February 19 at 11:00 AM
Photo courtesy of Bartlomiej Stroinski
Lord Vangley cowered on the forest floor. Twin lions loomed over him, casting a deep shadow, no longer at each other's throats. In the past, seeing the old relic brought a smirk and hint of remorse, but the elder was none too pleased to make its acquaintance this evening.
He grinded his teeth together, and slapped away Laurent's outstretched hand. Embarrassed he had been seduced by the rumors brooding in Vissorouy's streets, Vangley pushed himself to his feet. Gripping the hilt of the canesword until he bled, the elder sheared into one of the statues, snaring it in the lion's mane. He tugged hard, then with all his might, but it did not budge. Frustration coursed through him anew, and after several bated breaths, the elder felt his youthful strength return to him. Readjusting his grip, he pulled from the angle that it went in, and yanked the blade free.
The sword now in his possession, the lion's mane splintered, its head slowly easing forward, before thumping the ground next to him. The earth rumbled, leaves and twigs falling down as the forest howled. Vangley brushed off the phantom breath, and nodded to Alain and Farron.
Scanning over each of his soldier's faces, Farron implied the trees overhead. A moment later, scores of vampires took flight, bounding silently from tree to tree, as effortlessly as birds.
With the advance party out of sight, Vangley eased the sword back into its sheath, and took a deep breath. "The burden of the past must be laid here," Vangley whispered, joining Lawson and Laurent at the rear.
The hunter stared anxiously ahead, catching sight of the last scout as he glanced in and out of the foliage. Two additional units melted into the underbrush, steadily advancing the aged fields.
"Never have I seen a wood so solemn, even in the comfort of moonlight," said Lawson.
"Have your eyes about you now?" Vangley quipped.
"It is not my eyes that trouble me, my lord," Lawson replied. "I cannot hear the forest."