Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 44
Thor jogged down the forest trail with the others, holding the spear that had been handed to him for the hunt. Beside him were Reece, O’Connor, and Elden, along with at least fifty other members of the Legion. In front of them rode a hundred Silver, on horseback and in light armor, some carrying short spears, but most with bows and arrows slung over their backs. Running on foot amongst them were dozens of squires and attendants.
Riding at the front was King MacGil, looking as huge and proud as ever, an excited grin on his face. He was flanked by his sons, Kendrick and Gareth, and, Thor was surprised to see, even Godfrey. Dozens of pages ran amongst them, a few of them leaning back and blowing horns made of long ivory tusks; others yanked at baying dogs, who anxiously ran forward to keep up with the horses. It was complete mayhem. As the huge group charged through the forest, they began to split off in every direction, and Thor hardly knew where they were going, or which group to follow.Erec rode close by, and Thor and the others decided to follow his trail. Thor ran up beside Reece.
“Where are we going?” he asked Reece, out of breath as they ran.
“Deep into the wood,” Reece called back. “The King’s men aim to bring back days’ worth of game.”
“Why are some of the Silver on horses and others on foot?” O’Connor asked Reece.
“Those on horses are hunting the easier kill, such as deer and fowl,” Reece responded. “They use their bows. Those on foot aim for the more dangerous animals. Like the yellowtail boar.”
Thor was both excited and nervous at the mention of the animal. He had seen one growing up; it was a nasty and dangerous creature, known to tear a man in two with little provocation.
“The oldest warriors tend to stay on horseback and go after deer and birds,” Erec added, looking down. “The younger tend to stay on foot, and go after the bigger game. You have to be in better shape for it, of course.”
“Which is why we allow this hunt for you boys,” Kolk, running with the others not far away, yelled out, “it is training for you, too. You will have to be on foot the entire hunt, keep up with the horses. As we go, you will break off into smaller groups, and each fork down your own path, and each hunt down your own animal. You will find the most vicious animal you can—and you will fight it to the death. These are the same qualities that make you a soldier: stamina, fearlessness, and not backing down from your adversary, no matter how big or how vicious. Now go!” he screamed.
Thor ran faster, as did all of his brethren, racing to catch up to the horses as they tore through the forest. He hardly knew which way to go, but he figured if he stuck close to Reece and O’Connor, he would be okay.
“An arrow, quick!” Erec yelled down.
Thor burst into action, running up beside Erec’s horse, grabbing an arrow from the quiver on the saddle, and handing it up to him. Erec placed it on his bow as he rode, slowed, and took steady aim at something in the woods.
“The dogs!” Erec screamed.
One of the King’s attendants released a barking dog, which dove into the bushes. To Thor’s surprise, a large bird flew up, and as it did, Erec let loose the arrow.
It was a perfect shot, right to the neck, and the bird fell down, dead. Thor was amazed at how Erec had spotted it.
“The bird!” Erec yelled out.
Thor ran, grabbed the dead bird, warm, blood oozing from its neck, and ran back to Erec. He slung it on Erec’s saddle to hang there as he rode.
All around Thor, many knights on horseback were doing the same, flushing birds and shooting them down for their squires to retrieve. Most used arrows; some used spears. Kendrick pulled back his spear, took aim, and hurled it at a deer. It was a perfect strike, right into its throat, and it fell, too.
Thor was amazed at the abundance of game in these woods, the amount of bounty they would be bringing home. It would be enough to feed King’s Court for days.
“Have you been on a hunt before?” Thor called out to Reece, narrowly avoiding being trampled by one of the King’s men as they ran. It was hard to hear, with the barking of the dogs, the horns sounding, and the screams of men, laughing, victorious, as they took down animal after animal.
Reece had a big smile on his face as he jumped over a log and continued running.
“Many times! But only because of my father. They don’t let us join the hunt until a certain age. It’s a thrilling thing—although no one tends to get out of it unscathed. More than one man has been hurt, or killed, chasing boar.”
Reece gasped as he ran. “But I’ve always ridden on horseback,” he added. “I’ve never been allowed to be on foot before, with the Legion, never allowed to hunt boar. It is a first for me!”
The forest suddenly changed, with dozens of trails stretching out before them, each splitting in a dozen ways. Another horn sounded, and the huge group began to break up into smaller groups.
Thor stuck close to Erec, and Reece and O’Connor joined them; they all turned onto a narrow path that curved sharply downward. They ran and ran, Thor clutching his spear tight as he jumped a small creek. Their small group comprised Erec and Kendrick on horseback, Thor, Reece, O’Connor, and Elden on foot, making six of them—and as Thor turned, he noticed two more members of the Legion running up behind them, joining them. They were large and broad, with wavy sandy hair that fell past their eyes, and big smiles. They looked to be a couple of years older than Thor—and they were identical twins.
“I am Conval,” one of them called out to Thor.
“And I Conven.”
“We are brothers,” Conval said.
“Twins!” Conven added.
“Hope you don’t mind if we join you,” Conval said to Thor.
Thor had seen them around in the Legion, but had never met them before. He was happy to meet new members, especially members who were friendly to him.
“Happy to have you,” Thor called out.
“The more hands the better,” Reece echoed.
“I hear the boars in this wood are huge,” Conval remarked.
“And deadly,” Conven added.
Thor looked at the long spears the twins carried, three times longer than his, and wondered. He noticed them looking at his short spear.