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

The Hunter sat next to urVa without announcing himself. The Archer didn’t sense prey on him, he smelled more of old roots and damp leaves – a pleasant scent which he always preferred on him. skekMal took a blade and without saying a word, he started to examine it, like it was a gift from Aughra herself. And even then, the Hunter would not spare so much attention on it.

urVa felt a pang of worry. He never doubted skekMal could and was able to understand his latest bond with a gelfling. Issi was a refreshing change, someone who thought exactly like him and had the same priorities in life. But maybe that was the problem. skekMal was not monogamous, but never was thinking in an urru way. Maybe his darker, skeksis soul found an offense in it, in taking a gelfling as companion.

Silence prolonged. Blade didn’t have even a slightest spot that wasn’t examined. skekMal was dark and ominous and that made urVa sure that he was angry.

He never was planning to upset him. Guilt overwhelmed him. So… he decided to talk, speak first. Even if he was endangering himself on a slew of furious accusations.

“skekMal…” he started, doubtfully. “I think I know why you are angry. It wasn’t purposeful. I just felt the bond, a primal bond of the mind. Minds can be as treacherous as souls… but…”

skekMal growled, annoyed that the blade doesn’t have anything new to tell him. And of course on urVa who broke the bond with him, taking another into his cave and tree.

“I was afraid of that. I was almost sure you won’t but I know your darkness, skekMal. I accept it of course, but it pains me that—”

skekMal stopped examining the knife and looked at him with narrowed brows.

“I thought we were sharing a good moment by the bonfire, Archer. A peaceful one. You always insisted on it.”

urVa’s expression didn’t become wise. It became flabbergasted, at best, at worst, stupid. skekMal chuckled, there was something mischievous in it and urVa’s heart jumped.

“You really thought I would be jealous, urVa?” the Hunter grinned at him with a full array of his sharp fangs. “You should know us better than that.”

The Archer huffed and laughed quite sheepishly.

“You thought that after my long relationship with the good Emperor, I will be throwing tantrums like skekEkt seeing a crawly? I am not skekEkt and I am not skekZok” his eyes were playful, nothing dangerous and dark which urVa thought he saw in him just moments ago.

“Do you approve?” urVa smiled at him, feeling evident relief, but then, a slight suspicion that skekMal arranged the whole scene purposefully, to tickle him in the wrong way and see him groaning in worry.

That was so skekMal, this cat and mouse play, this almost cruel enjoyment from his confusion, that he inhaled deeply and… exhaled. He should know him better, indeed. He should know them better.

“And you thought you were immune to the gelfling “charm”” scoffed skekMal, amused. “Nothing on Thra is certain, it shifts and swells like skekAyuk’s stomach.”

“If you throw such an insult at poor skekAyuk…”

“I am fully aware of the flaws of all the skeksis.”

Yes, but not of your own, just had to think urVa, and scolded himself for even thinking so, in this moment of relief.

“I think I can meet you with Issi” the smile on urVa’s face became wide and open like a sun on a clear sky..

“Fetch him ” SkekMal waved with his hand dismissively.

urVa slowly, not exactly like an urru who could walk the boughs and run after Hunter for long miles, stood up and just as slowly shook a little lump on the grass, covered in blankets. A silent sight was heard and a messy blue-and-black hair emerged, to reveal an almost angelic face of a Stonewood gelfling. Issi had to sleep really tight, as his eyelids were heavy.

“urVa? Something happened?” the gelfling murmured  trying to place himself in this world, after hard and safe slumber.

“I wanted you to meet my skeksis. The one I told you. The Shadow from the Woods. The Hunter” urVa’s voice was soft like a balm on a wound.

skekMal’s at the other hand stopped looking friendly and leaning ominously over Issi, he grinned voraciously.

“I needed to see the eyes of my prey before I shred it to pieces. Good meat is better when is made to face me when dying. And beg. Begging is like the strongest spice.”

Issi held his breath and almost choked and urVa thought that skekMal will always remain skekMal.

Awfully improper. Cruel in his teasings.

And not at all jealous.

Which was paying up for all his beloved flaws.

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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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