Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: New Friends|
We had been riding for two weeks since leaving Kalmar. Farrell’s strength had been coming back and he had started teaching me how to use the large sword he wore. The day was warm with a blue sky and no clouds. We had been following the passage through the mountains for five days and I though we would be out in another seven.
We set up camp in a thicket with a small stream running through it. After picketing the horses I took my bow and set out to find something for dinner. After I had gone about a mile I started up a side canyon. It was a box canyon and I saw hoof prints from a mountain goat.
Halfway up I pushed through a thicket and found human foot prints. I saw that they were a couple of hours old and there were five sets. I followed them and saw that they were headed towards one side of the canyon. When I reached the side I found the body of one of the men.
I also found two snow eagles dead close by, looking around I saw what must have happened. The men had started climbing near the eagles nest and the pair had attacked. The men had killed the pair and left the dead man behind.
I looked up at the nest and thought about the eggs. Snow eagles could be impressed if fed and cared for from the egg. Camden had told me about it once when we were talking about falconry. The snow eagle had a wing span of nine feet, its body was snow white with the head and wings a pale blue.
Slinging the bow I started climbing and when I reached the ledge where the nest was I crawled onto it and rested. After a moment I made my way along the ledge to the nest where I found eight eggs. I checked them and found them still warm.
Taking my kerchief from my neck I placed the eggs in it and after tying the corners together placed them in my shirt. I looked at the side of the canyon and decided to keep climbing. When I reached the top I started up the ridge looking for something for dinner.
I had gone about a hundred paces when I saw a young ram, I nocked an arrow and started creeping closer. When I was only thirty paces away I stopped and took careful aim. The ram looked up and I shot him through the heart.
Moving forward I quickly skinned and gutted the ram. Using the skin I wrapped the meat and picked up my bow. I slung the meat over my shoulder and started back, keeping a watch for the men I had seen signs of.
Back at camp I told Farrell what I had found. Taking the eggs out I placed them by the side of the fire where they would stay warm but not cook. He looked the eggs over and looked up, “These will hatch soon, maybe a week but you must keep them warm.”
Moving to the meat he picked it up and brought it back to the fire. He carefully pushed a sharpened stick through it. After the last of the meat was set over the fire I started working on the skin. I first molded a small frame and then stretched the skin over it securing it with tough thread from a plant I knew of.
Taking out a scraping knife from my pack I started scraping the excess flesh and fat off the skin. Farrell added spices to the meat and started cooking it over the fire. After dinner I finished with the skin and checked the eggs. I moved them around and put up a reflector, adding a few sticks to the fire we both called it a night.
Farrell took his bed roll and moved back to some brush by the horses. I took my cloak and backed up to the thicket. Lying down I set my bow beside me and took my quiver off before pulling the cloak over myself. I woke up with a start and listened to the woods around us trying to find what had awakened me.
After a moment I heard the footsteps of men coming through the thicket behind me. I heard more coming towards the camp. The men moving through the thicket went past me and stopped, “Where are they?”
I saw that there were four men, one moved towards the horses and I reached out slowly for my bow. Kneeling I nocked an arrow and shot the man I thought was the leader. Before I could nock another arrow, one of the men pulled a dagger and threw it. It struck me in the left shoulder.
With a yell Farrell jumped out of the brush and took the head off the man that had been headed towards the horses and then he attacked the nearest man. I dropped my bow and pulled my short sword before attacking the other man. He swung down at me but I blocked the swing and ran him through.
Turning I saw Farrell still fighting with his man and I started to go help as he used a back stroke that almost cut the man in half. As he fell Farrell finished him with a quick thrust and I looked around, “That was close.”
Farrell turned and seeing the dagger in my shoulder led me to the fire. Throwing an armful of sticks on the fire he got it going again. He took his dagger out and put the tip in the coals, “I’ll cauterize the wound, just hold still.”
I joked, “Try not to ruin the clothes.”
