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

He told him once that he would follow him to the death and back. That he would sacrifice his own life, to protect him.

Not in these words, of course, such sentiments were good for the gelfling. But every fiber of his being was telling him that he is ready for sacrifices, if they are needed, and when they are needed. The thread that bound them was jagged as sharp blade, demanding blood from them both, cutting their bodies and souls most ecstaticaly, leaving them breathless, and owning each other more with every passing day. It was bond that was giving and taking, eating them alive and spitting them out more and more fulfilled.

But now, when he stood before him, and skekSo was showing him the rotten flesh of his own, the wounds that couldn’t be cured by any rational mean – he couldn’t help him.

He would lick these cursed wounds, if that was meant to bring him back from the path that led to dark well filled with horrors.

But he won’t sacrifice one thing that held him tighter than skekSo’s talons – Thra.

Not gelfling, not podling.

Thra and it’s heart. It held him in sweet, painful, intoxicating, deadly embrace, giving him blood and pumping lust for life into his veins.

And this, he couldn’t sacrifice to the death that would consume it, the purple venom that would shatter it along with himself.

Because he was child of Thra, even in not Thra-born. Fit with his being into caves of Grot, into the Dark Forest and the Crystal Desert. How could he destroy what kept him alive?

by skekMal

When he hunts it, it bleeds with honey and fills his beak with strength and sweet taste of fulfillment.

When he touches it, it caress him with wind, gives mossy beds to sleep on and whispers most intimate secrets into his ear.

This land is his, even if no one knows it. It gave itself to him, when he allowed it to enter his veins and tangle with his muscles and tendons.

by skekMal

He lurked through the forest like a shadow, blended with the mist, a wild hunter, an apparition, who was feared by many but unseen by eyes… until he was the last thing you witnessed, as he appeared before you in the darkness, to make you his prey.

by skekMal

urVa was never asking him for favors. At least not in a way the skeksis did. The lords of the crystal, whimsical and fiery scourge of Thra, were asking all the time. Sometimes to hunt something for them, to later brag that they contacted the dreaded hunter and even got something from him. Sometimes – more often – to feed their fear before him and quench the thirst in their everneedy loins.

He liked to think that he secures his own legend. He liked to think that they are silly things that don’t deserve his attention. That he chooses to follow the sound of the horn because he needs fire too, fire and blood. boiling hot.

But he liked them. He liked their stupid mannerisms and prey-like attitude. He liked their flaming eyes when he was appearing, when they knew he is there for them. He liked them, as flawed as they were. How sentimental of him.

But only urVa never wanted anything from him. urVa wanted to give, not take. He didn’t see him as fierce predator from dark woods, who is as unknown and dangerous. He simply knew him as skekMal. skekMal, who snorts his tea in laughter just into the cup, when amused. skekMal, who comes to him, to tend for their both’s wounds. skekMal, who needs help with his way too hot temper.

He liked his own legend enough. But sometimes, he wanted a friend, who sees him as he is. Sees through him and sees the light, bathed in familiar darkness.

Let me laugh with you. Let me chop that cursed vegetable for you, let me growl at you and then, let me lay with you in the cave, safe, as one, but still comfortably separated.

Only you make some sense in this world.

by skekMal

I went from the hunt victorious; blood-stained, wounded, but with my prey’s skin in my teeth. Forest sang the hymns for me, silent whispers between the branches, a song only I heard.

Then, she found me. Feral creature, eyes like darkest night, soul like pit without end. She took a skull from my talons, a prize she never won. My senses felt her bold soul, her untamed spirit.

She didn’t need to be tamed, I allowed her to hear the call of the wind, summon of the hunt. My soul joined hers, like it melted in the fire, intertwined in the flames.

Twilight catches the burning sky in its embrace, painting it with crimson. We will spill the red tonight.

This time the skull she gets, will be her prize.

The woods swallow us like hungry beast. We are hunters. Feeding the wilderness in us. Drinking the blood from the veins of this land.

by skekMal

One day.

He was his beast from the wilderness, a forest creature that appeased his inner turmoil – and eternal hunger. He was appearing in the midst of twilight to ruffle his feathers and join their foreheads. And nothing else mattered, in fact.

Two days.

He was a ray of light among his own personal dusk and the only one who have seen deeper. Maybe if others were so close to Thra, they would get closer to perfection. Because he was aware that skekSo considers him almost perfect. His debauched thief. His source of air under deep water.

Three days.

And a trine. Luscious as pure sin.

He was a secret for him and keeper of his secrets. Two souls – so different, with summons so far from each other. But so close at the same time. Only skin could set them apart.

As he huffed into skekSo’s collar made of dark feathers,, he knew that their scents mingled until end of time, and if he ever finds a creature so keen to separate them, he will give up on the hunt forever.

