Ashera: Chapter 2
NOTE: I updated the first chapter because I changed up the length of each chapter so make sure you read that first otherwise you might be lost when you read this chapter.
ALSO NOTE: I might change up the structure of these chapters just because they take so long and they are so long, so let me know what you think I should do in the comments please!
Ashera knocked on the door of Ray of Sun's cabin. Her mother, Rose Petal, answered. "Hello Ashera," she said. She looked incredibly flustered-her face was flushed and sweat trickled down her forehead-but she still managed to sound calm. "How can I help you today?"
"Sneaky Fox wanted me to give this to Ray of Sun," Ashera said, handing Rose Petal the package. "I heard that she isn't well."
"She's not great."
"Can I see her?"
"Better not," Rose Petal said. "I think it's a common cold, but the Elder says that as long as we don't know for sure what it is, we should keep her isolated."
"That's fair," Ashera said. She waited at the door for a moment, trying to get a peek inside. When she couldn't see anything, she said, "I should probably go. Eye of Hawk will be waiting for me."
"That'd be best," Rose Petal said. "I'll tell Ray of Sun that you stopped by."
"Thank you," Ashera said. "May Earkia be with both of you."
"You as well." Rose Petal bowed her head in respect as Ashera walked off.
Ashera woke up early the next morning just in time for a huge weight to hit her chest-knocking the wind out of her. She let out a, "Oof!" as her little sister-Saria laughed. Of course, they weren't biological siblings-anyone could tell that-but they were as good as it.
"Get up Ashera!" Saria laughed. "You can't stay in bed for the whole day."
"The sun hasn't even risen yet!" Ashera said. But, reluctantly, she got up. Ashera knew that Saria wouldn't stop pestering her until she was out of bed. "Okay what do you want?"
"Can you take Darion and me hunting?" she asked.
"I have better things to do than to take you and your boyfriend hunting."
Saria scowled. "He's not my boyfriend."
"Whatever. I have to do other things."
"What else do you have to do? Bear isn't here."
Ashera's face turned red. "You shut your mouth," she said angrily.
"Oh does that bother you?" Saria asked. Then, in a horrible, high-pitched imitation of Ashera, she mocked, "Oh Bear. You're so sexy. Let's go away from-"
Ashera cut off her voice with a quick, soft blow to the throat. Saria sputtered and then charged towards Ashera. Ashera reached out to grab her, but Saria was too quick and got a soft blow in on Ashera's side. Ashera spun around and just as she was going to swing her punch into Saria's chest, she heard Eye of Hawk yell, "Girls!"
Ashera and Saria glanced at each other and filled out into the central part of their cabin.
Eye of Hawk greeted them with a seething glare. He sighed as they stood there. "Why are you fighting?"
"Alright! Alright! Quiet!" Eye of Hawk yelled. He sighed. "Girls...I'm alone. Your mother..." he trailed off, glancing at the ground.
"I'm sorry," Ashera said.
"I'm sorry too," Saria chimed in.
"I wish that I had someone to do this with! I don't know how to raise girls," Eye of Hawk cried.
"You're doing fine, Dad," Saria said.
"Mother is gone," Ashera said. "But that doesn't stop you from being a great dad."
"We're here for you," Saria added.
"I know that. I know that," Eye of Hawk said. "I just wish that you didn't fight."
"It's okay," Eye of Hawk said. "I'm just an old, emotional man. I don't matter. You two have fun hunting."
"What?" Ashera asked.
"You're going hunting together. After that fight, it'd be good for you to spend some time together. Bring some of your friends," Eye of Hawk suggested.
Saria shot her a smug glance. "But-"
"No buts," Eye of Hawk said. "Have fun!"
Ashera kicked a tuft of grass on the ground as she walked away angrily, sending it flying. She heard a smooth voice behind her say, "Why so calm?"
"You don't need to worry about it, Bear," Ashera said as she felt a strong hand grab her shoulder, sending shivers through her spine. "It's just a stupid thing with Saria."
"She's making me go hunting with her and Darion."
"How's that so bad?" Bear asked. "You go hunting with me all the time."
"You're different." Bear smirked, cocking an eyebrow. Ashera laughed, punching him in the shoulder. "Not like that!"
"Well, I don't want you to be bored out of your mind. I'm sure I can make it interesting," he said. A lump closed in Ashera's throat. He grinned. "So?"
"You don't have to do that, Bear," Ashera stuttered. "You had duty late last night-"
"Aw, come on. I insist. We can grab Fox and Wind, get the Drupriki, and have a good time!" Bear said.
It was tempting. Ashera really didn't want to go alone with Saria and Darion. And she knew Fox and Runs like Wind had a thing for each other, so maybe she could get some alone time with Bear....
"Fine," Ashera said. "I'll get Runs Like Wind, you get Fox and the Drupriki. I'll meet you at the stables."
"Deal," Bear said, running off. Ashera watched him go for a little longer than usual, watching his long brown hair swish back and forth as he ran. She shook herself and left to grab Runs Like Wind.
