The Legend of Archibal

There was a funny smell in the air that Jacobi could not quite identify. The cauldron started boiling and purple smoke oozed out from it. A couple of small lizards scattered about and a stuffed owl was perched on some dead branch on the mantel piece. On all small windows hung a witch’s ball. It is said that they were used to ward off evil spells, ill fortune and goblins.

“I came here to inquire about a hunter?” he said startled when the door slammed behind him. “There has been a hunter that has been hunting animals. Not just any animal but creatures that have long since been deceased. I was told he was seen in the Black Forest with a crocotta.”

“Hunter, there is no hunter in the Black Forest,” she had a haughty frown. “I would know. No one gets pass me.”

“Well, I think someone did,” Jacobi said, defying her. “Or you would know.”

By now the witch was irritated. “I rule this forest! Nobody comes in without me knowing.”

“If that is the case,” Jacobi said. “What is a hunter doing in the Black Forest?”

The witch grabbed her crystal ball and started waving her hand around it. A grey smoke swirled inside the ball and clear images came into view. A large figure suddenly appeared. His eyes came into view as his face was covered by a black cloth. He carried a bow and arrow. He was alone and the crocotta was nowhere to be seen.

“Where does he come from,” Jacobi thought out loud, rubbing his chin with his thumb and forefinger.  “I had also seen a devil wolf a while back–”

“A devil wolf!” She sneered. “There are no devil wolfs around here, shorty.”

“What-Why!” Jacobi was befuddled by the witch’s statement. “Madam, my name is Jacobi and I did see a devil wolf,” he pouted.

“Devil wolves have not been seen in more than fifty years,” she contended, rolling her eyes at him. “What makes you so sure it was a devil wolf?”

“I know it was,” he said. “I have seen them before.”

“You’re that old, eh” she snickered.

Jacobi was losing his patience.

Suddenly, the crystal ball brought back their attention. The hunter had halted behind its prey, slowly took out an arrow, adjusted it on the bow and let the arrow go. The witch rubbed her wrist on the crystal ball. A creature came into view just as the arrow missed it, startling the creature into a run.  “A devil wolf,” frowned the witch. “I thought they were all extinct.”

“See,” Jacobi said. “I told you I saw one. If there is one there might be more.”

“Well, I’ll be,” she said. “I never thought I see one ever again. There used to be so many of them until the mortals started killing them off.”

“Can you see where the devil wolf went?” He said.

The witch waved her hand over the crystal ball again but it went still and dark. All she could see was her reflection. “I really need to get a new crystal ball,” she muttered. “You have seen all it wants to show us.”

Jacobi thanked the witch and headed toward the village that was near the edge of Black Forest. By now most occupants of the small village were fast asleep as night had fallen hours ago. The sky was a deep dark, blue, with many stars twinkling high above. The moon was not visible anywhere but Jacobi was still able to see the road that lead to the town of Asbjorn. People here were very superstitious as most villagers are and being so close to the Black Forest made them more fearful of shadows in the night. During the day they avoided the forest when they could and it was considered forbidden to enter it. A sign was posted for travelers’ and villagers alike. At night it was harder to ignore it since the shadows danced so close to the village.