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The hunter's dilemma

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The hunter’s dilemma

Browns folly was a town which had survived the unthinkable and because of this it did continue to survive, when others like it became ghost towns. Browns folly had gotten its odd name way back in the mid 18 hundreds, and before that it had another name but history had forgotten about it. These days it was a rather large town, not huge enough to be considered a city but there were some thousand all year around inhabitants and some who just lived there parts of the year. The town was rather famous, because of its past and its nature. The name Browns folly had come because of a certain man named Bertram Brown, he was a reverend who had come to the area in 1834 in an attempt to save some souls but he was also an amateur geologist and as he was there he did discover a huge silver vein going through the hill above the town. He was dead sure that this was the motherload, that this was the greatest silver vein ever found in the states and before long he did sell stocks and gathered sponsors and a mine was started. It was like Klondike, just worse. A man of the cloth became a servant of mammon pretty fast and without any regret and the silver did hold its promise, the vein was rich and fat and they brought up absurd amounts of silver for the first two years. They said that people of the town were so filthy rich they made their horses wear shoes made from silver and lit their Cigars with hundred dollar bills.

Then it ended, abruptly. The vein simply disappeared, at first they all believed that a little more digging would let them find where it did continue so they kept digging. And they dug in every possible direction. The mine had been a modern marvel but now it became a maze, the sponsors got cold feet and pulled back and the former reverend used his own money to keep digging, convinced that the silver still was there, somewhere. But by now the mine was a money drain of epic proportions and the hill looked like Swiss cheese and had become rather infamous for the many nasty accidents which happened there. Just five years after it was opened it was closed, and the reverend had to leave, he was no longer welcome there since he had lead to many losing everything they had and he left with even less than he had when he arrived.
Later the area became a national park, there was a canyon there with some very interesting geology and also a forest of very ancient trees of a species you couldn’t find anywhere else. It was a sort of mutated red wood and they were grand. Then in the late 60’s they did check the mine again, it could be that the somewhat primitive methods of the reverend had failed to discover where the silver vein really went. They found that there was not a single ounce of silver left, but there was something else, something the good reverend had ignored. Loads of very pretty precious or semi precious gems and crystals and so a new boom was started. Now people eager to dig for crystals and gems came and the town government sold the rights to dig to people who could prove that they in fact knew what they were doing. And the rights were for one season only so the prices were steep. But it brought new money to the area and that and the national park made sure that Browns folly became a very popular place to visit.
The canyon was spectacular and they had a huge team of national park rangers there to ensure the safety of the people who came to visit in the thousands each year. It was a place very different from the area surrounding it, some said that it did look as if God had taken a pair of scissors and cut away a part of some other place and dumped it there, it didn’t look as if it belonged there at all and the geologists were tearing at their own hair in frustration for no explanation could be found for it. It was a bit like Ayers rock in Australia, one huge block of rock which didn’t really fit inn anywhere.

The town was thriving, it was the crystal capital of the north and some of the specimen dug up there could fetch prices which would have made the poor reverend rotate in his grave like the propeller of a plane, had he known that the pretty rocks were that valuable things would have looked very different. The town had it all, schools, shops, a huge library and doctors. And they did also have a wildlife rescue centre and several vets. The wildlife centre was placed next to the veterinary clinic and there was also a petting zoo there and a grooming salon for dogs. They were working in close cooperation with the park rangers for they were the ones the public did call when some unfortunate beast was in trouble. Two of the vets were working only in the clinic, two were sent out to the local farmers on a daily basis and one was working exclusively with the wildlife. It was needed for the area had a lot of animals and when a lot of animals get into contact with a town which is expanding and gets filled with tourists things are bound to happen.

Jessie Cormack was one of the people who worked full time at the Browns folly animal centre, she was helping out wherever she could and she was the driving force behind much of the things which did go on there. She was a retired school teacher and she had grown up there and spent her youth at one of the horse farms of the area. She was stern and a bit sarcastic at times but she had a heart of gold and she loved animals. This day she had helped the vets subdue a doe which had gotten its head stuck in a garbage can, the poor animal had caught the scent of some very tempting banana peels and only luck had prevented her from being hit by a car as she ran off in a panic, unable to see. The can had to be removed and some cuts and sores sewn shut before she could be released back. Some people did ignore the signs they had placed everywhere, that nothing edible was to be left outside in ordinary cans, everything had to be put into cans with a solid lid thanks to the fact that they had some families of very clever bears in the area. One sow in special was known to be able to open car doors very daintily and she had even managed to get into the local sports centre where she was found taking a refreshing bath in the Jacuzzi.

