Topic: [Brygun] Cornan the Barbarian  (Read 11165 times)


« on: April 19, 2020, 01:59:45 AM »
Cornan the Barbarian

An Unreal adventurer started during the Corona Virus* shutdowns and self isolation. May you enjoy the reading or even just read it for something to do. Perhaps try acting out his adventurers in your living room. Its also to give myself inspiration for writing practice.

Fair disclosure as this is a writing project this isn't a purest iron-man play through. Reloading game saves may and has happened, for example when numb in the real world I didn't notice how much ice he had fallen through. There are times when reloading won't happen and that will be his end. However that likely will mean I take another break from playing for other activities. If someone is a pure one-death type feel free to read up to a death note then ignore the rest of the thread. The goal is self fulfillment, writing and sharing experience with the community.

*: aka Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2

As for the name its a pun on both Corona for the virus and Conan.

Comments are welcome in the thread. It lets the author know people are reading. Just show general respect for each other.

As keeper of the BAC mod it will indeed be used in this play through.

A few posts will be reserved to show character stats and such.

Links to my other stories:





The island challenge

An adventure to emulate Conan

A long adventure establishing a first winter house
« Last Edit: April 27, 2023, 05:59:32 PM by Brygun »


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2020, 01:59:57 AM »

Character design:

Culture: Sartolaiset feels like it matches the Cimmerians seen at the start of Conan the Barbarian (Original Arnold movie). Driik were debate as his father was a sword smith. Really though swords is something Cornan learns about during his life.

Sex: Male, its Cornan after all

Season: Winter
‘Cause lets play on hard

Stats: Rerolls for a high strength and okay elsewhere.

Initial rituals:
General Sacrifice
Bear Skull Rite
Fox Trap Favoruableness
Rod Fisherman’s Sacrifice

Start location:
Randomized to be as if dragged toward Nerj lands

Runaway Slave
This is Cornan escaping from the gladiatoral uses

Game Course:
Advanced adventures
« Last Edit: April 23, 2020, 10:29:52 PM by Brygun »


« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2020, 02:00:09 AM »
reserved 2


« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2020, 02:00:28 AM »
reserved 3


« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2020, 02:00:36 AM »
Yesterday evening he had seen the knife on the way back. Dropping wood got him a scuff across his head. Nothing compared to the fight wounds he suffered in gladiator style matches. It was into the boots the knife was slipped at the risk of cutting his ankle. Now it had set him free.

Last night one of the slavers had barked at him. The language wasn’t well known to Cornan. Something about what is best in life. Then exhaustion had taken him in the night. How Cornan wished he had awoken at night as first planned. Now morning, the camp was stirring. If today was the sacrifice he had to leave. It has to be now.

East. East into the rising sun. Powerful legs pushing him as powerful curses roared out from the slavers. Lamentations of the enemy.

Into the trees. A twisting dash between trees to throw off any archer’s aim. So far no arrows. Another shout behind him.

“Be Free!” a slaver said.

A confounding thought to riddle the steel out of later. Deeper into the forest Cornan ran. A dead end of spruce! His heart leapt as he swirled a few steps back to get around. Glances still showed slavers in sight. Rocks, stones, large branches and the starts of plants were seen. All things he might soon need. It wasn’t time. Flee.

<Cornan 001 into the woods>
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 10:43:11 PM by Brygun »


« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2020, 02:24:34 AM »
Thoughts skip into Cornan’s head. Where was he? Running toward exhaustion in the wood. He had to get his thoughts under control to live. The slaver’s outpost was now west-south-west of him but where in the world was that.

The boots the slaver gave him looked like Reemi make. The slavers had come from back from the east with those. The cloak had come from the north with the tribe “Kiesse” on the slaver’s lips. That would put the Kaumo to the north east and the Koivula west. Cornan’s home Sartola was far away to the north west.

Shuffling winds stirred the spruce. Hair on the back of his neck pricked up. Spirits, slavers or winds it didn’t matter. Cornan resumed moving. Walking to keep a reserve of energy in case other slavers stumbled upon him.

