Callum was vaguely aware of the statistics on the people who went missing all over the country every year. Before his encounter with the supernatural he hadn’t thought about it overmuch, willing to believe it was mostly people being stupid. Someone who didn’t know what they were doing could easily get lost and starve to death in ten square miles of forest. He hadn’t really thought too strongly that there was some agency involved, snatching people or disappearing them.
Now that he’d had some contact with the supernatural he was far more willing to believe in malicious intent. Vampires obviously contributed to the numbers, but they preferred the cities, so people who vanished in the countryside fell victim to something else. He didn’t see people like the Langleys or Chester being responsible, but it seemed they didn’t represent all shifters.
While he knew now that most of the legends surrounding the fae were just that, it was getting on toward Halloween. Or rather, Samhain. It probably didn’t matter, since it wasn’t like mana or vis changed with the year, but fae magic was a bit weird and maybe the holiday was important somehow. Either way, the Wild Hunt was one of those enduring ideas that seemed not to be a complete invention.
Callum was not a fan of it.
Following was an absolute risk, but if he’d just stayed in his tent for fear of being caught, it’d be the same thing as being under GAR’s thumb. They wanted to control him, to remove his freedom and his self-determination. If he did that to himself for them, he wouldn’t be a man, he’d be a wretch.
Since Callum wasn’t a wretch, he followed.
He wasn’t a stealthy tracker, and besides which, there was no way that he could keep up with the fae horses and shifters as they went haring off into the woods. Instead of running around in the dim predawn light, he transferred himself after them, staying well away from the bulk of their forces.
With a range of six hundred yards, nearly two thousand feet, he could stay at least a thousand feet back or to the side at any given time, with something solid between him and the hunting party. Even with that he made sure to stay downwind, not knowing exactly how keen the senses of the fae or shifters were. In truth he was more worried that they’d notice his teleporting around, since he didn’t have time to scrub his presence with every single shift, but they were generating so much disturbance in the local mana that his impact was a falling leaf to their thunder of hooves.
He still kept a sharp eye on them for any reaction to his stalking them. They were supernatural entities and he was just an unskilled mage, so if they caught onto him he’d be running. Fortunately, his perceptions were so long-range and omnidirectional that it was basically impossible for anything to sneak up on him. Unless they could hide their magical signatures too, which he didn’t totally discount, so he watched for any of their number suddenly vanishing.
Callum reflected it would be a lot easier to follow and hide in the dense forests of the Appalachian mountains, instead of the lighter scrub and pine of the Midwest, but at the same time it meant he had plenty of open space for teleporting around. The hunting party headed deeper into the mountain and forest, covering the rough terrain far more easily than any normal person, displaying a chilling amount of grace and dexterity. He definitely would have no chance if they got anywhere near him.
While they moved, he considered exactly what he was going to do about them. The pistol magazines held twelve bullets each, so he had at best twenty-four kills, split between the fae and shifters. That would actually mostly take care of the warband he was following, but he had to assume that he couldn’t be as efficient and there were others he needed to deal with besides. Someone else had blown that horn.
His primary goal was actually to rescue any people who might have gotten caught up in this supernatural nonsense. Though this time he wasn’t going to be calling in Chester to clean up, that was for sure. These fae and shifters had decided to prey on humans, and there was no abiding predators on humanity. If he was forced to let them be in order to save lives, so be it, but Callum didn’t want to have to make that choice. So he started considering ways and means to dispatch the perpetrators.
Unlike other mages, he couldn’t attack directly. Even if he could he was pretty sure that’d be useless against so many fae, some of whom were clearly quite powerful. Which was fine, because using the environment was more powerful anyway. Callum was pretty sure there was some Sun Tzu quote about that.
He began sweeping the terrain around him for ideas. They were heading into an area where there were sharp slopes, if not actual cliffs, and he entertained the idea of a rockslide or the like. Unfortunately there just wasn’t that much loose scree, and considering the extraordinary physical abilities they had, falling rocks probably weren’t all that much of a threat.
The same objection applied to dropping fallen logs on top of them, aside from the fact that there were a lot of them. What Callum needed was something broadly and instantly lethal, or at least untraceable. This wasn’t like ambushing vampires who were asleep in their beds.
With the constant sweeping through every direction of his perceptions, he noticed something in a direction he normally took for granted. Underground. He hadn’t really been looking directly below his feet, but with the slopes rising ahead of them he had shoved his perceptions through solid rock and found, a few hundred feet below the surface, an open space.
