Love is sweet and fleeting, and hatred is a wonderful motivator. His town lies in ruins, his family slaughtered, I’ve scattered his neighbors in a thousand pieces around me. “You’ll never stop me,” hissed with just the right inflection guarantees he will. After all, nothing can stand between a hero and his destiny, except…
Months pass, as we race towards the prize. Only one thing can stop my final push to shatter the blue god’s sacred grove, and my handcrafted hero is always one step ahead, one breath beyond my reach. I corner him as he finishes off the final guardian and reaches for the sword. Vengeance burns behind those eyes, fire-bright it’s fed from him, leaving nothing but a walking shell. Time to rejoin the living, my hero.
That stops him, distracts him from the sword, which my daughter reaches past to pull from the statue’s hand. They pause for a moment, as their eyes meet, lost in each other and oblivious to me. She met him soon after I left, carried him until he could walk on his own. Fought with him every bloody step along the way, and even now he still expects her to stay. But I’ve taught her well, and she’s seen how easily mankind is led astray.
“But—,” he watches as she returns to me, the fire dying in his eyes. It’s that look that gets me, every time. The sudden death of hope. The realization that all they suffered for, sacrificed for, was for me. He is the hound, I am the huntsman, and the fox is mine.