The frozen pond came to view. He could chip it open to get a drink. Too risky. This was where he had been so many times forced to carry water back to the camp. They would come this way sooner or later.

Next of note was a marsh. Where his weight pushed in deeper ice cold dripping made their way over the top of his boots. Struggling to get them out Cornan realized how deep the foot prints were. Any one could follow these. He had to get back into the forest.

Late morning a tinkling sound of water pouring from a water skin made him freeze. Carefully peeking around the tree he could see who it was.

A man Relieving himself on a birch tree.

Dressed for war with mail under a fur over coat. A battle axe was holstered on one hip with a mace on another. A shield guige strapped to his back and a spear against the tree. Turning the man stepped out view speaking in a foreign tongue.


Fur traders or slave traders?

Cornan approached warily calling out a greeting to what was now two of them.

“Name Farabert,” said one, “Want furs winter. Steel give.”

Fur traders then. A broken conversation found the other to be called Bevisward. They knew little of the area so were glad of the warning of the slavers. It was not their goals to fight only to bring furs back to their head man across the seas. At least though for a moment Cornan was safe.

<Cornan 002 found traders>


« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2020, 03:47:16 PM »
The ease of safety began to fade. Cornan’s mind started to ask questions. What if the traders had come to witness the sacrifice? What if they told the slavers in which direction he fled. Perhaps this was all nothing. It was nearing noon. This time of year there was limited daylight. Best to move away then make a first night’s shelter from the cold.

Withered tiny lumps of berries made their way into his hand as he walked. He had no idea what they were. A few grandfather phrases came to mind like “know a mushroom or it will kill you” and “bog plants have a habit of burying you.” Though in general most berries were safe to eat its not true of all of them. Perhaps if he saw animals eating them.

Like those wolves!


Oh that’s just wonderful! A pack of hungry wolves in winter! Cornan ran for a kilometer. The traders could have wolf furs if they wanted a fight. The slavers might shelter or fight the wolves. So long as wolves didn’t chase him. It was Cornan who was alone from the herd, so to speak. Easy prey for a wolf pack.

He stopped running when the spruce gave way to a patch of heathland. Here he could see better. There were plants here. Young shoots that maybe edible. Certainly not the dangerous bog plants.

This spot was a blessing. A hope that the spirits were with him. Just over there was a birch sapling. Seemingly all alone among the heath pine and spruce. As if placed there for such a rescue as this. With the rusty knife he cut it down then shaped it into a withe. At least he had his first cordage.

How did it go again? The five C plus one of survival.

Cutting. The rusty knife was that. To take things apart.

Cordage. He now had at least the withe to tie things together.

Cover. His clothes, the fur cloak and he could make a lean to.

Carry. A means to carry things. This was a problem. Only doubling over his cloak was doing that.

Combustion. A means to start a fire. This would be desperately needed. Rocks scattered might make sparks. The rusty knife’s back side might too. He gathered whittlings from the withe and dried winter pine branches for kindling.

The plus one “C” was care. This was lacking. Bandages of any sort to clot wounds. He had neither wounds nor bandages. At least battering in fight practice gave a chance to observe bandaging. As a boy before the capturing never was much time spent cooking with mother or gathering with sister. Care also meant herbs he didn’t know for poultices and herbs he didn’t know for teas.

As a slave he had learned sword fighting for when the gladiators games were more lethal. They had also had him fight wood on wood to train the other slavers. One thing he also knew from his youth was archery. He boasted to the slavers of being a better shot than them. It amused them to let him compete with them or with visitors, all with a spear near his back should Cornan think of changing to a living target.

Those young days came to mind. This momentary freedom like a fresh spring wind. Days turning steaming ash into the soil for new fields. Chopping at wood for shapes that could fit together. As a boy he made a low shed for a favored dog. Small it may have been it did take the same joints as a full house would.

A chirping bird awoke him back to the now. He was in a heathland nearing noon. There were “C” to fill out to survive the first night.

