Ice Rider 4

She felt it before she saw it. Normally Sebella could smell them, but the water  had masked   it. She motioned for Seth to come closer to her. When he shook his ahead and began to lecture her about how he was saving himself for his bride, she dragged him over her hand clamped over his mouth. He struggled, of course, because he did not seem to worry about his safety .She glared at him, willing him to stop. When the bear blocked the light from the cave entrance, he quit struggling, his eyes going wide.

Sebella slowly moved her and her charge to the middle of the pool. She kept her hand over his mouth and watched the bear. It was a big boar and had been in many fights. His face was crisscrossed with several scars and part of its lower lip was missing. She figured it was an older boar just by the way it walked. The bear’s age alone made dangerous but Sebella suspected he had a bit of arthritis, the way it walked telling a story of pain and stiffness.  His battle-scarred body was most likely unable to hunt as effectively as before.

The watched as the bear moved slowly into the cave, its nose to the ground. It stopped by the pool and Smelled the air. Sebella stiffened up She wished she had her knife with her. It would not do too much to the bear but it would make her feel safer.  Sebella and Seth were within paw reach. One of those paws was the size of Sabella’s head. A single swipe would kill either one of them.  The bear’s nose was within inches of the water when it sneezed. The minerals in the pool masked the smell of the two people in the middle of it, but tickled the bear’s nose. .  The water flew up into Sabella’s face and she almost moved to wipe it off.  She was having a hard time holding down Seth, who was in the process of panicking. She really could not blame him, but running from a bear was certain death

The big bear looked into the middle of the pool. Sebella saw that there were clouds in its eyes.  Sebella had never been more thankful.  He could not see them; its age was taking its eyesight.  The bear sneezed again and then ambled to where Sebella had left her stuff under her bear hide. It snuffed a bit but did not disturb it.  He then went to Seth’s packed and smelled it.  The bear used its big claws to rip open the pack and Sebella could hear the bear smacking its lips.

“Well there goes the trail mix he insisted on having.” Thought Sebella.

Her stuff was packed safely in sealskin and gave off no odors. Poor Seth gave a harder wiggle when the bear pulled out his precious book of Mor. It bit it before tossing it aside. Sebella was getting nervous.  The bear was sitting there eating Seth’s backpack and looked as if it was not going to leave. She knew the bear could decide to sleep in the cave, it was a nice warm place, Maybe the warmth would prove too much to a bear whose coat was meant for the cold temperatures. If it decided to stay, the two travelers would be stuck in the pool. At least t it was warm water.

The bear decided not to stay and ambled off, carrying Seth’s pack in his mouth.  As soon, a Sebella decided it was safe, she let go of Seth.

“Of all things Holy! Did you see that?”  He asked Sebella.

Sebella, amused, nodded raising one eyebrow.  “Yes. I was here.”

“He was huge and he took my stuff and how come he came here?” Seth babbled on.

“Yes” Sabella said as if talking to a two year old. “Remember I said you smelled too high even. Well Mr. Bear smelled you better than I did. He was here to eat you. Lucky for you, you are in this pool. In addition, you have me. “

Seth nodded, and then continued, “It took my clothes, and I have no clothes.”

Suddenly Seth switched and went from being amazed and scared to a little mad. “How come you didn’t tell me there would be bears? Why didn’t your dog warn us?  In fact, where is your dog? And your horse?”

“My horse? My dog? Are you saying the bear came here because I didn’t tell you about bears and dog is at fault for not telling us?”

Sebella felt her ire rise. This was never good for her. She made rash decisions and tended to leave when she was mad. Mainly because she really felt like killing someone when she was mad and probably would if she stayed. Sebella moved to the far end of the pool and got out. She heard Seth’ gasp when he saw her nudity but she did not care. Screw him and his can’t see a woman because they aren’t married. She marched over to her furs. She took one, wrapped it around her, and then sat on her pile. She was going to have to get her heart rate down before she could continue or Seth was bear bait.

Seth remained in the pool and watched her sit in the corner. Something about her demeanor kept him from talking. Sebella was glad for this and after half an hour was able to regain her calm. Slowly she opened her eye took a deep breath and said.

:You think dog is here to be my guard? No him and horse, of course, left when bear came. Horse does not want to be bear’s dinner and neither does dog. If I called dog he would come but there was no need.  As for not telling you about bears, I have been telling you all along. We got lucky with this pool, you would be covered in bear scat the one thing that bears do not eat. So instead of criticizing my animals and me, you should shut up and start thinking how you could help me starting with getting out of the pool and getting dressed. “

As if by magic, horse and dog came in to the cave, Both ignored Seth, but greeted Sebella , Horse was still shaking, Sebella knew that they too were surprised by the bear and had just got out of the way.  Sebella watched Seth get out of the water fro across horses back. He was ok looking, nothing like the rugged ice riders at home. His body was white and thin.  She had the unbidden thought that a few meals of whale blubber and bear fat would fill hi out. She smiled at herself. Ice riders never played with their trade.

Here she threw some sealskin pants and top at him. He pull them on, the pants were two inches two short. That made Sebella giggle. She threw two furs at him. As he looked at them at tried to put them on, she came over.

“No, this one first Fur side to your skin. It will help you keep warm. This skin is the outside one, this one is fur side out.  It will keep you water and snow proof.  She went back to her pack and grabbed some more furs and some cloth. This cloth wraps around your feet, the sealskin. After, we will wrap the bear fur around the outside with the twine. OK . Like this.”

Sebella put on her leggings and the furs to show Seth. He did ok, but she had to go and re-lace his furs. Once both were dressed, Sebella called over horse. She insisted that Seth get on horse’s back. Horse, was not cooperative at first and Sebella was certain that Seth would end up back in the pool, but a little extra rations and some raisins convinced Horse and soon they were on their way. They went the same direction as the bear, following the trail of stuff from Seth’s pack. There were books, and the clothing, both completely ripped apart. The followed the trail of debris for a good two klicks before it ran out.  Seth had mentioned maybe saving something, but there was nothing to be saved. Except one thing.  The last thing on the Ice that belonged to Seth was his precious comb.  Sebella reached down and picked it up., he through it Seth who looked at as if it was a precious thing. A comb. There was no sign of the bear, but Sebella did not want to stop.  Now that she knew one was in the area she wanted to be as far as possible. An old boar like that would be desperate for food. Sebella was determined not to be its dinner.

prelude
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