• Closed • The Man with No Voice

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Woe
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The Man with No Voice

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2nd of Ymiden 722


Rabbit flesh rotted in the sun of the forests, as the outlaw Woe Sanderling left another dead animal in his wake. He didn't need the meat, not being hungry, starving, or poor. He was a fur-trader by vocation, and was an expert trapper. However, as fine as he was at fixing a trap, his one reputable weakness was that he was a terrible shot with his pistol crossbows. He had all the tools and gadgets to make them work, being also a fair hand at gadgeteering. But when it came to firing the things, he could scarcely hit the broad side of a barn.

But his traps were good enough to catch rabbits. In the forest, he'd trapped them near enough to the point of extinction, if it could be believed. Yet even the Outlaw Sanderling wasn't without fear as he went about his business, collecting the pelts of these trapped critters. There was a rumor, of a man who made no sound, had no voice, and would not hesitate to kill if he found another on his lands. Sanderling had set up several man-sized traps for that purpose, on the perimeter of his trapping grounds. There, if he managed to garner the attention of this mysterious stranger, he'd run to one of his traps, and try to trick the man into them.

Unfortunately for Sanderling, he wasn't good at covering his tracks, particularly with regards to the refuse and dead bodies he left in his wake. Flies followed after him, and it wouldn't be hard for him to be found if one wished to bring him to justice.

So there was a note of caution as he tied the last of the pelts to his bandolier, and got ready to return to the town to sell his poached furs for gold. He kept his eyes peeled, watching and waiting for any sign of the stranger with no voice.

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Re: The Man with No Voice

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The Man who was the Hands of the Forest drifted through the trees like a puff of dandelion seeds. The intruder wasn't hard to track. Indeed, from the trail of rotting, wasted, bodies that had been stripped of their skins, and the smell and the flies, one might almost think the intruder was trying to be found. That he was using the devastation and destruction that he left behind as bait to draw the Hands of the Forest to him and steal his skin too, leaving his body to the flies and the scavengers.

The Hands of the Forest stalked and watched and waited, as patient as the trees themselves, and almost as brown. There was a bow in his hands and an arrow on the string, just waiting for the moment to sing its own song of death and destruction in return. There would be only one warning, one chance to repent and repay before payment was taken in blood and bone.

The Hands of the Forest was one with the natural world. There was nothing inherently wrong with death itself, even the devastation brought by overhunting or overgrazing, but he knew the simple fact that those creatures overhunting or overgrazing must be culled until nature came into balance once more and could recover.

He lifted the bow and drew the arrow back until the string kissed his cheek. He took aim and loosed it. Unless the intruder took immediate action to avoid it, the arrow would speed through a gap in the trees, rip its way through the rabbit skins tied to the bandolier, and skewer itself into the nearest tree.

Either way, the Hands of the Forest smiled, thin and deadly, nocked another arrow and stepped out into view. This time, the arrow was pointed, not at the intruder's stolen skins, but at his heart.

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Woe
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Re: The Man with No Voice

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It was said that the Man with No Voice, otherwise known as the Hands of the Forest by some who signed his name in reverence, was invisible when surrounded by his chosen homeland of the forests. Yet invisibility was not the same as invincibility. Sanderling, as mentioned, had set traps all over. There were snare triggers and pitfalls, but the triggers and initial execution of these traps were far from the worst they could inflict. Sure enough, there were spikes at the bottom of those fall traps. But the snares also held an untold payload, of poisonous explosives.

Sanderling was intent on drawing the Hands of the Forest's attention, so as to draw his attention away from those snares of well-crafted artifice and death-dealing. Yet, as he drew his bow, and found it hit true against the bandolier, pinning the pelts of rabbits against a nearby tree, Sanderling turned around immediately, he heard the creak of the man's bow...

His hand slid down to grab the small shield on his belt, and with a well-timed lift of the barrier, blocked the arrow that aimed for his heart. There was really something to be said for defending against a master archer, such as the Hands of the Forest. At least one could predict where they might try and hit first.

Sanderling didn't take that save for granted, however, and knew the Hands of the Forest would take other targets, perhaps more mobile than the center of body mass. So he dove behind a tree.

The line between the Hands of the Forest and Sanderling, meanwhile, if he tried to find a vantage on him, was riddled with those poisonous explosives.

He'd have to be careful lest he trip any of them up...

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Re: The Man with No Voice

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The man who was the Hands of the Forest grimaced when the intruder managed to whip out a shield fast enough to protect himself from the arrow, and then dodged behind a tree as if the trees would protect him from the forest. It blocked the clear line of shot, and the Hands of the Forest was not fool enough to waste arrows trying. He needed a better vantage point so, rather than staying on the forest floor and having to fight his way through the undergrowth, he pulled himself up into the tree beside him and circled round through the canopy. It was one of the ways that he stayed apparently invisible to intruders like this - most thought only of the ground, of straight lines and left and right. They rarely looked up. Even so, he became aware of snares attached to certain bent and supple branches, and very carefully stepped over them.

