Ice Rider 7
Sebella and her two charges walked slowly towards where the Ravagers had disappeared. Picking up speed and finally running, they all stopped at a wall of ice. The ice stood straight up, it hurt Sebella’S neck to look up to the top
“Stay here” she whispered to the other two.
She was not sure why she was whispering, but it seemed right. She looked at the wall of ice and then grabbed two of her knives, her favorite steel one, and her whalebone knife. Using both of them to stab into the ice, she pulled herself up to the wall until she reached the edge. Peering over she looked down on a chaotic scene.
The ice she was on had split form the other side revealing the sea that flowed underneath. Perhaps the Ravagers did not know they were on sea ice, but the ones in the water were sure of it. Although only a few minutes had passed, the Ravagers that had fallen into the water were already dead. If not from the cold alone, the fish that live under the ice would be quick to take advantage of the bonanza of fresh food.
The rest of the Ravagers were on the other side of the ice. Some of them were too close to the jagged edge. Sebella wanted to warn them to stand back, but that was the Rider in her. The other part of her hoped they all fell in the ocean. At that moment, the machine the Ravagers were trying to save fell into the water, dragging a few more ravagers in with it. Some of them on shore threw in some ropes to those that had fallen in, but was already too late. From her vantage point, Sebella could see the scavenging fish and a few sharks already enjoying their food. Suddenly one of the Ravagers spotted her atop the ice wall. He yelled, raised his weapon and fired a shot. He missed but the bullet carved a furrow into the ice uncomfortably close to where she was perched, Sebella gave a little yelp and quickly slid down the ice wall.
She landed unceremoniously on her rear end at the bottom. She glowered as Seth’s grin.
“They are all dead if they don’t go another way.” She said. “The ice has opened to the water. No one could survive the water.”
“Water? We are standing over water?” Miriam’s question did not irate her as much as it would have if it had come from Seth.
Sebella nodded. “We are standing on Sinaaq. It is Ice attached to the old shore of the ocean. Where the land meets the water. I have not seen ocean so close before. The ice is rotting. “
At Miriam’s wide eyes and Seth’s indrawn breath, Sebella continued quickly. “We are ok we just need to get to where the old land should be. You will know, the ice is changed there, it is dirty and has more as snow on it.”
Both Seth and Miriam looked down at the Ice at their feet. Sebella could tell that neither of them ever thought about the ice under their feet. Maybe they thought the ice was forever, that it was all the same, and would always be the same like the floor under their feet in their homes.
Miriam looked at Sebella with horror “My home is one the ocean?”
Nodding, Sebella told Miriam what a ship was. Both Seth and Miriam listened without interrupting. She explained what an ocean was and how a ship worked. The two had never really seen either. They had had fish and both knew it came from the ocean. The both understood what ice fishing was but it never occurred to either that there was a huge ocean, several actually under the ice. That there were animals and fish they never knew of. Sebella had been to the edge of the sea. She told them what it was like, told them about hunting Narwhal, how its skin was made of sunshine and good for you. As she talked, they walked and as they walked, the other two forgot about walking on ice over the ocean.
Miriam noticed when the Ice changed.
“The Ice is different. Are we backing on land?”
“Yes it is! Very good”, Sebella beamed at Miriam and grinned at Seth who obviously was upset he did not notice it first.
He redeemed himself when not too much alter when he mention smelling something “off”. He was right. Sebella and Dog smelled it a while back. Dog had taken off to investigate and the manner in which he left to Sebella that it was most like something dead or dying. Dog ran as if the dinner bell had been rung. Sebella listened as Seth went into a tirade about how he had a superior nose because he was a man. That Miriam, who he almost called whore again but changed his mind at the look on waring look Sebella gave him, as a woman could never do as well. She just had got lucky with the ice changing.
Sebella wondered if he talked this much at home and wondered why he was into such preaching about the differences of men and women. Of course, he thought men were superior. She thought about telling him that all Ice Riders were women, but it seemed he was winding down. She did not want to start him up again. She wondered if he also smelled the bears that were at whatever was dead.
“Well since you are superior maybe you could go scout what it is”
Seth was grinning as he trotted forward. Was going to protect the women like a real man he had muttered as he went off. It took less time than Sebella thought it would before he came back at a full run.
“There are bears!” he gasped.
“Yes” was all she said.
“You knew there were bears and you sent me anyway? Are you trying to kill me?”
Sebella shook her head no and put her finger to her mouth to shush him. They were ok for now as the slight breeze was coming towards them. The bears had not smelled them yet, but they would. Sebella stopped and dug into o her pack pulling out a small bottle. She motioned Miriam to her. Sebella put some of the oil on her hands then rubbed all over Miriam. Miriam wrinkled her nose at the smell. Seth complained when the rider mentioned him to her. She put the smelly oil all over him and then applied it to herself.
Seth hissed between his teeth. “What is it? It reeks. “
“Bear scat. From a big male, in his prime. The bears we are coming up on are youngsters they will run when they smell it.”
“This is going to work?” Miriam asked anxiously.
“Hopefully” Sebella said as she led the group forward.
Sebella had never used this formula before but her grandfather said it was the best.
”She certainly was putting a lot of faith in something she had never used before” she thought. “I hope Grandpa is right”
Hushing her two charges, Sebella lead them forward until the saw the bears. Miriam breathed in sharply but said nothing and Seth was quiet as well. The dead thing was a large White bear. The bears eating it were indeed youngsters, yearlings, and mostly likely the dead bear’s offspring. Left t alone with no food they had taken to eating mom. Mom herself stunk to high heaven. Off to the side of the carcass was Dog. He was chewing a large piece of something, unconcerned about the youngsters.
Sebella halted the group. She thought about killing the yearlings for food and she needed more furs, but one bear was tough to kill, even the little ones, let alone three. It could be done, but it took patience and timing. With the other two with her it, it should be a piece of cake. If they were other people. Miriam was fragile and Seth was useless. He sighed, she would come back for them if she had time, but in the meantime it would be best to just put this scene behind her before other, bigger bears showed up.
She led the two past the scene making as big of a circle around as she could while still keeping an eye on it. It would not do to be startled by a bear, even a little one. They were almost away when she heard Dog yelp. Sebella turned quickly and saw a large Male taking the parcel of food Dog had been chewing on. Dog got up form where he had been knocked aside and went back to claim his prize. Dog barked at the bear who cuffed him, knocking him to the side. Yelping, Dog got up and started to walk away. The Bear stood up and seeing Dog walk away started towards him. Dog barked and then started to run the bear close behind him. Dog put on speed and seeing Sebella ran towards her, the bear behind him.
Sebella cursed, and grabbed her big knife from her pack. She shoved Seth behind her and removed her outer cloak. She held her cloak in one hand and her knife in the other. She waited. As Dog drew closer with the bear still chasing, Sebella crouched, ready to spring.