Okay here is the first part of Chapter One, i figure i best put it out know since it is taking me forever to finsh typing it. For some bizarre reason this thing wo'nt let be indent so new paragraphs are spaced apart. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for reading.......enjoy! Chapter One:The Swamp Demon
"This is the sixth sheep that accursed werewolf has taken from my farm this week! The sixth! Why haven't you and the elf done anything about the darn thing?" The enraged farmer was sitting across the table from one of the Hunters of Darkwood, as he expressed his complaints for about the umpteenth time.
The Hunter, Kaine, had seen but seventeen winters. He had dark, unkept brown hair that occasionally obscured his golden-brown eyes if he did not have it trimmed. He wore a black tunic and pants, at his waist, a leather belt held up his sheathed sword. His face had handsome features, and athin layer of dirt covered his cheek. The beginnings of a beard were also visible. He looked as if he spent a lot of time outdoors, and indeed he did, for he was somewhat like a ranger of the Darkwoods.
Although he was young, he was wise, and that along with his skill with a blade earned him respect in the village of Lenora. Those skills had allowed him to defeat many strange things lurking in the forest. The people looked at him as a role model, if not a hero. It was not a desired title however, because it brought upon the Hunters of Darkwood high expectations. Since at the time, there were only three Hunters, they had their work cut out for them.
"Well," Kaine started as he replied to the old farmers angry words," Considering that you lost four of those sheep yesterday, I don't think we've had much time to take action. Not to mention, Flint and I just finished slaying the last abomination trying to feed on your livestock......"
" ...And succeeding!" the annoying farmer interjected," I have already lost a dozen cattle, a score of sheep, a few pigs, and I don't know how many chickens!"
Very calmly - so as not to upset the man- Kaine stated," Sir, then maybe you should have reconsidered placing your farm on the outskirts of town. Anyway, we will get on it as soon as possible, and I am sure you won't lose any more livestock."
The man sat there in silence for several moments, probably trying to find something to complain about. Curled up underneath the bench Kaine was sitting at, his wolf-like companion Artemis looked up at the man. She gave him a lazy glance which seemed to beg the man to leave so that she could return to her slumber under the bench.
The farmer gave a resigned sigh, unable to find an issue with the compromise," Okay, but if it kills another one of my animals, you're paying for it!" At that the man left the table at which Kaine was enjoying a small meal.
Kaine gently rubbed the ears of the black and white canine below him. She looked up at him with her gorgeous amber eyes that always seemed to be able to convey her thoughts. Kaine had saved the wondrous beast from a poachers trap when he was ten, ever since, the two had been the closest of friends.
"Glad that one is leaving," he commented aloud and the intelligent animal understood it all and completely agreed," That man is a walking headache, he's got a new complaint every five seconds."
The teen was in The Silver Arrow, Lenora's most popular -and only- tavern. He'd just come from his room upstairs and was trying to fit in a meal before going off to deal with the latest threat to the village. The dinner was near impossible to finsh though, the farmer had only been the third person of the day to present him with a new task.
"What're we to do?"Kaine quietly asked Artemis who listened and comprehended everything," We simply cannot handle all of these threats. We're up to our necks in work that continues to pile up regardless of whether of not we can handle it."
Kaine stopped and picked half-heartedly at his food. He pondered many possible solutions, most of which he immediately dismissed as failures. "What it boils down to is that we need help, and fast. Unfortunately, hardly anyone in town is fit for the job otherwise there would be no need for us in the first place." He sighed and placed his head in his hands.
Artemis, assuming the conversation over, laid her head back down on the warm wooden floor of the tavern. There then was a long silence -save for the shouts of some of The Silver Arrow's noisier guests enjoying their beverages- in which Kaine thought about the time consuming tasks that lay before him.
As he sat there in thought, his brown eyes drifted upward towards the bar. Behind the counter was one of the most beautiful women that he had ever known, both inside and out. The barmaiden, Lark was busy filling mugs with whatever foaming drink the tavern's patrons had requested. Kaine adored the pretty girl, she was the same age as him, though he was a older than her by a few months. Her dirty-blonde hair, today braided, reached down just past her shoulders. It paired wonderfully with her innocent blue eyes that so entranced Kaine. A smile always decorated her face and those around the girl felt strangely happy, even in the worst of times. That strange quality was also something that attracted him to her.
