The Dragon’s Tooth was probably one of the most intimidating names I had ever heard. Since this was a fantasy world, Sharun might really pull out a massive tooth or something. Straight from a dragon’s mouth, perhaps? Or it could be a spear shaped out of bone. Maybe it was made of some sort of magical material like orichalcum or mythril?
Wait, I remember seeing Vell and some other elves working with flint. They all wore rough tunics and things that could barely count as shoes. They definitely did not have the technology to use metals. It was probably a bone then, from a dragon or a great monster, right? There’s no way Sharun was about to pull out a flint tool and call it—
“The Dragon’s Tooth,” whispered Noel as Sharun stepped out of the tent.
In Sharun’s hand was a wooden stick with some rocks stuck into one end. Sharp, pointy rocks, but rocks nonetheless. Flint microliths, to be exact. Man, can’t believe my paper on prehistoric technology was coming in handy here. Still, why the hell was a lame weapon like that given a name as cool as ‘The Dragon’s Tooth?’
“These are for you,” whispered Sharun as he passed me a brown tunic and fur shoe. I’d almost forgotten that I was still wearing a makeshift plant-loincloth. I changed inside the tent and we ran to the rocks where we’d first entered the camp.
A bunch of elves were peering over the edge of the rocky outcropping. Sharun tapped one of them on the shoulder and she turned to him. The elf made space for Sharun, who peered over the rocks. The elf he had tapped began tapping the others, and soon around six elves were crouching with us behind the rock, with only Sharun still observing the situation.
Sharun raised a hand and we stilled. The wind was blowing in our faces, so the monster couldn’t have smelled us. In fact, a faint odor began reaching our noses right before pained grunts came to our ears. Sharun kept his hand up. The sun kept falling. I didn’t even notice that I was holding my breath.
Sharun brought his hand down and the elves rushed out. They brandished their long wooden spears, all tipped with sharp pieces of flint. They fanned out, surrounding something we couldn’t see. Noel stood up and I followed her.
A huge purple hog stood a few feet away, snarling. It had a mop of dark green hair and long ivory tusks that could have skewered every single elf here at once. The monster had a gash on its right foreleg which had already become infected. There was a spear sticking out of its side. The spear had been launched by the elf Sharun had tapped right before we ran out.
The elves stared at the monster, which was fidgeting from side to side, looking for a way to break out. The elves were content to let it bleed out for as long as possible, since that would make taking it easier to take down. The monster knew this. It figured it had to make a break for it and charged the elves to its right.
The elves it had charged at dove out of the way, right as the elves opposite to them launched their spears. The monster charged straight ahead like an enraged bull. Its tusks hit empty air even as the elves’ spears pierced its tough hide in several places. But the monster had managed to break the elves’ encirclement. It didn’t stop charging, dashing wildly, trying desperately to escape.
Sharun climbed up on top of the rocky outcropping. By this point the monster was dozens of feet from the other elves. Any spears the elves threw either didn’t reach the monster or were too weak to penetrate its hide. Sharun brought back The Dragon’s Tooth behind his shoulders, winding it up like a javelin, bending his back and knee.
Step forward, release. The Dragon’s Tooth whizzed overhead, its many jagged flint-teeth screeching through the air like a banshee. The sativus hog heard the sound of the spear rushing towards it. It turned to try to knock the projectile out of the air with its tusk, meeting it midair like a parrying sword.
Crack. The monster’s tusk snapped. Squelch. The spear embedded itself squarely between the monster’s eyes. The purple colored monster stood frozen in the middle of the plain, with a broken tusk and a new wooden horn. It toppled over, seemingly due to a gust of wind. A loud thump heralded the monster’s demise. A low cheer declared the elves’ victory.
“They have to grill it until nightfall?” I said.
“Yes,” said Noel as we walked through the camp. “The meat of most monsters is poisonous. Only the blessing can neutralize the poison.”
Most of the other elves were taking care of the monster. They had already skinned and butchered it, but there was still a lot to be done. Six elves were on guard duty, surrounding their kill on all sides and keeping an eye out for scavengers. One elf climbed a tree to be on the lookout for Farro Birds. The carcass was left where it had fallen, somewhat far from the camp, which would prevent any other predators from coming over and threatening the elves at night. Still, Starry and Vell said there should be extra guards tonight. They also insisted Sharun be one of them.
Speaking of Sharun, I couldn’t get the image of him throwing that spear out of my mind. The way his skin went taut and his muscles expanded, honestly, it looked otherworldly. In all those stories from back home, elves were weak and magical, not brawny muscle-heads. Guess prehistoric times called for prehistoric physiques.
Noel pulled me aside while the other elves were busy. She looked around to make sure the coast was clear. “Cas, we have a problem.”
“What is it?” I asked.
Did someone find out our story was fake? Maybe they didn’t believe I was from another elven tribe.
“Grandpa Starry said he wants to celebrate my blessing, today,” said Noel.
“Your blessing? Isn’t that a good thing?” I asked.
“No,” she said, “you don’t understand. After a big hunt like this one, the tribe holds a ceremony to thank the ancestors. It’s supposed to be a great honor. There’s dancing, drinking, and a great feast.”
“Sounds amazing so far.” I said.
Noel poked me with her finger. “Oh yeah? And what do you think they’re going to bring out to celebrate with.”
Oh. “A fire?”
“Exactly, a blessing!”
“And if your grandpa wants to celebrate your blessing, that means he wants to bring out the fire we just brought back,” I said.
Noel nodded. “I didn’t think this would happen for a long time. Usually, we celebrate using the oldest blessing, which represents the oldest elder. But if the elder decides to honor somebody, for a great hunt or something, then we might use that person’s blessing instead.”
“Well, relax. I saw those fires in that cave back there. They looked exactly like the fires I made,” I said.
“But what if they’re not the same? Your magic is not as powerful as The Terrible’s magic. If they bring out my blessing and start honoring the ancestors, your magic might not do the things it is supposed to do,” she said.
Wait. It was supposed to do things?
“That might be a problem,” I said, at last.
Noel leaned against the wall and tapped her feet. It made soft thumping sounds because of her fur shoe. “We might have to leave the camp. I think we can outrun most of them if we have a head start, but uncle Sharun is a beast. He’ll catch up to us in no time.”
“Wait, hold on. We don’t know if my fire is different from The Terrible’s fire. We shouldn’t panic and do something we might regret.”
Noel nodded. “I’ll slip some untreated Sativus Hog meat into my uncle’s food tonight. It won’t kill him, but it should give him an upset stomach.”
“Great idea,” I said, “let’s ignore everything I just said and go with your plan then, huh?”
“You really think so?” said Noel. “I was kidding, but if you really think so, I’ll go steal some meat right now.”
Had sarcasm not been invented yet or was she trying to be funny? Even as she went to grab some poisonous meat for her uncle, I couldn’t figure out if it was my fault that Sharun would be spending the night in the woods downwind.