Sample Chapters


Planet of the Dogs Volume 2

Chapter 1
Castle in the Mist
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It was a cold, dark night when the howling dogs awakened Prince Ukko from his sleep. It was a sound he had never heard before, and caused a cold feeling of fear to move through his body. After a few minutes the howling stopped, but now Prince Ukko was unable to sleep (link map to full page map)

His bedroom was in the high tower of the ancient castle that his father, King Ukko, leader of the Black Hawk tribes, had taken from the forest people. Perhaps his father would know what animal was making those disturbing sounds. But his father had left many years ago and never returned. And Prince Ukko was alone in the high tower.

Now, wide-awake, he rose from his bed, shouted orders to the guards outside his bedchamber door and went to the window. . He pulled open the wooden

shutter and gazed out. Except for the open area directly in front of the castle, everything was covered in fog and mist. Only the tallest treetops in the dark forest could be seen. As he looked out, trying to see something, trying to understand, the awful sound once again rose in the air. Something was out there that should not be there. Something unknown.

It was many years ago that Prince Ukko’s father, and the Black Hawk tribes, attacked this castle and the surrounding forest land. Before then they had traveled far through the Western lands, taking what they wanted and giving cruel treatment to all who resisted. People heard stories of their conquests and came to fear the Black Hawk tribes. It was because of this that there had been little resistance when their army invaded this land of small farms, tall forests, and the ancient castle on the shores of Lake Ladok.

And now Prince Ukko, with his captain Narro, stood on the walkway of the high front wall of the castle. The only other people in sight were the sentries who patrolled the walls. Ukko and Narro were both dressed in a heavy fur coats, fur boots and caps for it was very cold. The howling sounds had stopped. Once again it was quiet. There was no wind, and only a half moon to shed light on the great fog that hid most of the world below.

“You heard those sounds,” said Prince Ukko as they looked out beyond the castle walls. “What creatures made them? What was out there?”

“I don’t know, sire. But I think it may be dogs.

“How can this be? How can dogs be here?”

“I cannot answer that, sire,” said Narro. “But those sounds are very much like the sounds that the Urch brothers made when they told their stories. Stories of how the Stone City horses became nervous and frightened in the Dark Woods.”

“Where are they now? We should talk with them.”

“I have sent for the brothers and they will soon join us here.”

At that moment a howl came from the mist-covered forest directly in front of the two men and startled them. It was followed immediately by another, somewhat deeper howl that came from farther away. The sounds were repeated, each time the deeper howl came closer until it seemed to be coming from the very edge of the fog at the far corner of the castle. The two men watched in angry silence.

The Urch brothers, formerly members of the Stone City army, followed by several other Black Hawk soldiers hurried down the wall and approached the Prince. Turning to them, he asked in a hard voice, “What is that sound? Is that the sound of dogs?”

Together, the Urch brothers replied, “Yes, sire.”

“How can that be? You were told to poison the dogs,” said the king.

“We did, sire. No dogs followed us. And we were careful to hide our trail. We crossed many streams before we crossed through Storm Mountain pass. We kept a constant lookout. No one was behind us.”

Again, the dogs howled. This time the sound was very sad and mournful – and lasted for a longer time. Prince Ukko turned to face the sounds. The moon was now partially hidden by thin clouds making the misty forest appear even more mysterious. “I do not like this,” said Ukko. “I have traveled far in my life and I have never heard anything like this.”

They all stood there listening until, with anger in his voice, Prince Ukko gave Narro an order, “Send out a fast warrior group to capture or kill these dog creatures. They are evil and must be destroyed. Rejoin me here when the men have gone out the gates.”

A short time later, the alarm bell rang out and soldiers of the Black Hawk tribes

rushed out into the large main courtyard. Narro soon had a group of experienced men assembled. They carried swords, spears and large hunting nets. Half of the men carried torches made of wooden handles with fire bowls attached to the end. The foot soldiers were joined by the Urch brothers and two other warriors all mounted on large horses.

The gates were opened and they all rushed out into the clear open area where they separated into two groups, each with a leader and following the howling sounds disappeared into the mist. The horses moved carefully, stumbling as they went into the forest, neither horse nor rider able to see the ground.

Prince Ukko, from his place high up on the wall, could hear the angry voices of his warriors as they struggled to keep order and avoid falling on the uneven rocky ground. He could sometimes see torchlight moving through the fog. And then, the howling stopped. A short time passed and just as Ukko allowed himself to believe that the hunt had been successful, the howling began again. But now the sounds were coming from different places.

The frustration of the foot soldiers grew as they struggled to move through the forest. Their torches were unable to penetrate far into the darkness and the fog. At times they would come to an area where the mist had thinned, and they could see as far as three men ahead of them. At other times the fog was dense and they were bumping into each other and tripping over tree roots and rocks. Moving as fast as they could toward the sounds of the howling they were never able to locate the dogs.

The horses were useless in the trees and had emerged to move up the wide trails leading to the villages and settlements of the forest people. The trails were also covered in fog, and the horses were nervous and difficult to control, but it was the only thing that the riders could do in their effort to help the foot soldiers.

Whenever the dogs paused in their howling they used their sense of smell to find their way and quietly move to another place in the forest. There they would wait until the sounds and scent of the soldiers were moving away from them. And then, they would suddenly begin to howl again. After repeating this pattern several times the dogs stopped howling and disappeared into the forest, into the darkness and the mist. The silence that followed was broken only by the muffled sounds of the soldiers, moving carefully now, through the dark forest.

