hunt

In the yawn of waking Spring, the king set out with a small company for games of hunt and merriment. In neighboring forest to his winter lands, the king savored the year's first hunt under the melt of Winter. It was the long-awaited and long-hindered movement through the tree-winded air.  No longer contained and imprisoned of hewed stone; to ride out with the singing new day.  His court mounted, some with like joy, some longing for the constant fired hearths of home.

In bright morning they set out, their breath the only blemish on the clear cast day.  Their horses were as younglings, hard to contain by reins: eager to dance their freedom.  A youthful king and his court as a riot of color marching over green hills.  The courtiers ripped the morning's air with their banter, the sound a stick in the king's ear.  Hale knights boasted their huntly deeds of past and future, maids laughed their laden mystery laughs.  All was as a hindrance to the free day of the king, and so he sped his mount.

With hurried pace, the king led his hunters and spectators to the fair forest, an old forest newly named.  Gold bark capped with green hair, it was an inviting fey land.  The casted light cleaved into amber and shadow.  It called the sylvan explorer to leave off the world and fall freely into its depths.  A stirring life came from the leafy tunnels, the outpouring breath of a gentle beast.

Between the forest's stretched fingers, servants and villeins began the work of camp.  Pavilions and lordly banners rose up as wild flowers under the sun.  A stirring invasion cropping on the serenity of the forest's tongue.  Clatter and drum in ambivalent rhythm as axe to trunk.  The king felt a growing cry of protest, to call this party heretic and outlaw.  Insteading to flirt with the golden gates of fantasy, ushering his prancing beast to the foot of descent.  A whisper of the words he longed to know sliding through the shadow brush crept to his shoulder to tangle and encompass him.

To pain of death, he turned himself back to his duties.  He kinged and commanded, tasking his subjects to the necessary.  To haste he inclined them, for the king feared the waste of light.  Upon the tarry some nobles had taken to the release and hunt of their falcons.  Yet the king found no want for this game, only the labyrinthine woods.  So he pushed the workers on, through no harshness but with some promise.  In constant struggle with unease over the dallying day.

It was high sun before preparations were fulfilled and a party of the king's men was formed to meet the first hunt.  The hounds were mustered, the lords readied spears, armsmen notched their arrows, and the first silence of man fell.  An homage to the mighty land to which they would enter, a toll to a king over kings.  The retinue cast about knowing looks of limited fear and expectation.  They were to enter into a game of the unknown.  A wide mystery lay in the arms of the quiet trees.

Then a horn rent the sacred prayer and the hunt began.

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