The horn echoed through the forest, loud and deep.
Fael stopped what he was doing and closed his eyes to listen to the echoes.
He recognized the horn that was so much like a howl of a beast.
"It's the sign," he said to his friends, barely containing his excitement. "The sign of the first Spear Boar after winter. Even if it's later than usual, the Hunt will begin!"
"Calm down, Fael," his friend said, turning towards the sound. "I know you just wanna win another Hunt and marry Lia, but it's a lot later than every year. It might not be the Spear Boar sign..."
"Yeah, something might have happened to them in the mountains during this winter," another one said.
"It's not the first time this happens..."
"I've seen hunters around near the mountain," Lia said, her face grieve. "They said that the peasants are fleeing to the cities. Thanks to that, the food stocks are getting so low there are people willing to risk hunting Spear Boars during the winter."
"Who'd be crazy enough to hunt them during the winter?"
"Guys, guys, I'm sure that horn was to say someone sighted a Spear Boar," Fael said, shaking his head to his friends. He pricked his ears to try pinpointing the sound.
Fael led his group towards the sound through the trees, they heard a second horn. And it came from the same direction.
The young man stopped, feeling his heart sinking and his blood freezing.
Even without exchanging glances, Fael knew his friends felt the same.
One horn meant something unusual had happened or a call to make the members of the Forest Tribes gather.
But two horns meant enemies in the forest.
Even if that would alert the enemies, it didn't matter; only they could find the source of the sound in that forest that tricked the senses of those unfamiliar.
Even fearing what they might find, they went on.
Enemies? Again...? After so long? With his heart heavy, Fael reached the source of the siren.
"What is it...?" Fael asked, trying to get to the center of the commotion.
"Fael..." A younger girl who admired the man averted her eyes.
Little by little, the people gathered in a circle noticed his arrival and made room for him.
Then Fael saw.
In the middle of the circle, there were two dead Spear Boars.
At a closer look, they had been slashed at the bellies.
"Who... or what could do this to them?" someone asked.
No one spoke.
Fael realized what everyone was thinking. No one from the Forest Tribe would kill a Spear Boar.
Not after winter, not during the mating season.
Because if they affected the Boars' cycle, it would affect the forest and them.
"Could it be predators? We can't say it's enemies for sure..." one person said in a trembling voice.
Others murmured in agreement, trying to drive the memories of ten years ago from their minds.
YOU ARE READING
Tetsuko was a blacksmith. Ever since she could remember, her life revolved around swords. And when she died, she became one. I'll be posting this novel on Royal Road as well