Dietrich wandered the hellish landscape,
Sniffing vainly for any scent
Of the Chase carried on the brimstone breeze.
Something familiar touched his thoughts;
Somehow, someway he knew this place
From long ago. A faint memory:
He’d run his prey to ground here once;
A creature, not of the physical world,
Had escaped from eternal torment, aided
By a foolish mortal seeking revenge –
Not so different from he himself,
He mused, though he would never take
The life of the one who summoned his aid
As the beast had. The Chase was gone,
Wiped away, his existence traded
For a price he never knew he’d pay.
The Chase had made his choice and yet
The beast had not dealt in good faith;
Dietrich would exact a fairer price and
The fair penalty due his deceitfulness…
If he could but remember the scent
Of his prey, recall the stench of its evil
Well enough to find its lair.
He sniffed again, and growled a curse.
He prowled the fiery forest that burned
And yet was not consumed, this land
That joined the worlds of flesh and spirit
Yet belonged to neither, that challenged his God
To reassert His will by its mere existence.
The beast taunted him, and he would kill it.
Then a sound echoed through the wood,
Its passion shaking the very land itself.
A voice – he knew that voice! Benedict!
Certainty filled him as he launched himself
Toward his friend, toward Lilian…
And, he knew, toward the beast itself.