On an Earth Without Maps

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On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Arthur the Hunter on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:25 pm

Arthur stood at the head of the barrow, the scent of freshly-turned soil heavy in his nostrils. His eyes stung with tears, but he blinked them away; the winter was cruel to the weak, though even the strong were not immune. His father's body was proof of that.

A dozen dirt-streaked faces peered at him through long, stringy locks of hair, hungry and lost and still- somehow- hopeful. They were all that was left of the tribe after the harsh winter that year. Shelter had been scarce, food even more so, and many had fallen prey to disease and exposure- easy pickings for the few desperate predators still left roaming the snow.

But today they had survived almost three days of the melting, and only the lightest dusting of frost seemed to cover the grass now. Though he could barely feel the warmth of the sun, Arthur knew the days were becoming longer, and with the daylight came food. With the daylight came hope.

He knelt down, trembling with cold as the frost soaked the now-ragged animal skin through to his flesh. He opened his mouth, wanting desperately to say something, anything, but perhaps the wind had frozen the words in his mouth, for nothing came out no matter how hard he tried. He dug his fingers into the soil, his chest heaving, and when a hand grasped his shoulder he leapt in shock.

"Calm, boy." The eldest woman of the survivors spoke to him sternly, and Arthur bowed his head in respect. "They are in the afterlife now, and there is no use dwelling on the past. Our people need you, master hunter. Lead us to where we can be safe."

Lead us. Arthur had no idea how, but he had no choice. Backing out was never an option in a world that would tear you to pieces given the slightest chance.

He screwed up his eyes against the stubborn wetness in them and took hold of his spear. His stomach dropped as he looked at the gaunt but bright-eyed faces of his people. "Come," he said, voice tremulous, then he cleared his throat and spoke louder. "Follow me. The winter is dying, and still we must walk. We go north." He pointed his spear into the distance, to a valley just before the horizon.

The sunrise glinted red on the flint head. Spring was coming.
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Alfred the Outsider on Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:53 pm

The snow crunched lightly.

“No.”

It was a silent, breathy word the slipped between the lips of Alfred. A muscled arm, one that was not too slender, but not stocky either reached out pressing roughly against the hard pallet of something that should have resembled a wolf. Tall and rustic in color, with fur thicker than the hair of some of the women in his tribe, the animal stood stock still. One ear cocked leftward toward his companion in the hunt, not his master. Blue and amber met for a moment, and then toward their capture, their prey. A tall, intimidating, and majestic creature. The wooly mammoth. Standing taller than Alfred ever dreamed to be, it looked wary, panicked. Perhaps it would be the kill of the winter if his other tribesmen could pull it off.

Taking one down was nearly impossible and a rare feat for men like Alfred. The smallest sound could start a stampede or scare the kill. Even the crunching of the snow. For a moment Alfred doubted Joref, his animal, his partner, teacher and friend, but then a battle cry rang in the air. Suddenly Alfred caught the glimpse of his other men, his family rushing toward the mammal. He leaped up from behind the boulder in front of him following them, and not letting his mind react before his body. Longer legs reached the mammoth that was barely twenty meters and a surprised trumpet sounded from the trunk of the massive animal. Alfred winced, but kept pushing forward hauling his spear up and giving it a hefty throw. The spear was deflected by an ivory tusk as the huge head of the animal swung over to Alfred. Joref gave a feral growl from behind him and jumped up clamping his jaws on one of the pillars that were it’s front legs.

Alfred’s tribesmen all backed away as another voluminous roar broke the cold air. Joref’s red hackles rose, as he was swung by a terrified elephant bucking up in the air. Joref’s body flipped back and forth, and it looked akin to a deer-skin doll being carelessly flung against a tree. Still his men surrounded the mammoth in the mere seconds Joref was a distraction and it was back to attacking it again. However; pain twinged in his chest, and Alfred watched as his animal was painfully slammed against a tree, and it only grew as from his crouched position in the snow as curious blue eyes watched on taking note that Joref did not move.

It made him want to do something irrational, just to get rid of this pain. He had to save Joref.

The mammoth had now, bigger problems than a canine, and charged the group surrounding it. A dying wail bellowed as Alfred, whom had only dropped his attention for a second was chucked across the landscape by the tusk of the angry, now injured animal. He landed, hitting the snow with a crackle as pain shot up and around his right side.

“Arggg!”

