The night after Diane’s encounter with the Shadow Man she had a very vivid dream. In it she found herself within a forest on a game path. She followed the path and it led quickly to a clearing with a massive buck in the center of it. Diane’s years of practice had prevented her from making enough noise to startle the deer but it perked up anyway and looked around nervously. It sniffed a few times and, satisfied, went back to grazing. That’s when an arrow flew from nearby to strike the buck straight through the heart. It’s off by only a millimeter though and instead of a clean, one-shot kill the buck panics. A second arrow flew at it but the deer was already fleeing and the arrow impaled it harmlessly in the side as it disappeared into the forest.
A tall woman clad in Greek-style clothing strode out of the clearing and over to where the animal was standing before it took off. She knelt down on the ground and after a moment stood back up, looking after where the buck has run off. She looked familiar and it took Diane a moment to realize that the woman looks very similar to how she looks when she transforms. As this revelation hit her Diane also noticed that the bow the woman carried is the same magic bow which empowers her. The woman in the clearing, after having stared off into the woods for a few moments, turned to look straight at where Diane was hiding and said “Well don’t be shy, mortal. Come out and let’s talk.”
Diane walked out into the clearing and found she was dressed in her usual attire for hunting, and had all of her usual tools with her. Nothing about this seemed odd as she walked into the clearing and stood next to the woman. From here Diane could see the spotty trail of blood the deer left behind as it ran off. The woman slung the bow over her back in the same manner Diane does, then she casually started speaking again. “That man you met today – he is an agent of something dark and terrible. Something which was already banished and sealed away long before my time upon the Earth came and went. How he came upon the knowledge to call upon this dark power is unknown to me. My brother’s oracle… she might have known.” She paused a moment thoughtfully, as if trying to remember something, but whatever it was either didn’t come to her or she chose not to share it.
She continued. “As the goddess of the hunt I can know certain things. And what I know now is that you have placed yourself in great danger by striking and failing to kill this man of shadows in your first shot. If he lives and recovers then you, my huntress, will become his prey. This is his desire. Tread lightly. In the coming future the shadows will not be the friend to you that they once were.” She then turned from Diane and looked back at the direction where the buck ran off.
Diane asked, quickly, “Are there others like us?”
Without looking away she replied, “There are others, yes. Though they are few and far between.” She tensed her body, as if preparing to run away.
“Do they ever gather?” Diane asked.
She turned her head slightly towards Diane, taking her eyes off the trail made by the buck but looking back occasionally as she spoke. “Rarely are you all called to gather. I think this has happened… twice?” She paused a moment thoughtfully, and stopped glancing away. “Only a great crisis to the mortal realm would prompt this. But now that your world is full of so-called ‘heroes’-” She scoffed as she said that. “It seems our era may truly be passing.” She kept her eyes fixed on Diane, waiting to see if there will be more. She was no longer tensed to sprint off into the woods.
“What else can you tell me about the shadow man?”
She narrowed her eyes as she responded to Diane. “I know that he has the heart and spirit of a true hunter and that he desires to make you his prey. Besides that I can sense his connection to a Dark power which I know little about, except that you mortals banished its previous minions more than ten millennia before my time.”
Diane had more questions. “Can he be stopped from teleporting? What are his weaknesses?”
She sighed and looked away from Diane as she answered this, slowly re-acquiring the trail the buck left behind and tensing to run after it. “His strength is the darkness and the shadows. Deny him this and you deny him his strength.” She said that matter-of-factually, as if this were obvious. “More specifics I do not have – he is not my prey, my Huntress. Perhaps you will find more satisfying answers from the ”/characters/hazel" class=“wiki-content-link”>spawn of the night, or the small one who defies his nature."
Before Diane could ask another question, and without any other words she took off running after the buck, leaving Diane to stand there in the field. Suddenly as Diane watched the woman run off into the woods she felt dizzy, as if she was falling away from the woman, the clearing, and the entire world. With a thud she landed on the floor of her room and was jarred awake. The room was dark and full of shadows. Her clock showed that it was 2:57 am.