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Old 11-06-2006, 12:56 PM   #17
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Fordim Hedgethistle's post:

Laylah ran ahead pulsing with the excitement of the hunt, silent in anticipation of the kill. They had tracked the buck for leagues and now it was close. Hunta could smell its spoor himself and hardly needed his companion’s more sensitive nose now, but after her many hours faithful labour he could not deny her. He swept through the low brush with no more sound than the wind, his rapid footfalls little more than the scurrying of small animals through the brush. They came to the edge of a clearing and pulled themselves close to the ground. The buck was standing now, his great brown head with its tall antlers erect and alert.

Their quarry was cunning. He had come to the field to flush out his hunters, to force them into the open where he could see them better and know what he should do. Hunta smiled and stroked Laylah’s thick neck. She acknowledged his hand with a low whimper and turned her head to lick his hand. Her lips were pulled back revealing long teeth, and her short golden coat stood up in a long ridge down her back. “Good girl,” he told her. “That was a good run and a fine pursuit.” Laylah merely returned her gaze to the buck; she knew there was still work to do. They began slowly to track their way around the edge of the clearing, looking for a place where Hunta could loose his bow.

The buck stirred and stamped his hoof, looking at the woods for the predators that he knew lurked within, but he could neither smell nor hear anything. He knew they were still there with the instinct of the hunted, but he was an old and wise in the ways of the forest and kept his head where a younger animal would have panicked and fled. A noise came to his ears which twitched and swivelled the better to hear. Lifting his head he heard the sound of fast approach, and the calls of musical voices in the air. He turned and fled toward the forest, and there came a sudden shaft from the side. Too late he tried to flinch and it buried itself in his flank, bringing agonising pain with every stride. He crashed into the forest wall and ran on into the trees, but the pain mounted with each step and he could feel something wet and hot running down his legs.

Hunta cursed foully the ill fortune of the hunt – and the riders who had so stupidly thundered past the clearing. His wonderment at their appearance and bearing was overcome by his anger. His shot had merely wounded the buck, meaning many more hours of tracking through the woods looking for his prey. The arrow had struck deep and hard and though the buck did not know it yet, it was already dead. But Hunta felt sick at the thought of the great beast wandering in pain and bewilderment, only to be dispatched at the end of struggle with a knife through the throat. It had deserved a cleaner death.

Calling Laylah to him he followed the blood trail back into the forest.

Last edited by piosenniel; 11-11-2006 at 06:44 PM.
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