Topic: Tapio's blessing  (Read 625 times)


Harjus

« on: January 23, 2024, 12:11:27 PM »
This might be a one-off thing, or then not. We'll see how the character arc develops and how much time and interest I have. I just wanted to share this because it somehow felt an unlikely event.

Untamo was laying down branches for a fire, his thoughts still lingering on the grouse he had just killed. The decision to take a few extra steps closer to the bird had paid off, even though it meant that he had to take the shot from an awkward position to avoid the lowest branches of the nearby spruce. Snow was currently ankle-deep, and each step he had taken could have been enough to alarm the bird of his presence. As he is pondering this, Rauno hears snow crunching and looks up, seeing a figure appear behind a thick spruce. The boy could not be much older than 16, dressed in ragged clothes and wielding a javelin in his right hand. A seal-triber, he reckoned from his size and attire. After all, the seal-tribe lands were only a two- or three-day travel due west.

"So it was the grouse that was making that death rattle", the boy began. His voice sounded raspy, unusual for a boy of his age. "Indeed", Rauno replied, standing up and approaching the boy. He stopped when he saw a deep puncture wound in the boy's neck. The boy smiles, "Oh yes, you would not believe the things that have happened to me over the last few weeks. Let's share the fire, I'll tell you all about it".

Soon the two figures are sitting on spruce twigs around the fire, Rauno preparing to roast his bird, and the boy reheating a piece of meat of his own. "Perhaps three weeks ago, I woke up in the woods -  hurt, lost and afraid. I had wounds all over my body, including this nasty wound in my neck that is still aching. I had my broad knife and my clothes, nothing else. It was snowing and getting dark, so I was looking for a shelter for the night. I stumble upon a cave, and decide to see if I could spend the night there. I light up a torch and look around the cave."

"As I reach the furthest section of the cave, I'm petrified by fear. There is a frigging bear in the cave, roaring at me. I think that this might be the end of me right now. I take a step back and grab my knife from my belt, thinking that I may have only one possibility of stabbing the bear before it gets me. In my wounded condition, I probably cannot run away from the beast, so I reckon my best bet is a heroic last stand if the bear rushes at me. So I stand there, a torch in my other hand, and knife in the other, anticipating to see a beast emerge from the darkness."

"Yet, the bear does not come. I wait for a moment more, but I can hear nothing but my own pounding heartbeat. Then, my curiosity takes over and I take one step back towards the bear. Then the realization hits me. I'm standing on a ledge, and there is no easy way out of the hollow at the back of the cave. I would be able to find some handholds here and there to pull myself up the rock face, but a bear cannot grasp the rock formations and is thus stuck down there. The bear must've stumbled in the dark and slided to the bottom. I chortle, finding amusement in that I am still very much alive."

"I exit the cave, find a place to rest and hatch my plan. I am going to return to that cave. I spend the next day or two preparing. I gather some slender trunks and make crude javelins out of them. Before noon, I stand again at the entrance of the cave. The bear is still at the back of the cave, roaring at me, clearly frustrated by the situation. I throw the first javelin and it hits the bear in its rear leg. The next few miss, and the bear moves out of sight further into the cave. I react quickly and a grab a few of the missed javelins while the bear is away. That was nearly fatal, as the bear rushes and tries to swipe me with his paw, but I manage to dodge it just barely. After that, the bear had no chance. I throw a few javelins into its body, and then finish the bear by taking a step to the edge and thrusting my javelin through its eye socket."

"So now, I am a bear-slayer. I skin the carcass and spend the next few days tending my wounds and cooking. Maybe two weeks go by as I familiarize myself with the surroundings, returning every now and then to the cave to rest and pick up some of the bear meats I've left there for safekeeping. As I return, I spot elk tracks at the very entrance of the cave. It had been at the entrance but then doubled back out. After a while, I spot the same elk some distance below in a slope. I had just returned from a hunting trip, and I knew that I could not chase and catch the elk in my current condition. So I leave it be and get into the cave, deciding to do some crafts instead."

"After an hour or so, the elk appears at the entrance of the cave, just a few meters from me. I grab my javelin and throw it at the elk, and it strikes good. As I am grabbing the next javelin, I lose sight of the elk and assume it ran outside. So I go outside and try to locate where the elk ran to. There are numerous tracks all over, so I walk all the way around the cave but can only find one pair of prints that lead towards the cave. So the elk must've panicked and dashed INSIDE the cave, right beside me as I was turned my head to look for the next javelin. I grab a torch, light it, and enter deeper into the cave. I spot the elk and realize it could still escape if it gets past me to the cave entrance. However, the odds were heavily favoring me and after a short fight the elk lies dead on the cave floor."

"So at this point, I've concluded that the cave must be blessed by Tapio. Once, it has offered me the life of the King of the forest, in a manner which I've never even heard of before. Not only that, but then an elk happens to wander into the very same cave. The elk could have ran outside, yet something made the creature to dash inside, as if drawn by some greater power. And, the elk could've easily escaped as I stupidly made a lap around the cave, yet some miracle compelled it to stay inside and wait for me to release its spirit. Two magnificent animals have ended their life inside that cave. Both deeply connected to me. What do you think it all means?"

Brygun

« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2024, 03:11:27 AM »
You have found a cave of the old ones. Sleeping within may change you forever.