The rain was dense, but the light from the rundown manor illuminated the landscape like a beacon from a lighthouse overwatching an ocean. The two-story structure had long been abandoned, save for the unknown resident using a lantern to light their path. A large portion of the roof had caved into the second story long ago. Many of the windows have either met their fate from weather or vandalistic children with sharp eyes and blunt stones. Jordan knelt close to a tree trunk just a few yards away from the dilapidated monstrosity. His long dark hair clung tightly to his leathers as the rain relentlessly continued. Although age had been sneaking upon him, the hunter's skills have never been more at their prime. Between the storm and the surrounding plant life, sneaking up on the manor was the easy part. Yet, he was still unable to identify the figure within.
The hunter was paid handsomely to investigate the new lord of the manor by the folk of a nearby village. Since the light was first noticed by a farmer, the surrounding lands have been threatened by walking corpses. But none of them had ever made it far enough into the village itself. For the most part, the dead seemed to be keeping their distance. The only casualty thus far was a farmer named Nedradeen. Chasing after one of his sheep, the soul was never seen again. He was a heavy-set man with a thick, bushy beard. Being as rotund as he was, the villagers were doubtful that Nedradeen could have survived or escaped if attacked. As Jordan was fresh off of a ship after traveling across the Namosant Sea, he agreed to investigate the location and possibly relieve the troubles of the village.
He was a wanderer and well-paid for his skill set. From hunting creatures of the dark to making a few coin from meat and pelts, Jordan felt most comfortable in nature. And hunting the undead was his speciality.
As lightning streaked across the sky, the glint of light reflected from the two hand axes strapped to either side of his hips. They were made of silver, and proved to be quite effective against many of the dead creatures he's confronted before. After all, he was a hunter, and this is what he hunted. With a passionate hatred, he vanquished the dead anywhere they thrived. In some instances, he hunted them down without taking payment for the sheer thrill of the hunt.
And he was very good at what he did.
What Jordan found confusing was how his entire trek resulted in not a single sighting of the dead. From what the villagers told him, the hunter was expecting an army. He did find a great number of tracks leading to and fro, and so many that it was next to impossible to tell which direction any one figure was traveling. However, he hadn't laid eyes on a single corpse since heading into the forest. Jordan knew that some dead have an aversion to water. But from the descriptions he received in the village, this was not that kind of a hunt.
Trying to peer into the windows, Jordan made his way from one tree to another. Water quickly pooled into his footsteps as he made his way across the soft ground. The light from within the manor continued to change locations as if someone was looking for something in particular. It didn't stay stationary for longer than a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, Jordan couldn't get a good look as to who was holding the lantern. As he neared the structure, the stout smell of mold and decay became apparent. He made his way to the last trees before the manor and crouched down. Retrieving one of the hand axes from his waist, Jordan smelled the air trying to get a sense from which direction the scent had come. The odor seemed to permeate throughout the entire area. With how strong the rain was coming down, and the foul stench in the air, he must have been close to something dangerous. Glancing around the landscape, and focusing his hearing to pick up more than raindrops, the hunter could see nothing of interest. But, something was gnawing at him to be cautious. Of all the battles he's fought, what would be a pitiful end was to meet his demise standing outside of a manor in some unknown forest before even laying eyes on the prey he was paid to find.
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This is currently a work-in-progress as I am using each section of the story on my YouTube channel. It's read by me while trying to recapture some of the ambiance of the old-style radio shows of the early 1900s complete with sound effects. Every wee...