. Wolf, eagle. Always these beasts could turn the hunter into prey. Hurron knew this, it was a knowledge his father taught him well on his first bleeding of the snow.
Up in the cold you keep these three rulers in mind at all times, especially at the winters end, for wolf is still rabid with winters hunger. Bear awakens from its slumber sharing the same thought as the wolf, and northern eagles, they are always a threat. In time, they learned to wound their prey and watch it bleed to death. Yes, three ruled the mountains, but on the day of bleeding of the snow, they were all prey
Hurron pretended to be sleeping, while he watched his son standing guard by the fire. Boy has grown strong, stronger than the old wives of the village have foreseen. However, that was not surprising. Hurron never looked kindly on the self-proclaimed prophets. Fate is what one makes of it, and his son was the living breathing proof of it.
He watched as his son swiftly grabbed his sword when a noise sounded beyond fire's reach. The boy was scared. Fear is good thought Hurron to himself. It will keep your eyes open in the dark of the night. Panic is what will end your life and through squinting eyes Hurron was pleased to see that his sons face bore a determined, agile look.
Winter was at its end in the mountains, but its bite was still in the air as even an old hunter like Hurron felt its grasp. No matter, the dawn was fast approaching as a brilliant light framed the peaks of Rurda. Bear peaks they called them, for hunters saw in Rurda a giant bear's claw, and it was there that Gammur will bleed the snow. There he will slay a black bear of his own, and be named a hunter.
Still, Rurda is two days away by foot, and there is still the steep path by the abyss, the ravine of the old times. Old things live at its bottom, so the legends say. Whispers of the old world can be heard by those who learn to listen. Hurron walked along the abyss that seemed to split the world in two, but all he ever heard was the relentless howling of the wind echoing in the deep. Spirits and gods never answered his calls so Hurron learned long ago that the dangers of the world came in flesh and blood, bearing claws, fangs, and blades. These he knew how to deal with, and soon, so will Gammur.
Light of the dawn reached their valley as Hurron stretched noisily, startling Gammur slightly. Hurron noticed the speed with which his son turned towards him, with sword ever so slightly leaving the hilt.
Hurron smiled. You have a hunter's speed boy. Good, you will need it when you face your bear. Gammur looked down on his sword thoughtfully.
Volkan was a better swordsman that I am and he died last year he said with the air of a man who has been carrying a troublesome burden for a while
Hurron was silent. He took a piece of dried meat and cut off a slice. He stabbed the slice with his knife and kept it over the fire. then he spoke
Volkan was an arrogant fool, he may have been good with the sword but he lacked the most important weapon of the hunter.
Gammur observed his father's grim face with a questioning look.
Hurron took a bite of dried meat chewing in silence for a moment.
Gammur observed his father with a questioning look
Hurron swallowed and washed the meat down with herbwater, and then he continued
Volkan took Idro and Taru to the cave, but instead of being smart and luring the bear out or setting a trap, they decided to fight the bear in his territory. Three idiots entered that cave, and only one made it out. They deserved their fate Gammur, they were fools and the most important weapon a hunter has is a keen mind.
Now, listen to me well Gammur. As a hunter, you must never, and I mean never, underestimate the animal. Respect it; be aware of its strength, its speed and its cunning. You are dueling centuries of that beast's ancestry. They are wise. never forget that. It is primal knowledge, wisdom of the mountains, high places, deep places, and dark places. You are entering their grounds, an there the animal is an opponent you must respect or die by your own foolishness
Gammur looked down at his sword once more in silence, sheathed it and looked resolutely at his father, smiled a bit, and then they ate the rest of the breakfast in silence.
Night had retreated by the time they packed up their makeshift camp and carried on towards the ravine path that went along the east side of the abyss. For hours, they walked until the forests retreated before the grim wasteland. Land was barren, plains of little to no color waiting for the spring that was fast approaching.
Soon the food would be bountiful, and hunters will waste no time. They will fill the ice pits with meat, ice there never melts, not even during the warmest summers. Yes, Hurron thought to himself, there will be work to do, and Gammur will join him then as a man of the tribe.
They walked the plains for hours, and the noon was behind them when they reached the abyss. It stood before them, gaping, immense, and bottomless. Old tales call it cleave of the first. For this was the place where the first planted his axe and let loose all the life that was resting in the deeps
Hurron never placed much worth on the tales of old. Hunter must keep his legs firmly planted on the ground. Hunters mind must be clean of all distractions. One who thinks too much of spirits, hags, and whispers from the deep, will start seeing such things where none exist. No, there are real dangers in this world. Hurron and Gammur walked down the winding path along the edge of the ravine in silence, listening to the howling of the wind in the deep. Gammur glanced at his father nervously.
Hurron laughed suddenly. Your mother has been filling your ears with old tales I reckon.
Gammur said nothing.
Hurron looked at his son for a moment and then continued in good spirits.
Come boy, let us have a look into the abyss, let us see if the spirits of the deep will look back at us.
Gammur hesitated for a moment and then reluctantly joined his father as he came close to the edge, and then stopped.
Smile was lost from Hurron's face as he realized that the birds that have been quite loud up until that moment have grown silent.
Tentatively he moved closer to the edge regaining his courage and at the same time cursing at his own moment of weakness, because for the first time in many years, he feared what he might see in the depths
Then it happened. World exploded, and the skies went dark with flying things, not eagles, these were things not of this world, huge, much larger than a bear most of them were. They swarmed, seemingly infinite in numbers, and different Hurron saw. Hurron looked at his son who stood there with eyes unblinking, and he looked... amazed. Hurron could not believe his own eyes. Even in this moment where all the legends were coming to life, his sons look of amazement, untainted with fear, it made Hurron feel a twinge of pride. To hells with bleeding of the snow, his son was a brave man, and no ritual of old could prove it more than this moment.
Hurron stood by his son and he stood tall as fire bloomed from the deep and a beast of unimaginable size rose before them. A red monster crowned with horns that put to shame the greatest elks antlers. Its skin glistened like jewels. A scaly terror that wielded limitless power stood before them, watching them, studying them.
Father and son stood at the worlds end looking into the eyes of the beast. Then Gammur, driven by some deep understanding, bowed before the beast, and Hurron, seeing this followed his son's example
Beast observed them in silence as the smaller ones, mere children in comparison swarmed, darkening the skies. Moment seemed to last forever when the beast opened its massive jaws and an elegant blaze of fire surrounded Hurron and Gammur. It was a flame but it wasn't hurting them in any way, they stood there not breathing, but they could do this only so long. Hurron first inhaled the flames, his son mere seconds later.
With fire, came knowledge, of old things, older than the world of man, things that remained separate, old world of fire and power, and then they heard the words of the giant beast, simple speech, speech of a child, limited words but there was ageless wisdom behind them
Hurron understood then that it was not the beast that spoke as a child, but their own minds could not comprehend more. The beast was called Barahea, the mother. He knew that, because the fire whispered to him. Fire had gifted them, and they were dragonlords from then on, the first ones, the bridge that will link the old world and new world, and from here on everything changed
Magic has entered the world