It was well after dark when I spread the bear skins under the massive pines. An ancient place, this natural redoubt was where Rollo and I would retreat from the world.
The fire lit and Visigoth horse meat roasting, Rollo, who’d killed three raiders that afternoon, growled for his portion. I told him to shut up as I tossed him a hock.
Then I made my mistake, shared my grog with him. Rollo loves grog and once in a while, as a treat, I’d remove the leather from my helmet and let him lap his way into silliness. Rollo dropped into a stupor on his vantage point as eagle-owls hooted in the ravine.
The fire burned low. I tossed on a linden log, much longer burning than pine, and was about to turn in myself, when Rollo began to growl and kick in his sleep, another round of Visigoths, no doubt. I went to wake him to more peaceful slumber. I caressed his ears and spoke softly. In a blink he had my arm at the elbow, a powerful, full-mouthed bite. I yelled and, realizing his grog-addled mistake, Rollo released immediately.