A primal sound emerged from his throat, and the edges of Alfred’s vision faded black. He frantically tried to scramble back on his feet, fear gripping him, but it only caused him to stumble and fall uselessly to the ground. The furs on his body rumpled as he squirmed on the ground, but he had to find Jarof. Even if the blackness took all his eyes. Even if the pain was making his head fuzzy. By miracle, his field of vision cleared for a moment, and across the clearing a white belly and red back staggered up.

“Joref…”

Everything disappeared.

~~~

Sometime later, Alfred wasn’t really sure when he awoke to a rock digging painfully into his muscled back. His right side ached beyond what he thought was possible, and a groan escaped those pale lips. Furs of nearly every variety covered him up to his chin, bear, caribou, deer…mammoth. It was almost like a kick in the stomach after what had happened to him. Being thrown by a mammoth, Alfred was quite lucky he wasn’t gored, but nonetheless he accepted it, the sweet revenge of the animal he had tried kill now helping his own journey back to health. Honestly he did not have the energy to care at the moment. Deep ocean eyes winced open as Alfred pushed himself up on his elbows getting a wonderful view of the mouth of the cave.

Currently in his visage were his people. His tribe. His family. These were the people in whom he put all his faith in, and perhaps the same people who also put up with his hyperactive and protective nature. It was the way of tribes, you remained with blood before bonds of friendship or even love came first, for they cared for you more. It had been tradition since Alfred was young, and his father was young, and his grandfather, and so on. Alfred watched as they leisurely when about their day to day activities. Not much work was done unless the nights were long and the moon phases were harsh. A few wooden shelters had been built, and they were just starting to settle into their new temporary homes. For Alfred’s tribes moved with the mammoths.

Snow covered nearly every available surface, and Alfred could feel it’s cold nipping teeth from under his heap. A chilly breeze swept across his shoulders, which had been exposed by his sitting up, and caused a shiver to run up his spine. Cold. Beside him, Joref whose condition had to be worse than his own perked up two large ears hearing his friend awake, a long whine vibrated the wolf’s vocal cords, and the animal tried once to hobble over to him. However; the movement was futile and only caused a high pitched whimper to fill the echoing cave. The twinge in his heart was back hearing that sound, and Alfred frowned extending his arm as far as it would reach, patting Koref’s muzzle lightly.

“The pain is great Koref, I know.” There was a pained, but understanding look that was passed between the two. Brothers in arms, if one is hurt so is his partner.

Koref only tucked his head farther under Alfred’s hand, letting it rest between his two alert ears. There was perhaps a moment of silence, only the wind dancing in their ears.

“Alfred! Is he awake?” Some of his closer blood kin were gathered around a fire making whimsical sounds with odd carved wood in their hands.

Although he couldn’t say he hated it, Alfred watched with a bit of longing in his heart. The sounds the emerged from hollowed branches were magical and he wanted to know how they worked. Alfred was a forever curious creature, however when they took note of his rise of the dead Alfred felt as if disappearing would be best.

He had made a stupid mistake as far as hunting went, dropping your guard for even a moment would get you killed. He had done just that, and lived to tell the tale.

“The Gods surely spared you three moons back.” A heavy set man, with muscles larger than perhaps any other man in the tribe stepped up through the small gathering, a woman behind him followed as he stared down his one and only son.

Alfred made the move to stand up, but pain gripped him once more, white like lightening and with more force than thunder. Another groan escaped his lips, and without a second to spare the woman was by his side. Her hand rested on his shoulder, and deep blue eyes, the same color of his own, gazed worriedly on into Alfred’s chest where he had a hand clamped over the throbbing pain. Still Alfred tried to give his mother a smile.

“I am fine mother; your worrying will do you nothing.” She did nothing short of giving Alfred a most unbelieving look, but Alfred continued after a moment. “When is the next hunt? I want to try to hunt down the mammoth again.”

His father only let a sigh escape his lips before answering shortly and sweetly.

“You will not be aiding the next hunt. You are still not ready.”

Now it was Alfred’s turn to look on in utter disbelief. He…uh…what? Koref sensing the rising anger and confusion in his companion scooted far enough over to stick his muzzle in Alfred’s lap. His mother removed the hand from his shoulder, and tried adding with a smile.

“You’ll help me with the scavenging and gathering. At least until you’re healed.”

No. This could not be happening. His eyes flickered between his mother and father and found that it was indeed the truth. Not that what his mother was doing was an easy task, but Alfred would miss the thrill of the hunt, the glory and pride of taking down a mammoth, and the importance of feeding his entire tribe. Saving them from hunger. Protecting them from danger. It was all what Alfred loved to do, he could not sit back and watch his tribe wither away without him, because of course it would without his aid, while he sat by and gathered things.

