Madoc pushed his trencher away, his stomach dropping out as he read the latest reports from the border. As Warden of the Fifth Pale, he was used to occasional raids from the Gethlyn, the devil-men from the Glass Mountains. This was different. The gethlyn usually took cattle or sheep, sometimes chickens - the Gethlyn were carnivores. This time, though, they'd wiped out a watch tower and the dozen men there. One of them had been left alive, but totally insane.
He ran a chestnut hand through his close-cropped salt and pepper hair. "Pedrog!" shouted Madoc, " come here, and bring a courier package." When the page arrived with the leather envelope, Madoc handed the boy a letter. "Seal the package, and have it sent to the other Wardens. Then have Trefor fetch his men and meet me at the stables in two hours. I need to see this for myself."
Pedrog placed the letter in the envelope and triggered the sealing charm on it, then bowed and left to carry out his orders. Madoc stood and ran his thumb over his Initiate's ring, the cold iron and quartz marking him as a storm-caller. His father had waited until Madoc had proven himself a Master of Storms, earning the matching torc, before officially declaring Madoc his heir.
Two hours later, Madoc stood next to his dun gelding, dressed in a surcoat emblazoned with the crest of the Fifth Pale, a gryphon on a field of green. His heavy mail gleamed dully in the afternoon sun, and his father's sword hung at his hip. He mounted his horse, and, with a shout, lead his men out of the courtyard, past the walls, westwards, to the edge of Neren, where the wild things are.