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Fantasticoe 1995

The Beast
Pat Miller

     Deep in the dark forest lived a being of great evil. This demon was forced to live in solitude for all eternity. This dark decrepit forest was once a beautiful and enchanted forest. Then it came, and with his arrival came destruction. All the animals were forced to flee the forest and the ones who didn't were caught and killed, dinner for the dark prince.

     In a nearby village lived a young warrior, or so he thought. He would ride through town on his old mare carrying an old rusty sword and a shield made of wood. His older brother and the other men his own age had all gone of to the castle to seek apprenticeships with the local knights. He however was to small and weak to compete with the others and so stayed behind.

     The beast, having searched the whole forest for food, found only two small rabbits, not even a snack. Angry, it set of towards the edge of the forest to look for food. Being careful not to pass the boundary of the forest it managed to coax a deer into the dark domain. The beast ate, and when finished, not yet satisfied, looked over to see a village. It threw down the last bone and tore off through the forest towards the village.

     The young warrior had taken a fancy to one of the young women in the village and everyday like clockwork met with her just outside the village. Today he decided that they would explore the forest. With that he helped her onto his horse and they headed off to the forest.

     The beast arrived to the end of the forest closest to the village. To its amazement something was headed right towards the forest. Now it would eat, and finally satisfy its hunger. The beast mouth moistened with saliva as it waited for its meal. Moving deeper into the forest the beast hid and waited.

     When the two reached the forest, the warrior dismounted and tied the horse to a tree. He then helped the girl down, and the two ventured into the forest. They had only gone a short distance when the warrior stopped. Just then the beast leapt from the forest. With its extended claws and its huge white fangs leading the way, the beast collided with the warrior. The force of the blow sent the warrior sailing back into a tree. The girl screamed and ran towards the warrior, but the beast intercepted her and with one blow tore her head clean off and sent it sailing through the forest. The rest of the body fell to the ground, twitching for a few seconds then becoming still. The warrior screamed in terror. The beast then turned its attention towards the boy. When he turned to where the boy was he had vanished. With a loud scream the warrior leapt at the beast from behind. With his sword drawn he lashed out at the beast. The blow, although strong, only managed to cut through a few layers of the beasts' tough hide. The beast turned and slashed they warrior across the chest with its huge claw. The cut was deep but the warrior was able to keep his feet. He then ran deeper into the forest, the beast in pursuit. After a short distance the warrior tripped, falling into a small ditch. The beast unable to stop sailed right over him. When the boy looked up he noticed the wound on the beasts' back was totally healed.

     'The forest must give him power,' he thought to himself.

He Then jumped up and raced towards the edge of the forest. He could see his horse at the edge of the forest. He had made it. He leapt towards the clearing and had almost reached the sunlight, when the beast hit him from the side sending him crashing to the ground. With one slash it was over. The beast drug the to bodies into the forest where it could finally satisfy its hunger.

     A traveler passed by later that day. He saw the horse and upon investigating saw the blood. He knew something was wrong so he took up the horse and went to the village. The traveler told his story and the villagers instantly recognized the horse.

     Word of the tragedy reached the castle quickly. The king worried about his loyal subjects rounded up his best knights and sent them to kill the beast. Among them was a newly appointed knight, the boys brother. Sir Goodwin led the six gallant Knights to the dark forest. Sir Bravard, the brother, bought up the rear, but was the first to notice his brothers horse still tied to the tree. The group came to the edge and then dismounted.

     "Be ready men," Goodwin shouted as he walked into the forest. When they first entered the forest a foul odor over took them. When they looked around they saw blood everywhere. There were no trees left uncovered with the life blood of the two victims. As they searched for some clue of the beast, Sir Goodwin stumbled on something. When he looked down he saw the decaying severed head of the girl. Sir Goodwin lost his lunch. The six brave knights followed the blood-stained path deep into the forest.

     A loud, blood curdling howl was herd in front of the knights. Swords were drown, and the six formed a circle backs to the center. Ready for the attack they waited. Sweat rolled down the brow of Sir Bravard. From out of no where leapt the beast. With its huge fangs and giant paws leading the attack, the beast made short work of the first knight it encountered. The armor was torn to shreds and distributed over the ground. The other five quickly circled the huge beast, cutting of any escape paths. The beast stood there for a moment sizing up its opponents.

     Sir Goodwin eyed the beast resting there on all fours. Drool dripped from the beast's blood stained snout. Its pointy ears standing straight up listening to there every movement. Then like lightning the beast leapt towards another knight. With no time to move the knight instinctively raised his sword and drove it into the flying beast. It was a valiant effort, but all for naught. The giant paw of the beast slashed downward, taking with it the front half of the helmet and most of what was inside.      Sir Goodwin jumped onto the beast's back, thrusting his sword deep into its back. The beast howled in pain. With one sword stuck through its shoulder and now one in its back Sir Goodwin thought he had killed the beast. Sir Bravard stood back watching the fray. The other two knights joined in on the attack. The wounds, however, were not as fatal as one would hope. The beast rose up on its hind legs and made a fist with one of its paws.

     One of the knights tried to lunge for the beasts' exposed chest. He didn't quite make it. The beast lowered its fist with immense force. Striking the knight on the head. The blow split the helm in two, and flattened the top third of the mans skull. It also drove the knight knee deep into the ground. The body bent at the knees and fell.

     With this Bravard summoned up all the courage and the strength he could, and charged in. Instead of attacking the beast he began to attack the forest itself. With every blow he gave the trees a mark shown on the beast. Sir Goodwin and the other knight followed suite. While the beast concentrated on the other knights, Bravard started to make a fire. When at last the flame appeared, Bravard took it and light several other sticks. He threw a torch to each of the other two knights. Then the three men raised to the edge of the forest, lighting everything they could along the way.

     The Beast pursued the three men. Bravard, being the quickest made it to the clearing first. He started to set the nearby underbrush aflame. Sir Goodwin soon arrived and did the same. The third knight however never came out. The beast had caught and killed him. Its final meal.

     The two men untied the horses and stood back, watching the fire grow. The Beast could be heard deep in the forest, howling in pain. As the fire engulfed the forest, the howling stopped. The beast was dead and all were safe.

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