But Jessie was facing a challenge these days, and it had nothing to do with wildlife, or rather, you could perhaps refer to the problem maker as an animal. In heat. Every town has people who stand out and this town was no exception, the thorn in its flesh was named Luzy Malad and people often referred to her as “Luzy the malady”. She was born and raised there too and everybody kept praying that she would feel the pull of the greater cities and leave. Luzy was a spoiled brat, no other words could describe the woman and she was convinced that the world owed her complete admiration. She could have been pretty but she did look so displeased and sour it had changed her into a living joke. She was overweight but God help the poor soul who did mention this fact to her, and she was still convinced that she was irresistible.

Her mother had taken the kid to several beauty pageants as a kid and she had won with bravado for a while, probably because her mother had been a famous model who did do small favours for the judges, discretely of course. Then the kid became obnoxious and grew way too fast and too much and now the farmers did make jokes about her outgrowing their best pigs easily. But as Jessie had discovered the lovely lady Malady had another trait too, she was trying to ensnare every man she saw who was attractive and the rangers had a new member this year. A man who had come roaming and gotten a one year contract since one of the other rangers was injured and had to wait for several surgeries before he could return to the job. He had fallen with his horse and got a fractured hip which needed some serious hardware to be fixed, he joked that when the surgeons were finished with him he would have more bolts and screws than a transformer.

His replacement was somewhat of an enigma, he was almost seven foot tall if not more and he did look like a model, gorgeous like an angel but his eyes held enough cold to end global warming and he never let anyone in close. But he was a miracle with the wildlife and he was very good with the job, the park ranger leaders were contemplating offering him a permanent job, he was better at his job than anybody they had ever encountered. He came to town with an old truck, towing a horse trailer which was also his home and he stayed at the local trailer park. He had a massive wolf dog at his side, a dog so huge Jessie had wondered of it was somehow mutated for even an Irish wolf hound won’t get that huge normally. It did look as if the dog was big enough to be ridden, one of the vets had said that she had seen good barrel racers smaller than that dog, a saddle would fit well on it. And he also brought his horse, a massive silvery grey also so tall nobody could really determine the breed, all they knew was that the stallion was exquisite and all Ty said about him was that his name was Cal and that he was a gift from a former employer.

So Ty had started working there that spring and he kept the groups of tourists in perfect order, nobody dared to protest when he gave orders and if anybody dared to call him a “hippie” they received a glance which made them shut up completely for the rest of the day. He had almost waist length silvery golden hair and the eyes were grey and Jessie had seen some odd looking tattoos on his shoulders. They did look very archaic and she had liked the shapes, they did look very natural. Jessie wasn’t like others of her generation, they were often filled with prejudice but she wasn’t, she had learned never to judge anyone and she knew by instinct that this Ty was one you could trust. Anyone good with animals did deserve her respect and thus they did work rather well together. When the weather was bad Ty would come and work at the rehabilitation centre and Jessie was convinced that he had special powers for it seemed as if he was speaking to the animals. When Jessie asked if he hadn’t contemplated becoming a vet or something like that he had just shrugged and said that he had done some bad things in his life and that he hadn’t managed to get even yet.

Jessie’s husband Rick said that the man probably was a war veteran, some of the moves and the haunted look spoke of such a past and Jessie was trying to make the job as comfortable as possible for the man. And that was where the problem emerged, Luzy did after all try to talk or crawl her way into the pants of every attractive man she did see and she had immediately cast her eyes upon Ty. She had been practically drooling from the moment she first saw him and Jessie was in despair. That little hussy was causing them problems for she tried to get in contact with Ty as much as possible and she had found that her chances of bumping into him were best if she entered the animal centre. So she kept bringing her dogs there, almost every day and the vets were in despair for Luzy’s dogs were abominations. Whenever her poison green Toyota did enter the driveway the employees ran to get the muzzle and the tranquilizers. Luzy had three dogs, one pug, one shi zhu and a mix breed the head vet Mrs Brand did refer to as “The hellspawn”

The thing was just a wee bit larger than a pocket dog but it was filled with the infernal energy and will of Cerberus and Fenrir combined. It had bitten Mrs Brand who was their dog expert more than once and Luzy was always complaining when they did muzzle her little yapping minions. She said that it was “cruel” and that she would report them to the authorities for animal cruelty but the threats only made the vets laugh. She had owned a cat before she got the dogs and she tried to make it a vegan. Needless to say it made the cat die a very nasty death and Mrs Brand swore that the girl was about as intelligent as a clam. She did also have the charm of one and her attempts at fawning up to everybody with some amount of power made everybody feel sick to the gut. And she was an expert at spreading nasty rumours about people and causing problems so many there were almost fearful of the girl, she could cause some serious problems with her false accusations.

