Adventures of Red hair
Here’s a little fan-fiction based in John Norman’s world of sci-fi, beasts, heroes and sexism – Gor
Red hair hadn’t been overly quiet as she returned from the village, not just her footsteps, but the mumbling and cursing under her breath “… trust him as far as I can throw him…” She stopped suddenly as the tree line ended, lifted her head and sniffed the air like a beast, her nose wrinkled up and her knees bent. Her hand went immediately to the sleen knife on her thigh and she held still, frozen, watching the figure of the stranger.
The Old Warrior glances at the gant skewered on the stick roasting over the fire, all that he had been able to take down so far in his ill-fated hunting trip. The hairs on his neck raising moments before he hears the rustling of branches his head slowly turning towards the sound, hand moving to rest on the hilt of his sword as the red headed woman comes into view. His yellow eyes looking past the woman into the shifting shadows and trees behind her, his jaw tensing for a moment before coming back to rest on her “Greetings Forest Girl….these your woods?”
Red hair looked past the man to his fire, and then even further as her dark almond eyes narrowed against the coming darkness. She took one hesitant step away from the tree line and leaned over to peer into the tent, and then back towards the shallow ravine “Greetings” she said curtly, offering no title “They aren’t my woods but I didn’t expect to see anyone here.” she forced her shoulders back and tried to stand to her full but meagre height, her arms crossed “Are you alone?”
The Old Warrior laughs softly at the question, his lips curling into a half grin at the woman’s cautious nature. Then he shrugs his broad shoulders “Depends on what you mean by alone, but I am not in this camp with anyone else but a woman that wandered out from the trees.” He projected a aura of cool indifference, though his eyes constantly moved from place to place, but his hand moved from the hilt of his sword as he regarded the woman a bit more closely “I am just an old man trying to find some worthy game not eaten by beasts.”
Red hair was visibly startled when he laughed, and then looked around “A woman?” she was already reaching for her bow and looked behind her when she realized what he had meant. Turning around, a blush creeping up her tanned chest and up to her cheeks “Ah, you meant me” shifting the bow on her back. It appeared rustic, hand made, a sharp contrast to the three well turned arrows she carried. She tilted her chin towards his fire, the gant “I got a loaf of bread in the village, I’ll trade you half for half”
The Old Warrior watches her approach closer and then nods his head slightly “Fair enough, I am not hunting your kind so you need not be so jumpy. ” He glances towards the bird and reaching over turns the stick, frowning slightly at the blackened marks “Besides even the company of a forest outlaw is better than talking to oneself. Sit.”
Red hair wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and then nods and approaches. She walks past him, past the fire, and then cautiously sits on the ground keeping the fire between them.. “I’m not an outlaw, I’m a Panther woman”
The Old Warrior barks out a short laugh, his eyes sweeping along her long legs as she strode past “So you are a Panther woman and an outlaw.” He made it more a statement of fact than a question, “So how did a fine woman end up so deep in the forests? The gant should almost be done, though that one side may be a bit overdone.”
Red hair slips the bag off her shoulder and reaches in, pulling out a still warm loaf of dark bread. She rips it in half unceremoniously and tosses a part to him. She picks at her piece, pulling off a small bit and putting it in her mouth, chewing slowly despite the growl that comes from her stomach. “I was originally following the Laurius river but got … sidetracked” she lifted her eyes to give him a measured look, but didn’t elaborate “I changed directions.Just arrived here two moons ago.”
The Old Warrior looks at the bread and picks at it while watching her and grunts “Hmmm must have wandered further than I thought.” He splits his bread in half and grabs the gant between the pieces and pulls it away from the fire to lay it between him and the woman. He pulls his dagger and makes several precise cuts, separating the legs and leaving slices laying on top of his bread. He takes a leg for himself and nods towards it as her tears into the meat with his teeth.
Red hair watches him carefully, her eyes darting between his blade and the food, her eyes follow his hands as he lifts it to his mouth and linger while he takes a bite “I’ve wandered farther than you’d ever imagine Hunter” there is a haunting tone to her voice, echoes of stories and pains unspoken and she shakes her head as if to shake a ghost of a memory. Leaning forward she snatches at the other leg he left behind, quick as if her hand might get slapped, and then back seated she brings it to her mouth and blows on it to cool it off.
The Old Warrior tilts his head slightly and regards her for a moment, amusement flashing across his face for a moment “I am not sure….I have wandered a fair bit myself” he reaches up and rubs the scar dividing his face “Can be a harsh and dangerous life to wander too freely, but the woods well, they always call to me.”
Red hair tears into the meat of the gant leg and finishes it quickly, using what remains of the bone she points up to the sky, to the stars beginning to appear in the twilight “The woods suit me well, but it’s there that calls me” she lowers her arm slowly, as if not wanting to stop pointing and then tosses the bone in the fire. “So what brings you within a reach of an outlaw village? Warrior if I’m not mistaken right?” she tilts her chin towards his clothing and weapons, having been assessing him in glances here and there.
The Old Warrior follows the direction of her pointing with his eyes, and gives a vague nod. His hand coming up to stroke his chin, his voice low “Aye, I am of the Scarlet, though retired if that ever truly happens to my ilk. I was out here hunting for tabuk or whatever else I can come across for my village. Kurii have ventured into our neck of the woods so they scared all our game away, and I prefer hunting where I only have to worry about outlaws and panther girls trying to kill me, not some foul beast.”
Red hair pulled her knees up to her chest and rubbed her arms as the tiny hairs on them stood on end. She looked around wide eyed, genuine fear on her features “Kurii?” she stammered and then shivered as a chill ran up her spine. She shimmied a little closer to the fire,and her eyes scanned the forest “Of all the horrific things I’ve come across, the fear of being eaten still ranks right up there, right up there with being collared, though at least that I can eventually get out of”
The Old Warrior watches her shifting closer to the fire and grunts “Aye, why I travel all this way to hunt. When my death comes it comes, but I prefer not to tempt the fates by being overly stupid. I have plenty of reasons to want to hunt those beasts, but not wise to hunt them alone…..” he drifts off and takes a slow breath ” such creatures maimed and killed my little brother so…I have a strong dislike for them.”
Red hair hugged her knees as she watched him, compassion passing over her face as she heard about his story. Instinctually her hand reached out and rested on his forearm “I’m sorry for your loss” she looked down as if just realizing what she had done and quickly pulled her hand back. She cleared her throat and tucked a stray strand of unruly hair behind her ear “So, we’ve shared a meal, are introductions in order? I can’t keep calling you Warrior or Hunter” she smiled, a little forced, trying to chase away the dark stories that haunted them both.
The Old Warrior gives his head a slight shake, his jaw tensing at her sympathy his words coming softly “I have long since mourned his death, it is expected for a warrior to die a bloody death, just the way of our life.” His eyes then study her face for a moment before offering in his usual gruff tone “You can call me Ven, once of Cardonicus now just old warrior lost in the woods.” he snorts and utter a chortling laugh from his chest.
Red hair smiled as his tone changed gruff and nodded “Ven” she says and then as if wanting to test it out “Ven” she repeats “A good name. I’ve never been to Cardonicus, not that I can recall anyway. I spent most of my time around Lake Ias ”
The Old Warrior nods slowly “Well, my Cardi is no more, swallowed up by the Thassa some time ago. Though I heard rumours of the city being rebuilt elsewhere….until the home stone that I swore and bleed upon is returned, it is just a collection of building to me.” his eyes move to hers “And what do you call yourself? Unless you want me to make something up”
Red hair matched his nod “My name is Marli. You can call me Red hair though, that’s what I call myself now”