Joref only dug her snout into his lap hard trying to calm him, and Alfred growled a little under his breath.

Well this was going to be rough.
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Arthur the Hunter on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:28 pm

It had only been a few days since the death of his father, but still Arthur couldn't quite let go of the feeling that this was all just a terrible dream. There was a certain surreality in the events following the burial, as if he were simply going through the motions of leading the tribe to better conditions. It was dangerous, he knew, and anything could catch him unawares in the wilderness, but he simply couldn't seem to concentrate.

Their hunts so far had been unsuccessful, even though evidently game was plentiful. There seemed to be more tribes around, because they frequently came across the cleaned carcasses of hours-old kills, the blood still cooling on their fingers as they dug through the corpse for any scraps of meat that had been missed. His people were starving and he had only small rodents and unwanted flesh desperately stripped and collected off abandoned bones to feed them. He wasn't a master hunter; he was a failure.

He was on his own in the thick forests of the downs, the others having chosen to conserve their strength in less risky pursuits such as gathering plants or firewood. The scent of wild garlic hung heavy in the air, and he crouched near the leaves, hoping it would mask his presence to the young doe he was following. She seemed unaware of the danger to her, bending her graceful neck down to take a drink from the small, mossy pond in a gap between the trees. He ran his eyes over her form; thin from the winter, but not having the emaciated look of the sickly, her tawny coat dirty but not stretched over pronounced bones. She would give them meat enough to last several days, and two sets of deerskin coverings for Marya's young twin boys.

He steadied himself, raising his spear and balancing lightly on the balls of his feet. He crept slowly towards her, silent and slow as moonrise, carefully cataloguing her every twitch of ear and stillness of body. He loved this part, the quiet surge of adrenaline within the body, the way he could hear the whoosh of his controlled breathing and the buzzing of insects and see each vulnerable part of his prey as his senses threw the world into sharp contrast. He was perhaps ten feet away from her now, and he steadied his spear as he aimed to kill.

Suddenly the sharp crack of a snapping twig echoed somewhere to his right, and the doe bolted. Arthur cursed, sprinting to catch up, chasing her through the thick trees and stumbling over the steepness of the hill. Behind him, he heard an echoing, louder noise of frustration and clumsy rustling and cracking of wood. It didn't sound like a predator, but he sped up regardless. The doe was still within his line of sight, darting through the trees until finally coming to a large grassy field in the bowl of the valley. This was his last chance.

He didn't have time to aim. He threw the spear towards the doe, praying to the gods it would strike true. He was lucky. It landed with a slick sort of thud into the deer's flesh, and at the sight of the bright red blood being spilled Arthur couldn't help but let out an exclamation of triumph. His tribe would have meat today.

He hurried to the dying animal, taking out a piece of sharp stone and slicing her throat neatly. He grimaced; he would have to haul the body up the hill again. He wouldn't be able to carry all the necessary parts without help from his tribespeople. He took a piece of twisted vine from his satchel and wound it around the doe's ankles, heaving the other end over his shoulder and preparing to make the long trek back to their current camp site.

It was only a few feet before he reached the tree line, and he raised his head as pained moans and shallow gasping reached his ears. What in the world could that be?

At the edge of the forest lay a figure, curled up and panting on the ground and hidden slightly by the leaves of the bushes surrounding him. Arthur drew closer, still holding tightly on to the precious meat, and looked down.

It was a man. He was almost alien in his strangeness, with a small nose and sharp cheekbones, the beads of sweat forming on his slightly curved forehead reflecting the afternoon sunlight. He was tall, that Arthur could tell simply by looking at his curled legs, taller than he was and taller than anyone in his tribe. There was a world of difference between them, but it was unmistakeably an injured man lying on the floor of the forest, and Arthur could not just leave him.

"Are you alright?" he asked, kneeling down to brush away sweat-soaked blond hair.

The man opened piercing blue eyes, and Arthur felt his breath catch in his throat.
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Alfred the Outsider on Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:03 am

Alfred pulled another wild onion out of the ground with perhaps a little more force than necessary. He wasn’t angry, oh no.

Alfred was frustrated.

