Being normally perceived as a suave and debonair dwarf about town, you might be surprised to know that I have spent an absolutely silly amount of time sleeping in very very unpleasant locales. The top of a tree in the Minnesota wilderness definitely qualifies.
I had tried to stay awake as long as possible, but when the adrenaline from the chase had finally faded from my system I crashed hard, only waking when my lovely wife was yelling most delicately at me.
"Mmmpjlrrgtt??" was my carefully considered response to her dulcet call as I rolled and and almost fell out of the crook where I had been napping.
"Mongo! Get down here!"
I blinked groggily and shaking my head to clear it, dropped the twenty feet into a neat shoulder roll on the ground.
"You rang?" I yawned.
"Coyote's gone!" Harper was scanning the woodline around the mound.
"He'll be back. I doubt the wendigos will be able to catch him..." In fact, just as I had finished speaking, Coyote did reappear dragging a freshly killed doe and at a dead run. We could hear the weird not-speech of our attackers babbling in the woods around us, and a large grayish shape ran towards him. I drew my pistol and dropped to one knee, aiming at the target of opportunity's head before squeezing off two shots. The large figure staggered and dropped in a heap.
The babbling turned into howls of rage and probably dwarf-seeking vengeance. Story of my life. Coyote took the diversion and hauled his furry rump up to join us, before dropping the deer at Harper's feet and collapsing in exhaustion.
"God damn that's a strong dog..." Dan said almost disbelievingly. He was staring at the hundred pound doe that Coyote had been hauling along while moving at a dead run.
"Lobox...not a dog," I rubbed the panting apex predator's ears and ruff. "Good Coyote, you brought us breakfast." His tongue lolled out and he gave us the happy killing machine smile. Approval from the pack leader was always appreciated.
Then he gave a slightly nervous whine and looked out into the woods.
"Don't worry boy, we'll kill them all," I reassured him. He gave a happier yap at that and began to roll and stretch.
"Breakfast?" Dan was staring at the doe.
"Well of course," Harper answered, "He knows the pack has to be fed. Dan, your knife."
He pulled the big folding knife from its belt sheath and handed it over. It really wasn't the best tool for jointing and butchering, but it was what we had. Soon Dan was helping with the cutting while I started building a fire from the dead wood up here with us. In a remarkably short period of time we were enjoying fresh deer-ka-bab.
"So what now?" Dan asked.
"Now," I replied while examining the various plant life and other flotsam that was scattered around us, "We prepare for our backup to arrive. Dan," I asked meditatively, "I think we should send out another message for help," I was looking south, "Our cavalry will need to be able to find us after all."
"How are we going to do that?" Dan was looking south now too. "We can't get a decent signal and I'm not really sure where we are."
"I was thinking that Lassie should go to the rescue and tell them Timmy has fallen down a well," I looked down at Coyote who was calmly gnawing on one of the doe's thigh bones and crushing it to splinters. He looked back up at me curiously.
"Could he make it Mongo?"
"Easily. Only trouble is that he is very dangerous to others if one of his pack isn't around to keep him focused. The good news is my brother Garth is on the way and should be there soon. He can keep Coyote calm."
"How do you know the wendigos won't intercept him Robby?" Harper asked.
"Well he's going to need a diversion obviously...Dan, have you ever started a forest fire?"
"Are you serious?"
Harper groaned, "Whenever it comes to random property destruction he always is."