"If only I had the time to be with her," he whispered softly, more to himself than to his companion below,"If someone else would help our cause, maybe our lives would be easier. Maybe I could have an hour with her......"At that he his drifted off into his thoughts, returning to his meal in silence.
After several minutes had passed, there came an answer to Kaine's whispered prayers. The door of The Silver Arrow flew open letting in a cold breeze, a mysterious, cloaked figure entered the room. For a few seconds, all eyes were upon this stranger, but the people of Lenora, used to unusual people and things, returned to whatever they were doing without a second thought.
The tavern's newest guest closed the door behind him before walking over to the bar, behind which Lark was making beverages. As she greeted him, the stranger pulled the cowl of his cloak back to reveal his features. He was an adolescent, not much younger than Kaine himself, appearing to be about fifteen. From his head, he untied a black bandana, revealing his thick, dark brown hair. He was slender, but appeared strong, and though he was tall, he did not overly stand out.
After a short conversation with Lark, the teenager made his way toward the table at which Kaine sat quietly. Immediately Kaine noticed the graceful way in which he walked across the floor. It reminded him of his friend -and fellow Hunter- Flint. The elf had the uncanny ability to walk without making the slightest sound. Flint could walk amongst a flock of birds searching for food on the ground, and not be noticed by the vigilante creatures. Kaine was willing to bet that though the tavern's floorboards were old and creeky, he did not make a sound as he walked over them.
After recovering his train of thought, he reacquainted himself with his surroundings. Only then did he realize that the stranger had just moved to sit across from him." I heard that you could help me," the person commented quietly, though Kaine cuaght his words.
Taking the teens words for those of another person with a problem that needed solving, Kaine rudely answered,"You're out of luck, I can't help you."
Realizing that he probably had not used the correct words, the stranger tried once more,"Not for those reasons, I'm sorry, you have my intentions mistaken."
"Honestly?"asked Kaine still assuming the teen had a task for him.
"Yes, you see I'm new in town...," he paused there for a moment seeming slightly nervous,"... and I am in desperate need of employment,"he finished. At those words, Kaine's heart leapt, he had not expected to hear those very words for a long time.
"I'm quick on my feet,"the boy continued,"and I can to some damage with a blade. They told me that you were the guy to come to."
At this point, it was very difficult for Kaine to conceal his inner joy, yet somehow he maintained his composure,"It is true that we have a position availible, though you may not be suited for this job. But before that what is your name?"
"Nathaniel," came a truthful reply.
"I'm Kaine, and this,"he said motioning toward his wolf-like companion."is Artemis."
"Pleasure to meet you."
"You as well,"Kaine continued,"Anyway, you must well inderstand the risk of our career as Hunters of Darkwood. Everday, your life will be in danger. We hunt and eliminate all threats to Lenora, and there is a ton of them I might add, at all costs what so ever. There can be no failure."
"I'm willing to take that chance," a confident Nathaniel responded.
"I'm not sure you understand what you are promising when you say that, but very well, I'll give you a chance. If you can prove yourself capable then you may have the job."
"And exactly how am I to do that?" came a resonable question.
Kaine considered it for a moment before answering,"Well, there have been some reports of marsh imps in the swamp, nasty little things they are. they might give you a couple scratches and bruises, but if you are as good as you need to be you'll be fine. If not, well it was nice meeting you...."
Nathaniel, realizing the last comment to be a joke chuckled before asking,"How will I find them?"
"Artemis knows where they are,"came the reply,"she shouldn't have a problem taking you. She's been needing to get out and hunt anyway. Anything else?"
Nathaniel thought for a quick moment then responded,"Not that I can think of. I' ll be back with their carcasses in an hour or less," at that Nathaniel got up from the table. Artemis took this as her cue to also leave her comfortable position, not that she minded though, she enjoyed the thrill of a good hunt."
As Nathaniel approached the tavern's door, Kaine called back," Oh and Nathaniel!"
"Good luck," with the ending of that statement, Nathaniel opened the door. Artemis sprang out the door and broke off into a run, Nathaniel tried futilely to catch up, and all the while Kaine grinned from ear to ear