But she kept coming every day when Ty was about to work there and she was staring at the tall man the way a dog looks at a tender piece of bloody steak, Jessie often said that a bitch cannot be blamed whence it is in heat but that one ought to have its ovaries checked for damn! Ty was being polite at first, just trying to avoid the woman and she did of course interpret that as him being shy. She became even more eager and when he did realize that nobody there liked her and that she was treating her dogs in a rather terrible manner he took off the silken gloves but that didn’t work at all. She “loved “ a man who was strong and his nasty comments and attempts at scaring her off only made her view him as even more macho and desirable.
Jessie had once caught him mumbling something to himself as he was trying to escape the woman by returning to the woods, it had sounded like “I’d rather…F…an yrch”

Jessie had no idea of what an yrch was but it did sound nasty. Other women too were interested but he was polite to them and kept them at an arms distance very easily, after all, most were civilized and well behaved, it was just that no heterosexual woman could avoid noticing that tall piece of wandering masculinity. Jessie had asked if there had been some girls in his past and he had just shrugged and said something about a girl who had married a very bad guy in the end and another who had rejected him. Jessie was a bit like a mother hen when it came to the rangers and she became so to Ty too, she made sure that he had food and even gave him a good matrass when she heard that he slept in the straw next to his horse.
He often used the huge stallion while he was working and the leader of the national park said that it was a bloody shame the man refused to loan the horse out for stud for it was drop dead gorgeous. Foals from such a sire would be worth a lot and the horse seemed to know exactly what to do in any situation, it was very well trained.

Luzy had brought her dogs there before because of dental problems but now she came every second day with all sorts of problems, real or imagined and the vets hated it for the three dogs were not trained at all and they didn’t only bite, they would shit and piss everywhere and they attacked everything on legs. They were in short neurotic and Mrs Brand said that it was because they never had received even an ounce of discipline. They ruled the roost and that makes a dog nervous. Luzy had no idea of how to feed a dog and she had bought all three from puppy mills so they weren’t socialized at all when she got them and it got worse henceforth. The shi zhu had misplaced teeth which did point in every direction imaginable, the pug a palate which did collapse regularly and required surgery and the mix breed had eyes which would pop out if it sneezed and the back legs were so odd it made the dog look like it was trying to ride a barrel. All three should have been euthanized but Luzy “loved” her “darlings” and wouldn’t listen to anyone even mentioning that the dogs in fact did suffer every day. Mrs Brand said that the best thing would be if the dogs ran out and got snatched by a coyote, it would make the entire town cheer for the three did yapp and bark the entire night long and the neighbours were in despair.

Luzy had kept coming to the animal centre as regularly as clockwork and she had lots of money from her late father so she didn’t worry about the vet bills. Mrs Brand often added some to the bills just to get revenge for the displeasure of having to deal with the three and their unpleasant mistress. And Luzy had an idea in her silly head, one idea that made the guests there and the workers and even the animals look the other way. She was convinced that dressing sexy was the key to attracting Ty and that was what she believed that she was doing. The first time she entered the centre dressed in a tight black dress which was like snakeskin and hugged every curve and she had lots of them, as a matter of fact she bore a striking resemblance to the Michelin man. Ty had taken one look at the costume and the heavy make up which did accompany it and asked if it wasn’t a bit too early to start dressing for Halloween in August? That made her just snort and try to snake in closer to him and he had suddenly gotten a call from another ranger who needed help with a wounded deer, the call came from Jessie who saw his predicament and wanted to help him out.

But her outrageous costumes were sometimes so revealing it made the stuff the girls at the strip club wore look like they were Amish and the Sheriff had even arrested her once for indecent exposure, she had been driving over a speed bump and it made her “dress” crawl down so her chest became rather bare. It was like staring at a beached beluga as the Sheriff described it.

So the sexy dress method didn’t work and Jessie did dread what the girl would come up with next, and so did Ty. He had said that it was a shame they couldn’t send her off somewhere, some did suggest buying a ticket to some other country and claim that she had won it in the lottery or something, just to get rid of her. The town would most likely support that idea wholeheartedly and collect enough money to send her on a one way trip to the moon if that was what it took to get rid of her. Ty was shocked by her tenacity and her lack of inhibition and she had even confronted him in the trailer pack once and tried to pounce at him, stark naked. He had closed the door and stayed in the trailer the rest of the night and she stood outside for a good hour, screaming that he was a coward, that he was probably gay for not wanting her, and that he had no idea of what he was missing out on. Ty said that there were nastier things in the world but he hadn’t seen them for a very long time.

