Spring came, and with it, one whole cycle of her living out in the forest on her own, no other animals like her out here. She had none of the sounds she used to make to converse anymore; instead, she relied on the sounds she learned from those around her; from the rabbits munching on the undergrowth, to the deer who would warily enter her territory to graze while she watched in silence, to the birds flitting around above her, sometimes even landing on her shoulder.
Her mental map was expansive, and she knew almost every nook and cranny of her little section of the forest; she knew where the boundary lines of other territories were, and did not cross them without very good reason (such as THAT’S MY PREY, NOT YOURS; FUCK OFF,) which she somehow learned to convey to the other predators, namely wolves and bears, around her.
It was a cool spring evening when the first member of her pack (well, at the time, she was rather afraid, but didn’t show it) showed up in her territory. She’d just killed a deer, and had yet to take it apart and eat it, when a very hungry momma bear wandered in, the scent of blood being the attractant.
She was scared, but stood her ground. The bear growled at her, and she growled back. The bear charged, and in a flash, the swords she had on her always were now pointed in the bear’s direction. Her body gave away nothing but bloodlust; no fear, no hesitation; she was prepared to kill this mother simply for encroaching her territory, let alone trying to take her kill.
The bear was suddenly afraid, and it showed in its actions. It backed off, and the woman went back to carving up her kill; however, instead of taking it all for herself, she only took what was necessary for her survival, and left the rest for the mother.
The bear cautiously crept forward, assuming a trap, taking the remains and fleeing back to its home, expecting the woman who stared her down to attack, as was her right for having her territory invaded. No attack came; no sounds of being chased; the woman merely sat, doing something to her kill that filled the air with such a wonderful scent.
Over the next few moons, she passed her days in a similar manner. Eventually, the bear began to realize that this predator wasn’t going to harm her for intruding, so long as it didn’t try to take the woman’s kill, and just waited patiently for her to take what she needed.
The woman and the bear began forming an unspoken, unbreakable bond; to such an extent that, when a trio of roughhousing cubs entered her little clearing, she merely laughed at the sight before her; she wasn’t growling, the cubs, and the not-too-far-off momma, all knew this. This sound was different.
The woman simply shook her head and sighed, looking up at the forest canopy above and stretching. She looked at the momma bear she’d been helping for some time now and shrugged; while the bear knew not of what these motions meant, it was clear the woman wasn’t going to harm her children.
Instead, it seemed the woman was assisting the bear family, in whatever way she could. Whether it was providing food, or letting them stay in her territory, where there was nothing to be concerned about, or taking them down to the river as she ‘washed’ herself, and them as well on occasion.