Hunter and Hunted

by Lu-Man


Branches and bushes scratched at her as she continued to race through the
forest. Each lungful of air she gulped burned as it went down. Still she
continued running. She didn't dare stop.

She could hear them behind her the whole way still - even after all this
time. Raes, could hear the bouncy gate of their speech just beyond the
horizon. Just beyond eyesight. Raes pushed on harder. She continued
Running. She didn't dare stop.

What she did was of the highest crime among them - she, a slave girl, who
was supposed to be sacrificed to the god of war and suffering, so they would
prosper in these hard times, wasn't supposed to run away, especially before
the ritual.

She wasn't supposed to be raped by the chief either.

After everything that had happened to her, she had to run. She wouldn't be
able to forgive herself had she just sat around and waited to be fed to the
beast, like her friend.

She could still her the cries of Jes, ringing in her ears...

No. She couldn't think of such things. Pausing only to take a small drink
of water, she stopped and listened. No animal in the forest dared to make a
sound now, not after all the commotion that the villagers where making.
Dead silence greeted her as she continued to stop and wait. Sunlight
filtered through the thick canopy glistening on the sweat that covered her
body. Raes could hear the wind move, swaying the branches and tree's,
making them talk to one another.

Suddenly, the bushes behind her exploded. A great weight slammed into her
and pinned her to the ground. Her face was a mask of fear, as she looked at
her reflection in the highly polished blade of the native.

"Shreenom dopita motif grifta." The warrior spoke. He pressed the sword to
her throat, while one hand went down to gently caress her flesh...

Suddenly the warrior screamed in agony as her foot crashed into his gonads.
She pushed him off of her and struggled up. Pain etched itself upon his
brow as she landed another kick squarely between his legs.

As she began running, the slave could hear the cries of the warrior slowly
fade into the distance. She could faintly hear others start to answer to
his distress before she was finally out of earshot. She continued running.
She didn't dare stop.

Raes raced through the rest of the day, and long into the night. Running as
hard as she could, she ran until she nearly collapsed with exhaustion. The
girl didn't see the clearing when she finally collapsed. Didn't even feel
the forgiving bed of leaves underneath cushion her fall. She was out before
she even hit the ground.

Quietly, her mind brought her back to a better time. To a time when things
where much simpler..

She was the kings daughter. Life was good for her. Their village didn't
have much in the way of material items but they had enough, especially when
it came around to harvest time.

Her people had perfected a technique of farming many, many years ago. It
didn't require much work at all. You worked one full day to plant the seed,
and maybe one full day a month to make sure the plants where alive and

Raes remembered the fondness of those days, playing by the river. That
first kiss from a farmers son. Kelaf had been his name. She could remember
the countless days of laughing, the rituals that taught them about the land
and the river - how to irrigate it, how to fertilize it, everything they
needed to survive.

Her people had forgotten the ways of a warrior. With farming becoming so
successful, they had forgotten the necessity of hunting. Hunting had became
a sport. Becoming more and more peaceful like, they also forgot how to
defend themselves. And so when the attack came, they didn't stand a chance.

She didn't want to relive that terrible day. She vainly tried to fight as
her mind forced her to bare witness to the horror one more time.

Darkness had fallen among the village. The warriors snuck in as many people
still lay asleep in their huts. Quietly they began setting fire to each and
every one. Many people burned to death inside, without even waking up. The
where screams and smoke everywhere. Those left running for their lives,
before falling beneath the blade of the She-antea. The Warriors.

Raes knew why they had come. They had come for their food. Simple as that.
Hunting had been especially hard that year, food becoming scarce as many
herds started moving on. So rather than follow the herds of deer and goats,
the She-antea did the only other thing they could do. They took food from
someone else.

The door of the hutch splintered inward. Through the smoke and the haze she
heard her mother scream. Then heard her scream silenced. Crawling on the
floor, Raes began calling for her mother, and stumbled across her head. She
looked over to the crumbled body in the corner, and quickly recognized it as
her father.

It took her a few moments to realize that the scream cutting through the
noise was her own. She watched helplessly as their blades cut into her
father. Then a bloody warrior stepped through the haze, blade still
dripping, and strangely smiling..

When she awoke, she very nearly screamed. She had to bite her lip to choke
back the terror that begged to escape. Brushing twigs and leaves from her
black hair, she struggled to her feet. She couldn't even see two feet in
front of her face.

She was tempted to run now. Keep fleeing. She had to escape! But..

No. She knew better. She had to stay her path for now. She couldn't run.
That would only get her hurt, killed, or worse yet - captured.

She had better stay here for now.

Laying back down, She listened to the forest animals. She heard the howl of
the wolves in the distance. She listened to the deer quietly moving through
the brush, trying their hardest not to be heard. She listened to the frogs
on the bank slowly croak back and forth, lulling her back to sleep.

The sunlight gently filtered down through the canopy. But like sunlight, it
found any and all, closed eyes, and made sure that they didn't stay shut for
long. Raes slowly drew herself up from the ground, and set off again.

