Ice Rider 2
Sebella slept outside the compound. It was a rule of hers and she felt more at home on the ice anyway. She was an Ice Rider after all. She lay on a bear fur with her head on Horse’s belly. They were both warm and snug under the furs she had draped over them. Dog was nowhere to be seen. He did that from time to time. Just disappear. Sometimes he came back with blood on his muzzle and a fully belly other times he came back starving and begging for a meal. Sebella always feed him. Only Sebella feed him, she allowed no other that privilege. Her and dog had a tenuous friendship as it was. She was glad he had decided to leave this time. Her belly was full enough without having to taste and examine any food given to dog.
Maybe it was a little bit of overkill, to taste anything given to Dog, and horse for that matter. There were plenty of folk who would happily poison her animals just for the meat. Horse was especially desired, so all food was tasted and looked at by her first. Tonight the offerings were abundant. This group of Saints as they called themselves had a massive storehouse of all kinds of foods and necessities. They had a huge greenhouse that grew plants Sebella had only seen in books. She had the privilege of eating a fig. She did not like it but out of respect, she swallowed it. Horse however, enjoyed his figs very much, as well as the wheat grass and some corn stalks. She supposed it was better than the oats and dried grasses Sebella feed him.
Dog was a little different. People did want to eat him. Sebella had heard stories that people had kept dogs, cats, birds, and rodents as pets. They treated their dogs as if they were children and many of the dogs were tiny and unable to fend for themselves. Sebella wasn’t sure she believed that but she did believe thatwhen the ice came and did not leave in most areas, people ate those pets that they treatd like children. A fat little dog that barely walked would be very tasty. Soon not many dogs or cats were left. The rodents were fine. They still could live in a compound and flourish on the scraps the people left. Sebella herself had eaten mice and rats many times. It took quite a few to fill your belly but they did not taste bad.
With Dog, people also were afraid of him. Sebella did no blame them. He was very large and his long thick coat made him look even bigger. His teeth were huge and meant for holding on to prey, killing them before he devoured them. Sebella had seen him attack and eat a large rat without making a sound. She smiled at the memory. Dog did always look very proud of himself when he caught something to eat. When they went hunting, Dog always acted as if he alone had brought down the bear or pulled the sea lion from the seas. Besides being large and shaggy, with awesome teeth, Dog had peircing black eyes. And a way of staring at a human until that human looked away. When he was just a pup Sebella had spent much time staring him down and throwing him on his back, holding him by his throat until he quit squirming. That training enabled the relationship. A friendship that was really an “I won’t eat you if you don’t eat me and let’s keep each other company” friendship. So far it had worked. She had looked through a book once, and saw a picture of dog. The book and said that he was a Dire wolf that had gone extinct. Sebella did not think they were extinct every time she looked at Dog. He certainly looked like a dire wolf.
Dog came back and wiggled under the furs. He snuggled as close to Sebella as he could gave a huge yawn and fell asleep. Horse also fell asleep and soon begin to snore. Sebella did not know of any other rider who had a horse that snored. When she first found out that horse snored it bothered her until she found out that she also snored. A friend of hers back at home and spent the night but left in the wee hours unable to sleep due to her snoring. Sebella had made a decision then that if horse would put up with her snoring she would put up with horses.
Dog waked her up when he had growled, low and menacingly and was staring out from under the covers. Sebella peeked. The door to the compound was open and a small figure was approached. Sebella stayed where she was but eased out her hunting knife from her side. She held at the read by her leg. Hushing dog she watched through almost closed eyes as the figure got closer.
“You and that demon you have with you should go. With your red hair and your wicked ways, you are of the devil and I command you be gone. “
Sebella recognized the old lady as the one who very grudgingly slammed a bowl of hearty soup in front of her at dinner. Agnes was her name or perhaps it was the other one, Meredith, way she was going to freeze to death out here without any protection What was with these people walking out on the ice unprotected? She had a crochet hat, a shawl over her hat and a jacket. No cold weather gear at all.
It has been prophesied that you would come. A devil with fire hair and the beast of hell.”
Sebella sighed. She pulled down the fur and replied “Old woman get yourself back in the compound before you freeze to death. Take your senile ramblings with you.”
“Have you ever read the Book of Mor? Of course, you have not. The old lady continued to point at Sebella hate in her eyes. “It says that a woman would come and she would destroy the world. And here you are. Go back to Hell! Go in a way! I command you in the Name of the Apostle!”
Sebella sighed. She was a devil, was she? Well this devil had to get the old lady back to the compound. It was part of the oath she took. “Do no harm if no harm has been done to you”. She started to sit, but the old lady had already turned and was shuffling back to the compound.
“They should keep those door locked and their old under lock and key” She told Dog. Remember that camp a few months ago, that ate their old?”
Sebella shuddered that was a horrible place. She will never go back there, ever. They were all crazed with people meat disease. She shuddered again and snuggled a little closer to dog, who had already gone back to sleep. Horse had never even opened his eyes. Though his ears indicted he had heard every word.
She gave one last peek at the compound doors, “Yea I have read the Book of Mor, you old bat.” She whispered.
She held tightly to her knife and went to sleep.
