Down the path walked the assembled hunting party. Leading the group was an experienced tracker wearing a hooded cloak and who had brought with him a long-haired, grey, Irish Wolfhound which he called his loyal Sighthound. He controlled them with great skill and they followed his commands with pinpoint obediance. The priest had also come and often recited prayers to keep up spirits. Carpenter of course, stayed at the front with the tracker and offered rallying speeches when the mood fell tense. Lady Eventide, happy to be the only female in the group, showed a strong determination to best the beast, though silent she remained. Mr Lord also walked alongside us, having left his wife and the maid at home to keep the inn safe and lo0k after the few remaining patrons. His mind often wandered to the lack of trade he was procuring due to recent events. Amidst a few other burly men... local farmers and handymen who had been away from work for a few days on their way to the city, Brakken kept the rear, unhappily followed by Wood.
They were upon the edge of cliff when Brakken first sensed a threat behind them. He turned to see but a fleeting shadow. At the same point, the Hound yelped and began to walk faster and faster, as if he had seen something.
He hushed the dog and began a slow jog.
They passed the cliff and left the path. Crossing themselves, they made their way into the woods. Deeper they went. Skeletal the branches looked, with no light, they were but looming shadows that cast haunting images into their minds. Several times, Mr Lord and the Lady tripped over brambles and thickets that snaked across the ground.
"Curse this darn dress," the Lady moaned. But getting no response, kept quiet again. So the travelling went from then on... the dense shadow of the canopy kept out all light, there was too much fear for Carpenter or the Priest to offer words of comfort now. Still, Brakken felt a presence nearby, it seemed to follow them, yet the dog continued to take them further on.
Thus approached the company into a breaking of the ancient trees. Silver moonlight spilled into the clearing, dappling the leaves in sacred colour. There was a small pool that reflected the glorious light, it was surrounded by shrubbery and next to this stood a tree stump. It was upon this small mound of wood, that the most beautifully awe-full creature stood, as rigid as a statue.