Enter the village's small temple, hoping for the protection of holy ground against the cursed werewolves.

He had killed Changelings before, or Werewolves, or Lycanthropes, or Children of the Moon, or whatever their moniker be from township to township.  He had killed several varying types of beasts over his distinguished career -- including an array of Therienthropics and turnskins such as the Werewolves currently hot on his scent.  Killing one is difficult, killing two a rarity.

But a pack?

With a pack it was time to run.

His scent would have been easy enough to follow as he entered the township proper, a deserted version of Main Street.  The Ranger was doused with sweat as he passed the first darkened building, and it was likely that it wouldn't take a bloodhound to follow his reeking stench through the streets.

Also fear.  There were rumors of questionable veracity that Lycanthropes preferred to hunt the scent of fear because it was powerful enough to stimulate their taste buds, thus making each kill a delicacy.  The Ranger wished no part in tonight's menu, but truthfully he was frightened beyond belief.

He pressed harder, pushing way beyond his limits as he chugged through the deserted downtown area.  His feet grew heavier from exhaustion, a thought he banished from his mind as he set his sights on his only refuge from the pack.

The small, round church sat like a squat bug just beyond the town square, it's front door open and candlelight spilling softly from inside.  The Ranger's heart beat hard enough within his chest to split his breastplate, but still he ran.

Numerous cracking noises behind him.  The pack had cleared the forest's edge and was now charging hard through the broken tree line just at the town's perimeter.  He did the calculations in his head and estimated them to be only fifty paces behind him.

A twenty second head start, maybe less.  He looked longingly at the scintillatingly close front door of the church and knew he would be unable to make the refuge of the Holy Threshold.  His heart continued thrumming painfully against his breast plate.

His armor!  Of course!  It weighed him down, possibly enough to keep him from salvation.  He pulled his bulky plates over his head in a single, smooth motion as he ran, then kicked off his boots for good measure and put his head down and ran unencumbered.  He might just make it after all.

There was a terrible scrabbling just behind him but the Ranger wasted no time by looking back; he needed not the sight of of those cursed jaws closing in on him to entice his feet to greater haste, he was well aware of the consequences of coming up short of his destination, no matter his proximity to safety.

He was about to crest the first of the three steps leading up to the front door when movement just beyond the doorway caught his eye.  He leaped with the last of his strength only to collide with a fat, robed acolyte just at the entrance.  They fell in a heap and skidded to a stop at the backmost pew.

The Ranger was too out of breath to explain and the priest looked up at him with an extremely cross scowl, "What the devil is going on here?!"

The Ranger caught his breath enough to choke out, "The Devil is going on out there, Father!"

Together, they rolled over to face the shaggy, frothing predator that stood on hind legs at the door.  The air behind it was filled with fur as well.  The first Lycanthrope was gray in color, with big black ears that rotated sharply in search of sonic feedback.  Its nostrils flared and its massive chest heaved from the run, but its eyes remained focused on the Ranger, almost merrily.

"What have you done, man?" the priest whispered.

The Ranger got to his knees and said, "This is holy ground, yes?"

"Of course it is!"

"Then we'll be safe inside these walls, Father.  Take my word."

"I think you're thinking of Vampyres, lad.  Werewolves are not Forsaken by God!"

And if to prove the fat acolyte correct, the first Changechild boldly stepped through the entrance to the church, salivating wildly in victory.

The End

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