Where was he…? He had been wandering for weeks and all he could see was the vast barren desert before him, the sands shifting under the early morning breeze. It was still cool, a relief in the desert, yet he longed for the sun to peek behind the clouds and warm his fur. With the sun rising, Brauner knew he’d soon have to find a shady spot to rest until nightfall. Funny… sleeping during the day, waking up at night… it was the total opposite of his usual habits, yet he adapted smoothly after the first few days. His parched throat begged for refreshment, but with no water in sight, there was little he could do but hope a mouse crossed his path so its blood may hydrate him. He licked his lips with a dry tongue and sighed, continuing forward on heavy, lumbering paws. He stopped when he caught a glimpse of movement in his periphery, then crouched down, his eyes glancing about until they fixed on the scurrying of a large mouse across the sand. Had it been still, he wouldn’t have seen it at all. The mouse stopped and began washing its whiskers. Brauner watched it with keen eyes, totally still and focused. It seemed the Deities answered his prayers.
Slowly, he lifted a forepaw and made a move to stalk. The mouse stiffened, ears pricked and standing up onto its hindpaws, looking around before scampering away. Brauner pounced for it, kicking up sand and dust as he landed near the mouse. A bat of his paw, a snap of his jaws. The mouse evaded his deadly grasp. He’d nearly grabbed it when the mouse bit his snout. He jolted up and yelped. By the time he recovered, the mouse was long gone. A bit of blood trickled from the bitemark. He let his tongue run over the wound. Blasted mice. Though they lacked fangs, their teeth were incredibly sharp and their bites so painful. That fiend was not a gift from the gods, but an agent of their scorn. A taunt for his weakness, for his inability to stay loyal to his Guild when they needed it most. He lowered his head and lumbered on, his paws feeling heavier and heavier with each step. It went on forever, having been left to his deep thoughts, passing be scenery that all looked the same. Why did he even come here again…? All he saw was sand and couldn’t scent a single other nearby… He scowled bitterly, then snapped out of his state when he caught the faint but unmistakable sound of rushing water. His ears turned and twitched to pinpoint the origin of the sound, then he picked up his pace and trotted after it.
It’d probably been only a few minutes of jogging but felt like ages. Finally, he reached a flowing creek running through the heart of the desert. He stood in awe of the stream, his chest heaving with every gasping breath and wide amber eyes taking in the glorious sight before him. It was not the most beautiful sight he laid eyes on, but with his dehydration, there was nothing he wanted to see more. The sun had long since risen and the water almost glistened in its golden light. He made his way to the water, dipping his paws in its shallows and lowering his muzzle to the stream. The water looked almost opaque, full of sediment. He could hardly view his own reflection to take a look at that mouse bite. Were he anywhere else, perhaps he could find something to treat it with… but he was not familiar with desert plants. He recognized clumps of dandelion and sprigs of vervain, but neither was of any use to him.
The water smelled and looked dirty, but water was water. He parted his maw to greedily lap up the water. It tasted metallic and vile, like the fermented blood of a decade-old stag, but at this moment, this water was the most delicious thing in the world. He felt totally renewed as it flowed down his throat. Drawing his head away, he took a few deep breaths and sighs, water dripping from his chin. With the sun shining down on his dark back, he was beginning to feel incredibly warm. A quick dip in the creek to cool off would be nice… so Brauner threw himself down into the water, making a splash, then he let himself lay and relax in the shallows with heavy eyelids. Perhaps his gods did smile upon him after all, to let him stumble across a creek in his time of need… though at this point, it was hard to believe such a thing.
Partially submerged, Brauner stared out into the horizon, feeling the current rush against him. Perhaps if he followed the bank, he could find what he was searching for…? He would continue his journey come nightfall. Until then, rest.
Sep 20, 2018 04:37 AM
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