A Gift for Life and Death (pt5)

The insect crashed against the jungle arbour, causing the thick wood to moan in response.

The angel said something, but now Pup was annoyed. The beast skittered around the tree it had crashed into and darted toward the hound again, as if it could possibly do something to DEATH’S HOUND.

Pup batted it aside again, then promptly took the angel by the fabric at the scruff of their neck and bounded out of there. It was long gone, after a few strides. Pup let Forgiveness go, their hair completely windswept around their face, the air pressing against their face leaving it slightly pale, despite the moist heat the both of them had been in.

At least, that was how people described that sensation. The hound wasn’t phased.

The angel settled back on the hound’s back, rubbing their hands together. Throwing his head back over his shoulder, the hound tried to lick Forgiveness despite a lack of a tongue. It made them smile nonetheless, patting the end of his nose.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt4)

Pup lowered his chest to the ground, back legs still vertical as his tail whipped back and forth, slamming into the well entrenched giants of the jungle. The force may have rocked the canopy above, but at their roots they remained still. Those that could move away from the vicinity did. Just as well, Pup wasn’t interested in playing with them. Mostly because they weren’t interested in the first place. If others had been interested, well of course Pup would want to play with them. It was what he liked doing most.

The creature slithered forward on hundreds of thin, synchronized legs. It pulled its front end up and back, creating a general S-shape with its body. The front end opened up, a large gaping hole with teeth inside, shrieking at the both of them.

The hound barked once, twice, in response.

Forgiveness wasn’t sure the creature wanted to play. They warned Pup not to put his hopes up, but he was already in the moment. It wasn’t often that a creature so far away from his master’s domain simply strode right up to him. He usually had to preempt any sort of communication. He liked this.

At least, he liked it until the creature struck. The hound jumped out of the way, all play, but the creature slithered up and around him, trying to hold him down while also trying to slip Forgiveness into their mouth.

Pup batted it aside. That wasn’t allowed. He might put the angel in his mouth, but that was different. Other people weren’t allowed to do that. Forgiveness was his friend.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt3)

Forgiveness had a general idea of where they were headed. Pup listened to their directions as they gave them. Forgiveness didn’t often talk a lot – not in comparison to his master and the sower. When they thought about where they might find what they were looking for, they kept quiet, not speaking aloud as even other mortals might. It was a silence of complete clarity. They weren’t hiding anything by being silent. That was not their intention. They simply had nothing to say yet, so they would say it when they had thought of it.

The hound had no idea about phoenix. They weren’t in his purview. His master dealt with phoenix and the angel let him know why. Phoenix do not die for long, as they are reborn just after their end.

Pup’s tail whipped back and forth in excitement. He wanted to meet such a creature. One that didn’t belong to his master. That had to be exciting. Everything belonged to his master, at the end of what they were doing here. Not that Pup’s master told him what they did after they belonged to him.

The both of them traveled for some time. Forgiveness passed that time by talking to the hound about things that the sower had been up to and other conversations they had had with his master. He liked hearing about those things. The sower was really nice too. His master really liked her as well. It was nice, his master usually pretended not to like things like that. Other than his hound, of course. No one would believe that Pup’s master did not love him.

They flew over the terrain. Which was a matter of speaking. It was the angel who had the wings, after all, but the hound had the speed and barely left a mark upon the ground as he passed through. Unlike his master, who could not move without leaving an imprint of his existence. Unlike the sower, who made the opposite mark upon the ground. Pup took it all in, inhaling as they passed through river, forest, mountain, desert, able to taste the LIFE and DEATH which permeated every single breath through the canals of his skull which mimicked a form of nasal passage.

An odd clicking sound slowed him, especially as the angel’s grip went from simply hanging on to using his spine as a way to look around without falling off. Something powerful, the hound knew. Forgiveness gave it a name, but it didn’t mean all that much to Pup. All he knew was that it sensed large and in charge.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt2)

The hound was made out of bone. Bone so white it seemed difficult to think it had ever been exposed for as long as it had been. When the bone was left to be white, in any case. Currently he was covered in mud and appreciating the assistance in cleansing himself.

While Pup enjoyed himself immensely, it didn’t mean he wasn’t listening to what the angel was saying. Forgiveness was his best friend, besides his master. He would listen to anything Forgiveness had to say. But he especially listened when Forgiveness spoke of his master. His master was the hound’s favourite subject. Other than fetch, of course. He rather liked fetch too. His master first, but fetch was a close second. Oh, and the angel, of course. The angel was on par with fetch. The angel often played fetch with him. Not in the same way as his master, of course. Not with skulls flying across the open fields. Usually with something less…

Dead.

Pup didn’t understand all of the angel’s words, but the intent was clear. Forgiveness needed to find a present for his master and the sower. It was a very particular present. It wasn’t belly rubs. Pup thought those were the best presents. They were so easy to give! They were even easier to receive, too. Then again, his master required very particular things. Touch wasn’t usually one of them. Touch wasn’t ever one of them, unless it was the hound doing the touching. Even though it was Forgiveness, Forgiveness wouldn’t fare any better than anyone else would if touching his master.

His master was his alone for that. Pup knew that made his master very sad sometimes. It never used to, he thought. Like it was a new thought for his master.

The last of the mud and dirt being scraped from his bones, the hound shifted in the water, resting his head on his back to watch the angel work. They had no qualms about getting their hands dirty. Or the rest of them, for that matter. Flecks of mud in their wings, smeared above their brow, clothing completely soaked from the water they treaded in order to completely clean the hound. It felt nice, but it was almost over.

It turned from an explanation to a question. Pup stood up, shaking off the water from his ankles upward, where the water no longer touched. Forgiveness flitted back, then rested upon his back. A very light touch, as though they could go away in an instant.

They wanted quick travel. No one was faster than the hound. (Well, some were, but they weren’t as important and they didn’t travel quite so often, so Pup decided the fastest was his title by default. His master didn’t want it. His master had the title of being everywhere, so he didn’t need to be fast.)

Pup took the angel where they wanted to go.