Chapter 3: The Renegade Lion of the Black Forest
So, here we have the spirit of Lord Gladismere, still contained inside of the Spirit Condenser, awaiting three things before the melding process is complete. The first thing he awaits is the sacrifice of the dreaded Renegade Lion. The second thing is the Spirit Splitting, (a very dangerous incantation, which if done incorrectly means annihilation for all involved). And finally, if all else goes well, the Enhancer Spell, which would enable to enhance the portion of Lord Gladismere’s Spirit that’s outside of the Spirit Condenser to a formidable degree, so it will function as a complete spirit! Also, the Enhancer Spell would work as an alleviator of pain for Lord Gladismere, both inside and outside of the Spirit Condenser. Being totally free from all pain will allow Lord Gladismere to think more clearly and function as a normal entity would function on the planet Earth.
Although the Three Witches of Fate have less powerful witches under their command to do a lot of their “dirty work,” the sacrifice and killing of the dreaded Renegade Lion of the Black Forest is far too important a task to leave in the hands of underlings. So the witches have decided that they themselves will take upon the task of finding the dreaded Renegade Lion of the Black Forest.
The first step of this most deadly assignment will be to locate the famed mythical creature. This alone will be a battle in itself, since the Lion’s main hunting ground is on the Labyrinth Path of the Black Forest.
Now the Labyrinth Path is one of the most dangerous locations in the Black Forest. It is by far the most dangerous path of the four major paths that lead to the Morbid Lake, a stagnant lake in the center of the Black Forest. It is an extremely large and deep basin filled with dead carcasses and other putrid matter. Creatures living in the Black Forest go there to die. It also just happens to be one of the favorite dining places in the Black Forest for the Three Witches of Fate.
The Labyrinth Path itself is a seldomly used path to get to the Morbid Lake, because of its many side roads, dead ends and caves. The Beaver Path (named because it was chiefly built by beavers gnawing down leaves) is the clearest and most frequently traveled path of the four major paths that lead to the Morbid Lake. The Eagle Path is a path that extends from the Morbid Lake all the way to the high grounds of the Evergreen Mountain, located some 28 to 30 miles north of the Morbid Lake. This jagged mountain range is home to a major portion of Zealots, a Christian Sect so named for their zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Zealots journey daily all the way to the Wild Wood Cathedral, which is at least 10 miles southwest of the base of the Evergreen Mountains. All the members of the Wildwood Cathedral are devour Zealots and pray daily.
The Snake Path, which is the longest path of the four major paths, is about a hundred miles in length. The path begins in the deep south of he Black Forest, extends northward in a snake-like fashion and ends at the southern base of the Morbid Lake. The only other lake in Smalltown is the Fresh Water Lake, which is some 50 miles due south of the stagnant Morbid Lake. Out of the four major paths that lead to the Morbid Lake, only the Snake Path leads to both the Morbid Lake and the Fresh Water Lake.
So, who is this dreaded Renegade Lion of the Black Forest? And why is he a renegade?
The Renegade Lion of the Black Forest was actually born of normal parents. You could just call him a freak of nature! I mean, how many Lions do you know that have wings? This special attribute that the Renegade Lion has (wings) is the reason why he was branded an outcast amongst his own pride, and all the other prides in the Black Forest. The fear of being overcome by him in battle was the primary motivating factor of all the male lions, who were responsible for the ousting of this fantastic creature. Sentenced by the majority to spend the duration of the rest of his life on the Labyrinth Path is a severe reconciliation, even to a winged lion!
For the first seven years of his life, the dread lion was allowed to live among his peers, but he fact that he was twice the size, ten times as fast and could fly made him unlikable. He could make a kill quicker and more often than anyone else. Furthermore, all the lionesses objected to a male lion doing their duty better than them, so he had to go.
The male lions in the Black Forest have a sort of hierarchy among themselves. Law #1, Article 1: Never outdo a Lioness!!! This was the main breech of the law of the land that the dread lion transgressed. He thought he had been impressing all the lionesses by helping them kill their prey (it is the lioness’s job to do all the killing, not the lion’s), but in reality, all he had done was create resentment and dissent. But the truth of the matter is that the Renegade Lion is a superior hunter in every regards to any lion or any other known creature in the Black Forest.
The Renegade himself is majestically proportioned: standing on all fours he is exactly eight feet at the shoulders! His claws, (or talons, if you like) are a stealthy six inches in length on each claw. (That’s twenty-four inches of cutting power on each paw). While the average male lion tips the scales at about 800 lbs, the wings of the Renegade Lion alone weigh 400 lbs. Added to his body weight of 1600 lbs. For a total combined weight of 1 ton! He can run on his feet for up to 100 miles per hour, for a 30 second period at a time, needing only about a 10 minute resting period to repeat his performance. His wingspan is a good ten feet on each wing, and he can maintain a top flying speed of 200 miles per hour all day long.
Before the Renegade Lion had been ousted by the members of his family, his disposition was as any other lion. However, since that time, the Renegade Lion’s heart had grown colder and colder because of his lost inheritance. As time went by, he became meaner and meaner because he was loved by no one, not even his own.