Qit'ria slipped through the cold water over to the icy embankment, using it to help keep her hidden from the woods, as well as provide some mild cover from the wind. She put away her javelin, trading it out for the heavier spear. She rotated it around so the butt end was outward. If the merchant wanted a really good pelt from a small creature, she'd need to keep the fur as intact as possible. She crouched down, holding her spear up at an angle and waited. And waited. Switched hand holds because her arms were getting tired. And waited.
And finally, the beaver was returning down the small path, wobbling along. Once it was right in front of her, she struck. She swung the spear down heavily, the butt striking it in the back hard. The beaver squeaked in surprise and pain and went to wobble for the water. Qit'ria thwapped it once more right on the rump. It's hind legs were dragging now, as it pulled itself toward the element that would bring it safety. One more thump right in the skull and it stopped moving altogether. As easy as stealing nuts from a squirrel.
She bent down and picked it up by its wide, flat tail, waiting a small trickle of blood dribble out of its mouth and into the water. It was such a fat little thing. But those teeth on it were big. Definitely would be good for eating wood. She shook it a few times, to make sure it was well and truly dead, and it certainly seemed to be. Satisfied with this tactic, she decided to try it again. She tied the beaver with some rope and hung from a tree branch over the river to keep it safe from other predators while she continued her hunt.
Choosing a different spot, she decided to count how many beavers she could see living in this massive stick pile. Over the course of a break, she counted about twelve, before she realized that she might be double counting them. There were more in there than she'd expected. But she also didn't wish to kill them all, right this moment. Save some to make baby beavers, and have more for later. Greed was a thing for city people. Out here in the wilds, one had to respect nature, give back and never take too much.
Qit'ria had managed to kill four beavers that day. She skinned them quickly, setting the meat over her smoking fire, cleaned the hides in the icy water, and tied all but one to her spear, which she held over her shoulders, arms draped over it lazily as they hung like thieves sent to the gallows. She'd saved their blood as she skinned them, pouring it into an empty water skin. She kept the bones, particularly the teeth to herself, stashing them in her cart. She'd carve a totem when she got back, she needed to ponder what to make. She grabbed her pack from her camp, and began the hike back to the city, planning to walk through the evening and night, and arrive in the morning. Kashehino accompanied her, the ever faithful companion.
As they traveled, the ghostly panther mused, "Darling, do you think those other beavers would talk to you if you Became one of them?"
Qit'ria had been pondering that exact same thought, "Probably. I would Become one, so there'd be no difference."
"Yeah but we don't know how the talk. Other than. Squeak. You'd have to learn their language."
"And how they move, what they do."
Qit'ria knew she was going to try that. She realized that if she Became enough animals within Sweetvine, she could befriend them, be family. She could not only learn from them, but use them to help keep tabs on her territory, and the trade off would be to let those she is friends with live. To her, this was a solid plan. After all, she couldn't patrol the entire woods herself, chasing off trespassers. She smiled. Yes, that is exactly what she would do.
She made her way to the merchant who'd tasked her to get the beaver pelts, and while it was only three, the man was elated. She ignored his thanks, received his pay, and was about to leave town, and head back home under the dark, Cylus sky, when something caught her eye. A man over at a table was carving bones, and was doing so with a whole variety of tools. Walking up to him, she just watched, and he didn't seem to mind. He seemed to be making little figurines. He used tiny hammers, chisels, brushes, and other tools as he worked. When he finished, she spoke.
"I do that. No have good tool like you."
She showed him the necklace she'd carved from her finger bone, and the bracelet from the aye-aye mouse bones. It was crude work, but still, she was proud. The man smiled and grabbed a box from behind his table. "Tell ya what. Seventy-five golds, and you can have this kit here, and I'll even through in the stool I use. You'll do all the sculpting you could ever want."
Qit'ria didn't bother to negotiate. She knew what she wanted and had more than enough money to get it, since she rarely bought anything. She handed him the coins, "Keep stool. You old. Me no need." The man scowled and pushed the kit into her hands, and waved her off. She made her way home with a spring in her step. Sometimes cities had nice things. Sometimes. Rarely.