The forester was propped against a tree where he had obviously dragged himself after being attacked. Long gashes made from tremendously large claws had torn valleys into his flesh and his blood flowed like rivers down the valleys. Pain and fear clouded his eyes and his breathing came in shallow gasps as Grimm knelt before him Making a point to not look at the man’s wounds, Lady Wessex stood with her back turned, scanning the forest.
“What did this to you man” asked Grimm, though his hope for an answer was slim considering the circle of blood that soaked the snow beneath the dying man. His lips tried to move and his chest heaved with the effort of drawing enough breath to speak. The last spark of life left the man’s eyes as he uttered a single word into the quite night, the white snowfall turning crimson as it landed on his wounds.
“Wolves?” Grimm muttered. “Can’t imagine a wolf large enough to make these kinds of wounds.”
“Wolfe hunter, not wolves. He said Wolfe.” Lady Wessex replied, her gaze still searching the edge of the clearing for any signs of movement.
“Wolfe … wolves, what does it matter?” Grimm growled.
“Simple, wolves are beast that live and run in our realm of reality, in our vision of the world. Wolfe is the name that the foresters and lumberjacks that work this forest give to a spirit of this forest. A primordial incarnation of hate and malice that the forest has unleashed to protect itself.”
“So in his dying moments, engulfed by pain and fear, he mumbles something about a myth. Wonderful. Can we go back to the camp now? It happens to be cold out here.”
Eyes still glued to the forest around them, Mrs. Wessex pulled the package from her shoulder and undid the twine holding the oiled leather in place. As the leather of the covering fell away a machine of exquisite death was revealed. The entire contraption from the stock to the tip of the barrel was around four feet long. Metal mesh hoses ran from compartments near the breach to small machines on the top of the stock. Along the top of the barrel ran a item that consisted of polished glass and mirrors encased in gleaming brass. Mobile lenses connected to the hind portion of the scope and looked like they could be placed in front of the eye piece to change its magnification. The quality of the weapon and the modifications on it were nothing short of a work of art and Grimm could tell from experience that the additions protruding from the barrel and breach would turn the long rifle into something more akin to a siege weapon then something for hunting game.
“You are more than welcome to go back to the camp Grimm, I am going hunting.”
“That thing looks a little extreme for simply hunting a deer for dinner.” Grimm commented, watching the way that Lady Wessex held the gun. With rock steady hands, she pulled back her cloak to reveal an ammunition belt synched tight around her waist. The ammunition in the belt surprised Grimm. Expecting large caliber rounds for the gun, he was shocked to see glass tubes filled with liquid at the tip of each round. As the lady pulled one from the belt, Grimm saw that the tip was actually bifurcated with a different colored liquid in each half and with a start he realized that this ammunition would likely explode on contact with its target.
“Do I look like the type of person that would hunt deer?” Lady Wessex asked as she pulled the bolt action on the rifle back and slipped the shell she had retrieved into it.
“With that weapon, I guess not. What is it that you do hunt?”
“Myths and legends Mr. Grimm. There are things in this world that defy logic and sanity, I have hunted every predatory beast this world has to offer and some that scientist say don’t exist. Now I plan on hunting a myth … coming?”
“Figures I would end up with an insane noble. This beast practically rips a full grown man in two and you want to go play with it on its home turf. Brilliant.” Grimm sneered, a glint of malice and blood lust filling his own eyes. “Well then, lead on my Lady.”