Momo’s Hunt

Ice in a cave

Momo was hungry. The snowy gale blowing around her made her feel hungrier still. And even though she wanted nothing more than to return to her warm little hollow, with its cut of meats hanging from the ceiling and a cosy bed of furs just her size, she pressed on. The Frozen North, a land perpetually covered in frost and snow, was vast and brutal. Momo could feel the wind cutting into her cheeks and with each step, she sank into the snow a little deeper. Momo wrapped the furs around her tighter.

There’s been no Mammoth sightings for weeks.” One villager in Whitevale had told her. “It’s not a good omen, the Shaman said the land is under a curse, that it is dying. There are less and less fish in the lakes, our traps are empty.” The woman continued. Momo grunted her thanks to the local and walked to the edge edge of the village. She looked into the pure white wilderness. There were children playing behind her, chasing each other, pretending to be great beasts, or hunters, or darker creatures that stole the souls of the lost. She was broken out of her watch by a little boy tapping on her shoulder.

It’s getting really, really dark.” He said, his sweet, high voice livening the cold air. Momo nodded and made her way back to the little tent she’d set up earlier.

At first dawn, Momo looked over the frozen steppes. The sky above them was brilliant pink with the sun rising in the distance and Momo walked away to the sounds of parents calling their children for their first meal.

In her many years in the wilds, Momo had learned one thing. Hunger drove every creature of the wilds. If all the most fertile lands in this white wilderness were empty, something dark and evil was frightening everything off. There were hints of this darkness here and there as she travelled, the viciously torn carcass of a mammoth or the entrails of a large moose draped over rocks. Most tellingly, Momo saw the huge paw-prints of a pack of winter wolves heading west, far away from this place. She crouched down to the snowy ground and peered closer at the paw-prints. Winter wolves were smart enough to know when to run.

The snow storm had not let up throughout the day. Momo felt the cold bite into her and her foot pressed into something sharp. Just before the needle point pierced her skin, she pulled her foot back. She dug around the fresh snow and revealed the jagged thigh-bone of a mammoth. She dug some more and found a skull big enough for her to shelter in. The remains of a young dragon were a few feet further along her path. Following this trail of bones was what finally led her to the base of a steep rock face and a cave, where she suspected the creature that was guilty of driving all her food away lived. The sun was hanging low on the horizon, threatening to leave her in complete darkness, so she scurried to the edge of the cave and listened in. Great, bellowing snores were coming from deeper in. She inched forward, pressed tight against the cave walls. Each step was hazardous. The guts from the beast’s latest hunt still lay strewn all over the ground.

The creature was asleep on its front, a huge pile of snowy white fur heaving up and down in the icy cave. Above it where thousands of icicles dangling with promise. Momo knew she’d wake the abominable yeti if she approached any closer. Instead, she grabbed one of her trusty axes and hurled it above the creature, to where the dangerous looking icicles sparkled, catching the last light of a dying day. The crash forced the yeti awake in an instant, but it lumbered out from under the crashing ice just in time to avoid the worst of the shards. Momo was already running outside where she saw the blizzard had already become so bad, she could see barely five feet in front of her. Every now and then, she caught a glimpse of a full, rising moon, but its light was not strong enough to penetrate the flurry of snow. The yeti was roaring behind her while Momo crouched by the entrance, waiting for her opportunity.

The abominable yeti was at its full height, the glare of fury in its eyes. It stopped at the cave exit and took a cautious sniff. In the time Momo had stood still, the blizzard had covered her in snow. The creature’s nose only picked up a light, unfamiliar scent and it took a step out of its home, into the blizzard. Momo could feel the snow shift with each step the huge beast took. But she waited until the moment the yeti’s head was crouched low, sniffing at the pile of snow outside its cave.

Momo’s hand shot out, gripped the yeti’s fur tight and swung herself up so that she was firmly sat on its shoulders. She grabbed a spear, hoisted it up and dug it deep down into the beast’s shoulder, instantly rendering its right arm useless. The yeti roared in indignation and pain, using its other arm to bat away the offensive halfling. She held on as tight as she could, but eventually, a great whap from the yeti’s large hands sent her hurtling to the ground.

Momo landed several feet away, sprawling on the virgin snow. She scrambled up and then felt the coldest air chill her skin. She took a deep breath and buried herself into the snow under her. The abominable yeti’s legendary ice breath was freezing everything to a stop above her. She waited. The yeti was pacing around, trying to find the morsel it hoped would be its next meal. She felt its giant foot thud down a hair’s breadth from her.

She lashed out again, this time driving her second hand axe deep into the yeti’s ankle. She could feel the frenzy build in her and she unleashed it until she was no longer able to think of anything other than bringing this creature down. She hacked and hacked, the yeti howling in pain, grabbing at the halfling, but failing to grip it in its great paws while the pain blinded his sense. Finally, the yeti grabbed Momo’s head, picked her up and threw her hard against the cliff wall.

For a moment, Momo was utterly unable to do anything, stunned by the force of the throw and the sharp pain spreading from her neck down to her spine. She had dropped down to the snow and was breathing heavily. But as her senses came back, the only thing she could feel was pure, unbridled and concentrated rage.

The yeti was running at her now, despite its ankle injury, it was gaining speed. Momo pulled out her final weapon, a great axe that she had stolen from an Orc many years before, and charged towards the yeti, dodging its swiping claws and swinging her axe at its thigh, where she left a deep cut. The yeti’s claws dug into her side, leaving puncture wounds through her furs. The blizzard of snow was blinding them both. Not even the moon could peer down to the Frozen North and see the battle between monster and hunter.

Two days later, the villagers of Whitevale looked over a clear morning. The blizzard seemed to have left overnight and they had seen the first signs of life again across the frozen steppes. A herd of reindeer trudging across the tundra, slowly making their way east again made the villagers cheer. Soon a hunting party was sent out to pick out a few choice animals to bring back. The children spent the morning playing until one little boy pointed into the horizon. “Look! What’s that?” He shouted in excitement.

A small figure was dragging a creature several times bigger than itself across the snow. The steps they were taking were excruciatingly slow, but they persevered. Eventually, they could see them more clearly. It was Momo returning, towing her fresh kill behind her.

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