"Shut up Liam," I whisper, pulling the bow string back, aiming at the rather large deer that's Cautiously Looking around—it's antlers were gigantic, it must've been eating well this season.
"You're not going to hit him," Liam whispers into my ear. I let the string go, watching as the arrow slams into the deer's neck but it's in vain, knowing I missed an artery. The deer runs off, leaving a sprinkled blood trail Behind. Thomathy pops out of the bushes nearby pulling leaves off his jacket.
"Did you get him?" he said, looking at me excitedly.
"I would be surprised if I hit an artery," I replied, walking out of the bushes, pulling Sand Burrs off, flicking them at Liam. I stroll over kneeling, dipping the tip of my finger in the blood, smelling it before I give it a lick. "Nope this is from veins and capillaries, it might live and if it doesn't the walk would waste energy."
"You can tell that from the smell and taste of the blood?" Thomathy looks at me strangely.
"Um yeah, there is a different taste, like it's fresher? This blood is lacking in taste."
"Are you a demon?" Thomathy said with a laugh.
I look up at the sun beating down on my skin, "I hope not."
"Well, let's go look for it," Liam crows at me.
"It's a waste of time."
"A waste of time is us dying from starvation, we have a few days before we make it to brimrock," Liam said, looking at me with a drained face, "Thomathy's belly is even getting smaller," he says pointing at his noticeably smaller stomach, "how are you ok at this point. I'm having a hard time even walking."
"I don't know but you act like I'm not starving."
"Let's just follow it for a bit," Thomathy said, looking just as tired as Liam. There is a desperation to his voice that makes me worried.
"You two rest, I will follow it," I said as I stood up, following the blood trail, twisting through the woods until I reached a small hill. As I came over the hill I saw wolves tearing into our deer. I drop to the ground like a bag of rocks avoiding the wolves sight. If I get chased I'm done for—I'm unsure if I have the energy to out run them. My Hearts beating rapidly as I try to get my panicking mind under control.
If I leave the deer , I'm not sure how much longer we can go without food. I'm not knowledgeable enough on gathering to be picking berries and mushrooms, I would poison us for sure. If I fight the wolves it's over. This is a lose, lose situation.
"Fuck!" I say out loud accidentally. I quickly covered my mouth, flipping over on my back, pulling out the knife shape rock I sharpened from my pants. I hear snout sniffing around as I hold my breath, hearing them walking around the grass near me. I'm unsure how close they are since the grass is so thick and tall, I can only see things above me and hear the rustling noises of them sniffing around. As a paw steps next to my head, I jab my knife into the wolf's throat. The wolf yelps as I pop up, watching the dark red blood pour from its throat, twitching as it falls to the ground. The other wolves surprisingly back up as I try to make myself as large as possible, I look down to the wolf bleeding to death at my feet. I take the knife jamming it into the wolf skull without losing eye contact from the others. My heart pounds so hard it feels as if it might explode from my chest but I keep my face showing the opposite, I must not show fear. Fortunately they're not dire wolves because if so, I would already have been dead. I pick the dead wolf up, throwing it over my shoulder with some effort while the others try to circle me. I keep a constant pace backing up to avoid them from flanking.
When I feel I'm close enough to Thomathy and Liam I yell, "I have wolves following me, cross the river!" continuing to back up as I heard the river splashing on the sides of the bank. When my feet felt the water I quickly looked behind to see Liam and Thomathy waiting for me, soaking wet on the other side. When the water becomes too deep, I turn around, holding onto the wolf, swimming as fast as I can as I fight the pretty strong current. The whole pack starts running toward my turned back but stops short of jumping in. I come out of the water dragging the wolf. Thomathy comes running over, helping me pull the Wolf out of the water to the sandy bank.
"You fucking crazy bastard!" Thomathy said, giving me a bear hug, rubbing my hair, sending it in all directions, "I guess you really aren't a demon, you just crossed running water."
"I've got food," I smiled panting with my hands on my knees.
"And a new coat," Thomathy laughs, patting me on the back. Thomathy and I spend the next hour being watched by the pack while we gut and butcher the wolf, cooking most of the meat over the fire. I feel bad as they watch us eat their friend, I try to keep my gaze from falling on them as I eat until my stomach hurts. We ended up tossing the coat unfortunately, figuring it would take too long to tan—time was not on our side, we were already behind schedule.
