“What is that?” Every time I turned toward it, it seemed to hop just out of my view.
“What is what?” Moon-Singer asked guardedly, looking around.
“I thought I saw something…” I turned as the ghostly black thing–an animal, maybe? Shifted just out of my view. “Every time I think it’s just my eyes playing tricks on me… I see it again.”
“It could be the sight,” Healing-Tears suggested. “Whatever it is may be completely invisible to our mortal–”
“Watch Out!” I cried. I quickly shifted to a large, humanoid wolf–almost twice my normal size–and shoved Moon-Singer out of the way. A gaunt black dog jumped where he had been had been standing; its thin, angler-fish like teeth were bared and it had huge, red eyes the size of saucers. As soon as it landed, it formed into a vague, misty haze and disappeared into the bushes.
“A dog?” Moon-Singer said, confused.
“If that was a dog, then we’re werechihuahuas,” I retorted. “It’s eyes were half the size of my face!”
Moon-Singer looked toward Healing-Tears in confusion for a moment. “The sight,” Healing-Tears replied. “What do they look like?” he asked me.
“Black and shaggy, and thin,” I replied urgently. “And… toothy.”
“Barghests,” Healing-Tears said, his voice becoming a low growl. He bared his teeth and shifted to an even larger form–I could hardly believe that was possible! Moon-Singer shifted as well, into a giant, wolfish man just as I had done. Both of them were covered in patterned streaks of fur.
“Stag,” Moon-Singer announced as he pulled out his sword, “Grant me your speed!” One of the white knots on his fur lit up like a brilliant silver flame, and Moon-Singer barely scrambled to the side as the Barghest jumped back toward him, its jaws slavering.
Blue-Flame dove onto the barghest, his bushy tail flying behind him as he bit its neck. In his dire form, Blue-Flame looked more like a fiery coated dog than a fox. His fur was patterned with blue green animals, and a leaping fox design glowed bright blue across his shoulders.
The barghests’ crimson blood drained across the ground and it fell to its side, whimpering pathetically. The fight seemed to be over before it began, but the faint black hazes still nagged at the corner of my eyes. It must have been a sign of the Barghests that only those with the sight could discern; none of the others seemed to notice anything was wrong, even ever-watchful Black-Wind, who circled the air above us.
“There’s more of them,” I said, taking a fighting stance and holding out my spear.
“Where?” Blue-Flame asked, glancing around. “I don’t see a damn thing.”
I stood very still for a moment, sniffing the air thoughtfully. The yard was drenched in the syrupy smell of death and rot, but there was another smell shifting through it, the smell of a predatory animal.
I pointed the spear toward a nearby bush; the smoky haze darted forward and materialized into another of the Barghests. I swung my spear toward it and watched in disgust as gore spilled from its belly. Another Barghest was jumping out of the bushes nearby, but my spear end was lodged in the dead animal’s stomach. Things did not look good.
I yanked the spear out and aimed it at the Barghest, but It didn’t turn out to be necessary–Healing-Tears threw the monster aside, it’s neck bleeding between his jaws. He growled as another Barghest jumped on him and tore at his shoulder. Black-Wind’s wings spread a shadow over Healing-Tears as he grabbed the dog and carried it above the trees, dropping it into the web of pine trees below.
“Is that all of them?” Moon-Singer asked, looking around and brandishing his claymore.
I paused, looking around the bushes, trying to discern any more of the smoky hazes. “I think so,” I said at last.
Moon-Singer’s sword disappeared in his hand. “Good,” He said. “Now let’s head inside.”