The Legend of Artill Chapter 9: Survival


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The morning sun cracked the dark sky, signaling the dawn of a new day. The bright beams of sunlight shone upon the wet forest, making the dew drops glisten.
Two weeks had passed since Artill's incident with the Gadrannian military. Artill had spent this time recovering from his injuries. Fortunately, he had some knowledge of the herbs in the forest, due to his frequent hiking expeditions for his daily training, but he could not move much from his position because stable restoration required proper rest. He had fed upon insects, bark or whatever was edible nearby in order to survive and drank the dew off of nearby vegetation close to him.
After his leg had mostly recovered and his fatigue had lessened, Artill immediately began foraging for food. Tending to the need of hunger was the first priority for him, since he had only eaten the bare minimum to stay alive. The first animal he came upon was a wild deer, strolling through the forest with its herd. Artill's first reaction came from his stomach, rumbling from emptiness. A deer's head darted in his direction and made a dazed expression, but in the next second it began to run away. The deer's herd followed its lead and also began to split up, speeding away in different directions.
Artill was flabbergasted, the triggering noises reverberating from his stomach had notified the deer herd of his position and intent. The deer had already left the general area and Artill's eyes began to twitch as his unfortunate circumstances were quite laughable.
Artill began tracking the deer, noting the footprints they left behind. He began following the ones with the deepest imprints because he wanted a big score and thought it would probably be the slowest of all the deer. Currently, Artill's primitive instincts were overwhelming his mind's control.
Artill pursued the trail of the fat deer. At this point it had been at least an hour of "hunting" and his left leg was exerting noticeable amounts of pain. He tried to work through the pain and after a couple hours of more searching he found his prey. He hid in some nearby bushes, while actively glaring at the deer and had unknowingly begun drooling.
The deer was drinking from a small lake, the lake was being filled by a waterfall flowing down from a cliff. Artill was very pleased with the location the deer had scampered off to. Most likely, the deer was tired from running and was getting a drink of water to rejuvenate itself. This meant that he had a chance to ambush the deer, while it was in a vulnerable position. If Artill had just attacked the deer, then the deer could flee, but if he were to distract and ambush it, then it would much easier to catch.
Artill picked up some small stones around him and began to throw them into the lake, which somehow got the deer's attention. He kept throwing rocks into the lake, while slowing encroaching upon the deer. The deer was puzzled at what had caused the small splashes in the lake. Its attention was fully drawn towards the strange occurrences.
Artill had advanced very close to the deer, nearly a meter away. His hunger craziness made him aggressively lunge towards the deer, but he tripped and tumbled into the deer. Both of them had plunged into the lake, luckily the lake was at most two meters deep. The deer and Artill had only fallen into the shallowest part.
Artill began wrestling with the deer, if a person were to see this they would find it to be quite the ridiculous sight. Many times, either the deer's head or Artill's head would rise from the water, for a breath, only to go back down underwater again the next moment. Finally, Artill managed to grip one of his arms around the deer's neck and started wailing punches on it. After the deer was quite brutalized Artill dragged it out of the lake, but he was thoroughly exhausted.
Artill fell down beside his large catch on the grassy shore of the small lake and stared into its eyes, so cold and lost. The deer's body slightly twitched, but soon stopped after a minute, it had perished under its injuries. He had hunted animals many times before, but this time was different. How he had handled the animal truly caused a sort of profound guilt. Even the pain in his leg had been ignored because of this incident.
Artill then turned his body and stared up at the sky, it was still so bright and sunny, without a cloud in the sky, but that did not reflect his current feelings. Artill had started to truly realize the situation he was in. A large group of soldiers were probably searching for him, he was injured, had no supplies or equipment on hand, and his village may have already been targeted or may have already been destroyed.
Artill's eyes began watering due to his current feelings for himself and his village, thinking about how he could have done something and how his actions had now affected the state of the village. He began convincing himself that his rash actions may have led to the destruction of his peaceful life and the innocents in his village.
After half an hour of pitying himself Artill's stomach reminded him of his current situation, so he slapped himself awake and began concentrating. He began to sharpen sticks lying on the ground by using small rocks to chip away at the tips, eventually he had a spear-like stick with a pointy tip, thin but sharp. He began pondering on how to skin and separate the deer in parts, he had no knife on him and a pointy stick wasn't enough to tear through a deer's body.
However, he heard something rustling in the bushes nearby. He stopped thinking about skinning the deer and readied himself in a battle stance. Pointing the sharp end of his stick-spear towards the bushes, waiting for the enemy to approach. As soon as he saw something step out of the bushes he hurled his weapon at it.
Moments after the spear was thrown a small squeal was heard. Artill ran over to the bushes and uncovered what had startled him earlier. It was a brown rabbit, which now had a wooden object impaled through its body. To Artill this was actually a small boon because the deer he had caught was too large and could not be processed in a small amount of time.
Artill's stomach rumbled yet again and this time he held no remorse for his kill. He promptly took the spear-stick out of the rabbit and brought it back to the lake for cleaning. He began skinning the rabbit, using his hands to slowly rip the skin of the rabbit. The skinning job was much easier since he had already made a hole in the rabbit. He used the water from the lake to clean the bare rabbit and his spear-stick. Artill was almost tempted to eat a piece of the raw rabbit. He began preparing a tiny campsite next to the lake. He built a fire pit, made two standing sticks and gathered kindling for the fire.
The evening was slowly approaching. The sun was nearing the horizon and the sky was turning a faint color of orange. Artill was roasting his rabbit on a stick over the fire pit, rubbing and applying natural herbs to it, while fanning the flames of the fire. He let the rabbit sit over the fire and began treating his leg. Due to his intense actions during the day his leg wound had re-opened, so he cleaned his leg, administered ointment over it and applied herbal bandages.
After cleaning his wound, Artill took the stick of rabbit and began feasting on it, similar to a beast. He took no time to savor the flavor and ate down to the bone. After his meal, he stepped into the lake and drank from the trickling waterfall. After feeling refreshed from a short bath, hot meal and tasty drink he went back to his campsite.
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