The Contest

One day, Victor was walking through the woods. He was seeking to provide for his family and friends, by one way or the other. It was getting dark, and night was near, but Victor did not wish to return home empty-handed. He had been warned of the many things that hunt the night by his elders, but he did not heed them on this night. The brashness of youth was strong in Victor.

As Victor strolled through the woods, the shadows lengthened and covered the trees like a velvety cloak. Suddenly, he heard a sound behind him. He drew one of his knives in a flash and whirled about, but no one was there. Uneasy, he turned back to the path, only to find someone standing before him.

A lithe woman in a tattered dress seemed to be standing in the shadows, with hair that tumbled down her back, blacker even than the darkness of the night. He stepped back in surprise, not sure if she was real or not. Perhaps she was one of the Fair Folk, he thought. He stopped as she began to speak.

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