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The stalker


Moldek

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As the path crossed a small clearing, Harek stopped and turned to look behind him. The forest was quiet. Just the dripping tune of a hidden creek down in the depth of the valley, and up in the peaks, the wind howling. Yet he felt watched. Maybe the darkness was getting to him. Barely any light passed through the thick canopy of the giant pines. was something moving behind that tree? Just a bark-snail leeching off a rotten stump...

with slightly unsteady hands he made the sign of the traveller's blessing, as much to calm himself as to ward off any evil spirits. The village should only be a few hours away now. Soon he'd be by a hot fire with a cold ale, and forget about that bloody Pale Eyes grove. He adjusted his pack and began walking again.

Silence returned in the small clearing. 

A shape slithered from old roots, bleak limbs briefly gleaming in the weak light, and disappeared again in the shadows along the path.

Pale eyes faded in the dark.

*****

Stalkers like this one are the half-mad slaves of Moldek, the Fear-God. A lifetime ago they caved in to absolute terror, maybe running from cruel marauders, stuck down a dark cliff with a broken leg, or simply devoured by their inner demons. Moldek called to them, led them to a hiding place, a burrow, damp and dark. He let them cower while he whispered inside their minds, his snails climbing over their huddled bodies.

They haunt the darkest reaches of the forest in small packs or alone, looking for carrion or easy prey to feed off of. Sometimes they'll venture into farms or hamlets at night, to take a child or slaughter some cattle.

In their dark caves, they whisper in a grotesque shadow of their former language, tormented by unseen terrors, while the leech-snails come to feed.

 

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