The eagles’ shriek almost ripped the sky’s blue tapestry in two. The cry in such perfect unison sounded bloodcurdling to Cibelle. Were the majestic birds just announcing the beginning of this duel, or were they already calling for help, knowing how unfit she was, facing the powerful buck?
The shining blade of her dagger out, pointing toward the enemy, caught the noonday sun’s light, blinding the beast for a second. Destabilized, it turned its head to the side, postponing charging the frail woman.
There was no time to waste, Cibelle knew it right away. Focusing on the stag’s neck, she swiftly threw the knife with all the strength she could find within herself. The buck, caught by surprise, turned back quickly, and the blade cut deep in the flesh over its shoulder, slightly missing its throat.
In pain, and angered, the animal lowered its large antlers and charged Cibelle without warning. Freezing at the sound of the hooves furiously stomping on the rocks, she jumped on the side, dodging the buck’s crown, but getting bumped violently by the muscular body of the monster.
Rolling painfully in the nearby bushes, seeking shelter wherever she could, Cibelle heard the eagles still filling the freezing air with their weird cry. She implored them to call Vohne, feeling that she couldn’t possibly stand up again, find her dagger and finish her job. And there was only one alternative ending to the story. The end of her.
Peeking through the branches, she could see the buck, head down, rubbing its horns against the rocks, as if it was trying to sharpen them. “What use?” she thought, knowing that the pointy antlers would kill her in a flash, if the stag got close enough to her.
Cibelle suddenly felt a weird blanket-like feeling around her shoulders. Lying in the snow, she knew this warmth couldn’t just be the bright sun, heating her cloak. Running a hand on her stomach and chest, she grimaced, and guessed from the shooting pain that she had many broken ribs… She stared at the raging buck. She knew failing to kill it, meant letting Vohne die alone back in their home. A burning tear ran down her cheek, knowing she had failed him miserably. She called his name, like a mantra, hoping she’d gather the strength to get back up and at least try…
At least try…
But with every breath, her chest felt more and more painful, and she couldn’t do better than getting on all fours. Still, this warm feeling was getting clearer, and Cibelle thought it was death, luring her to give up.
Until she heard the first growl, and her blood ran cold once more. How was it possible? Even the fierce stag looked slightly worried, understanding what was paying them a visit at such an inopportune time.
Cibelle closed her eyes, knowing she was doomed now. She could always try to outsmart the buck, but she couldn’t fight it and a bear.
She lay down in the snow, awaiting death… When she looked up, one last time, to see the skies’ baby blue shade, She noticed the eagles were now silent.
She was on the verge of passing out, when she felt the grizzly’s hot breath on her neck…
To read the previous episodes of Cibelle & Vohne’s adventures, click here.