The period is late Paleolithic-esque on an unknown prehistoric world. The land is a place of turmoil. Frozen glaciers continue to shape the land which creaks and groans as a restless thing, fertile valleys carved out from the land giving birth to life. Humans band together in warring tribes, fighting amongst each other for resources and terrirory. Herds of massive beasts roam the land as their prey. The tribes are polytheistic and culture has bloomed among the savagery. Natives express themselves through art and music, using simple yet inventive tools and instruments.
A young girl by the look of sixteen padded across a glacier, her leather thongs protecting her feet from the cold. Her beaded leather shift was wrapped with wolf fur to keep her warm from the cool wind. Her mother’s necklace was tucked under her shirt; Amber kept it with her to remind her that back home someone was waiting. If she didn’t remind herself she may just lose herself and wander far from home. She was somewhat of a dreamer, and she took great stock in the hidden meanings of dreams. Paint was streaked across her face in the colors of her tribe, the Broken Fang Clan. To her right the land dropped down, jagged cliffs far below. But she walked unafraid, following a worn trail in the ice. She carried a light spear in her hand and sang a little song to herself as she hunted for small prey. On her back was a simple quiver that held carefully made arrows, a yew bow on her back. A jagged stone knife set in bone was sheathed at her hip.
A savage call sounded over her head. She looked up and saw a bird of prey soaring through the air. Amber stopped in her tracks, eyeing it curiously. Suddenly the bird curled in it’s wings and dropped down like a rocket. It seemed it was heading straight for her. She dropped her spear and threw her hands over her head, letting out a cry, and crouched down waiting for impact. The bird did strike her, hard, but flew up to reel down again. When the bird struck her again she realized that she must be close to a nest. She picked up her spear and started to run to gain distance between them. She laughed a little to herself, her black hair streaking behind her as she ran.
Amber followed the thin trail down the glacier leading down to the gritty beach below. Stones worn down from the glacier dotted the ground. The runoff from the glacier had made a good sized lake that was one of Amber’s favorite spots. She stopped walking, gazing across the lake. The mountains in the distance were mirrored in the cold, clear water. The sunrise just touched the tops of the mountain range, making it look like they were on fire.
She hopped down the rocks until she got to the lake and bent to a knee by the waterside. She set her spear by her knee and cupped her hands, bringing the crystal clear water to her lips to take a drink.
Nearby a wolf howled. Her dark eyes opened and looked up at the noise. A lone wolf was trotting along the glacier, but it didn’t look like it meant any harm. It was most likely trailing it’s brothers scouting for caribou.
The wolf darted away as the sound of ratting beads approached from the crest of the rocks overlooking the lake-shore where Amber rested. Asher emerged, his staff lightly propped on his shoulder as strands of his black hair blew in the wind. He smirked at Amber and descended, hopping deftly down the rocks 'til he hit the sand of the shore.
He started shaking his head, "Amber.. you know that your father does not like you going into the wild on your own. He sent me to retrieve you." Her father was the chief and Asher, his young shaman, was often sent on errands rather than utilizing his real talents due to the tribe's straying from mysticism.
Amber turned her head when she heard the beads and scowled deeply at Asher who had come to retrieve her. She didn’t like being fetched. As he hopped down onto the beach she stood up to face him, crossing her arms and jerked her head up in defiance.
“I’m fine on my own. I can take care of myself, Asher. I’m not a child any more.”
She bent down and picked up her spear, intending to go in the opposite direction and skirt around the lake. The ground shook lightly under their feet as a herd of mammoths paced along the valley not far away from where they stood.
Asher glanced in the direction as the giant beasts roamed along, "He thought you might say that," He sighed, it meant more work for him. He didn't know Amber too well, but the idea of spending time with her was not completely abhorred, it was better than fetching things for the chief after all. "In that case, I will be accompanying you." He smiled plainly and ran his eyes over her, waiting for the lash-back.