Callum had almost forgotten about caves.
The entire area was riddled with them, along with old and defunct mines. While he had focused more on commercial buildings, he’d studied such things back in college and was aware of the dangers. It didn’t take much to realize how damn dangerous just teleporting into a closed cave could be, since it was as likely as not that the air there wasn’t breathable. That was ignoring the potential of collapse from people disturbing things that had been quietly eroding for millions of years.
The extra hundred yards of range helped a lot there, as it massively increased the volume of the earth he could sense. Five hundred yards was already some very deep caverns indeed, and the extra range he’d gained was like putting a twenty-story building below even that. He was tempted to just start picking off members of the warband as soon as he had the chance, but he had to be patient. That could come when he knew more.
Callum teleported ahead, anticipating the fae’s line of travel, and a second warband appeared in his range. That one had little flitting things that he could reasonably call pixies, rather than giant treefolk, but the small fae weren’t any less savage. The things carried bone hooks and had breastplates made out of what seemed to be teeth. The way they darted about reminded him less of hummingbirds and more of wasps, though that was probably just his own bias.
The two hunting parties converged, high and inhuman laughter as well as the unnatural bark-growls of shifters reaching his ears even as far away as he was. He stayed crouched behind a jut of rock on a ridge above them, eyes not looking at anything in particular while he watched them form up again. The shifters arranged themselves into a loose wedge, and behind them the riders formed a parade triangle. The one with the fanciest uniform and most decorations was at the front, with the rest of them behind, while pixies buzzed around as outriders.
One of the fae made some gestures with his clearly magic sword, probably some kind of speech, and suddenly the shifters all bayed. The sound sent chills up Callum’s spine, the noise both creepy and clearly bloodthirsty, and the whole thirty-some strong assemblage took off along the valley floor. For a moment Callum had second thoughts, seeing what he had to contend with, but then he considered the severed ears and steeled his resolve. It was an aphorism that all it took for evil to triumph was to do nothing, and doing nothing just wasn’t in his nature.
The problem was finding whoever they were hunting. He sure as hell couldn’t track faster than they could, but he could move faster than them and probably had a better perception range. If he were quick he could range ahead of them and maybe find whomever they were after, though there was the risk the hunt would notice his presence.
He was actually a little surprised they hadn’t noticed already, what with all the stories on the superiority of supernatural senses. Those were fiction, and it was clear a lot of the fiction was wrong, but they did have better than human reflexes so it wasn’t complete bunk. Admittedly, keeping a distance of several hundred yards and making no sound of footsteps because he wasn’t walking probably made him hard for anyone to detect without active senses.
Callum followed the fae for a minute or two, making sure they were headed along the narrow valley, further into the mountains, and then teleported ahead. The valley made it easier for him, since it wasn’t likely whomever they were chasing would have climbed the steep walls, and he didn’t have to scan as much area. He popped ahead six hundred yards at a time, taking a second to scan the area before moving onward, walking his way back and forth across the valley floor. He made sure to probe the ground around him as well, looking for handy caves for when things came to a head.
It took longer than he thought. Fortunately, it seemed the time off from doing heavy teleportation hadn’t dulled his abilities. If anything he seemed to have more magical stamina than before, since he didn’t feel too strained by dozens of rapid-fire transfers across the length of his perception. Though the distance had never seemed to actually matter.
There was a couple maybe five or six miles ahead of the fae, two young hikers who were panting and puffing as they scrambled along the valley, heading for god only knew what. Callum suspected it was more a matter of getting away from the things behind them than looking for somewhere in particular.
He quashed his first impulse to immediately teleport them out of harm’s way, trying to consider how he wanted to do things. There was still some time before the fae got there, but not that much time, and they’d know there was a mage around if the trail ended in the middle of nowhere with lingering vis trace around. If he wanted this to work, he needed to finesse it a little.
There were actually two likely caves in the five mile stretch that he could use, one of them small but completely enclosed, the other one sloping down past what he could actually sense, and both of them over fifteen hundred feet below the surface. He couldn’t have even reached them before, which would have made his plan pretty much impossible, but since they were comfortably within his range now he was confident in using them. The issue was that both of those were behind where the couple were, and to the south. It wasn’t much likely the fae would get near them, not if they followed the current trail. So he formed a very small portal, the size of a dime, between himself and the pair.