In his arms, both of which seemed to be bruised slightly from his recent brush with death, Alfred was carrying a leather basket. Balanced on his hip and with a hand on each side to keep its contents from spilling out it was filled to the brim with herbs and plants of every kind. His mother would have been proud, but Alfred was feeling quite the opposite. He never felt particularly useful when he went about mundane tasks like this. It was simply part of his personality to be the one taking action. He needed the adrenaline, the thrill of the chase, the pride, and perhaps even more so the praise.
Alfred lived off the kind words, the celebration of his achievements.

Still though, here he was uprooting various plants, twiddling his thumbs while all the action was elsewhere. It wasn’t fair. You’re still injured they said. You still need time to heal. Alfred, on the other hand, believed he was perfectly fine. His tribe was underestimating him. He could still hunt; in fact he could probably prove them wrong.
And for a single moment the thought shot through his conscious rattling him like an epiphany.

He could prove them wrong.

It was not a general statement, no it was an action. A fact. A grin spread across Alfred’s face, and those sky blues twinkled with excitement. If he could bring them back something, anything. They couldn’t, they would have to take him back. Injured or otherwise. Alfred would have proved his ability, fed some of the family, and gotten some skins to tan into leather. It was ingenious!

Alfred looked inconspicuously over his shoulder, mischief already written all over his expression. There was only one problem with his little plan. He had to escape this prison his mother had entrapped him in. Thankfully he knew just how to do it. Dropping the leather basket on the ground with a light thump, Alfred called out to his mother.

“Mother, I think, there’s some, uh blackberries up ahead. I’ll go check it out for you! Okay?”

Alfred wanted to mentally smack himself. It was too cold for blackberries. What was he thinking?

His mother probably didn’t believe it, but she gave him a nod anyway. She couldn’t stop her son. He would just have to learn the hard way.

Of course, Alfred took this as his escape, and bolted off into the woods. Alfred was a free spirit, and that was perhaps putting it lightly. Optimistic and excitable to a fault, the Cro-Magnon did nothing less of what his latest whim was. Right now that whim was hunting, and perhaps overcoming this mysterious pain in his chest. He moved about the forest around him dodging branches, and stepping over logs with ease. Unlike his campground about a week ago, the snow had receded and some of the more resilient plants had persisted through the winter still survived. The trees were getting their leaves; vines crawling back up the tall forest that they had once claimed, and even the underbrush was filling out again. When Alfred had watched this happen it was then that he knew warmer days were coming.

Alfred loved the warmer days.

It meant more game, more food, and certainly more free time. Most tribes like his own actually spent most of their days socializing, lounging across the ground in free leisure; their tribes were not focused on working constantly. However, because they had been following the mammoth herds, things had been quite a bit rougher. They had leaded his tribe to cooler lands. Lands where game was not scarce, but not plentiful either. Taking down a mammoth was very beneficial, but also very hard to do. It took all of the hunters, and only those who were skilled could even attempt it. Alfred, barely scraped that bar of skilled and amateur. It was probably the reason he had nearly been mauled.

Still Alfred chose not to dwell on it.

Instead he only centered his thoughts upon what lie ahead of him.

Like this beautiful young doe. After releasing all his energy Alfred actually began to act upon his plans. To do this he had found a doe, following fresh tracks, and making sure to stay downwind of her. It wasn’t long before he had eventually caught up with the beauty and she had lead him to a murky pond deep within the forest. A little thin Alfred had to admit, but she would do for the purpose he had planned. She would give them food, skin, bones, and hopefully she would give him his credibility back. The scent of garlic hung faintly in the air, the heat from the fire in the sky lazily filtered in the clearing, and the air he breathed in with the upmost care. Any sound would scare her off, and suddenly within that second all of Alfred’s senses were hyper-sensitive.

Crouched low to the ground Alfred creeped toward her, every step he took placing it with the upmost care. Everything around him caught his attention, from the flies to the way the leaves swayed in the wind. In his hand was only a bone dagger. It’s ivory, slightly yellowed surface, sharpened to a dangerous tip. Thinking back perhaps it was a bad idea to leave without his spear. He would have to practically pounce the animal just to injure her. The risks were high, he could get kicked, and hurt again, but still Alfred at the very least had to try. The doe lowered her head to the water, taking lapping sips from it, the sound it made echoing within the clearing. Alfred took another step. Her ear twitched once to the side. Another step.

