Snowlands; Warriors Domain

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2 The Hunt

2 the hunt

Markco thundered through the tall trees, pain burning through his feet; not all that certain if it was the snow or just the distance he had travelled. Sweat was beginning to soak his fur, making him tired and weary. His prey darted left and right, leaping through gaps in trees that Markco dared not squeeze through. Silas, a far larger and more experienced hunter ran by his side.

“Veer it left, boy,” he commanded, not at all out of breath. Markco made his way out to the right with a burst of speed, hoping the deer would change its course. Alas it did not. “Oh, fine I’ll do it myself.” Silas ran out to the right and swooped around in a gentle arc. The deer bleated turned left with a sharp jerk. “See boy? You need to be gentle with your movements. Nothing will come from being brash.”

Markco was quite envious of how Silas could keep such a pace and still breathe as though he was at a steady walk: although this was merely one of the perks which came with being blessed as a hunter.

“Sorry,” he panted, the words struggling to find his dry tongue.

“Oh no, don’t apologies for it,” Silas’s tone was soft and forgiving. “You are young and have had very little experience in this.” Markco found it almost insulting to be referred to as young. As far as he was aware he had experienced and done much more than most would in their life time at his age.

The deer carried on, now heading slightly to the south, and the two Wolves followed tracking its movements and keeping it on the right path. The animal was starting to tire now, its movements were heavy and its calls for help aspirated into moans. Markco was now beginning to ignore his burning paws, as he closed in on the deer. His mind was fixed upon it, as though everything around him else had faded into a dark, hazy cloud. Suddenly the deer made a quick jerk to the left, there was a terrifying and before Markco could blink Hannah had pounced upon it from the right, her teeth sinking into its neck. The other two bit down on its back legs and hind. Blood oozed out of the animal as slowly it was brought to the ground. Then with a sharp rip Hannah broke the creature’s neck.

“Damn fine hit, Hannah,” Silas commented once he had released his iron jaws from the animal’s leg. Hannah smiled in response, a certain joy settling over her from the appreciation.

“How did he do?” She gestured towards Markco by the older hunter’s side.

“Oh, he did fine. Although he still has much to learn. But no, it was very impressive for a Wolf that has not even been blessed with anything at all.” This fulfilled Marko more than anything, for he loved surprising creatures with his hidden abilities and talents. “Perhaps I could use the reputation from this deed to buy a new living space. It would be nice to as the Wolves I share a barn with are dreadfully noisy; they snore like mad.” Silas spoke aloud, probably quite aware of the fact that neither Hannah nor Markco really cared much for what he was saying.

Silas, being the strongest and the largest of the three Wolves, gripped the deer between his jaws and began to drag it Northwest through Fang Forest towards the province of Hunters Garden. Markco and Hannah followed close behind him through the large expanse of conifer trees along the deep bloody trail in the snow cast by the deer. However these conifer trees were not normal conifer trees, they were enormous. Some of them had trunks wider than the small floor of Markco’s snow cave, and was 400 feet high.

Dapples of light shone through the gaps in the branches above and tiny flakes of snow soon followed, with the occasional thud of a heavy clump. Exhausted from the hunt, Markco took a deep breath taking the cold air into his lungs and filling his nostrils with the scent of pine needles; a scent which relaxed him deeply. He always enjoyed coming here. No matter how many times he had visited, Fang Forest always gave him a sense of adventure and excitement. He had hunted here many times, most of which he had enjoyed. The thrill of the chase always brought excitement to what was otherwise a very dull day. But there were occasions when he would leave the forest frustrated, unable to catch anything at all. Sometimes this would last for days and it were times like these when Markco wished Hannah could buy him something to eat. Or better still, that he had his own task with which he could earn reputation to buy food with. Still, the many times he had hunted, merely for survivals sake made him associate the vast expanse of trees with a longing thankfulness; however only a fool would not brush the same forest with an element of danger, and darkness.

After a while of dragging the deer Silas began to tire, so Hannah offered to help him carry it between the two of them. Silas was a very proud Wolf and rejected the help at first, but the snow was much deeper in the northern parts of the forest and after a while he gave in. The two of them picked up the deer by the front and back legs and waded with it through the deep snow on their hind legs. Not being a hunter and unable to perform such an act, Markco trotted behind in isolation. All of a sudden Silas stopped and dropped the front legs in the ground; Hannah did the same with the back legs. His head swiftly moved from side to side and his ears twitched. Markco had seen this behaviour before, it looked like he was trying to pin point the location of something, but the concerned look in his eyes told him it was not another deer to hunt.

“Can you hear that?” Markco listened however he could not hear a thing.

“Nothing,”

“I can hear,” Hannah said, her eyes becoming wild a fearful. Markco closed his eyes, hoping he could hear the sound more clearly. There was an eerie, clicking and clattering amongst the trees above and scuttling of legs.

“I can hear it now,” he said in a voice more hushed. But as he said that the noise suddenly stopped entirely, leaving the forest in an empty silence. “Is it a…” Markco spoke in the same hushed tone, but Silas held up a paw to silence him.

“Don’t speak you fool, Listen,” Silas whispered as his head turned the one way it had yet to do so… up. His eyes met the sight of eight grotesque legs and a bulbous hourglass, spindling down towards him on a thread. Venom dripped down from a pair of ravenous pincers, which clacked as they came together. “Get away from the carcass,” Markco and Hannah did not need telling twice. The arachnid dropped down, a dozen eyes glaring at the Wolves, then to the deer, and then back again. “Walk away; it shouldn’t harm us if we let it be.” The two Wolves did as they were told with angry, snarling glares towards the spider, who feasted on the prey they had worked so hard to catch. That was the way of nature and the way it was meant to be. It possessed a certain unpredictability, where not all would happen as intended. This time the Wolves would have nothing to take home.

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