Krysala Anthologies

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Thrill of the Hunt

A deathly silence had fallen upon the forests of North Grunbidde. Despite the fresh blanket of snow that had found its way into the realm, it was uncommon for there to be an absence of the pleasant songs of the winter swallow as they played in the trees. Of course, this silence had been preceded by a much more uncommon sound.

A small group of elves were quietly making their way through the winding maze of branches. They were on the trail of a rumored trespasser in their sacred wood. Stories had spread through the kingdom of a large bigfoot-like creature making its way through the villages; leaving bloodshed and few witnesses to spread the tale. It had now come to the responsibility of Nelia, the elven princess of Grunbidde, to dispatch the Golden Arrow to hunt the trespasser down. Kreed, commander of said royal guard, was more than willing to accept the endeavor.

As he led his small squad into a nearby clearing, the smell of fresh blood filled his senses. He almost had a moment of excitement as he thought that he’d discovered a new color of snow in this remote corner of the woods. Obviously, this excitement was quickly replaced with another emotion as he took in the entirety of the site.

The fresh carpet of snow was barely visible beneath the torrent of blood that now stained the forest. Elven corpses were strewn throughout the clearing; some pinned to trees with their bows still clenched in their hands, while others lied facedown in the snow as if they had been fleeing for their lives. The mangled bodies looked as if they had been cleaved into pieces by a manner of rabid beast. A single sound could now be heard amongst the silent chaos; the wet thumping of an axe… repeatedly slamming into the crimson snow where there had once been the face of a young, female archer.

Kreed stood in what could only be described as terror as he witnessed the culprit. This mountain of a… man, that had been kneeling over the young girl’s corpse, was now rising to its feet; an obsidian dragon tattoo was clearly visible on its back. He turned to the elves, who all now had their bows drawn, and revealed a large toothy grin beneath his bushy beard. His stature, coupled with his beard, gave him the appearance of an ancient treant that had been known to protect these forests. He was grasping a large, blood-soaked battle axe in his left hand.

A young elf to Kreed’s left nervously let loose an arrow that plunged mere millimeters into the man’s chest. His armor-like muscles almost seemed to block the arrow from continuing its journey. The man didn’t seem to notice. He effortlessly hoisted his axe onto his shoulder, still grinning, as he raised his remaining bloody hand to the shaft of the arrow. As one would remove lint from a fine coat, he delicately plucked the arrow from his chest; his eyes still fixated on Kreed.

All manner of animal within miles fled in terror as the man let loose a blood curdling laugh and dropped the failed arrow at his feet. He began to lower his axe to his side and readied himself to charge; his eyes slowly dilating with a hue of red as blood began to trickle from his triangularly shaped wound.

The elves nervously looked to their leader for his orders; orders they would never receive. Kreed was enveloped in the fear known only to the dead as he realized he was not peering into the eyes of a mere man. His voice trembled as he uttered what would soon be his last words:

“I am no demon slayer.”

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