Creature had been out all night, hunting mice. When she returned, Sitome was gone. She could smell other humans, and there was horse dung by the gate. She assumed he’d been called by one of the villagers to help with an urgent affliction or accident. She settled in Sitome’s bed, falling asleep on his pillow.
He did not return that day or the next and Creature grew worried. The villagers came for their usual tinctures and potions and were surprised by his absence. They stopped by on each new dawning and on the fifth day they were frantic and angry; their superstitions resurfaced and they blamed Creature for Sitome’s disappearance.
“You brought a curse with you! We knew it all along. Catch her, catch the evil creature. We must kill her and lift the curse.”
Creature ran from the villagers and hid in the forest, finding shelter in the hollow of a tree. She fell into a fitful sleep and woke to darkness. She crept out, her ears pricked, listening for the villagers. There were no signs of humans as she padded through the forest. Her stomach growled, and she searched for mice to satiate her hunger. As she hunted, she caught the scent of Sitome; she sniffed frantically, turning in circles, trying to find where the scent led. It was faint and she didn’t want to lose it; forgetting her hunger, she followed Sitome’s trail. It mingled with other smells; more humans, and horses – the smells from the cottage. It wasn’t long before she came across horse dung, and since this smell was stronger than Sitome’s, it was this scent she pursued.
Creature travelled for almost three weeks until she came to the forest in the Eride valley. The path skirted the edge of the forest and she was still following the trail of the horses when she heard a voice.