Billy Jo marched through the forest with the rest of the hunting party that was returning to the village victorious. His first fight hadn’t been as bad as he had feared. He hadn’t been sure what he was supposed to do, but he’d seen Braveheart several times and had a pretty good idea. He was ready to charge when Edward fired the flare gun into the first cave followed by the flaming arrows into the others. He had expected them to immediately come charging out, but it took an agonizingly long time for them to emerge. In retrospect he realized it had only been a few seconds, but at the time it seemed to take forever. The giant men didn’t disappoint when they did come charging out of caves. They ran howling and beating on their chest, just like Gorilla’s in the zoo. He had pretty much expected that, the monsters always feel the need howl or screech or whatever it was they do when they charge someone. He really hadn’t come up with anything better than Mel Gibson, so yelled “For Freedom!” and charged towards one of the bigger giant men and stabbed his spear into its chest.
He thought it would just go down like the monsters always do in the movies when the hero stabs them, but it just looked pissed off. Maybe he had misjudged and this was the boss monster at the end where the hero barely survives the fight. Now that he had a close look he realized it had a big burn spot on its chest. This must have been the one Edward shot with the flare gun a few days ago. It occurred to him that burn in the creature’s chest was at his eye level. This thing was big, really big. He looked up from the creature’s chest just in time to see it swing its arm back. He could feel the wind from the massive hand pass over him as he leaned back just in time to avoid the blow. It was faster than he thought. Fast and strong, he was going to get killed. Good thing everyone else was right behind him. He was still twisting back from the dodge and caught a glimpse of the rest of the hunting party out of the corner of his eye. He realized they were standing back behind the small trench of water. He was the only one that had charged. Crap, he was on his own.
He heard a whizzing sound over his head and a thunk as an arrow buried itself deeply into the giant man’s shoulder near his neck. OK, maybe he wasn’t alone. It would have been nice if someone had warned him not to charge the giant men before the fight. He’d have to take this thing down before it could hit him, stab it in the throat or maybe the eye. He started to pull the spear back, but realized he wasn’t going to make it. Moving with a speed that belied its size the creature recovered from its missed slap with a backhand that caught Billy square in the chest. People who say everything slows down when you are about to die are right. He saw the hit coming, but just couldn’t move fast enough to avoid it. As the back of the creature’s hand struck his chest he tried to roll with it like he did in kick boxing class, but he felt his feet leave the ground and knew it was over. He was flying backwards through the air; you don’t just get back up from a hit like that and he knew it.
It’s funny the thoughts that go through you head when you’re about to die. His first thought was that he was living in a village of smoking hot women and he was going to die before he had a chance to sleep with any of them. This must be some type of punishment from God for all the bad things he had done. Maybe he shouldn’t have slept around so much. It didn’t start out that way. He had a few serious girlfriends, but after a while they started trying to change him like he wasn’t good enough. They all liked the idea of a sexy construction worker, but when they found out the work was erratic and he had trouble getting steady work they would tell him to get a “real” job. After he got dumped several times by woman looking for someone they could have a future with he just quit trying. He always though he would settle down someday and have some kids, he just hadn’t meet the right woman and now he never would.
Instead of the hard impact of the ground, he felt the water rush up around him. That’s just great. He’d probably drown before the internal bleeding killed him. He waited for the pain to come. He knew his body was just in shock and hadn’t registered the pain of that massive hit yet. Waiting. Waiting. The pain wasn’t coming. He stood up in the chest high water. He didn’t even have the breath knocked out of him. He had also managed to hold onto his spear somehow. He climbed out of the pool, but the fight was over. He saw one of the giant men fleeing into the woods and the villagers were making sure the ones that were down weren’t going to get back up.
He was exhausted as he marched along. The fight had lasted a minute at the most, but it zapped your energy. He knew the feeling pretty well, it always happened when he tried one of his stunts like jumping a car with his motorcycle. You’re really psyched at the time and do feel anything, but later it hits you. Of course sometimes he hit it and wound up in the emergency room. He’d take the fatigue over the ER.
At least he had a nice view to distract him from the march and he wasn’t thinking of the scenery. A female hunting person was marching in front of him. He was used to checking out women, but the tail was downright hypnotic. At first he thought the cat women were a little strange, but they were just hot as at the other women in the village and he had to admit the ears were kind of cute and the tail was absolutely fascinating. They also couldn’t get pregnant from a non cat person which was a bonus. He was distracted and didn’t know that the woman he turned her head around and watching him. Crap...that’s why he liked to wear sun glasses it was harder to get caught that way. He didn’t seem upset in fact she was looking him over checking him out.
