Skulduggery and Val flew back the way they came, going faster than they ever could walking. Within a couple of minutes, they were landing besides the car, which was parked on the edge of the forest. Valkyrie stumbled when the landed, while Skulduggery calming walked around to the driver’s side.
“What was that?” she asked, regaining some balance by leaning against the car, which earned her a disapproving tilt of the head.
“We really don’t have time,” Skulduggery replied. When he saw Valkyrie’s look, he quickly said “In the car. I’ll explain it on the way.”
“On the way where?” she asked, getting in on the passenger’s side.
Skulduggery was about to reply, but then they both heard something. A single howl echoed from within the forest. Followed by another howl. And several more.
Skulduggery started the car and they sped along the small road that lead them away from the forest.
Another howl, closer. Skulduggery was going as fast as he could. Valkyrie looked at him, and saw out his window, which was the side with the forest in it, something running through the trees. She told herself there was no way the wolf was small enough to run between the trees, that it couldn’t be a wolf. But then it jumped out.
Skulduggery swerved to avoid the wolf, almost going of the road and onto the rocky, grassy field on the other side. The wolf was fast, impossible fast for something as big. But the Bentley was slightly faster, and it was obvious that they were going to lose the wolf. It apparently realised this to, because it slowed down and howled. It was soon out of sight.
Skulduggery refused to slow down, and Valkyrie didn’t want to break his concentration until the forest was behind them, and the road was easier to navigate. Even when this happened, she stayed silent for a minute, trying to understand. She was never told anything about giant wolves, or why they were even going to Scotland.
Skulduggery slowed down, now going close to the legal limit. “So,” he said conversationally. “You might have a few questions.”
“Yeah, I do.” Valkyrie’s anger was plain in her voice. “What were they?”
“Werewolves. Creatures ruled by the moon and their own savage instincts.”
She blinked. “And how come I’ve never hear of werewolves existing before?”
“Because there aren’t enough left to worry about.” Seeing the look on Valkyrie’s face, he sighed. “Long ago, before the war, werewolves were plentiful. There were probably more of them than there were vampires, actually. But most werewolves aren’t particularly nice.”
Skulduggery turned into another road, but Valkyrie barely noticed. “The Sanctuary’s couldn’t have them around,” he said, with something in his voice which Valkyrie had scarcely heard before. Guilt. “They were killed, hunted down. Good or bad, allies or enemies, any werewolf found was killed. It didn’t matter the age, or if they never killed, or even if they didn’t do anything wrong yet.”
“Any werewolf found. It wasn’t an easy job. They were very hard to beat, and there weren’t many who wanted to get into a fight with a werewolf.
“It was more of the good werewolves that were killed, not the bad ones. The bad ones were already hiding, because they were wanted. The good ones were caught unawares. There were even people that were paid by werewolves to hunt to good ones.”
“In the end, there were about a hundred left, out of what was once tens of thousands.”
“A hundred?! How could so many die?”
“The Sanctuary’s did what would now be called one of the worst decisions ever. They built a vampire army. Werewolves and vampires and natural enemies, built to kill one another. If they meet, nine times out of ten, they’ll fight to the death. The Sanctuary built an army to attack the werewolves, to wipe them out. They reasoned that most of the vampires would die, and what remained was worth no more werewolves.”
Valkyrie fell back in her seat, amazed. “What happened to the hundred left?”
They split up. They formed packs and fled. For many years people thought they had died out anyway. But when the war started, Mevolent promised protection for the werewolves. Most went to him. The ones who didn’t either fought their own fight, making their own side for the war, or didn’t do anything. None of them joined us.”
“So there were three sides to the war?” Valkyrie was astonished. She was finding out so much that sounded important, but she had never heard even a mention before this.
Skulduggery nodded. “The wolves killed anyone on both sides, including what they called traitor werewolves, which were the ones who joined Mevolent.”
“But if there were so few left-“
“Werewolves are naturally fighters. They live by a strict code, and there are no exceptions.”
Valkyrie nodded, although this made little sense to her. “What happened? In the war, I mean?”
“The Sanctuary promised no more hunting werewolves. There was a law put in place, making them have certain rights. This drew most wolves from Mevolent’s side to ours, and the third side of the war reluctantly joined us. They really had no choice. Their numbers were dropping low again, and we were winning the war. That law might have cut the war down by years, and saved their race.”
“How many were left? After the war?”
Valkyrie looked at Skulduggery. “And how many are there now?”
“Hard to say. But we can mostly judge by the packs. There are around fifteen werewolves a pack. There are two packs in England, one in Ireland, six in America and four in Russia. That I know of. So around 720. There could be a dozen more packs in another country, but I know for a fact that there is only three in the UK. I thought I knew until tonight, that is.”
“You said there wasn’t enough to worry about.”
“Really, it’s only the two in England and the one in Ireland. Only one of them, somewhere in Northern England, would fight against us.”
“Right. One last question. Where are we going?”
“Back to Ireland. I have a friend that can help.” There was something odd in his voice when he said friend.
“And who’s this friend?”
“The unknown Dead Man member. Lucian Tenacious. A werewolf.