He avoided a patch of unknown mushrooms, “know a mushroom or it will kill you.” A few dry grasses nibbled like a crude salad. A few rocks and stones were gathered for crafting. Perhaps to make a stone-axe soon.

Bright colors appear through the trees. Cornan rushed over to lingonberries! This was a blessed heathland he’d run to. Enough moisture form the the berries would make good on needing to find drinking water. He’d need meat in a few days or malnutrition would set in. This was a chance to at least start. Gathering them led to a mushroom he did know, yellow coat an edible for flavor useful in soups.

<Cornan 003 blessed heathland>


« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2020, 10:42:45 PM »
Added to post 2 attachments for stats, skills and starting position.

Added to post 3 pic of the initial in game position.


« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2020, 11:32:31 PM »
Berry harvesting is inefficient they say. Its true. The slow rate of picking for the nutrition is best done to give variety when you have other food sources. The grasses he was eating and the mushrooms were fairly weak on their own.

Pondering this Cornan looked to the sun. It was already afternoon! Cornan had also become cold. Lacking proper clothing without a fire in Dead month winter risks frostbite. He best get started on a shelter. A few spruce trees would provide the cover and bedding.

Man spruce twigs woven together make a crude matting. It at least keeps one off the ground. The classic three bar lean-to with two upright and a cross bar would be the shelter. A young pine laboriously whittled with the rusty knife provided these. More spruce would be laid along one side to make slanted wall. Twisting the spruce twigs so they arc downward would help shed water, or snow.

Low ground would mean cold air flowing in though blocking of the wind was better. Most important was a place for a small fire that wouldn’t be easy for searchers to see.

This was tiring, time consuming with numbed fingers faltering in their grip. The sun was down without the shelter completed. Stumbling in the evening dark Cornan made a ring of rocks and stone to safe guard a fire.

It was a failure.

He fell asleep on the spruce mat without the lean to made. His staggering mind focused on this task. It wasn’t until the early afternoon the lean to was done. Pathetic Cornan thought to himself. What had kept him warm was the small fire, the fur cloak and the spruce mat. Well the latter two he could carry and make new fires elsewhere.

He was starving now too. The thin diet of lingonberries and whatever grass wasn’t going to keep him going. If he stayed he would soon die here.

A fear crept along his skin. A different fear. It wasn’t the surging fear of swords clashing in a gladiator duels or the pounding of punishments. It was the question of whether he was fit to live. Did he know what he needed to live? Could he figure things out? Did he matter?

Thirst was clawing at him as well. The berries weren’t going to be enough. Weak Cornan gathered a more rocks, stones and branches. He laid out branches for markers. Three singles then a cluster of three to give the direction like an arrow to the shelter.

Another small fire in the shelter with its mat made him sweat in the fur cloak. His muscles were weaker now from a day without meat. One can survive a week or two like that. It was water that was maddening him. He simply couldnt eat enough berries for that. That night he carved a length of pine into a staff. Sleeping with the cruelty of that deep thirst clawed at his soul. Over and over again he woke up knowing he needed to drink.

Finally the thin morning light made travel reasonable. To the east there is a pine mire. Pools of iced over water. Crazed muscles pounded on the ice. It broke through. Like a desperate dog Cornan pushed his face into the icy water. The chill was nothing compared to two days of drinkless berry munching.

He rolled onto his back.

Well, he wasn’t going to die of thirst after all.

<Cornan 004 first drinking>


« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2020, 12:45:54 AM »
After contemplation Cornan rose to his feet. He hadn’t thanked the spirits since even finding the rusty knife. He set out flowers from the grasses next to the hole in the ice. Perhaps animals could come here to drink.

“Spirits it has been long since I spoke to you. I do not know if you helped me or not. If you melted the snow on this knife or if was for your own sake. For what I do have now I thank you. If it was your purpose to leave me so long a slave… then to hell with you.”

Walking off Cornan realized he was heading southeast. This was toward the Reemi tribe, the coast and toward revenge on the slaver’s people. It was away from the blessed heathland whose blessing would have also slowly killed him. Back to the west was too dangerous with the slavers. The north was an option but would it not be even colder to the north? South east then.

