Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Arganatheon Chapter 1

By Mar-EE

I. Pira opened his green eyes and stared out into the dusk. "Wake up," he called, and then padded off. Bree groaned and rolled over, blinking sleepily. It was the grayish half light, heralding the night which he clambered out into. Throwing his cloak over his shoulder, he rummaged through his pack and took out two strips of dried meat and a stale journey-cake. It was nourishing, dry, tasteless, and unfilling. As he bent to a stream nearby, he reflected over his being lucky enough to find this spot.

Shouldering his pack, he searched for the darker shadow, marking Pira's presence. A warm feeling of comradeship enveloped him. He had dreamed of recognizing one of the Great Cats, enabling him to become a hunter, explorer, or even a warrior. When he and Pira chose each other, he found it was not all fun and games. Despite the grumbling, he enjoyed his job of helping provide meat for the village. Nonetheless, he dreamed of exploring the Wildes, or going to the city as a warrior. Such a dream.

But now in the present, there was a small herd of deer in the clearing ahead of him. Crouching beside Pira, he singled out a small buck not much larger than the Cat himself. Loosing an arrow, the deer fell silently, a perfect shot. Pira rumbled a complement, startling the other deer who disappeared in a bound. Bree was proud of Pira's approval of the shot; his best friend was also his biggest critic.

He proceeded to remove the arrow, which would be re-used. He shouldered the deer, which may have weighed 90-150 lbs, and followed Pira along to track to his cache of meat. Thinking of his return to the village the next day, he didn't notice Pira scouting ahead until he was told to wait. A silent struggle ensued. Pira backed off, shaking his head and rubbing his nose with his paw. It was a Cetyr. They smelled bad enough in life, in death they smelled even worse. Bree shivered; he would not have had time to draw his dagger with the deer on his back. He silently thanked Pira, who continued on.

II. Teek embraced the Cat that dwarfed him fearlessly around the neck. Despite occasional whisker and tail pulling, the Cat had an affection for the boy. He often watched over the child as he played, and when in a rare mood, allowed him to ride on his back. Atro came forward and deftly sorted the meat; enough for each family in the village with a little for himself. Atro was said to be over 50 turns old, and this was his only active part in village life. His own meat was stewed by one of the woman, for he had lost all his teeth cycles ago.

Bree entered his hut and stretched out. Orphaned at an early age, he had lived with Maia's family nearly all his life. Her husband had died, so Bree did the "men's work" and helped watch the three children, Teek (the youngest), Treyene & Trekic (the twins). At this moment, Treyene came in. She was 12 turns and felt she was a grown human, and often scolded her twin for "childish behavior." Sometimes she exhibited this behavior over Bree too, which she proceeded to do now. "You forgot to report to Chelsan, didn't you? You're so forgetful sometimes. I swear." Bree didn't hear all of her statement, for he was already out the door and heading for Chelsan's hut.

He knocked upon the door post of the hut. A grave voice inside murmured something which Bree took as permission to enter. Bowing in, he made his report brief and to the point. Chelsan was not a man of many words, and expected others to be the same. As Bree rose to go, he said, "Wait." Bree was stunned, this wasn't normal. "Oso and Marna haven't returned." Oso was an explorer and Marna his Cat. If they hadn't returned, it could mean one of two things. They were dead, or captured. If one died, the other would soon follow. If one was captured, the other would try to rescue him. This bond was in all man-cat pairings, and why men who had recognized a cat always did dangerous work for the village such as hunting, fighting and exploring.

"Go find him - Tomorrow." Bree jumped at the sound of Chelsan's voice, and its words. He opened his mouth to argue, but a hand movement cut him off abruptly. "East." He turned his back. This signaled the endo f the discussion and his dismissal; he had no choice in the matter. Standing outside the hut, he felt disjointed, unreal. He was a top hunter, so now he would be hunting for his friend too. In a strange way, it made sense. Pira padded over. Apparently he already know, and so did the whole village.

He didn't want to leave, but Chelsan was chief, and he couldn't argue. To the east - what lay there? Despite his worries, a sense of elation crept over him - the Wildes. Largely unexplored, for him to search for a man and a Cat. Except the Brosks - they were definitely there. Bree shivered as a cloud passed over the sun…and then shook off his irresolution. Besides, if he defied Chelsan, he would be banished anyhow.

1-7th day equals one week
8-7th days equal one cycle
7 cycles equal one turn (year)