Fang & Bone - Part Four

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Fang was not sure if the joy he felt hunting and running was a result of his affliction or something more universal from his former life.

All he knew, now, was that his paw-like hands dug deep into damp soil and kicked up satisfying clumps of dirt in his wake. His massive form heaved forward as fast as possible, his nose following the scent of death toward the graveyard. His ears would pivot, picking up on many measures of sound, wary of the clattering of bones. He could make out the rattle of the undead from the rattle of his chains he had slung across his chest.

A distant "Ah! Help!" filled his pointed ears.

The cries of the little girl, Corea, brought Fang to a skidding halt, throwing him into a tumble into a raised embankment of earth. He steadied himself long enough to pick up her scent and ran toward her.

Damn her, he thought.

Corea scrambled up the dying tree

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Corea scrambled up the dying tree. Fragments of bark fell from the surface where her boot dug in, landing on the ghoul below. It reached up at her with its lone arm and an ineffective, rotten stump.

She sat at the base of a thick branch and the trunk, her legs curled up to her chest, bracing herself on the trunk and another branch. The ghoul was not smart enough to climb, thankfully. But he wouldn't stop reaching for her until he had her in his grasp.

"Someone, help! Please," she shouted into the darkened forest.

She felt the branch creak under her weight. Soon it began to splinter. She grabbed the trunk of the three, wrapping her arms around it. The sound of splintering filled the air, but it did not come from the tree.

From a growth of brush, the werewolf burst forth.

As he sprung from the bushes around an old oak, Fang saw that the girl was perched in a dead tree

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As he sprung from the bushes around an old oak, Fang saw that the girl was perched in a dead tree. Below the girl was a ghoul that was gnashing its rotted teeth and flailing at the tree. It turned long enough to see him approach, but could not stop a hefty arm bashing it into the tree, shattering its bones. Fang let out a mighty roar as the ghoul's bones cracked.

It fell into a crumpled heap of leathery tissue, rot, and splinters as the old tree began to crack and collapse upon itself. The girl yelped and fell from the branch, but landed securely into the crook of the left arm of Fang.

He set her down and moved back toward the ghoul. He grabbed its still gnashing skull, and with a flourish smashed it up against the remains of the dead tree. The ghoul's skull shattered into fragments held together by mattered hair and ancient flesh. The tree crumbled behind Fang and he stood up on his hind legs and looked down on the girl, tears still in her eyes. She looked rattled as she darted off behind a tree.

He slunk down, realizing his anger was not what was needed now. He crossed his legs and sat in place. His massive body hunched over his crossed legs.

He then began to sing. His voice was rough, his lupine-throat not accustomed to soft tones.

O' little one, fear not the night

For Justice prevails in Triseria

Guided by our Kingdom's shining light

You needn't worry for you are safe

All children may sleep easy in Triseria's sight

Fang sat in the darkened woods. His voice was rough and far from soothing, but he hoped that the royal lullaby might comfort the child. She came out from behind the tree, eyes puffy and red.

"Thank you, Fang."

Fang nodded to her. "You're welcome, child, but I wish you hadn't tried to follow me."

"I was worried Garen might have tried to kill you if I wasn't there."

Fang couldn't help but laugh at the idea of a small farm boy he aimed to rescue slaying him in the process.

"That was very noble of you, Corea, I appreciate that. But you should have not come out this far, away from Gordhurst."

Corea stepped forward. "Well, since I am here, can I go with you?"

Fang sighed as he rose to his feet. She would be safer with him, ultimately. If he made the effort to take her back to Gordhurst it would spell trouble for the boy, if he was still alive. There was no guarantee, either, that she wouldn't find herself treed by some horrid beast or undead monstrosity, again. He adjusted the heavy link of chains that rested on his shoulder.

He approached the girl. She took a tentative step back but stopped. She stood straighter, attempting to look bigger.

Fang plucked her from the ground and sat her on his right shoulder.

"If you are coming, then you do as I say, agreed?"

He felt her fingers dig into his shaggy red mane as she stabilized herself on his shoulder.

"I agree," she said, a little quietly.

Fang and the child made their way through the woods and back onto the road toward the graveyard.

Fang and the child made their way through the woods and back onto the road toward the graveyard

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Garen was relieved that his torch had turned out so effective. He was unhappy about needing to hold a femur so close to his face, but he was keen on the security a flame offered. His lantern had been smashed in a skirmish with a rotting man. Thankfully, the flame within had held long after the fight.

This torch was a trophy of his first real battle, and as horrid as it was to think about, it brought some sense of comfort to him.

He stood in front of a mausoleum, one that had long been part of the Suir family. Something dark lurked within. He could see the signs: runes scrawled in blood and dead rats.

A low moan echoed in the graveyard, and Garen turned for only a moment, checking he was not going to be immediately attacked. He tightened his grip on his handaxe and stepped into the mausoleum, his torch lighting the way.

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