Treesniffer - One Day's Hunt
It is a hot day. The snows have melted and the day trees have sprung up. You and the tribe have gathered at one of the groves. The break of dawn sprouts bitter flowers, poisonous fruits, and the attacking plants seeking a bit of extra food before the sun sets and the snow's return. The plant eating animals will also come for the day trees, as the Hunters come for the Plant Eaters, and the Killers come for them all. Like your tribe.
Tossed around the camp, the furs of the tribe lie scattered. It is too hot. Everyone is at the edge of the day trees, careful of Stranglevines while seeking them out. Until the animals come, Stranglevines are one of the few plants that can be eaten safely. They also come with the added bonus of whatever animals still in itís gullet. Several others already have gathered branches from the new growth and taking their new acquisitions, the brush the remaining snow away from rocks and smaller bushes. Simulating the rooting of the Three Horns, the rest of the tribe waits for the investigation of the first waking Stranglevines. For the tribeís first hunt, this will break their fast in easiest fashion. A good harbinger of the day.
Six of the tribe brush with the branches, alternating between short pauses and banging the ground. It makes noise, but not too dangerously so. The rest of the tribe looks outward. The trees are still growing with the new dayís sun and the Emperor has put the trees near the tribeís camp. Hunters and Killers will take some time to find the trees. The tribe will be fed on Stranglevines and will be fast enough to chase down the plant eaters. It will be a good day.
Rather than the warmer breeze that heralds the day treeís grove and blows outward, an invitation to all nearby animals of fresh food, the cold air of the snow dunes falls over the tribe. Heavy upon it, the scent of a Killer. Every member of the tribe freezes in place leaving only the muttering of the wind. Very softly, a woman begins a warbling whistle then waits for your response. You break her gaze and scan the rest of the tribe. Soft as it was, they all heard the womanís plan. Anticipatory grins answer your unspoken query. Forgotten are the slowly awakening Stranglevines as the tribeís thoughts turn to the advancing Killer.
You let out a piercing whistle. It is the Snow Bird herd motherís call to those in her care to gather. The rest of the tribe begins to stomp the snow. The Snow Birds, tall and flightless, are two legged like the tribe and the easiest animal to mimic. Warbling cries and squaks of adolescents are called out. They are easy prey for a Killer, and irresistible to chase and maul. Killers rarely eat their prey, perhaps enough to find another victim, but they seem to exist only to see blood scattered across the ice.
The younger hunters run about, hopping in imitation the Snow Birdís play-gait while the main body of the tribe sinks into the snows, burrowing just beneath the powder. You do not hide, you must continue to call the Killer with the Herd Motherís voice and when he arrives, land the first blow.
You hand feels warm, grasping the haft of your spear. Light and short, it is a weapon of the Smalls. The Smalls come to try their hands at hunting. Sometimes just the animals of a day tree grove, but sometimes to hunt Hunters or Killers. Trying to be Men, but they are only Smalls. It takes Men to bring a Killer down. Your odd spear is all that remains of a Small who thought to take on a Hunter in the fashion of Men. You have carried it ever since.
A wave of snow is pushed before the great bulk of the creature, but that is all that is visible. Burrowing just beneath the surface snow, its claws dig into the permafrost for purchase and speed, only the swiftly moving dune of snow gives testimony to the presence of the creature.
With an angry roar, the Killer rears itself up out of the snow, looming over the assembled tribe, itís maw and eyes are easily as high as four of your tribe atop one another.
Expecting Snow Birds, it is instead faced with your tribe. Rather than the simple Snow Birds that never seem to notice the signs of a charging Killer and respond to the hunting roar by either freezing or falling to the ground in a faint, the Killer fails to make its signature strike of falling across itís prey as it tries to pick a target from the milling members of your tribe.
Your people keep moving about. What is sound strategy when facing Stranglevines, or a pack of Hunters, is death at the claws of a Killer, for Killers always strike first at the slowest creatures. Now, as if movement of the tribe somehow points to you, the four eyesí of the Killer focus at your immobile state. A breathís pause and the head of the beast strikes downward.
You roar out your own challenge and, with all your might, hurl the spear into the face of the Killer. The roar is the signal to the buried hunters and they break out of hiding, attacking multiple legs of the Killer. The Killerís strike is interrupted by your spear, lodged inside one of the eyes, and the gigantic creature rears back in shock and pain. Whipping back and forth, the Killer attempts to shake the spear loose.
The writhing unburies the remaining two thirds of the beast. Legs uncountable sprout from the long undulating body of the Killer. As long as three hands worth of tribesmen, the Killer dwarfs you and your tribe. Itís claws, teeth, unstoppable strength, and gigantic size are mere obstacles to be overcome, for the Killer represents not danger to your tribe, but a couple days of food without the need to hunt again. Any lost in the fight simply ensure more for the survivors.
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Far away, in a heated room, two men watch the fight on a vid screen. A few minutes after the spear has been cast, the giant creature falls still. Without preamble, the surviving ogryn begin consuming the carcass.
ďOnly ogryn would think hunting one of those would be a smart idea. With their bare hands. Send a recruiter, these will make a good addition to our forces.Ē