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Scarlet's village is plagued by a werewolf, has been for three generations. Whilst out hunting one day, Scarlet meets a handsome strange who wishes to visit her village. But we all have skeletons in the closet, and Scarlet might change her mind about the stranger once she starts digging through his. «Even A man who is pure of heart,Even A man who is pure of heart, and says his prayers by night. May become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms. And the moon is full and bright. There are no strangers in the world. Only friends that you haven't meet.
«Even A man who is pure of heart,Even A man who is pure of heart,
and says his prayers by night.
May become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms.
And the moon is full and bright.»
Streaks of red and black disturb the eerie stillness of the collaged greens that expand throughout the forest. Light seeps through the large canopy that seems to cover the whole forest, casting shadows onto the lime green undergrowth of the forest floor. Scarlet, a local village girl sprints over thickets of thorny briars and fallen branches as she races through the wild valley, like she's done so many times before. Her crimson red coat and hood swims In the air behind her as she runs. Scarlet lifts her face up as she stops running and starts walking, letting the light and shadow dance across her skin. The early morning birds hum and sing their sweet melody whilst gliding from tree branch to tree branch. Scarlet Inhales the earthy smells surrounding her and continues her way further into the dark, ever-growing abyss of greens and browns. To anyone else in Scarlet's village, the forest makes people retreat back to their man-made wooden boxes they call houses, but to Scarlet, all the smells, sounds and scenery make her want to run deeper into it, exploring every valley and mountain. Which Scarlet would gladly do if not for the shining white orb that hangs in the darkening blue night sky; calling forth the monsters that are created from its silvery white light. Unlike most villages, Scarlet's is plagued by a monstrous beast that feeds on the blood of the villagers and their livestock. A werewolf. Every full moon, during wolfstime, the villagers lock themselves away inside their prison like houses, hide their children, and pray that the beast doesn't get past the fortified wall the encases the entire village. Scarlet treads lightly as she approaches her usual hunting grounds, bow in hand with the string pulled halfway out in case unexpected game comes her way. The crunching of fallen leaves is barely audible beneath Scarlet's soft, brown leather knee length boots as she creeps up hill towards a downward slope, where rabbits usually lounge around.
At the top of the ridge Scarlet scans the sloping basin, only to be disappointed. Besides the over grown shrub-life the basin is barren.
"Damn." Scarlet whispers to herself, pouting at her uneventful start to her morning. She continues along the rim of the basin, stopping every now and again to examine her surroundings. When she reaches an old, deformed maple tree that splinters out four main branches, creating a perch like area in the centre of the tree, she slides her unfired arrow back Into her quiver and slings her bow over her shoulder and at tempts to find the right footing. She finally reaches her perched area after about five minutes of slipping and climbing. The perched area proved to be higher up than she had expected. She pulls her bow and quiver of f her back and reclines into the largest splintering-out branch so that she has the best view of the sun-dappled valley below. She loosens her black corset slightly so that it makes it easier to lay against the branch. She whistles along with the birds chirping around her as she pulls an apple out of her cloak pocket, she slides her father's hunting knife out of its holder that's wrapped around her left thigh and starts slicing wedges of apple and lifting them to her lips. When she finishes the apple she places the core next to her instead of throwing it to the ground, in case it scares away lurking prey. The sun slowly rises higher and the village bells begin to ring. Scarlet whistles the six note tune twice, glancing in the direction of the town, but is unable to see it through all the layers of forest in between them. The bells ring every morning of wolfstime to let the villagers know that it is safe to come out, even though everyone knows the beast returns to its cave in the mountains before the first lights of dawn even reach the horizon, most villagers wait inside until the bells sound there tune. But there are a handful of hunters that leave at the same time as Scarlet, they usually travel together in a pack in case the beast still lingers in the shadows of the village, but Scarlet prefers to hunt alone. She enjoys the peace of the woods better when there's no-one there to spoil it for her, and as for the beast, Scarlet doesn't fear it like the rest of the village. No-one has actually seen it in over 10 years and the last human life to be taken by it was over 20 years ago. Yes, a few cows and chickens are found slaughtered every now and again but the town agrees that it is a small price to pay in exchange for their lives being spared.
Scarlet's attention is quickly drawn to a small opening on the other side of the basin, where a deer cautiously steps into the clearing. You beautiful creature. Scarlet thinks to herself, overwhelmed with joy, as she quickly but silently slings her quiver back over her shoulder and draws two arrows. She places one in the bow and the other in her mouth, in case it takes two shots to take the deer down. She's never taken down a deer by herself before, only once before with her father. She draws the arrow back and prepares to fire, still amazed at the fact that she was getting a shot at a deer, and especially in wolfstime. As she breathes in and is seconds from releasing her arrow, the sound of leaves and twigs crunching and snapping distract both the deer and Scarlet. A human figure slowly emerges into the clearing about hundred metres away from the tree where Scarlet is perched. Scarlet's eyes are a blazed with fury, see immediately focus her attention back onto the deer, who has also notice the figure emerge from the woods and has already begun to flee back in the direction it came. Scarlet fires her arrow and reloads her next one instantly, the first shot barely misses the deer's leg, but Scarlet doesn't even have time to moan over her miss. She fires the second arrow, missing it by centimetres again. The deer sprints back into the woods out of sight. Scarlet's mouth hangs open, a gaped with shock.
