Chapter 1
The Caged Wolf

Outskirts of Kappa, Titan; Anno Titanos 275

"We have your son. If you want him back alive, pay us his weight in gold. You have seven days to bring the gold to the summit of Mount Spens alone and unarmed. If you fail to heed these instructions, the boy dies."
- Ransom note posted on the door of Sigbrand's house

Wolfmar had no idea how many days had passed since strangers picked him up off the streets of his hometown. He had been bound, gagged and blindfolded the entire time. All he could do was listen to the bad men talk about their bad plans.
He was only six years old. He was afraid. He wanted to go home. He wanted his mother. His sole comfort was the thought of his father. His father was a great warrior. He would surely come for him. The bad men would all be dead soon and he would be safe and sound at home.
With each passing moment he hoped to hear his father's voice. He knew it would happen. He just had to wait like a good boy and everything would turn out all right. He heard the door open. His heart leapt, but he was quickly disappointed to hear the voice of one of the bad men.
"He got Snorri, boss. I doan even think he brung th' gold."
Wolfmar heard a loud slam.
"Dammit! 'E thinks 'e kin troifle wi' us, does 'e? Luks loike we'll 'ave ta teach 'im a lessin, we will."
It sounded like the bad men were about to do something. Where was his father? He felt a big hand grab him roughly by the shirt. He felt something cold go across his neck, followed by a warm feeling all down his front.
He quickly started to feel light-headed. What had the bad men done to him? Where was his father? He could not think anymore. He could not even feel. He thought it could not get any darker, but it did.

* * *

Randwulf was woken up by what sounded like knocking on the door. As he rose out of bed, he looked at the empty mattress his brother would have been sleeping in. Wolfmar had been gone over a week. His father said he would bring him back, but he knew something was wrong when his father returned earlier that day without Wolfmar.
As he walked up to the entryway, he noticed some dark liquid seeping in under the door. He heard footsteps behind him, no doubt his mother and father. He opened the door and saw dozens of pieces of ragged flesh piled on the porch. He wondered if his father had upset the local butcher or something like that.
Then he realized that it was no lamb or pig spilled out on the vestibule. In the pile of flesh was a head, a human head. And it was not just any human either. It was Wolfmar. He heard his mother shriek behind him and frantically embrace him.
"Don't look, Randwulf! Don't look!" she screamed.
Despite his mother's pleas and her unsteady efforts to wrench his head away, Randwulf could not help looking at all the little pieces of pale flesh that was once his brother. The blood had splattered all over the front of the door. He could feel it oozing around his bare toes. This was death.
He absently looked at his father. The man was stone-faced, showing no signs of emotion. Did he not care that his own son was lying in a heap on their doorstep?
"Get him out of here," he said gruffly.
Randwulf's mother dragged him away weeping and wailing at her loss. His father walked out on the porch and closed the door behind him. Did he even care? The question plagued Randwulf. There would be no sleep that night.