Walking with his thoughts Cornant remembered to snatch up edible flowers, a few berries and cut a few saplings into withes. “Gather as you go” is an ancient wisdom.

In the late morning he saw a river. It was running from the north to the south east. Now he could follow it with good chances of entering Reemi lands. With the staff he would be able to get water.

Food or rather meat was still a challenge. There were tales of travelers like Beodrin and Novrus who each night put out loop snares and lever traps. Though not each night there were times they woke to squirrels and birds caught. Fresh roast meat in the morning sounded so good. Like the second time in your life you smell frying bacon. The first time you didn’t know what it was. It was the second that your mouth watered. Cornan laughed deeply.

Less than an hour later Cornan was cursing.

It wasn’t a river! It was a lake! He stared out over the slushy snow covering. There was nothing to do but to press on without a river to follow.

Noontime discovered more lakes. If some fed the rivers to Reemi he didn’t know. It did force his path to twist to avoid risking crossing them.

Early afternoon an elk was in view. His hand was growing numb as well. On an open mire he stood no chance of closing on the elk. It somehow disappeared like a spirit in the mists.

That night he camped near a random lake. The spruce matting beneath to separate him from conduction heat loss to the ground. His fur cloak pulled around over top like a blanket. A small fire ringed with heat reflecting rocks that also gave off their heat once the fire was out. A few cranberries from the shore added to his lingonberry and flower chewing.

He awoke nicely hot. It was the thin light of early morning. Faint snowing was coming down. If it continued he certainly would need to make a lean to. Staff and hands brushed against trees to make slow progress walking on.

Later morning the sun was rising farther. It glimmered on a thin line of smoke. A settlement!

<Cornan 005 found settlement>


« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2020, 02:12:09 AM »

Smiling as his staff helped him walk Cornan moved toward the houses. Another settlement could be seen before had even reached the first one. Stepping out from the spruce he could see they were Reemi.

Antti was the first Cornan spoke to. Indeed Antti was a Reemi tribesman. The second person was a young lady named Rauni. Cornan continued introducing himself. All he could trade for now was the news of the slavers, traders and elk. This did not gain him meat. This village showed little kindness to Cornan.

Searching the fields and pastures found nothing to eat.

It was though at the second village there was talk of work needing to be done. Leemus gave a task of gathering. Quickly done for strong Cornan. The very work the slavers had him do so often. In return he took up a bag of broad beans. While not meat the nutrition was good and they won’t spoil over the next few days. He ate a full pound to satisfy his hunger. Seeing the hunger Leemus also let Cornan have six cuts of meat.

A road leading out westward led to several other settlements. Cornan decided he could stay in this area for weeks to trade with them all. The last of the villages was “Juniper forest” where he would sleep indoors for the first time in months.

In the morning so as to not over stay his welcome Cornan made to a pair of small lakes to the south. There he set to making a lean-to shelter. He should be safe enough to making this an improved camp with traps. The two lakes came very close to each other. He had chosen there as a place to make a trap fence. Once the ice melted animals would be directed by the water into where a pit trap would come to be. The distance to down also made sure there would be no accidental accusations of thieving.

The shelter work was still a struggle. It wasn’t finished until after midnight. Cornan slept through much of the day as a result. It was now, according to the villagers, Day 2 of the 10th week before midwinter point. The snow had come down heavily. The world of this camp was now layered in the white blanket. Cornan would have much trouble getting through winter on his own. The nearby villages were sure to be of great assistance.

With guide markers already laid out he could move about chores without fear of losing track of shelter. His next task was to shape the staff into a javelin. It was a great time consumer taking into the next day to finish.

He laid out the first lever traps. A light style for catching squirrels, birds or making noises to alert the camp of danger. A fallen tree was cleared of branches then rolled near the shelter. It was in a partial circle of spruce the shelter had been placed. These blocked the wind, limited spotting and would limit attackers should it come to that. It was perhaps not the most densest defense but raiders would hopefully take more interest in the villages than the camp of an impoverished woodsman like Cornan.