Barely fifteen feet away there was a movement Alfred had not anticipated.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he caught a slow careful hand rising, the same movement he would be making if he had his own spear, from behind a bushel of wild garlic. Just like that his attention broke. Another inattentive step. A twig snapped. The doe’s head shot up, and just as quickly she darted away. The man attached to the spear darted up with her close behind. Alfred on the other hand was left in the dust cursing his lack of stealth.

Quickly though he followed after. Shooting up from his place in the shrubbery his chest spiked with pain, and it caused Alfred to start stumbling over his own two feet as he went. Still he had to catch up, that person, he was different than Alfred. He had stole his game too! Alfred was only slightly offended by that however. He raced behind the pair following the sounds that echoed in the forest after them. As he went branched wacked his torso and Alfred did little more than push them out of the way. His chest was screaming at him, the searing pain shooting up his side, and making it feel like he would collapse at any moment, and still the Cro-Magnon persisted on.

Heaving in pain Alfred broke through the trees, but stumbled and eventually fell one knee falling to the cool grassy ground and his hand steadying him. His breathing became very shallow, and it felt like he wasn’t getting enough air. Alfred eyes were screwed shut in pain, and perhaps a bit of frustration. He felt like he had done something terribly wrong to the injury he had sustained, and now briar cuts speckled his body, little beads of blood forming here and there. It hurt, and it didn’t stop hurting.

Suddenly though, a question completely stopped his train of thought.

Instantly Alfred snapped open his cerulean blue eyes, beholding before him the same man as before. Short in stature, quite a bit more than Alfred himself if he hadn’t been crouching on the ground, and a head full of short, messy, dirty blonde hair. Behind him lie the deer that Alfred had been so desperately trying to hunt. Her throat slit and a vine tied around her back feet. He wasn’t like Alfred at all. Perhaps a bit more heavily boned than him, but still smaller. Alfred knew immediately that he wasn’t like anyone in his tribe. He was one of the ‘others.’ The ones his family had told him not to associate with.

And yet.

He had just asked Alfred if he was alright. He wasn’t trying to harm him. Alfred wasn’t really sure why they weren’t supposed to speak; it wasn’t like they had fought. Still it was almost taboo to talk to the man in front of him. It was like his tribe had a long standing feud with people of his kind. Alfred after a moment of pondering guessed he wasn’t really one for feuds and boundaries. He never had been. So lifting his head he looked over Arthurs slightly less angular face, and spoke.

“I, uh, I’m fine.” Alfred looked down a moment, and tried standing back up, but the pain gripped him and he simply fell back on his butt. “Really! I am fine, but I think I’m just going to sit here for a little while. Standing up hurts.” He gave a grimace, but a laugh rumbled in his chest, and Alfred glanced up in his merit taking note of Arthur’s sharper nose and bright emerald eyes. Practically, they were the same, so this was okay right?

“I guess it’s probably not a good idea for me to be hunting then right? You got my deer, but it seems like you’re the better hunter.” Another laugh bubbled up, and Alfred gave the man one of his biggest smiles.

"I'm Alfred by the way."

Alfred glanced back up at him. Maybe it was his killer curiosity, but he wanted to know more about this man.
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Arthur the Hunter on Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:48 pm

The strange man in front of him looked a little confused- perhaps he'd hit his head? He seemed slightly dazed, mind clouded perhaps with pain, though his alien, beautiful blue eyes still held the certain sharpness of a tribe's hunter. He was unfamiliar and unknown, but somehow it did not make him any less of a person. He was meeting his equal, Arthur realised, equal in every way despite their physical differences. He was not an animal or a god; there was no mistaking that sharp awareness or that calm, human intelligence.

That opinion was quickly destroyed as soon as the thing opened his mouth.

"What in the world are you blathering on about?" he snapped when the other was done with his ramblings. "All I asked was whether you were alright, not your entire life story! And good gods, you must have hit your head quite hard to think I would believe that you're fine."

He was evidently not. Arthur had seen and experienced enough injuries to know when someone was hiding something potentially serious, and he was no idiot. The way this man- Alfred, he'd said his name was, as if it meant anything to him whatsoever- was holding himself indicated that he was in pain, probably somewhere in his chest; and idiot or not, his conscience just couldn't let him leave another man vulnerable and defenceless.

"Look, I'm going to try to see what's wrong. Tell me if it hurts." Arthur put two fingers together and placed them in the centre of Alfred's bare chest. He was not entirely sure of what he was doing, but he had watched the medicine man of his tribe do something similar after someone had suffered an invisible injury. He pressed gently into thick, hard muscle, wondering what he exactly was looking for; finding nothing and eliciting no cry of pain, he moved on to another spot, carefully and methodically searching out the problem.

