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A Hunting We Will Go
Darkness had just fallen on what was sure to be a chill night. The kind of night that leaves a rim of frost on everything come the morning light. The Thorin Brothers sat a short distance from the main camp, keeping their own small fire. Thurston sat staring off across the fire, at the main camp, watching the Fury as they went about readying for full nightfall. Occasionally, he’d look down at the few thick, rough pieces of parchment in his hand and scrawl something onto them. Now and again a light smile would cross his features and he’d reach for his mug of warmed cider.
Azhara glowered into the fire as though he wanted to punch it. There was a fight in there. The flames were dancing, moving, weaving and wrapping themselves around the branches in the pyramid he’d built. As the wood was consumed, its bark burnt away, revealing the grain and channels burrowed by insects. To Azhara the grooves looked like runes. They spelled “blood”.
The night’s reverie was shattered with the meaty “thump” of a body hitting the ground next to the fire. Azhara reached for his club and started to stand up. Thurston put a hand on his brother’s arm, guiding him back to his seat at the fire. Varg stood, glassy eyed behind the fire with a dead deer lying at his feet.
“I brought food.”
Looking the carcass over Thurston calmly asked, “There are no wounds on it, what did you do, scare it to death?”
“No, I chased it until it fell down, then I strangled it. To death. We going to talk or shall we eat? Who’s got a sharp knife?”
Azhara rose before Thurston could answer and produced a blade, seemingly from nowhere. Varg stared at it, unsure of whether the big man was going to use it on him or the deer.
The big dwarf-son grinned, showing all his teeth, like a wolf.
“You can never have too many knives.” He said and began butchering the night’s dinner.
“You chased this like a dog didn’t you? Worrying at its heels until it couldn’t run anymore? Like a black dog, one no one wants around.” Azhara laughed at that.
All three of them laughed at it, but not a joyous laugh. It was grim, like gallows humor.
Varg was the first to stop.
“I am far from home. We are all far from home. You are the only two Dugans I’ve seen since…since I landed here. It feels wrong to roam and to fight with no clan, no family, no kinsmen. No brothers.” He looked wistful.
“I feel like a black dog.” He looked up to the two of them.
Azhara had stopped cutting. Thurston had put down his mug and quill. They stared into the fire for a while then, in a trance.
“Hunt with me…as Black Dogs.”
I was thewed like an Auroch bull
And tusked like the great cave bear;
And you, my sweet, from head to feet
Were gowned in your glorious hair.
11/29/2010, 2:16 pm
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