He also made another matting of spruce to use as another way to wrap up inside the lean-to. For this early winter the two mats in the lean-to with a cooling fire with rocks was proving enough to awaken rather warm. Deepest winter might still require sheltering in the villages who it is hoped would be far more understanding in those conditions.

Day 4 of the 10th week to Midwinter Cornan gave a happy squeal. One of the traps had caught a bird! Now he was starting to get his own meat. By eating a mix of flowers and berries with only occasional beans he still had several pounds of the broad beans left. It was a black grouse of perhaps two pounds of meat, bones and feather. With so little meat Cornan sacrificed flowers to the spirits. Hopefully they would understand.

<Cornan 006 Improved camp started>


« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2020, 02:14:48 AM »

Placing the shelter in a partial ring then filling in most or all the gaps with traps helps both your defense and creates a passive "income".

There are a few more traps not in view near the camp. It was one of those that caught the bird.

As you are near the camp doing chores and crafting the game's detail mode is active. Birds especially will in those conditions blunder into the traps now and then.

The improved camp is easier to manage the the shelter, fire and sorting squares if there is several tiles you can see. In a travel camp instead go for a minimal amount of space for the shelter and fire to give better defense.

Mind you the game now allows multiple enemies on one square which reduces the benefit of this tactical planning. (Wasn't a fan of that change myself but there were exploits the other way in the player attacking a settlement vs this method of defending the player's camp)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2020, 02:17:36 AM by Brygun »


« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2020, 05:15:43 PM »
It was noon now with fist deep snow.It was just on edge of freezing. Cornan’s breath misted in the air. The snow worried him. This depth was shallow yet it would thicken. Finding things on the ground would only get harder. Both the covering and how deep snow fatigue those moving.

In theory he could make skis. That is if he wasn’t so miserable in crafting. It took ten hours to turn a staff into a javelin. He had kept whittling it to get a balance that was still clumsy. The fire hardened point was stronger yet it had come off badly enough to have trimmed it shorter to reheat a fresh end. Skis needed foot leathers, the boots, and a ski pole needed leather too. The single small bird was as much as a start as a filling a barrel with a spoon.

Circling the north part of the smaller of the two lakes he gathered here and there. These flowers and berries would wither soon. Then they would be gone. It wasn’t really worth it to treat them like farm crops. Too inefficient to gather. They were normally fetched when the real crops didn’t need tending. More rocks and stones. The heavy stones would provide the weight force for more traps. Turning inedible stones into edible meat. Another fallen tree was found which he rolled closer to the camp. Eventually getting it there would be better than felling a tree with whatever crude axe he could one day muster. He slept with a small smokey fire heating the rocks to continue to emit heat to him.

In the morning he awoke hot. A healthy sign for now. With lake water from his regular ice breaking spot he could drink to make up his sweat. Flowers, berries then finally a small portion of beans made up his breakfast. At the water hole he stretched the bird hide as the last stage in its tanning. It was a tiny amount. At least he could use it to tie a corner on his shirt as a crude satchel.

Light was minimal. Cornan decided to use the thin light times to split the spruce branches. The winter ones were drier. Started with the rusty knife, then pulling carefully with the knife to help with knots they paired down. Now they could be twisted as primitive cordage. He hadn’t done this in years. Each was turned back on itself to make a loop snare. Crude miserable loop snares. Success would lay in numbers. Berries, flowers and his camp cooking smells would draw in animals. Hopefully small animals not bears or that pack of wolves.

With rising light he trudged along the west bank turning east to follow the south bank of the smaller lake. More stones, berries and flowers. A few saplings and a useful shaft of pine completed the load carried back. It was over a hundred and fifty pounds in all that. His time as a hard worked slave and his natural size of over six feet had its advantages.

Returning he smirked merrily. Another bird was caught in another trap. This was how the sagas of Novrus spoke of improved camps. Until you can bring down big came scatter cluster of traps and snares around your work sight.

