Mariça

Part One.

Marisa wandered around the sands near the northern mountains. She knew the Shriken, people who could fly, lived there. Maybe she would run into one. She looked up the mountain, and then into the sky. It was getting dark, so she decided to return to her village.

“Marisa, what did you catch?” Jan asked, “Yaska’s hunt wasn’t very big today, it might not be enough.”

Marisa frowned. “Ah well, I forgot about that. I was exploring.”

Jan’s smile faltered. He said, “well, next time keep the exploring for afterword.” He smiled again, “let’s see how far we can stretch what we have.”

This came up again at supper. First, the children were fed, then everyone else split what was left. It was a little less than usual.

Yaska said, “Marisa, this village has become large again.  That is why you were trained to be our second hunter.  I know that you have been doing it alone for only a few weeks, but if you do not attend your duties at all, you well never bring home food.”

Marisa finished her food and then stared into the fire.

“Marisa, if you continue to neglect, then we will find a new hunter. Jan will have to take your place in the mean time. He trained me. Or maybe you just need some re-training?”

“No I don’t need that. Don’t worry about it.”

The next day, Marisa went out hunting once more. She took her dart, the Plainkind throwing sword, and headed north. She searched the desert for her prey, the dinosaurs that Plainkind preferred to feed on.

As time passed and she surveyed the plains, Marisa allowed herself to wander further and further north, her route wilfully deviating towards the mountains.

“I’ve been searching for quite a while, I think I’ll take a break.”

Marisa walked along the base curiously. She reached a cave she hadn’t noticed before.

“If course, taking a break in the shade is a good idea,” she said.

Marisa stepped into the cave and sat down on a portion of the ground. She ate a bit of dried meat and looked around. The cave split off in many directions.

“I wonder if these lead anywhere, or if they just end,” she mused.

She scanned the cave with her eyes, as if looking for prey, and saw a trail of sand heading down one of the tunnels.

Marisa considered returning to explore it later, after she had gotten food for the village, but she convinced herself that the trail might be disturbed or that she may never find this cave again! Thus, she reasoned, she must explore the cave immediately.

Marisa stood and followed the sand trail deeper into the cave. After moving inwards a little ways, the tunnel opened up into a small, dimly lit cavern. Sunlight streamed in from a small hole in one of the walls. On the wall opposite the hole Marisa saw engravings. She saw, drawn into the walls, three simplified people.

Marisa clapped her hands together, “how exciting that I’ve found something! I knew that exploring wasn’t useless. I wonder what it means?”

She studied the engravings. The first person looked to be a Plainkind person. Then, the last one had wings, so it must be a Shriken. In between was a fearsome creature.

“It looks like a larger Plainkind that hasn’t taken care of herself,” Marisa mused, “these lines coming from the hands, are they nails? And this hair, it’s long and wild. I have never seen a creature like this.”

She looked between the three images, and then at the lines scrawled between them. She traced them with her finger, thinking.

“I wonder… is this, are these stages perhaps? Plainkind, then this in-between creature, and then—”

“A Shriken.”

The voice echoed across the cavern and Marisa’s hairs stood on end. She turned around and saw a woman standing in doorway. She was no taller than Marica, but she was older, and had large, leathery wings folded behind her back. She also looked much stronger than Marisa.

She asked, “Who are you?”

“I’m Marisa.”

“No, no, you are a Plainkind, you should not be here. And you saw this, you understood it. No, you should not be here!”

Marisa watched the Shriken woman’s face. She looked angry, but also something else. She looked worried.

“If you know about the cycle, you cannot leave.”

Part 1 > Part 2 >
Daniel Triumph.

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P.S.

There will be a couple more parts. I’m excited to work on this story, but I’m a little worried with how strange the plans are for it. We’ll see how it plays out.

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