It’s there, said Somtar, pointing at a cave. That’s where it is.
Stay low, said Raanor. Somtar looked at him, but did what he said.
The others were lying down behind them. There it was. The lair of the killer.
One of the hunters of the tribe had disappeared. Now they were only five, and even when they were six it had been hard to hunt the bigger animals. First they thought it was the Silmar tribe, but they had found animal blood on the site. Kimlir had managed to hurt it, but just enough to give them a hidden trail of blood drops to follow. They looked on the ground, on the plants. Slowly they advanced into the forest.
Now they stood in front of the cave where the killer was hiding. They did not know what kind of creature it was, but they were hoping it was of this world. Their myths and legends told of creatures they could never conquer.
They moved into position. The hunters knew their roles, only Rimber had to be lead. He was the youngest, too young to be a hunter, but after the day of the massacre they were too few. Now they were even fewer.
A huge creature came out. A Saber Tooth Cat. Roaring. Screaming. The biggest predator they’d ever seen. Rimber fell. The cat jumped at him. Somtar threw himself between them, stuck his flint knife into the side of the beast. Razor sharp claws cut his chest. He fell back, blood pumping. Parghar threw his spear. It stuck to the side of the beast’s flank. It turned, attacked. Sunk it’s teeth into his neck. Rangoor and Melmor was over it, hanging on to their spears sinking into it’s flesh. The creature died.
He saved my life, said young Rimber. He wasn’t crying, but his eyes was red, his mouth small and shaking. Somtar had been like a father to him.
We are only three hunters now. Life will be hard. Melmor was sitting on one knee, beside his friend and mentor Parghar’s dead body.
Some of the children will soon be old enough to hunt, We’ll manage. Rangoor looked to the hills of the falling sun. If only we could live in our old land…
The other two were silent. The memories of the day the Silmar tribe came and took their land was still strong in memory.
Listen! Said Rimber. The other two looked at him, asking.
It comes from the cave!
The child jumped closer to the cave.
Rimber, no! Said Rangoor, taking a step towards him.
Look! It’s a cub! Rimber picked up the fluffy little animal. You could see the fangs already sticking out of it’s mouth. He’s beautiful!
Inside the cave there were four more.
Next summer these will be as fierce as their mother, said Melmor, pulling his knife out of his belt. We need to kill them now.
No! Said Rimber, holding on to the cub in his arms. Let me keep at least one... Now tears were running down his cheeks.
Rimber, there’s no…
Rangoor put a hand on Melmor’s shoulder.
We bring them all with us. His eyes were glowing of hope and revenge. Next summer we’ll get our land back.
Part two: Saber Tooth Beasts