Bruyant stifles an oath as he barks his toe on a tree root. His path has grown more faint and overgrown the farther he walks. Twice now he has lost his way beneath dried leaves and brambles and forced to retrace his steps. He moves the lantern back and forth, ascertaining which way the path runs between the trees.
A scream comes out from the distance. Far away, the priest can see a flickering light – the guttering remnants of a torch? – close to the ground. A muffled snarl can be heard, as well as a cry for help.
Bruyant knows the voices of his friends, and the call is not from one of them. He glances at the path, knowing he will be unable to find his way back if he goes to assist this person.
Crashing through thickets and brambles, the priest runs at full tilt toward the horrible noises. A branch slaps him in the mouth, drawing blood. He spits it out and continues to shout as he careens toward the light.
Before him lies a poor cotter, grasping a bloody arm, his guttering torch fallen at his side. Over him stands the huge form of a monstrous wolf. It snarls, its black lips revealing crimson-stained teeth.
Bruyant pauses for a moment, then raises his staff and torch in what he hopes is a menacing manner. “Be off, fell beast!”
The wolf ceases its growling. It turns its head to look at the young priest. The cotter, seeing his opening, runs into the woods.
The wolf regards Bruyant. Man and beast lock eyes. The cotter’s shouting and thrashing move rapidly away. The wood becomes still.
Breaking eye contact with the priest, the wolf drops its head slightly. It walks into the gloom, occasionally pausing to look over its shoulder. Soon, it too is lost.
Bruyant shivers. Looking at his feet, he finds another path, leading in approximately the direction he sought before. With a quick prayer that he has not gone astray, he walks off.