Jessie told him he ought to press charges, that was sexual harassment and Ty had just shrugged and mumbled something about her getting tired of it in the end. He didn’t seem to like the idea of getting involved with the police for some reason. But then things took a new turn, suddenly Luzy wanted to take it to a whole new level, she tried to get in contact with him at work, by joining the groups the rangers did guide through the national park. Luzy wasn’t a fit person, she was in fact a living commercial for heart and valve disease and high cholesterol and she was close to what geometry defines as an orb when it came to shape. Yet she did join the hikes and acted as if she did somehow own Ty.

The manager had realized what the problem was so he didn’t place the name of the ranger guiding the tours on the tickets anymore, nor was it made public on the websites or anywhere else. Who you got was a surprise and all the rangers did pity Ty and did also see him as one of them so they did support him wholeheartedly and tried to take the tours she did join. One of the rangers was a former marine, a guy tough as rock and very fit indeed and he was not going to let that piece of human waste ruin their livelihood by scaring away the other tourists. Each time she ended up with one of his groups he would push them mercilessly through the worst terrain and the manager did put together groups made up by very fit people so she kept lagging behind all the time, sweating and cussing and acting in a manner no lady ought to try to copy.

So after a few weeks she did push that idea aside, she took it up yet another notch. And this was nasty, they couldn’t say no, they had no way to say that a person wasn’t allowed to join the tours and the manager was in despair. She did notice that the rangers would guide tours on horseback once a week and now she set her eyes on those. Ty was the one who did lead those tours because he was a master horseman and his huge horse seemed to calm the other animals down no matter what. Luzy was no rider, she barely knew the front and back of a horse apart and she had short legs and a balance which was wobbly to say the least. Ty was almost in despair when she did show up and the manager had to promise him twice the ordinary pay to take that tour.
They had one trick up their sleeve though, she was given not a horse but a mule. And old jack named Lightening. Old Lightening had gotten the name out of spite for a snail would look like a thoroughbred racer compared with him and he was about as easy to steer as a sheet of oil in a strong storm. But he would follow the others no matter what and nobody had ever been thrown off him so he was safe, they placed a very deep saddle on him and chose to put a bit less bridle on the animal so the woman wouldn’t hurt his mouth and then two of the strongest men there had to lift her onto the animal, the mounting block didn’t do nothing for her, she was still too heavy to get on board. Old Lightening was not a comfortable ride though, he would sway like a ship in a wild storm and his gait was horrible, you were shaken into mush if you sat on him for more than ten minutes, they usually only gave him to riders they wanted to teach a lesson.

The mule did smack its teeth and laid its ears back and everybody did make a bet that day, how long would it take before old Lightening took a bite out of her? It didn’t happen that day strangely enough, Luzy was petrified since she was unused to riding and she had to be lifted out of the saddle when they did return to the offices. She was so stiff she did resemble a statue and Ty had the hope that she would give up now. But no such luck, she wanted to get him and she would, no matter what. So she showed up the next week too, even more determined to make him see what a catch she was. Same routine, Old lightening, a deep saddle and a bit less bridle. The old mule knew her by now, he was by no means stupid and this time he did try to bite, before she even got onto his back. Ty was almost fuming but he had to keep himself under control for the sake of the other people on the trip. Usually the route was an easy one but he had already found out that the others who had joined that trip were experienced riders so he went for a much more challenging route. He hoped that this would put an end to her obsession but nope, she did suffer through the trip and did manage to get saddle sores so nasty the doctor had to be called but giving up? Not this gal! One had to admire her tenacity.

Ty was exhausted when he returned to the trailer that evening, it was hard work keeping an eye on everybody and making sure that nothing bad happened while telling about the park and at the same time dealing with a woman who tried to flirt with the finesse of a drug addict in need of a fix. He had a headache and he did wonder if he should just pack things up and leave, he had a few months left on his contract and didn’t want to cause trouble but darn…This was bad. He was a nervous wreck when that woman was around, he had a nasty suspicion that she had been in his trailer and put something in his tea at least once for there had been an odd taste to it and he was glad that elves don’t react to human drugs. Otherwise she would have raped him in his sleep, he was darn sure.

