(Some of these entries are part of the "Early Encounters with Humans" sequence of stories -- see listings for related stories.)
Q: This weapon is the best of its kind in the holt, yet its maker still tries to make a “perfect” one.
SEARCH FOR PERFECTION
“The impact of a lesson lies in its timing”
The nights were getting cooler as the leaves shed their greens. Soon it would be too chill to work outside, Pathmark thought to himself as he dropped from the dentrees. He wasn’t too surprised to see another elf already sitting in the comfortable clearing between the river and the home trees. The area was often host to the tribesmates that happened to be around, and Pathmark loved the company.
There was already a wide smile on his face when Pathmark settled in beside Thornbow. “Another one?” the younger elf asked in surprise when he saw the long length of wood balanced on Thornbow’s knees.
Thornbow gave a laugh, used to getting some comments for his obsessive bow carving. He nodded, and went back to studying the wood, absently flipping his knife over in his hand.
“Wasn’t the last one you made the best?” Pathmark couldn’t help but pry.
“Oh, it was good. It’s the best one yet-- but there’s still a perfect one that’s begging to be made.” Thornbow ran his hand tenderly along the seasoned wood, tracing the bends already in the shaft.
The younger elf nodded, and emptied his carrying pouch in front of him. Peeking into the smaller bag of stones and sand, he saw that they still weren’t smoothed enough for him to work with. Oh well. He traded the stones for the rough chunks of wood that would become beads. His hazel eyes rose once, but Thornbow’s attention was focused completely on the wood in front of him.
The rasp of Pathmark’s knife joined the dry rustle of the leaves overhead as he worked the wood down to a bead shape, haphazardly adding in deeper designs to hold the paint. He almost had a full hand of the beads roughly marked out when movement made him look up.
Thornbow slowly drew his knife over the top half of the wooden sapling, removing a leaf thin layer that curled and fell onto the ground below. He sat back, looking content with the meticulous work. “Perfection takes time,” he commented lightly, studying the new shape to the wood. For a long while after, the only movement in the clearing was the pale fog of the two carvers’ breath in the crisp night air.
Q: What is Foxsly’s mate Crest named for? (The answer is his mohawk-do, from a number of different pictures)
LOVING THE CHALLENGE
Foxsly lay propped up by a mound of bed furs with her beloved, Crest. He slept contentedly, hugging her hips and using her stomach as his pillow. The sweat from their prior exertions still coated their skins but the dampness didn’t disturb his rest. She ran her hand along the smooth skin on the side of his head, smiling as a few stiff strands of his namesake hairstyle tickled her chin. It would take a bit more effort, or a lot of water, to make Crest’s crest lie down. She grinned thinking of all the fun they would have as she tried accomplish that goal. Foxsly loved a challenge.
Q: Which elf sired the most cubs in the tribe's history? (The answer is Greenleaf – nine in all)
Q: The largest game animal in holt territory? ( The answer is marsh beast or moose)
A MOUNTAIN WITH EYES
“Meep!” A tiny scrap of an elf cub scrambled out of the thick brush at the edge of the river, justifying her name with continued squeaking as she bolted towards the dentrees as fast as her childish legs could carry her. She knew her mother, the chieftess, was busy and shouldn’t be bothered, but there was a monster by the water! The Holt needed to be informed before it came and ate them all!
“Father, father!” She barreled into Blacksnake’s legs and he caught her with a ‘whoof’. “I was by the water, looking for lizards, and I was really really quiet, and then I passed some bushes and there was a mountain with eyes looking down at me!” She stopped, out of breath, eyes wide with terror.
“It was really close, too, and it yelled at me!”
“Hush, cubling.” Blacksnake hugged her close, his lips quirking slightly. Scouts had noticed the marsh beast grazing near the lake, and there were plans to send a party out after it, later that night. “It was a marsh beast, they do bellow very loudly. We’ve warned you about getting too far away on your own, haven’t we? Come.” He took her hand. “Let’s go see the preparations for the hunt. When we bring it back, you’ll see there’s a lot of meat on that mountain with eyes.”
Q: What does the human word “bayumop” mean? (The answer is “dew of insults” - the Baha’s standup comedy)
B erating your friends is the name of the game
A nyone can join in, it’s all the same.
Y ou’re poking fun of others, as easy as pie,
U nderstand your ‘victims’, “spit in their eye”.
M ake fun of your brother, the clothing he’s in,
O ne-up your fellows for the easy win.
P ick your target, it’s all in fun --
Bayumop! An activity for everyone!
STRANGE HUMAN BEHAVIOR
**What are they doing?**
Willow craned her head, trying to peer around a large branch that threatened to block her view of the events below. She and Notch had chosen a perch that kept them safe from view – at least they hoped – but also provided challenges in seeing things clearly.
**I don’t know,** Willow replied, frustrated. **It doesn’t make any sense.**
One of the human males stood in front of a ring of others, uttering phrases that neither elf could understand. His gestures seemed to indicate malicious mirth toward his tribesmen. However, his tribesmates’ raucous laughter following each of the statements seemed to indicate that is was one big joke. A couple of times, members of the audience would launch equally humorous remarks back at the one who had given them initially.
“I wish we could understand what they were saying,” Notch whispered. Willow could hardly hear him.
**I’ve seen enough. We’d best get back with the others before we’re missed,** she sent.
With a grunt, Notch agreed. They weren’t even supposed to be near the human camp, but how could they resist when the elves’ hunting party had come close? Well, not close in most of the party’s opinion, but close enough for two inquisitive elves to become too curious to resist a peek.
The pair carefully climbed down the tree, and hesitated long enough to take one last peek at the strange man and those gathered around him who had not stopped laughing.
Q: How many cubs did alpha female Whirl whelp last season? -- (The answer is three)
THREE HEALTHY PUPS
Pathmark and Longshot walked companionably along a path to a particularly pleasant bathing pool, laughing and joking as they went. Suddenly, Pathmark put a restraining hand on Longshot’s shoulder and pointed through a break in the foliage. The dark-haired archer followed his friend’s finger and beheld a wonderous sight. Whirl stood just outside of her birthing-den and seemed to be encouraging her newest litter to adventure outside for the first time.
**How many do you think she whelped?** Longshot sent. **I haven’t heard anything from Windburn yet.**
**I see two.** Pathmark responded indicating two creamy-gold balls of fluff rolling around together on the forest floor. Longshot could hear the pleasure the sight evoked echoing in the tracker’s mind voice.
**Wait,** Longshot sent. **I see another one standing behind Whirl. It seems a bit shy.**
The two stood watching the pups stumble around, exploring. The elves shared a happy grin before continuing on their way to the bathing pool. “Three healthy cubs,” Pathmark said. “Whirl sure makes handsome ones.”
“Well, Wasp has a little to do with that too,” Longshot winked.