Going to start cleaning the catch another bird was caught. One in the freshly made loop snares! This was a good day for eating! Cornan also wondered if this was a migration that would thin out as the days past. He put out a sacrifice of berries with a short prayer of thanks.

Rain came pounding down around noon. He was out cleaning the two birds. In his starvation he realized he had snapped them apart for meat before skinning! A foul curse he slung out into the world for his own mistake. Skin first, butcher second!

Gather was done in the afternoon. Into the evening he started progress on returning that tree trunk.


All in the forest heard his guttural whooping. He hadn’t seen the mire pond for the snow on the ice. The tree went in and so did Cornan! He was soaked in bitter cold. It was no more than waist deep. He had been pushing the log which went in and he fell head first all the way in as well. Panicked cold drove him out only to collapse into more thin ice. It was a wider pool. He had walked by it a few times but only a few times. The fading light, the snow and his own bliss had led to this.

Stepping now onto firm ground his first thoughts were to save the tree. Later he would laugh at saving a tree from floating. He pushed it just a little ways before abandoning it. He hurried to the shelter to start an emergency fire.

To stay awake he carved stakes from one of the pine shafts. Cornan was worried if he fell asleep too soon before drying it would be his end. The work also kept his mind off of death. Finally done he was dry and it was dark. That is all he cared about. When he awoke it was the afternoon.

This day was one of reflection. Another bird trapped being sure to skin it first before butchering. Reseting traps to clear the snow. Just being alive. Barely alive after that freezing drop.

Thoughts drifted to slave days. Being beaten for not acting when they said things in their own language that he didn’t know. Bruises straining on aching muscles to carry loads of firewood. Long march with the a mountain sized bundle of goods when the camp moved. Cornan could carry. Cornan could haul. Cornan had moved in the ice covered tree to the camp with little thought.

He did gather the presence of mind to save some of the bird meat to bait a medium sized lever trap. It might catch something more productive.

Leaning back in the late he thought of his family. Years since they had been seen. His father took up a recently made sword to chop off a raider’s arm. Another raider’s axe wounded father then the sword pierced the raider’s throat. Having been a gladiator now Cornan realized his father’s sword lessons had seem like normal child’s play. The truth sunk in that his father had a warrior’s skill. It was a swarm of dogs that pulled down his father. Arrows from a neighbor wounded the dogs. Cornan’s mother picked up the sword shielding the boy Cornan with her free hand. He had hid his eyes from the monstrous looking raider with the calm eyes. When mother’s hand slid away Cornan opened his eyes to see her unmoving eyes looking up from the snow where her head was no longer with her body.

Taking a breath he put out sacrifices to his parent’s spirits then dozed off to sleep.

This day, day 7 of the 10th week to midwinter point, was a gentle day. Cornan explored a short distance east doing more gathering. The berries were now of use as trap bait. A stock of them was now in the shelter. He still ate them at times between roasted meats. Perhaps five pounds of beans remained as a reserve.
 Starvation slightly weakened him. It was a fighting balance. Like two gladiators making minor wounds seeing who would bleed or weaken first. Cornan was fighting this battle. It was dangerous. He could win. He could live.

The next day was a routine. Another single bird caught. Various traps reset. Gathering nearby. Soon he’d have enough leather to make a stone axe. As a precaution he placed out pairs of branches around that mire pool he feel into. The safe path was marked with spruce. Let there be no future accidents.

Into the evening he held his hands out. They were steady. He had over come the slight starvation with the roasted birds. One might think the battle was won. Cornan knew better. With deep winter coming this was just the first match. Meaner, stronger, bigger fighters were coming with the deep winter storms. Tonight he slept contented knowing this battle was won. The second victory if you count escaping in the first place.

<<Cornan 007 out of stavation>>


« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2020, 06:11:50 PM »
Day 2 of the 9th week before midwinter.

No birds in the traps this morning. Still there is a stash of berries, flowers and reserve beans.

