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The Tale of Rubah Foxson

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Rubah Foxson stalked like a predator watching his prey through the forest, his eyes flicking left to right so that the slightest twitch of a leaf would not be unnoticed by him.

If you had looked, you would have noticed a strange grace in his motion, an odd fluidness in his body that most men didn't have, that was usually only ever seen in elves. Other than that, he was someone you would never look twice at.

Rubah's hair was short and fluffy, dark as pitch. A long, black cloak, tied across his throat, was old and torn, the bottom few inches covered with a thick layer of mud. His boots were splattered with the same hardened sludge. They were clearly long-worn, with the color faded and nicks that were strewn across the leather. His tunic and leggings were the shade of tree trunks. Two small pouches were tied to the outward facing side of his calves. The one on the right was filled with bandages and a various assortment of herbs. The other was of miscellaneous things: flint, a whetstone, some gold, and a small whittling knife. Rubah's skin was a darkened tan and his face had the smile lines of one who had lived a merry life. But he was not smiling now. His face was set in a fierce scowl.

In a single glance, it was clear Rubah was dangerous, or at least well-armed. Twin daggers were frogged on his hips, and dual swords were sheathed upon his back. A long knife was fastened to his right thigh. A shorter knife was on the left one. A quiver full of arrows was clipped securely to the back of his belt, leaving the fletchings to poke out from around his side. He gripped a bow of brown mahogany in his left hand. And, even though couldn't see them, there were two throwing knives strapped to the inside of his sleeves.

Yet, it was Rubah's eyes that startled most who saw him. For they were grim and dark and, well, dead. They were unimaginably bleak, the eyes of someone who had seen the world and all its horrors, who had seen much, too much. They clashed with his face, the face of one but twenty-five.

Rubah thought he saw something move and he froze. He barely breathed. His heart rate slowed. Every muscle in his body was tense.

There was a crunch, seceded by another. Quicker than the fastest elven eyes could follow, an arrow was pulled taut on the bowstring, aimed at the approaching creature. Rubah began to take slow, careful steps backward, his eyes never leaving the overgrowth in front of him.

Another sound rang through the woods- but not a crunch this time, no, it was a hiss. A hiss of pain. Rubah's brow creased. Was the being injured? He shook his head. It didn't matter. He had fought with a broken arm and an arrow in his leg before. Being wounded didn't mean you weren't hostile. So, his bow didn't move an inch. His hand was steady. He might as well have been carved from stone.

And, for a moment, the world paused. The wind stopped whispering to the trees; the leaves stopped shaking in silent laughter.

And then, the elf stumbled into the little clearing in which Rubah stood. The fair folk's skin was the hue of the underbelly of a frog. His raven hair was ratted and muddy, flecked with something that looked suspiciously like blood. His grey eyes were glassy yet held a great amount of wisdom.

Rubah had been correct. The elf was wounded. He was holding a bleeding shoulder and his knee was bandaged with what seemed to be the remains of his shirt. Though the elf's chest was bare, he wore leggings of soft grey, which were covered with golden armor. Twin swords were latched to his back, and a bow and quiver were buckled to his hips.

Rubah lowered his bow to his side, but the string was still pulled taut.

The elven warrior turned in a circle slowly, scanning the clearing. Rubah raised an eyebrow in silent question. He had no idea why the elf was even looking around. It was clear that he was in too much pain to see anything, including Rubah.

Droplets of red were leaking out from under the grey-eyed elf's hand and straining the grass. Rubah crinkled his nose. The smell would attract predators, including Orcs, and the elf was definitely not in the right condition to fight.

As Rubah watched, the elf slid down to his knees and then fainted. For a moment, Rubah just stood there. Should he help? The question wasn't really a question. He already knew the answer before he had even asked it. He unstrung the arrow from his bow and deftly returned it to his quiver.

Rubah stepped forward cautiously, but the black-haired form didn't even twitch. He laid his bow upon the ground and sat cross-legged next to elf. He rolled him over onto his back and pried the raven warrior's limp fingers away from the wound in his shoulder.

Rubah's eyes scanned the deep wound, wincing slightly at the amount of blood that was now pouring onto the grass. It didn't seem to be poisoned nor infected, and the bleeding pointed to the injury being relatively new.

Rubah reached down and opened the pouch on his right leg, removing a small greenish-yellow herb called Lagorharnanestad. He tore a piece of the plant off and plopped it into his mouth, chewing it until it was mush. He spat it back out into his palm and spread it gently over the area of the wound, trying not to flinch when the elf's face twisted in pain. It was to bad that his water canteen was empty. The wound probably needed to be cleaned. Slowly and softly, he wrapped the injury with bandages. He then moved on to the knee and repeated the process after removing the makeshift injury had been an arrow wound, which, thankfully, there had not been any pieces of the arrowhead left.

He slipped the bloody fabric into one of his pouches. No need to leave an obvious sign that someone hurt had been here. He could burn them later. He glanced at the grass, which was stained a blood-red hue. Rubah knew that he couldn't leave the elf here, not alone and wounded.

Sighing, the man picked up the limp elf in his arms, slightly surprised at how light he was. That was good, at least. There would be no extra weight to hinder him.

Rubah Foxson set off into the trees, leaving only the red elvish blood to say that someone had been there at all.