Richard and Olive jogged confidently into the woods. Olive briefly stopped by a large boulder where she picked up a light weight knapsack made of some sort of animal skin. Removing from it a long sword, she gave this to Richard.
“So you can cut through the undergrowth,” she instructed him.
Richard took the lead cutting down undergrowth as necessary, making sure to not get too far ahead as he did not know where they were going. She was the expert in this land.
“So what is this place called?” He asked.
“My tribe calls this whole planet Opossia. We are in the portion known as Drajon.”
“You have a tribe? How interesting.” said Richard.
“It’s alright. Once you have lived in any environment for a long time, there are things that can get tiring,” replied Olive.
“For sure,” said Richard. “What were you up to before you ran into me?”
“I was on a hunt. The men and strong women of the tribe both get hunting duty” explained Olive.
They stopped so Olive could expertly strip a tall tree of some blue banana like fruit. Placing the fruit in her bag the two continued on through the woods. Richard offered to carry her bag for her, Olive accepted.
“Is there anything dangerous I should be on the look out for?” asked Richard.
“If there is, you’ll usually hear it at this time of day” replied Olive. Most of the exceptionally dangerous and quiet creatures are hidden underground during the heat of the day. At night the forested areas are fraught with more danger than in the day.”
Richard pretended to be brave after hearing this information agreed that it was indeed necessary for the two of them to be as efficient with this hunt as possible, in order that they might find suitable shelter before the truly dangerous creatures of this world let themselves loose.
Half an hour passed. At this point, Richard began to notice more light seeping into the forest. They approached the edge of a clearing. Olive motioned for Richard to remain quiet and keep his long sword out, just in case. She also instructed Richard to squat in the tall grass. From this vantage point, Richard could watch the action if he dared.
Richard noticed a lion-like figure in the center of the clearing and tried to make himself as invisible as possible. There was an odd thing about this lion though, he was eating grass and what looked like sugar cane. Richard looked around for Olive but could not see her anywhere. Richard thought about retreating to the relative safety of the woods in the event that the lion were to suddenly change his mind about his dietary needs.
Richard turned toward the woods and began to proceed back in the direction from which he had come when he heard an angry bellow. With much haste, emerging from the forest was a very large hippopotamus-like creature. It swiftly leaped over Richard, paying no mind to him, which was fortunate because Richard was too frightened to get his long sword into position.
He watched as the giant hippopotamus ran with great speed toward the lion, who had over gorged himself on the tall grass and sugar cane to escape with any sort of quickness. The hippopotamus opened it’s large jaws, revealing long serrated teeth and fangs. The Lion was immediately impaled and crushed dead. As quickly as that happened the large behemoth was impaled by four arrows and a long sword.
Olive’s long sword.
Olive quickly moved from her hiding place about ten yards away for the massive kill. Richard came over to join her.
“That was incredible!” Richard yelled.
“The behemoth did most of the work. They never seem to pay attention when they are trying to eat something else.”
Olive and Richard began hacking off edible pieces of meat from each animal and stuck them into Olive’s bag. These would be cooked later once they arrived at the habitation of Olive’s tribe.
The sun was beginning to set. The two ran as quickly as possible through another thicket before they could see the welcoming torches of light which welcomed Olive home and kept the tribes people relatively safe from harm during the night.
Upon entering the community, Richard and Olive were surrounded by a group of eager women who gladly took the meat and fruit from Olive’s hunt to prepare along with other items.
Song and dance broke out among members of the tribe who were close to the action.
“What do your people call themselves?” Richard asked.
“We are the Pyorg tribe. Here comes our chief now. I will have to appeal to him to allow you to stay with us.” explained Olive.
A tall man who was as tan as Olive and only slightly more muscular who wore nothing but a loin cloth and a gold nose ring, which Olive quickly explained set him apart as the chief.
“Who is this wretch?” asked the chief of Olive, “Where did you find him.”
The chief tore what was left Richard’s shirt from him and threw it on the the fire as a symbol of his superiority.
“He washed ashore from the great ocean,” replied Olive. “I found him on the beach and he aided me in the hunt. He carried my things. His name is Richard. I would recommend that he become part of the tribe.”
“I can’t pronounce that,” said the chief curtly. ” I will call him Temcancibus for now. Should he prove himself worthy during the initiation challenges, perhaps I will change my mind and give him a better name. In all reality, I should banish him to the perils outside, but since you are recommending him so highly Olive, tomorrow we will put him through round one of the initiation. I have to test the brain of this little runt before I can even think of letting him go on his first hunt with the men.” said the chief, laughing as he spoke. “He can stay with you tonight as long as there is no funny business. You are aware that there is to be no relations with an outsider until he has successfully been initiated into the tribe. Olive, you are aware of the penalties for both parties caught in such an undesirable situation.”
Olive nodded. Unspeakable things would happen if that were the case.
“Away from me, both of you. Judgement on Temcancibus will be passed in the coming days.”
Olive and Richard walked quickly to her hut on the other side of the habitation. In the dim light they passed a large building in the center with no windows and its only enterance was barred. Richard made a note ask Olive about that later. Right now he had more pressing things on his mind.
They entered Olive’s hut and Olive prepared a straw mat for Richard in a small room next to her own.
Richard broke the silent productivity.
“He can pronounce Temcancibus, but not Richard? I don’t understand that. What does Temcancibus mean?” inquired Richard.
“In your language, ‘rotting dog meat.’ Don’t worry about it though, the chief always tries to belittle outsiders. You will win the rounds of initiation and then he will change your name. If you win, you also get to choose a bride. Just in case you didn’t have enough motivation.”
“What do these initiation challenges consist of?” asked Richard.
“The first is a battle of wits, which usually only takes the length of a morning. If you lose that, your opponent gets to slice you up into pieces if he so chooses. Day two consists of a hunt with a few other men. They are only there to help you bring down the body of the large animal you will be after. You must kill it yourself” instructed Olive. She had seen many initiation days in her young life, thus she knew the ropes.
“How am I supposed to learn how to hunt in less than a day?” cried Richard.
“There is enough time for me to teach you the basics of hunting. Your will to survive should help you with the rest.”
They bid each other goodnight and retired to their individual quarters. Richard was ecstatic that he was able to spend an extended period of time with the woman, whom up until today had just been a dream. He could not understand how he was able to stay in this place for so long this time, but he was going to enjoy every minute of it.
Olive went to bed content. There was so much more to tell Richard about how he came to be on her shore, but she would wait until sometime after the initiation to bare everything to him. Unlike other encounters with Richard, this one would be next to permanent. She hoped.