He walked along the shadows that stretched across the ground by the high position of the moon. His footsteps were careful and quiet in the wake of night, eyes glowing ominously through the darkness around him. A well-crafted sword was held tight in his right hand with both conviction and calm, perfectly balanced in his grasp. Looking closely, small traces of aged blood could be seen still drying across the metal surface, enough for other creatures with keen senses of smell to detect.

He searched the surroundings as he continued to walk, not caring enough to turn his head even slightly to the left or right. The tall trees around him were getting larger in number and the dull silver light had begun to slowly fade until he was directly covered by the green canopy of leaves above him.

Just as his left foot lifted to take another step, the hunter froze. Well-toned muscles allowed him to go still as stone, the preexisting silence intensifying. He was almost sure something or someone was following him.

Times like these unintentionally brought back memories of a much more naïve version of himself, when he would foolishly call out to whatever had drawn his attention in a lightless place. Not so any longer. He would make no noise, not say a word.

So he listened, standing motionless with his foot still risen some length above the ground, for any sound that seemed out of place from the quiet symphony of creatures hiding from his sight. He heard the innumerable amount of crickets congregated under bushes and farther away forest floor. He heard the thick branches overhead beginning to sway with a young summertime breeze.

As the seconds ticked by, and he continued to hear nothing of immediate danger, he allowed himself to relax, though his stature still carried a cautious energy as he slowly lowered his boot to the ground again. It caused a small crunching sound as a few dead leaves broke under his weight.

He knew there was no such thing as being too careful in times like these, when some rich b*****d could want you dead for no particular reason that made sense to anyone else, or when just the uttering of your true identity into earshot of the law had arrows flying at you from every angle. Because free will, and reaching out for your own agenda against the government and the church, would cost you a normal life you could have led had fate not been so cruel. The hunter rolled his eyes at this thought.

Well, more cruel.

Finally, just as the man was about to let himself go on with his trek, there was a scream. A scream, that was so out of the blue and so very loud, it actually managed to catch the hunter by surprise, and had him nearly jumping out of his skin as he instinctively whipped his head in the exact direction the unholy noise had come from.

He didn’t need his own sort of keen sense to know the scream he had just heard was too humanoid to be an injured animal, but still too high pitched to be a man. It was this realization that had the lone hunter inwardly groaning despite the current circumstance.

A woman. But more importantly, a woman in trouble.

He huffed a sigh of actual self-pity for himself, knowing perfectly well what he was going to be wasting his time on for the next five minutes or so. Starting now.

Just ********.