Bishop drew his dagger and cut a piece of meat out of the rabbit he was roasting for dinner.
It had been the first day on the trail of the little mouse, and while his stomach still churned with impotent fury, he had to eat something. Even if the thought of food seemed somewhat repulsive.
Could also have something to do with the remnants of his massive hangover.
He listlessly tasted the meat and decided it was all right. Did not really matter how it tasted anyway.
A whining noise made him look up and into the eyes of his companion, who was lying some yards away, regarding him with a look that was part hurt, part defiant, and part begging.
"Go away", Bishop said coldly.
He still could not forgive Karnwyr for his betrayal. How could the wolf let the bitch get away, after what she had done? And why? He'd known perfectly well his master did not want her to leave, but he let her go nonetheless. It would have been easy for Karnwyr to stop her, but for some reason the wolf had decided against it.
As if the humiliation of letting the girl make an utter fool out of him was not enough, Bishop also felt betrayed by his usually so reliable companion. That hurt. Really hurt. The wolf was the only creature Bishop regarded as a friend, and it seemed like even his loyalty was not certain anymore.
It left Bishop feeling cold, and lonely, and it was not a feeling he appreciated.
Karnwyr made a noise that was something between a growl and a sigh. Then the wolf got up, shook himself resolutely and trotted up to his master. He sat down in front of Bishop and stared at him, his eyes level with Bishop's, determination on his furry face.
"Which part of "Go away" did you not understand?", Bishop snapped and cut a leg of the rabbit, carefully biting into it, trying not to burn himself.
Karnwyr just kept staring defiantly.
Bishop growled, irritated. "Shove off! If you're hungry, you can bloody well find your own dinner. After you let me down like this, you don't expect me to share, do you?"
"Look, will you leave already? Not keen on your company right now."
"Are you deaf, or what?"
Bishop sighed in defeat. "All right. I give." He cut a large piece out of the rabbit and handed it to his companion. "Take it, and get out of my sight."
Karnwyr snorted contemptuously and wrinkled his nose, not deigning the piece of meat with a glance, keeping his eyes firmly on the face of his master.
"If you're not hungry, what the hells do you want? Just leave me in peace!", Bishop said, exasperated.
He could have sworn Karnwyr rolled his eyes before a large paw landed on Bishop's knees, while the wolf kept staring into his eyes.
Bishop sighed. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm angry with you right now. Not interested in cuddling. She played me for a fool, and you let her go. If you had not, she would be dead right now, and I would be a rich man."
For a moment, he imagined the moment he'd have to shove her down the cliff, if she had not escaped him last night. He thought how it would have been, standing on the edge, the water roaring against the rocks, far, far down, his hands on her shoulders, her terrified face, her pleading eyes, the shaking of her body, and then that last push, before she fell, her scream slowly dying away in his mind, and himself, staring down into the churning water, feeling empty, now she was gone...
Would he have been able to do it?
Hells, yes. After what she had said to him the night before, after how she had torn into him with her words, viciously, after she had made him care for her... Oh yes, he would have done it.
No matter how much it would have hurt.
He did not realise he had closed his eyes and clenched his fists until Karnwyr gave a soft whine again, and a cold, moist nose touched his face, closely followed by a warm, equally moist tongue.
He opened his eyes and was surprised to feel the sting of tears. It brought him back to himself and made his fury flare again.
On a hot day in Cania.
No tears. Not for her.
For her, there would be pain.
Lots and lots of pain.
Karnwyr licked his face again, then rubbed a furry cheek against Bishop's stubbly one. With a sigh, Bishop's arms closed around the wolf, and he rested his face in the warm pelt.
It felt like a bit of peace seeping back into his mind, his soul.
Whatever Karnwyr had done, he had meant well.
There was still a friend left in this world.
He would find the mouse, and he would show her the price of playing Bishop for a fool.
And after that, he would be on his way, Karnwyr still by his side.
And he could forget all of this ever happened.