In order to prove himself as worthy of knighthood, squire Donnelly had to hunt an antlered fox. A rare and illusive species–more than a stag and a fox combined. To hunt one, a knight-in-training had to be fleet of foot, precise of bow, and sharp of eye.
Donnelly considered providing armour for himself–or at least, his lower half. The antlers had a tendency to cripple men, or even castrate them, and Donnelly was not eager for either possibility. However, wearing armour meant weighing himself down. He would be slower, he would be louder. Better to be a crippled eunuch than an eternal squire.
So he wore only leather for boots and breeches and stalked the forests a slow step at a time. He had an arrow nocked just in case, but did not draw for fear of fatiguing his arm. Every low branch gave him pause, every tuft of red in the bush made him hold his breath.
There! A scarlet dash–too quick to see the details, but the size was right. Donnelly fired. A yelp, a tumble. He followed, and saw the pale feather of his arrow sticking out from the tall grass. Looking down, he saw a fox–but no antlers. He stuffed the fox carcass in a bag, cleaned his arrow, and set off again.
He found fox holes, but antlered foxes had no holes–the antlers would get caught. In truth, Donnelly didn’t know the native environment of such beasts. Perhaps it was closer to the deer half than the fox half. So he mounted his horse and rode for the plains, the prairies, eyes peeled for low antlers.
There! In the moonlight–antlers at crotch height! He fired his arrow, struck home, but the antlers rose, and a non-foxlike noise cried out. The buck fled, stumbled, and crashed to the ground. Donnelly had his next day’s meal, but no antlered foxes.
Back at the castle, Sir Samson tore into a leg of turkey with his rotting teeth. “Donnelly’s still out there,” he said, chewing openly.
“Poor bastard,” said Dame Catherine. “How long you figure till he jams some twigs into a fox’s skull and carries it home?”
“Give it two weeks.”
“I say a month. The boy’s eager, but not yet desperate.”
“It was a week for you,” Samson pointed out.
“And three months for you,” said Catherine. “I’m not sure which of us is more the fool.”
“Neither do I.”
Today’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Anter,” “Foxes,” and, “Knights.”
An antlered fox would be pretty badass, though.