She dreamt that people eaters were throwing books at her and chasing her. They wanted to set her hair aflame and they wanted to kill Dog. She was yelling for horse to run away when she woke. She sat upright, her knife in hand. There was nothing here except Dog looking at her as if she was an idiot. He felt like an idiot after she looked around. It was morning and beside her little group, there was nothing but ice for as far as one could see. No one coming for her. Nothing, just Dog who was now laughing.
Throwing Dog a menacing look, she got up and picked up her sleeping things. Horse with the riding furs on his back looked handsome, the white polar bear furs contrasting with the black of his coat. “
“Very striking”, Sebella though as she held up a sealskin bag full of oats so he could have breakfast.
Unlike Dog, horse only went where she said to go. He only did what she said to do. He was loyal and obedient. If Sebella ever had children, she would want them to be Horse children. Dog children were always going off and being independent. They were fierce for sure, but horse could defend himself if necessary. She had seen horse take down a polar bear who had tried to latch onto his neck. Horse’s hoofs and teeth were formidable weapons and his long loose hair preventing anything from gaining purchase.
She gave horse a pat then walked toward the compound. Dog was sticking very close to her today., perhaps sensing her trepidation. She also gave him a pat on the head. It was nice knowing you had another warrior to watch your back. She banged on the door of the compound. She gave a brief thought to mounting horse and riding off, but she had made a trade. The chocolates in exchange of bringing whomever it was to the other compound for marriage and then back again. She pounded again when there was no answer. The door swung opened and a man roughly her age stood there. She flashed back to where she had seen him. He was one of the guards that had stood lining the hallway when she first arrived. He was also Samuel’s nephew.
“Hi. I am Seth. I hear you and I are to take a journey together. Think I have all I need here. Are you ready to go?”
Sebella looked where he indicated his stuff was. She let out a laugh.
“Are you bringing everything you own?” she walked over and looked started to look through it. “Yes, just as I thought. You forgot the kitchen sink!”
“Kitchen sink?” His forehead furrowed as he scowled at her. “Why would I need a kitchen sink?”
She looked a t him scowling and laughed again.
“It is a joke. It is saying you have too much stuff to carry. “
“Oh” he nodded. “Well, What do you mean carry? Won’t your dog or Horse carry it.”
“No. They are not beast of burden. Horse carries me, if I ask, and what he needs to survive. Dog carries what he needs to survive. You carry only what you need to survive. If you think horse will carry or dog will carry go ahead and ask them. If they say yes then fine they will carry all this stuff. “
“Animals cannot talk.” He replied.
“Then I guess you are going to have to figure out what you want to bring and remember you will carry it”
Sebella sat down and watched as final Seth went over and started to load his pack. She was rather amused at the things he thought he needed. He had 5 or 6 books, some canned goods, a bottle of something, a bunch of personal things, like combs, brushes and razors. She figured he thought that they would be sleeping in inns or something; there was barely room for a fur to sleep in.
“Ok I am ready,” Seth pronounced.
He bent down and tried to pick up his pack. He couldn’t do it. He tried several times, before sitting down. He was quiet for a few minutes.
He looked at her and said, “Ok. What you think I should take. “
She went over and starting throwing stuff out of his bag. Soon she was able to empty it completely. She repacked with jerky, granolas, she put in extra socks and mittens, an extra hat, she put his comb back in but left out hid razor and his razor strop. He grabbed those to his side.
“I must have these. I will not go to see my bride looking like an animal”
“I find my animals to be handsome,” she said. Ok I will put them in but you need to grow your facial hair so you aren’t frostbit. SO no shaving until we are there. Ok?”
“Ok” he agreed stroking his chin. He added. “I have never had a beard or moustache before. “
“Will you will be getting some long hair as well.”
I am surprised your ears are still attached to your head and have not been frostbitten.” Sebella stuffed some clothes into his bag
She picked it up and threw it at him . It was much lighter and he lifted it with ease.
“I have never been outside for very long.”
“You have never been outside? Not even to go hunting?” Sebella raised her eyebrow at his nod. “That’s just great.”
Dog gave a growl as a group of people appeared. His family she supposed. As they got closer she saw the old lady who had claimed Sebella was a devil. Sebella waved and smiled at her. A glower worthy of Dog was all she got in return. The well-wishing and I will miss you went on for a while until Sebella cleared her throat rather loudly.
“Well we should get going. We have a ways to go before dark.”
Last hugs and goodbye, then Seth shouldered his pack. The old lady looked over at the discarded items and gave a loud, well sounded like a chicken laying an egg nose. She fled over to the pile, picked up a book, and went back to Seth. He bent down and she put it in his pack.
She looked over a Sebella and said. “You devil, trying to keeping this boy from the Book OF Mor. You will be the death of this world. You mark my words, you Devil”
Someone took the oldster by the hand and escorted her down the hall.
Sebella waited until she could no longer her the elders rants before smiling at the crown and saying “well, you know what’s it like to be a devil, always getting called out. “ The group laughed a little uncomfortably at her joke.
She turned and walked out of the compound. After a brief hesitation, Seth followed her out. He caught up to her.
“I am sorry about Nana. She is very religious and, well, she is old. “
“It’s ok. I am a devil you know”. Sebella grinned at him then walked ahead of him horse following and dog with his nose to the ice, ranging from side to side in front of them.
He watched her walked for a minute then trotted up next to her.” If you are a devil, then I will be one too.”