?>
Search for all polls, all stream feature posts, all deathmatch postsFind People featurePersonal Wikis Feature v0Site forums integrated better with the site + other upgradesDraft Saving feature"My Active" Forum Feed type and Newest Posts linkHUGE POSSIBLY CONFUSING CHANGE: All forum indexes switched to hottest (with indicators); a setting to revert this or make it replies
GTX0 NewestRepliesHottestMy Active
NIFE UpdatesRoadmapRequests | HelpDiscuss Game Worlds


Creative Forum


Moderated By: KM8
They Must Even Feed the Wolves
Posted: Posted August 7th, 2017 by elemtilas

They Must Even Feed the Wolves


For in those days there was a proud grey hare and he was called Guthro and he fancied himself quite the brave swordsman and a fine hunter to boot. And although he lived in a modest house, Guthro often rode out upon his old bay and fancied himself quite the lord of the hunt. Living not far away in his ancient stone castle in the deeps of the dark forest known as the Old Woods was a lord indeed, Isengrim, and he was king in those lands and lord of all wolves in the Woods. And on this fine spring day, it being the day of the new year, Isengrim rode out to hunt in the wide woods with his twelve closest friends. By chance, Guthro also happened to be out riding to hunt in the wide woods on that fine spring day of the young new year. As luck would have it, Guthro followed a trail deeper and deeper into the Woods until he was quite lost.

Guthro soon came across a broad clearing in the trees and in the distance, at the far edge of the clearing, he saw there a stag, standing as bold as brass. Said he to himself: “Ho now! I shall have a fine trophy for my hall and a feast to boot!” Of course, his hall was little more than a one room farm house, but he did love to pretend.

Little did Guthro know it, but across from his position and watching the same stag was none other than Isengrim and his twelve stout huntsmen. “The winter was quite hard as we all know,” said Isengrim. His friends nodded agreement, well recalling the unusually deep drifts of snow among the trees. “And though this stag is old and weak, he is the best we’ve seen in many days and we need to bring home more fresh meat.” His friends nodded again, for all knew that meals of late were slim pickings and the larders of many were nearly bare.

And so, as Isengrim and his twelve stout huntsmen readied their finely crafted and matching yew bows with their long arrows of ash, so Guthro got out his poor home made hawthorn bow and arrows of dogwood. As Isengrim and his twelve stout huntsmen nocked their ostrich fletched arrows of holly wood, so Guthro nocked his crow fletched arrow of humble dogwood. And as Isengrim and his twelve stout huntsmen took careful aim, so Guthro took careful aim. In that instant, the stag’s head lifted up, ears straining for some clue as to the source of his ill ease, and he paused as if listening for the arrows’ song of death. Too late did their song come to his ears, and too late did the stag think to spring away to the safety of the denser trees beyond the clearing, for in that same instant, as Isengrim and his twelve stout huntsmen let fly their impeccably straight arrows, so Guthro let fly his own crooked arrow. As arrows with keen bronze points coursed through the air from the bows of Isengrim and his twelve stout huntsemen, so did the humble glass tipped but well crafted arrow fly through the air from the bow of Guthro.

Twelve songbirds of death flew free and twelve deadly beaks pierced the stag’s flesh. Instantly he fell into the curved arms of mother Gea, his red blood flowing gushing from twelve wounds, pumping from severed veins, flowing across the dead and dry brown leaves of the yesteryear just past, bringing them no new life, heralding only the stag’s own passage from this world to another.

Then such a whooping and yammering as Guthro never heard before came from the jubilant wolves. He now knew that someone else was in the vicinity, but he knew not who. And now the mystery became revealed: twelve bold wolves, dressed in fine cloth of gold and silver the like of which Guthro in his homespun green cloak could scarce believe, came forth into the clearing, Isengrim at their head. Twelve mighty hunters and one pretentious hare dressed in his humble green approached the fallen stag.

Immediately a dispute broke out among the twelve stout huntsment as to whose arrow was the killing arrow. Each one claimed the kill, or else avered that if not himself, it must be bold Isengrim himself who delivered the fatal blow. Then stepped forth a curious old chap, a jackal and a far farer and a clever shaman in his own homeland. His name was Auwau and he wore a bizarre costume of bones and ears and claws of every kind of beast in the world. He lifted his right paw and the wolves fell silent. He stretched forth this same paw over the still warm and steaming carcass and began to chant quietly to himself. The paw began to tremble as it moved over the form of the stag. Auwau pulled the arrows one by one, examining each and naming its rightful owner, for as everyone knows, a good hunter always marks his arrows with his own colors of threads. To each one in turn he said: “Twas not yours that brought him death,” or perhaps “a bold stroke, but not deadly” or else “had he but remained still half a second longer...”

At last Auwau reached down and pulled out Isengrim’s arrow, stout and stained black as pitch. Even to Isengrim, king of all beasts of the Old Woods, Auwau said: “twas not yours that brought him death.” The twelve stout huntsmen began their dispute anew, for if none of their arrows killed the stag, how could it be he had fallen dead? What they could not see and what Auwau could was the homely fletchings of an unknown hunter’s arrow. In response to their questions and clamor, Auwau turned the beast from the side where he lay and then all could see it plain: a fourteenth arrow had pierced the stag’s body and buried itself into his very heart.

