The hunter searched for its prey among the rising black snows of its home in Awarth, shadow-world to the physical world of Kigan.
The hunter in this case was a fierce draulm, a kind of shadow hound.
The body of a draulm is indistinct, being made of shadow, not even the exact shape of its legs could be made out, but quite clearly one could see that it possesses two heads, one of the heads being in place of a tail!
This hound of ill omen moves surprisingly fast in the manner of a crab.
The speed is of great help to the draulm, as they have some trouble with stealth, as their drool is in the form of binding chains.
One of the draulm’s heads had caught the scent of prey, the other, the presence of another spirit.
The draulm scuttled towards the source, entering mirror woods it was only passingly familiar with. The dire hound had travelled far from the place that it arose. It is in the nature of a draulm to wander, eating whatever it finds, binding what it cannot eat, and fleeing from what it can neither bind nor eat.
It slowed and made some attempts to not drool chains, as it could feel its prey close. Weaving through trees, it came upon its prey; a lone uma-lokka, likely separated from its hive by some mishap.
A great fat purple beetle spirit the size of a horse. They possess a ruff of ashen hair on their neck, and their legs are fuzzy things of the same ashen hue. They graze upon mirror plants, though they have a more worrisome habit. Their wings are made up of little mirrors, these wings they use to trap minor spirits and confuse a number of spirits. They take these spirits to feed their dreaming grubs and queen, who dreams the grubs into Awarth.
The draulm’s right head snuffed. This beetle was not a threat, the draulm had attacked a whole group of uma-lokka before, indeed it had fought with far more dangerous prey.
The draulm crept quite close to the uma-lokka, but it did not seem to notice, obliviously chomping down on mirrorleaves.
The shadow-hound leapt, heads facing the unsuspecting beetle spirit, this would be an easy meal for the draulm.
However, the draulm soon realised its error, it was not that the uma-lokka had failed to notice it. It had, but the beetle had no need to flee or defend itself. Rising from its shadow, came a twisted bladed horn!
It was only the draulm’s drool chains that stopped one of its heads from being impaled upon the silvery twisted blade. As it was, the hound caught the horn in a chain, grabbed the chain with a mouth and swung away from the beetle that was still ignoring it.
The draulm landed a few steps away from the shadow of the beetle. It saw the possessor of the horn, as it dived back into the uma-lokka’s shadow. A sulloa, otherwise known as a twistedhorn traitorfish, a spirit that hides in beings shadows. So called a traitor fish because while they may protect the host they use as bait to lure predators to eat, they’ll happily eat their host if nothing is attracted by their baithost. Then there is the fact that their eggs destroy their host’s shadow.
Most beings greater than an animal tend to do their best to remove a traitorfish that gets into their shadow.
This breed of silvery bodied traitorfish’s head grows into a twisted sword-like horn. It also strangely has a pretty tail.
The draulm considered finding easier prey, but its hunger made the choice for it. The hound stalked around the beetle, one head watching the beetle, the other eyeing the shadow. It began drooling a long chain.
It stepped up to the shadow, and sure enough the sulloa burst forth from the shadow trying to spear the draulm, but the hound was more prepared this time and looped chain around the traitorfish. With two strong tugs it fished the spirit out of the shadow and onto the snow. The hound was on it instantly tearing its throat out, and the other head of the draulm made short work of the uma-lokka, biting its head off before it could understand what had happened.
The drualm panted and drooled chains. It had exhausted it, but victory belonged to it! It had not one but two things to eat, one for each head even!
Then the drualm howled as it was hit with a wave of sound so great that it was killed. There was the flapping of wings and down settled a ishkoo, a huge, horned owl-like spirit with two beaks, four legs, and brown and black chequered feathers that switched about. The sound had come from its horns, an odd web of horns that magically catch sound to throw fatal bolts of noise.
The ishkoo hooted in victory, it had watched the whole hunt play out from the skies and attacked when the draulm’s guard was down. It would eat one of the dead bodies and carry the rest to its nest for its hatchlings.
Then a spear struck the ishkoo in the side of the head. There was a heavy sigh as the hunter that owned the spear came out from behind a few trees.
“What am I going to do with all these bodies?” he complained.
He examined the corpses, as they were spirits bodies, they were already breaking down, he would need to treat and prepare them if he was to keep anything.
“Soon as I can, I’m going back to Kigan”
He got out his carving knife and grimaced, ineffectually trying to shake off a bit of chain-drool that had gotten off his hand.
“I hate this place.”
In the end, the hunter got all the spoils, not the ishkoo, the sulloa or the draulm, though each felt sure of its victory.<< Having Your Cake And Not Eating It A Lighter Tale Part One >>