Alfred finally let out a wince of discomfort, but Arthur could feel no real difference other than a slight tenderness. "Your ribs don't seem to be broken, but they are most likely bruised or, at worst, cracked. Is annything else giving you problems? And don't you dare try to lie about this, I'm not stupid."

Receiving an answer in the negative, Arthur sat back on his heels and took the time to examine the stranger more closely. He'd never seen anyone quite like him, even among the other tribes they'd encountered along their travels. He was tall, like Arthur had noticed earlier, and built well like a particularly strong hunter, though much less stocky than most other men he had seen. His face, though not feminine, had smaller, more defined features. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he had an intelligent look about him, curious and alert.

It took Arthur a while to realise that, yes, he was being stared at in return. He flinched and flushed pink with embarrassment, but met the inquisitive blue eyes challengingly. Alfred didn't seem like a threat, not in his current condition, but if they ever crossed paths again he wanted him to know he was not a man to be trifled with.

"I am Arthur," he said, careful to keep his voice even.
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Alfred the Outsider on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:50 am

Well then…

Alfred sat there stunned for a moment at what this ‘other’ had said to him. No one really spoke to him like that…With such…malice? No, that word it wasn’t right. It was more, annoyance. The man in front him was irritated at him, but how? Pools of deep blue flicked between him and the grassy ground trying to figure it out. Alfred hadn’t done anything to him, right? Of course this was one of the others he was conversing with. Maybe he took offense to Alfred’s stance? Or Alfred’s tone of voice? And there was something he had also said, something about his life story? What? The Cro-magnon looked perplexed for a moment, still not entirely sure what he had done to aggravate this prickly man in front of him.

So he chose to ignore it, and rather found taking up the curious subject of the Neanderthal in front of him a much easier task. Curious to no end, Alfred found it easy to pick out the differences between them. However as this different being who was now currently poking around his torso, looking for the cracked rib that Alfred was currently suffering from there was something he noticed, something that he had taken note of before. This man had green eyes. To him it may not have been such an issue, but to Alfred, whose entire clan sported those same chilling blue as he, green was something alien. It was not the dull green either, but rather the green of the grass during the warm season. It was the green that healthy leaves sprouting from trees after a long and harsh winter. Green was associated with life, so Alfred after a moment mused.

This had to be a good sign. If the Great Mammoth thought that green was to represent the color of life and it’s flourish then Alfred would not doubt it’s sanctions on this man.

Still though just as Alfred had pulled out of his surprisingly quiet reverie he noticed those same green eyes locked on him. There was a light pink that had flushed his face, and Alfred never one to back away from a challenger gazed right back the spark of confrontation under the his exterior. However, it was his turn to be surprised when the other gave his name.

“Arthur?” In the same second suddenly thunder cracked across the sky, and Alfred jumped nearly a foot in the air.

Snapping his head up to the sky Alfred realized how dark it had become since he had wandered off to find game. However it was not dark due to approaching night, but rather due to the thick, dark gray clouds rolling across the sky. White light flashed, and then a rumbling snap followed. The wind began to pick up and fat droplets splashed on his face as it fell in near horizontal sheets. It did not take long for the furs wrapped around him to be drenched. Trees bent around the whipping wind, the new leaves clinging desperately to their short skinny twigs. It was a battle between life and death these storms. He had once seen the damage that the white fire had done if one was hit by it. His poor uncle never had a chance, but it did not take Alfred long to realize that it would be him, it would be Arthur if they did not get out of the storm soon.

They needed to find shelter, and quick. Traveling to their respective caves would take too long or at least for Alfred it would. He was at least a good hour of travel from home. Feeling the stickiness of even the waterproof pelts on his skin Alfred knew it had to be somewhere close by as well. His knowledge of this place was limited, but Alfred would make due. He couldn’t look like some lame little kid in front of this Arthur person. Again lightning streaked across the sky, and Alfred cursed himself for not noticing earlier. He had just been curious about Arthur.

He couldn’t complain now he resigned; the only thing he could do now was pull out of this.

