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[Completed]In the Border Forest

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 11th, 2012, 6:38 am #1

,Sure, i can give you a job.‘ The huntsman replied looking up at he girl in front of him. He stopped ripping at the fox-skin for just long enough to squeeze her arm.
,You seem to have a decent set of muscles on you there.‘ he commented. ,You know how to skin an animal?‘ he went back to his work. A crow let off a single scream from somewhere close.
,No.‘ She spotted the crow on a nearby branch, peaking into the shack.
,Know how to gut one?‘
,Can you cook?‘
The bird croaked a second time, spread its wings and flew of. She wondered why it had eyed the inside of the building. Maybe it had been hoping to steal a piece of the dead fox the old man was working on. ,Not really.‘
,I‘m guessing you don‘t know much about hunting, setting up traps or killing an animal either.‘
,I can‘t say that i do.‘
The man sighed.
,I see you‘re going to be a great help.‘ he muttered and interrupted his work again to grab an axe that was leaning against his workstation and toss it vaguely into her direction. It landed at her feet with a loud metallic sound and the clearly visible print of his hand glistening from the hilt. ,You grab the dull end and hack the sharp end into wood.‘
,I know how to make firewood.‘
,Well they say nobody‘s without talent after all. See to it that the pile behind the house is nice and ready for burning by sundown and i‘ll show you how to actually make yourself useful tomorrow.‘
The girl nodded and picked up the axe.
,What‘s your name?‘
,Yuria.‘ She replied.
,You can call me Andy.‘

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 12th, 2012, 2:23 pm #2

,What the heck is that thing?‘ the old man asked as Yuria entered the hut with the enormous weapon she had hidden outside before.
,Its a Kalira.‘ she closed the door.
,Hell, if i‘d known you have that thing i wouldn‘t have given you my axe.‘
,Its a weapon, not a tool.‘
,Yea, i know. Why would a kid like you carry that thing around?‘
,Its more of a memento.‘
,Sure it is.‘ Andy muttered deciding to drop the topic ,Anyway, make sure it doesn‘t get in the way. There‘s a pot of soup on the oven and plates are in the cupboard.‘
Yuria put the Kalira in one of the corners and took one serving of the greenish soup before siting down opposite to her new employer.
,So how come you‘re here in the middle of nowhere, wearing nothing but rags, looking for a job? Running from the law?‘
,Recently orphaned.‘
,I notice that's not a no‘
,I‘m not running from the law. And for you‘r information these are work-clothes‘ Yuria took a sip of the soup.
,Wouldn‘t want to work for the guy who considers those things work-clothes.‘
,Neither did i.‘
,Sure you‘re not running from the law?‘
,Well Alright then.‘

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 13th, 2012, 4:33 pm #3

,I think you‘re ready to come hunting.‘ old man Andy said a few weeks later, looking over Yurias shoulder as she pushed her fist in the space between the skin and the muscle of the elk he had brought back the night before. ,You‘re not perfect but you basically know what to do with an animal. Now what you need to learn is how to catch one...‘ He was interrupted by the screeching of the bird standing next to him in the frame of the door. Without looking around or even interrupting her work for more than a second Yuria grabbed one of the eyeballs she had removed earlier and tossed it outside. The crow hopped towards the eye, tilted its head this way and that way before picking it up with its beak and flying off. ,Don‘t tell me you have been feeding that thing.‘
,Neither of us eats the eyes anyway, so what does it matter?‘
,Well if you come crying to me because it came in here, attacked you and stole the fresh meat you know what i‘m going to do.‘
,Make me pay for the stuff?‘
,Its not like that's a very likely scenario though: I‘m not the one who came in here and left the door open after all.‘
,Yea. Well, wrap things up around here and get me in the livingroom, smartass.‘
Yuria finished skinning the elk, spread the leather over the rack to dry and locked the shack to keep out scavenging animals. She found Andy where he said he‘d be, sharpening one of his knifes.
,You done?‘
He stood up and walked outside past Yuria while shouldering his backpack and slipping the knife back into its holder.

They went deep into the forest while walking on an angle so the wind was blowing into their faces.
,We‘re walking into the wind so they won‘t smell us.‘ The old hunter explained. ,Most of the animals here have learned to avoid humans and will run off the instance they realize you‘re there.‘
Yuria thought she noticed something moving but whenever she turned her head it seemed to have disappeared. She felt slightly uncomfortable whenever she left the house or the shack, she still wasn‘t used to the open sky even if she could only occasionally catch a glimpse of it through the thick branches over her head so maybe she was imagining things.
Everything here was just so different from what she was used to. Everything moved and everything was full of life and colors. There was something else wherever she looked yet it seemed as if she and Andy were the only humans in this world. The sounds alone were incomparable. Back in Gyren everything was so repetitive, mechanical, a mere echo of what it once was. But here she was presented with a pure chorus of birds accompanied by an orchestra of leaves rustling and the sounds of live all around her.
She turned her head again, this time sure hat she had seen something move only to catch the glimpse of something in the distance disappearing before she could make out what it really was.

