She leaned back against the tall stack of valuable books, the fire warming the side of her freckled leg as she stared down at the parchment in her hands, trying desperately to think of something… anything… to write.
She moistened the tip of the quill, dipped it into ink, and then slowly began to write. “One day, I had asked a Hunter to leash me and pull me to the tavern, where a girl was standing that I needed to speak to. Due to….” She paused here, lips quirking with a silent laugh before she continued. “…. high use, I was sore and stiff, making it hard for me to walk ((really due to lag). When we reached the tavern, I told the Hunter named Ghost that he should unleash me, or the Branded might think he was trying to register me. In which case, the Hunter would be taking a quick journey to Hades.”
She shifted on the rug and again put ink on the tip of the quill before she began a new paragraph. “He did, but a few minutes later, he had leashed me again. Suddenly, there was a volley of arrows, and the Hunter slumped to the floor. As the arrows continued, the man’s soul left his still form, and I knew he was going to Hades. I saw that the Hunter had been killed by my Native sister Koneko, who had been instructed by the King to do so.”
The fire crackled merrily as she stared at the dancing flames, the quill forgotten in her fingers as she thought, brow furrowed. Finally, she set to work once more, writing, “The Hunter Dax was also recently killed. I was out swimming one day, where the stream meets the sea at the ruins, and the Hunter was about six meters away, talking to me. Another Hunter suddenly appeared over the hill and downed Dax. The other man, Eric (Eric28 Forsythe), went into the water to continue shooting arrows into the prone body of Dax. I had run from him, to the bridge of the ruins, and then stood there to watch him. He made no effort to follow me, so I’m unsure as to why he killed the Hunter Dax. I just seem to bring death to Hunters lately.”
Tossing the parchment down on the rug, she scowled at the last sentence, then read back over the last three paragraphs. She muttered, almost crumbling the parchment up and tossing it into the fire. “This is all about me; who wants to read about ME?”
She shook her head and, dipping her quill into the ink, searched her memory for a recent even that DIDN’T involve her. With a quick shake of her head and a chuckle, she began to scrawl letters over the parchment.
“One night, I was lured from the King’s Court by the sound of arrows flying. I followed this noise to a nearby hill occupied by the Branded Keren, who was shooting down into Hunters’ Village. If I squinted my eyes just so, I could make out the distinctive figure of Sheriff Hobbz, who was running back and forth. Every so often, he seemed compelled to enter his cabin and rest a bit. Meanwhile, Keren would duck down below the crest of the hill so she could have herself a rest as well.”
“This back and forth battle went on until a courier appeared near Keren with an orange looking bag. It was a peace offering from the Sheriff. When she opened it up, she found an exotic looking food, long and slender with a sort of powdery orange coating. Biting into one of the morsels, her eyes rolled back and she moaned in pleasure, while a soft crunch-crunch-crunch was heard from her mouth. A moment later, she exclaimed, ‘It tastes like cheese!’ And just like that, the battle ended.”
The grin on her face faded as she thought of a more serious battle. With a deep sigh, her quill began to move over the parchment. “I was snoop…” She stopped to carefully mark out the word “snoop,” replacing it with a more appropriate word. “…. Exploring Hunters’ Village one day when the Hunter Nynga ran past me. I frowned, as I knew he was not supposed to be there. I ran around to the other side of the hill, where I heard the story of what had happened.”
“The Sheriff was distracted by looking over some correspondence. In addition, a female had approached him. So he wasn’t paying attention, and the Hunter Nynga began to shoot at him. Hobbz was failing badly when the Hunter (Master) Baiter appeared to save the day (and the Sheriff); he killed the known trespasser. Not all the news on this matter is good, however. Since Nynga was not in Hunters’ Village at the time of his death, Sir Baiter technically had no cause for killing him. This case will be sent to the King, who will then decide the fate of the Hunter Baiter.”
“Another day, the Hunter Silva downed the Branded named Koneko. However, he failed to take all of her weapons. So when she regained consciousness, she killed him. Later, Silva was seen hanging around in the tavern. It became clear as to why when he later downed Koneko and ran into the tavern (and upstairs) for safety. The King happened to see this happen, and so he declared a bounty on Silva for incurring property damage.”
Yawning, she stretched out her legs, and then flipped over so her belly was flush against the softness of the rug. Her stamina for writing was quickly running out, but she had more to add.
“The next time Silva was seen, he was killed. Only he didn’t stay in Hades (there was some sort of system glitch). So the Branded took great delight in killing Silva repeatedly, until he finally stayed in Hades for the appropriate length of time.”
She stood then, flexing her fingers to ease the stiffness in them. With parchment and quill in hand, she left the room and made her way towards Hunters’ Village, stopping in front of the bulletin board in the middle of the huts.
After reading the warrants posted there, she carefully copied them onto her parchment. Making a list, she wrote:
Nynga – Multiple Counts of Trespassing, Use of Magic
Panzehir Denfu – Trespassing, Repeat Offender
Stariki – Murder of a Resident on the King’s Land, Trespassing
Turning, she wandered back towards the King’s Compound, head lowered to read over what she had written, and then settled down on a bale of hay to add a few more notes.
“The former Hunter Wootan is now a Bull, and the ruins are filled with his progeny. It’s fascinating to see how much these small creatures look like the new Bull. One should really stop by the ruins to view them. And also concerning this Bull, it seems he has a horde of girls following him wherever he goes…”
She looked the parchment over once more, and then nodded in satisfaction. She rolled the paper up, and headed for the King’s Court to leave it on his desk. As she strolled along, a little song popped into her heard, and she slightly changed the words as she sang it. “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, his name is the Bull’s name, too. Whenever he goes out, the females always shout, ‘There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!’ Da da da da da da da.”