"Holy shit, I ate too much," Liam said, rolling around on the ground like a child.
"These wolves are persistent," Thomathy says, observing the glowing eyes from across the water.
"I'll stay up tonight guarding."
"Brother, let's take shifts?" he said, looking down at me as I poke the fire with a stick, moving wood around.
"No, tomorrow night I'll rest," I said as Thomathy goes to protest but I stop him, "it's non negotiable." He gives in, laying down next to the fire, falling sound asleep with the wolves watching us closely from across the . I just sit anxiously, watching them hoping they don't venture across the water. They never do and end up leaving a bit before sunrise.
Four more days , four more days
We track down the other side of the river for a few days to avoid the wolves that might be waiting for us in the woods nearby. We ended up crossing the river at a shallow point, returning to the road as we approached Brimrock towards dusk. The towns... a little run down, it makes our cottage seem like paradise. It was as if there was a fire and no one cared to fix things up afterwards. The town is filled with men probably competing in the tournament which worries me. They're about the roughest looking group of individuals I have ever seen. All of them staring at us intensely, probably thinking of how easy it would be to pick us off. I feel an aura that makes my skin crawl, these men wouldn't think twice about murdering us.
"Leave me alone," A woman said, pushing a man causing him to step backwards.
"Cunt you're a whore, take my coin," The Drunk bald man said, stumbling around with a bottle in his hand.
"Yes but I get to choose who's coin I take," she said, crossing her arms in her torn, blue and white dress, her curly brown hair a mess. I quickly jolted over, standing in front of her.
"I think she said no, it's best to move on," I commanded with authority in my tone, looking down at the man as he squinted his eyes at me.
"Who the fuck are you mate?" he slurred, tilting his head, "why are your eyes that color?"
"Go away," I said, stepping forward, bumping into him. Thomathy comes over standing behind me, grabbing his sword hilt over his shoulder.
"It's best you listen to the boy, it might end badly for you," Thomathy said as the man huffs walking off, Falling against a building wall, vomiting on himself.
"Thanks," The woman said with a smile as Thomathy grabbed my arm, pulling me out to the grey brick road, going through the center of town.
"Can you not play hero, it's going to get us killed in a place like this," Thomathy said as Liam runs over latching onto my wrist, He looks absolutely terrified.
"I suggest we don't stay in town."
"Probably wise," Thomathy replied, looking around. As we go to leave town a few women come over, running their hands up my shirt. They all three are wearing tattered clothing and their hair unkempt like the woman from before.
"Hey honey, how about we have some fun? The first rounds on us," she said, biting her lower lip seductively.
"Oh I bet he's here for the speaker," one of the women said, putting her hand to my cheek.
"We better show him how to please a woman before he marries," another says, starting to put her hands down my pants before Thomathy drops a big wet kiss on my cheek, putting his arm around my shoulder .
"Sorry ladies he's taken," Thomathy said, giving me a slap on the ass, snapping me back to reality "let's go Aries." The women moan unpleasantly at Thomathy as we trot toward the other side of this goddess forsaken town.
"Why are there so many—"
"Whores?" Thomathy interrupted me. I don't like the term whore but I don't bring it up, "because they knew this would be a good place to make coin, with the tournament starting here and all. Plus Brimrock is known for it."
"that makes sense."
As we came out the other side of town we saw thousands of tents and men just laying on the ground sleeping. The air smells strong of burning wood from the hundreds of fires being huddled around by cold men. I was uncomfortable with the temperature but it was hitting Liam hard, he was shaking like a leaf.
"Goddess, there a lot of cock heads here," Thomathy mumbled, staring at the ocean of men. We make our way through the camp trying our best not to step on the sleeping men, littering the ground below us.
"You blokes with the church?" Thomathy said as we approached an older man with a long gray beard, draped in white linen and gold jewelry, sitting at a table. Two soldiers step in front of Thomathy with grey scuffed Armor plates.
"No disrespect , just wanted to ask a question," he said, putting his hands up.
"Ask," The older man says, not taking his eyes from the parchment in front of him.
"When does the first Trial start?" Thomathy said, putting his hands down.
"Now," The older man replied as we see a few men take out large horns blowing into the trumpets. A Thunderous sound echoed throughout the camp as men jumped up, walking over to our location. As the crowd begins to build around us the older man stands up to speak.
"I am your Proctor and welcome to the first trial of The Divine Tournament."