,We‘re being followed.‘
,I know.‘ The old huntsman replied: ,We‘re in the wolf‘s territory now. He‘ll keep his distance, don‘t worry.‘ the huntsman replied and drew his bow as he lay eyes on a group of deer not too far ahead. He took out an arrow. ,be quiet now and keep close to me.‘
Yuria looked around for what she now knew to be a wolf but she couldn‘t make it out any more.
They stalked their way closer to their prey inch by inch. Always making sure to stay in hiding behind the bushes. Finally, when they arrived in the perfect position the huntsman raised his bow and fired a single arrow.
It hit, went through the deer throat and send it flying to the ground as the others ran, leaving their dead companion behind.

Four hours and at least a dozen wasted arrows later Yuria hit her first target.
,Finish the job.‘ Andy demanded, handing her one of his knifes while the rabbit made a tortured sound several feet away. Yuria went over, the arrow had went trough the animal‘s stomach and nailed it into the ground. With a quick slit of the knife she cut it‘s throat before removing the arrow. ,You‘re better with the knife.‘ Andy noted.
,Well i haven‘t had much need to judge distances in the past.‘ she tapped her eyepatch ,and this thing impairs my depths perception.‘
,You should consider taking it of.‘
,Very funny.‘
,Maybe you‘re better suited for hunting boars.‘ the man guessed scratching his stubbles that made for a sad excuse of a beard. ,And just let that thing lie. Its bloody and leaking other fluids you don‘t want to be covered with. It won‘t go to waste anyway.‘
The girl wiped the knife and handed it back, again looking around for signs of their distant follower.
,And i thought it was a bad thing to feed wild animals.‘
,This is different. This forest is his Territory.
,Now that you‘ve made a catch, how about we go and check the traps?‘ he asked starting to walk fully expecting her to follow him. ,There should be something in at least one of ‘em.‘
The girl followed the old man back to the point where he seemed to start his usual route which led slowly out of the forest. Occasionally they would stop and Andy would point out where the traps were hidden and why they were there in the spots they were in.
After about half an hour of wandering through the dense forest they finally came upon a trap that had been triggered.
A turkey.
,Right, open the cage up by untying the string in the back. Make sure it doesn‘t run out and break its neck.‘ Andy explained. ,But make sure you don‘t twist too hard, don‘t want you ripping off its head.‘ three more times she followed the old man‘s instructions in emptying and resetting the traps before they reached the hut again. It wasn‘t a great haul but it was enough for them to have something to sell and Andy assured the girl that it wasn‘t a bad outcome for a first day.

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 14th, 2012, 1:55 pm #4

The raven, or was it a crow? Was there a difference? Yuria didn‘t know. Anyway, it croaked loudly causing the girl to ram the shovel into the ground so it would stand on its own before looking up.
,Look, you know full well that i‘m not gonna give you anything when i‘m out here. I have to eat at some point too and if anything you‘re being a hindrance. This noise is alright when i‘m here but i don‘t want you to scare away anything when i‘m hunting.‘
The bird eyed her without showing any sign of understanding.
She sighed and decided instead to examine her work so far. The hole was about three meters deep and ten meters wide. She had spend days digging it.
While three sides went straight down the fourth one was a slope. It was just the right angle, animals wouldn‘d hesitate to walk down it but once it was covered with old leaves it would be slippery enough to keep them down there.
She had made an elongated hill on either side of the from the earth she had dug up so as to form a sort of funnel leading to the slope. She had spend a lot of time picking out the perfect spot for this trap: it was close to the river but high enough to not fill with water even if it went untended over the winter the bushes were thick enough to hinder animals to take any way but onwards or backwards even if it weren‘t for the hills she had made just in case. It was also far enough from the hut so the animals wouldn‘t be prepared for this kind of trap she had also checked that the wind usually blew in the right direction so the animals weren‘t spooked by her odor ahead of time. On the downside she had been forced to wander for about two hours to and from the trap.
She‘d be done digging soon but she‘d have to wait until tomorrow before hiding her work properly. Than she‘d wait a day or two maybe until her smell had defused properly. She knew it wasn‘ necessary but she also knew it helped.
She wiped the now coldened sweat of her forehead with the arm of the cheap shirt displaying her former owner‘s coat of arms before grabbing the shovel and getting back to work.
Her feathered companion let another shriek followed by the sound of his wings lifting him into the air. The girl looked up, to the shadow suddenly looming over her.
Right in front of Yuria, at the very edge of the hole stood the wolf that had been shadowing her these past months looking down at her.
His demeanor didn‘t speak of aggression though his size alone was enough to invoke a fair amount of respect for the beast.

