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Symon emerged from his reindeer skin tent into the grey morning. A chill Wind gusted on and off from the North, blowing the loose ends of his patchy leather armor to and fro. The faint outline of the sun lay dead just inches above the horizon to the East. Frostborn, his shaggy black and white hunting dog, emerged from the tent and scanned the horizon along with him. Nothing but the pale dunes of hard-packed snow, falling as they gently merged with the grey sky could be seen. Symon pulled from a pouch at his hip a worn scrap of crumbling wood upon which was inscribed a barely comprehensible outline of a longbow, nearly smoothed away from use. Symon crouched on one knee and uttered the words his mother had taught him long ago when he lived with the Tribe of the Seal:

Hail to the Hunter of Winter,
The twin tracks in the snow,
The twin tracks of your eyes
Sharp in the frosty air, you see
Where every bird flies,
Where every squirrel passes,
Where the deer have bedded for the night.
All must eat, especially in the hard season,
And you take only what is needed,
Leaving enough to breed again
And continue the cycle of Life.
Yew-god, bow-god, death-god,
Bringer of the most silent slaughter,
The death that comes swift and unseen,
Spare us from the wrath of frozen winter
With the cloud of your joyful laughter
And the shield of your great hand.
We hail you, God On Skis,
Evergreen Lord, Sunbeam On Snow,
In this the time of your white realm.

As he raised his eyes from his reverence on that grey morning, Frostborn perked his ears up and squinted at a faint brown speck Northeast on the horizon.

“Hush…. hush..” said Symon as he placed his hand low over Frostborn’s stiff back. The dog instantly obeyed and the two of them crept low to the ground towards the Northeast, Symon steadily stringing his bow as the Northern WInd played up sprays of the nights soft snow in swirling gust all around them.

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A World At Dusk Joecarrot