Thea looked up from the tracks. These are fresh, I’m gaining. Thea drew her bow and followed the tracks in the snow, keeping quiet.
The snow muffled her footsteps and after rounding a tree she spotted her prey – a racor. They were rare, and their hide was extremely prized. It was thick, rough, and very hard to penetrate, but still flexible – perfect for shields and other various pieces of armour.
Thea drew an arrow and notched it as quietly as a seasoned hunter like her could. Racors were probably among the rarest Renyskian creatures a few years ago. Now, they were for sure, ensuring that this would be a very lucky kill for her today – the fact that she had seen it in the first place was a major feat itself! But, before she could think about returning home with a racors body, she needed to get an arrow in the right place to actually kill it. One of the weakest spots on a racor was on the underside of their head, just past the chin. From there an arrow could penetrate easily through the mouth and into the brain, almost instantly killing the creature. The only problem with that plan of action was that it was almost impossible to be alive underneath a racor long enough to pull that off. Instead, Thea aimed for the elbow of the racor’s spear leg. Racors are four legged creatures, but only three legs are the same. They are the back and front-left leg. These legs are almost dragon-like, and have four claws each. The front-right leg, on the other hand, is a sword-like spear from the elbow down. That leg can also excrete poison, making it the deadliest – and almost the weakest – part of the racor. If an arrow can hit the inside of the elbow, the poison would be stopped from circulating to the racors heart for heat. It would then cool down and harden, then start to burn the racor from the inside, making it an easy kill.
Thea pulled the arrow back, the string tightened and she aimed. Thea let go and the string snapped forward. The racor looked up, but it was to late. Thea pulled back another arrow and hit the racor in the eye with a swift release. The racor roared in pain and tried to charge her, but its leg was already being burned from the inside. The racor fell to the ground and glared at Thea in agony.
“Thank you Ysk for the creatures you have given us for food and all the things they give us.” Thea whispered and unsheathed her dagger, ending the racors suffering with a swift stab. Thea recovered an arrow – the one in the racors elbow was melted into the arm – and picked up the racor.
The hunt went on for the rest of the day, but was unsuccessful and Thea slept underneath a tree with just the bodies of a racor, an ice puffiner – spherical creatures with little paws, feet and tails – and two poxubes – triangular, almost icy, creatures with scythe-like tails.
The next morning was dark and foggy, much like every morning in Icentor, but today Thea could feel that it was unnatural, someone had put it there. Thea picked up her hunting bag, which had all the killed creatures inside, and started to head home.
Even before she reached the usually busy city, Thea knew something was wrong. The towers were dark and quiet, the usually filled streets were empty, and the guard weren’t on the walls.
She approached cautiously, but passed the walls without trouble and met no one on the cobblestone streets as Thea walked home. When she entered her home, Thea noticed a stillness as unnatural as the fog. Putting down her bag, Thea hurried upstairs and checked her parent’s room. There, she saw them asleep and after a second, noticed that they were not breathing. Thea rushed forward and felt that they had heartbeats.
Confused, Thea returned downstairs, then decided to check a bit more of the city. Everyone was the same down Saityre Street, as well as Tomark Road. The city was basically deserted. Thea returned home and found some leftover salted meat and ate it, contemplating on what she should do next. Eventually, Thea made up her mind and left her home, keeping her bow at the ready. Thea ran through the streets to the city hall, and, once inside, she traversed the hallways to the armoury. She replenished her quiver with arrows, took and extra bow, and swapped her dagger for a sharper one. She slung her new second bow around her shoulder.
Thea turned and reached for the doorknob, when suddenly a dagger hit the doorknob, jamming it. Thea quickly withdrew her hand and whipped around. She saw know one, but a sword rose up and shot at her face. Thea ducked and the sword hit the door behind her and stuck, wobbling a bit.
Thea moved to the side as a knife tried to spear her head, and took a shield off of the nearby table, hiding behind it while she strapped it on. Thea moved back to the door, using the shield for protection, and tugged the dagger a few times. It didn’t budge. She pulled and shook it for a while, and finally it came free – taking the doorknob with it. Thea shook the doorknob off of the dagger and tried to wedge the dagger between the wall and the door to open it, but the gap was too small. She pulled out the sword and tried to hack the door down, but she didn’t have enough strength to manage that. Thea looked around and could see no other way out.
She sighed and sat down in a corner to think, as more weapons battered her arm. Thea knew she would have a bruise. There seemed to be no other way out and eventually Thea gave herself in to the battering of the flying weapons. After what felt like an eternity, the weapons stopped and Thea slowly looked out around the shield. She saw a floating gem in the middle of the room. It looked like ruby, but as she watched, blackness consumed the ruby, and it became a new stone. Thea, unfamiliar with the stone stood up and walked towards it. As she walked, a hooded figure shimmered into view, holding the stone. Thea stopped and grabbed a sword – arrows would be useless in such a small space – but as she held it, it became searing hot and Thea dropped it. It seemed she would not be using a weapon against the magician.
The stayed fairly well away and gave him her full attention, expecting a message or something. The figure took off its hood, revealing a skull, but instead of giving a message, breathed out and a strong wind tore Thea off her feet and slammed her against the wall on the other side of the room. Her head whipped into stones and Thea saw black coming in, and tried to shake it off, but it consumed her. The last things Thea heard were the words; “Your warning has been given. Join him.”