“An ugly and homely fletching I see now upon that arrow, lord Jackal,” said one of the hunter wolves. But Auwau would not reply at once. He stretched out his paw over the fourteenth arrow and began again to chant quietly to himself. The paw began to tremble anew and when Auwau pulled that arrow from deep within the body, the last of his blood flowed out and the jackal said: “I know not the keen hunter who sent this singer of death to its target, but I can say twas his arrow that brought him death.”

In that moment, all the huntsmen and Isengrim as well, turned towards Guthro, who had hitherto remained silent and was standing a little to the side, in utter awe of the mighty wolf hunters in all their finery and bearing their powerful weapons. He had heard nothing of what Auwau had said. No one had paid him any mind at first, but now all eyes were on him.

Auwau turned and passed by his lord Isengrim, placed a paw upon his horse’s shoulder, and whispered: “All is not lost. As you say, the stag is old and weak. Yet here stands a fat and healthy, if fearless, hare who constantly eyes the clothing and weapons of your huntsmen. He may yet be useful.”

continues...

settingsOptions
There are 2 Replies

concluded...

And so it was. Guthro took service with Isengrim and went back to his ancient stone castle deep in the Old Woods. Although he dreamed of wearing such finery as the twelve stout huntsmen had worn and shooting such fine bows as the twelve stout huntsmen had shot, Isengrim had other plans. “Nay sir hare!” he would say; “First, before you may hunt with us, let us test your skills! For example, how well can you cook?”

And so, Guthro was set to work in the kitchens to pare carrots and potatoes and to make gravies and biscuits for Isengrim and his court. For, Isengrim had said, there would be a fine feast on the morrow and only the choicest foods would be allowed to come out of his kitchens. Guthro was kept so busy going hither and thither that he scarecely took notice that the stag he had killed was nowhere to be seen, neither in the smokehouse nor in the salting cellar nor in the drying house.

In fact, the next morning, Guthro was busy rushing about preparing the pastries for the feast when Isengrim himself appeared in the kitchens with two of his closest stout huntsmen. Guthro asked him: “My lord Isengrim! I’ve prepared a sumptuous feast for all the castle, yet I have not found any meat worthy of the table. And now I see you with two of your huntsment. Shall we go forth today and hunt together?”

Isengrim grinned a wolfish grin and the huntsmen sniggered quietly. “Indeed friend Guthro! Today I think is the day we shall slaughter the meat worthy of the obviously fine spread you’ve so ably concocted for me and my court! Come now, friend! Let us go now and find this delicious meat!” All the while, Isengrim’s hard eyes never left Guthro, and for a brief moment, the grey hare felt a chill shiver down his spine. But it passed as his excitement rose over being invited to go on the hunt.

Guthro was delighted and turned towards the kitchen door as if to go outside. But Isengrim stayed him, saying: “Nay, good friend Guthro! Let us not go by that door. Rather, let us go by this way here.” He indicated another door, one which Guthro had not yet had the time to explore. “It will be quicker this way.” The other wolves glanced at one another and grinned slyly.

Guthro didn’t think twice, saying: “Very well then! Let us be off!” So saying, he took up his humble bow and arrows and headed for the door Isengrim had pointed to.

Isengrim grinned again and winked to his companions. Just as Guthro opened the door, a sight of such horror met his eyes that he could scarcely credit his own eyes and what they were seeing. For the door led to a spacious larder and it was indeed well stocked with all sorts of carcasses: a few deer and boar and indeed the stag that he himself had slain but a short time past; but it seemed that Isengrim’s favorite meats were rabbit and hare, for the larder had no fewer than twenty hare carcasses hanging by their hind legs from the rafters. He also saw there the butcher’s table and the clean, glinting bronze meat saws, cleavers and knives that would be surely be put to use carving the meats for the king’s table.

And oh, was Guthro stunned by the sight! And he turned to leave, desperately seeking for any way to get clear of Isengrim and his larder! But he found the doorway blocked by Isengrim and his friends. He could scarcely get out one word of protest before the three wolves, red eyed, ravenous, lunged towards him and backed him into the butcher block. Guthro let out a shrill scream and they threw him to the floor. They snatched him up again in their claws and flung him, still screaming, upon the butcher block and there began to ply their cleavers and saws and knives upon his still living body.

Guthro moaned his last, knowing that his own end was near, seeing his own bright red blood spurting from every wound, a river of red flowing along the channels in the butcher block, dripping to the cold stone floor, each a drop of life ebbing away. “At last I know,” Guthro said to himself, for he had no strength left to speak or even struggle against his tormentors; “whence shall come the meat for the grand feast! And it is me! Ah, but woe is me. For indeed they must even feed the wolves who would bide among them!” And that was an end for proud Guthro the Grey.

Posted August 7th, 2017 by elemtilas

A really downbeat story, elemtilas.

Posted August 15th, 2018 by chiarizio
Reply to: They Must Even Feed the Wolves
Enter your message here

Site Rules | Complaints Process | Give Feedback Facebook Page
GTX0 © 2009-2019 Xhin GameTalk © 1999-2008 lives on