Forest Hunt

New post! I hope you enjoy this one!

Tomil and Rhaeso stalked quietly through the forest, bows at the ready as they weaved among trees and bushes. Their quivers pressed against their backs, as well as their spears, which they had brought in case their prey came too close for comfort.

They were hunting the vicious Vargath beast. It was a great, red furred, creature with sharp claws and foot-long fangs and could crush a bones in a single snap. These things were massive, reaching up to ten feet in height without taking any of their four padded paws off the ground. They were a danger for a dozen men, even without counting their impressive speed and their deadly tail.

Which, of course, was the reason that the two friends hunted one now. Great glory and honor would be bestowed upon anyone who could manage to slay one, especially with so few numbers – usually parties of twenty or more went together, and even then half of them died.

Tomil pointed toward a spot in the undergrowth where there was evidence of heavy feet – heavy feet with padding and razor-sharp non-retractable claws. He muttered to Rhaeso, “This is stupid. If it takes twenty men to take down one of these things, why are just the two of us out here? We’re risking our lives here – I think we need a better motivation than fame and glory.”

“I agree,” Rhaeso whispered back. “But don’t talk to me about motivation – I don’t even know where we are and where we’re from. You’d think the narrator would take time to establish that sort of thing, but I guess not.”

Well, that isn’t really what they said. What they said was more along the lines of:

“I know! I mean, I guess we come from some kind of town where there are a lot of guys who do this kind of thing every so often, and we’re supposed to want to prove ourselves, but this is a really dumb way of doing so.”

“Wouldn’t it be better for us to go with more people? Or wait until there’s more who are willing to help?”

Alright, now they’re trying to be difficult. Dear reader, I apologize for the misbehavior of the two main characters. I’ll see if I can’t wrangle them in.

“Hey, you!” said the narrator’s ethereal voice into the woods, ringing around Tomil and Rhaeso. “You’re supposed to be looking for the Vargath! Now get going!”

“Who was that?” said Tomil reluctantly.

“It’s the narrator! Will you please start saying your lines right!”

“Make us,” replied Rhaeso.

“I’ve been trying!” exclaimed the narrator. “Will you please go on with the plot instead of complaining about how much exposition I put in a piece? I only have a thousand words or so for this, and that’s almost half done.”

“But there’s no good motivation for us to continue!”

“Ugh. Look, I don’t have to give you dialogue. I could just make you go along in prose – then you won’t have any of this freedom. Do you want that?”

“What I’d like is to figure out where we are,” said Rhaeso.

“That’s it!”

The two friends walked up to the trail, looking carefully through the forest for the next sign of the deadly beast. But anything was hard to find this deep in the woods. The trees were thick and tall, like towers spread over a dark mountain, full of ivy that curled over the branches like silent snakes. There was no wind that could break through into the deep woods to rustle the dark berry bushes or join the noises of venomous insects or cackling birds or – HEY! JUST WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?

Tomil and Rhaeso looked back toward the source of the narrator’s voice, having attempted to sneak away from the Vargath’s trail as the narrator descended into a description of the scenery.

“Explain yourselves!”

“Well, you were having so much fun detailing the forest,” said Tomil. “That we figured out that we come from the opposite direction of the footprints and decided to try heading home. What are you going to do about it?”

“Well, considering nothing in this universe exists outside the woods yet – at least concretely, nothing.”

“Really? Rheaso, what can you see over there?”

“I see a blue deer, with giant antlers that form the word –”

“Hey! Only I’m supposed to have that power!” shouted the narrator.

“You can only tell,” replied Tomil. “We show. And you know which one is better.”

(Please wait a moment as the narrator takes some time to vent his frustrations.)

(Thank you.)

A dark shadow crossed the field of vision of Tomil and Rhaeso. The two of them froze, hands on their bows as they notched an arrow. Rhaeso glanced in the direction of the deer, and it was gone. They heard the bodiless chuckle of the narrator as another dark flash went past them. A moment later, the deer’s head landed at their feet, bloodied with eyes wide in terror. They jumped back, scanning the treeline for the Vargath that they knew was now stalking them.

The next moment he appeared, standing before him at his full height, even greater than the ten feet previously established. He roared, baring his fangs dripping in the blood of the dead deer. Then he pounced. The two friends tried to fight back, but it was too late. Their blood splattered the forest floor. Serves them right for trying to derail the plot.

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