“I can save you, but you’ll need to follow my directions.” His voice came out a little hoarse, but that was not a bad thing under the circumstances. Unfortunately it seemed to scare the ever-living daylights out of the two, the woman actually screaming and the two of them jerking backward. Callum had more than a little sympathy; they clearly knew they were being hunted and that would strain the nerves of anyone. He’d been there.
“Don’t worry, I’m on your side,” Callum assured them through the portal. “I need you to turn left and head across the valley floor. Your target is about two hundred yards back up against the escarpment, that scraggly pine that’s right on the slope.”
“How,” the man spluttered. “What—”
“Hurry!” Callum snapped. “The sooner you get there the sooner you’ll be safe. I’ll warn you if the hunting party gets too close.”
The two of them glanced at each other, then started off in the appropriate direction. Callum could hear them gasping for breath through the portal, and had to firmly step on his empathy. He needed them to lay a trail for the fae so he could get rid of the entire hunt, to ensure they wouldn’t kill anyone in the future. The couple wasn’t actually in any danger anymore; he could teleport them away just fine. He had an excellent sense of direction so he could get back the pitstop, too, given the time.
He popped back over to the escarpment in question, where he could see further than he could sense. It was a weird sensation, considering that most of the time his spatial sense rendered his sight practically useless. Peering over the edge he could spot the movement in the distance, even if he couldn’t hear anything.
It might actually be a fairly close race, though if it got too down to the wire he’d just get them out of there. The pair were definitely doing their best, though they had to be absolutely exhausted. They had proper hiking clothes on, but no backpacks or anything, so they’d probably been captured and released somewhere nearby.
For some reason, Callum doubted that the fae wanted to give anyone a chance to actually win the Wild Hunt. Assuming there were win conditions to begin with; he was well aware his vague notions weren’t reality. For all he knew the story came first, and the fae thought that sounded like a grand lark. He popped back to within range of the pair, keeping them between himself and the fae in hopes that none of them would smell a rat. Or a mage.
“A little to your left,” he sent to the couple, and got a groan in response as they labored across the rugged, wooded floor of the valley, or really something more like a defile or a ravine. It wasn’t more than a mile across, either way, but on rough ground that took some time to cross.
He helped by steering them away from the worst of the underbrush, providing running directions while he recovered some of his vis. Callum wasn’t any good at gauging it, though he knew there was a standardized unit and various tests to figure it out. He didn’t think he was down by much even after all the rapid-fire teleports, but he’d need every bit to deal with the fae.
The tiny portal didn’t take much effort to keep up. The fact that the expense was based on size and nothing else was a good incentive to keep things minimal and precise, something Callum felt he was pretty good at relative to other mages. It was true that some aspects of his control were terrible, but from what he’d seen of Gayle’s mana control most mages used ropes where he used threads. He wasn’t completely sure of the full implications yet, but it did mean his minimum size of construct was smaller.
By the time the pair reached the area Callum wanted, where the caves were in easy range of his perceptions, they were totally done in. Not that he blamed them; even though he did his best to keep in shape, running flat out through wilderness was exhausting. As they lurched toward the tree he teleported them from below in the valley to the far end of his range up on the escarpment, putting them almost a thousand yards from their original position.
“Oh, god—” The man’s exclamation was cut short by the sounds of nausea, which took Callum by surprise. Though, he hadn’t really followed up on the other people he’d teleported. Apparently the process wasn’t as smooth for everyone else as it was for him. Another point toward his control being actually kind of terrible.
“Just lie there. You’re safe now. I’ll lead you back to civilization soon,” he sent through his portal, keeping his voice hoarse to disguise it. Though he’d have to caution them about mentioning their experiences. Considering what happened the last time GAR got ahold of normal folk it was clear that it was better to pretend nothing had ever happened.
“Thank you,” the woman said faintly. He hadn’t really been expecting it, but those two simple words affected Callum more than he’d anticipated. It didn’t totally wipe away his concerns, but it certainly soothed some of his anxiety.
“Can you tell me how you got into this?” He asked them, while he waited for the fae. There was still time before he committed, and if there was a chance the situation was not all it seemed, he wanted to know.
“Hiking,” the woman replied, gasping for breath. “Walked under a tree, everything was different. Said, we make it to sunrise, we live.”