He brushed Caladroch and made sure that Huarion got a bowl full of good food, then he made himself dinner and sat down. He didn’t have a TV or anything, he didn’t need those things and he sat there admiring the peace and quiet. He had loved this place when he first arrived but now he was contemplating leaving, and it was a shame. He was bound to roam the earth until the valar decided that he had paid for his past crimes and in this place he knew he could have done much good. He loved teaching people about nature and making them see the harm the human race was doing to their world but that woman was like a tick! She refused to let go! He wasn’t one of those who would turn to violence to get rid of a woman, no way. And he would absolutely not give in and bed her, first of all, bedding an elf would spoil her for the rest of her life and second of all, it would only boost her ego to unimaginable levels.

He sighed and the dog licked his arm and laid down with a huff. He wondered if he could plead with Manwë and ask for a small accident to happen? Having to keep his eyes open all the time because of that godawful woman was draining his energy and he wondered if he should ask for a few days off work, just to recover. The boss would understand, he had seen how Luzy behaved around Ty and did tell him that he felt sorry for the ranger but there was nothing they could do. Ty did fall asleep on the soft matrass Jessie had given him and he drifted off to dreams right away. He was in the woods of Valinor, riding next to Oromë and the vala was humming a jolly tune as they raced through the woods. The vala was riding Nahar who was the sire of Ty’s stallion Caladroch and Ty felt good and yet stressed out. The vala stopped the horse next to a huge oak tree and ran up the branches with the ease of a squirrel. Ty did follow him with his usual elegance and the vala sat down and cocked his head. “You are troubled young one, I can sense it.”

Ty nodded. “I am, that woman is worse than an orc, she is mad my lord, obsessed. I thought I was used to the ways of the mortals by now but…”

Oromë nodded. “Worry not my friend, you do already know what to do. Remember what I taught you back in the days? You can do it, I know you can. Some people are not in harmony with the song at all, they create falseness and discord, they are what would have been orcs back in the days. She is one of those. There is no sin in protecting one self from such souls”

Ty cringed. “I will not harm her”

Oromë shrugged. “No, of course not, but you can make her see the light, she is unwanted Tyelkormo, she is hated and despised and she spreads her dark miasma just by being herself. She needs to see the truth about who she has become. It is very important my friend, it will change a lot. The entire town is held in a state of perpetual fear because of her mean tongue.”

Ty swallowed. “How?”

The great hunter just snickered. “Wait and see, there will be a surprise waiting for you tomorrow, use it. And let me just say that we are watching you, and her. Things will happen, do not worry about that. Just allow it all to unfold, you are after all not to be tortured and that thing is causing you great misery”

Ty swallowed hard. “I…thank you!”

Oromë winked. “Remember, allow it all to happen, there is a meaning with everything”

Ty woke up with a start and he realized that he had slept very well that night, he felt way better than before. He got up and prepared for work. That day they were to check the population of deer for parasites and it did require all hands on deck for they had to trap the deer and then tranquilize them and some had to walk around and collect deer droppings too. It as a shitty job like somebody said it but it had to be done.

When Ty arrived at the office the manager was there and he did look a bit confused. “Ty, there you are, ah, we have a situation”

Ty frowned. “What do you mean?”

The manager made a grimace. “Last night there were 25 horses and a mule in the stable, this morning it was 26 horses. Somebody has left a horse here last night”

Ty wasn’t shocked, some people would dump unwanted animals almost everywhere. “Okay, what sort of horse?”

The manager sighed. “Let me show you, I am telling you, somebody owns that animal and is looking for it, I bet it was stolen and the thief got cold feet or something. We have informed the sheriff and he has informed the police forces everywhere.”

They entered the stable, there was one empty box and it was used to store hay and bales of sawdust. Now it was occupied and Ty had to whistle, a surprise indeed. This was one of Oromë’s own stock, no doubt about it. It was a mare, quite tall and an absolute beauty, dark palomino with soft brown eyes and long silky mane and tail and the manager made a grimace. “Look at her, this is a horse worth at least a hundred grand if not more?! Who drops a horse like that here?”

Ty nodded. “You may be right, have anybody tried handling her?”

The stable boss was a woman in her fifties who had worked there for more than twenty years and she knew all that there was to know about horses and then some. She sauntered over with some hay. “Aye, I have groomed her, the most well behaved mare I have ever encountered, soft and gentle like a kitten!”

Ty tilted his head. “Can she be ridden?”

The manager shrugged but the stable boss nodded. “Yes, probably. She is at least ten years of age and she has worn a saddle for sure. I am willing to give it a try later today, she is drop dead gorgeous and I wonder where she has come from. There are no new tracks in the driveway”

Ty suddenly realized what it was Oromë was planning, the vala was cunning, and wicked too in his own ways. He petted the mare and went to work and later that day he was being told that the horse was trained to a very high level. It was so calm anybody could ride it and ride it well too.

