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 The Hunt
elpollo
Posted: Dec 1 2007, 09:43 PM


Skeleton
*

Group: Strigoi
Posts: 41
Member No.: 1,169
Joined: 19-October 05



And so once again I reach that time of year when I break my period of lurking in the darkness to actually post something. Another short story inspired by The Witcher, and to a lesser extent, Hellgate: London and Sabriel (a much lesser extent on the last one). I guess there's also a sort of Assassin's Creed thing going on here (the second section is in the past, if that's not clear), but that's not intentionally copying Assassin's Creed. That will be revealed later, if I continue to write this.
And yeah, I suck at coming up with names for short stories.

________________________________________________________

“Some say we are Templar; others Hospitaller. They are wrong. We are neither, nor any kind of knight. We do not stride into battle with the heathen, or ride then down on mighty steeds. We fight a different kind of enemy – that which is passed off as myth, which lurks in the night, and which you cannot accept. We fight the monsters that hunt you. We cleanse them of their sins, absolve them, and send them back to hell. Some say we are Templar – they are wrong.” – Unnamed Hunter, 1437 AD

Isador crept silently through the damp field, ignoring the quite chirping of the morning birds. The sun had almost risen, and that meant that little time remained. He hastened his pace, rustling through the knee high grass, one hand on the intricate handle of the silver knife in the sheath at his chest. A sickly sweet smell hung in the air, and Alistair knew that he would soon be able to see the cause of the odour soon with the mist beginning to lift. A startled bird winged its way away from his position, shrieking to the winds in its flight. He paused, aware that his presence may now be known. Realising that he might be in jeopardy, he rose from a crouch and started sprinting towards the collection of wooden houses, closing in on the one furthest separated from the others. Crashing through the door, he slammed it shut behind him and whirled to face the occupant of the house. The old man gaped at him silently for a moment, unable to take in the sudden appearance of this strangely garbed and soaked man, then turned away and headed into another room, leaning heavily on a cane that must have been nearly as ancient as the man himself.
“You’re late,” the old man quipped as he hobbled away.
“You knew I was coming?”
“Of course I knew! You’re not as silent as you think you are, you know?”
“No other would have heard me coming.”
“No other would have been up early enough to hear you clattering around before you left, either. I assume you went back to the ruins?” The moments pause from Isador was enough of an answer for the man, whose grizzled face cracked into a grin. He headed into another room, and the sound of him bustling around with a kettle was audible.
“Of course you did, Is. You always go there.”
“Well, what if I did?” Isador questioned defiantly. “There’s no harm in it.”
“There’s nothing there. Not any more. It’s just the ruins of an old castle.”

“I know. I was there, remember?”
“Why does it fascinate you?” The old man reappeared suddenly, his face perilously close to Isador’s, his blue eyes twinkling with a sudden interest.
“I don’t know.” Isador shrugged lamely. “There’s just something about it. It’s part of the town’s history, and nobody even cares about it. They just accept it’s there, and leave it be.”
“And what stops them from being right?” asked the man.
“History isn’t just something you can forget! If you forget the past, then the mistakes that others made were in vain. We haven’t learnt anything. We haven’t gained anything. History gives us the chance to live better lives, correct that which we’ve done wrong. Forgetting it is like… forgetting ourselves!”The old man sighed, then rushed into the kitchen to deal with the whistling kettle. He returned moments later with a mug which he handed to Isador.
“You’ve no need to convince me of the value of history, Is. You’ve done that already – you’re a God damned lecturer on the subject, for Christ’s sake.”Isador nodded, staring into the mug in his hands as if trying to unlock some secret answer to an unasked question.
So why am I so unsure of it?

