A horrific scream woke Vyth in the dead of night. He reached for his weapon, racing to the edge of his tent. His heart pounding like a drum as he stepped out. The cold night air bit into his skin like needles. He tried to focus his mind. There was movement at the edge of the camp and Vyth rushed to it trying to keep his footing on the frozen ground. The night was a moonless pitch-black making sight of the hunting camp nearly impossible.
The shadowy shapes ahead slowly took humanoid form as Vyth approached. A lit torch blinded Vyth for a second with its brightness. His eyes slowly focused on three of his hunting party members standing around a tent that was completely ripped apart. Vyth’s heart sunk and his mouth went dry as he realized that it was Gunther’s tent. “What happened?” Vyth finally asked. “Where is Gunther?” The three men stood silent starring at the mangled tent.
Fearing the worst, Vyth walked to where the three stood. The torchlight flickered in the night air shining over the ravaged remains of Gunther’s tent. Vyth was able to make out parts of a horridly dismembered body. The pungent smell of blood was heavy in the air and the innards sent their warm vapors in the cold night. A lesser man would run in fear or lose the contents of his stomach. Was this Gunther?
A large man named Fallon approached. “The kill is fresh, the creature might still be around, warn the others,” he spoke in a stoic deep voice.
Vyth was oblivious to his words.
“Damn it, men! Snap out of it before this creature takes another one of us this night!” Fallon shouted in such a stern voice it gave Vyth a sense of courage, if even for a brief second.
Vyth and the other two focused on Fallon’s words and the task of warning the others. The rest of the hunting party were either hiding in their tents or standing in a distance. They were not like Fallon, a hardened warrior cast from the hells of war. His large frame and muscular body had numerous scars from the action he had seen. Fallon held his large battle-axe against his shoulder that was scared and nicked even worse than Fallon himself. Fallon was leading the hunting party this night only as a favor to the elders of the town. Gunther was the elder who had requested Fallon to lead the group, but the reasons for such an occasion were unknown.
Fallon bent down to investigate the body while the other hunters went off to warn the others. Gasps from the other hunters gathered around the fire as the two men told them that Gunther’s life had been taken in the night.
“This is not good. It’s … impossible.” Fallon muttered as he looked over the inflicted wounds.
A hunter named Gyne, spoke up from the camp, “it must have come from the woods behind us! We have to get out of here! It will no doubt come back for more of us!”
As Vyth walked around the immediate area, his blood started to run cold as he thought of the creature returning. Vyth started to doubt his courage and strength to be able to deal with the loss of another member. Or worse, to have to face the creature himself. He was not sure if it was the cold that made him shiver so much or it was the fear, but he tried to hide it. Gyne’s words of worry grew louder and started the other hunters to utter the same words of flight.
Vyth was certain Fallon would at any moment walk over and knock Gyne to the ground for causing such a panic amongst the others. Nothing happened. Worried, Vyth went back around to Gunther’s body and Fallon.
A chill went down his spine and fear engulfed his entire being. Vyth saw Fallon sitting on the cold ground holding his battle-axe in both arms staring off in the distance with a look of fear in his eye. “It cannot be… it cannot be,” Fallon muttered as his body trembled.