"I missed. How could I miss? It was right there…" She complains to herself. Her eyes then travel over to where the stranger had emerged from the treeline, he was still there looking in the same direction where the deer had fled back into the woods. Scarlet flings her bow back over her should and starts climbing down from her little perch. When she's halfway down she jumps the rest of the way, landing less than graceful but still on her feet.
"Hey!" She screams to get the strangers attention. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" She stalks over to the figure, who also has started to approach Scarlet.
"Um…walking." A man answers.
"Well your walking just cost me and my family dinner for the next few nights!" Scarlet exclaims. Fury dripping like venom off each syllable.
"Well, I'm sorry about that. If I had known that someone was hunting it I would have stayed back." The man and Scarlet only stand a few metres apart now. She's never seen this man before, he's rather tall with broad shoulders. His raven black hair hangs messily around his face, while his close-cut, bristly beard frames his square jawline. Scarlet stares directly into his memorizing eyes. Hazel orbs that look like autumn has adverted its touch into them, with a tinge of golden dust to make them even more radiant. Scarlet forgets her anger for a slight second while staring into his eyes but quickly regains her fierce composure when she remembers that she's never seen this man before.
"Wait, you're not from around here, are you?" She places her hand on her hunting knife. "Nobody visits our village. Ever." Scarlet stands firm and observes that her new acquaintance has a large bag thrown over his shoulder. The man cocks an eyebrow and smirks at Scarlet griping the knife attached to her leg.
"Why not? What's so scary about your village?" He inquires.
"We're cursed." Scarlet says simply. Which only makes the man more curious.
"Really? Care to elaborate?" He smirks. Scarlet squints her eyes in a questioning way. Does he really not know? Scarlet thought everyone knew of her village's curse, and that was the reason no-one ever visited, they're either too scared to venture into the surrounding forest or the beast got to them first.
"Our village is plagued by a werewolf. It attacks on every full moon at wolfstime." Scarlet walks around the stranger, his eyes widen slightly and what appears to be fear, engulfs his curious expression, but only for a second. "Last night was the first night of wolfstime for this month, so how did you get here and why are here?" Scarlet grips her knife tighter when she stands back in her original spot.
"Are you always so inquisitive?" The stranger's curious composure returns and he grins, revelling perfectly straight white teeth that have an eerie sharpness about them.
"Only when I have to be." Scarlet says bluntly.
"Well then. I walked here and the reason I came here is because I travel a lot. Your village was just the next in my line." The man smiles but Scarlet just continues to squint her eyes in a questioning manner.
"You want to visit our village? Why would anyone in their right mind want to visit our village, and especially at wolfstime?" Scarlet asks herself as well as the stranger. The man brushes off the insult and narrows his eyes to match Scarlet's expression.
"Well dearie, I wasn't aware of your werewolf situation until just now, and if I'd known about it soon perhaps I mightn't have come." Scarlet looks a little taken back by his tone. "And if your wolf problem is so bad that nobody visits your little village, then why are you out in the woods all by yourself?" He folds his arms across his hard chest. Scarlet smirks at the man's question. She's not used to people speaking back to her or questioning her actions.
"The wolf doesn't scare me and it only comes out at night." Scarlet matches his stance, letting go of the hilt of her knife and folding her arms across her chest. The man laughs slightly, looking slightly amused at Scarlet's statement.
"Is that so?" The man walks around Scarlet. Scarlet doesn't take her eyes off him for a second.
"It is." She places he hand back on the hilt of her knife.
"Well maybe you should be scared. Werewolves are extremely dangerous and their presence isn't to be taken lightly." The man's tone turns serious.
"You seem to know a fair bit about werewolves." Scarlet observes.
"Let's just say I've had my fair share of experiences with werewolves." The man stops walking and looks flatly at Scarlet. Scarlet stops herself from asking more questions but her curiosity continues to grow. "Now, if you would be so kind as to show me the way to your village, I've been traveling for many days now and do hope to get some rest." Scarlet cocks her head to the side. She hadn't expected him to ask that but she felt oblige to see that this stranger makes it the rest of the way in one piece. She knows better than anyone that these woods are hard to navigate and one step in the wrong direction could mean your death. She rolls her eyes and reluctantly let's go of the hilt of her knife, deciding that the strange man isn't a threat to her, for now.
"All right. It's this way." Scarlet cautiously walks around he companion and strides into the woods with him in tow.
"Thank you." He sincerely says as he follows the red hood in front of him. "I'm Luca by the way. Your name?" He asks, quickening his pace so that he's walk alongside her.
"I'm Scarlet, but every calls me Red." She says proudly.
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