It took only a quarter circle for the intruder to come into view once more, and the thin smile returned to the face of the man who was the Hands of the Forest. Where he had spotted a few traps, there were bound to be more, and the destructive hunting of the intruder suggested that such traps would be bad. He circled a little further, then drew a set of arrows with heavy, round, blunted, heads. They were designed to knock birds out of the sky without shredding their feathers, but they would work for this too. He loosed them rapidly, one after another, aiming this time not at the intruder, but hammering a rain of hard impacting arrows at the ground in a circle around him, and thumping into each snare that the Hands of the Forest had spotted.

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Woe
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Re: The Man with No Voice

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Sanderling flattened his profile against the tree, careful not to protrude a single limb a hair out of alignment with it, between where he and the Hands of the Forest was slowly but methodically hunting him down. He wouldn’t find escape easy, not with the accuracy that the man had displayed. But Sanderling had one ace up his sleeve, the traps that he’d set. Although the man of the forest would probably know they were there, and thus be able to disable them from ad istance with his bow, and he was sure of the Hands of the Forest’s aim, he was less sure of his speed with reloading, renocking, and aiming arrows. That took some time, no doubt, time he could use to slide from tree to tree…

So as he heard the arrows falling upon the ground, setting off his snares, he heard the snares snapping with the impact. And as he did so, he still remained flat against the tree. He tried to gauge how fast the other man was shooting. A few seconds there, only a second between the firing of two more traps there? It was hard to tell when he’d be ready with another arrow and able to aim, so Sanderling still listened, and counted the number of snares he’d left for the Hands of the Forest.

Finally, his restlessness did get the better of him, as the time window between each snare snapping became longer and longer, and when Sanderling feared that he’d run out of snares before the Hands of the Forest ran out of working arrows.

Besides, the Hands of the Forest could simply pick up the ones he’d used.

Anyway, Sanderling waited for the telltale snap of a snare, and then bolted, heading for the treelines and sprinting over bramble and leaf for a good three seconds before flattening his back against another tree, that was just wide enough to give him cover.

Hopefully that would forestall the Hands of the Forest, and force him to run through more gauntlets of traps… And then, he could plan and budget his time into the bargain, and hopefully reach Zynyx Market before sundown…
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Re: The Man with No Voice

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The man who was the Hands of the Forest collected the arrows that were immediately available as he picked his way to the tree that the intruder had initially sheltered against, and made a mental note of where to look for the others once the intruder was gone and he had time once more. So the intruder had indeed set traps, for more than just devasting the local animal population? Then the safest route to take was in the man's own steps and trail. If he hadn't set off any of the traps by running his own gauntlet, then the Hands of the Forest was unlikely to do so if he walked where the intruder had walked and stepped where the intruder had stepped.

In addition, the canopy was highly likely to be a safer place to travel than the floor of the forest. He eased fom tree to tree and branch to branch, the line of the intruder's passage marked by the disturbance of the undergrowth and the footprints left on the leaves and the ground, until he too reached the same tree and slid quietly into the highest branches that would bear his weight. He would not call the other creatures of the forest within reach of the intruder, too many of them had died at his hands already, but he had no objection to scaring the man or sending him running as he had sent so many other creatures into fearing for their lives.

He slid down a level, and lowered one leg, intending to tap the intruder lightly on the head to get his attention and wave him onward in a sarcastic, almost universal, 'after you' wave of one arm before setting a sharpened arrow on the string and taking aim once more.

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Woe
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Re: The Man with No Voice

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2nd of Ymiden 722


Sanderling looked at the Man with No Voice, as he saw him clearly now through the brush. The man made no further attempt to hide himself, even gesturing to Sanderling that he ought to make the first step, as the voiceless hand of the forest began to prepare his shot. Sanderling knew his days were numbered at that moment, but he felt a strange sense of fatalism sinking into his bones. Would he die at the shot of the Hand of the Forest? Or would he trip his own traps, become hoisted by his own petard as it were?

He had a choice, it seemed, and the initiative to see it through. Even so, Sanderling wasn't going to go down without some expense of energy, some show of defiance toward the nature-worshipping fiend stalking him.

He took the first step, and then began running, over the gauntlet of his own traps. First was a fox-trap, that fell upon his foot, sinking its teeth into the leather of his boot and into his toes. Next, trip-wire triggered a nearby crossbow, which shot a bolt directly into the shin of Sanderling. If, for whatever reason, the Hand of the forest was still establishing his shot, Sanderling would continue to lurch forward, away from the vantage from which he presumed the nature-worshipper was standing upon. Then he'd leap...

Directly into a pit trap that fell into an endless pit.

He sank down, down and down into the dark pit that seemed without a bottom. He thrashed in the air, trying to find purchase against this wall, or that. But gravity was pulling his wounded body down into the dark, where it would not be heard from again.

Woe awoke in his own bed, in a sweat. He was in Almund, he remembered, in the Sapphire Inn, his favorite establishment in that town. The dream was strange, and to think that he'd conjured the likeness of Dandelion into it, who he'd only met briefly the season prior was interesting. Idly, as a dreamwalker who was aware of the reality of dreams, he wondered if that truly was Dandelion, or simply an illusion conjured from his subconscious. Either way, it was an interesting experience, to be sure.

He began getting dressed, and ready for the day to come. He had a busy day ahead of him in the coastal town.


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