The wind kicked up as Tomaz the Shadow slipped through the glade below Mt. Fakir. An elven hunter, he belonged to the nomadic people called The Shaheid. Hunters and rogues, The Shaheid served no one but their own interest, but Tomaz was different. Daybreak played across the fields and scattered trees, and in the distance he heard a faint cry. That is not the cry of a cub or a wounded animal. That’s the sound of a babe. Softly, Tomaz padded through the shadows of early morning, taking great care to stay hidden from any other species that might be in the area.
As he crested the peak, his eyes took in the grisly scene. Two wolves lay dead, both with heads smashed in. The guts lay tore out on the ground of what appeared to be the alpha. In the midst of the scene lay a woman, a dwarven woman with long flowing braids of brown hair. Chunks of her face were missing, but Tomaz recognized her and sat down in the snow.
“Hylda,” he murmured softly. “Oh, Hylda.”
The sharp cry of the infant brought Tomaz back to reality. Tomaz followed the cry to the nearby tree and rescued the child. “Oh my,” Tomas said, as he grimaced as the ripe odor filled his nostrils. “No wonder you’re so angry. I bet you’re hungry too.” He placed the baby on a boulder and pulled out his canteen. After swabbing Hekla’s bottom and cleaning her up, he put a few drops of water on a piece of cloth and let baby Hekla suckle on it. While Hekla sucked down water, Tomaz buried the remains of Hylda. Then, he and the babe set out for home.
Tomaz had set up camp near the mouth of the Eta River. A main encampment was a day away, and Tomaz often went to trade with his fellow nomads. His small camp consisted of blankets laid upon the ground, a small campfire, and a black kettle that hung from twin sticks above the fire. Hekla fidgeted on the blanket, her arms and legs in motion. Tomaz grinned and picked her up. “Hylda wanted a girl,” Tomaz said to the babe. “At least one thing went right for her. She said if it was a girl, she’d name her Hekla. So, that is what I will call you.” Hekla reached up and grasped Tomaz’s nose. He laughed aloud and pulled her tiny fingers from his nose, “like mother like daughter,” he chuckled.
As the sun began to descend, Tomaz wondered how he would manage with a newborn to care for. I need better clothing for the cub. Then, I need to find her a home, but it needs to be a good home.
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