He sat by the entrance to the cave. The same one urVa gifted to him, locating all his abandoned trophies in it, which he thought one day will be swallowed by hungry forest. Herb in minor hand, the bottle of beverage in major.

The small clouds of smoke forming around him ghastly shapes, as he uncorked the brew with s strong pull and swallowed almost all in one gulp.

Sometimes, the peace was all he really craved for. There will be time for hunt, soon enough, there will be time for bloodspill. But now, it was just him, the intoxicating herb and not less intoxicating liquor.

And the night. The wind. The stars.

His. It was all his.

Nothing Can Stop the Hunt

They never knew what he has done with the guard they sent with him. Probably he killed her as many others before. He never cared about the gelflng and when they were meddling with his hunt, slowed him down, or angered him, he always was getting rid of them.

But later, the joke they hoped to laugh from, turned into the unknown.

Only the rumors among Dousan. That they have seen the Hunter and the wild Stonewood, among the deserts, hunting together.

This was pretty excruciating.

But he… he simply did what he wanted. Nothing can stop the hunt.

Hunger for Freedom

He lived here, among Thra forests, when the skeksis reign started. Far from their eyes. Far from bothering laws and rules. They always waited for him to come, because he was unknown, someone they always wanted to be, but were too comfortable between luxuries, to get lost in the wilds. He knew that, trying at first to instill the hunger for freedom in them.

They tried but never liked it. It became a dream and a fantasy they never wanted to truly fulfill.

He gave up later than he should.

One Step Closer

Your strength. It’s mine. You died to give me your inner power and your stamina. It all flows in my veins now. It will flow forever. You are immortal now.

His hand buried in the fur of the fallen prey. He still felt the life pulsing in it, just under his fingers. The fresh blood on his brow, marking his hunt. The blood on animal’s hair, when he brushed it.

Now we are one. Your life feeding mine.

I am one step closer to Thra.


SKEKSIL: Hmmm, Hunter is in good shape, Chamberlain admires Hunter, his strength and the way he instills fear in all, his wild eyes making all knees—-

SKEKMAL: You want something.


He hated skekSil. He hated his sly deceiving ways. But he also was fond of him. He still remembered him young, feathered, singing songs which were breaking everyone’s hearts. Even his own lies couldn’t kill that singing creature for good in him. So he despised him. Hated him. But was fond of the memory lingering in his voice, in his looks.

The Cantor still was there. Only maimed and mangled by the spiderwebs of his own misplaced, lost path, which never was straight.

He could never really forget the days of youth. Good day of carefree frolickling, a naive and really stupid times. But so tempting now when his trine counted in hundreds.

This will never return. But he still was seeing in those foolish creatures even more foolish younger selves.

He hated skekSil. Despised his lies.


… but. There is always a completely unnecesary but, which makes everything more complicated…


His eyes, green fireflies in the darknesss of the night, were piercing the mist. His moves fast, deadly, like even by the way he ran, he could cut through the heavy and thick air.

Give me freedom, his body seemed to shout into the void, as he jumped from heighs, to dunk onto the the fresh soil, his talons buried deep into the fallen leaves and dark ground, as he was taking next leap.

His forest.

His kingdom.

His soul.

The Feast

All skeksis were looking at him when he feasted. He returned from the forest, as he was doing every trine, if uncalled, to check on how much older and weaker they became. There was some typical skeksis ego in it, to show himself strong, sharp and untamed, and observing them tangled in rich robes concealing their bodies and doing everything to not fall into skekSo’s disfavor.

He didn’t care also for subtleties of eating. He just sank his teeth in the meat – which was delicious, touched by Gourmand’s handy set of spices – and tore in half, swallowing almost full portion. He felt the more decent ones looked at that with horror. He gurgled with laughter, sending them a knowing gaze, and seeing them turn away.

He didn’t actually care if they like him, are scared of him, or hate him with passion. He missed them, though. Despite himself, this was his weak spot, and showoff of his strength was only one of the reasons why he was always returning.

Pitiful, silly, impossible… still, his own kind.

He caught skekSo’s curious look and taking the cup of wine – he missed that too – he leaned in his chair, allowing his back spines flatten against the support and secondary arms lay on the sides.

It was lush life which he led when he was younger. The Archer definitely implanted him some sentiments, while they hunted together.

It was indulgent, he thought when the cold and sweet liquid trickled down his throat. But when he was young, he was not different from them.

He liked this court of fools, even if he would use even violent means to deny it.


He would never be after his tongue, if he knew it was not him who was the lying one. Weak, pathetic prey for an experienced hunter like him. Wasting skill for a gelfling, yet the honor of a skeksis urged him to avenge his own kind.

But now, as he knows where the truth lays, it will be one tongue torn from the deceiving beak. And he makes sure no one ever tries to fool him, making an example from the messanger of lies

Closest of Their Kind

He observed skekSo more often than the Emperor could even guess. Most often, the ruler has seen him only when he revealed himself. The days in the forest passed slowly, animals were protecting their cubs this season and he didn’t mean to interfere. He will wait till they grow up and become worthy prey, no honor in pursuing a mother with her children.

But skekSo was always an interesting observation subject. Head always high, feathers crowning his face like a spiked tiara. The court members were coming and going, supplying, and demanding. And he herded them like nebries until they were doing what he wanted. What they should be doing.

But when he was alone and that was most often when skekMal was most curious to observe him, he was shedding the skin of a mighty ruler.  That was skekSo only skekMal knew. Tired, almost destroyed by responsibility and angry, very angry.

Most skeksis would never believe it, maybe only the angry part, but the Hunter knew that either of these faces are true one, it was duality they all had, despite being already halves.

skekSo was most dual of all of them.

The powerful Emperor at day. A tired shepherd at night.

The Hunter’s eyes were piercing the candle-lit chamber, when skekSo was massaging his own forehead, trying to get rid of the pain.

He allowed the Emperor to hear him and when skekSo turned back, he just disappeared.

Another time.

It was a promise.

He would never confront him when he was not ready.

skekSo, apart of skekSa, who wasn’t part of all of this anymore, was the only skeksis in the court, that skekMal had some respect for.

Another time. Hunt your nightmares, Emperor, with head high, just as you confront the reality.

Just as I confront mine.

Concerning Gelfling

The gelfling were indifferent to him as a prey.

There were tales that he especially likes to capture the reckless Stonewood, who got too far into the woods, kill them and eat their flesh to satiate his endless hunger for prey’s meat.

That was amusing.

Gelfling were unworthy prey and he killed them only, if they get in a way into hunt on something bigger and more intimidating. His skill as hunter would be insulted if he especially followed, tracked and killed a gelfling.

But that was good they feared him. They won’t be meddling in his pursuits.

He liked few gelfling in his life. These were not afraid of him, at least not when he allowed them to know him. When he allowed them to live and see that he won’t send them forth and follow them for sport, to later devour them. Though they believed that for quite long at the beginning.

Gelfling weren’t as stupid as the castle dwellers imagined. They were naive in some way that he couldn’t deny but could guess much more than skekVar or skekSo could expect. They didn’t have sharp skeksis senses, talons and fangs. They had much less to use. Yes there were hunters among them and he knew they aren’t weak, scared and clumsy. In comparison to him, much weaker, like childlings. but they had something, this energy of youth, that he liked observing, from afar, when they killed prey, fought for life or died in the claws and jaws.

Still, the tales of himself amused him, even if at the beginning, when he was young, insulted in some way.

Now he was wiser enough to use them for his own benefit.