Cythera Chronicles: The Hunt

  • It was a moonless night and barely a trace of starlight penetrated the thick forest canopy, but Tu'bu was used to darkness. He had been tracking his quarry for the better part of the day over a great distance and his whole body was weary from the chase. But he knew now that he was close to his prey. So close that he could practically smell it. In fact- Yes, there it was- the pungent aroma of sweat and animal panic hovered on the edge of his perception. Tu'bu gripped his spear tightly in anticipation of the kill- the moment of release when the hunter and the prey became one- for a brief existence together in a world of pain and relief. Even now he could feel his prey's exhaustion. Hours of pursuit through thick brush had taken its toll on hunter and prey, but soon it would be over.

    Nearing the end of its strength, the bull Kurau had finally stumbled into a clearing up ahead and collapsed in the center. Its breathing was hoarse and Tu'bu could tell that it was close to death. Stalking out of the brush, his body swaying as if in the wind, Tu'bu padded toward the creature with his spear raised. Tu'bu seemed to be in a trance like state, attuned entirely to his prey. He barely even registered that his feet now trod not on the soft leaf litter of the jungle, but on hard, cold stone.

    He slowly pressed forward, watching his quarry for any sign of a last flight but the beast only turned and stared at him. Starlight glinted in the creature's eyes as it awaited its death. There was no fear in its gaze, only sheer and complete exhaustion. The final spear thrust was barely needed other than acting as the final symbolic gesture of the closure of the hunt. When the Kurau's head had lolled for the final time, its spirit gone, Tu'bu raised up a blessing to the gods for the creature's courage and stamina. He sat for a moment on a slab of stone next to his prey. Exhaustion was threatening to overwhelm him but he knew he could not let it. If he did not move the carcass of the Kurau to a place of safety it would be taken by one of the countless other predators that walked the jungle by night, and his efforts would be in vain.

    He got to his feet again, fighting the weariness in his limbs, and glanced around himself for the first time since he had entered the glade. What was this place? He knew that he had strayed far from his traditional hunting grounds in his long chase, but he had never encountered a place such as this before. Tall spires of rock, partially covered in jungle vegetation, still bore strange symbols the Tu'bu had no way of comprehending. Some were carved into shapes which must have been quite frightening had abandonment in the harsh jungle not taken its toll. Two of these pillars stood either side of a pyramidal structure, which looked to Tu'bu's eyes a good deal like the dwelling places of his people back at his village, but at the same time wholly different. This structure was made of stone and somewhat larger than his people's huts. Two smaller upright pillars with a great stone set upon them formed a door. Tu'bu shivered involuntarily, and wondered why. Normally he feared nothing in the jungle- there were many hazards that could catch the unwary but Tu'bu had spent his entire life tracking through the jungle and he knew how to avoid its many dangers.

    Glancing into the cold interior, an utter void in the night, he became vaguely aware that what he feared was not of nature. A freezing chill seemed to radiate from the entrance to the structure. He glanced back to the lifeless body of the Kurau. He had never before feared death- it was all a part of the great cycle of life. And yet the sight of the Kurau unsettled him even more. What was happening? Why should he fear his prey- that he had stalked over vast tract of jungle, that he had killed with his own spear, that he had planned to take back to his tribe with him to feed his family, that was lying so still on the cold stone of the clearing? And as he stared into the eyes of the creature that he had killed barely a moment before he realized what it was.

    The Kurau was staring back.

    (to be continued)

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 03-04-2003).)

  • This is definitely a departure from your usual humorous style. It's a good, albeit short, story.

    Slayer's Guide to "its" vs. "it's"

    "It's" should only be used as a contraction for "it is," not as a posessive. "Its" is the posessive form.


    It's a good chron.
    Its length is a little lacking.

    Slayer's guide to Cythera:

  • Heh. Slayer the Grammer Fiend chalks up another kill...



    zin is human; even more zin is divine
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