Topic: Owls in the Land of Bears  (Read 1957 times)


« on: June 21, 2018, 03:10:08 AM »
Kullu was a scrawny member of the Owl tribe, by the time of his coming of age he found him self exiled from his home village by an Uncle who deemed him hated by the Water Spirits.

He was 110lbs but fast, it was a cold, and young spring day when he traded most of his clothing for a mutt, he hoped the dog would bring him food as he couldn't cast his nets, and food was scarce. Kullu was slowly freezing to death, only leaving a strange village to explore an even stranger land for a few hours at a time.

The Driik people we're nice enough to give the young boy a warm place to rest, comforted by the other villagers, he slept among them and soon was cared for like he was their kin.
However he was starving, his fur hood was the only thing that clung to his small, frostbitten frame. He kept the Dog fed though with the scraps he managed to get, but in the distance he saw a tiny figure. Kullu got closer soon realizing that it was indeed a small bear cub, he quickly hid, terror stopping him from moving and he had to remind himself to breathe.

 He remembered his ancestors used to revere the Bear for their might, a huge ferocious beast that was intelligent and deadly. But also for the loving, caring side of the graceful bear, a creature that could, with one sweep of a paw kill a man, but with the same hands pick up their children to nurse. They often traded for a bear pendent to worship them, they saw her as an equal. Kullu knew that a Mother Bear was one of the most respected creatures, even the high-ranking shaman and Chief of the villages would honor the Mother as a higher ranking being than them.

So he almost wept with fear as he saw Her come through the underbrush, pushing apart the needles with Her huge body, and in almost complete silence. He could feeling his companion shiver and whimper softly, the Dog curled in on himself. The Bear stood for a while, slowly sniffing the cold spring air, then with incredible speed rushed Kullu. He felt the marrow in his bones freeze, as he raised his spear and begged for his death to be swift. However the Dog did not want to go easily, he fought a deadly dance with the Bear, Kullu inspired by the Dogs bravery rushed in to help, he wasn't going to let his friend die alone. They were somehow holding her off but suddenly Kullu felt a sharp tearing pain shoot through his leg. He turned around to see the sweet, innocent bear cub trying to protect his mother. Kullu stabbed the child, tears rolling down his face as he realized that he had become a monster.

The Dog had somehow brought the Mother Bear to a crippled state and as the dog was tearing into her, the little bear cub rammed him with his body, hopelessly trying to defend his Mother. The only comfort he has known in this cruel, cold world. Kullu and his dog slain both Mother and Child, Kullu felt as though the cold had seeped into his heart. Somehow Dog had only a cut across his leg, Kullu was lightly injured but had nothing too serious. He mysteriously couldn't find their skulls, and begged the Spirit Bear to be merciful.
Over many trips he sold most of the bodies but made some clothing to keep warm, he felt bile rise in his throat as he made a shirt from the skin of the Mother and her only child.

Summer was blessed upon Kullu and the Dog, now with the name Frost Bear. They murdered any animal they could find, but Kullu never felt any better about breaking two of the most sacred laws, one to never harm a Bear, because Bears were believed to be ancient spirits. Two, never kill a Mother with a child, it was seen as almost a crime to tear this bond apart and it was especially bad to have one of them see the other be murdered.

Kullu had a small shelter built, and had just made a cellar when he could finally afford a punt. He loaded up his two nets and paddled up the wild, early summer rapids. He prayed that the Fish would be plentiful, as he put his nets deep into the bitterly cold river. A few weeks went on as Kullu slowly started eating enough to fight hunger, he soaked branches to make cord for trading with his village-kin. They may not have been blood related but he thought the villagers were the closest thing he had to family. He was however sharing his forest home with a smart winter fox, he placed and baited traps and kept his now two Dogs tied to the same tree as his strong Bull. He figured they would protect each other, sleeping close by at all times he was often awoken by the alarm cries of his faithful companions. He never caught that Fox, and would soon fall asleep in the protective area cuddled up to the Dogs and Bull.

He woke up hungry with nothing in his pack except spoiled food for his dog-family, he started pulling up one of the nets, and catching nothing Kullu guessed he'd have to go out on a hunting trip again. Suddenly he heard a low snort, he knew it wasn't the Fox. He quickly paddled to reach his animal-kin, as the largest Bear Kullu had ever seen tore out of the forest. He was riddled with terror but the thought of losing his companions made him pull out a javelin, he aimed and missed. This scared the she-Bear, and as She was fleeing for Her life, Kullu ran over to his family and unleashed them from the tall spruce. He pulled on their leashes to try to reach the safety of his boat and the River, the Bear however wanted to make sure Kullu stayed away from Her homeland. She charged him and as She came horrifically close he could smell milk on Her. He knew then that this Mother Bear must've found the bloody remains of Her kin and wanted to protect Her child from the killers.

He unleashed both Frost Bear and Dog to run away, but they quickly turned around to defend their friend. Kullu made a sloppy thrust with his spear, completely missing the Bear, but Dog rushed in and tore at Her thorax with his jaws. He lands a savage bite, Frost Bear seeing his cue also jumps on the Bear tearing at any part he can chomp down on. The Bear swipes with Her deadly claws, knocking down both dogs. Kullu misses again and stumbles, even though he is skilled at spears. The Bear seeing his mistake goes to bat at him, but Frost Bear rushes in and rips viciously at Her neck, Dog takes his chance and goes for the same spot, managing to pierce the life-giving artery. As the she-Bear laid on the forest floor, blood gushing and tainting the ground almost black and softly huffing out Her last breath, Kullu wished he was the one dying. He felt horrified at what he'd done, with Her blood staining his weapon, he took Her skin and flesh. He has nightmares every night about the Mother he took away from a young Bear cub. One who probably starved to death, cold and alone, wondering where His beloved Mother had gone.

To this day Kullu feels the Spirits of the ancient Bears whistling through their old forests, their homeland, and prays that when he dies that he will be shown mercy. Mercy which he hasn't shown any creature, he feels as dead as the first Mother he killed, whose blood dripped on the newly fallen snow. Whose Spirit he saw climb among Her place in the stars, where She could run and play in the Bear Heaven with Her cub. Who were both taken before their time, in the frozen Spring that soon promised warm water, plentiful trout and hope.

Kullu blindly roams lost, now aged, cold, and empty, in the Owl land. All Tribes know the story by heart, and tells it to any young adventurer, begging them to listen. To respect the Ancient Spirits.

Will you?