe healer [who was killed by Madcoil] he imagines he sees his father's last wolf-friend, Blackfell, and follows the apparition. He sees his parent's spirits and tells them he can't go with them, he has a family, a wonderful mate and two lovely cubs, and runs off. Seeing light in his delirium, he imagines it's the day-star and he's back in the burning waste, so he follows the light and wanders into the camp of two humans, Nonna & Adar, who take him for a child at first. Nightrunner tries to defend his friend, but gets his good eye burned and runs off to fetch Skywise.

When he attacks, they realize he's no child and Nonna calls him one of the bird-spirits that guide her people. Cutter slices a hole in the tent-wall but then collapses. Nonna tends Cutter despite his fear of her and he wonders that a human would be so tender as all the WolfRiders have ever known of humans was death.

Meanwhile, Skywise searches for the whistling-weed and Nightrunner searches for Skywise. They each find their goal at about the same time and go racing back to save Cutter from the evil humans! Just as Adar mends the hole in their tent-wall that Cutter sliced, Skywise cuts another and leaps into the dwelling to rescue his chief, but Cutter says "no"... [end of this issue]

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