It was an early morning. A small group of humanoid creatures were walking through the snowy forest. All of them were dressed in an almost identical green armor.
“Zarim, I swear on your wife's ass, if you break the formation one more time, you’ll never leave the village again,” the hunter, who was in the middle of the formation, said.
“Ha-ha. You’re exaggerating, Corvus,” said another man wearing the same green armor. “After all, it’s his first hunt. Give him a chance to frolic a little bit.”
“Hunt is the most important survival aspect of our village, and it isn’t something that can be taken lightly. The sooner a young generation understand this, the earlier our village become flourish.”
With obvious reluctance, the young guy obeyed the leader of the small group and took his place in the formation.
The group was consisted entirely of representatives of the forest people. They were slightly different from usual humans: all of them had small animal claws on their hands and feet, and sharpened perception. In terms of evolution, they even surpassed usual people in some way, since their physique was stronger and more adapted, and their intellect wasn’t inferior to a human one. Probably, the main reason of their difference was specific conditions of their life, although it was impossible to say that there weren’t any other reasons.
There were only six people in the group. They were walking in pairs forming a small wedge, in the center of which was the only man with a hood on his head; this man was their leader. The main task of this formation was cover larger area and at the same time save people’s energy. One hunter in each pair was in the front of another, so a person at behind could save some energy by stepping on the stomped snow. And of course, people in pairs changed their positions from time to time.
Corvus was the leader of the hunters in his village, and right now, they were doing the most common work for them: hunting. Everything seemed fine so far, except for the fact that the hot blooded young guy, who also was his relative, had been distracting him constantly.
After another scolding, the guy calmed down. The winter greatly complicated the whole hunting process. The forest was far from the safest place, and during the winter it was even more dangerous. At this time of year, many dangerous animals appeared in the forest. Although during other seasons there also were quite a lot of ways to die.
But the forest people had been living in these places for a very long time. Tens, hundreds of generations had passed, before the forest became a natural home for them.
Maybe Corvus really was worried about this too much. If Zarim weren’t ready, they wouldn’t let him go in the forest. But Corvus, the experienced hunter, was always strict, both with the rest and with himself, that's why everyone in the village respected him.
Currently, the group had been returning to the home. Everyone, except for the leader and another hunter, had several animal carcasses of various sizes on their backs. Even though winter was the most dangerous season, it also gave an opportunity to hunt longer than usual. At this time of the year, temperature in the forest was very low, and carcasses of animals could remain fresh for a longer time, therefore they could catch more animals during an expedition.
Originally, Corvus planned to catch few more animals on the way back, but the current catch was good enough for him. At some point, he realized that one of the hunters stopped. He knew that his hearing just couldn’t let him down, so he didn’t even turn around.
Right now, Zarim was aiming at a small bird, which was flying above them at a high speed. At the first sight, there was nothing special, but when Corvus noticed exactly what kind of a bird it was, he frowned. With a quick movement, Corvus shortened the distance to the young hunter and gave him a smack upside the head. Even though the arrow was launched, its tajectory changed and the arrow flew quite far from the bird.
“Hey, you're a little brat!” roared the angry hunter. “Open your eyes and then shoot! Don’t you see this is a Tildas! Moreover, it’s not a usual Tildas but Heavenly Tildas! Weren’t you taught that this bird is a symbol of great luck!?”
“Sorry, Uncle Corvus. I’ve never heard about them flying in the winter, so I thought that my eyes deceived me.”
Having noticed the sincere regret in the eyes of his nephew, the old hunter softened.
‘Hmm. But he's right,’ Corvus looked at the sky, but the Tildas had already disappeared. ‘It is only the middle of the winter… Tildases mustn’t be here at this time…’
“Be more cautious in further; moreover, don’t forget that you’re not alone here. If you’re not sure, you can always ask others.”
“Yes!” with a serious expression, Zarim nodded.
Even though Corvus was unsatisfied again due to the too loud tone of his nephew, he wasn’t going to scold him for that either. Anyway, they were on the way back to the home already.
The group continued moving forward. One of the hunters next to Corvus turned to him and said, “Corvus, the boy is right, I’ve never seen Tildases in these parts of the forest at this time of year. I think this is a good sign.”
“Yes. Probably, you are right,” the old hunter said, having glanced at the sky once again. However, there weren’t any traces of the bird.