Warriors and Champions17

The Great Hunt

I heard my name being called from downstairs so I went down to find out why. I saw that Rayner was talking with Byron, “Ah Ray come and join us.” Byron said. “We were just talking about how Rayner needed to take some of the townsmen out so they could hunt for food. And since you have been trained in the bow and Battle Vision, Rayner wants you to come along.” I looked at Rayner and he nodded his head in approval. Inside I was beaming because I knew that the town was starting to accept as one of their own.

I hurried to get ready and fell in line with the other hunters with Rayner leading. We marched three days to the south to the base camp. Rayner spoke, “Tonight we will camp here and tomorrow morning we will split up and begin the hunt.” The rest of the camp got busy making camp. I went to Rayner to ask him a question.

“Rayner we are splitting up?” Rayner looked at me, “Yes Ray we are, it is easier to track our prey in small numbers and besides everyone here is an accomplished fighter, even you.” Rayner paused looking down trodden. When he next spoke his voice was very grave. “Ray what I am about to tell mustn’t go past us.

“Our food supply is all but gone and wild game is getting more and more scarce. With the bandits infesting the forests and the war the village will soon starve. We won’t be destroyed by the sword but by starvation. We need to find food and a lot of it. That is the real reason why we are splitting up, to cover more ground. Now get some food and rest, dawn will come early.”

I got my tent set up and went to the meal line. In the line I heard quiet whisperings, it seemed like the men knew what was going on even though they had not been told. Words of discontent were said and shared. I got my food and found a place to sit that was away from the rest of the group. I wanted to go up to the men and tell them that they needed to be quiet and do their job. I wanted to say something inspiring but I couldn’t make myself get up and open my mouth. So I the rest of my dinner in quiet and turned in early.

I woke up before the sky even started to turn gray and got ready. I didn’t want to be there when the others woke up. In truth I didn’t even want to be on the trip but I knew that I had to try to find something for the village to eat. I walked out of camped and then stopped. “You aren’t even going to say good luck or something?”

Rayner stepped out of the shadows, “No I am not. Not to you are anyone, we don’t need luck we need food. Remember that Ray. I know that we are asking a lot of you, we want you to save us. That is asking a lot even for a grown man like myself but yet we are asking a boy to help. A daunting task has been placed upon you Ray, I do not envy you. But you are the only chance we have of surviving.

“No amount of luck will save us we have only you. The reason why I wanted you along was because deep down you believe. Deep down you want to help, even fight, but there is something that is holding you back. I tried to break your block but I cannot, even Lizeth has tried and you still resist. Only you can choose to break it so I am giving the opportunity to do so. I am allowing you to, of your own free will, break your block and allow your deepest desires the chance to be made. Now go Ray and fulfill your desires.”

Rayner walked back into camp and began to order the men up. I was left to my own mind and I aimlessly wandered into the forest. I saw nothing for hours, no tracks or even sign of any animals. I soon stopped for a break and sat down. And I thought about what Rayner said and all the time I had spent here.

As Rayner had said a lot was thrust upon me, I didn’t ask for this nor did I want it but here I was anyway. Even for Rayner this was a lot to ask of. But the entire town, Rayner, Byron and Lizeth were pleading to me to save them. And what Rayner said about my deep desires was true. I wanted to help, to inspire, to save, and yes I wanted to be able to use my Righteous Fury in the correct manner. Soon these thoughts gave way to all the weight that was on my shoulders and exhaustion took me and I drifted to sleep.

I found myself back in my room with the familiar glow of my computer screen lighting it. I reached for the mouse but I couldn’t. I began to see more and saw someone sitting in my chair and yelled at them to move. I opened my mouth but no noise came from it. More details became clear and I saw myself sitting at my computer.

I looked closer and saw that the other me was playing the game and was in a forest. I looked with more intent and saw that the forest was filled with animals and my stomach growled with want of food. I saw myself hunting those animals and then I awoke with a start.

