who: Valan Arandil and Aedre where: Close to Aedre's village in the Wilds when: Fall, 9:28 (Aedre is 7) summary: Aedre's village and many others have been plagued by a certain monster, but that does not stop the girl from leaving home and completing tasks by herself. Valan is expected to find a very frightened little girl. rating: Nothing bad! Maybe some fighting, but nothing over-the-top... Rated M?
The stink of blood was not a smell that Aedre was unaccustomed to. In terms of her age, one might think that that was an odd thing to become used to, but in the Wilds it was not uncommon. Scrapes, bleeding and bruising were constant aspects of life in the Wilds. Children would catch their bare feet on the forest floor and pay the price in a little blood and a sore spot. It was, certainly, a regular thing for hunters and warriors to return from the Wilds with scars of battle and hunting. And, of course, while eating and preparing meat in the village, blood was not scarce. It was not, however, an expectedly daily occurrence.
It was therefore quite unsettling to see the blood that had been spilt by those who belonged to the village in the past weeks. The hunters and warriors would often come home with scrapes and bruises, but nothing to this extent. Many of the best warriors had returned from scouting with gaping tears in their flesh, or even completely missing limbs. And when others set out to defeat the beast, they often returned in the same fashion. It was certainly nothing pretty, and the village was uneasy about the entire trouble. They were particularly concerned about the wild beast, to which this threat had been described, that was present.
As members of their village continued to get hurt by whatever the animal was, they also continued to fill the elders’ hut. With healing magic and bandages plentiful, the village could not be better taken care of in a crisis. And as a disciple of the village elder, Aedre was surrounded by wounded more commonly than most seven-year-olds. It was certainly good training for her continued education in healing, not to mention in hardening her stomach.
Often surrounding villages that did not have shamans or elders would come to theirs for help, and it was quite obvious that they were not the only ones having trouble with the creature. The elder and his apprentices were spending their nights and days healing and caring for the injured Chasind. Aedre herself had spent many sleepless nights absorbing and learning while caring for their wounded people. She had, in fact, just risen from sleeping through the evening, and woke to find that the rest of the village had long since retired for the night.
The girl, at her best guess from glancing out the window, suspected it was close enough to dawn to fetch some water from the river. She rose from her bed of dried moss and animal skins and glanced about the room. Her brother was fast asleep, snoring slightly, and Aedre knew that if she were to try and wake him he would be terribly unhappy with her. She decided after a pause that she would complete the task herself, and tiptoed toward the bucket close to the exit. On the way, she stopped to pick up a coat of wolf fur, her belt, and to glance into her mother and father’s room – nothing. It would be cold at this time of night, and she was not intent on catching sickness, so she threw the coat around her shoulders and crept out into the night. Bucket resting on her hip, she stepped onto the boardwalks that lead out of the village and toward the river.
It took, on average, ten minutes to reach the river and as she walked Aedre began to feel somewhat uneasy. She had completed this task a thousand times, but never when there was such imminent danger. Immediately she felt a little foolish, now clutching the bucket to her chest defensively. The sun had begun its rise as she walked, for which she was grateful. She began rushing with hurried steps, but as she came upon the river, paused. She spotted a figure in the dim light, and squinted as she crouched to hide. It was hunched over the river, perhaps catching a drink, and she felt her tiny fingers tightening on one of the knives she had on her belt. She thanked whatever spirit had told her to stop and take her belt before attempting to back away from whatever was there.
As she stepped backward, a tiny foot felt the hardness of a stick, and the scratch that resulted from it snapping. The noise seemed much louder in her head, and she froze in fright. She watched as the figure began to stir and turn toward her. Aedre squeaked quietly for but a moment, holding in a scream, and stared, frozen with fright at whatever the creature was. Foolish little girl, indeed.