That was enough for Callum. Nobody should be playing games with human lives. There was only one way to deal with that, and it was a permanent solution. One that Callum was willing to provide.
He didn’t dare poke his head above the ridge to spy on the fae, and they weren’t quite yet within his perceptions, so he formed a portal in front of his face and another high up. This gave him a better vantage than he would have had otherwise and he mentally berated himself for not thinking about such an application before, even if he wasn’t all that comfortable with having a potential attack vector so close to his head.
Callum was pretty sure he could move it in time if a fae decided to snipe him through the tiny hole, but it was still uncomfortable enough that he didn’t keep it open. He only used it to catch a glimpse. The fae were right about the point on the trail where he’d had the couple break from their forward path, wheeling their mounts around as the shifters sniffed out the change in direction.
Seeing them all crowded together like that made him question again whether he was capable of dealing with them. He had a brief moment where he considered grabbing the pair that he had rescued and running off, but they seemed to still be having trouble moving. Exhaustion aside, he was genuinely a little worried that rapid teleportation might kill them if they were already having issues.
When the fae started coming his way, he closed his eyes, dropping all his portals and focusing solely on his spatial perception. He did send out a couple tiny threads of vis to the caves below, in anticipation of the portals he’d be making, but he didn’t manifest any actual structures yet. Like all his attacks, it would be an ambush, and he didn’t want to provide any hints of what was coming.
The shifters came first, then the riders. The little pixie things buzzed back and forth and out and in, fast enough that Callum wouldn’t have been able to keep up with reflexes of muscle and blood. He loaded his pistol and took a moment to survey the hunters, getting a feel for their locations and movements, then got to work.
Anandell, son of Anradale, son of Andan, was in a grand mood as he steered his cabyll along the track the shifters had pointed out for them. The Wild Hunt was one of the best inventions of Earth, because there was really no thrill quite like hunting mundanes. Except maybe hunting other fae, but outside of Faerie that was frowned upon.
That year’s hunt was getting near to finishing. The pair that he’d sent off into the corrugated ravines along the mountains had been told if they made it to sunrise, they could live. Of course, with the height of the mountains and the steep walls of the ravines, the sun didn’t actually “rise” for hours and hours. It was a little trick, but it still made him laugh.
“Oh, what fools mortals be,” he said to himself. Anandell had no idea where the line came from but he’d loved it ever since he’d heard it. The little mundane things were such fools.
The only thing dampening the enjoyment of his hunt was the stalker they’d picked up somewhere. He didn’t know who or what it was, but Anandell was a noble fae and he knew when someone was spying on him. The quiet word he’d passed the pixies hadn’t resulting in turning up anyone, though.
His biggest worry was that it was one of his opposition come to spoil his hunt and claim the prey for themselves. It wasn’t exactly Misrandith’s style, but he could see Bellona or Nisae imposing on him like that. They were both properly sneaky and underhanded, and it might be their influence that had caused the prey to suddenly change direction.
He held up his hand, making a circling gesture with one finger, and waited. Then waited some more, frowning as he looked around. The pixie captain should have reported to him almost instantly, but it hadn’t. In fact, when he peered around, he didn’t see any pixies, nor did he hear the buzz of their wings off in the distance.
“Isain, where are the pixies?” Anandell demanded. Isain reigned in his cabyll and frowned, looking around.
“That is odd. They were—” He was cut off by the terrified scream of his cabyll as it dropped straight down. Anandell saw a pit of black beneath him as his own cabyll fell, and he vaulted out of his saddle, doing a somersault and landing on the ground as he touched the pin affixed to his cloak. Mystical protections instantly covered his skin, and he glanced around to see that his fellows had all been attacked by the pits to some extent or another.
Isain and Lenneth had managed to leap free as well, while Zbevney was clinging to the ground, half of him dangling. Even as Anandell watched, the pit seemed to flex, and flowed up over Zbevney, swallowing him before vanishing. Of the nine of them, five were just gone, and the rest dismounted.
Anandell sank his perceptions into the ground, communing with the land and intending to get his men back out of those pits but finding that there was nobody underground. While he still didn’t understand exactly what was going on, it was clear they were under attack, so he flexed his will, stilling the world around them as he let the trees whisper what they had seen. As a fae noble, he was more than a match for anyone who needed to resort to such underhanded tactics.