I jumped up and after my head stopped swimming with all the blood rushing, I looked and finally realized that I wasn’t wandering aimlessly. I had simply let my instincts take over; I was only about fifteen miles from that spot where in game there was herds and herds of game in a small, almost enclosed valley. And I suddenly began running to the valley.

I ran West by North-West to the valley. By nightfall I had reached the base of the valley and I found a place to sleep for the night. With the rising sun I found the path that led into the valley and soon I saw the deer. However, these weren’t normal deer they looked like deer but were much bigger akin to the size of buffalo. When I saw them my instincts took over.

By midday I had skinned and secured a cache of enough meat and fur to last the village for a long time. I started to make a sled to carry the meat and a small pile of fur to prepare for winter. I wasn’t going to make my journey until the next day so I made a fire so I could finish my sled. Before next midday had arrived I was already out of the valley and making my way back to base camp.

We were given a week to hunt and a half week to come back to base camp. On my way back I thought about my desire to help and how I had done this much already. I still had a long way to go but I knew that somehow I could fulfill my desire I just had to find the way. It took me three long days but I finally made it back to base camp.

Everyone else had made it back and by the looks of their faces I knew they had very little success.

I saw only a very small sled with what seemed liked meat that would sustain one person for three days only. I walked into camp, “Rayner I have something for you!” Everyone turned toward me and as one they ran to me and my sled full of meat and fur. Rayner pulled me aside, “How did you manage this?”

I looked at Rayner and at the rest of the group, “Well at first I was just walking, at the moment, nowhere but then I remembered a time when I was playing my game and somehow I found a hidden valley that was filled with game. And then I realized that I was a short distance from that place. I found it and here I am. And Rayner there is still a cache of meat and furs that I left there.”

“Well Ray it seems like our faith was well placed in you. You have saved us Ray and one day you will do it again.” He then turned to the rest of the camp, “Men break down camp and let us make our journey home with heads held up high!” I never saw those men move so fast with so much purpose before. They had renewed their inner fires of hope and they knew that success would surely stay with them.

Only Rayner seemed like he wasn’t as enthusiastic as they were. And I knew why. Even though they were saved from starvation war was still going to destroy them. Unless I did something.

I knew that I had the power to save them I just had to find a way to bring it out. On the journey back everyone wanted to pull my sled and they all took turns pulling it and they laughed all the way back. Only Rayner and I were somber. I was trying to figure out how to break my block. I then thought of way I could.

There was a place not far from Norshire where I could be alone from everyone and everything and be left to myself. I made up my mind that when we got back I would go to the cave and prepare myself mentally. My body was ready but my mind was not made up. So in the cave I would prepare my mind to break my block and be able to fulfill my desire to help and be able to use my Righteous Fury the correct way.

When we arrived in Norshire we were welcomed back as heroes. The entire village forgot the rest of the trouble that was knocking on their door and celebrated. For two days the festivities went. By the end of the day we came back everyone had heard of what I had done and everyone wanted to thank me.

At the close of the celebrations I went to Byron, “I want you to know that I will be gone for a few days. This hunt has opened my eyes and now I am fully prepared to begin to help you guys. But first I need to prepare my mind. There is a place that I can do that not far from here.” I waited for Byron’s words of rejection but he stood there taking in what I had said.

“Well son you must do what you think is best. But be warned that outside of Norshire you will not be protected and there are people who will take advantage of you. You have grown a lot but you are still not ready to fight back. Be careful lad, we need you.” With that he left me.

I told Rayner the same thing and he told me to do what I thought was best. And for a split second I thought I saw his eyes light up. I turned to pack my things when I saw Lizeth coming toward me. “Ray you have done this village a great service and no manner of thanks can be enough to repay you but thank you. I have also heard that you are going away for awhile.”

“You are welcome Lizeth and yes I am leaving for a few days. I am finally ready to break my block and begin to fight back. When we meet again Lizeth I will be able to help you and the rest of the village survive this war. That is a promise.” We locked eyes and all of my being wanted to embrace her and kiss her and I could see that she wanted the same. I was about to when I suddenly said goodbye and went to the house to pack.

© 2015 RichardBBenson

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