Historical setting: 589 C.E. when Brittany was forest
It turns out when the boulders are rolled from the two caves this tribe’s stash of skins and weapons is revealed. Here is an abundance of deerskins and fleeces. I already have the fleece that was given me by Druid Largin, but it’s obvious I have no deer skin shelter or bow or quiver of arrows, and there seems to be no way for me to provide these essentials for myself. The tribe of hunters likely hid their things here so not to have to share with the Largin’s tribe; and of course there is no reason to share with me.
Heinrique and Auldouff are pitching a tent made of a large hide of a buck that is the perfect size for two men, not three.
I ask, “Will there be a sheltered place that I may lay my fleece?”
They answer only with a chuckle between them.
I mention, “I will also need a bow and a quiver of arrows if I am going to become useful to you on the hunt. Might you be kind enough to guide me in finding a proper wood, and then if you teach me your craft I may cut and clean such a branch so I can become useful to you.”
Heinrique lays his monstrous arm across my shoulders. It feels like a fallen tree limb on my neck, and he guides me out of Auldouff’s earshot.
“Ezra, boy, obviously we don’t need a third hunter to rustle in the leaves and frighten our prey. Our sayer, Guldilyn, chose you for one purpose and one purpose only, which is to give babies to our sisters and cousins. You may start now making your bed among the women in the caves.”
“Have the women a choice in that?” I ask, knowing that I may not.
“We all have our duty. When we feel starvation, we all starve or hunt. When an enemy comes down on us, we all die or fight. When our tribe is threatened to simply wane away, everyone must do what they can to save it. We already have maidens, but they’re our sisters; now our leaders found us only one man. We thought the other tribe would have more, and when we learned of their plight they have no one at all who is young and fertile, so we thought the two extra young men should be ours. And now we have only one.”
“I understand your disappointment but …”