Benedict fought to control his emotions:
Anger with his own foolishness,
Fear for Lilian, guilt about Dietrich,
And a growing temptation to lose hope
All clawed for supremacy over logic.
He had to move quickly, yet not so fast
That he reached his destination breathless
And weary. He nervously shifted the knife
From hand to hand, juggling the blade
While he clutched at his robe in an effort
To keep from tripping. “Patience,” he muttered
Aloud to himself. “Know your limits and
Measure your efforts appropriately.
He’s goading you, herding you forward;
Don’t give him control. Don’t give him the pleasure.
Remember your purpose; remember your friends.”
The mutters became a chant of sorts,
Calming his mind as he strode toward
The man who murdered his brother so long ago.
He came at last to a clearing encircled by trees
And the ground bare of the flaming grass.
A small rise stood ahead of him
And on its crest, a cross in the shape of an X.
Hung on the cross he saw poor Lilian,
Bound by her ankles and wrists with ropes;
She slumped forward, her feet spread,
Her hands stretched out above her.
He called to her, and slowly she raised her head;
Her lips moved without a sound.
He rushed forward to cut her down.
Chase’s laugh was harsh. “Not so fast,”
He mocked as he stepped from behind her
And walked halfway down the hill
So Benedict could not get by him.
“I’ve waited far too long for this,”
He said with a smile. “So lonely was my prison,
So harsh my punishment until this foolish mortal
Set me free… and in exchange
I need only kill a priest and a wolf. How simple.”
He glanced back at Lilian, smiling.
“He wanted her as well. Of course,
There’s little left of him beyond this body;
So anxious was he to make a deal
That he failed to realize the debt was due
Up front. However, I keep my bargains;
This vessel he provided will taste her
Before her true use to me is fulfilled…
But his business before my pleasure.
Prepare to die, foolish priest;
I’ll kill the hound once I’m done with the girl.”
He stepped toward Benedict. The priest raised his blade,
Prepared to take this abomination with him
To the grave, when a shower of fire and splinters
Exploded from the line of trees to the right.
Benedict flung his arm across his face
To shield his eyes from the burning debris;
Chase barely had time to turn and look
Before the body of the wolf hit him full
In the chest and the two tumbled across the clearing.