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The churchyard was always quiet.

Birds could be heard chirping, but even then, it seemed muted. Leaves scuttled across the gravestones, no matter what time of year it was. Even on the sunniest of days, it was quiet and unassuming. It was a place of rest, to any and all who cared to notice. Not many often did.

The church itself sat in the center. It was an ancient stone building, the only work done to it being routine repairs and upkeep. It was a staple in the small English town, though the congregation grew smaller and smaller as the years ticked by. Religion and worship were a dying necessity, and the church was becoming a place to lay their loved ones to rest and nothing more. More often than not, they never returned to even pay their respects.

A breeze pulsed lazily through the belltower, rustling the leaves and cobwebs in what some would consider an eerie manner. A creaking echoed lowly from the bell’s hinges, but the wind wasn’t enough to truly push it one way or another. It’d been years since it had rung at all; these days, the only noise from the tower came when the beast saw fit.

A large black dog looked down at the proceeding funeral. They were few and far between now, but once, the yard had been bustling with burials much like a market with patrons. It was a different time, a different age, and the life expectancy seemed to have risen by a great deal. The dog was growing unnecessary, at least anymore.

Still, she was tied to the church. It was hers to protect in any way it needed. And if that meant she’d have to keep it from being torn down one day, well...that was her lot in this life.

Stupid, weak Gyldi... It’s a pity the gods saddled our family with such a burden…

Earth-toned eyes blinked in quick succession as a huff escaped her muzzle. No time to dwell on the past; the soul was passing.

A wispy cloud rose from the grave as the coffin was lowered into the ground. As it began it’s ascent into the sky, her sight swept over the ground, searching for anything out of the ordinary. Often, shadows would rise from the soil and attempt to corrupt the soul, and sometimes they’d appear only to drag it downward. It was ingrained in her existence, being a planeswalker between worlds, that she know which ones deserved to be fought for, and this one would not be taken.

It was a cruel existence, considering that very religion destroyed her entire village, and she was damned to be their protector. Fighting against her role, however, had proved futile long ago, as her gods had abandoned her for her sins.

The Hellscape didn’t seem to want to bother with this soul, and as it reached its destination far above the clouds, the Grim willed the bell to ring out its arrival. The tower resonated deeply with the sound, and the assembled mourners turned their gaze upward. It wasn’t often they heard the bell tone, and it caused a deep-seated discomfort that was more akin to guilt to stir within them. They had abandoned their beliefs, yet they still relied on them in times of such need.

The Priest looked toward the belltower as well, only to lock eyes with the guardian of his churchyard. He was the only member of the clergyman that could see the creature, and as their gazes met, he gave a small nod of his head. When he’d inherited the church from the previous Head Priest, he was told of the beast and its duty to the yard. The first time he’d come into contact with it had been nothing short of startling, but he’d grown accustomed to - and almost comforted by - its presence.

“Mommy, look!” The voice of the child carried across the yard and the beasts keen hearing picked up on it easily. Two sets of eyes snapped to the culprit, the finger pointed directly at the Grim. “It’s a black doggy! What’s it doing in the belltower, mama?” The Priests expression melted into a frown as the parents shushed the boy with compliments on what an imaginative child he was.

Within a week, he was dead.
January 08, 2018 02:54 pm
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