Serial Fantasy Story – The Bandits of Dunn – Part XIV

“Oh, hells. Another one?” Sir James shot a reproachful look at the heavens.

“Two can play at that game, my shaggy little friend.”

Wain stepped into the glade, his muscles straining to escape his skin, his hair standing on end in a prickly mane. His sword danced between his hands and his face was pale as a ghost, but his feet were steady as death and his eyes were black with blood.

“Death has come for you, my pretty! And your little dog too!”

The wolfman growled and Wain moved faster than lightning, rushing across the glade and launching a mighty blow. The wolfman caught the blade on his forearm and deflected it to the side, but a large chunk of flesh fell to the ground.

Sir James advanced to join the battle and the fight began in earnest.

The wolfman moved so quickly that it was a mere flicker in the dusk. It swooped around the berserk barbarian and launched itself at Sir James. The paladin sidestepped again and tried to impale the wolfman, but the sword tip was knocked aside by the wolfman’s bad arm. Sir James rolled with the right cross but it still struck him square on the nose. A soft pop echoed in his ears, his vision went white with pain, and he fell to the ground, the weight of the wolfman bearing down on him.

He could feel hot breath on his throat, he could hear his attacker snarling, and he tried to strike the beast in the head, but his blind punches fell harmless on iron shoulders. Then the weight lifted, the hot breath was gone, and a long howl ended in a resounding crack. Sir James’ vision cleared and he saw Wain running across the glade towards a shattered tree trunk.

The wolfman clambered through the wrecked remains of the tree, splinters dangling from its fur like a deranged porcupine, and howled again. Wain closed the distance, bright blade shimmering through the air with a fearsome noise, and leapt into the air, bringing a flying attack down on the beast’s collarbone.

The attack would have split a strong man in two, and it staggered even the cursed wolfman, cutting and crushing through bone and skin. Blood spurted into the air and Wain howled in triumph. Then the wolfman delivered a hay maker to Wain’s jaw and the stocky barbarian was flung back across the glade. He struck the stone wall of the building and slid to the ground.

The wolfman disappeared into the forest shadows.

Sir James muttered a prayer of healing over his friend and tried to watch in every direction.

Wain rose to his feet, blood-black eyes questing the open glade for a foe to kill and Sir James nervously considered hiding around the corner of the mausoleum. Fortunately the wolfman appeared before the berserker fury targeted Sir James and Wain leapt to the attack once more.

The wolfman was no longer bleeding and carried a large club, studded with spikes that nearly glowed white in the twilight. Sir James realized that the spikes were made from the shattered bones of fallen enemies. Though still feeling a little wobbly in his knees, the paladin rose and advanced on the wolfman’s flank, hoping to at worst distract the beast and at best to find an opening for a killing stroke.

Wain had no such petty thoughts of strategy in his head. The beserker fury was on him and he closed with only the intent to hack and tear and rend until his foe was a quivering mass of bloody gelatin on the ground before him. And then repeat ad nauseam. He launched a blistering assault of sword strokes, hacking and slashing with such speed that Sir James could not follow the movements.

A dozen cuts opened on the wolfman’s chest, bleeding through the long matted hair. But the grievous injuries hampered the beast hardly at all and it counter attacked, smashing its club against the side of Wain’s head with resounding force. The glade echoed with the sound, like the thunking of a ripe pumpkin. Wain’s head snapped to the side and Sir James feared his friend’s neck had been broken. But the barbarian slipped in closer to the beast and stabbed it multiple times. The beast howled with pain and tried to smash Wain with its club but the barbarian was too close. Sir James attacked from the side, hacking his sword at the beasts undefended neck.

Even the strength of the cursed wolfman could not bear the fury of this assault and slowly the beast collapsed to the ground, whimpering. Sir James backed off, putting some distance between him and his berserk friend. Painful experience had taught him that it took Wain time and lots of space to come out of his battle rage.

A little while after the last whimper of the wolfman ended, Wain realized the beast was dead and began looking for the next foe.

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