She drew a steady breath, eye carefully sighting down the shaft, her wood creaking beneath her fingers as she patiently waited for the hare to finish sniffing the air, and then went back down, nibbling on some tuft of grass that had evaded the snow.


Raforta smiled and clapped her granddaughter on the shoulder, “Good. Go collect it.”

The young Hyur threaded her arm through her bow, carefully treading across the snow until she found the hare she had shot, a small amount of blood splashing crimson across the white. After picking the animal up, she folded the snow over, hiding the blood, so that the scent wouldn’t draw scavengers.

That’s when the hairs on the back of her neck stood up.

With a very measured pace, she continued to pat at the snow, slowly sliding her eyes round as far as she could to see what the cause was, and caught the spindly limbs of a snow wolf lurking on top of the rocks nearby. A perfect position for an ambush. Where she was the prey.

She slowly stood up, turning so that she deliberately put her back to the wolf, and felt the hairs shiver again before she threw herself forward, going into a roll as she slipped the bow off her shoulder and scooped up an arrow that had scattered out on top of the snow.

Knocking and drawing it, she turned back to the wolf, to see it bearing down on her, jaw hanging open with needle point teeth and curved claws springing forward. The arrow flew, skewering it through a shoulder as she thrust out her hand, searching for another, hand closing on nothing but snow as she moved too late, and the wolf’s claws caught her arm instead, cutting the flesh into ribbons.

Then the wolf was gone, replaced by the towering figure of her Oma, broadsword cleanly piercing into the side of the wolf, whose body slumped on the snow much like the hare had done mere moments before.

The young Hyur sat up, suppressing a noise of pain as she moved her arm, her other hand not big enough to cover the wounds, but clasping it anyway. Raforta swept her eyes around the rocky outcropping, satisfying herself that nothing else was lurking before she turned back to her granddaughter.

“Here,” she removed a length of cloth out of a pouch and firmly started to bind her arm, forcing the cuts closed as she did so. She noticed her granddaughter’s clenched teeth, tensing up from more than just the pain.

“Do you know what you did right, my little dragonet?”

The girl looked at her, dark blue eyes searching Raforta’s face, before looking down at her arm, clearly focusing on the failure, before she shook her head.

“You didn’t hesitate. The difference between walking away with your life, or finding it’s your last fight, can come down to a moment’s hesitation. You’re young, you’ll get hurt, and you’ll learn from the failures as much as you learn from me. But your instincts are there little one, and they did you right today.”

Her granddaughter always had been a quiet one, but Raforta had gotten adept at reading the subtle changes in her face that showed her mood and thoughts, and was pleased to see the words sink in, the wound now a lesson that had been learnt.

“Right,” she finished the bandage off with a knot and stood up again, “back home now, so someone can have a proper look at that. Can you still carry your kills?”

Her granddaughter gave her a look, before pushing herself up off the snow, kicking some of the drift over her own blood, and picking up the hare with a firm grip, tramping off in the direction of home. The whole scene caused Raforta to smile as she slung the wolf carcass over a shoulder, and followed after the determined youngling.