Fang & Bone - Part One

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The woods were eerily silent, even though they were teeming with life. Fang's lupine senses could trace the myriad of scents of small rodents and reptiles among the foliage, and there were the telltale scritches and scratches of animals in the underbrush, but the woods were still oppressively noiseless. The larger animals he had expected to smell or hear were nowhere near, having chosen to migrate toward the edge of the woods he had passed through earlier.

No, what he smelled most clearly was the stench of death.

Though it had started very faint, perhaps, at first, as the remains of some kill, the sweet scent of flesh had grown steadily more pronounced as he had made his way through the woods. Something large had died in this land and the stillness of the woods made this seem unusual, maybe even sinister.

The road through the woods was worn and unkempt. It had the signs of a major thoroughfare that had fallen into progressive disuse. Given the scent of death and the state of the road, Fang considered that both were related, to some degree. He decided it would be best to pause and see if he could sense any oncoming danger before it potentially snuck upon him. Fang came to a stop in the middle of the worn path and removed the massive cloak-hood from his head. Beneath the hood was the furred, brown head of a wolf and two large, pointed ears.

Though hunched, Fang stood seven feet tall from the tip of his ears to his pawed feet. He took a breath and stretched, fatigued from walking on his bare feet... though maybe paws were the right term? Since the curse, he had not really known how to refer to parts of his own body. His densely-muscled form at full height, he took in several strong sniffs of his surroundings and began to angle his ears to pick up any sounds he could from.

He adjusted the length of chain he had draped over his shoulder, across his chest, and down to his hip. The chain was heavy and strong, and while cumbersome, he was thankful that it held fast when he needed it during the times he would need to bind himself to a strong tree. Thankfully, the next full moon was at least a couple of weeks away. He had been cautious so far in this strange, mixed body, though it challenged him constantly. Even two years from the fall of Triseria.

Visions of Triseria burning under the attack of the cursed citizens crossed his mind as they usually did. He, too, had been cursed, but unlike the other Triserians who took on the feral forms, he did not relish his wolfen traits. The screams of those who had not turned and fallen to the wolves still echoed in his mind.

A change in the wind carried a light scent of burning wood across his nose. The scent came from down the road. Where wood burned there was likely a campfire, or perhaps even a shelter. He adjusted the broadsword slung across his back. But just as he could trace the smoke, so, too, did a strong scent of death make itself more obvious. He returned to his more hunched posture, placed his hood back over his head, and began to follow the smells of flesh and embers down the road.

As the scents grew stronger, Fang could pick up greater details. He began to dissect the odor of death, realizing that there were two, distinct sources in close proximity. Experience on the battlefield told him everything. A fresh pair of corpses was ahead.

He was curious about the condition of the bodies and followed the scent, off the road. Before traveling too far from the path he brushed the tip of his tail on a tree trunk, so he could guide himself back. He tried not to think too hard about the idea of having scent glands, or how he even had the impulses of a wolf, having never been one until the curse forced him into it. Even so, as beastly as he was, the woods were not safe to be lost in at night, and the marking of a tree was a lifeline he had come to rely on in his travels.

His feet, wrapped in leather bands bound in string, as he could no longer wear boots, did not provide him much comfort as he stomped through brush and twigs toward the corpses. He kept taking in the scent of the area, but the smell of rot, just settling into the bodies was overwhelming. Then, just as the trees and brush began to grow noticeably denser he spied the corpses of two travelers.

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