Once upon a time, in a village far away, there lived a girl who wore a cape of scarlet.
She was a happy child, at least as far as most people claimed and was well looked after by her widowed father.
The man worked in the forest, and constantly worried about the wellfair of his only child as every so often,
someone in the village would go missing only to have their remains found days or even weeks later torn apart by some great beast.
The village called in hunters, sent parties into the woods to hunt the creature but none could every find the beast. Eventually an uneasy truce was made.
The villagers would leave a goat, sheep, anything medium sized or larger and would give it as an offering to the beast. It seemed to work, as months passed and no more people disappeared.
Years passed and it was assumed that the peace would be permanent until 10 years after the original 'payment' when a blight and a hard winter hit the village.
The animals in the forest grew weaker, and died, leaving less hunting opportunities. This meant less food coming from the forest and more of the animals being killed to feed their owners.
It was thought that the beast would return and it did.
It's angry growls were heard throughout the night as it seemed to slam into the houses, as if to remind each in turn that it was owed a debt for it's leniency and mercy.
The men of the village knew they had no choice, and went off to kill the beast if they could.
The Woodsman, Edgar left his precious child in the care of the village magistrate knowing he would be able to protect her.
She was brought into his house, given food and a place to rest while she waited out the dark hours until her father returned.
The girl was so very tired that she slept despite wanting to stay awake in case he came home early. But alas, the man did not return that night nor any other.
Those who went to claim the beast's hide told of him spotting the beast and running off with them trailing after him but he was too fast and the creature even moreso.
They did not find his body, or any sign of his death but the fact that he did not return spoke of his demise at the hands of the creature.
There was talk of searching for him when Spring came and the snow melted but that search too proved fruitless. His daughter stayed with the magistrate, eventually marrying him.
No one saw the harm in the pair marrying as both were young.
The man was older than she was, of course, and had been injured in an accident that left his leg in a brace and his ankle twisted a little so walking hurt a bit if done too much.
He was seen as an object of pity and even a few warnings as women warned their sons using him as an example of why the woods were dangerous.
He never minded the gossip, and seemed to take the pitying glances and overly precise words in stride. People thought they saw a humble man, but all were being decieved.
No one saw the twisted ankle straighten itself when he was alone, nor see his leg brace being removed so he could walk more comfortably.
Even his wife was never allowed to see such things, because it would undo all the work he had done to maintain his facade.
Who would suspect the poor crippled Magistrate of being the wolf that ripped them apart every month and who had led his father-in-law on a marry chase through the woods before leading him into
a cave where the man slipped and fell. The Woodsman had been the worst, mocking him for his limp so it was only fitting to cripple him and let him see how it felt.
It took the man days to succumb to his infected leg, and even more to finally die.
His captor had watched every day with a sick satisfaction all leading to the final event of taking the girl whom he had been in love with for years.
Having her was all he wanted, and once she was his, the killings stopped.
No one knew the truth behind the beast, nor that a skeleton now lies at the bottom of a cave with a message scrawled into the stone walls.
A message begging forgiveness of his daughter for delivering her into the hands of the man who killed him....