“Wain. We did well. The beast is dead. There is no more danger. Come back now Wain.” Sir James had been reading that short positive phrases were best to bring a barbarian out of the rage.
Wain growled. A curious squirrel who had crept close to investigate the noise scampered up a tree to safety. Apparent safety at least. Wain saw the creature and sprang after it with a howl of anger.
Sir James sighed. He really needed to figure out how to break through the rage. However, with Wain distracted, he went into the building to wait out the inevitable. And investigate of course. Who knew what the wolfman might have secreted inside.
His danger sense giving him the all clear, the paladin sheathed his weapon and lit a torch hung in a convenient bracket by the broken oak doors. Though twilight still remained outside, the inside of the building was as dark and dank as a tomb.
Once inside, Sir James realized that the building was a tomb.
“That explains the darkness and dankness, at least.” His voice echoed in the empty space of the tomb.
There was only a single room inside, with a large stone sarcophagus in the middle. Wide pillars ringed the sarcophagus, supporting the roof and creating the appearance of shadowed alcoves all around it. The lid of the sarcophagus had been pushed nearly completely off. Sir James stepped closer and peered inside.
The rank odor of dog rose from the tomb and the tangled piles of shed hair indicated the most current use. Fragments of the original owners skeleton were barley visible through the hair and other debris but there was nothing of apparent interest.
A whooping noise carried to the paladin inside, echoing hollowly against the stone walls.
Sir James poked his head outside the mausoleum and caught a glimpse of Wain swinging through the trees, a few breaths behind a panicking squirrel. Shaking his head, James went back inside and checked the alcoves. Shattered candelabras and old furniture was all that his search revealed. Nothing to indicate who the wolfman had been or why he had been cursed.
“That runere of White’s, perhaps.” Sir James muttered to himself, “Those that delve in the black arts oftentimes create monsters that they cannot control.”
But it did not seem to add up. The runere had known little about the wolfman, aside from how strong it was. Unless he had been lying, but James had not gotten that sense from the man. Bitter and dangerous, cagey and obnoxious, yes. But the magician had seemed terribly loyal to White, in his own twisted way.
With the Black Tides as powerful on the mainland as they were, it was entirely possible the wolfman was cursed elsewhere and had wandered here without purpose, merely an unwitting agent of an ancient malevolence.
The tone of the whooping outside changed, losing much of its anger and gaining a more cheerful note. Sir James stepped outside.
“Wain! Wain, come down!”
Wain swung into the glade, dropping from the last tree. Behind him a frazzled squirrel fell to the ground with a thump, its heart pushed past endurance.
“Did you find treasure?”
“No. No treasure in there, only an old smelly dog’s bed. Come on, let us collect our ponies and return to White. We’ve killed his menace in the forest.”
“Good job, that. When did we do it? I don’t remember to much, we walked into the glade and then I was swinging about through the trees. Which is terrible good fun, by the way.”
“That’s good. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Come on now.”
Wain chattered happily about tree swinging the entire way back to the camp. There they lit a fire and rested for the remainder of the night.
- Serial Fantasy Story – The Bandits of Dunn – Part XIV (marieabmare.wordpress.com)