Since well before the Kung's engine noise first penetrated the forest, a conversation of sorts has been unfolding in this lonesome hollow. It is not a language like Russian or Chinese but it is a language nonetheless, and it is older than the forest. The crows speak it; the dog speaks it; the tiger speaks it, and so do the men--some more fluently than others.
But I found signs of their trespass: a burned patch planted with a fistful of grain, a tree felled or stripped of fruit, a deer strung up in a snare. I never saw a poacher. They were too cunning, and for cause: the foresters would take a man's hands and eyes and leave him to the mercy of the wolves for such an offense. It was bad enough to steal the king's game, but snares were an abomnination. The gods abhor weapons that leave the hand, coward' weapons such as javelins, bows and arrows, slings. No man or beast should die by such means.