Paige's Tales 2 LbNA # 6236 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Oct 28 2003|
Paige’s Tales 2
.....The Hunters had gone out in search of game. They never made it back before the Pixie Tribe had gone.
“It is time,” D’Knor announced. “Already?”, his team of hunters were wont to know. “Yes, now is the time, Winter fast approaches. We must be away and back before the cold flies.” “But it’s been so nice this Autumn season. Surely we have plenty of time to help with the harvest before we have to leave?”, asked D’Knea, a young Pixie, recently elevated to the Hunters. As a young one he was used to having to help with the harvest, watching with longing as the Hunters would leave on their expeditions. “No, time runs away from us. Winter is coming fast. We need to be there and back before RETNIW ECITSLOS,” D’Knor exclaimed. “Pack now, and be ready to go before the sun falls again on the West side of the Fort.” A rush there was, to make sure that each of them had all the gear they needed. When the Sun was overhead, about to shine on the West of the Old Fort, D’Knor looked about him, and, seeing that all of his Hunters were prepared, gave the signal to move.
East of North they headed, that fine Autumn day, following the trail that they had always followed, when it was time to hunt. By that evening they had come over the next ridge and down into a little valley, where they spent the night. Early the next morn, they continued on their way, up out of that valley, over, down, up, single file, on through the forest. At the end of this, the second day, coming up into an open way, they were confronted by a looming escarpment. “Sentinel Rock, it is called”, was D’Knor’s answer to queries from the young. “This is a Safe Haven to all Tribes and the edge of the Hunting Grounds. There is a Message Box on the South and East side into which we must leave our sign, telling all who come that we have passed this way.”
That night was spent in the shelter of the escarpment, fully protected from the North Wind which had begun to blow. On the morrow, when asked which way they went from there, D’Knor only pointed up. “Up that ridge?”, cried D’Knou and D’Knuo together. “When we have this nice broad way stretching off East and West”? “Gnomes to the East, Trolls to the West”, was D’Knor’s response. “We don’t care, East we will go”, said the pair. No amount of argument would dissuade them, and off into the Land of the Gnomes they went. “Up we go lads”, D’Knor cried as D’Knou and D’Knuo disappeared around the side of the escarpment, “Food for the clan we are after, and food it is we’ll be getting. Atop this ridge is the beginning of our Hunting Grounds.” The whole day they climbed, and always the top seemed to recede from them. Steep it was, and nightfall found them still on the side of the ridge. A cheerless group camped that night, exposed on the side of that ridge. Worse still, the wind was blowing harder and colder.
Morning found them up and moving at first light, as much to try and warm themselves as to make any progress. Midday had them gaining the top of the ridge, in the teeth of the wind, only to find the landscape fall away and rise again in the distance. “We must keep moving,” yelled D’Knor, over the shriek of the wind. “Shelter is over the top of the next ridge.” Wearily they pushed on. Down into the valley, where the wind only seemed to blow harder, and on up over the next ridge. A little further on, D’Knor suddenly veered off the left side of the trail, towards a small outcropping of stone. “That’s shelter?”, cried D’Knea. “It’s all we’ve got”, came the reply.
As they approached, they noticed a small opening on the left side of the outcropping. That and a hastily built lean-to got them out of the worst of the wind.
They awoke to find snow blanketing the ground and drifting lazily in the air. “This will help us track our food”, said D’Knor. “Remember, we are on a Hunt, not a Survival Training Exercise.” “Shouldn’t we leave a Message Box for D’Knou and D’Knuo?” asked D’Knea, who was missing his friends. “They might follow after us.” “Excellent idea “, was the response.
North and East they headed once again, as the snow began to fall in earnest. On they struggled, slipping and sliding down atop the ridge line, into the teeth of the wind. Late in the day, once again thinking of nothing but shelter, they spotted a cairn, with a finger of stone pointing West of North. Peering through the blinding snow, they could just barely make out a large stump, left after one of the Forest Giants, we know them as Hemlocks, had toppled. “Go, go”, cried D’Knor, “even in Death, the Forest Giants have always given succor.”
Morning found the woods deep in a mantle of snow. “Here we cannot stay”, D’Knor announced when all the Hunters had awoken. “Another Message Box we must leave, though I fear for D’Knou and D’Knuo’s safety, after this storm. Though I have not been this deep into the Hunting Grounds in many a Season, I recall a shelter, built in the Ancient Times, that, if we can find it, will provide us a place to spend the Winter.” “The Winter?”, D’Knea cried. “What of our Families, they will be worried.” “No more than we will worry about them”, D’Knor replied.
Once more they gathered up their belongings, and again, turning to the North and East, they went in search of the Shelter of the Ancients. After a hard slippery trek down the hill, slipping and sliding past many a ledge and outcrop of rock, in a vale, protected by many Forest Giants, they espied the Shelter, away to the left of their trail. In gratitude they entered, and, while preparing it for a long stay, a Message Box was found. Upon opening it, it was discovered to have been left by a group of Gnomes, who, like themselves, had once been forced to spend a Winter.
Though the Shelter of the Ancients is mostly gone, when last we were there, a corner of it still was visible. Searching those ruins, just as we were giving up hope, we found the Box of the Gnomes. Of the fate of D’Knou and D’Knuo, well that’s another Tale.
Peter and Paige