Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Hunt

Just a little something ala Conan or Solomon Kane, enjoy 

 There are ways in the deep woods that no man in history has tread. They are old paths laid down by wild animals and stranger things in ancient times. Here no steel was welcomed, and whispers of the dark primal gods could still be heard ruling over the land. In the shadow of a great tree a man was crouched, his mere presence an insult to the forest. He had sat for half a day already, nearly motionless, waiting for a sign of his quarry. His great longbow was strung, an arrow nocked and ready for the first sign of movement. Aside from bow and quiver he carried only a long hunting knife and a small belt pouch on his hips.
Soon enough the archer's patience was rewarded. A great beast, moving and shaped like some predatory cat but scaled as a lizard, came through the underbrush, it's claws raking furrows in the ground as it swept by. For just a moment it paused, sniffing the air for an unaccustomed scent. Hidden and utterly still the archer thought himself unseen and stood to his full height as he pulled the bow taught, but the monster heard and turned it's baleful eyes to the dark recesses of the tree. It's mouth split open, revealing long jagged teeth and a deep waiting gullet. A horrific roar issued forth from that foul mouth and the archer took his shot. The creature turned to quickly and what would have been a kill struck it's flank.
A lesser archer would have failed then, but this was Jacob Fletcher, a hunter and tracker of beasts ancient and strange. His bow stood almost as tall as he did, and few had the strength to loose a shaft from it. The arrow found a mark in the lizard-cat's hip, burying half the shaft in the flesh. The monster let out another bellow and pounced forward. The wound to it's leg hampered the lunge, drawing the attack short and saving Jacob's life. Still he was caught by one outstretched claw on his chain mail and that sent him sprawling to one side.
The ranger hit the ground and rolled, holding the bow close to him, shielding it with his body. The creature skidded to a halt, turning gingerly to it's right, snapping the exposed arrow off at the wound, a black liquid oozing out of the hole. As it charged again Fletcher stood his ground, his great bow held across his body with both hands on the haft. Moments before it's talons struck home he twisted, throwing his entire body into one strike, the laminated wood of his bow cracking hard against the scaled neck of the beast. It flew to the side, smashing against a tree and slumping down.
It rose again, head whipping around, but it was already to late. Jacob had drawn his knife, it's point shining in the low light as he drove it down into the great lizard's head. The spine severed and life fled from it's yellowed eyes. Setting to Jacob quickly stripped it's flesh for meat and saved the head, tying it to his belt as proof. With night coming he built a small fire and ate a bit of the beast's flesh. Relaxing against a tree as the stars came out.
“Yes, this was a good hunt. Tomorrow I collect payment, but tonight, I feast.”  

No comments:

Post a Comment