She arrived at his cabin in a matter of minutes, and knocked on the door. A groggy face appeared, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "What do you want, Ashera?" he asked.
"We're going hunting. Get up."
"No thanks," he said, starting to close the door. Ashera caught it, prying it open.
"Why would I do that?"
"Oh, I don't know. Sneaky Fox is going to be there."
Runs Like Wind's eyes widened. "Coming!" In what Ashera swore was only a few seconds, he was out of his cabin, dressed and ready to go-short bow slung on his back.
"That was awfully quick."
"Shut up," Wind said. "Where are we going?"
"Bear, Fox, Saria, Darion, you, and I are all going to the east woods," Ashera said.
Wind winced. "Do we have to bring the cubs?" Cubs was the "affectionate" name for Ashera's little sister and her friends. Fox had come up with it because of bear cubs-her shin had been bruised for a week-but the name stuck, much to Ashera's dismay.
"Yeah, Eye of Hawk is making me."
"I know," Ashera said. "Let's grab Niksti and we'll meet the others at the stable."
"Got it," Wind said. As they neared the stable gate, he let out a high-pitched, clear whistle and yelled, "Niksti!"
Ashera watched as the glorious, lean Drupriki galloped towards the fence, and almost ran into another. "Watch it!" Fox yelled to Niksti. She tilted her head and Ashera saw her mouth, "Niksti." She turned and saw Wind and Ashera standing there. "Hey guys!"
"Fox!" Wind said. "I am so so sorry about Niksti, he gets excited over-"
"It's fine, Wind, really," Fox said. "I'm just glad Aloria didn't get hurt. Or Niksti for that matter."
"Hey!" Bear said, riding up on Kaleedki. "Found the cubs," he said, leaning so we could see Saria and Darion mounted behind him.
"Do you have to call us that?" Saria said.
"Yeah, do we have to call them that?" Ashera asked.
"Yep! Now, come on. One cub with Fox, one cub with me," Wind said.
"Who's riding with you, Bear?" Darion asked.
"Ashera is. I swear, Kaleedki is more likely to come to her whistle than mine," Bear joked. Kaleedki whinnied. Ashera grinned, patting the animal's neck.
"To the east woods!"
Soon, the Drupriki were making their way through the underbrush as if they could float. They were so incredible, Ashera couldn't wait until she got her own. Unfortunately, Drupriki were only given to elves with titles-which Ashera didn't have.
"Why do you think I don't have a title, Bear?" she asked quietly so no one else could hear it. "I'm nineteen. You got your title when you were twelve. Why don't I have one?"
"I don't know," Bear shrugged.
"You say that every time," Ashera sighed.
"Maybe it's because titles are what makes you different," Bear said. "But you've been different since you came to this tribe. Maybe there needs to be something extra different for you to get a title."
Ashera considered this. She'd never thought about it that way before, but it made sense. "Maybe," she said.
The Drupriki continued through the forest until they got to a clearing and they all dismounted. No one stayed behind with the Drupriki-they would wait there until they called for them. "Let's go," Ashera said, swinging the bow down from her back.
They started through the forest quietly, looking around for prey. That lasted for about five seconds before Saria and Darion started talking.
"So, anyways, she just kept messing with my bow until I had to say, 'Liada, stop messing with my arrows.'"
"Good for you. Then what happened?"
"Will you guys please be quiet?" Ashera asked. "We won't kill anything if you're scaring all of the prey off.
"Sorry," Saria said. A few seconds. "So anyways-"
That pattern continued for about an hour, Ashera getting more and more upset until she'd finally had enough. She turned and yelled, "WILL YOU TWO SHUT UP?!"
Everyone stared at Ashera in shock for a moment. "Coming from you," Saria said, watching as a sparrow flew away from the booming sound Ashera had caused.
"Oh you don't want to go there," Ashera warned.
"Maybe I do."
"You ungrateful little-" Ashera kicked the ground. "I take you and your friend out hunting with my friends and waste my time so you can enjoy yourself, and you don't even have the decency to be quiet while we hunt!"
"It wouldn't kill you to be a little nicer."
"It wouldn't kill you to be a little less annoying," Ashera said. "You know what, if you hate this so much then why don't you and Darion go back to the clearing? We'll grab you and the Drupriki when we're done hunting."
Ashera could tell that Saria didn't want to go, but she was almost more stubborn than Ashera herself. She stuck out her chin and said, "Fine. Come on, Darion."
Darion shrugged and followed her. "Go with them," Ashera told Wind.
"What? Why me? Why not you?"
"I can't stand to look at either one of them," Ashera said.
"But-But-" Wind said, glancing at Fox and then the cubs. He groaned. "Fine. But you owe me big time. Wait up guys!" he called as he sprinted after them.
Now that they were gone, the forest filled with prey. Before long, Ashera spotted a young buck-velvet was still coating his horns. She took aim and was about to release her arrow when a high-pitched scream pierced the air. And then she was running back towards the clearing, all thought of the buck or hunting forgotten.
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