JORN AWAKENS IN his little hut. He has had work for the last several days and so he has food for breakfast. He gets up and cooks himself some breakfast. He had intended to start his daily search for work, but the wind is out of the South. Jorn thinks of the normal Valley weather pattern, morning flow from the West, night flow from the East, sometimes the devil wind from the East, throughout the day, storm wind from the North and the wind from the South only when there’s a strong storm approaching from the North.
The wind from the South is strong and steady, which means a major storm and it’s the cover that Jorn needs for a plan of his to work.
Jorn retrieves his bow, his quiver of six arrows and his father’s long knife. He has his hunting pack, which he loads with the necessaries he will need for his journey and he’s ready to go. Jorn exits his hut and walks to the entrance to the Valley.
Arn is on the guard and he says, “Gonna be too much rain for a hunting trip.”
Jorn laughs and tells Arn, “Not for what I’m hunting.” With that, he’s through the entrance arch and off into the woods. He moves swiftly, but quietly through the woods, on the alert for anything out of the ordinary. The woods are quiet, with only a very few, quiet bird calls. The lack of the usual sounds means more danger for Jorn, but there will likely be less chance of an enemy lurking in the woods, since there’s a strong storm approaching. However, Jorn is very alert. He reaches the stream and leaps across a narrow spot. He lands and goes to ground. There’s nothing to indicate the presence of danger and no scent carried on the wind. Jorn waits for a bit, analyzing what little information reaches him. He senses no danger and he continues on his way.
The wind from the South continues for a while, as Jorn works silently South and West. Then the storm hits, from the North, and Jorn is lashed by heavy rain.
The lash of the rain is uncomfortable, but it means that there will likely be none of the cannibals out hunting. Still Jorn needs to be very cautious. The risk that he takes would not be reasonable, except that the treasure that the city holds will be enough to elevate Jorn from hired hand to land owner and a man who can then pursue the beautiful Deena. However, if he’s to live to gain the riches, he must be alert and careful.
The fury of the storm masks the normal noises of the forest. Jorn can’t hear possible enemies. Then again, possible enemies will find it very difficult to track him. Jorn moves as silently as he can, carefully placing his boots on the muck of the forest floor, making sure of each footing, as he goes. He moves through the drenched forest, trying as best as he can remember, to follow the path that his father showed him, on only one occasion.
After what seems like hours, Jorn peers from the edge of the forest, across what the storm has turned into a mud flat. He sees only the windowless backs of ruined buildings, across the mud. It’s difficult to even see the buildings, through the pouring rain. However, the same rain will make it difficult for anyone to see Jorn. He moves back and stands on vegetation. He removes his boots and slides a pair of sturdy deerhide moccasins onto his feet. He slings his boots, upside down, around his neck and prepares to walk along the remains of some sort of curbing, that lie just under the surface of the mud.
Suddenly, Jorn becomes aware of a disturbance off to one side. It’s hard to tell, over the noise of the rain, but it appears to be a fight. Jorn pulls the long knife of his father and prepares to defend himself. Suddenly, a naked form slides out of the forest and prepares to work its way back, the way it came. Jorn’s knife ends that plan and the world is a better place, by one cannibal. Another naked form tries to rush past Jorn and Jorn’s knife ends the life of another cannibal.
A dim form, in the rain asks, in language that Jorn barely understands, “Who you?”
Jorn answers, in very basic form, “I called Jorn.”
The form says, “I called Greon.”
Three more forms then join the one who talks with Jorn. The four talk in a language similar to what Jorn speaks, but enough different than what Jorn speaks that he’s only able to just get a hint as to what they say.”
Jorn says, “Maybe more cannibals come.”
The largest of the forms, Greon, the one who appears to be in charge, says, “Jalusha keep watch. No one surprise.”
Jorn asks, “Where you go?”
Greon says, “We from Seaside. We seek Valley.”
Jorn says, “I from Valley. Help me get what I seek, I take to Valley.”
Greon says, “Cannibals in city.”
Jorn says, “Maybe. Not many where I go.”