The sound of soft waves lapping against a hull…
Moonlight, the only light to hunt by. A single figure, barely distinguishable from the shadows themselves, descends upon his victims. Over and over, methodically moving from sleeping form to sleeping form in the darkness. Some of them never woke as their lifeblood spilled from their jugular. The ones that opened their eyes as a vice-like hand clamped over their mouths, they were the worst.
They almost seemed to plead, “NO!” Her eyes begged. “I didn’t do anything wrong. Please, let me live!”
Only one soul escaped that boat alive, and he was barely recognizable as himself.
The hunter stares at the blood on his hands, a thick glossy sheen that turns silver with the light of the moon. It pools around him, dripping off his fingers, making the slightest noise as it hits the deck of the ship.
“How long will these sins take to wash from my already darkened past?” He whispers.
“Well done, sir huntsman, truly a masterpiece of violence.” A feminine voice flows like silk, drawing out each word softly, just hinting at the meanings implied.
The hunter stiffens. How did I not hear her approaching? Lets hope I can take her. He puts his hands out slowly to convey as little threat as possible and turns to face the source of the voice.
In front of him stands a petite silhouette cloaked in a black fabric that seems to pull ambient light from around it.
“Well…?” Her voice trails up, “What have you to say for yourself?”
“Milady, it is not as I would have had it, they were tainted evil… I did as I must, but I take no pleasure in my duties…..” His voice cracks as it chokes on tears barely held in check. “I am the hunter in the dark, I spare the rest of my tribe the pain… but the blood… it never comes off of my hands. I will never be clean.”
“Oh, but you are clean my sweet hunter. You smell of a hard day’s work, a shadow in the dark yes, but oh so very much more.” She pulls her hood back and releases a torrent of white hair that cascades down her shoulders. The small girl steps forward and clasps both of the broken man’s hands in her own and inhales the scent of the kill.
“I do not like to see you in such pain, your friends, as you call them seem to have no problem letting you do their dirty work for them.” Her words become clipped and harsh, clearly unhappy with the company this man keeps.
A tremor courses through the his body, “They are not merely my friends, they are my tribe… my family. We are Ux Arytissi, I suffer this fate for my brothers and sisters with a glad heart. My Chieftain would never fail me, and they will never abandon me as The Wounded Panthers did!” He flinches away and continues to shiver uncontrollably.
“Vanth, only I will never abandon you, in that you may trust.”
He looked up into this small woman’s violet eyes and the pit of his stomach dropped into his boots . It’s her! There’s no way I could ever forget THOSE eyes.
Her smile slides softly to the surface, and the man starts to scream in agony. He slumps to his knees, overcome with the horrible burden of darkness within him. A darkness that SHE put there, ten years ago.
“Now then, be a good little toy and show me you remember your true master.” Her tone reminds one of how children talk to their animals, asking questions and assigning the feelings of their precious pets on a whim.
“I know you now, Destroyer of Light. You have been with me so long I’m surprised it took me this long to recognize your foul stench.” He smiles wolfishly, “Still… I fight you… unto my last breath will I fight you…”
A black liquid bubbles forth from the hunters lips and he begins to cough violently, his body, trying to clear his lungs of the fluid. All the while he thrashes on the ground, back arched in excruciating pain, crying from her power affecting him, yes, but more for all the tears he hadn’t shed over the last decade.
“I will end myself before you take me Dark One… or have one of my family release me… Either way I shall not be yours!” Vanth screams in rage.
A fountain of laughter erupts from her lips, she seems truly amused at the notion of the hunter taking his own life.
“You? Kill yourself?” A smile still lingers in her words. “I’ll just wait for you to reincarnate… This is the only time your soul has denied me before. You’ve always been my assassin Vanth, but this time you decided to be naughty. Do you know what I do to people that displease me? Ooooh, I think you’ll go on living, for if you die in this life, I will own your very essence. But, I will allow you your little moment of stoic bravery… for now. When the time comes, I will call for you. Make your decision then, not a moment before, there are still many things you do not know young one.”
She settles down to the deck next to him and begins to kiss his tears away. “Shhhhhh, my darling child of darkness, do not fret. Mother is here.”
A shriek of pure anguish escapes Vanth, then deep in his heart he hears a distant chitter, followed by clacking. He thinks of an armored behemoth who once lead him through the desert, she was his salvation then, why not now?
Ebonfoe I do not know if you can hear me, but if you can, I need your help more than ever right now. He focuses on the memory of his friend and gives himself up to the spirit of the scorpion, seeking the calm and peace in the heart of a true predator. Though outside, he is a shamble. Deep within the darkest corner of his mind he holds the core of himself close to his scorpion sister and weeps.
“I’ll be in touch my dear.” She whispers into his ear before nibbling ever so gently on the lobe.
* * * * * * * * *
Vanth starts awake in his bedroll coughing. Black liquid oozing from the corners of his mouth. Try as he might, he can’t remember her face, only her violet eyes remain in his memory, and white flowing hair the color of seafoam.