The next day saw Luzy entering the vet clinic yet again, wearing something which did look like the remains of a fishing net, and she was complaining about her three dogs farting too much. Apparently they filled the apartment with obnoxious gasses and she had to keep the windows ajar the whole time. Ty was just waiting for fate to make her move and four days later the first blow was delivered. Luzy had a woman come over to wash the apartment twice a months since she didn’t enjoy washing at all and as she and the woman were arguing about the price of the service the door to the apartment opened up a wee bit.
That was enough, the three horrors saw their chance at gaining their freedom and took the leap into the wide wild world. The Shi zhu got snagged by a bald eagle two minutes after it first set foot outside, bye bye to that one. The pug ran straight into traffic and got pancaked by a semi truck transporting concrete road barriers, it was reduced to a wet red spot on the asphalt. The “hellspawn” ran to the local fast food restaurant and in the back alley behind it the dog met the local black bears and tried to establish its dominance over a 280 pound male. Needless to say it became a light although not very healthy snack for the hungry bear.

Luzy was devastated, all her three dogs were gone, and she tried to sue the washer woman claiming that she had let the dogs out deliberately. Unfortunately the neighbour told everybody that Luzy herself had opened the door to let the woman in and also closed it. She was to blame if anybody could be blamed at all. The entire town were laughing, it was sad that the dogs had died but considering the life they had lived it was a mercy. Ty was laughing too and for some days he was left alone but then Luzy returned with a vengeance and she was stalking him even worse than before. He was glad his dog was so large, it was a son of Huan and very loyal and he had been given it by Oromë when his last wolf hound did die, it had been a mortal dog so it didn’t live for very long. Now he had an immortal companion and it was a reassuring thought. One day he would be allowed to return home, it was his hope and longing now.

Luzy showed up to the guided tours and Ty was close to losing it several times, she was almost snarling if any other women came close to him and during breaks she was like a barnacle, hanging on for dear life. She just couldn’t get it into her thick skull that he wasn’t interested, far from it. Then one morning when there was to be a tour Ty was met by the stable boss when he arrived for work, apparently Old Lightening had gotten a bad case of colic and couldn’t be ridden that day and the group he was to guide was huge. They needed all the horses and Ty just knew it, this was the day. He had no idea of what the valar had up their sleeves but it had to be something grand. This day started off with grey weather and the forecast spoke of rain during the late evening. The trip wasn’t going to last for more than two hours so that was okay, Ty had to guide the group even if it wasn’t sunny out there and he had made sure to dress well. Luzy was to join the group as usual and since she was a bit late she was given the new horse. Nobody had been able to locate the owner of the gorgeous mare and Luzy was practically beaming as she sat on the horse, convinced that this meant that Ty did like her after all.

Ty had his doubts about the weather, he could feel that it was changing and he made sure that everybody wore good jackets and that they brought some extra equipment in case of an emergency. One of the horses carried a huge pack of equipment and Ty was glad that everybody there except Luzy was a good rider. The mare had been named Angel by everybody and it did allow even a lousy rider like Luzy to feel secure on her back. Luzy was bored, she had heard the lesson Ty gave many times now and she was constantly staring at him, it made the others there nervous.
This time the group did consist of several people from all over the country, including three guys who turned out to be more than just friends, Ty had no problem with poly amorous people and the men were clearly gay and also very nice and understanding. They saw how much trouble Luzy was causing and one did discretely suggest that he could pretend to be making a move on Ty. The tall blonde did decline very politely, he was afraid that it would lead the woman into a state of frenzy and they couldn’t afford that. She was bad as she was, she didn’t have to get any worse. But he did use what he had learned indeed, he felt all the wildlife in the area and managed to send off some requests and the beasts did answer too, they knew him by now. They were more than willing to be of assistance since they could sense that the human female was a very dark entity.

Ty was right, they were on the way back when the skies did open and a rain shower of amazing strength did soak everybody within a few seconds. It was as if every faucet of heaven had opened up and Ty realized that they couldn’t return to the main area. The canyon was very dangerous during rain due to the danger of flash floods, they would have to stay at a local cabin for some hours. Most did accept this readily but Luzy was fuming, she was wet and didn’t like that even a bit and her makeup was gone and she did look miserable. The cabin was a huge one, placed at the top of the canyon to give shelter during such situations and it was well equipped. There was a paddock there for horses and Ty did make sure that everybody did take care of their steeds before they entered the cabin. There was food there and firewood and before long it became rather cosy in there. Luzy on the other hand was fuming, she hated being ignored and Ty never even looked in her direction. What was she to do?

