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The Lost Pup

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Their breath was ragged and hard. The hand holding the wound shut was sticky. All they could smell was the copper tang of their own blood, which was impressive since the alley they had stumbled into was piled with refuse.

The stumble could have been caused by blood loss or tired feet— but in the end did it really matter? The end result was the same: ass over kettle, into a pile of garbage, crying out in pain as more blood oozed from a wound made by a traitor.

Sorry luv, this take is just more divisible by two than three.

The tears were salty and the blood tangy in their mouth, as they curled up on the pile. Gripping tight their charm of the Hound they cast their eyes to the sky. The moon was vacant in the night sky; but the constellation of the trickster and thief, the Bounding Hound, twinkled in the night sky above.

The druid pulled the charm from their neck. Once, it had been a gift.

Now, it was a bloody trinket, covered in swirly sticky fingerprints.

They stuttered through the ritual— the movements lacking their normal fluidity— and summoned the constellation they had spent their life paying service to.

The shadows of the night swelled around them across the alley in a mesmerizing dance until the shadowy form of the Bounding Hound coalesced, red eyes blazing in the gloom. Its body was huge and filled the dingy corridor, creating pressure and dampening the sounds that came from the darkened streets around them.

“You have summoned me, as is your right, for your ride with the hound— but only if you are worthy. Speak mortal: what is the take that we hunt for?”

The sound of the Hound reverberated in their chest, as they struggled to sit up.

“I hunt for revenge, Hound, I want the betrayer of the pack to suffer.” Tears rolled down their face, as their sight started to go spotty and dark; the blood loss taking its toll.

“Please!” Their voice called out, painful and broken. “Grant me vengeance.” Large tears rolled down their face as they pleaded. Bloody hands holding their sides tighter, but to no avail.

The Hound said nothing.

The druid hiccuped and the wound seeped. “I’ve followed the teachings, tithed to every stray pup, never betrayed the pack.” Everything hurt, and the tears won’t stop now. “Please,” they whimpered, and darkness that was creeping around their vision, overtook them.

The Hound watched as the druid slipped away, and took pity; wrapping its large shadowy body around its dying acolyte. Vengeance wasn’t its purview; and the acolyte had been dutiful and loyal so it hadn’t wanted to turn them in to the mindless monsters of failed requests. But it could shepard this soul to the layline. This lost pup of theirs.

But when the murderer called upon the Bounding Hound… well...
Let’s just say his fate was much less kind.