Amber bristled in anger, her fingers tightening around the spear, knuckles turning white. “You will do no such thing.” She glared at him, her dark eyes glittering. She turned and started jogging up the incline staying in close range to the lake. Her head jerked around. When he continued to pursue her she broke out into a run, vaulting over large rocks deftly. Just try and keep up, shaman.
He gave no response or emotion simply focusing on staying with her. He reached into one of his pouches throwing a small handful of dandelion seeds into the air, and they blew away swiftly in the wind.
As Amber vaulted onto and over the rocks, Asher hopped along them right with her. The wind seemed to follow him, pushing him a long at a faster speed than normal. Even with his abilities he wasn't quite as fast as her, but he could keep his eye on her at least. He eyed her figure as it darted among the rocks, What is the point in such apostasy? Asher was a born shaman and like all of them, they thought on a deeper level than most and saw human trivialities like war and rebellion to be an annoyance that prevented their tribe from truly succeeding. Even at his young age of 18 he felt these things and it made him a loner among those in his age group, rejected by those he would normally be friends with, like Amber.
“Go away,” she snapped, looking up at him as he hopped along the rocks. He made it look so easy, and that bothered her. He looked so smug up there, using his magic as an advantage. She had no magic bone in her body, but she was good in other areas, keeping up with the male warriors of the clan.
Suddenly she darted towards another path, a second worn trail she wasn’t familiar with. She hadn’t strayed this far from home, but indignation fueled her on. She ran over a rise and stopped in her tracks.
Down below where the valley narrowed, she could see smoke from fires burning. Even from a distance, she could see the paint on their bodies marking themselves as a rival tribe. They were laughing and eating around the fires, weapons close to their bodies on the ground. Amber was angry, food was scarce enough this time of the season without rivals poaching on the Broken Fang territory.
Amber gasped, flattening herself against the rise. She had forgotten herself and hoped that none of the rivals had seen her. A burning coal of fear started in her belly. They were too close to home, too close to her tribe.
Asher swung down from a rock as Amber changed direction. He started running after her but slowed as he saw the smoke then dropped to a crouch, inching up near Amber. He poked his head over the rise and eyed the valley below for a moment, then dropped backed down. He spoke quietly, "The Eikem, they won't spare us if we're seen."
Her eyes were wide with poorly contained fear as she scooted herself down out of sight, rolling herself to her back, her long hair splayed about her. She breathed in and out rapidly, partly because she had been running and part out of anxiety. “What are they doing here on Broken Fang territory?” She looked at him, a forlorn look on her face. “Do you think they mean to attack our tribe?” She raised her hands to her face rubbing it with a groan. They certainly didn’t look peaceful. She hoped it was just to find food.
His eyes glanced over her then he looked to the ground, thinking for a moment, "Their chief is a self-proclaimed emperor, it would not surprise me if he decided our coastal lands were worth taking." He seemed deep in thought, "Though.. doing so now would be an odd decision." He glanced behind him, making sure nothing else stalked them.
Nearby a saber tooth cat yowled, but the beast wasn’t close by. It paced the glacier, following the herd. Amber sat up a little, her eyes moving to it’s direction. She blinked a little at Asher, wondering what he had meant by odd. She felt danger pressing from all sides. “We should go, at least warn my father.”
He smirked at the irony, "Good idea.. lead the way." As she left he backpedaled behind her, eying the enemy tribesmen below. As they reached a safe distance he turned back and followed to her right, "Why did you come here? You know that the tribe would fall into turmoil if something happened to you."
She didn’t want to go back, not yet. But she felt the Eikem at her back and she increased her pace. At the question, she lowered her eyes. “When I’m in the wild, I can be myself. Being my father’s daughter, expectations to what I should do, how I should act, weighs down on me. You may think me selfish for wanting to leave, but I just want to live a normal life.”
He nodded, "So you reject your born responsibilities? I suppose that is natural." He eyed her weapons, "What is a normal life to you?" Around the chief he would not be allowed to ask such questions, but he had often observed Amber from a distance and was curious about her.