Prologue: So Begins The Tale, by M-chan
It was the third night of the Hunt. The Underground lay in silence, awaiting the return of the Hunting group. The night was still young, though, and they would not return for several more hours.
Two weary travelers waited within the Underground. Both were young men. Between them dwelled a hollow silence that was very unnatural to most travelers. Normally drunken laughter and friendly banter would fill such a silence. Really, only rough times could bring about such a silence.
Just then, the owner the Underground stepped into view. Her white curls bounced with her every step. The color stole away the youthfulness about her, though. It looked to the travelers to be the result of many stressful years.
The clink of the woman placing two mugs in front of the travelers filled the room’s silence, if only for an instant. The three in the room, unaware of each other’s thoughts, all recalled happier times, when the sounds of mugs against wood meant a party or reunion. Each of them almost smiled. Then they all remembered that the drinks that night would not be for celebration. They would be to mourn for those who would not return from the Hunt.
Outside, a tree branch knocked against one of the Underground’s windows. It rattled the glass, as would footsteps on the Underground’s stairs. It was sad to think that travelers were not making that glass rattle. Instead, it was a tree branch, seemingly trying to fill up the lonesome silence. The sorrow of that reverberated through the floorboards, the walls, the tables, the chairs, and the minds of those in the room.
Sighing inwardly, the owner of the Underground sat down, across from the two travelers. She was thinking of the Hunt, and of her husband. She remembered the night many centuries ago when he died, the night of the first Hunt.
The two travelers gazed at the woman, noting every angle and expression on her face. Her almond eyes stared back, examining them as they were doing to her. She was very calculating, taking into account every feature on them.
At last, she folded her hands on the table and looked as if to speak. The two men found themselves leaning in, ready to hear what she had to say. Perhaps it was that they needed real noise, a voice, to fill the void. Maybe having her voice would make up for those who would not come back from the Hunt, who would never speak another word. Outside, the first windy cries of a storm urged the woman on, as would a child wanting to hear a bedtime story.
The woman’s rose colored lips tugged into a smile that lit up the depressed room. Her pale skin glowed, and she began.
“Let me tell you,” she said, shattering the silence into shards like broken glass, “Of a story I learned long ago. It is a tale that will bring life to this dreary place.”