Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Scent: Part 5




Reven and the pup continued on through the forest for the remainder of the night. Despite the strange noises and the cloying darkness their journey was uneventful with the exception of a few trips and falls over roots and fallen branches. Now the sun was rising and sending streams of beautiful sunlight through the forest branches. The forest seemed to transform as the sun’s rays bathed it in golden light. In the dark of the night Reven imagined death surrounding him, hiding behind every tree and creeping through the bushes and branches waiting to pounce. The oppressive weight of the imagined danger had stretched his young nerves to breaking point but the tension was easing out of him as the sun warmed his back. The pup was running around as if seeing the world for the first time which in a way was true. All he had known was the damp, dark cellar and he now celebrated his freedom by running with reckless abandon around the forest. Reven couldn’t help but smile at his companion’s joy as he watched the pup tear through the forest stopping occasionally to sniff at plants or pee on a tree.

Reven needed to rest, to sleep. His legs ached from the night’s exertions and he felt more tired than he had ever done. Even though the forest looked a much more welcoming place in the daylight he didn’t want to sleep out in the open. He decided to take a short rest, finding a tree and slumping down next to it. The pup raised his head from the piece of ground he was sniffing and looked at Reven, inclining his head, with a quizzical look on his face. Reven looked back at him and smiled holding his arms wide, “let’s have a look you dog” he called. The pup didn’t hesitate, he bounded toward Reven skidding on the leaf litter on the floor of the forest and crashing into Reven. He immediately proceeded to lick Reven’s face and wagged his tail so hard that his back feet shifted side to side with the motion. Reven couldn’t help but giggle as he tried to hold the pup at arm’s length. “Sit, sit” Reven said and was amazed that the hound responded instantly sitting and staring at him with his tongue lolling from the side of his mouth. This was the first time Reven had been able to have a good look at his furry companion. The pup was covered in short, dark grey hair. Even though he was obviously young and still carried some of his puppy fat there were contours of corded muscle showing through his short glossy coat. His feet looked too big for his legs and Reven was reminded that when fully grown this dog would be as tall at the shoulder as a grown man. Reven’s eyes rested on the hounds face and two things struck him. Firstly the dog had piercing blue eyes that matched Reven’s own. They sparkled like sapphires in the sunlight and were almost hypnotic. The dog shied away from the stare, uncomfortable. “Sorry boy” Reven reached out and ruffled the hair on his head. He moved his hand down the fur around the dog’s mouth that was darker than the rest of his coat. It was matted with something dark along his jowls up to his nose. Reven worked the short fur through his thumb and finger and flakes of crimson fell away. Reven used both hands to remove as much of the dried blood as possible. He didn’t even need to think about its source. The fur clad attackers of Rosholt had provided his new friend with the meal he so desperately needed. There were no wild animals, just this animal. Reven felt no remorse for the men that had served as the hound’s meal. They deserved all they got for destroying the city, for killing the only family he knew and for driving him away from his home. Anger swelled inside him and felt his face flush with heat as hot blood coursed through his veins. As if in response to Reven’s rage the pup went on guard, a low growl rumbled forth as he stalked around looking for a threat. Reven bit back a curse and leaned back heavily on the tree letting the anger seep away as tiredness edged its way back in. The hound came and joined him flopping heavily onto the thighs of Reven’s out stretched legs. Reven again found himself smiling at the dog as it nuzzled its head under his arm, making itself comfortable. “What should we call you?” he wondered aloud. The hound brought his head up in response and licked Reven’s cheek. “We can’t call you tongue!” Reven exclaimed as he patted the dog’s side with wry smile on his face. The hound sunk his head down again trying to wriggle its head under Reven’s arm. As he did so one of his jowls pulled back revealing the doubled up rows of razor sharp teeth nestled in its mouth. Unlike a normal dog, war hounds had two sets of teeth in their mouths. The outer set was much like that of a normal dog but these beasts had a second set of razor like teeth that sat just inside of the outer set. It added to their ferocity in battle and was one of the many reasons they were so feared. As he stared blankly at the teeth it struck him. Looking at the huge canine it became obvious, “Fang”. The hound again raised his head, panting gently whilst fixing Reven with a look that was something close to fondness. Fang dropped his head down again, this time nuzzling inside of Reven’s massive jacket and then as quick as lightning jumped to his feet and yanked. Reven breathed a gasp of pain as something jabbed him in the ribs and the dog pulled back again revealing the battered leg of trampled meat that Reven had been carrying since Rosholt. Fang trotted away and then settled on the ground ripping off hunks of uncooked flesh from the less than appetising leg. “Oi, I….” Reven faltered in his objection as Fang ripped into the meat realising that he wouldn’t have eaten it anyway. He settled back onto the rough bark of the tree and shut his eyes trying to ignore the rumbling in his stomach. He knew he had to keep moving but he just needed a quick rest. Fang continued gnawing at the bone as Reven’s head drooped, full of sleep.

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