The Foolishness of Williard

The coals burned quietly, sizzling flesh and hair in the back of the empty old blacksmith's shop. A foul stench seeped out of the furnace. And for a long time, the ominous odour of death was all that occupied the room. Then, there was a thud. And then another. In fear, a little brown shrew scampered across the floor of the room and hid in a crack in the wall.

Hinges thirsty for oil creaked as a blackened hand pushed open the door of the furnace. Then, a second assisted it in grabbing the hot metal frame of the furnace's opening and pulling the rest of their body out of it. The browned and blackened skin was caked with ash and burnt clothing that fell off in powdery shreds as the creature that emerged from the furnace stood and cracked its back and then its neck without effort.

From its hands, ebony nails grew sharp and bestial. All the skin had boiled and blackened, and now flaked away into dust. Below it, emerged a layer of thick black fur. And where the stinking remains of gray human hair fell from its skull to the ground, a pair of twisting horns emerged from the head of this new fiend. They shone like the moon against a midnight sky of fur.

The wild hands tore at the lamellar upon its chest, exposing a silver pattern of fur upon the beast's chest that bore the shape of a human skull, where there had once been the tattoo of a horned wolf.

As a canine tail sprouted from behind and hooves emerged from the tattered remains of singed boots, all that remained of the Wolfram of old were the warmly lit golden eyes. They hung like twin stars in a ceaseless midnight. His thickly furred silhouette had become that of a satyr, clad only in his lower undergarments which now had much the likeness of a loincloth.

Bending over, golden irises glared into the hole in the wall, and a hand thrust in, grabbing the rodent by its back end. Raising himself up, the beastly Wolfram licked his black lips and white fangs with a thin, wide pink tongue before dropping the panicking shrew into his gullet.

The stench of burnt humanity was then overpowered by the pheromones of a great predator; full of hostility, lust and a thirst for blood.

A deep voice rasped from his snoutlike jaw, exposing the teeth of a sneering predator, "All my love for you, my beloved Queen of Skathain... all my love!"

And then the demon ran from there, feet clicking against the cobbled floor, leaving a faint trail of ash hoofprints in his wake. The door of the shop fell off its hinges as it burst open, and a dark shadow flitted through the alleys of the fortified, ancient city of Stonegard.

The End

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