A foot comes down, three hooved toes, weight shifts, the beast moves.
It’s a slow pace, the gait of a being who either knows not time, or else has no use for it. Back hooves lift, their sharp edges coming down within the moss and the soil, which springs back when his weight does not bear down upon the spot any longer. He leaves no trace of himself.
The trees throw dark shadows across his being, and the sun, golden splashes. The forest does not thin, even when it touches upon the glossy shoreline of a lake, dotted with islands, some hardly large enough for a man to stand upon, this does not phase the beast, for his feet come down upon the glassy surface of the water, toes splayed out as if it truly were but a mirror.
It settles, not in the center of the pool, but a ways past that. It watches a child on the shore, she appears to be in her thirties. she leans down to drink, takes the mirror into her hands and allows it to slide past her lips. And moments later, her eyes come up, widen slowly, her pupils contract, then dilate.
The water is disturbed as she steps into the shallows of it, reaches out with trembling fingers.
The being approaches, his pace is as easy as ever, he knows this species well, and yet they never cease to rouse his curiosity.
Head extending upon his long neck, he stills, and she reaches closer.
She does not get the chance to touch.
The air shatters. The brown of the god-beast’s eyes. If it is a god. If it is a beast. Contracts inwards, a jade sheen crawling across their depths, until once more the dusty brown explodes outwards again, smooth brown horn taking on a blue sheen, like ice, or frosted glass, hooves shattering the mirror-pool, he leaves splashes in his wake, and droplets of red where buckshot has gored his hind leg.
The child seems frightened, and upset. But he has no time for such games.
Ears cock and tilt, beneath his feet, the water freezes, tendrils of hoarfrost crawl across it, hardens it, to the shore, the forest, it begins to die. The crimson stains steam when they hit the frozen earth.
With a quiver, with a shake, his hind leg gives beneath him, the hind-part of his body slouches to the ground resting with his bad-flank up, but his forelimbs remain planted firmly, his breath snakes from parted lips in gusts of fog.
Crunching, snow and ice being disturbed, his head raises, even fallen, he is proud.
It is the grown-child. And she hesitates at the edge of the creature’s clearing, leans against a pine sapling.
For a long time, all is still.
And then, he moves. Front legs sliding forwards, until he lays upon the snowy ground, and then, she moves, inches closer to kneel at his side. And his eyes never leave her, head shifting, little snow piles gathering as head and horn sweep the ground. A front limb followed, toes flexing.
He is silent however, even as she plucks bullets from his wounds. Apologizing. She didn’t know, how could she?
His tail, whip-like and tufted in long fur, curls about her.
‘it is okay’ the action says.
‘I forgive you’
she cries for him, and his head raises.
‘I forgive you’