|But Rises Again, Harder and Stronger|
|Summary:||The epilogue of the Weeping Woman and Hunter plots.|
|Date:||16 December 2012|
|Related Logs:||All of the Weeping Woman and Hunter logs.|
|December 16, 289|
Their blood still soaks the ground, running nearly black in the monochrome night. It had been the blood of man that ran through the veins of those terrible creatures — those beasts that incited nightmares throughout the Cape. How ridiculous they must all feel now, knowing that their villains had been nothing more than a pair of Ironborn and their recruits, hungering for revenge.
Now a rainstorm moves in. Sheets of cold, almost wintry rains douse out the guttering remains of the fires the knights had left burning. They had torched the camp to the ground, inhaling the corpse of the would-be draconic wolves, consuming the bodies of the man-turned-imps, and leaving only skeletons of what had been the headless bodies of the fraudulent Weeping Woman and Hunter of the Woods.
All this to kidnap children, to recruit them to the reavers’ ways.
The ways of man will always elude him.
From the shadows of the stormy night, the Hunter rises. He is the truth that the one in the deer skull tried to duplicate. He is not terribly tall, nor is he as broad. His skin is like bark, though grey and mottled like a dying tree. His hair, if that is what the root-like tendrils growing out of his head are called, is gathered at the nape of his neck. What the sham could not reproduce is his face — a mask blended with the gnarly face of a tree, the naked bones of a man’s skull, and eyes that glow a faint green beneath his heavy set brow. If he is armed, the weapons are hidden beneath the fall of furs and leathers.
He steps into the remains of the clearing, and his footprints in the blood-soaked peat are neither paw nor hoof, but something in-between. He gathers up a handful of bloodied mud and ash, and eats it. The reaver blood has always had a specific flavor, just as their meat produced a particular stench when turned over a fire.
He gives his doppelganger credit, he had the Cape afraid and second-guessing all they deemed to be truth. But a Hunter does not hunt to capture; it hunts to kill. The Hunter of the Woods eats another handful of mud, looking up into the oncoming rain. The smallest hint of a smile touches his wood-like lips. He slowly rises, collecting a single bone from the bodies of the Ironborn pair.
He turns back to the woods, the woods that are his, no matter how much the nobles lay their claim. Just as the Hunter comes, the Hunter goes — silent, unseen, and eternal.