Prince Ukko, watching from the high wall with captain Narro and his personal guardsmen, again hoped that his men might have succeeded in their quest to capture or kill the dogs. “What has happened, Narro? Have they succeeded in silencing these evil creatures?”

Narro replied, “No sire. The leaders were to blow a victory note on their battle horn if they succeeded.”

Ukko, disturbed by these events, continued looking out at the vast foggy forest. Then he turned and said, “We have failed. Recall the men.”

Narro sounded three long blasts on his horn. The frustrated warriors, carrying their torches, soon emerged from the misty depths of the dark forest. At the very moment that the great castle gate swung open to receive them, there came, from very far away, two long howls. And once again, silence.

Prince Ukko stood there for some time. And then, followed by Narro, he turned away and began walking back to the high tower. “We will search again in the day time when the fog has gone,” said the Prince. “And tomorrow, I will talk to our prisoners about these creatures.”

Chapter 2
The Celebration

Ten days before the night of the howling, in the land of the forest people, the people of Green Valley gathered in Lake Falls Village to celebrate their traditional Harvest Festival Day. Once again the sun and rains had created a year of plenty and the people of Green Valley were joined by their neighbors from Corn Town, Wood Town, Sun Mountain and farmers from the Windy Hills.

People were also celebrating, for the first time, the Day of the Dogs marking one year of peace with the Stone City warriors. Bik, the warrior king, had actually come to the festival with his children Nik and Nikki. During the previous spring the children had become good friends with Daisy and Bean, who lived in Green Valley, and were the first people to ever see dogs. Daisy and Bean had visited the Planet of the Dogs, but no one knew this except Bella the healer woman, Omeg,

the village leader and, of course, all the dogs.

A great bell rang out in deep tones and the people gathered around a high platform in the middle of the Village Square where they saw Omeg, and some of the other village leaders, welcoming Bik.

Omeg introduced Bik to the crowd saying, “Here is a man who has kept his pledge of peace. A man of great power who has put down his sword and the swords of his warrior army and given us his friendship. This is Bik, the King of Stone City.” There were a few voices saying, “Welcome”, but most of the people were quiet, uncertain about Bik and what he might say.

Bik stood and looked out at the large crowd. “People are here from many places celebrating the harvest time. This last year of peace has been good for all of us. I know now that this is a better way than the way of war. And I will keep my pledge to you of peace and friendship.” With those words he waved to the crowd and the quiet was broken as the crowd began cheering. Bik, now smiling and still waving, then joined Omeg, who was his host for the day. Together, they went to the trading area; exchanging greetings with others as they walked. Stone City had prospered during the year of peace and Bik was pleased to see his people trading horses and olives for grain, wool and sheep.

Ever since the previous year, on the Day of the Dogs, most families in Green Valley had at least one dog. Many of their dogs had been left at home to guard the farm, to protect the animals, and to bring comfort and love to people too old or too sick to come to the Festival. Some families brought their puppies to an area set aside for small children where they could have fun playing and learning more about dogs.

Other families brought puppies with them to give to new settlers in Green Valley, or even to people from neighboring areas.

Bik had decided that he, too, would have a dog after seeing how useful they could be and how much his children enjoyed them. Tomas, the father of Daisy and Bean, and Omeg were showing Bik some of the many choices. There were big strong dogs that protected farms from bears and yet played well with little children. There were fast dogs that watched over sheep and other animals. There were smaller dogs that were always watching to see how they could make people smile. Because there were so many different dogs to choose from Bik decided to postpone the decision until some future time.

His children, Nik and Nikki, had left their dogs Stormy and Bill, at the farm in the Sun Hills where Daisy and Bean lived. They were going to visit with them for another two days when the festival was over.

For Daisy and Bean, and their guests from Stone City, the Festival was a time of fun and exploring. They stopped and listened to the joyous sounds of the Corn Town musicians. Walking on they were amazed at the variety of goods displayed by artisans and tradesmen. There were tools, woven capes and painted pottery for trade or for sale. And the smells of good cooking brought them to a big table where Sara, their mother, served them vegetable stew, fruit pies and apple cider.

Early the next morning there was a chill in the air when Bik rode out to the Sun Hills farm to say goodbye to his children. He was accompanied by three of his guardian horsemen, and three people from Green Valley who were going with him to Stone City. Omeg, the leader of the Green Valley people, was going to say thank you to the chieftains of Stone City for the year of peace. Barka, his brother, was bringing new grape vines and apples. He was going to give them to farmers and show them how to plant and grow these tasty foods. And Bella, the healer woman, was going to choose two women from Stone City to whom she would teach the healing arts.

Bik thanked Tomas and Sara and then said to his children, “Enjoy your visit. I know you will learn much about farm life and nature. The Urch brothers will arrive in two days with your horses to escort you home through the Dark Woods. You will be safe with them. You can spend the night in our campsite near the Dark Creek Road.” The children embraced their father and everyone said their goodbyes. Bik mounted his horse, and the riders began their journey to Stone City.

CASTLE IN THE MIST. Text Copyright © 2007 by Robert J McCarty. Illustrations, Copyright © 2007, by Stella Mustanoja McCarty. All rights reserved. Printed by Lightning Press in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, please send an e-mail to

[Nothing in this book is true of anyone alive or dead]

ISBN 9786928-1-0

Copyright © 2013 Barking Planet Productions. All rights reserved.