I made no attempts to move and find out where it was headed. I could only think that the deer had shown itself to me again because it felt no fear of me.
And that it was attempting to convey a message of some sort or another. I could not fathom what.
Given my radical change in appearance, I could only guess that the deer recognized me by my eyes. Not my face or my clothing.
A week prior to recent experiences, if anyone had told me I would generate some kind of understanding with a deer I would have laughed.
But this night, I felt something from it. I truly felt as though I was not alone in my struggle, as if an outside force had entered the forest to assist me.
Standing up again I quietly brushed myself off. I moved up onto the high grounds once more and as I suspected, the deer was nowhere in sight.
I smiled at the thought of the animal and its ability to evade predators and remain in the dark, despite the light that flooded the forest.
Looking in the direction I had just come, I still could see the very faint reddish glow of the setting sun. Using it as a guide I proceeded into the forest.
I knew that once the sunset had completely faded, I would be lost in the forest. But at that time, I did not care. I had a destination to reach one way or another.
The moon was almost completely overhead, giving me no reliable means of navigation through the forest.
Even though my watch did not have its own light source I could make out from the moon that the time was approaching seven o’clock.
Given the time I had awoken this morning, I knew that I still had several hours before I would grow weary and tired.
I also knew that this night would be the time of my final reckoning with the hunter, Win lose or draw, I would do everything in my power.
No one else in the world could help me. I did however take comfort in the knowledge that if I did lose, my body would be found.
I had great faith in Sarah and Peter to complete their task and get help out to my home and the forest.
I began to think about exactly how I would defeat the hunter. The only tactic I had on my side was surprise.
The only time I had ever seen the hunter was from a distance, so I was uncertain as to whether or not I had a weight advantage over him.
When it came to skills with a deadly weapon I knew that he had a strong advantage over me.
I walked around with confidence and courage, as well as a large fighting blade under my jacket.
But I had never drawn blood in anger. I had only ever raised my fists to another man in anger a few times in my life.
All I had to rely on was the strength of my cause, and the belief in my own righteousness. Good would prevail.
I had to believe.
A gentle breeze blew through the forest and gently rustled the trees around me. I opened my eyes wide and observed the forest.
There was no visible change in my surroundings, nothing to indicate that any other people or animals were nearby.
But I doubted my senses of detection considering how quickly and easily the deer had disappeared.
I then hit back at myself, realizing that I was not hunting the deer. The deer was my ally, for whatever that was worth.
My eyes had grown more effective at seeing in the dark then ever before. I never imagined how much true focus could tune the senses.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something. Snapping my head around to view the source, I calmed myself upon seeing what it was.
The deer had entered the area again, although it stood over a hundred yards away. This time it was not alone.
Another deer stood proudly alongside it. This was a stag, and a fully grown one at that. I guessed that the stag was the deer’s mate, given the way they stood together.
Once again I did not know what they wanted or why they seemed so interested in me. But with the presence of the stag I could only guess that the mysterious force that had allied itself with me was growing stronger.
As before the deer began moving away into the darkness. The stag followed and instead of watching them depart, I followed as well.
I moved swiftly and silently, but not in an aggressive fashion. The deer and the stag were moving at a steadily fast pace, but they were not fleeing.
We proceeded through the forest for what seemed like miles. After turning around the corner of a large ditch, I stopped. For I had lost sight of the deer.
Cursing under my breath I stopped all movement and breathing as I saw something that caught my attention.
Off in the distance there was a gentle orange glow reflecting off the nearby trees. Moving towards the trees I then approximated the direction of the orange light.
As I moved closer, I gasped in delight as I realized my find. The glow was emanating from a campfire.
The fire was located over the top of a deep gully that I had entered. As quietly as I could I began to climb the side of the large ditch, in an attempt to reach whatever, lay over the top.
As I climbed I judged the height of the gully wall to be at least ten meters. I took great care to climb with stealth, and to make sure I did not slip.
At the height I had reached the fall could easily injure me on impact. And with my mission I could not afford to sustain any injury.
I climbed a few more feet and grew closer and closer to the top. Now moving very slowly and with the greatest quiet I could muster; I moved up the last small distance and peered over the top.

To Be Continued……

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