During one rainy dark night, a hunter walks into the Swan Inn for a drink. He had tramp through lands far and wide, day and night, stopping very few times along the way. He was wet, muddy, cold and hungry. He was not in the best of moods. He was a tall burly man, wrapped in a grey cloak made out of bear skin, now dirty and sodden. His boots were made out of a white fox skins he had hunted in the west. His clothes, his bow, arrows and quiver were all made of the animals he hunted but he did not hunt just any animal. He hunted the rarest and exotic animals he came upon. That was his obsession. He would travel for days just to hunt down those that were unusual and on the verge of extinction. He relied on the scuttlebutt of town people and other hunters. He would set out to search for the creatures no matter how dangerous the journey became.
This particular night, he had come upon the town of Asbjorn on whispers about a creature never seen before but had been spotted in the town. His curiosity got the best of him. He wanted to know what creature was tormenting the town. The Swan Inn was not busy. It had a few men that were drinking their worries away. Most of them sat with other companions as they spoke in a whisper. The hunter took a seat in a corner that was barely lit by the fireplace. He took off his cloak and draped it over a chair to let it dry. He put his bow and quiver carefully against the wall. He ordered ale and a warm meal which he ate heartily. The best he ever had. With his belly full he leaned back on his chair and began to listen to what the other men in the tap room were saying.
“It wuz large, as big as a be’ar,” said a man to his fellow companions. “Maybe bigga, with vile ye’llaw iyes and big teeth. Oi culd have sworn it spoke to me.”
“Ye mean like a man?” said his friend
“No, its lips n’ever muved,” said the man. “Oi swore it on me mother’s grave. As if it was in me head. Oi culd hear it speakin ta me.”
“What it sey?”
“It told me to not muve, to stay were oi wuz. If oi daered to muve it wuld kill me,” the man said. “It asked me if oi wanted to dye. Oi said no. Oi have a family to feed. It understood me. Oi culdn’t even muve if oi wanted ta. Oi was frozen in place but oi held me musket close. Oi had tried ta shoot it but somethin wuldn’t let me. Me heart was poundin. Oi was sweatin w’fear. Oi wanted ta cry out but culdn’t. It just stared at me thrugh tha fenze.”
“Did it tell ye anything else?”
“It stud there as if it wanted me to see it. Be a witness ta its horrer,” he took a swig of his ale. “Then it left. When it left oi could muve again.”
“What did ye do next?”
“Oi didn’t go searchin fer it,” he got angry. “Oi have n’ever seen anythin like it. What was oi suppost to do?”
“Oi’ve herd of creatures able ta hypnotize a person, like those mer-maids at sea.”
“What-ever it was, it will come back again. Be sure of that.”
The hunter became more than interested in their story. Maybe it was worth staying here a few days and investigating it. The hunter rented a room at the Swan Inn. The room was bare except for a bed, a bench in front of the fireplace, a small table with a basin and a jug and a small round mirror stained with black spots hung on the wall above the basin. The fire had been prepared by a surly woman with blond hair named Miriam. He extended his cloak over the bench and in a corner set down his bow and quiver, along with his sword and other ten different blades he carried. He only kept a stiletto on him while he slept for protection. He laid on the bed and let sleep over take him. Legend of Archibal
to be continued….