,And he was just standing there?‘
Yuria nodded.
,No growling, no raising his hairs, no showing his teeth?‘
,Strange.‘ The old man replied scratching his stubble ,Sure i haven‘t set up new big traps for a while but this is the first time he‘s come this close to anybody. He tends to keep his distance. Maybe he‘s taken a liking to you.‘ he slurped a bit of his soup ,Or as disliking, you never know.‘
,Very encouraging.‘

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 15th, 2012, 10:24 am #5

Yuria gripped her Kalira more closely it was almost time. A group of boars was passing in front of her and the wind carried a faint remainder of their smell over from the opposite side of the small, purling stream. She had waited a week for the animals to stop avoiding the spot she had prepared her trap in and for the conditions to be right to make use of it.
She stood up and started banging the hilt of one of Andy‘s knifes against her Pike startling the boars as she came out of her hiding place running towards the animals. They turned and ran directly away from her- towards the whole she had spent so much time digging. She jumped over the little river, chasing after her prey and noted that the majority of the herd was indeed being driven towards her trap. She stopped at the edge of the trap and looked down at the panicking Boars. A few of them were too young. She‘d have to Rescue them and at least one of the grown females but that still left six fully grown animals. She had long since given up on using the bow- she just couldn‘t manage to hit anything no matter how often she tried.
Instead she let her fingers glide along the hilt of her enormous pike and jumped down into the pit.

The crow made an annoyed sound when it realized that it was unable to remove the waxed linen Yuria had covered the Boars in. She was out of breath from dragging the cart and the heap of bodies through the forest. Noticing an unfamiliar car in front of the hut and damp voices shouting at one another, she started to unload. Occasionally she had to shoo away the bird when it got too brave. She locked the shack and entered the hut to find Andy discussing loudly with two strangers.
,No, gentlemen, i disagree. You should be aware of the fact that he is respected in this region.‘
,Then you should understand all the more why someone is willing to pay a decent price for his capture. Its just a wolf after all.‘ the man speaking was a tall guy in his late twenties with a harsh-looking face and a nose like a hawk
,Even so, i won‘t support you, poacher.‘
,Very well then, we‘ll be on our way.‘ the man nodded to his companion and they both stood up and went outside. Yuria mustered them closely they looked like men who had spend a lot of time in the wild. They carried knifes in holsters on their trousers and their guns looked well maintained if a bit used.
,And just for your information: i will contact the authorities about this.‘ Andy continued.
,Suit yourself, old man there‘s no law against hunting wolves.‘ The men went into their car and drove of.
,good riddance.‘ Andy snorted, he had followed them to the door and was now leaning against the frame. He looked down at his young employee. ,The fuck happened to you?‘
,The boars panicked and there was too little space in the pit. I got a few hoofs in the face.‘
,Told you you should use the bow.‘
,You know i‘m no good with that thing.‘
,It‘s literally like shooting fish in a barrel. You‘d have to put effort in to miss them.
,Shut up, would you?‘
,Yea that's likely.‘ the man took is seat again. ,Anyway you heard those two.they‘ll probably set up some traps in the forest so you‘d better be careful.‘
,Didn‘t you say you were gonna call the police?‘
,Why bother? They aren‘t doing anything illegal.‘
,I thought the wolf was worshiped.‘
,So what if it is? Its not like there are any laws protecting Wolves even if this one is worshiped. There‘s nothing the police could do.‘
,Its still not right.‘
,Well that‘s live for you. At least the maniac that hired them wanted the wolf alive. That's more than the animals i hunt can hope for.‘
,This is different.‘
,If you say so.‘ he yawned ,Anyway did you catch anything or did you get the boars to beat you up for fun.‘
,I thought i asked you to shut up.‘

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 15th, 2012, 7:47 pm #6

Yuria didn‘t sleep well that night.
She saw the forest at night, rushing by like a storm made of shadows.circeling, searching in utter silence until she found a light in the distance. She flew towards it to find that it was the camp or the two poachers. A tent, a fire, their truck and a huge, empty cage.
She awoke, weak, tired and drenched in sweat as if she had run through the forest herself. A pulsating pain shot through the scars where her left eye had been. It had been months since Gyren and she had awoken some nights from nightmares but they had always circled around her past. Never something like this. It was strange. It had seemed so real.
With one hand on her paining eyehole she sat up and looked out the window- it was just as dark outside as it had been in her dream.