The pain had started to hit me and I didn’t want to pass out. When the tip of the dagger glowed red he pushed the dagger tip into my shoulder. When he did I passed out and he pulled the dagger away and saw that the wound had stopped bleeding.
I woke up with the false dawn and saw that Farrell had put his cloak over me. When I went to move the cloak I winched at the burning pain. Feeling my shoulder I found a thick bandage over the wound. Sitting up slowly I looked around for Farrell and saw that the bodies had been pulled away and laid out together at the edge of the thicket.
Hearing footsteps I turned my head and saw Farrell crossing from the horses. He smiled slightly, “How do you feel?”
I grinned, “Sore but I think I’ll live.”
He nodded, “Good. I scouted around and didn’t find anything.”
I got up slowly and moved to the fire. After we had eaten, Farrell saddled the horses and put the fire out. I put the eagle eggs in a fur pouch and placed it in his shirt. Four days later I led the way into a small box canyon. My shoulder had started to mend and felt a lot better. I still carried the eagle eggs and had been keeping them my shirt.
I stopped in a small clearing with pine trees on three sides and a small creek running through the middle. The back of the clearing was the side of the canyon. I set up camp where someone had made a ring of stones for a fire but it had not been used in a long time.
While I made camp and started the fire Farrell went out to find something to eat. After starting the fire I took the hatchet and went up the creek until I reached the crack the water came out of. It had been over a year and a half since I had been here. Moving to the right about ten paces I found the crevice I was looking for.
Taking a rabbit skin out of my pouch I laid it on the ground. I used the hatchet and bent down to where a dark green vein of crystal ran back into the crevice. Tapping with the back of the hatchet I freed four pieces. Reaching in further I tapped carefully and a piece as big as my fist came loose.
Working for a couple of minutes more I had a couple of dozen stones the size of my thumb. Wrapping the skin around the gems I moved back to the camp. Adding more wood I went to the creek and washed the stones. Moving back to the fire I took all the small stones and put them in my pack.
Checking the large stone I saw no cracks or flaws. It was oval in shape with a few rough edges here and there. Placing it with my gear I went out to find some more wood. Coming back I fed the fire with a large sticks and then pushed two forked sticks into the ground, one on each side of the fire.
Sitting down I started sharpening the end of a green stick. When I was almost done Farrell came back with a small red deer over one shoulder. After cutting up and cooking the deer I showed him the large emerald and told him about the vein. He wasn’t interested, he only wanted to go home.
After dinner I pulled the eggs out and checked them. They were all warm and I didn’t see any cracks. Putting them back in my shirt I lay back with my saddle under my head. I pulled my cloak over me and went to sleep.
Over the next three days I chipped at the large emerald with the special tools I had brought with me and learned to use. I saved the chips in a small piece of cloth and added them to the other stones I had. By noon of the third day I was finally satisfied, the emerald was still oval but smaller than my fist with facets all around, all it needed was polishing.
I put the stone away and saw that we were coming out of the pass. I began leading the way south and looked to the east to see a party of soldiers heading towards us. As they rode up the officer called for us to a halt. There were about thirty soldiers with him and he looked at us, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
I returned his look, “I’m Kevin sen Dangul. We are traveling through. I used to live to the south of here.”
He nodded, “Have you seen anyone?”
I frowned, “Yes, a week ago four men attacked us.”
The officer sat back and looked towards the pass, “Which way did they head?”
I smiled, “They’re dead.”
He looked surprise and looked us over again, after a moment he nodded, “Well, safe traveling.”
Turning he led the soldiers off to the north. Watching them go I shook my head, “There weren’t any patrols when I came by here before.”
Farrell shrugged, “Times change.”
I nodded, “Lets go.”
After about two hours we saw a herd of animals off in the distance. They were large and light brown in color. When we got closer I recognized them, they were Oshawd, a large animal about seven feet tall at the shoulder.
