A Lullaby for the Dark - Chapter 5
As soon as Anna was able to walk, her mother started teaching her how to survive a harsh, solitary life in the northern woods. Living in such an extremely remote and dangerous area required skill and resilience. When sunlight became too dim for productive activities, they would take refuge in their house, a sturdy old cabin constructed to resist the toughest winters. Close to the hearth’s warmth, Anna would rest in her mother’s arms, surrounded by the few wooden toys and masks she had crafted for her. Drifting off to sleep with stories and lullabies, she dreamt happy dreams, ignorant of the events that would soon change everything.
Anna and her mother were stalking a great elk through the woods. They knew it was dangerous prey, but it had been a particularly difficult winter and they were almost out of food. The specter of starvation frightened them more than any forest creature. Without warning, the elk reared, bellowed and charged at Anna. She was paralyzed with fear as the whole world seemed to shake under the immense beast's pounding hooves. The elk was close enough for Anna to see the murderous fury in its eyes when her mother threw herself in its path, axe in hand. A bloodcurdling scream escaped from her lips as the elk impaled her upon its antlers and hoisted her into the air. With all her strength, she brought her axe down on its head again and again while it tried to shake her loose. With a sickening crack, the antlers snapped and Anna's mother was free. The beast collapsed.
Anna was too small to move her mother's broken body, so she sat with her in the clearing where she had fallen. To distract her from the dying elk's cries, Anna's mother held her and hummed her favorite lullaby. They stayed like that, the huntress and the elk getting quieter and colder, until Anna was alone in the silent forest. Eventually she stood up and started the long walk back home.
Still a child, she knew just enough about life in the frozen forest to survive. She followed her instincts and became one with the wild. She got older and stronger and practiced her hunt. As she grew into a dangerous predator, her humanity became a half-remembered dream.
She widened her territory and lived off her hunts. She worked her way up through squirrels and hares and mink and foxes. Eventually she grew tired of them and hunted more dangerous animals like wolves and bears. When unsuspecting travelers came through her woods, she discovered her new favorite prey: humans. Unlucky souls who strayed into her territory were slaughtered like any other animal. She liked to collect their tools and colorful garments and especially toys when there were little ones. But she could never bring herself to kill the little girls.
Girls she would take back to her house, deep in the woods. They were precious, and looking at them woke up something deep in her heart. She craved the closeness of a loved one, a child of her own. Among the pillaged wooden toys, dolls and story books she couldn’t read, the girls would be tied by the neck with a rough and chafing rope fastened firmly to the wall. She couldn’t let them wander off, or they would surely die outside.
Every time, the girls would waste away and die of cold or starvation or sickness. Every time, it plunged Anna deeper into pain and sorrow and madness. She was compelled to try again, and started raiding the nearest villages to slaughter families and kidnap their daughters. She wore one of the animal masks her mother crafted for her so many years earlier to try to calm the frightened children. Villagers spread the legend of a half-beast lurking in Red Forest: The Huntress, who killed men and ate little girls.
War eventually came to the forest. German soldiers began to pass through, on the march to attack the collapsing Russian Empire. During these dark times, there were no more travelers. The villagers had abandoned their homes, and no more little ones to be found; only soldiers. Many of them were found with violent axe wounds. Whole groups disappeared mysteriously. Once the war was over, the rumours of The Huntress disappeared with it, engulfed by the Red Forest.
A skill taught by her mother and mastered in the wild. The Huntress can hurl Hatchets with deadly precision. Start the trial with 5 Hatchets. Charge throw for maximum throwing speed. Refill Hatchets at Lockers.
Grants the Undetectable Status Effect after gaining Bloodlust Tier I. The Status Effect is removed once you lose Bloodlust. Gain additional Bloodpoints for actions in the Hunter Category.
Survivors' Auras are briefly revealed to you when they enter the Basement and you are far away from the Basement entrance.
Survivors receive a small Regression penalty when missing any Skill Check. Each time a Survivor is hooked, Huntress Lullaby grows in power:
1 to 4 Tokens: Time between the Skill Check warning sound and the Skill Check becomes shorter.
5 Tokens: No Skill Check warning.
The single child of a wealthy family, David King seemed destined for greatness. While growing up in Manchester, he demonstrated serious potential in both sports and academics, and with his family connections, all doors were open to him. He could have succeeded at anything, if it weren't for his combative nature. David lived for the adrenaline rush of a good fight and would go out of his way to get into one.
His robustness and athletic abilities led him to rugby, where he could cut loose and really cause a ruckus. King excelled and gained a reputation as a promising, if somewhat reckless, rookie. His meteoric rise came to an abrupt end when he lost his temper and assaulted a referee, earning himself a lifetime ban from the league and cutting short what most people assumed was going to be a long, successful career. King was unconcerned; money was no issue, so he took it as an early retirement and focused on other fun things to do.
Free from the constraints of a career and enabled by the wealth of his family, David King spent most of his time at the pub, drinking, watching games, and getting into fights. Some might say he was wasting his life away. Not many people knew that he was an occasional "debt collector" or that he fought in clandestine bare-knuckle fight clubs.
When David King stopped showing up at the pub, the few friends he still had were not surprised. They figured he had finally picked a fight with someone stronger than he was. In a way, they were right.
Your few friends deserve the best protection. Each time you perform a Safe Hook Rescue or take a Protection Hit for a Survivor, gain a stack-able Bonus to all Bloodpoint gains. The Bonus Bloodpoints are only awarded post-Trial.
You can take a beating. When Injured, tap into your adrenaline bank and dash forward quickly to avoid damage. Press the Active Ability button while running to dash forward. During the dash, you avoid damage. Causes the Exhausted Status Effect Dead Hard cannot be used when Exhausted. You do not recover from Exhaustion while running.
You are affected by the Broken Status Effect for the duration of the Trial. Your thick blood coagulates practically instantly. You do not leave Pools of Blood. Grunts of Pain caused by injuries are reduced. Grants the ability to fully recover from the Dying State.
Deep in a forest with many names lies a hidden home. The family that once lived there was dependent on the forest... and was broken by it. More than a century old, the dwelling is in surprisingly good condition, though it shows signs of often being patched and mended. The forest holds the house tightly in its grasp, growing over and around it like a second skin. Only once inside is it clear that someone still lives there. It is warm and welcoming and lovingly decorated, with a large living space, a bedroom and a corner dedicated for little ones. Here they are protected from the harsh winter of the northern forest.