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 16th, 2012, 1:51 pm #7

He next day Yuria went through the forest on the daily route to clear out the traps. It hadn‘t been much of a turn out and she was carrying nothing but a Pheasant when she came across the deep tracks of the truck. They led into the same direction as her dream. The camp flashed in front of her eye, in broad daylight this time and without the two men sitting around the fire.
She shook her head. Maybe she didn‘t get enough sleep after all.

Like usually the raven awaited her as she returned to the shack. It crowed in anticipation as Yuria unloaded the catch of the day and threw a bit of meat she had cut of earlier to the bird. She wen through her work listlessly and weak, she hadn‘t slept decently since the poachers arrived. The same dream haunted her every night with only slight alterations and with the appearance of bigger and unfamiliar traps in the forest she began to seen her dreams during the day more often. Whenever she thought of the Wolf her vision seemed to split in two and she saw the forest flashing by her for a few seconds. And though she had often glimpsed on the wolf in these illusions she hadn‘t seen him with her own eyes for days. Maybe the trauma from whatever had caused her injury finally catching up to her. And combined with her momentary worries.
A faint shot reached rang through the forest.
The raven croaked and fluttered of.
Yuria dropped her work and started running.
She wasn‘ sure where the sound had come from since it bounced of the trees until it sounded like it came from everywhere at once but she...
These it was again.
She... Saw, flew through the forest between trees and bushes at a sickening speed until she lay eyes on what she feared while her feet carried her in the same direction much slower.

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 16th, 2012, 4:34 pm #8

When she finally reached the point her vision had shown her she found things just like she had thought: the two men with guns preparing the transport of the wolf lying motionless on the ground.
,What have you done...‘ she hushed and the two men looked up.
,Oh, calm yourself kiddo. We‘ve only used tranquilizer.‘ The speaker of the two said in an annoyed tone while is colleague turned back to his work, opened one of heir backpacks and started to unfold a blanked on which he would drag the wolf back to their camp. ,Look, i don‘t care how you feel about this thing.‘ The other one continued: ,I‘m just doing my job. So unless you are offering me a better price i‘d like to kindly ask you to piss of.‘
,But what? We‘re not doing anything illegal.‘ he had stood up and walked over to her. And tapped her on the chest hardly. ,Now you can either leave of your own accord or i can make you leave. Your choice.‘
,I...‘ Yuria didn‘t know what to reply, they weren't wrong.... Technically but what they did was, it might not have been illegal but should have been. What should she do. What could she do?
Something moved in the corner of her eye and immediately she felt a slight weakness taking hold of her body as the wolf came into her view as clearly as if she was standing over him. He twitched, opened is eyes and slowly raised his head. The poacher next to him took out a taser and pressed it against the animals temple. The wolf consulted and sank down again.
,Stop it!‘ Yuria shouted, only half of her mind back in her body. ,You...‘
She was cut short when a fist hit her in the stomach hard enough to lift her of the ground. She wasn‘t prepared at all, she hadn‘t been able to dodge in any way or even to harden her muscles to somewhat soften the impact.
,You little shit.‘ the attacker sneered standing over her, tall and unforgiving like a mountain. She was coughing and wheezing, struggling to breathe as the contents of her stomach forced their was painfully upwards.
A boot was hammered into her side and left a clearly visible mark on her cheap work-cloths. ,I told you to piss of twice, didn‘t i?‘ Her pursuer raged on ,And i will not tolerate you interfering with my work you damn brat.‘ He kicked her again and again.
She was helpless, in pain and she couldn‘t breathe. At this rate they would take the wolf, they would steal its freedom, steal it from this forest.
Half of her vision- the wrong one, started moving. She barely noticed it over the agony running through her body but it circled skywards- away from the scene only to turn back for a nose dive. Within the fraction of a second the Head of the second poacher seemed to jump towards her. Then, just as inexplicably as it had started her vision dissolved.
,What the fuck?‘ the man looming over her interrupted his attack heavily breathing. And looked to his colleague.
The second man lay on the ground, stretched backwards as if he had been shot and with his blood slowly spreading over the ground.
The remaining poacher turned back to Yuria.
,If i find out you had anything to do with you...‘ he stopped himself as he noticed that the girl had fought her way back on her feet.
Indescribable anger rose in her.
He lunged out and struck her down again.
With what little strength she had left she struggled to rise again. A strange feeling overcame her, she felt the sudden weakness returning while a rainbow of odors unfolded in her mind. The smell of the forest, the plants, earth, clay and a variety of animals rose in her nose as clearly as if she had buried her face in their fur. Then A new mixture of stenches dominated the scene as suddenly as it arrived: leather, filth and sweat, the suddenly, but with a force that hit her mind like a hammer: Blood.
Yuria screamed, barely noticing how the man in front of her seemed to suddenly fold in, and flow of his feet as if hit in the side by an invisible hammer. Her shouts of panic mixed with those of agony by her former attacker as her mind filled with blood and death. She cried, screeched, coughed and vomited, unable to do anything until she felt completely empty and collapsed on the spot.

