Wolves at the Door (part 50)

Though the sunshine may have been warm, the stream was anything but. There was no snow on the ground, but judging from the temperature of the water, the thaw was still a work in progress upstream. After a short, bracing dip, Gil returned to the bag he had left behind. Before moving it, he checked the trees they had marked on their last trip. The trees had had months to heal, though to Gil it had only been two days ago. The scars were still there. Weathered, and the bark was beginning to regrow over the edges, but he would have no trouble identifying the location of the invisible doorway again.

Taking the bag off to a place where he could sit in the sun, he began to look through it. Tools, or mostly, parts of tools rattled around inside: a small axe, a few short blades, some arrowheads, and even a spearhead or two. They were all pretty dull – letting them knock around together in a bag is not the best way to keep a sharp edge. Another smaller bag within held some fishing hooks, line and what looked like bowstrings. Quite a survival kit – just add wood.

Perhaps he could do something about that. He found a branch that would make a decent spear handle, and managed with some difficulty to separate it from the tree. The axe was too small for cutting firewood and too blunt for any delicate shaping, but it was still good for this much at least.

Once he had attached the branch to a spearhead, he felt a little more confident. Never mind that he had seen nothing worth spearing, or that the dull metal was as likely to bounce off a target as it was to penetrate it. He felt like he was making progress, and if he had to defend himself, a blunt spear was at least more imposing than none at all.

He was unlikely to catch anything to eat with it though, and making even the most basic bow or arrows would require sharper tools than he had available. He hoped that Alfvin had brought a whetstone with him, or all this metal he had carried here would be practically useless.

Only the fishing hooks were still sharp, protected as they had been within the inner bag. So, while he waited for the sun to get low enough for Alfvin to be comfortable, he whiled away the time fishing down at the stream. He wasn’t terribly successful, but there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

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