It was an hour later before Galen finally stopped, though he had been careful to regulate his pace to that of his student, always remaining just within sight through the foliage. When he did stop, he turned to face the younger man and placed his hand on the nearest tree, a nearly two-hundred foot tall deciduous hardwood.
"At the top of this tree, you will find water and a pair of weights. Retrieve all three items and return to me here.
When Don did return, he would find Galen sitting cross-legged before a small fire, roasting what appeared to be a small marsupial for his dinner.
I struggled to keep up, every second hoping Galen would stop running. He didn't. I had to pause many times, feeling as if my body would give out under the weight of the suit, knife and gravity all combined. When Galen finally stopped, I fought not to fall to the ground, bending over with my hands upon my knees, gasping for air. I felt for certain I was going to be sick. I needed water, badly. I slowly lifted my head at my teacher's words, laughing reflexively at the expectation of this assignment and my fatigue ...or rather, I tried to laugh. I ended up hacking dryly instead.
I threw myself to the ground to rest on my back as I stared up at the tree, trying to formulate a plan. My suit was heavy. Did I need it to scale the tree? I thought on this for several seconds. No, no I didn't need my suit for this. I would keep the boots on though. What about the knife, would I need that? I might.
After several minutes I slowly stood up and immediately unbuckled my belt and pulled off my boots before peeling out of my suit. I immediately felt better, even though I was now butt naked. I pulled my boots back on and picked up my belt, sauntering over to the tree. I comtemplated looping the belt around the trunk, but I didn't think that would be necessary. There were plenty of branches. If I could get past the gravity, I could do this.
I unsheathe the knife. Double sided blade. It was a pretty long for a knife too. I could carry it in my mouth and risk cutting my mouth, I could leave it in the sheath, or I could leave it here. I sighed as I weighed my options. Suddenly a light went off in my head. I took the blade and attempted to slide it into the side of my right boot, leaving the handle sticking out so I could grab it if I needed it. It was tight, it was uncomfortable, but it worked.
I braced both hands high on the trunk and lifted my right foot to brace against it. I took a deep breath then exhaled as I lifted myself off the ground. I went slowly, inhaling and exhaling to keep the oxygen flowing, wincing against the pain of the bark against my bare body and the knife in my boot that was cutting into my skin when I made certain moves. I finally made it to the first cluster of branches. I carefully navigated them, taking a small break before continuing. I refused to look down. I took my time. If I fell, bye-bye Don V'hett.
Approximately 30-45 minutes later, I reached the water and the weights. Sure enough, I needed to cut them loose. The gingerly pulled the knife out of my boot and cut the weights and loose first. I let them fall and immediately started on the water. After I got it free, I let the knife fall down, following the weights. I drank from the water skin deeply. I wanted to drink it all, but didn't, just in case. Ensuring it was sealed tightly, I let it too fall to the ground. I rested a moment, once again refusing to look down. After several minutes, I finally made my way back, moving even more slowly. It's always harder down than up.
I nearly fell a handful of times, but finally made it to the ground dirty, scraped and splintered. I feel to the ground to rest for several long moments before slowly sitting up again, watching Galen cook over the fire before I stood to hunt for the items I had dropped. I quickly found them and placed them in a pile by the base of the tree I scaled before slipping back into my suit and securing the belt and knife once again around my waist. I brought the weights to the camp fire first, completely exhausted. I retrieved the water next before plopping down by the fire and awaiting Galen's next instructions.
Last Edit: Aug 5, 2015 16:38:35 GMT -8 by donvhett
The light sheen of sweat that had covered Galen's skin when he first halted at the tree had long since vanished by the time the young man returned, and his breath now came slow and measured. He had been entirely unmoved by his student's nudity, as clothing meant little for a man whose vision was not obscured by cloth and metal, but the choice to discard the knife upon reaching his prize was mildly worrisome.
"Interesting choices. In the future, perhaps it would be best if you avoided voluntarily disarming yourself. Predators don't care if you're too tired to keep carrying it."
And that was who he would be facing, out here amongst the trees on the mountainside. Here, he would come face to face with his own perceived limitations and the harsh and unforgiving wilderness, and he would either triumph over both or prove himself a failure. Most only succeeded in doing the latter.Reaching out to the roasting animal before him, he broke off one of its legs and tore into the juicy flesh, savoring the unseasoned taste of the meat. When he finished the leg and Don was still sitting before him, he spoke as he broke off another.
"There isn't much daylight left. If you don't want to go hungry, I suggest you start your hunt."
Don't ever be unarmed. Noted. It probably was stupid of me to do such a thing...now that I was rested and hydrated, I realized it would probably have been better to just bring the belt and sheath with me and go slower than to abandon it entirely. Galen's indifferent suggestion to hunt for my food didn't worry me. I read up on Carida before I came here, I had a decent idea of what was edible and what game I could find. Within an hour, I had snagged an small animal similar to my teacher's. I skinned it quickly and greedily used Galen's fire to roast the thing. He didn't say I had to make my own fire, now, did he? I didn't have the means to. I know some of the trees here had sap that I could use to get a fire nice and hot, pulling off the bark with sap thick upon it, using it for lighter fluid. Yet I had no means to initially start a flame.
Otherwise, I would have to eat it raw...I knew I could do so safely with this creature, but I also knew that it wouldn't be very pleasant and I might end up puking it up due to the taste, physical exertion and heavy gravity. I was already feeling nauseous again, but I fought against the urge to vomit. I was sure there would be plenty of time later for that.
I didn't wait until the animal was fully roasted, leaving it on the fire for about 15 minutes before gingerly pulling it off and eating slowly. I didn't drink at all from the water, concerned I might need to conserve it for later. I did my best to ignore the gnawing thrist.