Shale

“Get it!” screamed the HallKarl.

The squad of men spread out across the slope. The rocky terrain of horizontal layers of shale was lethal. Jagged, dangerous, full of sharp drops, razor edged rock and hidden pits. Occasional balls of green moss filled the gaps. Naked stunted pines grasped for life on the mountain side.

The men dashed forwards, swords and axes in hand. Warriors rarely lasted long without a rudimentary sense of balance or grace. Even Eastlander warriors had a precise grace to their movements. They moved like wolves stalking an elk.

Their ammunition had run out. Now was the time for hunting in the old ways.

One man did slip and was rewarded by his foot falling into a pit. His ankle gave a wet snap. His howls were heard for miles.

The men surrounded their quarry. They knew not the origins of this beast, all they knew was it was injured, tired and their stomachs groaned with hunger.

The beast was white-haired and hoofed, with a huge twisting crest of black horns. It was bigger than a horse with a bristly hunch back. Not dissimilar to an immense mountain goat, but far older.

Its crown of black horns denoted an ancient bull belonging to primordial evolutionary lines.  

A spear protruded from its side, blood dripped across the shale and stained its white fur.

Its hooves clattered across the slope, snapping and shattering the shale. Flakes of rock flew around with each clumsy leap.

Its jet of hot breath shot from its panting mouth.

Its desperate call screamed for aide.

The men pursued the beast up the jagged slope and closed in around its slowing steps. The HallKarl roared and leapt from a boulder, his sword outstretched. His wild blue eyes as hungry and untamed as any wolf.

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