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A Hunting Dance

Can you hear it? That dreaded music? The waltz is about to begin.

Can you feel that cool mist, creeping across the earth, curling like waiting vipers around your ankles? There is no moon tonight, no stars. There is only the dark, and that sickly green light glimmering in the distance.

It’s that time again. The Hunter and His Seeker have returned once more to our shores, so you better run and hide. Lock your doors and pray your sins have not overflowed your good deeds, that blood does not stain you skin. The Hunt will last till the mist fades, so many nights and days, and should you try to pass through that cool haze with a stained soul, you may find yourself tasting the Hunter’s blade.

The Hunter, such a grand name for such a cruel and broken soul. Do you know the story of how he came to be? He was a man once, a firm yet kind man. A Warden in that prison island not too far from our shores, a good man, a man of fairness and justice. A man who loved his beloved wife.

But his wife hid a secret from the village our city once was, a terrible secret that cost her her soul, and her husbands in turn. You see, the Seeker was once a human Mage, a powerful but kind one. One who used her fantastical powers to help those around her. To protect, to heal instead of destroy. But hatred and fear are poisonous weapons, and so, the Warden’s wife was wrongfully sentenced to death at the stake while her husband was away.

The Seeker did not fight back as she was sentenced. But her fate was not to burn at the stake, for there were many in the village who saw her for what she truly was, and saved her. Yet still, that hatred lingered in two men, burning hotter than the fires of hell, and still, despite the understanding of the villagers, she was killed. Shot through the heart.

But as the wife lay dying, she was overcome by hatred. Why was she to die for injustice? Why should she burn because of two stupid men, leaving her husband a tragedy to find upon his return? She grew angry, vengeful, her soul pleading to any who would hear that she not fall.

No one answered, but there was no need. For a Mage’s soul is a powerful one, and brimming with so much emotion and desire – the dying Mage became what we know as The Seeker.

When the Warden returned, he found his phantasmal wife waiting in their home. A fantastical specter wreathed in emerald flames, her soul fueled to undead immortality, bound to wander the lands she had cared for, her loyal hoard of hounds following forever at her heels. Their howls a warning call to those who wander the mist that the flaming beast is coming for you.

As for the Warden, distraught and furious, took arms and hunted down the men who had murdered his wife. And as he bathed in their blood under the light of the moon, he turned his smoldering eyes upon the village that had betrayed them and swore to kill every single cruel person who walked thier lands, starting with those who had treid to burn his wife.

But before he began his march, the Warden turned to his wife and asked what would it take to bring her happiness in her unlife? For her knew there was no peace her soul could now take. There would be no afterlife for her. No paradise for him, not with his stained hands. Not that an afterlife appealed to him without her.

The specter paused, her hair floating about her, eyes glowing with emerald light. “To hunt at your side, forever bound? That is my freedom. That is my paradise.” She answered.

At such a declaration, the Warden made his decision. He took up his blade and ran it through his own heart. And as the Warden lay dying, his wife spoke her spell, and remade her husband into a walking specter. Binding the two burning souls forevermore to each other, binding them to haunt their land for all eternity. As Hunter and Seeker.

And as the two marched into the village, a mist so impenetrable followed, bathing the village, though it did nothing to muffle the screams of their victims. The two hunted for a week, and when they were done, they retreated to the cliffside, and fell into mist. But in the distance, the remaining villages watched, as emerald light blinked from the windows of the prison off the coast. A new home claimed.

Now every year since, the week of their deaths, the Hunter and Seeker return, to pray upon those who stain their souls with injustice. They bathe the land in a mist no one has any hope of penetrating, and they laugh, stealing away lives, as the Seeker’s once was.

Can you hear it? That dreaded music she plays, that haunting waltz made just for them? Can you see the mist about the set it? Can you see that blinking green light off in the distance? It’s that time of year again. You better lock your doors and pray no soul in your home has stained hands. The Hunter and Seeker are coming, and they will let no injustice lie.

After all, the dead have nothing to loose.

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