“You are not injured?” Apparently he had misread that, she was just making sure he was ok.
“Cyan checked me out. No broken bones or anything, but I’ll have some serious bruises tomorrow.”
She looked at him skeptically. “I have seen giant men kill with a single blow. Even when they do not kill it can take a season to recover from their blows. I saw you fly back into the pool, it was a serious hit.”
He couldn’t argue there. It had been a serious hit. He had taken hard hits in his kick boxing class that had knocked him down. He had even gotten broken a rib one time, but this hit had been much worse than that. However, he didn’t feel hurt and Cyan said nothing was broken. He couldn’t explain it.
“Just lucky I guess.”
“Your people are powerful warriors.”
He chuckled. “I’m not a warrior. I’m just a carpenter.”
“You tell the truth?” He understood what she meant. She didn’t believe he wasn’t a warrior, but didn’t want to insult him by calling him a liar. Maybe she thought he was joking with her.
“Yes. I really am a carpenter. Edward is a warrior, or was. He really let himself go since he left the military.”
“Yes. I did not witness it, but the others said he fought bravely. He also took a hit from a giant man and suffered only minor injuries. I am called Harfreder.”
“I’m Billy Jo. Nice to meet you ma’am.” He tipped his head to her.
She seemed amused? He wasn’t sure, but she smiled at him which was always a good sign.
“The others tell me you wish to learn how to hunt.”
“I reckon we’ll be here for a while and I best learn how to catch food if I want to eat.”
That made her smile again. “Perhaps we will hunt together some time.”
There was some meaning behind her words that he couldn’t quite decipher. They chatted for the rest of the trip. She pointed out the local animals and which ones were good to eat along with some to avoid. By the end of the trip he was pretty sure she liked him, but the people here acted a bit differently than what he was used to so he wasn’t sure.
They were greeted like heroes when they returned to the village. A cry went out when they were close and the entire village turned out to welcome them back. After the initial excitement it was a rather there were some rather somber moments. He saw a Farming person hug his wife and small child. The woman was crying. He hadn’t really taken this that seriously when he left, but he realized now that not everyone returned when village had to drive giant people away. The mood quickly lightened when it became evident that no one had died. The injured in including Edward were being tended to by Mother Gytha.
Billy Jo had just removed the leather armor he had been given and placed it back in the storage bin when Harfreder approached him. She threw him a boar spear. “Come. We will hunt for the feast.” It was close to dust and he felt like passing out, but he just couldn’t say no to a beautiful woman.
Harfreder set a brisk pace through the woods. Billy Jo thought he was in good shape. Construction work was physically demanding, he lifted weights, and attended a kicked boxing class several times a week, but he had nothing on these people. He wasn’t sure he could run any further when Harfreder came to a sudden halt.
She examined the ground for a minute and then up at the surrounding trees. “Here.” She scampered up one of the trees with a branch overhanging the area she had examined. He was still panting and trying to catch his breath, but he began to climb. She made it look easy, must come from being part cat. Billy was no slouch himself when it came to climbing it was part of his job, but it took him an embarrassing long time to make it out onto the large branch behind her.
“What are we…”
“Shhhh….” She cut him off. “Be very quiet and don’t move.” She said in a whisper.
They waited. Harfreder clung to the tree motionless except for her tail which waved lazily back and forth. Billy Jo fidgeted from time to time, but managed to remain mostly quiet. His current view on the limb behind Harfreder held his attention. He wondered what they looked like naked and how exactly her tail was connected. These people really needed tighter clothing; it was hard to make out the details. Harfreder’s tail suddenly stopped swaying and began to twitch. She looked back at him and her eyes were wild. She grinned at him and then leapt from branch on top of the boar.
