Shattered Gemstones Interlude: The Hunter

Shattered Gemstones: Interlude
The Hunter

   His eyelids rise with the moon. He’s been out for a while. He’s not sure how long. He is glad to be alive.
   The hunter sits up in the grass. The green blades are dyed red with blood. Some of it his, most belonging to others.
   He looks to the creature who lies sleeping at his side. It lies awkwardly in the grass, not yet used to its new form. Its newfound horns find themselves gouged into the dirt. The fully-realized demon slumbers soundly.
   It was a stroke of luck that saved the hunter and the demon. They had been pinned down, assaulted from all sides. The hunter still wears scars from the assault, and feels slightly dizzy from blood loss. 
   He had been in a world of pain. But then his savior appeared. Not a descendant from on high, but rather a transformation in a moment of dire need. His demon fully awakened, and discovered a newfound power to kill. A power which was used to swiftly end the hunters situation. The hunter lost himself in a sea of blackness, but regained himself long enough to see his demon take down one enemy, then another, and one more. The rest were quick to retreat, many limping or nursing scars or bruises as they went.
   Now the hunter rises, his body bathed in the moonlight. His shirt is ripped, his face and body bearing enough rough, jagged lines to resemble a veteran soldier in a medieval war. His hair is soaked in sweat, and he feels himself swaying as he stands. First things first.
   The hunter makes his way to his bag, laying discarded in the grass, and sits down by it. Ripping it open, he extracts a protein bar, unwraps it, and grabs it in his teeth, freeing his hands to continue rooting around in the bag. He extracts a first aid kit, and begins treating his wounds.
   The process is long and painful. Several cuts have to be stitched up, including a rather nasty one the hunter discovers on his right cheek. Rubbing alcohol stings, and then makes the pain bearable, but not much more. But he is glad to have gotten out without any broken bones. He counts himself lucky. But he still bears a great deal of fury at the situation.
   His prey had eluded him. He had been a fool to allow the little one to slip through his fingers. In the back of his mind, he had known that she might not uphold her end of the deal, but he had decided to ignore it to go after his primary target. And not only did the little one come back to bite him, she had the nerve to bring reinforcements.
   Well, he decides, that just gives him one more name to add to the list. 
   But, he reminds himself, one mustn’t lose sight of the true task at hand. The real reason he is here. The things he is being paid to do. There is work to be done.
   For now, he will rest. Regain his strength. Then, the preparation shall begin. The mission’s purpose is uncertain, but that isn’t the point. The point is to prepare the land for what comes next. What the hunters employer is waiting for. The hunter has his own agenda, but for now it makes the most sense to stick to his instructions. 
   The hunter looks up at the great mountain past the edge of the cliff. It looms, the battleground at its top telling of some conflict from times past. His first objective lies at the top of that mountain. After that, he will head north. From there, what will come will come. And with any luck, his own personal agenda will fall into line with the objectives he has been given. His prey are already preparing to make their way outward, and so is he.
   Behind him, the demon stirs. The hunter turns, smiling at his familiar. 
   “It’s okay, Samson. Go back to sleep. We’ll rest for a while, I think.” A less-than-sane grin entertains the hunter’s lips.
   “We have plenty of time ahead of us.”
   The hunter’s agenda takes the form of deaths. His prey, the two protectors. They won’t be able to protect themselves for much longer. And their new companion, the one who seemed to appear out of nowhere to come to their aid…he, too, shall fall.
   As for his employer’s agenda…well, that’s where things will get interesting. The target the hunter has been given is one that he pays interest in as well. As for what follows...
   …well, why spoil what comes next?