In the dark. Ilseda stood at her window peering out into the moonlit forest. The house fought back the winter chill, but only barely. A fire once roared in the far end, however it had been reduced to dull warm coals through neglect. The forest looked dark and foreboding and made her uneasy inside, he had been gone too long. The snow reflected the moonlight making the ground glow in an eery sort of manner reminiscent of grave stones. Ilseda awaited her husband, he had gone for firewood hours ago and to check his traps. She was cold and hungry but the tug at her heart at his absence made both irrelevant. Times were hard, especially in the outlying areas where merchants feared to go. The lands had begun to fragment into their townships and spheres of self interest. Such a thing left families in between the cities and those that lived in the outskirts wholly on their own and in peril. The woods and dark places of the world had begun to fill with thieves, bandits and worse. Towns were dangerous and at times lawless, which made the places between them little more than Anarchy. Ilseda had begged her husband Traeu to shutter their small ranch outside of Yew and move to an area closer to the protection of the town guards. "My family has lived on this land since my great great grandfather settled it, Ill not leave it because people in the cities cannot get along." Traeu had growled at her, the issue bothered him greatly. He had been born on this land and Ilseda knew he aimed to die here if it ever came to that. Ilseda was childless and had only her loneliness to comfort her in her husbands absence. She loved her husband, he was a good man. She had married young to a hard working and honest man. He had his faults but none were any more than petty annoyances. They lived a good life and were left alone for the most part. The animals had been shut away for the winter and the snow lay thick over their fields. "Where are you?" She muttered half to her self. Her worry grew with every moment. Her breath pasted the window with an ominous fog that she continuously wiped away with her sleeve. Ilseda shivered and closed her eyes, the night had gotten far too late and the moon was high in the skies. The cold of the house had gotten between her skirts but there was no firewood to revive the fire. The wood was on the far end of the field and Traeu had taken the warm cloak with him. "Surely he had time to check all his traps already." She thought in her mind and wondered how long it would take her to run across the field and grab firewood herself. The cold bit at her and closing her eyes in exhaustion had only made it worse. Outside she heard a low moan and slapping at the wall under the window. Ilseda screamed as the slapping and fumbling on the other side of the wall from her worked its way quickly up the wall to the window to reveal her husbands face... or most of it. The visage pressed against the window leaving blood and carnage across the pane. Her husband screamed at her in a low guttural sort of howl that was not coherent. Then he was pulled away by something, something in the dark that contrasted totally against the white snow and left a bloody trail into the forest as it carried Traeu with it. Ilseda stood motionless. Outside was certain death, inside only delayed it. Could she hide? Could she fight? Running was not an option. Clawing at the door. Not innocent scratching of a dog wanting warmth. This was an aggressive massive form which now slammed itself into the door. Once. Twice. Then a terrible third as the door gave way and a rush of cold air flooded the house. The doorway was far from empty, a blackened form with dark eyes stepped into the room. He was massive and walked on all fours, his claws seemed pearl white against the black fur. A dire bear, larger than anything she had ever seen. The bear circled her in her own house, judging her reaction. She stood staring at it, she dared not run. She knew better. He moved with a sort of intelligence his eyes darting from her to around the house, looking for others? He stopped his circle opposite the doorway he had come from and at her back. A second came, slightly smaller this one the female. A mated pair. The female bore signs of a fight, one she had won. A crimson sort of gore covered her maw and front flaws which left its mark on the floor of the ancient cabin. Ilseda then remembered the spear, the hunting spear above the fireplace. She lunged for it, catching it enough to knock it from its pegs. Her grasp cut short by the male he then pinned her to the floor. Ilseda looked over into the eyes of the female as she approached, the eyes... the eyes were not animal but intelligent, were they human? Ilseda's thoughts ran wild and her voice cracked as she wept into her own words. "W... what are you? Please... Please let me go." She looked into the eyes of the female begging for her life. She had chosen the wrong of the pair to make her plea. Her last words chosen and spoken, Ilseda's last sight was that of a bloody bear claw and a dark animistic smile. Hunting the Bear, Part One - January 26th @9pm EST Meet in the Hall of the Silver Serpent, gates will be provided.