The Legend of Archibal

Chapter 7 The New Arrival

 

Night after night the hunters returned to the Swan Inn defeated from their pursuits; soon the mood become morose and despondent. A contrast to what it had been a couple of weeks ago. Traps of every kind were set, ideas were shared, and different ways to ruse the animal into their shooting paths were passed along. When none of it worked, fights broke out. Everybody was on edge and the atmosphere, once filled with hope and certainty had turned bitter and despairing. The hunters that had traveled far and wide had suddenly left town.

Walter could not believe the radical change among these men. He was as upset as they were. Had this wolf outsmarted everyone? It must have because even the best hunter had been defeated time and time again. What was there to do? When will it stop? Everyone was fearing the worst. Once the wolf had devoured all the sheep will it come after them?

“If it was up to us,” Alden said when they met up at their usual spot on the tree. “We could surely outsmart that wolf.”

“How would we be able to do that?” Walter doubted. “We are just twelve years old. Plus I don’t think our parents would let us.”

“There should be something we can do?” Alden said. “We can’t just sit here and wait. What if the wolf is waiting also?”

“Waiting for what?” Walter said.

“For the opportunity to attack the town,” Alden said.

The Legend of Archibal

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.

Jacobi had visited the village a few times before. He could already smell buttermilk and Manchester tarts in the air. Anyone who believed in brownies left a glass of buttermilk with a side dish of cookies or tarts. It was a tradition passed down by adults who passed it down to their children, but that tradition was slowly fading and Jacobi found it hard to find anyone leaving buttermilk and pastries.