She got an idea, and her limited intelligence didn’t do anything to stop the idea from evolving. She waited until everybody were busy eating, then she did sneak outside again and now the rain had stopped so it was much more pleasant. She opened the corral and released all the horses and she grasped onto Angel and used the fence to climb high enough to get onto the mare’s back. She would ride off and then Ty would have to help her get back. She rode off and didn’t even think of the direction she was riding in, all she was thinking about was how to seduce Ty whence he came to help her.

It didn’t take long before they did notice that Luzy was gone and Ty was ready to roll his eyes, he had to go and get her, the rules there said so. You couldn’t allow anyone to wander off alone and he was the guide so she was his responsibility. He felt like spanking her and not in the funny way. The others agreed to stay there and he whistled for Cal and rode off, the tracks of the mare were easy to follow and after a while he did notice something odd. The mare had started off at a steady walk but the track told that the horse had changed into hard canter and he had to grin. Luzy was probably in for the ride of her life. He had been prepared for her taking off but he hadn’t really expected her to get onto the horse on her own but it did fit very well with his plans, and he guessed with the plans of the valar too.

He was right, the woman had ridden for a while when the horse suddenly took off and she had no way to control her since she hadn’t bothered with putting the tack back on, Angel did follow the commands of another master now and ran like lightening underneath the trees, she was very fast and so very good at going so near tall bushes and low branches that Luzy got a royal beating quite often. Much of it was nettles and poison ivy plus burrs and other stinging things. Luzy even had cactus spines sticking out of her legs by now, and her skin was raw where it was exposed.

The woman was yelling to make the horse stop and it didn’t work at all, the mare ran like a racehorse going for the big prize and Luzy could only cling on for dear life. That was until they suddenly reached a swollen creek, the mare put the breaks on and Luzy went flying and landed in the water with a huge splash. She could swim and managed to get back to the shore, the horse was gone and she was fuming as she got back onto dry land. She did notice movement in the corner of her eye and turned around, a small animal was staring at her and it did send out a small squeal and turned around, waving its black and white bushy tail at her. Luzy was perhaps born and raised in the area but she had never cared about the wildlife out there, she had no idea of what she was about to encounter. She stepped hard on the ground to scare the beast off and that did it. The skunk arched its back and sprayed the loud intruder thoroughly.

Luzy screamed and backed away, she tripped on a log and fell and landed in the sand with a thud and a curse. She got up to brush the sand off herself when she felt a stinging sensation which only grew worse. She screamed again when she realized that she had ants everywhere, she had landed in a anthill and they were fireants. She ran, screaming and stinking and fell down a steep hill and landed in a soggy pit which did stink very badly. The bull elk who had made himself a nice perfumed rutting pit didn’t like the intruder and she had to run yet again, stinking and covered with biting ants. Luzy was trying to escape the nightmare but the next thing she did encounter was a hive of wild bees, it didn’t exactly increase her sex appeal for the stings made her face swell up. It was as if all of nature was trying to put stones in her path and she was running at an amazing speed.
All the animals had sensed the plea Ty had sent out and now a pack of racoons tried to see if they could make the silly human run even faster, it was great fun for usually they had to run away from humans but now the roles were changed and it was amazing. Mice rained down on her from the trees and squealed and bit her, a few deer did also chase her snorting and swinging their antlers and she had to make several sudden turns since the path was covered with very annoyed snakes all of a sudden. Gnats and mosquitos were swarming around her ears and a black bear did suddenly show up from behind a tree and gave her rear a smack with a massive front paw, it didn’t do anything to her except tearing her fancy riding suit into shreds but it made her scream even louder and find a new and previously unknown gear.

The animals were herding her, she didn’t know this but they made sure that she took the worst path imaginable back to the ranger station. They lead her through the mud and water and bogs and spider infected bushes and made sure that she never slowed down enough to orientate herself. The great hunter had given them cart blanche and so had the elf and so they had all the fun in the world. If it wasn’t racoons chasing her it was foxes or badgers and the bushes and trees did also try to do their best to get her ego down some notches.

Ty found Angel peacefully waiting for him under a tree and the mare did follow him as he followed the tracks of the woman who by now could be found by scent alone. The animals made sure she was running towards the main entrance to the ranger’s camp and he did catch up with her just as she entered the camp, soaking wet and stinking like something out of a nightmare. She was almost naked, covered with dung, stinking oil from many a skunk and she had rashes and cactus spines everywhere. The manager did exit the main office just as she stumbled in through the gate and he did stare and then he did gag.