Morning chores start with taking the birds hides into a session of splice, braid and twist into a leather rope. Next selecting a stone from the gravel pile of two score rocks and over a dozen heavy stones for an axe head. One of the two slender trunk shafts is chosen. The straighter one will be a stronger handle. A length of the leather rope is cut off estimated for needed size. A meal of berries with flowers then the real task. Four hours later the stone axe swings in his hand.

Death to two trapped birds serve as the stone axe’s birthing ceremony.

Reseting traps and a short gather bring the day to an end. It was now numbingly cold to be out of the shelter for long. Minimal fires were no longer enough to sleep through the night. The battle for survival was far from over.

Next morning the first chore brings the pounding of the stone axe on one of the collected tree trunks. He broke it down into blocks. One he split again then using the rusty knife scooped out shapes for bowls.

These came out well. Cornan could make more of these. Then take them to the towns as trade goods. He didn’t have to be in self isolation all the time. The next pair of bowls wasn’t so good. Defects in the block he hadn’t accounted for. It was a days work without new birds. Still he felt it would be worth while now to plan on stocking up a trip into town.

<<Cornan 008 made bowls>>


« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2020, 09:16:54 PM »
The next day was also without birds. The lack of meat was again starting to burden Cornan. He ate beans reducing the reserve he had hoped to keep to the deep winter.

By da 5 of the 8th week to midwinter the starvation was far worse than before. Only one bird in a few days. Crafting took time away from gathering. Traps had been reset with the a few relocated to make a new L like catch zone. With only a few bowls and fox board traps it would have be time to go to the towns for assistance.

The nearest town’s sage told Aimo needed help. Perhaps the sage had taken pity on Cornan. This would be good as the trade items amounted to getting all of three arrows. They are a lighter trade item which is helpful. Without a bow they wouldn’t do much.

Old Aimo wanted to make repairs to the sauna. A stack of thirty stones would be needed. Fetching these from the pastures and fields would also be helpful. It worked out to worth a second bag of broad beans. A crucial need with the first bag’s beans all consumed. Cornan was back to his camp by mid morning. The snow was now ankle deep.

Putting his hands on his hips Cornan had to think. If it was that the bird migration had moved on then he needed to trap land animals. The freeze had already taken the ground even if he had a shovel to dig a pit trap with. Still the narrow between the lakes had been a deciding factor in where to setup. If the thought of the improved camp’s trap as the convenient trap line it was time to lay sets by the narrow. Grandfather might call it a near trap line. One you could walk too in a few minutes with that distance stopping your camp activity from spooking the animals away.

Gathering for this task a black grouse flew overhead. A good sign. Then he saw an anthill. There is legends about anthills though he never learned the proper ritual. So Cornan put on the anthill berries. A gesture to the ant spirits and the forests for mutual feeding. Sadness also came to Cronan seeing that new shrubs of berries he had been eating were now withered from the cold. They could no longer be relied on to sustain him, meager as it had been.

At the narrow half day old ermine tracks revealed this idea would be a good one. Using the ermine’s tracks Cornan could better imagine how large animals might travel across the narrows. Placing traps today was to cut off the alternates. Later they would funnel game to where a pit trap would go. Light lever traps were made into an array along one shore with the other having a larger trap more suitable for an ermine. For bait there was only berries. Cornan’s stomach grumbled in complaint at leaving them. His mind spoke back that this was an investment capable of greater return.

The next morning he returned adding a few more traps. With the ice already thick enough on the lakes he felt for now he should put in a trap in the planned path. It was then that it occurred to him he could make a triple trunk pyramid trap in this place. Such a trap was meant for bears though it might wound an elk that pushed into it.

 An accident occurred moving the third trunk. With the traps arranged Cornan had brought it along the ice. The path was solid only at first. As before when the ice did break he was dumped in. The temperature in the air was just above freezing. Perhaps this is what had thinned the ice. With this in mind Cornan made an emergency fire to continue working. This and his his own exertions soon dried him and got him warm, at least in the milder air. There was now over a dozen traps in this nearby line. Bait was limited though with the heavy dead fall triple trunk being the priority.

<<Cornan 009 traps in narrow>>