Lucien pulled back the hammer on his flintlock musket and waited. His breath misted, floating up like smoke. Something touched his skin, colder than the snow, more invasive than the wind. It watched him, not human, but aware, hatred emanating from it.
Beside Lucien crouched Gabriel, of the Tribes. His eyes closed, Gabriel's lips moved, though he did not speak. In one hand he held his musket. With the other he rubbed the small leather pouch hanging at his neck. His tribe considered Gabriel some kind of holy man or sorcerer, but Lucien had never seen his magic. The priests all called the magic of the Savages unholy. Lucien crossed himself. For the moment, while they might endanger his soul, Lucien prayed to God that Gabriel's spells would drive away the thing in the forest.
Clouds obscured the sun. Snow drifted down, lightly touched by a wind that didn't disturb the trees. Nothing moved. No sound reached Lucien's ears. He attempted to breathe silently, but it hissed between his teeth.