Chapter I. Ventum
A huge bright moon looms over a city of massive angular skyscrapers with identically slanted roofs connected by a net of wires. The sky is a dark turquoise color, tinting everything in the same hue. On the closest roof, there is a dark figure of a human in an intricate but functional uniform, crouching over a skylight window with an angular frame. The figure draws a revolver from a holster on their right hip; we see gloves on their hands and white laced cuffs, we also notice that their black uniform has red accents. The figure kneels right on the window, placing their left hand in the middle of one of the glass panels. Light ignites under their palm, then turns into waves of energy; cracks spread through the glass. Window breaks. Shards of glass and fragments of window frame start falling down, along with them — the figure, surrounded by a shield of Light. Falling glass shards transition into a title page: bright white triangular gem with dark red letters "The Hunter" and white semi-transparent chapter name "1. Ventum". The figure slowly descends towards the covered in broken glass hexagon tiled floor, still shielding themself from falling debris. Immediately upon landing the figure, revolver in right hand, drops to one knee and touches the floor with left hand again, sending different type of waves of Light around. A dark chamber lights up a bit from a bright pillar of Light, projected from the figure, while jet-black shapes appear in the foreground. We can now see that these shapes are three humans surrounded by black auras: a woman in a long dress, a larger man who says in an unnatural voice: "You should not have come here, priest!" – and a lithe man who is already transforming into a black shadow monster. We finally see the face of our main figure: a man with sharp features, unruly ears-long dark hair with few silver strands, slight stubble, and a frown; he has a large triangular white gemstone on the stand collar of his black uniform, with some white lace peeking over it; another, smaller gems are in his earrings, and another one - next to a barrel of his revolver. He says: "I am not exactly a priest," – and shoots. All three shadows surround him and are now fully transformed into somewhat humanoid, differently shaped and almost abstract black figures, while speaking: "A hunter!" "This will be fun..." – starts one of them when a bullet hits their shoulder area, with no significant effect. But then — the hunter charges a beam of Light through one of the shadows, killing it right away. Other two shadows are taken aback by it, and standing over a puddle of black ichor on the floor that once was their friend, a shadow screams: "You!.. Went straight to murder!" – and striking the hunter's shield of Light with black claws continues: "Where is that usual offer, about surrender and rehab? About becoming a productive member of society again?" – they keep attacking the hunter's thinning shield with claws and dark energy, shouting: "About forgiveness?!" Shield tears, and claws leave bloodied marks on the hunter's face when he can't recoil quite in time. The hunter falls on one knee, only able to shield his left side for a moment, and shoots the revolver at the other, seemingly weaker shadow, while replying: "Shadows neither seek forgiveness, not deserve it!" – then recasts and immediately explodes his shield, obliterating a shadow he just shot; glass shards are thrown into the air with the blast wave; the last shadow manages to cover themself from the explosion with dark energy but not fully, their left arm looks seriously damaged even in shadow form. Trying to get up from the floor with now two black puddles, the last shadow looks up at the hunter who now stands straight up, with the revolver at his right shoulder and charging Light gathering in his left palm. The hunter says: "Especially your trio. Looks like it isn't your first encounter with a hunter. But it is certainly your last." The Light in the hunter's left hand turns into a beam, just like the one that killed the first shadow, and now it is aimed at the last one, who in a split second before being hit by it transforms back into human form, grinning in anticipation. With a look of surprise and fear in his eyes the hunter is just barely able to avert the beam: it burns a smoking arc in floor tiles next to the transformed man who still emits a dark aura. "Willing to die just to turn me into one of your kind?" – asks the hunter, – "Nice try, fiend." "You are fast for a human," – the last shadow, now half-human, half-monster, starts to transform back again, wounded shoulder already healed... But didn't get to finish the transformation, interrupted by a shot between the still human eyes. "You are not," – finishes the hunter, standing over the corpse, dark silhouette backlit by all-encompassing Light, with a smoking gun in his hand he now looks not heroic, but terrifying. The hunter steps over the body right into a pool of blood. Last overhead shot on the scene — tiled floor littered with broken glass, two black puddles, body on a man laying in a pool of blood, trail of red footsteps leading away — towards the exit that we see in a skewed panoramic upside-down view — huge moon over the city of angular skyscrapers and a dark figure projecting a pillar of bright white Light towards the moon and casting a long dark shadow over the body of the man he just killed. End of chapter. Outro text, black on white background: "There is darkness in the world, the Abyss, that ages ago found its way into the minds and souls of people. When you listen to its Calling, the dark seed in you grows, and one day—or rather, one night—you turn into a shadow: a powerful nocturnal monster who might control their desire for cruelty but might prefer not to. Standing between humanity and the Abyss are the clerics who use the mystical power of Light to heal body and soul, protect people, and destroy shadows. Those clerics who specialize in the latter are called the hunters." Page's white background gradually turns into Abyss' pattern: a run of black curving strokes resembling viscous black ichor or stretched out beyond tearing point muscle tissue, disturbing but somewhat harmonious in its flow. Over the pattern we see yet again The Hunter's triangular gemstone logo and credits: "Created by Ann Arde", and then announce: "New episodes every 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month". End of image.

Chapter I. Ventum 30.01.2023

So it begins.

This is the first chapter of The Hunter, the shortest one, 17 pages long in print form. On February 10th I will release 10 more pages — the first part of Chapter II, to get through exposition faster, and after that — batches of 4-6 pages every 10th/20th/30th of each month. The story isn't that long but it will take more than a year (probably much more) for me to finish it. Hope you'll enjoy the ride!

And if you're interested in some behind the scenes stuff, I do digital and traditional drawing livestreams on youtube every Tuesday at 6pm UTC (check your local time), come say hi!

The Hunter: neo noir urban fantasy action thriller with monsters and miracles

Chapter I. Ventum 30.01.2023

Chapter II. Obtentus: 1 2 3 4 5 bonus 30.03.2023

Chapter III. Itineris: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 bonus 10.07.2023

Chapter IV. Ingressus: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 bonus 20.10.2023

Chapter V. Indago: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 bonus 20.01.2024

Chapter VI. Illecebra: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 bonus 30.04.2024

Chapter VII. Concordis: 1 2 21.05.2024

Next episode: Chapter VII part 3 releases on May 30!

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Ann Arde © 2012–2024