The stag had become entangled in a briar, stamping its hooves and twisting its neck around in a
valiant struggle to free itself. He brought his horse to a halt nearby, fingering his
lance nervously, his heart pounding. The call of the hunting horn sounded some distance away,
but a quick glance confirmed that no one had managed to follow his breakneck flight away from
the group in pursuit of the animal that he had glimpsed. The glory of it would be his alone.
He lifted the implement, preparing to eviscerate the beast in one clean motion, when a stroke of sunlight forced its way through the foliage to dapple it exquisitely. Its gentle eye regarded him imploringly. For a moment, he could only regard it, not as its hunter but as an attendant upon its last panicked breath.