Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Sack Knight, part 6

The squirrel told Ignatius that the wolf dwelled in the deepest area of the forest, where no sunlight reaches through the trees. Before he set out, Ignatius wanted to ensure that the squirrel would be safe. “Run along until you reach a magnificent village, where the roads are painted gold and the houses are painted white. That is my homeland, the kingdom of Fair Alora. When you get there, go down to the palace and into the kitchen. There will be a kitchen maid there, named Avaline. She is a good friend of mine. Tell her you are looking for a place to stay, and that you are a friend of Sir Ignatius, but do not tell her where you ran into me. She will take you in, and you will have good food and a warm place to sleep at night until it is safe for you to return to the forest.”
            The squirrel kissed him on the cheek and thanked him profusely before running off to do as directed, and Ignatius set out to the deepest area of the forest. He figured that this wolf must be part of a pack, like any other wolf, and therefore the first thing he would have to do was trick it into straying from the pack. Then he would slay it, but with what weapon?
            When he reached the deepest part of the forest, Ignatius found a large, heavy stone and a large, thick switch. He picked these up and took them with him, and now he had two possible weapons. He took off his shoes and hid them under a shrub, and walked on tiptoe so his steps would be silent. He concealed himself in the shadows cast by the trees and the overhanging branches.
            Ignatius walked until his feet were red and his toes worn down, so that he had to go the rest of the way limping, but still he did not find the wolf pack. He kept at it until he was startled by the sudden sound of a rabbit’s screech—an ear-piercing sound that chilled him straight through to the bones. He was tempted to run toward it, but the running would give away his position and his feet were too worn down for it anyway. He was forced to continue to limp, staying in the shadows and trying his hardest to mentally block out the scream, which continued to echo through the forest and strike terror into his heart.
            He finally reached the source of the sound—a large, grey wolf was brutalizing a poor young rabbit, sinking his teeth into its legs, its back, and its head and shaking it back and forth in its large jaws like the falconer’s dog often did with his toys. The wolf was laughing in sadistic glee as the poor creature shrieked and cried and pleaded for mercy, and Ignatius could not bear the sight. “Wolf!” he hollered. “Do you have the courage to go after something much bigger than you? Or do you only select targets that will make you feel big?”
            The wolf fell silent for a few seconds, wondering who in the world dared insult him like this. Then he dropped the rabbit, gave it a nasty kick with his paw, and turned toward Ignatius. His nose sniffed the air, taking in the scent of human blood. Ignatius stood his ground, tightly holding on to his two weapons.
            “So,” the wolf said, baring his large, blood-stained teeth, “you dare to insult me?”
            Ignatius nodded.
            “Do you know that I could end your life today?”
            “I would like to see some proof before you make such grand claims.”
            The wolf struck. Ignatius stepped to the side and jerked his foot upward, landing a kick on the wolf’s stomach and sending him tumbling through the air. He landed on his stomach, and Ignatius went at him with the switch. But the wolf quickly rose to his feet and grabbed the switch in his jaws. He jerked it around wildly in the same manner he had been jerking the rabbit around. Ignatius could not hold on to it and his stone at the same time. He was forced to let go of it, and reached for his stone while the wolf shook the switch around a few more times before tossing it aside.
            The wolf lunged for Ignatius again, and Ignatius again swerved to the side, but wasn’t quick enough to keep the wolf from getting hold of his leg. It clung fast to it, clawing at it and biting it and laughing with sadistic pleasure.
            But now Ignatius could land the perfect blow.
           He bashed the wolf over the head with the stone, and the wolf dropped his leg and fell unconscious. He dropped the stone right on top of the wolf’s head, and that was the end of the terrible creature. 

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