A Conversation for Holes in History - FWR - The Chase.

The Chase. Part 29.

Post 1

FWR

Rulf cursed as his bare feet slid in the marshy ground leading to the rake, cursed again as his young companion nimbly leapt over him, cursed even more as the pursuing hounds, Alaunt Vautre, howled excitedly at the game.

If the hounds caught up with them, there would be little humour in their futures.

With the thought, Rulf was transported back to another time, running the forest with his brother, lurchers at their sides, fleeing the dreaded Goubert.

Time circled. They were caught that day, Rulf swore this day would not end full circle, they would reach the Rock on Thurston Hill, and claim the King's Pardon.

Nearby, a farmstead, the smell of the midden ripe. He dragged the boy to a halt and both plunged into the reeking pile, any advantage over the ferocious hunting pack would be worth the nausea caused to their senses!

And ferocious these hounds were, Rulf had witnessed their like bring down bear and boar, great holding dogs, locking into their prey, refusing to release, even for their masters, until blood was tasted.

Regarded as mongrels (or masteff) by serious houndsmen, they had even been used as war dogs, unpredictable, attacking men and horses, uncaring if teeth tasted friend or foe, a blunt tool, vicious and expendable in dangerous situations.

Hoping the deer scent was diluted by the sloppy filth, Rulf and the boy sped off toward the rise.

He prayed their short diversion had not ceded too much ground to the hounds.

The earth became boggy, myrtle sprouting around them, feet squelching. The sound of the stream welcome, more cover for their scent. Following the Gravesberie Brook, towards Larton, climbing over the rock strewn bog.

Hounds wailing as they lost the scent, foul odour and stagnant water confusing their tracks, the dogs vented their frustration, snapping at each other. Fights between pack members broke out, the beasts baring fangs and inflicting wounds in their fury.

The huntsmen, wise to the dangers, reined in their mounts, letting the hounds spend their anger.

Minutes later, with several dead, and more badly wounded, the scent was rediscovered, just two of the Vautre still capable of resuming the Chase!

Rulf had heard the commotion, knew the pack had turned upon itself, hoped it would buy more time. The terrain grew woody, steeper again, as they skirted the small lake at Arrowe Brook, the Rock now red against the trees, tantalisingly close.

Behind them, the beasts gained ground, Rulf pushed the boy into the thickening woodland. Baying now deafening as they broke through the copse, and onto open, rocky land.

One hundred paces. A small crowd standing atop the Rock, cheering or jeering, depending upon how they'd wagered on the Chase.

A bigger crowd, villagers and farmhands, hugged the treeline, keen to see the outcome, but nervous of the hounds.

Hooves pounding on sandstone as the huntsmen caught up with the hounds, horns blaring, pushing the beasts into a frenzy.

Fifty paces. Rulf feared to look over his shoulder, almost convinced he could feel their hot breath on his neck.

Twenty paces, Rulf stumbled, falling forward as the leading beast launched at his back.

He looked up from the ground, villagers cheering as the young boy clambered up the great stone, claiming his life, urging Rulf to get up.

But the hounds were upon him, teeth seeking his throat. Another mighty jaw clamped into his thigh. Rulf screamed, knowing his end had come.

Then, from the trees, two hounds darted towards him, his hounds, the pair left aboard the Sí mac Tíre!

The loyal Wolfhounds ran into the attacking beasts, knocking them over and pressing their weight advantage.

Rulf pulled himself to his feet, battered and bleeding, torn between helping his hounds, or reaching sanctuary, and halting this cruel game.

But he knew there was nought he could do.

Limping painfully, he touched the Great Rock, in turn claiming his life, looking down at the loyal hounds.

Goubert sat, clutching his horse's pommel with whitened knuckles.

He barked an order and his men knocked their bows. Rulf cried out as the hounds whimpered and fell, arrows putting an end to their brave fight.

Goubert looked up, fury and hatred in his eyes. He held up his hand, ceasing the chatter.

*These dogs are unlawed! Outlawed by Forest Law! Used to gain unfair and illegal advantage, the criminals are merely cheats, and as such can claim no mercy or Pardon!

Seize them, fetch rope, they will both hang this hour!*


The Chase. Part 29.

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

Wow. smiley - applause I'll bet you marked out this route.


The Chase. Part 29.

Post 3

FWR

It was rough and rocky travelling, but yup I did sir! You have photographic proof! smiley - cheers


The Chase. Part 29.

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

smiley - ok I do, indeed! Helped me visualise it.


The Chase. Part 29.

Post 5

Minorvogonpoet

Powerful. smiley - applause


The Chase. Part 29.

Post 6

paulh. Trump's behavior is unpresidented

This is literally a cliffhanger...


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