Forest Pursuit [daemon stigma]
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The original source text of “Forest Pursuit” is shown on this page, with inserts and deletions shown as indicated.

Forest Pursuit

Cries echoed strangely in the wood, which seemed much darker to Arvesse now. She watched silently as the elves began a deadly hunt. The sword that she wore only to stir Irsha, slipped quietly from its sheath. The cold steel felt strange to hands unaccustomed to its purpose. The deer huntday had begun as a merry lark to her, but she wasn’t laughing now.

An old elf stood off by himself, mumbling away. Arvesse hadn’t noticed him before, wondered how he had managed to keep up with the group. With a great exclamation, he threw his hands up in the air. Ending his theatrics, he began searching expectantly. Arvesse felt the hair begin to rise on the back of her neck and looked back in alarm to see her fur begin to glow faintly luminous. As quickly and quietly as possible, she began sliding back through the brush.

“There it is!” She heard the old man’s cry, and saw him pointing directly at her. No time to lose, she sprang to her feet and ran — smack — right into one of the circling elven hunters. She watched in astonishment as he opened his mouth to scream, but sank to the ground without a sound escaping his lips. It was only then she realised she had plunged the katanaher sword through his heart.

The shock of her first kill hit her like a tidal wave, and she sprang sideways in shock. It was a lucky move, as an arrow aimed at her heart grazed her forearm. Pain sobered her immediately, and she shot off into deeper thickets.

Running wildly, blinded by her tears of shock and pain, she stumbled recklessly into a sheltered glade to find her mad dash halted by strong arms. She struggled wildly, until she realised the arms offered her safety and not harm. The arms encircled her, offering reassurance as Arvesse collapsed in exhaustion. Sobbing against her comforter’s chest, she didn’t hear the elves crash into the glade.

Saturday, 13 April 2002.
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© Ben Boyle 2002