He had been so busy watching Harfreder he hadn’t seen the boar arrive. It wasn’t just any boar, this thing was Boarzilla. It must be a good seven or eight feet long with huge tusks. Harfreder had a spear stuck into its back near its shoulder blades and was clinging to it as it bucked and squealed. She was fucking crazy. Billy Jo jumped from the branch and rolled when he hit the ground. He had a lot of practice falling off roofs and the twelve feet wasn’t that bad. The boar was spinning wildly and bucking. He didn’t want to hit Harfreder, so he stabbed it in the ass. It quickly spun around jerking the spear that was imbedded in his haunch from his hands. It snorted at him and lowered its massive head aiming its tusks for him. He knew what that meant, it was about to charge. A much smaller boar had gored one of his friend’s legs on a hunting trip, but something this size could easily kill him. He was close to the boar too close for the boar to really charge him, so he did the only thing he could think of and grabbed the boar’s tusks and braced. The boar jerked its head up trying to gore him as he had expected, but he was ready. It worked like he had planned and he didn’t get gored, unfortunately he hadn’t counted on the beast’s strength which sent him hurling backwards into a tree. The boar lowered its head again and prepared to charge. Harfreder took advantage of Billy Jo’s distraction to draw her long knife from its sheath and drive it deep into the boar’s throat. The boar staggered and bucked a couple more times before collapsing.
Harfreder used a cloth on her belt to quickly wipe the blood from her knife and hands. She looked up at him. She looked more cat now than ever. Her hair was wild from the fight, she had a splotch of blood on her face and her eyes with their vertical pupils were on fire. She was absolutely stunning. “I want you.” Her voice was almost a growl. “Uhhh…” He managed to stammer before she pushed him back against the tree. Damn she was strong. He must have a good hundred pounds on her, but she had no trouble pushing him around like he was a featherweight. She started kissing him and frantically trying to remove his clothing. He managed to recover from his momentary shock and obliged her.
Billy looked up into the orange hued sky. The sun was beginning to set. The sky didn’t look quite right somehow, but he couldn’t explain exactly why. Harfreder lay on top of him with her head against his chest, a deep rumbling sound coming from her throat. At first he thought she had fallen asleep and was snoring, but then he realized she was purring. It didn’t shock him, nothing really shocked him anymore. They were living in freaking dinosaur land and anything could happen. She was a cat person of course she purred. It was very soothing sound. That was the best sex he had ever had. He wasn’t sure if it was her or this place. She was the most aggressive woman he had ever been with and that was saying something, but ever since they had come here he felt different. The air was clean, the food was delicious, and he felt better than he had in years.
“The sun is setting. We must be going; it is dangerous to be in the woods at night.” Harfreder quickly dressed and began field dressing the boar. Her cuts were quick and precise, but he could see she was in a hurry. “Get me a long sturdy branch to carry the boar.” By the time Billy Jo found a suitable branch she had finished gutting the boar. She tied it legs around the branch with some crude rope leaving a couple feet on each end for hand holds. Even gutted the thing was incredibly heavy, even Harfreder looked like she was straining under the weight which made him feel better. He didn’t think he was going to be able to be able to make it all way back to the village. Fortunately, they ran into a hunting party that was out looking for them and had helping carrying it the rest of the way back. They looked impressed that he and Harfreder had managed to take the boar down by themselves.
The party was already in full swing by the time they made it back to the village. Billy Jo just wanted to collapse somewhere, but he managed to make it through most of the party. Harfreder sat next to him and she nudged him awake when he fell asleep sitting up. He was barely conscious as she escorted him back to her bed. Normally he would have thrilled with this prospect, but he was so tired he could barely stand. She guided him down into the bed and lay next to him embracing him. A gentle purring was his last conscious memory.
Hærfríðr = Old Norse. Translates into beautiful warrior, though warrior seems to have different connotations when used with female names.
Harfreder is my attempt at the phonetically spelling.
Discussion with Mister Grimm after Billy Jo returns to the village. I am both speaking for a named NPC and establishing some ecology of a race you made up so feel free to edit it appropriately or maybe remove it entirely.
Mister Grimm: “I heard you went hunting with Harfreder.” He took a puff of his pipe.
Billy Jo wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. He obviously knew what had happened.
Mister Grimm: “You are new here and do not know the way of the Hunting People. The hunt is in their blood. For them hunting is a very emotional experience.” He paused to take another draw. “Sometimes those emotions overflow after the hunt. Not always in the way you experienced, some may laugh or cry. But there are several children of the hunt among the Hunting People. It is considered a good omen that a child conceived in such a manner will be a great hunter one day.”
Billy Jo: “So you’re saying that she doesn’t really like me and that she was just overcome by emotion?”
Mister Grimm: “I didn’t say that. Hunting people rarely hunt in pairs.”
Billy Jo: “You mean she planned it”
Mister Grimm continued to puff away on his pipe ignoring the question. Apparently he wasn’t going to get an answer.
Return to The Well Of The Worlds