“Isain! There’s someone on that ridge there!” He pointed, and his faithful retainer nocked arrow to bow, taking aim and loosing. Anandell watched in grim satisfaction as the arrow smashed through the side of the ridge, sending an explosion of rock into the air and gouging a hole straight through.
“Ha, take that!” Anandell shouted, finding a little tussle like this one to be just as fun as hunting. “Shifters, up the ridge!” He ordered, and there were howls as they surged forward in response. Only for the blurring forms of the beastly shifters to vanish, all falling away into terrible holes in the ground.
A chill stole over Anandell as his men spread out, taking shelter behind trees as they readied themselves for battle. This had the stink of something far larger than one of his normal rivals. Perhaps it was a different fae enclave making a move, because he could sense the faint malaise of human-magic, but this was a more serious fight than he had first thought.
He touched another one of his trinkets, breaking the runed length of bone to block hostile magic anywhere nearby him, and gestured for his people to form up behind him. Anandell tapped into his inner well of energy, letting him command the wind and earth even if they weren’t on Faerie, and reached out to find who was attacking them.
Incredibly, there only seemed to be three humans nearby! The prey, of course, somehow up above of the ridge, and a third one that he hadn’t accounted for, but it didn’t have the stink of a mage surrounding it so he almost dismissed it until he heard the sudden report of a mundane weapon and Isain toppled over. He reeled in shock before realizing it had to be cold iron!
“Illisiwithraisal!” He shouted at his saporling captain, who had stopped and dug its roots into the ground. “Go report to the monarchs!”
Illisiwithraisal groaned in acknowledgement, moving off more quickly than anyone might have thought likely. Saporlings had amazing speed across forested areas, borrowing from the trees already there. All he had to do was hold out until the message went through. Yet before the captain had gone far, a massive boulder smashed out of nowhere and crushed him to the ground, both then vanishing into blackness.
Then Anandell knew fear.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Callum swore under his breath. The ambush had started well enough, with the pixies being surprisingly easy to sweep up with tiny little portals that joined to the lesser cave below. There were seventeen of them, and he’d done them in three batches, so it had taken about five seconds. None of the larger forces had even noticed, at least at first.
The reason he used portals was that a teleport just didn’t work. He’d tried it with the first pixie, but the framework had just slid off the fae’s own vis. He wasn’t sure it was right to call it vis exactly, but it was close enough, and while they didn’t have mage bubbles they did have defenses of their own. So he’d switched to portals, because once they were made the interior didn’t have any magic to disturb. Sweeping a portal over them worked just fine.
He’d tried to take the riders next, on the idea that if he removed the leadership the others would be easier to deal with. That had not gone as well as he had hoped, and not because they’d had forewarning, but because he hadn’t anticipated the sheer reflexes of the fae. Sticking to six portals at a time, since that was something he was comfortable with, he’d targeted the ones with the fanciest decorations.
Half of them had managed to jump out of the portals he’d put beneath their creepy horse-things before he could close them. One of the others had sort of done so, hanging on to the ground outside the portal as he’d dismissed it. Which had demonstrated what would happen when the portal collapsed on someone or something with vis, if nothing else. Instead of tearing the fae apart, it had bounced off the vis and sort of squirted along the path of least resistance, the portal rolling up along the fae’s body.
That had worked for him, since it had ended with the fae in question in the cave below, but it did give him another thing to be careful of. It also made him feel less stupid about never thinking to try and kill people directly with portals, even if he’d always been concerned about making sure there was no trace of space magic.
He only barely noticed it when one guy aimed a bow in his direction, and even though it was just an arrow he hurriedly teleported out of the way. Thank heavens he took the weapon seriously, because the thing had hit like an artillery round. If he’d stayed crouched behind his cover he’d be nothing more than a wet smear.
There was plenty of other fae magic going on, but Callum had no idea what any of it was. It just massively distorted the local mana, rushing here and there without any of the structure he associated with magic. If mages built houses with walls and ceilings for their spells, the fae version was all streams and waterfalls, not something that anyone could build a stable structure from.
It was a little bit like a ward, actually, and made threading vis inside rather difficult. He felt like he was splitting his attention far too many ways, but when all the shifters surged over toward him he swept his portals forward and dropped them at the top of the larger cave, letting them tumble downward. They were actually easy to deal with; what worried him was the guy who had an antimaterial gun for a bow.
Callum opened a tiny portal and shot him in the head with an ironite bullet.
