Spring Planting, Prowler’s Day 7, Year of the Lion number 427
The last three pages I wrote I tore out and used to start my evening fire. It’s not because what I wrote was worthless, but it was basically the same. The last week has been challenging. It’s been raining. Finding dry wood to burn to cook my evening meal hasn’t been easy, though through necessity I’ve learned a few tricks. Wood may be wet on the outside, but still dry on the inside. Strip away the damp bark and there’s enough to burn. I just needed something dry and easy to light to start. Thus, the paper from my book.
And I’d rather burn pages written with drivel than blank paper. I don’t know. I read them and re-read them first. I even considered keeping yesterday’s journal entry and finding something else, as it told the thrilling tale of how I caught the rabbit. No. I made the right decision.
At least today, the rain finally stopped. However, the trees are getting thin. I can see through them to the north where there are no trees at all. I think I’ll stay within the tree line for at least a few days. I know for sure I’m in Swardia now, though I see no evidence of civilization in any direction. I understand there’s a large settlement to the west. Or, I could head east toward the sea. I’ll decide in the morning. Meanwhile, I’ll cook the last hunk of this rabbit and enjoy a quiet evening under the stars.
Spring Planting, Prowler’s Day 8, Year of the Lion number 427
I don’t know what that thing was. The size of a fox, but formed like cross between an ant and a spider. I heard it clicking, which woke me up from my slumber. By the time I reacted, it was almost upon me. I sprung down from my tree branch onto the ground. The damned thing jumped after me and landed on my chest. Its copper-red mandibles tried for my throat but I was able to push it off. I raked my claws against its chitinous armor to no effect. I realized that I’d need to find its weakness before it killed me.
But as it circled, it spit at me. I jumped away from the spray, but not fast enough. Its spittle burned and stank, and it made me feel woozy for a second or two. It was on me again, biting hard into my shoulder. I yowled in pain and pushed it off again. The thing was fast! From my belt, I drew out my carving knife and held it up. I circled it as it circled me. I know it was just waiting for an opening, or maybe another wad of spit. I had to move.
Using a dance move, I spun around and flipped over at the same time. I came down with the knife point right at its head. It ducked away but I nicked it slightly. Its counter attack missed as I kept moving past it and out of its reach. I tried again, but this time it was ready. For a giant bug, this thing was smart! It dodged my blade and caught my other arm, gashing it open. I barely felt the pain as I pressed on. Changing my tactics, I flipped up to a tree branch and back down again, my blade streaking across its hide. I made contact, but its armor held true. However, my impact made it roll over. It quickly righted itself, but I saw that its underside wasn’t armored. There’s its weakness!
I backed away slightly and lowered my blade. “Come on,” I hissed. It saw its opening and jumped at me again. This time, I met it in the air with my blade and penetrated its belly. Black gore spewed forth as it screeched. My arm and knife were covered in the creature’s vile flesh, but after a moment, it quit jerking as it lay on the ground. It seemed that the gore that splattered me was icy cold.
It took me a few moments to find my breath. I looked at the gash in my arm and the bite on my shoulder. Minor wounds that will heal. My fur, where its spit got me, was burnt away leaving a few bare spots. I realized then that what my sire said was true: This is a dangerous world and only those properly prepared can survive. I’d been away from home over two weeks now and this was my first brush with mortality. A freakin’ bug!
After cleaning and binding my wounds, I took a second look at the dead bug lying nearby. I realized that if its armor was good enough to block my knife, I might be able to make use of it. Taking my time, I scraped the flesh out from inside its shell. Carefully, I scored and broke it along the spine. With some spare leather pieces, I fashioned some armor to fit over my shoulders. I was careful that my movement wouldn’t be restricted, but, if nothing else, it would give me a little extra protection.
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