Evening had descended on the village. Stars twinkled in the cloudless night and the bright light of the full moon cast a pale white veil over the cottages. A cool breeze drifted down from the mountains, the trees swaying in harmony as they sang the unintelligible lullabies of the night. In the distance low, dark clouds descended around the mountains while the orange glow of the cottage windows revealed preparations for supper underway as the village settled in for the evening. All was quiet.
At the outskirts of the village, a dark shadow emerged. The moonlight glimmered off of the shiny silver blade in his hand and the shoulder-length hair, black as a raven, moved gently with the breeze. Under the shadows of a hooded, full-length robe, eyes glimmered red.
The hunter’s eyes darted from cottage to cottage. This was the place, he was sure of it. It was here, he could sense it. It had eluded him, time and time again, spreading havoc and death in its path. Always one step ahead, yet close enough for the hunter to be drawn to it, guiding him, the darkness within him yearning for that of another. The hunter clenched his jaw and fists. It had to end tonight.
Silently, the shadow moved from door to door, his senses on high alert. A hand briefly touched each door, allowing the energy within to share its intentions. Cottage after cottage yielded only empty stomachs and aching bodies.
Then, the glow in the window in the last cottage flickered and died. The hunter felt his chest tighten while his heartbeat raced. Rage welled up inside him, his muscles tensed, his vision narrowed. He gripped the handle of his sword with two hands as he strode towards the cottage, a string of unintelligible words streaming from his lips in a quiet chant.
The door splintered as his booted foot made contact with the wood. He stepped across the threshold and glared into the darkness within. A snarl greeted him, along with two glowing red orbs. Before he could react, black tendrils of smothering smoke shot out from the shadow inside the cottage, wrapping themselves around his neck and limbs. The hunter coughed as the smoke tried to squeeze the air out of his lungs.
He had expected it, just like he had so many times before. Yet, this time, it was different. He could sense the urgency in the evil that wrapped itself around him, its yearning to snuff out his life like the flame of a candle. It pulsed through his veins and he could feel it stronger than ever, demanding his submission.
The hunter closed his eyes and let the ancient powers imparted to him as a young child rise within him. A snarl from across the room told him the bond had been broken, that his soul was safe.
With a cry, he raised his sword, now glowing white like a sun, and lunged forward, driving the blade into the shadow. Then, all was quiet.
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