User:Arrow Quivershaft/Unexpected Burdens

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3P story universe

Unexpected Burdens

Author: Arrow Quivershaft

It was two days later, a bit after dusk. Dawn and I’d snuck in some time and gotten to know each other better. The hunting crew still hadn’t bagged the gorgon; elusive thing. They’d stayed out later tonight trying to grab it since we only had a day or two of supplies before we’d have to head back.

I was just sitting by the fire with Dawn and snuggling a little bit when I heard a bit of a commotion coming towards the camp. I stood up and grabbed my crossbow looking in the direction of the noise. Wasn’t good odds for me, but I didn’t have any better options presenting themselves.

“Renfrew!” A french accent shouted out. Oh, it was just our group coming back. I relaxed a bit for a moment, lowering my crossbow...and then got a flood of adrenaline into my system as the crew came into view. There were two people less than there were supposed to be and the Russian hunter was doing a fireman carry on someone. Shit. Something had gone wrong. Badly wrong.

“Here!” I rubbed my eyes trying to clear them for night vision. Idiot, I’d been staring at the fire and now it might cost me. “I’m right here.”

The remaining man, a German named Jurgen, hurried over. He had the best English of these three, so he was the natural interpreter. “We were ambushed. Monster. Stung two of us repeatedly, hit Gerry once. Gerry on Nikolai’s back.”

The exasperation was clear on my face. The two on the mountain had to be petrified by now, and Gerry...well. “Get him down here where I can see him.”

The three of them working together eased Gerry into the firelight where I could see him. First I checked him for vitals, barking orders to the remaining people. Get some water, check to make sure it hasn’t followed you, get the food off the fire before it burns.

Gerry’s breathing was ragged but there, his eyes were unfocused, though they moved slightly. His reflexes were nonexistent, and he had a grayish cast to his nails and hair, with a salty residue around his mouth and eyes, and a thick, pus-like liquid oozing from where he’d been stung. Telltale signs of early petrification. We needed to get Gerry out of realm, and we needed to do it now.

“I advise we strip the camp. We need to get him out of realm.” I stated.

That got me some confusion from Nikolai and Antoine. Jurgen, to his credit, went to start getting camp stuff stripped down. At least someone was listening. The russian, Nikolai, came over to me. “Not leaving Boris on this mountain.” That’s right, the two of them were brothers.

I ignored him. I was checking if the stinger was stuck in the wound. Thankfully, it wasn’t. No surgery for me. I went over to his tent and got the collapsible poles. “We need a stretcher.”

Nikolai shoved me as I came back, knocking me completely over. “Coward American can go. Staying here.”

The poles didn’t break. Thank god. We’d have a huge problem with no stretcher. The Frenchman, Antoine, came back behind the Russian, looking at him. “We need to go. Guide says it best.” He seemed lukewarm on this, to be honest.

Nikolai spit at me. “Cowards! All of you!”

I so didn’t need this right now. I had two down and one on the way, and I couldn’t afford a fight. The Russian would probably pound me, anyways. I staggered back and tried to get to my feet. I tried to think of something to say, when a silent person to this whole thing spoke up.

“Then you don’t have to leave.” Dawn spoke. “He’s the junior guide and his job is to Gerry and the injured. You can stay here and keep hunting.”

The Russian stared hard at her. “Not staying alone.”

Dawn nodded. “You don’t have to. I’ll work with you and Antoine if you want. Nate and Jurgen can head outrealm.”

I took the opportunity here to try and assemble the stretcher. There was no way either of us was carrying Gerry by ourselves. I tried to quickly apportion out some food as Dawn talked with the others.

Within minutes, it was decided. Jurgen and I would go outrealm, and I’d send a cleanup crew in after them if I hadn’t heard within a week. Dawn and I pulled away for a moment as I finished packing my tent. “You sure this is a good idea, Dawn?”

Dawn nodded. “It’s the best we’re gonna get, Nate. You get Gerry out of me, I’ll be fine.”

I didn’t like this idea, but I didn’t have any better that didn’t risk Gerry being killed. I snuck in a quick kiss. “Holding you to that.”

She grinned at me. “We’ll be fine. I don’t know we’ll even see the thing again at this point.”

I nodded as I strapped on my pack. “Best of luck. See you back in Lecci.”

And with that, I went back to Jurgen, we hoisted Gerry’s stretcher, and we left.

Preceded by:
New Relationships
Three Pantheons Succeeded by:
A New Realm...?