By Sarnith

Some fox reported seeing something strange moving along the edge of the woods near it’s farm. That's what lead to spending an entire day tracking a supposed interloper. No matter how light of paw I was in running down the tracks, I never seemed to be getting closer to the source of the large paw prints because I wasn't really hearing or smelling anything out of the ordinary. What I had not taken into my head was the direction that the wind was blowing, nor the setting of the sun. As the clouds further smothered the little light that the dusk would've given, the wind changed and then I got a snout full of something musky with hints of sickly sweat. The wind brought sound with the unknown scents, a shuffling, dragging sound that was just audible though the rustling of the leaves and branches. It also surprised me, causing me stop still, and step on a dry twig. Snap.

The dragging sounds that I heard over the wind-blown branches felt like they stopped before the snap underfoot died away. Heart starting to hammer I kept still, hoping that this thing would only think it was the wind. Then things started to get strange, even though the wind was still kicking up a mild racket that seemed to be fading out. It wasn't long before I could not hear the winds sound at all, only the heart hammering in my chest. Then the foliage gained a glowing green outline that put my fur on end. The light grew in intensity and swung around, lighting the falling leaves, making it look like some kind of large glow bug swarm, only glow bugs don't glow with a green light. The smells from earlier were also getting stronger, becoming strong enough that the sickly smell finally hit me for what it was, something dead and rotting.

I should have fled then. I should have been terrified out of my wits. I couldn't hear the heart thundering away in my chest but I could feel it, knocking away on my ribs like it was trying to get out and away. It was the second strangest thing I have ever seen in my life. Next, the light seemed to be getting brighter, casting fans of light between the trees as it slowly moved not quite at me but getting closer. Then suddenly I could hear something, a shuffling and scraping, something gently dragging over the ground, paw steps? Then I found myself moving, by the light of the strange green glow I was able to see the forest floor and move behind a tree, only making the slightest of rustling in the loose leaves and twigs.

The light froze at the slight sound and swung around to where I had been but a moment before, flooding the ground with the green fans of light as the thing quickly moved closer. Then I saw the strangest things I have ever seen, a large baggy and strangely lumpy body with a head of horridly bright green light. The thing seemed to have four arms, two dangling down over the top of the second pair which were held up palms out and emitting that green light. Not only the light in place of the head but both hands seemed to be looking about, trying to find what ever had tipped it off in what appeared to me to be a totally silent moving forest. Then the three main points of light, from the paws and head focused to the tree I was peering around.

This... this looked like something from the stories and legends... Magic? Was that what it was? But it was a story, not something real, at least that is what I had always told myself. But I had no explanation for what was happening, neither with the light nor the lack of sound. Not being able to trust what I was experiencing was what finally tipped my paw. With care I drew the unstrung bow from it's back holder and carefully unwound the string. Trying to watch something throwing out unnatural green light while also trying to string a bow by feel was no easy task and bending the shaft to finish stringing the bow caused a slight rustling of the leaves. What should've been a slight noise sounded like a thunder clap in the strange silence. I almost dropped the bow to clap my paws over my ears from the perceived cacophony. The mistake I made with that though was looking down and away from the glowing green thing.

Before I could look back up the green light seemed to explode outwards, covering everything in a bright shining luminescence followed by another sense-rending explosion of sound. All at once everything that the light was shining on seemed to be shedding the light that was coming from the thing earlier and looking up again I could see that the thing no longer was throwing out the light, that and it was coming at me fast. Now that I could actually see the thing it wasn't as strange as before, it appeared to be a wolverine or badger wearing the skin of some larger creature. That was as far as impressions went before I turned my fuzzy tail for a sidelong dive into the loam. I came up rolling and just had time to draw an arrow from my quiver before the thing was coming at me again, swinging it's massive paws in blurring arcs of green light. Tumbling further away and coming up to a knee I was able to knock and draw the arrow half way before the thing got close enough to take another swing I let fly. With something that huge and covered in an even thicker extra fur coat, I didn't expect a half drawn shot to do much but the thing threw it's head back and howled. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before, it sounded like nothing living. Where the arrow punctured the creature, something black appeared to be pouring out, putting out all of the green light where it poured. Not wanting to give the thing time to take another hard swipe, I drew a second arrow and this time with a full draw let fly. The arrow struck true, higher than the last and much deeper, the out-welling of the black quickly extinguished most of the green light and in fact all of the weird green light seemed to quickly be dying down.

Then with a sudden snap sound returned and I realized that not only was it the sound but it had been raining and I was already soaked through. The sudden return left me even more disoriented as the green glow was quickly going out as well. The last I saw of the creature was a white-eyed stare and a snarl of rotten teeth and then it seemed to sigh down into itself and shrink away. As the light died, totally leaving me in the dark and the rain, the last thing I saw seemed to be a skin wearing another skin. The smell was something else, a rotting stench that did make my eyes water and my stomach churn. The wind and downpour quickly dispersed the stench and left me wondering what I had just done. With no hope of getting a fire going or finding my way anywhere in the dark rain I curled up against the bole of a tree. Morning came with me freezing my fuzzy tail off and a mess of stiff shivers as I got up to see what was leftover from last night.

All that was left was two sodden skins, one of some kind of large brown creature, it's skull was still in the top of the skin and had some worryingly large teeth. The under skin appeared to be that of a badly decomposed wolverine. Carefully turning the mess over with a wet stick all that could be found in the mess were the remains of the two arrows I had put into it and a roll of hide. The arrows appeared to have been burned, the stone tips were even blackened though the ends were still intact. The hide appeared to have some kind of writing on it: crude maps, drawings of our vulpine kind, and what appeared to be some kind of circular drawing made of intersecting lines. The vulpine council needed to know of this, but I wasn't going to be able to carry two skins of creatures larger than myself off home, nor did I want to after what I had seen last night. With the hide roll to paw I set back off for my territory. I didn’t think anyone was going to believe what this fox had seen or done and who would ever believe the green glow?

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