He woke up shivering, nauseated and ashamed. The dream he had, wasn't a dream at all but a memory of the day before. It was so vivid still, in his mind. Raithe reached out and took hold of his staff and then he sat up, leaning against the wall behind him, laying the staff horizontally across his knees.
How could I have... I just... left her, he choked up at the image of that girl, squirming, wriggling, trying to get free. The terror in her face as she knew he had given up. Luna had seen him give up. And then there was that Sosuke character... the man had just vanished after the giant serpent crashed down, sending waves up everywhere. He hadn't gone to look for him either. I'm such a coward, Raithe thought as he closed his eyes. He wanted nothing more but to forget. Forgetting though... wouldn't be so easy.
He opened his eyes a moment later and glanced toward the entrance. Light shone in, illuminating its interior. The walls felt as if they might have been carved out carefully by someone. They were perfectly round and smooth and the roof of the cave was just high enough, for him to stand to his full height. Raithe noticed too, just how small this tiny cave was. He figured if he had one other person with him, it would fit them, himself and a small fire and that would be it. But he didn't have anyone with him. They were both gone and it was his... No, stop it you idiot! Feeling sorry for himself wouldn't help in any way. They were gone now and there was nothing left to do, but to move on.
With a strained grunt, Raithe placed one hand up against the wall. He took his staff and placed one end against the ground and heaved himself up. As he did, every muscle in his body felt weak and struggled to keep him upright. A wave of dizziness came over him and he nearly collapsed right back down again. Shaking his head, Raithe planted the foot on his good leg, out in front and prevented himself from falling and then he limped weakly over to the exit.
He stepped out into the warm sunlight and basked for a moment, taking in the heat it provided. Raithe closed his eyes and raised his head to the sky. He shivered. “W-what is w-wrong with me?” he asked out loud. He could feel the warmth hit his skin, but it was almost like it bounced off or something. Raithe still felt cold.
Taking one, staggering step forward, he noticed something on the ground. Set out neatly by the entrance were several sticks of all different shapes and sizes, a large piece of bark with a stick similar to the one he carried, only it was shorter. And there was also dried grass and leaves strewn about. Had that panther...? He shook his head. No, it couldn't be. How would an animal know he needed... it didn't matter. Whomever had left this all here, had left him with just enough to make a fire and keep it going for several hours. And they had left it all out in the sun, where it could dry. That at least took care of one task he needed to do. Now there was the other. The task of gathering food.
Even if he could find some sustenance, he didn't know if he would have the stomach for it. Sure he was hungry, but he also felt sick. The nausea wouldn't leave him. Raithe let out a breath and limped over to the edge of the ridge where he was currently standing. Placing one hand over his eyes to block the sun, he glanced around. His eyes went wide when words appeared in front of him. They appeared in a box similar to when they had all brought up the interface, but these words appeared on their own.
|Welcome to Yistle Island|
That was... the name of this place. Raithe let out a small, quiet chuckle and scanned the area for anything, any place there might be food. He also listened, moving his feline ears in one direction, then in another. They perked up and he moved his gaze. Where he had heard the sound, came from a place not very far from where he was currently. Trickling water in a steady stream.
Where there was water, he knew he could probably find fish. Moving as careful as he could, Raithe limped to the path that had led him up to the cave and down it. The slope was still slippery from rainwater and he had to focus hard, just to stay upright.
It was when he neared the bottom that he met an especially slippery patch of stone and mud, his staff slid on it and down he went. Tumbling the rest of the way to the bottom. Raithe grimaced, when his senses came back after his perilous fall and pushed himself back up. He looked over his arms and legs, finding a large scrape on the opposite arm of the leg that was hurt. It stung and bled a little, but it wasn't serious.
With a deep breath, he hauled himself to his feet. The water source was close, he could hear it, feel it and taste it in the air. It was then that he realized, his throat was also parched. With a determined gait, he walked... or limped more slowly, in that direction.
The clearing he came out into, was simply breathtaking. He stood there, awed by how the sunlight shone golden into the perfectly clear water of a natural spring. The pond opened up into a small stream, which he guessed ran out into either the ocean or a lake somewhere. He looked around and though that there must have been at least a hundred different plants all growing around the rocky edges. Grass, flowers, shrubs of all different kinds. There were a few bushes with some type of berry growing on them and the number of animals all sitting around it, partaking in that cool, refreshing liquid.
Both predators and prey stood around the pond, heads bowed into it, lapping it up. When finished, they would raise their heads again, pause as if saying, thanks for the peace and then bound off again, into the thicket.
Raithe hobbled over and peered down into it. The pond was actually of a fairly good size and deep. It appeared to be a spawning location for a type of fish. Salmon maybe? Or perhaps tuna. He wasn't sure, but he knew from their size that just one of them would be enough. A quiet huffing noise caught his attention and he turned to look.
Standing on the top of a small ridge, looking down at him was the panther. He was sure that it was the same one who had rescued him the day before. She watched him intently with her golden eyes.
“T-thank you,” he said, still shivering a little. “F-for showing me shelter I mean.”
As if contented by his words, she plopped down right there. Still watching him curiously.
Raithe waved a hand to her and nodded, before kneeling down to look inside. As of now, he had no tools which would allow him to catch one. “Alright...” he said. “With my hands then.” cupping both hands together, he reached in and then pulled out, carrying some water to his mouth. As he sipped the fresh liquid, it was cool and clean, sliding down his throat with ease and he felt revitalized. Like he had more energy now than before.
Nodding to himself, Raithe slipped into the pond quickly. Immediately the chill ran up his spine. While sometimes it was better to just rip the bandade off, this was one of those times where moving at a more slow, leisurely pace would have sufficed. The chill was about ten times worse than having an ice cube thrown down the back of one's shirt.