She didn't know when the last time she had eaten was - but now even the
leaves on the trees were starting to look good. She her stomach loudly
complained to her as she slowly pushed her way through the brush, looking
for food. Eating a few leaves from the trees to quiet her stomach, she
promised herself she'd eat real food later, and quietly pressed on.

Her eyes fell upon the mountain in the distance. For some reason, she felt
its call. The woman concentrated upon this. Raes felt a need to go there,
but had no idea why. So for no other reason, than to give her something else
to think about besides fear and hunger, she started towards the mountain.

Reaching the mountain seemed to take up most of the day. In the afternoon,
she came within view of it enough to see a cave near the base. The call
almost seemed to draw her towards it. Slowing down, she concentrated upon
it - she didn't know what it was, but was determined to find out.

She walked through the rest of the day well into the evening. The pain in
her legs not known to her, her hunger forgotten - the only thing she knew
was the call.

One thing cut through the haze however.

As the sun slowly sank behind her, she could hear the villagers in the
distance behind her. Fear stabbed at her heart as she raced through the
brush, racing towards her cave, towards what she hoped would be her

The screams came from everywhere. In front, there stood the She-Antea
warriors growling obscenities. Behind her, the warriors stood, growling in
their language, and waving their weapons around in manners she knew was
insults and challenges.

The warriors slowly enclosed on her, many smiling, thinking of the number of
things they would do to her before she was brought back to be fed to the

A distant rumbling made them pause. A look of fear passed through each
warriors eyes and they all muttered one word "Tumbo".

The slave girl didn't understand the word, but she understood its meaning.
And fear struck itself into her heart deeper as she pondered what hideous
fate awaited her.

A pair of fur covered claws grab one warrior from behind and pulled him into
the darkness. Moments later, he let out a blood curdling scream that was
quickly cut short.

The warriors scattered in all different directions, running for their lives.

The girl didn't wait around. Quickly she raced back into the cave, hoping
that what ever it was out there wouldn't follow her.

The cave seemed to go right into the heart of the mountain. It seemed to be
uninhabited for the most part (that she was thankful for). The air smelled
almost fresh, and felt warm. After walking for almost another hour, she
could see a faint light ahead. This light seemed to shine upon an ancient
table. The table was a stone table, seemed to be almost an alter of
some-sort. Upon this table was a dusty wooden flask. This wooden flask
seemed to emit an eerie green mist from within its contents. The slave felt
pulled towards this flask.

As she neared it, she reached out with one arm. As the green mist touched
it, she watched it change, she watched fur spread over it, she felt claws
quickly grow in.

She tried to pull back, but her arm was drawn to it. Grasping the flask,
she tilted her head, and down the contents, most of it spilling upon her
face in chest.

Numbness quickly spread through her body. Followed by an immense feeling of
pain. She felt at one point as if she was covered by an enormous blanket.
Pressure was felt upon her behind, and was quickly relieved. Then came the
most painful part. The shifting, and re-arranging of bones and organs.

A warm, comforting presence was beside her through most of this. She felt
this presence hold her close and felt as if this presence would let nothing
happen to her. Finally, the exhausting change over, she fell asleep within
the comfort of her new keeper.

Awaking from a slumber, the first thing she noticed was the increase in
smells and sounds. She must have been almost blind and deaf! Opening her
eyes, she could tell it was night again, but looked as if the world had
become bright as day.

Finally, looking down upon herself, she noticed that she had a wolf's paws
and tail. She also noticed where two large breasts, to rows of smaller
teats now seemed to reside.

She looked upon her mate. Yes her mate. This male would sire many pups for
her, she knew. Prosperous times where ahead indeed.

The male lifted his head and cocked an ear at her as he slowly wagged his
tail. He knew what she was thinking.

Tonight, the hunters become the hunted.


Final Score: 33.5 out of 50

Raven's Comments:

This story suffered from what you might call "the death of a thousand
cuts". There was no one glaring technical flaw that really stood out, but
there were many smaller errors in spelling, grammar and structure. There
was no huge logical flaw in the story, but there were a number of places
where I thought things could have been explained better, or elaborated
more, or streamlined, or reworded for clarity. The story had some
dramatic, entertaining elements -- the heroine's panicked flight from the
remains of her village, her hunger, her exhaustion -- but it doesn't
really go anywhere. We don't know where the chalice came from, why it
does what it does, what the significance is of that dragon-like creature
in the background (never mentioned in this story, BTW), or why the
chalice should turn her into a wolf-creature (especially since the
wolf-creatures aren't foreshadowed at all until they actually show up, on
the second-to-last page). It's all just a little unsatisfying, because
there's a feeling that there should be more to the story that we aren't
being told.

I'm afraid I don't have any more specific critiques for you, Lu-Man, like
I did for Vorec; there's no one thing I can point to with your story and
say "this is the problem". In some ways that may be frustrating, but it
may also be good, because it means that you don't have an "Achilles'
Heel" that's blocking you from success. The best advice I can give you is
to keep reading and keep writing -- find out what works, keep trying to
put it into practice, and you'll improve. None of us became good writers
overnight; it takes years of practice, and commentary from others who are
better than us. A writer's forum like the TFWF, a relative with good
English skills, or a professor at your school could all be valuable tools
to help you improve your skills in both artistry and technique. Good


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