Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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The svart-elf Saul finds a puppy. Well, three puppies, really. Or maybe it’s a three-headed puppy? It isn’t really clear. Saul raises the puppy but then he has to abandon the puppy because the sugar fairies drag Saul off to the land of pleasure and happiness.

It’s OK, though.

Hans’ll take care of that puppy for him!

Hans puts the puppy in his pot. He melts it down. He turns it into a treasure hoard of poisoned white wolf-gold.

This is why you should never loan your puppies to Hans.

The thief-hero Vaenwode, perhaps unsurprisingly, would like to have a lot of gold. He travels under the world. He steals a third of Hans’ great hoard. He takes it back up to Earth. Unfortunately for Vaenwode the gold creates a secondary manifestation: a magic wolf becomes a part of him, wound in him and through him, and makes him a very hungry thief indeed.

The svart-elves Eldri and Brygmir go up to the surface. They extract the wolf from him. They bind it. They fetter the wolf’s limbs and maw with a cord made from the footfalls of a cat, the arms of a four-armed ape, the torment of the willing, the bearing witness to the wrongness, the spittle of a bird, and the perseverance of hope. They seal the wolf to Vaenwode and his family, wind it in him and within him, through him and with him, and nevermore to be apart.

Now Vaenwode has one (1) Fenris Wolf!

This does not do him very much good. At first the wolf is his friend but then it is his enemy. At first the cord is comfortable on both of them but later it becomes an atrocity. The cord does not grow with the growing wolf; it cuts suppurating furrows into its legs and snout instead. In some places you can see through to the bone. As for Vaenwode, he is eventually eaten and the wolf passes down to his daughter Jordis; and her son, and his son, and his daughter, and her daughter, and so forth.

It passes eventually into the keeping of the modern Mr. Gulley, owner of the Lethal Corporation, who decides that it must die.

The wolf believes, based on a feral intuition, that the cord is finite: that it will not last forever; and more than that, that the one destined to break the cord and free the wolf is young Edmund Gulley, Mr. Gulley’s son.

Mr. Gulley becomes obsessed with the wolf. He commits an indiscretion. Fearing that the cat’s footfalls in the chain of the wolf will fray, he buys a new set from the smith-dwarf Joffun. These the dwarf affixes to the feet of the household cat, Inedible, who becomes clanking and rather consternated thereupon. In trade, Mr. Gulley gives Joffun young Edmund Gulley’s heart.

Joffun is overcome by the potential of the heart. He becomes drunk. He dances in the streets and rants about the magic he will work. He waves a fresh and bloody young boy’s heart over his head. This proves to be inadvisable behavior in a country quite so well-policed as post-cisorian England; Joffun is apprehended, tried, and imprisoned, and the heart returned to Mr. Gulley and his son. Mr. Gulley places it in a box on Edmund’s desk: at first a box made of straw and then later (when the wind of the wolf’s breath caves the straw box in) a sturdy case of mahogany, balsa wood, and teak.



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