If there was one good thing about the temperature of the water, it was that in minutes, his injured leg had gone numb and the chills he had before, all but vanished. “Okay,” Raithe said as he waded further in. “Let's see if I can manage this.”
Some of the smaller fish he waded passed, swam promptly out of the way. Sneakily, Raithe positioned himself behind one of the larger ones, waited until it was still and with both hands, plunged his whole upper half in, to get it. He stood up straight again, after the failed attempt. His quarry had gotten away.
Cold water dripped down from his black hair and it hung low, in his face. Raithe brushed some of it aside and glanced up to where the panther was still watching him. If animals could have facial expressions, hers would have been one of smugness. It was almost as if she was smiling at him. Laughing inwardly. He put his hands on his hips and said, “this isn't so easy you know. I'd like to see you try it.” after he said that, Raithe realized that for a feline who had grown up in the wild, having to hunt and kill on a daily basis to survive, catching a single fish would be easy for her.
The panther snorted and stood up, turned around and walk away. Her gait was unsteady, like she was limping and on her black coat, in the shine of a bright sun, he thought he could see the slight glint of something shiny and red.
He sighed and turned back to the mighty task of catching a fish. Raithe eyed it carefully as it swam around in a slow circle. As the fish went in front of him, he plunged in again. This time with a little success, but the slippery bastard managed to slip right out of his grip! He let out a frustrated growl which sounded a lot like that of the panther's and stood up. This went on for an hour or so, with each failure inching closer and closer to his success. And then he was finally able to nab one!
Quickly, Raithe threw the wriggling fish onto land and climbed out after it, being careful of his injured leg. He took his staff up and the fish and began his hobble back to the cave. Only a couple, wobbly, unsteady steps were taken when Raithe stopped. His head shot up, ears alert.
Somewhere out there, in the dense forest came the strangled, pained roar of a feline, followed by several vicious sounding squeaks and squeals. He glanced back to where the cave was and then to where the sound had come from. It terrified him, yet at the same time, he wanted to investigate. Of course he knew it would be foolish in his condition but... he didn't know exactly how to explain it. It was almost as if he was being compelled in that direction.
For a time, he stood there in silence. Listening to the wind as it blew through the trees, making them sway, dancing to an unheard tune. Water continued to trickle gently. Birds chirped up in the canopy. He could hear the sound of a frog croaking, wings flapping and then... that strangled roar. A growl as if the creature who had made it was calling for help.
Raithe altered his course and using his staff, limped around the pond and into the trees. Every once in a while, he would stop and listen for the noise. When it sounded out again, he would start moving. His pace quicker, more eager. The feline roar and several, angry squeals. He came out into another clearing and across it, was another cave. Facing toward it were several large, angry boars and facing them, teeth bared, was that panther.
One whole side of her was bloodied and she seemed to be favoring the opposite paw. What disturbed him even more though, were what lie beneath her form. Raithe stared at the seven mangled corpses of tiny cubs. Her children. Those boars had...
Anger bubbled up inside of him. He knew it was irrational, they were only animals after all. Doing what they needed in order to survive. But... the panther had saved him the night before, by way of leading him to a place where he could be sheltered. She was an intelligent creature. Maybe not as much as he, but pretty damned close and those... those were... had been her children.
“I am sorry for what has happened to you,” Raithe said, trying to keep the rage out of his voice. The grip he had on his staff tightened. Earlier, he had let two people who could have been his friends, down. He was not about to do that again. Not ever. With one strong overhand thrust, he threw his quarry over the boars, where it landed with a thump, on the ground beside the panther.
She glanced at it and then back at him.
One of them charged toward the fish, but was quickly swatted away by the panther, who then positioned her whole body in front of it, blocking their path to potential food. Two other boars turned to look at him, squealing angrily. They paused, staring. Almost like they were unsure what to make of this strange creature standing before them. And then they charged with a furry!
|Combat Skills Acquired|
|strafe left or right of the opponent to either dodge or gain the upper-hand.|
|roll to dodge attacks.|
Raithe strafed to the right and with his staff, hit the creature in the flank as it missed him. The other boar came at him then and raising his staff up, was all he could manage before the snarling beast was on top of him. With great effort, he was able to hold the beast above him, preventing those sharp tusks from boring into his flesh.
The panther nipped at her attacker and swiped at it with a paw, then she bounded passed and sank her teeth deep into the one Raithe was holding back. The little boar squealed in pain and kicked, hitting the panther hard in her jaw. She backed away just as another charged at her, sinking those thick tusks into her shoulder.
Rolling upright, Raithe brought his staff down upon the creatures head. Frightened and hurt, it backed away slightly, squealing and shaking its head. He limped over to the panther now, exhausted of the little energy he was made to expend. Raithe placed a hand on her back and they placed themselves by the cave and the seven lifeless corpses of her kittens. He knelt down, facing the boars and was prepared for another of their onslaughts. His new friend did the same, crouching with her ears back and a low, warning growl escaped her throat.
The boars charged again. This time all of them, all at once!
His eyes went wide as one... two... three arrows shot them down in quick succession. The last thing Raithe vaguely remembered before collapsing, was seeing the form of a young man. Not much older or younger than himself, his skin was of a dark copper hue, he had long black hair which had been braided thickly and hung down to his waist and he carried a bow.
The second figure was an old woman, shorter by at least two feet. Her skin was copper as well and while her hair might have been black once, it was now silver and done up in the same thick braid. The old woman also carried a bow.
Raithe closed his eyes and everything went black.