The Hunt
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blood between my fingers
the eyes of the prey, closing in death
the sisters moons taking the colors

skekMal was looking at Gie with undeciphered expression. His eyes sank even deeper into his mask, so she can’t see if he is angered, amused, or makes a joke from her. He just stood there, his hand stretched, inviting her to look into it. His tail moved slowly and steady and that was a sign he is content. She didn’t know if it’s good. Usually, it was, but…

Knowing what he gave her last time, when they sealed their new bond in wide-spread furs, under sister moons, she better receives a token from the sly Chamberlain than again have him giving her a tore-up heart of unknown prey. That was so… He couldn’t really think that she will like it. Yet he did and that was most frightening.

“It’s not a heart, yes?”

“Not even a string of it” his voice low and ever tempting, yet she still was unsure if she should really trust him.

“No severed finger, some kind of flesh token, huh? I can’t really rely on your common sense in case of gifts…”

“I wasn’t severing fingers at night” his maw curled in a playful smile and she took even worse suspicion.

“Hunter… I really don’t want to go through with it again. Last time I felt nauseous and it was not the best invitation for what you expected later. I just can’t look at the things that—“

“No”

He removed the hand and circling her up, he stood behind her, pressing his stomach to her back, making her inhale the air in surprise. His right hand laid on her shoulder and left one curled around her and still hiding the gift, he spoke lowly.

“Open. It’s not bloodied. Not fleshy. It’s something I owned for trines, many many trines…”

She swallowed soundly and slowly, cautiously, she took his worn fingers into her hand and bent them over, to see what he hides for her.

At first, she was sure, he lied to her, cursed skeksis, and his games… but then, it dawned on her, that it’s not what she suspected.

A polished claw, with strange symbols on it, shining in the setting sun, with a raw strap fixed to it, so it was easier to hang it on the neck. It was old, she thought, maybe even older than herself. It looked like it was a thing one cherish for long and for various personal reasons.

“Is it…”

“It was my most difficult prey. I almost died, heh. And now it’s yours. You are a huntress, wear it with pride.”

“But… I didn’t earn it! It’s your trophy, you slew that animal… it should—“

“When you put down your first prey, alone, I will ask for a return. But now, it will give you strength. You will take it. No questions.”

“But—“

His tail curling up her thighs, a low guttural growl building slowly in his chest. Yes, of course. That was what he wanted. It was long since they were together, while he ventured to find new hunting grounds. He must have thought about it for long until he came at her with the gift. She closed her eyes, loving how his warmth radiate from his body, embracing her like a wave.

“Don’t talk. I don’t want to hear you talking” he took her waist in a tight hold and squeezed.

“The hunter is hungry, I see…” she whispered, her hands touching his own, sensing the coarse texture of his skin.

Starving.”

“Let’s then… I must thank you for such a gift.”

When she was with him, it didn’t matter that he is raw as strap fixed to the bone necklace he gave her and that he often doesn’t know how to be gentle or understanding. It didn’t matter that he was rough and that he never said what he actually feels. He was who he was, and she knew he cares for her, in his own way, far from ideal, far from everything her upbringing taught her. He was not a gelfling and not even a skeksis lord, at least not in the vague sense the other lords were describing themselves.

But he was here and even when he was hunting, she knew he will return. Even after Unum of lone hunt, he was returning, like a gust of breeze from the ocean. He could have offered her a newly killed sarkak leg as a gift, she would scoff, nag, writhe but accept, eventually.

She felt good in his company, it was certain safety around him, a stone-like assurance. She couldn’t even imagine him not protecting her or treating her wrongly. There was a strength in his feelings, when he was laying with her and when he was simply looking at her, sitting by the fire; she felt that it brims inside his chest, even if he didn’t say a word and seemed to not care at all.

He was like a wind, like a freshwater from the stream, untamed, wild and unpredictable.

And that, exactly that, was making her happy.

//   Article written by skekMal  //