The Hunter – Pt. 2

Missed the first part? Read it HERE

 

Within the dark, cold, quiet, and empty expanse, he felt no pain. His body weightless, and his thoughts silent. It was somehow freeing, drifting in the stillness of the void. He welcomed each peaceful passing moment. Moments that were an eternity of solace and serenity.

Then, at the edges of the void,  came a sound. He focused on the noise, as it grew. A distant,  deep, low, vibratious hum…. Or howl?

At this thought, his mind began to race, remembering the events that had previous unfolded. He remembered plunging into the watery depths after going over the falls. He remembered firing his arrow and missing his mark. He remembered chasing a great beast into the forest through the night until morning. He remembered the screams of fear and agony of his fellow hunters as they were savagely slain by the wolf. He remembered the grinning faces and the sounds of laughter of his comrades the night before. And he remembered the tearful, trembling voice of the childless mother pleading for an end to the murderous creature.

 

In an instant the elf coughed and gasped for breath, his vision a blur of shapes and light as he opened his eyes. Every inch of his being felt heavy and hurt. An ache of loss, of grief, of anger, and revenge ignited his soul once more. Gone was the darkness, the quite, the cold, and the freeing weightlessness. Yet, so warm and gentle was the light of the sun above shining on his face, the sounds of trickling water and chirping birds, and the soft rippling waves lapping at his body.

While in the void, the hunter had drifted some ways down stream from the falls he previously encounter, and came to rest on a shallow rocky shore. 

Fighting through the fatigue, the hunter struggled to lift himself from the ground onto his hands and knees. 

Just then, he was greeted with the tip of a sword in his face. The elf’s gaze followed along the blade to the man holding it. 

“Easy dussit now” said the guard.

The hunter remained still as he noticed several more figures standing beyond the blade wielder with their weapons drawn in his direction.

“You’re not from ‘round ‘ere, are yeh.” continued the man holding the sword in the elf’s face. “Ya lost?” There was a round of laughter from the other men.

Still feeling weakened and disoriented the hunter murmured, “I’m a hunter.” He studied the guard’s uniform and the unfamiliar crest emblazoned upon it. “I…must have passed the border sometime during the night.”

The guard eyed the hunter and with a sneer replied, “A poacher yeh say? Illegally crossin’ the bordar?” The other men snickered.

“What…?! —” Exclaimed the hunter, alarmed yet not at all surprised by their malevolent intentions. He struggled to stand, his body still fatigued from the thrashing he took in the river.

“Take ’em!” said the guard as he beckoned to his men. Before the elf could even get to his feet, the guard smash the hilt of his sword into the hunter’s face.

Reeling from his injuries, the hunter’s weakened attempts at resistance was of no use. The men grabbed him, bound his arms, and hauled the elf with them.

The hunter’s head lolled back and forth as they moved, catching flashes of the scene around him; The feet of the men dragging him along the pebble beach, the midday sun shining over head,  and a wooden carriage with bars on it’s windows used for transporting prisoners.

As the men tossed the hunter into the carriage, exhaustion took hold and he fell unconscious once more.

 

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