They looked something like a cow or bull but only had one horn that stuck out of its forehead and curved up. The horn was thick and about two feet long, they were also considered a very dangerous animal.
I knew we were downwind from them and looking to the right. I saw a small canyon with a small creek running through it, it also had some tree further back in the canyon. Farrell led the way into the canyon and we stopped when we were back among the trees. Dismounting we unsaddled and I looked at Farrell, “I think we could kill one and smoke most of the meat. We could use a couple of days of rest too.”
He nodded, “We have to be careful though. If even one smells or sees us we’ll be in trouble.”
I thought about it and looked at him, “I could try it with the crossbow at its longest range.”
Leaving the horses tied to a tree we made our way out of the canyon. Slowly we worked our way closer to the herd. When we were about three hundred paces away I stopped and knelt. Cocking the crossbow I set the bolt in and then checked to make sure the sight was set correctly.
I picked out a young bull that was facing us and aimed before slowly squeezing the trigger. The bull jumped in surprise and then started to stager. After a moment it fell to its knees and then onto its side. I looked at Farrell, “Maybe a small fire will move the herd off.”
He dug into his pouch for tinder to start the fire and we pulled up dried grass around us until we had a small pile. We started a small fire but had to keep adding more dry grass. After a minute the Oshawd seemed to notice and started moving off towards the east. When they were far enough away on the plains we put the fire out.
Going to the dead animal we saw how big it was even though it was young, “I’ll go get the horses while you start. We’ll need them to carry all the meat.”
He nodded and pulled out his knife to start skinning the animal. When I returned he was almost finished with one side, letting the horses graze I helped finish. When we were done butchering the animal we loaded the horses and went back to camp. We unloaded and hobbled the horses in a small clearing behind the trees.
Together we made a small smoking hut and then I made racks out of small tree branches while Farrell cut the meat up into strips. When we finished we started a small fire in the middle of the hut.
Taking the last of the meat we built a fire in our camp and settled down for the night. Every now and then one of us would take some wood into the hut. The next morning we checked the meat and added more wood. I started scraping the flesh from the hide while Farrell went hunting for dinner.
After a few minutes I heard howling. Setting the skin aside I went to the horses and tied them to trees before removing their hobbles. Back in camp I picked up the crossbow and cocked it and set a bolt in the grove. I looked up as Farrell came into the camp running, “Farin, a whole pack. They’re at the place where we killed the Oshawd.”
I glanced that way, “How long before they come this way?”
“As soon as they finish with what we left.”
Farrell shrugged, “Maybe twenty.”
I thought about it, “If we move to the edge of the trees we’ll have more time to use the bows.”
I picked up the quiver for the crossbow and we moved to the tree line. We waited for about five minutes before we saw them coming into the canyon. They were still about four hundred paces away following the scent left by the horses. When they were three hundred paces I shot the leading one.
When the leader fell the others stopped, they were confused and didn’t know what had happened. When they started again I shot the next one. One of the Farin spotted us and the whole pack went after us. I reloaded and shot as fast as possible killing six before dropping the crossbow and drawing my sword.
Farrell had killed four before drawing his sword to meet the rushing animals. The first one to reach us died as I thrust my sword into its heart and Farrell took the head off the next. Standing back to back we fought until the last one went down with Farrell’s sword in its side. Sighing we sat down staring at all the bodies around us.
The Farin weren’t very big, they only came up to a man’s knee. They were a rich golden color. They were also very ferocious and they ran in packs that numbered up to fifty. Farrell went to calm the horses and check the meat. I picked up the crossbow and checked to see if it had been damaged. Setting it aside I started to skin the dead animals, by the time I had finished the second Farrell had joined me.
We spent the rest of the day scrapping and tanning hides. With all the hides we had now we would need a litter when we left. In the afternoon Farrell went hunting again and I set out several snares. He brought in a couple of large rabbits and I brought back wild onions and garlic as well as other plants.