*

Alistair crept silently through the damp field, ignoring the quite chirping of the morning birds. The sun had almost risen, and that meant that little time remained. He hastened his pace, rustling through the knee high grass, one hand on the intricate handle of the silver knife in the sheath at his chest. A sickly sweet smell hung in the air, and Alistair knew that he would soon be able to see the cause of the odour soon with the mist beginning to lift. A startled bird winged its way away from his position, shrieking to the winds in its flight. He paused, aware that his presence may now be known. Realising that he might be in jeopardy, he rose from a crouch and started sprinting towards the collection of wooden houses, closing in on the one furthest separated from the others. Crashing through the door, he slammed it shut behind him and whirled to face the occupant of the house. The old man gaped at him silently from the floor, his blood staining the wood around him. Alistair bent down to the man, rolling him onto his front to observe the wounds that were in the man’s back. The irregular gashes implied that the wounds were dealt at separate times, but Alistair knew otherwise.
“Corocotta.”
A growl confirmed his suspicions, and Alistair rolled to the side as one of the great beasts leapt at him. The dog-wolves were some demonic hybrid of the two, and were as large as a mountain lion. They longed for human flesh, and often attacked small towns, luring the dogs out first by mimicking human cries for help. Nobody knew why they did this, but it meant that there was a warning before the attacked in time for help to arrive. Alistair grimaced, realising that he hadn’t had enough time. This pack of Corocotta had already attacked a town, and it was there that Alistair had picked up the trail. The pack was growing more confidant, Alistair realised. They weren’t observing their targets for as long before attacking. Something’s changed.
There was no time to consider that now, however. Alistair ripped his silver knife from its sheath, hurling himself at the dazed hound, which, on missing him, had collided with the wall behind him. He stabbed the blade into the beast’s neck, the silver blade easily penetrating the demonic protection offered by its skin. The beast whined, and snapped its jaws shut inches from his arm. He pulled his knife out, slicing alongside the creature’s face, and used the momentum to picot and kick the thing in the face. It yelped, and bounded for the door towards the outside world, where its pack-mates would be able to help it. Alistair flicked his wrist and a glittering bolt, fired from a concealed spring launcher in his sleeve, caught the hound mid leap. The bolt penetrated the thing’s skull, and it collapsed on the ground with a meaty crunch. Alistair quickly crossed the room to it and hacked into its torso with his dagger, ensuring the thing’s demise. Cursing that he didn’t have time to retrieve his bolt – carved from what many claimed to be the true cross – Alistair ripped his sword from its scabbard. The blade, whilst not silver, was made of the best steel, and its edge was honed to a fine point. The blade had been blessed by priests, and whilst not as effective as the dagger, it gave him the advantage of a longer reach.
Alistair raced outside to the sound of howling, sheathing his dagger and gripping his sword firmly with two hands. Another of the hounds appeared and leapt at him. He dropped, thrusting upwards as he did so, the blade cutting deep into the creature’s belly. Spinning, he spun his body around, swinging the sword in a glittering arc at the dog, which cut through its middle before it touched the ground. The two halves of the Corocotta squirmed on the ground, but it would die soon. Vaulting onto a nearby cart, Alistair spied another of them, its dark body only contrasted by its red eyes and yellow teeth. The pack leader appeared, differing from the others by a large leathery red frill around its head. Alistair leapt into the air, muttering an incantation of true striking, and at the peak of his jump he released his sword at the pack leader. The blade soared through the air, met by a distortion in the air as the spell helped the sword to fly true. The sword sheared into the Corocotta’s head, splitting it down the middle as the spell directed it with pin-point accuracy. Grabbing his dagger, Alistair sprinted to the nearest Corocotta, slashing down its side, but it didn’t matter. With the death of the pack leader, the other Corocotta stared to flee, scared for their own existence.
It will take them a few weeks to get a new leader, thought Alistair. Without him they’ve got no connection, nothing directing them. I’ve got time to find them.
He collected his sword and returned to the first house to collect his bolt. There was no point searching for survivors – any left would die in the blaze that he was about to start anyway.

*
dictator
Posted: Dec 1 2007, 11:57 PM


Black Knight
*

Group: Members
Posts: 61
Member No.: 892
Joined: 6-April 05



I liked it. I could see the battle as it flowed through the town and house. I would have to say another short story would be in order wink.gif
elpollo
Posted: Dec 2 2007, 07:31 PM


Skeleton
*

Group: Strigoi
Posts: 41
Member No.: 1,169
Joined: 19-October 05



Thanks. I always feel like my battle scenes (well, most of my scenes, really) drag on too long. I think I need to try and keep them short and sweep (with lots of gore!).
I'll probably write a bit more of this within the next day or so. As soon as I have a moment free, anyhow.
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