On the Hunt
Rami stopped dead ahead and put up his hand. Behind him, Taron didn’t need to be told what to do - stop and be still as a stone.
Rami stared forth, his longbow in one hand and now his dagger in the other. He’d reached down for it so fast that Taron hadn’t seen him grab it from his belt. Of course, it could also be that Taron was feeling scared, his eyes darting about, wondering what could be in the woods ahead.
The brothers were in the Deep Woods, a place they shouldn’t be. Rami was 12-years old now, though, and at 8-years old Taron knew he could keep up with him. So far they’d gone more than a mile into the woods. So far they’d been alright.
“Be still,” Rami whispered over his shoulder and back to his younger brother. Taron gulped, nodded a bit, tightened the grip on his own bow, a shortbow that could get 40 yards to Rami’s 60...if Taron was lucky. Many times he wasn’t.
A moment later Rami got up from his crouch, put his bow up before him, and started forward. Taron leaned forward, his eyes nearly bulging out of his head. Rami sensed this and looked back.
It’s alright, his look said, though he said no words. Taron nodded, leaned back on his haunches, though he felt more unsure than ever.
Ahead of him Rami crept forward, going ten feet then twenty. He’d seen something out of the corner of his eye, and he knew it wasn’t a deer. Deer didn’t live this far in the Deep Woods, everyone knew that, didn’t live there at all most of the times.
This wasn’t most of the times, though, and Rami’s stomach grumbling made that clear. The king had just had another bad year dealing with the border states and that meant the peasants would have another as well. That would be the fourth in a row. Rami wasn’t sure the peasants would take it much longer.
That’s why they were in the Deep Woods - there were few restrictions on hunting anymore. Of course, it wasn’t deer that Rami had in mind for hunting. Everyone had heard the rumors of what the king had put in the Deep Woods, though few had been brave enough to venture forth, looking to see if they were true or not.
Rami was brave enough, and venture forth he did.