there will always be the hunt skekMal inhaled the deep scent of the thick forest; the moss mixed with damp earth and the rain that just washed Thra. His tail thumped against the ground, with content, as last droplets fell on his unmasked face.
by skekMal

“You know, skekMal, it’s unusual for other skeksis and urru that we get along.”

urVa sat near a dwindling fire and looked as the sparks fly high, higher and disappear in the night. A soothing sight, safe one. urVa would add a bit danger to it, allowing the flame burning all night. It always is risky, the dry branches can catch the blaze… but urVa liked to sleep without threat of animals coming closer and distrupting his rest.

skekMal, who now laid next to him, tail dangerously close to the kindling, didn’t care for night beasts. He slept with one eye open and if anything was so stupid – or so suicidal – to come and try its strength with him, its life would end brutally and fast.

And its bones would adorn skekMal’s furs or belt.

Now, the Hunter seemed deeply asleep, but urVa knew that he hears him. He just didn’t want to react. That was fine, of course. He was used to not getting replies. As long as skekMal hears and listens, he was fine with everything.

“But I…” he continued. “I don’t see it at unusual. Urru are afraid of skeksis. They are afraid they will force them to act. And one thing the urru don’t like is activately searching for solutions. I at the other hand… I am different. If I see a thing that needs to be changed, I do everything to help it change. Change is good. What Thra would look like, if things didn’t constantly shift around?”

“We are gaining a lot due to our understanding. I started to eat meat, even if at first I was seeing it as violation of Thra’s heart. But you showed me that if I didn’t feed myself properly, I would be unable… yes, to act as its needed. You at the other hand… you like my tea. And this is more than enough for me.”

Still no reply. His trail of thoughts was too important for him to not word it, though. He continued.

“I promised to not trying to stop your hunt. That was a lesson for me. At first, it was a wound. Then, only laceration. Until I undrestood you are a force of nature itself and you keep balance. Just as I keep balance helping those who need it. Not all gelfling need to die. Not all beasts should live. Thra needs a hunter. And Thra needs a… without a better word, I will say a savior. Hero would be too pompous and I am not a hero. I save lives. Sometimes. It’s a good word, though other skeksis would have other opinion on it.”

“I searched kindred spirits among urru, but found you. Then, everything changed, I changed. And you changed me. But as I mused before, change is good. You shaped me into who I am today and I helped you to become more. Yes. Other skeksis, I assume, could be even afraid of you. But you are better than them. You took Thra only because it gave itself to you willingly. The planet appreciates this gift and allows you to own itself. How bitter skeksis would be, knowing that in fact, you achieved something they tried for long trines. Maybe they even are.”

“You are wondrous, skekMal.  I would expect that from other urru, being understand on that level, but they disappointed me in many ways. You are honest and I know what to expect of you. You never lied to me. I know you are not kind, you are not like me, your violent side is something I am accepting, as long as you stay… yourself” he smiled lightly. “You are  exceptional. And you are part of my soul.”

A shift in the bedding next to him, a lash of spiked tail, just into heat left after the fire.

“I think that might be painful.”

The Hunter chuckled.

“You felt it too. It is.”

“Your reckless side is not careless, it’s carefree. You are not afraid of pain.”

“You are so right, Archer.”

“My praise for you doesn’t include putting your tail into flames.”

An eye blinked in the darkness.

“You always speak what you think. I never doubted it doesn’t.”

urVa’s maw formed a kind smile.

“Thoughts sometimes need to leave the head.”

“When I sleep” growled skekMal. “This is severe kind of torture.”

“Only then I am sure you will listen.”


“I appreciate your praise, skekMal.”

This didn’t get an answer, but as always, urVa could almost feel his counterpart’s amusement. skekMal never fished for compliments, and pretended that he doesn’t like them. But as every skeksis – more, as his second soul – he bathed in them like in cold stream.

urVa laid his head near skekMal’s, pressing his chest to furs on his back. Warm. Safe. And soothing, though the Hunter would not like this comparison.

Who needs fire, anyway?

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skekMalthe hunt never ends
Mal. Hunter. Witch, forest spirit and a wild creature. Night enchantress and pagan soul. Loves slavic mythology and literature. Woods are her sacred place.
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