Snowy Ground: Chapter 1 Part 4

The looming figure swung a club made of the leg of some wayward ram caught out in this storm. Overhand it came crashing down. Clemnilshala careened out of the way, leaving the indent of her body in the snow. She took her beast whip from her belt and almost had it completely unfurled in time to dodge the beast’s attack at her hooves. Not fast enough, the toughened flank of the poor beast caught her in the side and sent her grappling across the chilled planes. She scraped cleated hoof plates on the ground to steady her balance until she came to a stop before hitting Thamdul the Lesser, a smaller mountain that always seemed to openly oppose travelers in this area. The yeti lumbered along closer, in the distance passing the gate to Milgan and coming away from the town with a great roar that shook Thamdul’s slopes and sent a powdered assault of snow onto Clemnilshala’s shoulders and into any space between her leather gear and neck.
This game had begun alright. No horns to blow for aid, only the great creature’s bellows would be carried on the wind away from town. It was up to brazier keepers, passing travelers kept in the storm, and other mountain scouts to come and save her now. No matter what the monstrous yeti was communicating, Clemnilshala did not back down. She tightened her grip and cracked her whip off to the side. A warning, a threat, as she bared her teeth and roared back. The cold penetrated her leather gear without any fur nor a cloak to protect her shoulder joints. The beast did not back down, as it reared its paws and prepared to swipe, Clemnilshala thrust her whip forward again intending to incapacitate the beast by its neck. The cold of the blizzard stiffened her joints, she made her attempts anyway.
Too slow, the yeti’s great arm came swinging with its leg club. What luck it was that the weaponized animal leg fell into the whip’s path and found itself tangled up. She stamped her hooves into the snow, letting the cleats on her hoof plates compact the snow for better stability to meet the yeti’s next attack. She looked around, her neck grew stiff with the prolonged exposure to the snowstorm. The Eynnil scout shouted her own warcry again and pulled her whip taught and thrust herself into the ground, pulling the animal leg free and narrowly missing its impact into the snow beside her.
The wind in one ear, the roars in the other, and somewhere off and away came a new commotion. A familiar bellow and a bugle and the thundering steps of the Milgan scouts with their flintlocks and maces. Rigmol lead the charge, taking a leap to stand over Clemnilshala’s body and buck his head into the side of the beast, staving off its claws.
“Noblehood!” shouts were carried along by the other scouts. “Noblehood are ye there lass!” they shouted.
Clemnilshala opened her mouth to shout back but met the beast’s fist coming without mercy for her stomach. Her attempt to dodge met the creature’s fist finding a home in her leg. She called out. Without a cloak to warm her back to the wind and snow this would be felt for what seemed like ages.
“I’m here!” she shouted back, rolling out from underneath Rigmol just as soon as they’d thrown her bow to the ground and a handful of arrows wrapped in paper string.
The beast’s arm, like a windmill, came in to attempt to knock Rigmol over, perhaps even to take his leg to use as a club after losing the other one. Clemnilshala went for her bow, with no time to get it and protect her companion’s broadside, she craned her head and met the yeti’s fist between the bases of her horns. Whether one was broke off or not her skull was still reinforced with such thick bones that the stars she saw would fade into snow within seconds. The beast was caught by more whips and shouts, and wounded by herbed bullets causing it to pass out and go for the ground.
Rigmol twisted and pulled his head unable to get the yeti’s forearm free of his crown of antlers. Clemnilshala turned the shield of her bow to the great beast’s shoulder. Hoisting it up and keeping it hovering over the ground to allow her stag to buck and rear and try to pull himself free with the help of a young scout recruit.
“Lass can ye hold on?” shouts the recruit into the wind, pulling into “Yer beasty ain’t getting free like this!”
Clemnilshala groans in response, widening her stance with the yeti’s blood creating red raindrops in a ring around her bowshield. The joints in her rammish legs stiffening and her stomach going cold as she focused harder on keeping the creature elevated. Even less luck, it seemed the more Rigmol struggled and pulled the more stuck he became, his grunts and bellows becoming apparent to glowing eyes in the fog of the snow. Still, Clemnilshala held on for minutes like this, feeling almost frozen in place by the time the recruit got a bridle on Rigmol and helped pull him free, twisting his head this way and that.
Clemnilshala’s leg ached with a forming bruise. She shoved the yeti to one side letting it fall over. The Eynnil flopped over to the other side in the snow, feeling half-frozen without a cloak to warm her. Her movements slowed as she got up to her elbow and patted herself down for the family crest mister Samythiel had entrusted to her for his passage through this blizzard. Without fur all her own she definitely felt the creaks and pops of her movements in the snow yet managed to come to a sitting position upon finding the crest on her person. Through all this, it had stayed in place.
Recruits swarmed the Eynnil, bringing her cloak. Rigmol took a knee and aided her to stand on her own two hooves and help take her into town amid the commotion. The more experienced scouts set to work roping and splinting the yeti. The bleats of working rams followed as they were harnessed and bridled to lead the yeti away to either be freed or dispatched. The Stonebrow stables were already warmed, a hearth lit ablaze kept the other beasts of burden warm during the storm.
Clemnilshala warmed herself before the fire as the storm rages outside. There remained the shouts and calls of the other scouts coming off of their fifteen days of peace. What a terrible night to be out in a blizzard especially coming from a nice soft bed in a slot all one’s own in Khalenthel.
“You’re stupid to think you could take that…thing….alone” Came a ghostly far-away voice that approached and somehow sounded like it was just in her flopped-over ear.
“Och please don’t start with me, old friend,” she said as Rigmol brought her cloak to her shoulders. She dug around in its pockets for her dual-sided flask. She opened the liquor side and took a long drink.
“That’s why we need half the month.” Rigmol ‘said’, his ghostly voice flittering about the stables. “Well, you. That’s why you need half the month. You’re not like Folruth and you’re not like me”
“Oh don’t talk like tha tae me, old friend.” She replied, digging in the bowels of her satchels, searching for scraps of jerky to bribe the old stag with. Reluctantly he accepted them as she sat back. She took another drink of this flask before opening the other side and, using the provided spoon, took a scoop of dark molasses and put it directly into her mouth. A pleasant flush came over her face as she warmed her chilled joints by the fireplace in the stables. The blizzard rattled the roof, a shingle broke free and flew away.
Rigmol laid down and got comfortable, leaving his side exposed so that Clemnilshala could crawl over and lay next to him. She wriggled and found a suitable spot and rested her head on his ribs, listening to the great stag’s breath. A yawn escaped her, the wind howling and the sounds her companion made lulled her to sleep.

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