”Will it work? Honestly, I have no idea. But I need to figure something out. The oh-deer won’t last forever and you can’t be the only one hunting whilst we’re out there.” Kali’rial said in answer to her bonded wolf as he questioned just exactly what she thought she was doing. Indeed, anyone who saw the huntress would have probably thought she’d lost the plot, but frankly it was an experiment and that was that. The brunette Sev’ryn had tied an arrow to a long piece of net twine, the binding secured tightly at the fletched end with the about ten yards or so cooled near her feet.
”If this doesn’t work, you might need to learn how to hunt underwater.” She muttered with an uncharacteristic wink, before taking her stance on the bow of the sloop. On the higher vantage point atop the cabin, Sarkis watched with pink tongue hanging from a panting mouth and amused yellow eyes. Kali shoot him a looked and frowned in mock annoyance.
“Don’t laugh, this is your meal ticket too wolf.” The large animal padded a little closer to watch the curious experiment begin, sniffing at the ground and panting.
“I’m not laughing, I’m expressing my joy in your curious explorations.” The Sev’ryn made a face that clearly indicated she didn’t believe him, before turning back to the water.
To start with, there was nothing. Literally nothing. All the fish and sea creatures tended to swim much deeper than the Sevir had any hope of seeing. Ever the hunter, Kali thought about what she would do in a land setting. With a little more thought, she disappeared below deck to finely chop one of the of the ever unspoiled oh-deer livers and tossed it in the chilly waters of Scalvoris. After this step, it was all about patience. The liver was bloody, and whist some of the larger pieces sank, the smaller parts floated in a cloudy plume of blood.
Kali’rial stood with her arrow primed, and waited.
She ignored an itch on her nose, and waited.
Finally, after a good half a break, a ripple broke the surface before a medium sized shadow. And another. Aiming towards the shadow, the huntress released her arrow. The weight of the twine caused her to fall pathetically short with a depressing ‘bloop’.
”Damn it.” She whispered, pulling the line in and starting again. This time, when the shadows appeared, she aimed much higher to compensate for the drag. Unfortunately it was too far adjusted, and her arrow sailed beautifully over the top of whatever was taking the liver.
Swearing under her breath, she pulled the line in and prepped again. This time there were three shadows, and a brief flash of silvery scales of her prey. Simple fish it seemed. The experienced huntress drew her bow and aimed carefully at a spot just above the fish.
A hit! Her arrow sank into the tender flesh and the fish immediately floundered, even as Kali dropped her bow to pull it in. The experiment worked...right up until she had to pull the fish out of the water. To her dismay, the weight combined with its wriggling saw it slide right off the smooth arrow head and swim away to be something else’s dinner.
”Of all the...” She frowned, standing with hands on hips staring at the water. Turning to look at Sarkis, she narrowed her eyes at the wolf who was grinning like the cat that got the milk.
”Laugh it up Sar, you’ll see. I’ll make this work.”
The next trial, Kali’rial made it a personal mission to talk to all the fishermen she knew on the docks, gathering critical information she needed to make her experiment work. They already had a solution for the fish wriggling off the arrow head, something called a barb that they put on the end of hooks or harpoons. With a little negotiation and a bit of nel, the resourceful huntress convinced one of the men to rig her an arrow up with a barbed end. It wasn’t anything particularly masterful, made of wood and carved roughly, but it would work. She also learned that the fisherfolk ‘chummed’ for a better haul, similar to what she’d done with the liver. Again, parting with a little nel she was able to buy a small jar of the vile smelling raw fishy soup. As the morning wore on, the workers became wrapped up in her experiment, offering advice and support or another idea to work on. One of these was a lighter gauge twine, but plaited for strength. This was bought cheerfully, Kali delighting in the local collaboration. Another elder suggested wrapping the twine tightly from closer to the barb all the way back to the fletching, so there was less drag on the arrow.
Eventually, by mid afternoon, the huntress had herself what could probably be described as a miniature harpoon. Eager to test her new ammunition, Kali’rial made her way to the sloop, some of the fisherfolk opting to come aboard to see the results of their handiwork. First, they chummed. Then, they all waited, some playing cards, others watching the water with the huntress.
“Look, over there!” Sarkis was first to spot the ripples, sending a silent thought to the wolf-walker, who drew her strange new arrow and aimed. This time, when she released, her shot hit true and the barbed arrow embedded itself in the fish. Around her, those on The Muse gathered eagerly. Everyone held their breath as she reeled it in, until the brunette was able to haul the medium sized silvery catch onto the sloop. It landed on deck with a wet thump.
“Success!” One yelled, before they all cheered and congratulated each other. Encouraged by the success, the southerner continued to fish in her new and unique way, each catch as celebrated as the last. Some of the fisherfolk pulled out rods to bring in more haul, whilst others set up an impromptu fish dinner on the beach beside the dock.
Eventually, Kali’rial had at least two medium fish she would keep for her little pack, and three that she sent off to Callie’s, along with some of the haul from the others. As the day turned to night, she sat around the small fire with her newfound fishing friends and her pack, eating and drinking and laughing in the delight of discovery.
“D’ye think it’ll work on th’ open ocean?” One of the gentleman was asking the others, ale in one hand and a piece of roasted fish in the other. The other, a hardy looking fisher wife nodded and handed him a piece of bread.
“As long as she doesn’t attract a shark or sumfin, then yeah for sure.” Lifting her head, the brunette Sev’ryn laughed and shook her head.
“Did I ever tell you about the ‘shark’ myself and Pash encountered on Chriens Night?”
The next day, after everyone had recovered from their celebrations, Kali’rial made her way into town to get the local fletcher to make her a bundle of barbed colbolt arrows, forty mastercraft for good measure. She also purchased what her friends from the docks had called a ‘chum bucket’ and a long flat waterproof basket for holding her catch. Taking the newly purchased items and her bow, the huntress tested her skills again from the dock, again chumming the water and patiently waiting for bites. Again, she successfully pulled in another few fish and one bizarre tentacled creature that sprayed black ink into the water. This time, she took her fresh catch back to Callie’s herself, offering the curious tentacled creature to the kitchen with confidence if anyone could do something with it, Faith’s kitchen could. Strolling back to The Muse, Kali threw Sarkis one of the fish. The wolf tore into the water creature with a crunch and a gulp, wagging his tail and licking his lips.
”That’s actually not bad. A little slimy, and the scales stick in my teeth, but edible.” The Huntress smiled.
”Good, because that’s probably going to be our dinner for the next season or so. That and whatever else I can shoot.” Sarkis shook himself off, before running ahead with a bark, announcing their return to the bard if he was around. Kali’rial sighed with a sense of peace. They were so close to leaving now, it almost didn’t feel real. So much had happened, that to leave felt right. It felt like it was time.
Somewhere out there, her familiar waited for her. The other half of her soul.
Standing on the dock, staring out over the water as her little pack greeted each other on the sloop, the dark haired Sevir breathed in the cold breeze that caressed her tanned skin and let her golden gaze scan the horizon. In the air, seabirds sang a throaty sonnet to the waves crashing on the beach.
I’m coming, just wait for me.