The sun had barely risen on the brisk scion morning. Rays of light spilled through the gaps in the dense canopy, and the fog clung to the forest floor at such a density it was almost tactile.

Crouched in a hiding spot amid a cluster of trees and rocks, Reed and his father Cliff surveyed the wooded landscape ahead of them.

“This would be so much easier if you’d just let me use my spells.”

“Out of the question.”

The two of them had gotten up at an obscenely early hour for their hunting trip, and were dressed head to toe in cold weather gear. Though they had opted to avoid full camouflage, Cliff had insisted that they still paint their faces anyway.

Shifting his scarf a little bit to speak more clearly, Reed tried to appeal to his father’s sense of reason. “We’re here to get meat for the drive aren’t we? Isn’t that a noble enough reason to bend the rules a little bit? Just this once?”

“We’ve been over this. Any attempt you make with your fancy spells is just gonna ruin the meat.” Cliff answered in a hoarse whisper, trying to encourage his son to keep the volume down as well. “Besides, it’s more fun this way.”

Reed shook his head for a moment in exasperation, he knew it was an argument he’d never win. “We’ll get a bigger haul if you’d just let me-”

“The haul’s gonna be big anyway, don’t you worry.”

The conversation cut off when Cliff raised up a single finger in a silencing gesture.

Apparently the tracks and dung piles spotted nearby had been a good indication that deer would return to this area. A large, mature doe cautiously made its way into the clearing ahead of them, perfectly framed by the shafts of light that fell through the trees behind it.

With an arrow already knocked, Reed’s dad silently rose up from their hiding spot and drew the arrow all the way back. The very slight creaking sound of the hickory frame was the only sound emitted before he released to let the arrow fly.

The bolt struck true, burying itself into into the side of the deer’s chest cavity right behind its front haunches. It pierced straight through both lungs, exactly where it needed to be to bring the poor creature down as quickly as possible.

There wasn’t much of a struggle at all before the doe crumpled and collapsed onto the floor.

“HAH! Still got it!” Despite his persistent knee troubles, Cliff just about skipped his way across the clearing to retrieve his kill. A great big smug grin lit up his features as he did a triumphant little jig next to the deer’s body, far too pleased with himself for his handiwork. “Who needs spells with aim like THAT?”

Reed slowly rose up from the hiding spot and gave his father a sarcastic standing-ovation for the feat of skill. He kept clapping with a dry expression long after Cliff had finished his victory dance. “Alright, so that’s one.”

“Oh, ye of little faith. This is gonna be a productive weekend, my boy. Just you wait.”

Author Jander
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