"The Hunter's End"
I am a spirit of the eldest order.
I prey on all who cross my border.
Mischievous child or shining knight,
My call sounds doom, at my visage they fright.
For ages my hunt has gone unceasing,
My challengers few, my trials fleeting,
But now a new breed enters my lair.
They stand like champions, yet wear no flair
But muted tones of wood and dirt,
And I see not how their weapons hurt.
In groups they move to seek me out.
Their eyes keep moving, their purpose devout.
Thus they think to better me?
As all before them, I'll make them see.
A haunting call their hearts to shake,
A distant glimpse to make them quake,
And yet they follow; their nerves must be steel!
How might my truth make them feel?
In the brush I appear, near at hand,
My full terror revealed, and still they stand
And strike like lightning and thunder without rain.
What is this bite, this blow, this pain?
It hurts like no blade to meet me before,
And first time in ages, my blood does pour.
What sorcery is this? It matters not; I flee,
And they offer pursuit. The irony
Of hunter-turned-prey and that mortals I fear
Is lost as I sense more drawing near.
These woods are my home, I know every root
But numbers entrap me, my stealth becomes moot.
Trees splinter at left, air ripples to right
The damage dealt now clouds my sight
Grace now forgotten, my passage leaves trace,
Though it matters not at the end of this race.
With dread I am driven to the Red Glade,
Still littered with bones of the kills I have made.
I see them ahead and to every side
This place gives no cover for me to hide.
For that reason I used it to finish my prey,
But the doubled edge is turned now my way!
They strike from behind, however I turn.
My limbs feel chill. My wounds, they burn.
My featureless face in circles I cast,
But they duck from my gaze, ever too fast.
It seems to take hours, days, or years
'till my battered form succumbs to its wears
And on the ground at last I lie
The Pale Hunter, the Faceless Fear, I die.