Everybody did run off trying to escape the scent and Ty had to stop too, he was staring in disbelief at her. That was when a reporter who had come to the park to make a documentary about the geology started to take photos and Luzy was screaming at the man to make him stop. By now she did look more or less like something out of a very bad sci fi movie made with an extremely low budget and the manager did call 911 to get her some medical attention. Ty had to laugh, she was so terribly disfigured by the stings she no longer resembled a person and that laughter did do it. She was screaming at him too, her infatuation gone like dew for the sun.

Ty was almost writhing and suddenly the whole parking lot was filled with all sorts of beasts, all apparently laughing at her. Luzy snapped, she was screaming insults and curses and the animals did retreat before the humans there could return but Luzy kept yelling about how the wildlife there was trying to kill her, on purpose. The ambulance which did come to pick her up were driven by a very experienced person and so was the one who was to work on the patient but both went green when they saw her and had to retch before they could even start to check out her injuries.

They did take off after the manager and Ty had managed to hose her off with the fire hose at the cabin there and it did remove the filth but not the stink. When the ambulance left Ty told the manager that Luzy had taken off alone and against his orders and the manager just shrugged, he wasn’t surprised and he knew that with that many witnesses she had no chance if she tried to sue them. And her claims that the animals were out to get her? That did sound like a short visit at the psych ward was recommendable. Or maybe a long one, it would be more fitting. Ty returned to the other guests and they returned to the camp safely and the news spread through the city rather fast.

When Luzy did arrive at the local E.R the doctors had a hell of a job getting rid of the stink, then they had to remove cactus spines, a bad rash, fix the bee stings and also a couple of snake bites and she had ants and spiders everywhere too. She was screaming and frothing at the mouth and the doctors gave her a rabies shot, just to be on the safe side. But her constant claims that the animals were there to kill her made the head nurse make a very swift call to the hospital shrink who immediately organized for the not so ladylike lady to be transferred to the state mental institution. Luzy was in a bad state physiologically too but it could be treated, her state of mind was worse. She kept screaming that Ty was behind it all and that he couldn’t be human and that everybody were out to get her.
The diagnoses were paranoid schizophrenia and severe delusions plus all sorts of extra diagnosis including hormonal imbalance. So Luzy would be locked away for a nice stay at a peaceful place, wearing something less than sexy.

Ty was very relieved, he could return to his job and didn’t have to worry about that mad woman again and Jessie too was very glad that Luzy was out of the question. She had seen how the mad girl did torment the poor guy and the whole town was enjoying the news of her demise. The reporter had posted the pictures on a website which was rather infamous and before long everybody even outside of the state borders knew her name and what she had done, and also how she had behaved previously. Luzy had indeed become very famous but not the way she would have liked to. Sometimes your wishes do backfire upon you.

Jessie had a suspicion though, Ty had a very uncanny ability to connect with animals and she had heard stories but she didn’t try to investigate it. If old fairy tales told of the fair folk and their abilities it was just fairy tales right? She wasn’t going to put her nose into something which was none of her business. She made sure that Ty got some very nice dinners for free at the local restaurants and the manager did extend his contract to five years, to which he did gratefully accept. He loved the area and it did remind him of home.

He did never have any problems with the tours again, nobody were that nasty again and Luzy did never return to the town, she was sent off to some institution, still believing that every living critter out there was out to get her hide and even the smallest sight of a bird or animal outside of the windows sent her into catatonic shock. And no level of medication did help, it was as if someone was there and kept her in that state and if somebody had been given the gift of sight beyond the ordinary world they would have seen a very smug Irmo visiting quite often, making sure that this woman never would bother anyone again. Some souls had been orcs once upon a time and she was most likely the reincarnation of some very nasty one. Namo would have to cleanse that soul very well when it was her time to go, no doubt about that.

Ty was making a lot of people interested in the preservation of the wildlife and the nature around them and it was just the way it was supposed to be, The valar were rather pleased with the way they had removed this obstacle and one day the hunter would be allowed to return but not yet, there was still things to be done, his services were still needed and they would keep his back safe and make sure that the humans never managed to figure out his secret. Some had come close but those were humans who could handle the truth. Angel did stay with the rangers and even if Ty tried to keep Cal on a tight leash the mare suddenly gave birth to a very beautiful filly, golden with silvery mane and tail and the rangers did make the horse their mascot and Ty was a very proud uncle. So one could perhaps say that the malady after all had brought something good in the end.