You are made to fill me with your darkness.

You are my undoing.

Both of things, so different, as they roots were buried in much different soil. But so close at the same time.

When he felt him curl and press into his flat, hard abdomen, his feathers stood up, like electrified. Exquisite. And so frightening. His body was set alit, like a midsummer bonfire, an offering made in the name of Thra.

For him, the only thing he was both enjoying, like forbidden treat, and resenting from taking him away from his woods…

by skekMal

They were made for this, exactly for this.

To tear sinews with their teeth, and after that, to dance by the fire, lost to the song that fills the gaps between the trees with a mysterious and wild tune.

To hunt for their food, relying only on their fangs and claws, not needing to be supplied by Gelfling.

They were made to be free, bare, reckless when it’s safe, and deadly when the danger comes.

To fill each other with heat, with fingers buried in black soil, with hunger in their eyes.

They were made for this and only this. Luxury becomes a nuisance, a heavy garb of the bejeweled robe traps harder than iron bars.

They were made to spill blood and bathe in ponds colder than ice, filled with rainwater.

They were made for this. He understood it faster than the others. And others forgot it faster than he hoped they would.

by skekMal

He never knew when he started to drift away, like a wind running through a meadow. Each hunt of his was longer, each departure from the castle stung lesser. He didn’t need their feasts, their rituals, vast chambers, scenty baths, rich food. In fact, all these things made him leave one time after another, far from false gods his brothers became.

If anything, he wanted to be seen as god crowned by his own actions, his strength and agility. Not by sweet words and lies.

There was always a missing point, though. If someone called him sentimental, he would shred them to pieces. Or at least made few of their breaths as painful as possible. But he was. He was, for Thra’s sake and he didn’t feel bad with it.

Reminiscence of this slick body under his weight tormented him long after he stopped coming to the skeksis lair. He was aware the other feels exactly the same. It was filling him with certain dose of pride, pride mixed with anger.

Because who he was to stop the hunt? Who he was to dare to drag him to his chambers, embrace him with his spindly legs and tell him to treat him savagely?

Who he was to make a hole in a heart made of flesh and blood, of roots, moss and leaves?

Only the Emperor.

by skekMal

He never knew what went wrong. His face gained a raw scar, a cut of talons that almost severed right half of his face. He didn’t care for how this looks. He would even wear it with pride, as all scars on his body.

But others would see and know, yes, know, he can be beaten, torn, and his flesh destroyed. He didn’t fight for the reputation of being a shadow and death, to show the gelfling and especially skeksis, mostly other skeksis, that he can be vulnerable.

So he killed the beast. His size, his strength, all matched his own.

Took one trophy only, a skull. And put it on the face, on the scar and it fit like he swallowed not only the strength of that animal with its meat but its being.

Many trine later, the gelfling will be talking about the masked ghost, killing the reckless fools at night and leaving bones of animals, taking some as a trophy, the rest allowing to return to Thra and become one with the earth. It will please him.

But now, the first time in his short, hundred-trine life, he really absorbed the soul of a slain beast. He didn’t know if this happens again. But it was a good feeling.

by skekMal

His opposite. His enemy. His friend. His lover. And his undoing if he ever chooses that.

He never ever tried to solve the mystery that was his counterpart. He never tried, not really hard, only sometimes was giving this a few thoughts, to abandon them, as unable to explain. He never knew if he can call him a foe or the only person that truly understood him. Even when they were sharing bodies. This was an act of self-love, which suited him. After all, he was as selfish as skeksis could be. Self-love was the only kind of real love he would admit he could feel to anyone.

urVa was patient. Not as patient as other urru. He had wild streak which fascinated skekMal because he felt that he himself had some sentimental part too. There was a thick mental rope between them they shared and which was binding them together with a vine that couldn’t be cut.

Sometimes he thought that this sentimental side was implanted in him by urVa himself. Sharing hunts, sharing tales, sharing everything when they rarely met – it all made him different. He was sure that the same happened with urVa – he became wilder, more reckless.

Dare and calm mixed together into something that once was one creature and never – if skekMal had a word in that – will exist again. The mere thought of being someone else than the Hunter was repulsing to him.

They both shared one more love. Love for life. Curiosity for life and the will to explore, travel, tear the last drop of existence from Thra and absorb it themselves. urVa would not admit it but skekMal knew. He was observant and patient.

Why his enemy, his friend, his lover, his opposite, was the only one who could be his undoing? Why he had a string of certainty that urVa, even if loved him, could put Thra before him and himself?

But skekMal never wanted to destroy Thra. This was his land, his blood, his root, and bone. And they both walked the same paths, sometimes in the same Unum, knowing that the other was there too.

And smiling bitterly at that. Soon. We will meet soon. And we won’t talk about anything but us.