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 17th, 2012, 7:37 am #9

,Wake up.‘ Andy demanded.
Yurias eyes fluttered and opened slowly.
,You have been out for a few hours.‘ he continued without waiting for her to properly awake.
,How did i get here?‘ She asked realizing that she was back at the hut.
,He brought you here.‘ Andy nodded to the wolf who‘s silhouette was clearly visible at the border of the forest. ,But more importantly i‘ve seen the poachers. I have no idea what happened but there is no animal around here that could do something like that.‘
,They are dead.‘
,I didn‘t... I don‘t...‘
,I know, Yuria but you can‘t stay here any more.‘
This sentence rang back in her mind like thunder. Andy had been the only fiend she had known since she had left Gyren. And now she had leave. ,But...‘
,People won‘t believe you.‘ he explained. There are two dead men out there which neither of us can explain and no matter how horrible they were people will ask questions. Questions neither one of us can answer.‘ He sighed deeply. ,It really doesn‘t give me any pleasure to say this but i don‘t see any other solution.‘
,I see.‘ Yuria muttered weakly and stood up, noting that the wolf had taken this opportunity to disappear into the woods.
Free if nothing else.
She staggered after him, still half asleep.
,Hey, hey, not so fast little girl.‘ the huntsman said, holding her back with one hand. ,Nobody knows what happened yet, so take your time. Take a shower, pack your things, no need to hurry.‘

Joined: October 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

July 17th, 2012, 7:42 am #10

Yuria heard something happening behind her while she was under the shower but she didn‘t care. She was sad and ashamed, and covered in disgusting bodily fluids. She had to scrub off. She‘d have to wash her cloths as well.
Or so she thought, as she left the shower she found that her usual cloths had been replaced by a skirt, a jacket and matching west with a shirt and a tie. She also found a new set of underwear.
,Where‘d you get these clothes from?‘ She asked as she entered the living-room dressed in the new outfit.
,I was in the city recently with my brother and his wife. I got them because we were going to the city next week to sell some of our better leathers. I would have gotten something more casual too but the money ran out.‘
,What about the underwear?‘
,My brother‘s wife picked them out and insisted i buy them.‘
,Yea right.‘
,Anyway that‘s not everything i‘m going to give you.‘ Andy pointed at her bag. I‘ve also packed a survival kit, a mobile and one of those laptop things.‘
,I thought you ran out of money.‘
,Oh i did. The Mobile is one i bought years ago, but i don‘t get any reception out here nor do i get many private calls anyway and my costumers call over the landline anyway. The laptop was a present form one of My costumers but i don‘t seem myself using it. Haven‘t even taken it out of the box. As for the survival kit: i always have a couple of those lying around. You never know when you need it.‘ He looked at the girl woefully. ,I‘m going to miss you.‘
,Me too.‘
For a moment they stared at one another in silence.
,I‘d best be going.‘ Yuria broke the silence, picked up her quite heavy bag and her Kalira.
,You know how to get to the border from here?‘
,Its basically walking westwards from here for a day or so, isn‘t it?‘
,Right. You should be able to find a city rather easily.‘ He hesitated. ,Goodbye Yuria.‘
,Goodbye Andy.‘
She opened the door and stepped outside into the fresh breeze and the smell and the sounds of the forest she had grown to love,
She reached into he bag and into the rations she knew to be there, took out a strip of beef jerky and threw it to the crow that was eyeing her from the roof of the shack.
She closed her eye, whispered her last goodbye to this place and started walking.
Free if nothing else.

OOC: to the grader: This thread is 4875 words long as i recall. Its somewhere between 4500 and 5000 words anyway.