As we were eating dinner I felt something move against my stomach. I pulled out the pouch with the eggs and looked inside, there were cracks in them. At first I thought I had broken them but then I saw one move. In surprise I called Farrell, “their hatching what do I do?”
He laughed, “Take them out of the pouch.”
I nodded and set the eggs on one of the skins I had been working on. As I watched I saw that only five of the eggs were hatching, “Three aren’t moving.”
Farrell moved over and looked at the eggs. Taking them one at a time he held them to his ear, “They’re dead. I’m sorry.”
I nodded and sat watching the other five. He moved over to the meat, “They will be hungry after they hatch. They can eat meat if you cut it small enough.”
I looked up and nodded as Farrell started dicing the rabbit into tiny pieces, “Thanks Farrell.”
Just then a large chip was broken out of an egg and a beak stuck through and then pulled back and another chip was knocked out. The next chip knocked the top half of the egg off and the wet eaglet fell out onto the fur of the skin below. It was all white with no blue showing. Looking around it gave a cry and started trying to move away.
I reached down and picked it up crooning softly. I set it in my lap and stroked its head, it was only as big as my palm. A second and then a third egg chipped, watching them I saw the second one crack in half and the small eagle fall out. A moment later the third egg cracked open and the eagle fell out too.
As they righted themselves I picked them up and set them with the first one, stroking and crooning to them as I did. After a minute the forth egg chipped and then did it again. The forth time it broke in half and the eagle was free. I picked it up and set it in my lap with the others.
It was about ten minutes before the last egg had a chip broken loose. A moment later it broke in half and the eagle stood on wobbly legs before falling out onto the fur. I picked it up and set it in my lap with the other crying eaglets. Farrell came over with the meat he had cut up and gave it to me while he looked at the small eagles, “One is all white, what color are its eyes?”
I picked it up gently and looked into its eyes. Giving it a tiny piece of meat I set it back down, “Golden, why?”
Farrell shrugged, “If they had been pink it would have been an albino and light would hurt its eyes.”
He moved back to finish making dinner, “We have a bird of prey in our woods at home. It’s a golden falcon, they don’t get as big as those eagles.”
When I finished feeding the eaglets I set what little meat I had left to the side and made a nest out of some furs. Setting the sleepy eaglets down I took my shirt off and put it over them. Farrell looked up, “You’ll need to make something to carry them.”
After dinner I cut some small branches. Bringing them back to the fire I made the frame of a basket. Using a deer skin I stretched it over the outside of the frame and then stitched it around the top. Taking a goat skin I lined the inside, stitching it around the top also. I used another small branch and poked a small hole on each side at the top.
Putting the branch through, I took the last branch and bent it around and tied one end to each side of the handle. Stretching a rabbit skin over one half, I stitched it on. Taking the second skin I stitched it to the first, making a flap. Using my dagger I put several holes in the skin. Sitting back I looked at the basket to see all the fur on the inside making a nice warm nest.
In the morning I added wood to the fire in the smoking hut. After that I went to check my snares. When I came back I saw that Farrell had built up the fire. I showed him the four rabbits I had caught in the snares and he began helping clean them, “Those eagles will be eating a lot and often until they’re big enough to hunt for themselves.”
I only nodded, “When they get bigger, they will be a big help though.”
I took the shirt off the eaglets and they woke up screeching. I diced up part of one of the rabbits and fed them. When they were full I picked them up one at a time and put them in the basket I had made.
That afternoon we made a litter to carry the meat and hides. I also went hunting and brought back a small buck. I cut up half and put it in a bag I had made. One shoulder I put over the fire to cook. The last shoulder I diced up to feed to the eaglets. What was left I put in the bag with what I had already cut up earlier.
The next morning after feeding the eagles we loaded the litter with the meat and hides. I left the flap up on the basket so the eaglets could look around. I could tell when they were hungry, sometimes I even knew when they were curious.
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