“Arthur.” Alfred pulled the hood of his bear skin wrap over his head, the ominous upper jaw of the animal hanging low over his forehead. It would keep the rain from immediately obscuring his vision, and cast a dark shadow over his face. For a moment Alfred looked like a haunted God, dark blue hues peeking out from under the snout of the hood. However that was only momentary. His mouth like always would ruin the air of the scene.

“Don’t worry!” He had to stay calm, but Alfred after his previous point of weakness in front of this stranger could no longer contain himself. “You follow me. I’ll get us somewhere safe! Promise!”

Alfred turned to run off, but then stopped. What about the doe? Food was precious, especially meat. It would drag them down but he had to take it with them right?

“Do you want to take her with you?” Alfred turned and motioned toward Arthur’s kill. “I can help you carry it if you want!”

His voice was surprisingly chipper, but Alfred just guessed it was simply because he had someone to share the terrifying storm with.

(This is awful. I’m sorry. D: I just have the worst writer’s block because of all of my stress man. :C So here have this random storm, and I promise I will make it up to you later. :D )
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Arthur the Hunter on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:47 am

Oh gods, a storm. Brilliant. Just what they needed.

Arthur yelped in surprise at the loud thunderclap that echoed from the sky. Scrambling to his feet, he looked around vainly for any sort of shelter. They were at the edge of a forest in the bowl of a narrow valley, and he'd heard enough stories about floods and wrathful spirits to know that they needed to get out of there as quickly as possible.

"Arthur," Alfred said suddenly, catching his attention.

Arthur turned to look at him and nearly took a step back in shock. The other man had the jaw of a bear sitting upon his head, hiding his eyes and making him look more ferocious than he had initially seemed. Alfred must have been a highly regarded hunter in his tribe to have acquired that wrap, and Arthur wondered how on earth he could have missed that.

"Don't worry! You follow me. I'll get us somewhere safe, promise!" Alfred continued, making to run, but then he stopped himself and pointed to the doe's carcass. "Do you want to take her with you? I can help you carry it if you want!"

"Are you sure you can manage with your injury?" Arthur asked, bending to pick up her hind legs, but the rain came down even harder. "Right, no time for argument, just pick her up and go."

Alfred lifted her forelegs with ease, dragging her with more strength than Arthur would have thought possible, given his condition. He hurried to catch up, grasping her hind legs with both hands and trying to navigate through the cold, grey rain pounding down from the clouds. Another roar of thunder sounded and with a curse, Arthur nearly dropped his load onto the soaking, muddy ground. He had never been particularly dignified when it came to thunderstorms.

Alfred wove his way through the forest, searching for his cave, or so Arthur assumed. His own tribe was several miles away, too far to consider walking in this weather. Wherever it was they were going, he hoped they would find shelter soon, else the water would seep in through the seams of his pelts and soak him in freezing wetness.

The white fire flashed through the sky again and a booming noise followed, louder and closer than any before it. "Do you even have any idea where you're going?" Arthur yelled at his companion, but he couldn't hear whether Alfred gave an answer. He stumbled on a slippery patch of moss, almost dashing his head against a tree before he managed to catch himself.

Finally they came to a little shelter high on the hill that was less of a cave and more of a large, overhanging rock creating a dry patch on the ground just big enough to comfortably fit the both of them and their burden. Without a word they hurried to sit beneath it, sighing as they escaped from the pelting rain.

"Lovely weather we're having today," Arthur said dryly, curling up and shivering in his wet furs. He'd remove them, but he knew that without a fire he would freeze to death. "I don't suppose you'd have any wood on you? I have some dry stones but nothing to light."
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Arthur the Hunter

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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Alfred the Outsider on Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:36 am

What happened next was a blur to Alfred. Everything was moving too fast, and maybe it was the adrenaline, or maybe he wasn’t really paying attention, but Alfred couldn’t really recall much of what happened.
Dragging the deer in his wake, Arthur also in tow, he rushed around the forest, with the rain soaking through their furs, and chilling them to the bone. Thunder crashed around them, and bright streaks lit up the sky. It almost seemed like something out of a legend or the beginning to one of the grand tales that his tribe often told around the great fire. He was the main character of course, the hunter, injured by the great mammoth who would seem nothing more than a weakling. His tribe would begin to question him, and his abilities. But! As it would play out his injury was actually a blessing of the gods and he would begin saving everyone with his newly formed and inhuman strength. There would be a woman to save of course, and she would after a harrowing battle with some beast would become his mate.
