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Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Hunter

The Hunter crept in silence among the shadows of the Haruck Forest. The hem of his dark green cloak sway at each soft step forward. A loose and long cowl hangs low upon his head, with heavy breathes of misty white from the cold winter's night. In black leather hands, he holds a staghorn bow, notched with an arrow of ash wood, pulled from the arrow cache upon his back.
Moving about the leafless forest, a soft glow of a burning fire catches the hunter's eye. Stealthily, the hunter approaches upon the light of the open flame, spying upon the unaware patrons. To the hunter's surprise, four orcs sit upon the trunks of fallen trees around the fire. Cheering and laughing among themselves, the orcs clank their iron mugs in toast in celebration. Turning his head in disgust, the hunter pulls up the scarf around his neck as blood and the orcs own foul stench assault his very sense of smell.
Turning back to the orcs, the hunter looks upon their features in the firelight. Like all orcs he has ever met, they are large and muscular creatures, pale green, and mostly covered in scars. They enjoy violence and drinking and almost always act upon the impulses of evil deeds and the like. Looking at the blood stained leathers they wore and their excitement, only one could imagine the horrors they commited that very day.
One particular orc, much larger and older than the others, gets to his feet and laughs heartily. With a body more broad than muscle, he wears no tunic and various tatooes and scars covers his bare chest. Bald at the top, he grins a mouth of missing teeth and stares around the fire with dark pool eyes at the other orcs.
"Well, my sons, today we celebrate! A glorious find! Granting us such a battle I have never seen! Though we mourn death of your brother, we have gained honor from Grimlothe! In the halls of our grand god, your brother sits! So, let us split the bounty we have earned and pay our respects to the fallen!"
All the orcs cheer and jump to their feet. Then, the four move into the darkness behind them. They do not return for many moments and only the cackle of the fire can be heard. Suddenly, a horse whines as it drags a wagon into view, led by the massive orcs. Over his shoulder, the large orc leader carries a sack, it squirming in his arm. Stopping, he places the sack behind the tree trunk where he sat and grabs an axe from the ground. Walking back to the horse, he raises it high, and then removes the head of the horse.
"Alright, boys! Time for dinner! Grab the wine and cook the horse. Tonight, we feast!"
In a furious savagery, the orcs rip apart the horse and place the pieces on spits over the fire. The orcs then jump to the wagon, throwing barrels of wine to the other and passing them out among each other. Finally, they are satisfied and once again sitting around the fire, cheering and drinking and enjoying their horse meal.
Seeming content with all the merry fun, the orc leader picks up the sack from behind his seat. Holding it up, it moves around and thrashes about, yet no sound comes from inside. Smiling viciously, he opens the sack and reaches inside. To the hunter's horror, he pulls a young girl from the sack, holding her in his powerful hand.
"Rahahaha! What fine catch you are! You are young now, but in a few years you will be quiet a formal lady! But, for us orcs, we aren't ones for being patient of picky. We have no qualms for age or beauty. So, my dear, you will be a tasty treat!"
The orc leader licks the girl upon her cheek and grins to the orcs. Laughing, the other orcs cheer for their leader in unison. As their leader opens his own mouth to laugh though, the only sound he makes is that of gasp and choking, blood erupting from his mouth. Looking down at his chest, the feathery end of an ash wood arrow sits idle in his right breast. Dropping the girl, the orc leader's eyes dart into the darkness, spotting the hunter only to late as the second arrow plunges into his right eye.
Dropping the staghorn bow, the hunter dashes into the camp pulling a handaxe in his right hand and a shortsword in his left. Turning to meet the hunter, the closet orc lifts his club into the air to smash the attacker. The hunter, already to close for the orc to defend, brings his axe down into the orcs head. Leaving his axe, the hunter then dives at the orc at his left, tackling the orc and jabbing the shortsword into its gut. Falling to its back, the hunter rips the shortsword out and forces it into its neck, the red life spraying upon the hunter. Hearing the sounds of running feet, the hunter leaps to his right as the axe of the last orc crushes the chest of his fallen brother. Growling, the orc turns to the hunter and roars. Pulling an elven dagger from his boot, the hunter lunges at the final orc, placing the dagger in its ear and smashing its face with its knee. Letting the corpse of the dead orc fall, the hunter turns to the girl.
The young girl had watched all that had transpired. She was in awe and still is as she stares at the hunter. In the chaos, his cowl fell from his head, no longer hiding the features beneath. As he stands in the light of the open fire, black leather glistens with vermillion upon his muscular frame. Long brown hair whipping across an unshaven face. And with deep yellow green eyes and the solemn scowl upon his face, he resembles a beast, a wild beast of prey.

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