Genesis Scrolls Round 1: The Book of Enlightenment (Chapter 3: The Fear of Loss)

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Artemus was no stranger to these woods. He had been hunting since he was a child. His father was a master hunter and taught him everything he knew. Most of the hunters in Lunnon traveled in groups of ten to twelve men with their hounds and their fancy hunting horns. Artemus’ father believed that a real hunter must surrender himself to the environment and truly become one with nature. The two would spend many early mornings swimming in rivers capturing fish with their bare hands. They would often put on wolf’s fur and crawl around in the forest brush, stalking a herd of elk grazing in the fields. The villagers thought they were lunatics, but they respected his father for his skill. In Artmus’ eyes, his father was the greatest hunter in all the realms.

On the day Artemus turned 16 years old, a strange group of men wearing colorful garments and adorned in armor came to the village in search of his father. They had requested his help with a special hunting expedition. His father told him that the mission was too dangerous for him to come along. The hunting knife Artemus carries was a gift from his father on that day. He instructed Artemus to watch over it until he returned. Twelve winters had passed since that day. His father never made it home.

Artemus had recently spent the morning setting up rope snares along the forest trails. Artemus saw traps as a lesser form of hunting. Real hunting, as his father would call it, requires knowing your target and developing a strategy for delivering a quick kill whilst minimizing suffering. Trapping was indiscriminate and cruel. However, the snares were useful for capturing fur bearing animals. This method of capture ensured the thickest part of the fur remained pristine. The winter was fast approaching and furriers were paying bountifully for high quality materials to make their cloaks, scarves, boots and gloves.

The trails seemed just as they did in the morning. Nothing was out of place as far as Artemus could tell and many of his snares were still intact. From the position of where the quivering orb of light had appeared in the sky, Artemus gathered that his destination was somewhere near the western edge of the copper mines. Perhaps the Village Guard had seen something as well. They had an outpost near the entrance to the mines they used for training new recruits. He had been walking for at least an hour so he knew he was close.

As he approached the outpost he noticed some felled trees near the gate. The beech trees in this area of the forest were exceptionally tall and thick. The foresters and woodsmen used them for lumber and chopping down just one required the effort of several men. However, the trees in Artemus’ path appeared to have been cleanly sliced like one of Xedho’s loaves of bread. As far as Artemus knew, there is nothing in this world that can do such a thing.

Just beyond the pile of felled trees, Artemus noticed a raccoon dragging something with its mouth. As he approached, the sound of branches breaking scared the raccoon causing it to drop its prize and run off into the forest brush. When Artemus saw the abandoned meal he jumped back in astonishment and a chill ran down his spine. His eyes widened and face grew pale. Laying before him was a severed arm, cut clean at the shoulder. He recognized the chainmail sleeve and thick green cloth as that of the village guard’s. Bright red blood was still seeping from the detached limb.

He sprung forward running towards the outpost. The Village Guard were a formidable group of men sworn to protect Lunnon from any foreign or domestic threat. After his father disappeared, Artemus and Xedho had joined the Village Guard for some time. The training was rigorous, and the men were the toughest he knew, second only to his father. Their reputation as the most capable of men was well earned. Whatever resulted in one of these men losing a limb wasn’t caused by an animal or unfortunate accident. This was an attack.

When he arrived at the outpost, his worst fears had been realized. Artemus counted seven dead bodies scattered in front of the gate. Many of the guardsmen had been split open, guts spilling out of their abdomens. Some bodies were missing limbs, others decapitated. Of the heads that Artemus could see, the guards had burn marks around their eye sockets. It appeared as if their eyes had caught fire and disintegrated in their skulls, melting away their eyelids.

A hunter was no stranger to the inner constitutions of living creatures, but the way these bodies were mutilated horrified Artemus. Artemus saw one guard missing a right arm, lying lifeless on the ground. That was Dunstan. They used to play together as kids. Beside him was Virgil. Artemus would always bring home boar tusks for Virgil’s children to make necklaces out of. He saw one guard impaled into the wall with a flagpole. His long silver hair floated in the wind like curtains over his blackened eye sockets. That was Ivar, the leader of the Village Guard. Ivar took Artemus under his wing after his father disappeared. Ivar was a ruthless leader who demanded excellence from all of his men. However, beneath his rough exterior was a kind soul. He deserved a more noble end than this.

A rush of emotions flooded Artemus. He collapsed to his knees, holding back a violent wretch. He pounded the ground in anger, tears streaming down his face. He tried to scream but no sound could escape the knot in his throat. He felt the way he did in his dream – helpless, powerless and paralyzed by fear.

Artemus heard a loud scream from the south. It pierced through the trees like an arrow. What was someone doing in the middle of the woods at a time like this? Could it be a trap? Could it be the same group that attacked the Village Guard?


Artemus felt his heart stop and his stomach twist. A look of utter disbelief fell across his face. He recognized that voice. It was the only voice he could think about for the past several weeks. It was the woman from his dream. Despite his own fear and uncertainty, Artemus’ legs started toward the scream.

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“Real hunting, as his father would call it, requires knowing your target and developing a strategy for delivering a quick kill whilst minimizing suffering.”

Artemus father was def a Chad.

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Maybe his name was Chad… :thinking:

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