Deoradhain Callahan - The Hunter's Other ApprenticeMature

I could feel the gentle rise and fall of my chest, the rythmic beating of my heart, the power of my muscles as I draw my bow back. I have one chance to make this shot, or I will get mauled. In spite of this, I remain calm. I wait until my breath is out, and in between my heart beats I release the string. My arrow flies true, into the head of a  wild boar. It reminds me of a similar situation, four years ago, when I first met Master Wlydfr.

He had been hunting in the back country when he came across me, a 13 year old boy, hunting on my own in the wilderness. I'll admit it was a fluke, but when he saw me put an arrow through the head of a goat at 100 paces, he offered me a hunter's apprenticeship on the spot, as I had already passed the first test. He brought me to the village, the place I now call home, my new home.

Sometimes I dream about my homeland. My childhood is like a different life to me. Everything had been so much... more. Forests with no end; mountains touching the sky, so high that not even clouds could pass over; crystal cities that shimmered in the sunlight. My mind has romanticised everything because I was so young that now I can barely remember it.

But no matter how hard I try, or how much I dream, I can't remember the people, not even my parents, if I even had any. Though I don't have to - there are enough ancient tales of people in a far-away land. Assassins that could meld into shadow before your eyes. Farmers that could talk to anything that lived on their land. Priestesses that could summon anything from visions, to rain, to mythical creatures with their dancing. Hunters that could become the animals they spent so much time with. Blacksmiths that could weave enchantments into the metal they worked with, forging swords lighter than a feather, though stronger than diamond. But ancient tales are always exaggerated; they are always just  pushing the boundaries of magic into the impossible. I take them with a grain of salt. So from these tales I know what my people were like: they were just like those around me now; common people, doing common jobs, some of them with a little magic.

Not a day goes by when I don't wonder what it would be like to go back. Yet every day I can remember less and less about my homeland, in spite Wlydfr's first rule of hunting: 'never forget'. Sometimes I wonder if it was actually just a dream, a figment of my imagination, but there is something that even Master Wlydfr does not know about, something I can check to remind me that it is actually real, and know that I am in fact from a different land. I can't remember why I left at such a young age, or for that matter how I survived to make my way to Crystaltopia. But I don't think I'll ever go back. The life I have now is comfortingly simple, and so much more real.

I promise to myself not to dwell on these thoughts any more, and realise that during my thoughts, acting on auto-pilot, I had already cut the best pieces of meat off the pig that I would bring back. Even so, after placing the meat in my back pack, it still weighed almost my own body weight, and there was much of the pig still left. Standing, I haul the pack onto my back,  and set off to Master Wlydfr's hut in the village.

The End

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