Thump. Thump. Thump.
The padded soft sound of running on ground was the only noise during the night.
Rapidly, a hooded man darted through the woods. From one tree to another, the man wove through the maze of the forest. Typically, a traveller would have to be wary of dangerous animals at this time, but by now, most of the animals of the forest slept, and even the most nocturnal of predators lay dormant. At that moment, the world of nature was a quiet as it could be. Even so, the man left no trail of his existence. No branches broken, no dirt kicked, no leaves scattered. It was a precaution that was unneeded, but the character of the hooded man hardly thought otherwise. The man knew the layout of the forest, but his movements were no longer conscious. His abilities were that of a beast of the forest, a descent into the primal urge of man.
The figure kept a bow strapped to his back. A sling of arrows lay underneath the bow that hugged his body. The man’s cloak fluttered as he ran through the woods. One could see that underneath the cloak, the hunter had hidden many daggers, all strapped to his body. The moon softly revealed the glint of all the sheathes, illuminating the man in the midst of night. To some, the man looked like an angel, his body glittering in the night, imposing righteousness in the darkness. Some modern day men, however, would call him a vampire.
In the midst of the forest, the man approached a clearing. The grass that covered the rest of the forest did not encroach the small area. In the midst of the clearing, a small pond laid still. The pond reflected the sky above it, its smooth surface of water specked with the stars and the moon. The giant trees surrounding the pool stretched to reach to the stars that they protected. Above, their long branches hung softly over the mirrored pond, gently breezing in the night wind. The only grass laid on a small hill in the center of the pond. The hill came along with a jutting stone tablet that lay upright, embedded in the hill.
The hunter stopped before the clearing, and then began to approach the pond. Gently, he kneeled before the water, extending his right arm towards the edge of the pool. The water rippled as his fingertips dove through he surface of the liquid. Soon, the hunter’s arm was submerged in the now-rippling water. Then, as quickly as it happened, it ended. The man removed his hand from the pond, and the pond smoothed over to the mirror it was. Quickly as he arrived, the man disappeared back into he darkness. Back to running.
The edge of the forest drew nearer with every step. On the horizon, rolling hills filled the background. Large columns of smoke from these hills, as if the earth had cracked and an angry demon awoke from within. The trees became sparser as the man drew closer to the sight before him. Never before had death looked so rampant.
The land between the forest and hills was covered with bodies. One the field, rotting corpses of thousands of soldiers lay unattended. Burnt banners and battered swords pierced the earth, shields battered and in pieces, the ground littered with many shards of metal, wood, and body parts. The soft sound of the banners fluttering in the wind were the only echoes to be heard in this aftermath, and the rancid smell of death only proceeded to poison the air. Without a second glance, the hunter tied a scarf around his face as he proceeded to traverse the battle-stricken territory.
The hunter took a low position as he crossed the field of bodies, sneaking his way across the field. He was careful not attract the attention of any looters or survivors, in the interest of maintaining a sneaky disposition.
Then the man dropped to the ground.
The mud smeared against his face as the hunter lay in the mud. Up ahead, he had heard the voices of a couple of guardsmen, typically armed with crossbows.