“Did you ever run with the Wild Hunt?”
The question came from the shadow-walker; it was directed to the trickster. Red Harvest remained silent, curious as to the answer.
He had heard of the Hunt; it was something his tribe made certain to know about. But he did not know any who had met one of the monsters that had joined in the Hunt.
The trickster gave the shadow-walker a long look before replying. “A time or two, yeah.”
“Then you may know more’n we do about what happened to one a’ my brothers,” the shadow-walker said, a thread of wistfulness in his voice.
“Only knew three Antichrists before you,” the trickster noted, “and I only actually liked one of ‘em. The other two were dicks, although one was tolerable.”
The air-spirit gave an amused snort. “That sounds just like Belial and Mordecai,” he said; the shadow-walker shoved him even as he chuckled.
“I know Belial died on the Hunt,” the shadow-walker said, “and Mordecai came home minus an arm. I just wanna know ‘bout Ezekiel.”
The trickster seemed to shrink in spite of his greater height, shoulders lowering and head bowing slightly. “Last I heard, he was in pretty bad shape,” he said softly. “It didn’t look like he would make it. I’m sorry, Goodnight.”
“He ain’t dead.” The shadow-walker said it firmly, as if it were fact. “We’d know if he was. Daddy wouldn’t keep that from me.”
The eater of the dead made a faint questioning sound. “If a monster-eater got him—” he began, only to be cut off.
“Belial was eaten,” the shadow-walker snarled, eyes flashing white. “Daddy knew pretty much instantly, and Momma cried for days. We would know if Ezekiel was dead. We just don’t know where he is.”
“But would he not go home if he were wounded?” the eater of the dead questioned, head tilting to one side even as he continued to chew on the bones from their evening meal.
The shadow-walker and the air-spirit exchanged a look, one that spoke of their long shared history, and the fact that these two monsters had stayed together for any length of time fascinated the young shaman-in-training. Then the shadow-walker cleared his throat and spoke again.
“He might, if he and Daddy hadn’t had a falling out.”
The trickster snorted, as if he knew where the shadow-walker was going with his explanation. The eater of the dead, however, simply looked confused.
“What did they argue over?”
The trickster laughed aloud, drawing the attention of the other three monsters. The air-spirit looked vaguely amused, while the eater of the dead looked all the more confused, and the shadow-walker looked a bit annoyed.
“Ezra said something about a fight over whether you should be allowed to go off to war if you wanted to. Something about how you were too young according to Lucifer, but he thought you should be allowed if you wanted to.”
“That’s the gist of it,” the shadow-walker agreed, giving a shrug.
The air-spirit shot him an amused look. “In your father’s defense, you did start talking about wanting to kick off an apocalypse halfway through the second war.”
“You see what humans do to each other!” the shadow-walker hissed. “I have a valid point in wantin’ to clean the slate and start over.”
“That sounds kind of fun,” the trickster stated, holding his hands up to placate the air-spirit when he turned a sharp glare towards him. “Just speaking out loud. But that does beg the question of how old you really are.”
Once again, the air-spirit and the shadow-walker exchanged a long look that spoke volumes. “Ah,” the air-spirit finally said, and it was clear to Red Harvest that the monster was a bit hesitant. “Goody’s younger. Let’s leave it at that.”
The shadow-walker, however, glowered at the air-spirit before turning and looking the trickster right in the eye. “I’m six hundred,” he said firmly.
Both the trickster and the eater of the dead blinked; the latter then chuckled and smiled with all his sharp teeth on display while the former cackled gleefully. “You’re a goddamn cradle-robber, Billy Rocks!” he crowed, laughing harder when the air-spirit shot him an annoyed look.
“He’s an adult,” the air-spirit argued; for his part, Red Harvest did not really understand if there was a true problem at hand. The shadow-walker looked to be older than any of the others there, but the monsters were acting as if he were the youngest. Perhaps, he mused, shadow-walkers were able to fool humans into thinking they were much older in years than was true; perhaps they were more closely related to tricksters than his people had realized.
“Whatever you say, Rocks,” the trickster replied, wiping at an eye in his mirth. “It’s getting late, and I think Vas is still hungry.” Here the eater of the dead nodded, his eyes turning towards the desert. “Teddy said something about a herd of deer somewhere to the south; we’re gonna go see about getting this one fed for the night. You coming, baby demon?”
“If you keep calling me that,” the shadow-walker said mildly, “I’m gonna figure out a way to maim you in your sleep.”
“Good thing I don’t sleep.”
“You slept pretty hard in that box canyon,” the air-spirit noted, tone amused and apparently feeling a bit more like interacting now.
As the monsters argued amongst themselves, Red Harvest shook his head and slipped away. They were going off to hunt, and while he was fascinated by what that may entail, it had been a very long day. He would catch up with them all again in the morning; for now, he was going off to rest.