That had worked surprisingly well, the bane ammunition cutting through all the magic rigmarole and dropping him like a puppet with its strings cut. That was fantastic, but it apparently inspired some kind of fear because one of the treefolk bolted. It was surprisingly quick, and frankly they were the ones that Callum was most worried about, because they were large and rooted into the ground, so the portal trick wouldn’t work as well.
He cast about for anything he could use, and found a boulder a few hundred yards distant. Since he didn’t have the concentration to spare to try and teleport it up then catch it as it fell, he just opened a portal above it and applied a very strong gravity field straight up. That took way more out of him than he would have liked but the boulder moved much faster than he had anticipated, crushing the treefolk and giving him time to portal it back down to the caves.
Callum took a moment to breathe, then started swearing again as other treefolk scattered while the fae riders drew together. He threw caution to the wind and made a big portal, sweeping it down over the clustered riders, the other side inverted so gravity pulled them through. One of them somehow remained on his feet, clinging to the ground, so Callum shot him in the head.
Then he had to teleport away again because he sensed a surge of some kind of magic headed his way from the treefolk, and a massive lashing thornbush appeared where he had been. Which would have been an even less pleasant way to go than smeared by some kind of insane explosive arrow.
“Where’d I put that boulder,” he muttered to himself, feeling that his tank was starting to run dry, though at least he’d successfully stashed all the riders in his makeshift oubliette. The problem with the fleeing treefolk was that he wanted no witnesses, and they moved quick. He popped himself over next to the boulder so he could move it alongside himself as he went after each the trees in turn.
The first he managed to catch up to before it went too far, and he dropped the chunk of rock on it from above. That wasn’t lethal enough to let him teleport it directly, or vis took time to drain out after death, so either way he had to use portals to bring the corpse back in stages. That was when magic surged through the ground, down at the edge of his perceptions where he’d dumped everyone, as one of the fae did something.
He’d forgotten that some fae had earth magic, too.
Callum opened another portal to introduce the fae to bane ammunition, and the thing actually was fast enough to jump aside. For a moment Callum was stunned that he’d missed, considering that he was aiming by way of point-blank portal. That was an insane reaction time. It also showed that Callum was being sloppy, though he felt he had an excuse since he was trying to do so many things at once.
He fired once more, missed again, and then got it the third time, while it was still recovering from the dodge. Then he doubletapped it, for good measure, because he didn’t trust that one bullet was enough. He was rapidly running out of ammunition, so he had to hope that there weren’t more earth-power fae to deal with.
Besides, he had treefolk to catch. He had to pop himself in a widening spiral to find them, given how weirdly fast they could move, and if it weren’t for how their vis stood out in his perceptions he probably wouldn’t have been able to locate them. With that speed he didn’t bother following up after he smashed them with the boulder, instead moving right after. Every second meant they were getting further away and harder to find.
The first few were easy enough to find, and they didn’t have any defenses against his boulder of death, so he could deal with them easily enough. By the time he got to the last one, though, he was a little bit panicked since he simply couldn’t find it. It wasn’t until he’d gone a long way down the valley that he finally found it, apparently merging with one native tree and emerging from another one nearby, before leaping across to the next and merging again.
He didn’t understand what was going on at all, but he didn’t have to, and caught the thing in a transition. With the last one down, he jumped back to the cavern just to make sure that there wasn’t someone else trying to break out. Only to find out that he’d vastly overestimated the air reserves of the caverns or, more likely, that a thousand feet down there wasn’t good air to begin with.
Callum felt sick as he felt so many bodies slumped down on the floor, with some of the riders still clawing at their throats before they dropped, but the presence of the pair that he had saved soothed his conscience somewhat. The fae and shifters had chosen to become human predators, and that was something that could not be tolerated. Part of him wished that GAR was actually trustworthy and would take care of that kind of depredation, but that wasn’t the world that they lived in.
Despite being bone-tired, he forced himself to go back and collect the remnants of the treefolk and dispose of them as well. He scoured the area for any stray vis, both his or any fae bits, and used some spare camp cookware to hold his cleanup enchant to disperse his trail, at least. A fork half-buried under leaves probably wouldn’t really draw much attention.
There wasn’t much he could do about the obvious damage that had been done, but at least there was no sign of what had once been a Wild Hunt. Or a pretension at it, anyway. Once he was satisfied he’d done the best he could, he lay back, aching all over, and tried to figure out how he was going to get the couple he’d rescued home.