The hounds bayed as they charged through the woods chasing the scent they had been trained to. Hot on their heels rode a throng of hunters astride their mounts. They laughed and whooped as they jumped and wove through the trees. The fox ahead of them scrambled and tore blindly through the litter and the mast, making for some desperate safety. Had anyone been near enough, though, they would have seen the cunning grin on the creature’s face for what it was.
As they broke into a clearing just behind the vulpine creature, the riders found themselves feeling odd, almost adrift. Then they heard the baying of something far larger, far older, than their hounds. And the creatures who voices this howl were behind them. One rider turned to look and his shirt blossomed crimson. It turned all to chaos as the others took in the sight of the black fletched shaft that had sprouted from his chest.
That far older hunt charged out of the darkness as the younger riders turned and fled. And one man, crimson of hair, pointed of ear, and cunning of grin, stepped out from behind a tree to watch his fellows pass. He’d done his task well, luring their prey to them so they might hunt as they had for centuries.