April 10th, 1864, Batesville, Mississippi
“What is that?” Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was horrified at the hairy misshapen figure in the corner of the supply tent, hunched double between the crates of ordinance and supplies. The woman next to him, put a calming hand on him as she led him inside. She glided more than she walked, her auburn hair catching the torchlight whilst her blue eyes sparkled eerily in it.
“This is your secret weapon, Nathan,” Vanessa said. “Meet the Wolfbear.”
Nathan looked at the creature. It was a muscular humanoid, large arms like a bear, a disfigured face with oversized teeth, tufts of coarse hair poked out of strange places.
She nodded. “Dark magics combining a slave, a bear and a wolf. All the best to make an unstoppable front line attacker.”
“That thing is part negro?”
Vanessa smiled. “I thought it wise to use something expendable, but I could try it on one of your men if you’d like.”
Nathan stepped closer and the beast man growled. Vanessa pursed her lips and whistled a sharp shrill tweet and suddenly it leapt forward, murder in its yellowed eyes! Nathan attempted to draw his sabre but he was too slow and pinned under him. Wolfbear’s slobbering mouth huffed putrid air onto his cheeks.
“Fast. Strong.” Vanessa said patting it on the back as if it were a dog. “Off!”
Wolfbear obeyed, returning to the corner of the tent.
“Obedient too,” Vanessa helped the Confederate General to his feet. “But not cheap.”
Nathan was equal parts impressed and terrified. He adjusted himself. “I will have to consider y...”
Vanessa touched his lips with a slender finger. “Nathan, this is a one time offer. You either say yes, or I simply head up river to Fort Pillow and offer Wolfbears to the Union.”
Nathan glared at her. “Traitorous witch!”
“I have no allegiance to either side of this pointless war,” Vanessa laughed and clicked her fingers summoning Wolfbear to her side. The creature lumbered forward. “I am simply a mystical arms dealer. Now, do we have a deal or should I go visit Major Lionel Booth?”
“You said Wolfbears...how many do you have?”
Vanessa grinned as she dramatically pulled the sheets off two nearby crates containing two more monstrous creatures. “How many can you afford?”
April 12th, 1864, Fort Pillow, Tennessee
General Forrest’s troops had surrounded the Union encampment by ten in the morning. As he joined the scene, a shot rang out and killed Nathan’s horse out from under him dumping him to the ground. Annoyed and a little humiliated he summoned an aide.
“Bring up the special wagon,” he told the young man sternly. The boy saluted and tore away to fulfill his orders. Nathan surveyed the layout. “CHALMERS!”
Brigadier-General James R. Chalmers rode up to him, threw up a salute and dismounted. “Nathan.”
“Deploy the sharpshooters,” Nathan replied as he stepped up and commandeered the horse. “If any one of those damned Lincoln lovers stick their heads up over those fortifications...” He looked at his forces surrounding the fort. “They either surrender or else.”
As it neared three in the afternoon General Forrest was out of patience. The Union had asked for a ceasefire to consider the terms he’d bellowed at them, but boats had been moving closer to the fort meaning that they were taking him to be a fool. To add insult to injury they’d shot another horse out from under him during the day.
“YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES!” Forrest roared. “THEN WE STORM THE FORT! SURRENDER OR DIE!”
Nathan looked at Chalmers. “They know the terms; they are aware of the consequences. Is the wagon ready?”
“You mean you’re actually going to use those THINGS?”
“I will take this fortification out of Union hands by ANY means, James!” he snapped back as he wheeled his horse. “They were warned.”
Vanessa watched with delight through a scrying pool, some miles from the Battle of Fort Pillow. Her four Wolfbears were being used as shock troopers by Forrest, smashing through the flimsy defenses and setting upon any and all in their path. Hardened soldiers threw their arms down, dropping to their knees in surrender, but the Wolfbears were merciless. A storm front of claws, teeth, and fury!Backed up by Confederate troops, the Union garrison fled at the massacre lest they be subject to it.
Vanessa smiled at how well her creations did; and then waved her hands. Tendrils of black smoke drifted from her fingertips into the pool. Moments later the Wolfbears ceased to be, replaced by the trio of elements that made them up. Vanessa shook as if filled with rattlesnakes on a frying pan as she waved her hands and summoned the animals back to her side, leaving a quartet of confused negroes inside the chaotic battle who were bayoneted, shot, clubbed and killed by the fired up Confederates.
Vanessa dispelled the scrying and collapsed amongst the frightened animals who were more scared of her than the traumatic ordeal they just went through. Vanessa looked up at the stars when a red light caught her eye. It sailed above her.
“What i…” Suddenly there was an explosion of light!The animals bolted from the thunderous noise flash. Vanessa scrambled to her feet clutching her eyes.
“You escaped me once before, witch!” The severe male voice declared. “Never again.”
“HOPKINS!” Vanessa hissed as she blinked her eyes to normal.
“Don’t you speak my name, whore!”
Vanessa looked at her attacker and smiled. The man was in his thirties, brown hair silvering around the sides, goatee, holding a silver ball and chain. “Or do you prefer Warren?”
He slowly began to spin the chain. “May God have mercy on you, as I will not.”
To Be Continued...