Via today’s Daily Prompt: Rivulet
By all means, Cibelle would have gladly survived the end of the winter feeding on roots. Even if it had meant working her fingers to the bone, to get them from the frozen ground… But Vohne needed more sustainable food, and she knew it well.
Each step she took in the knee-deep whiter than white snow, the feeling of the long sharp blade reminded her that she was out to kill. Everytime she stopped to think about it, a chill ran down her spine, and it had nothing to do with the crisp weather.
She was out to kill.
They had discussed this by the fire, the night before. To say that she was scared would have been an understatement. Cibelle was terrified.
She had little if no problem with the thought of consuming meat. Vohne and her were creatures of this realm, and it seemed as natural to eat animal flesh, as a pack of starving wolves would have feasted on her dead body. She did make it a point, though, to ceremoniously thank the spirit of any prey her Lover brought back home.
But the act of killing… Taking another life, with her own hands, was something she had never even imagined doing. And even in this absolute state of necessity, she doubted she could do it.
If only Vohne could have accompanied her. If only he could have been there by her side, his deep voice guiding her into preying and getting this dirty job done… If only.
She sighed deeply, and started walking a bit faster.
Cibelle had proposed setting snares in the woods, so she wouldn’t have to actually fight anything with fur or feathers. But it was a fine art Vohne couldn’t teach her from the warmth of their bed. Instead, he had reminded her of the time he had spent teaching her to throw knives… It was merely a hobby back then, though Vohne had admitted that he prefered that she could learn skills to eventually defend herself when he wasn’t there to look after her.
It had been a while since she had last practiced, but his lessons had paid off, as she knew she was accurate and had a good arm. But there was a huge difference between aiming at a pile of hay and…
She flushed the mental image of the knife leaving her hand to fly in the air, before sinking in her prey’s flesh. The stream, she had to reach the stream before the sun reached above her head, meaning it would be around noon.
The ever running stream, leading to the creek was the best place to expect wildlife. It was a natural gathering point, and if she could remain calm enough that they didn’t smell her fear, Cibelle could easily get close enough to any animal to fulfill her deadly plan.
Her heart was beating out of her chest, and she paused for a moment, trying to calm her breathing down a bit. Her final destination was just a couple of turns away in the path, and her Forest Spirit allowed her to feel some life close by. The feeling was strong, in Cibelle’s chest… A lot stronger than she had expected. It wasn’t a flock of partridges, some hares, nor a boar.
She looked up to the sky, pleading in a hissing whisper…
Please, don’t let it be a wolf!
She didn’t fear wolves, that wasn’t the issue. She was, in fact one of the pack. Not per say, of course… She didn’t turn into a shewolf every full moon, but the mad dog looking canine was her totem animal, and she couldn’t fathom the idea to kill one.
Regardless, she couldn’t be picky today, and time was already running… Cibelle knew the way back home would be far more complicated and long. She pulled what little courage she had, and started walking again, expecting the worst.
She could now hear the water running on the rocks. The presence she felt grew in force with every careful step she took, closer to the stream… When she passed the last centenial leafless oak trees and finally found herself near the rivulet, she understood.
There it stood.
Grandiose, in the mid day sun, a huge buck stared right back at her. Cibelle didn’t have the feeling she had surprised it drinking from the stream. It didn’t seem surprised at all.
It was waiting for her.
Barely breathing, Cibelle instinctively reached under her cloak to feel the reassuring wooden handle of her sharp blade. The stag’s antlers looked like a menacing crown on its head, and she knew it wouldn’t hesitate to impale her if it felt threatened.
She had never seen the animal before. She had come across many deers in the depths of the forest, but this beast was totally unknown to her. Terror froze her standing helpless, in front of the menacing silhouette.
Cibelle could tell, it wasn’t happy to see her. It knew. This was going to be a duel, and only one of them would come out of it alive. Its dark eyes almost taunted her to make a move first, but she couldn’t have moved a muscle, this very minute.
Exhaling loudly, the buck’s breath looked like steam coming out of its nostrils. Stamping a hoof aggressively, the invitation was out.
It was time to fight for their lives…
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