Yeah! Of course that’s how this was going to go!
And! Arthur was his first good deed.
There was a grin that spread across his face at this thought. He was a legend!
Now Alfred trekked onward in the soggy weather moving with more vigor than before. Stepping over twisted roots and fallen trees, ducking low gripping branches, and listening to the pelting rain as it refused to let up it seemed Alfred would not be worn down. Not even by nature.
And then it came in the form of a low hanging rocky cliff and another ear splitting crash of thunder.
Salvation! What relief! Alfred could help but let that blinding smile wrap around his face.
And perhaps he was a bit too enthusiastic for the situation; the world did seem to be falling apart around them, but it was only a single passing thought as he hurried to climb up the rise and find sweet shelter.
Under the enclosure it was dry enough, and Alfred let out a deep exhausted sigh before dropping their kill on the ground in front of him. Well that part was over at least. The Cro-Magnon noted the pain that tinged the edges of his consciousness; he had most certainly made his condition worse and the adrenaline running through his veins was the only thing keeping him from being doubled over in pain. It was a blessing he assumed for the time being, and then proceeded to slide down the cliff wall and hit the floor with a light thump. There was enough room to his right for Arthur to sit as well, it would be close quarters, but at least not damp.
“That was an adventure!”
On the ground Alfred started to rummage around in a dappled brown rabbit skin bag, man he was hungry. Still looking for the smaller pouch of dried meat, he glanced at Arthur who had posed a query to him. Dry wood? Alfred gave a hearty laugh. He wished. The cold would definitely set in their bones soon, but what was there to do about it?
“Nope.” A moment of silence followed and the Cro-Magnon had to fill it. “What brought you out hunting this far?”
He was trying to make conversation. Alfred hated silence more than anything else, and his tribe people were always lively, social people. They all lived off interaction, and teamwork between one another. So it was very curious when this ‘other’, not that he knew much about their practices, was so far out, and so alone. The deer were plentiful enough to feed his tribe, so Arthur’s had to have enough too. Right?
“Ah-ha!” He pulled out a darker tanned pocket with a small strip of leather tied around the top. “Food!”
Untying the bag with nimble deft fingers Alfred pulled out several pieces of salted rabbit meat. He popped a few of the scraps in his mouth with a pleased look on his face, and then turned to offer some to Arthur.
“You got to be hungry right?”
(Getting back in the swing of writing after hiatus for two months is hard. ;-; )
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Re: On an Earth Without Maps

Post by Arthur the Hunter on Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:39 pm

Arthur sighed, huddling further into himself. "No wood, hm? Well, it was worth a shot."

Alfred opened a bag strapped to his side and started poking around in it. Was he looking for a flint? What ever for? Well, Arthur thought sourly, he'd have a jolly good time playing around with a flint without anything to light.

"What brought you out hunting so far?" Alfred asked him.

Arthur blinked in surprise, not expecting him to continue trying to make conversation. It wasn't entirely unwelcome, though- Arthur enjoyed talking just as much as the next person, and right now he'd say just about anything to distract him from the cold. "No game," he replied, his mouth twisting into a frown. "Nothing substantial, at least. I've got an entire tribe to feed and our winter stores have just run out. I think it's still too cold for the bigger prey to come out, but we just haven't got the time."

He buried his nose in the fur wrapping around his neck, trying to warm his face, but it wasn't long before he perked his head up at Alfred's offer of food. "Goodness, yes," he said, grabbing the pieces of salted meat from his hand and digging in ravenously. The flavour of rabbit spread over his tongue, and he closed his eyes in bliss. It had been a long time since he'd had more than tiny bites of meat- he'd given much of his share to the younger children of the tribe, leaving him with a perpetual hunger that he'd had to learn to ignore.

It was only after many mouthfuls had been consumed that he realised how barbaric he must seem to this stranger he'd just taken food from. He hurriedly wiped his lips with the back of his hand and cleared his throat. "My apologies, I just haven't had enough to eat in quite a long while. Times are hard, you know." He could feel his face warming up a little- he desperately hoped he wasn't blushing. It was hard enough trying to get respect from his own tribe when his complexion just would not cooperate, but a perfect stranger? Fat chance of that happening, now. "Erm," he said, floundering for something to say. "So why are you hunting around here? Are you camped nearby?"

(waah i'm sorry this took so long so many things have happened ;n;)
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