Part 6

Morning. I have never had such a bad night in all my life. Not even on training exercises have I been so cold. They only send the advanced survivors out into this weather, and even then they have watchers out just to be on the safe side. If I told anybody back there that I had survived a whole night out during the time of the aligned suns they would laugh in my face. I am not properly equipped to deal with sweltering day heat then blood freezing nights, but I’ve done it. Last night was the coldest and it’s only doing to get worse, especially if the rains become more frequent, but I’ve survived so far. I carefully start to work free the ropes that have held me safely all night. The knots have frozen together which would make them
difficult to work with if I had warm hands. With my icy digits it’s a near impossible task, but things are warming quickly now the second sun is rising and as my hands warm everything becomes slightly easier. I’m almost jolly as I slide down the last few feet to the ground. It feels like a day for making progress. I check my bag one last time, ensuring that I’ve not forgotten anything, and start walking again along the riverside.

Walking gives a person a lot of time to think, and before long I have a theory on how to stay warmer at night. I vaguely recall that during one of my survival lessons we were shown some clothes that had been won from mountain folk in a tournament. They made their snow fairing garments out of twice layered furs that are packed between with feathers. I’m not sure how well I would be able to move in such clothing, and I very much doubt it would be easy to climb in, but it might keep me warmer if I can find a way to make it. Feathers are not wholly difficult to come by though I have never plucked a bird and I’m certain I could catch and kill some of the smaller furred creatures though I know less about skinning than I do about plucking. Still, having a plan made me feel better about my aching back and my rumbling stomach so I kept on thinking about it as I pushed forward.

The fowl are getting less frequent the further forwards I go, either that or I’m simply not seeing them so close to the water, and my food supplies are getting low. I had the brains in my first few days to kill one maybe even two a day so that I would have something to survive on. Unfortunately my luck seems to be running out and I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been. Walking takes a lot more out of me than I had thought, especially when you add in the effort that it takes to walk soundlessly. I had really thought that I would have come across somebody by now but there hasn’t been another soul, and so I’ve not had the time to rest. It’s been a fairly easy journey so far but it’s getting lonelier. I’m not certain what I’ll do if I never find another
person. I guess I would survive but it would mean that my whole purpose was wasted. I take my bow from my back and notch an arrow into it as I walk. While my chances of ever hitting something are slim I need to try if I’m going to eat again. There must be something that will stay still long enough and let me get close enough that I can take it. It’s not like I have many other options at this point.

Forty or so steps down the river I find myself face to face with a very large somewhat angry hog. Why do these things always happen to me? Not only could I never kill this thing, but I could never eat it either. These creatures will feed half of our village, while doing a pretty good job at killing the other half, and I have an arrow pointed straight at it. Something tells me that it’s not going to appreciate that so much. It grunts and I try not to scream. I think the hunting master told us that these beats have terrible eyesight but fantastic hearing, so the best thing to do is stay very
still while staying very quiet unless you think you can take it on. The worst thing to do would be exactly what I’m contemplating, that is turning on my heels and running for it while screaming like a child. I don’t think I can out run a hog, especially not one who has just been startled. I could back away slowly, trying to make as little noise as possible, though that still runs the risk of having this thing run at me or I could try and kill it which would more than likely result in my own death. It’s always nice to know you have options. If I can walk round to the side of it I have some chance to getting away, though I’m not sure how I would manage that without it seeing me, right in front of it I seem to be in a blind spot of sorts, though I’m fairly sure it can smell me. I place a careful foot behind me; the ground seems firm so as slowly as I can manage I lean my weight back.

The End

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