Blaze looked at the mountain ahead, the one with the unusual shape. It had the shape of a bony finger, pointing up to the heavens. She suddenly remembered the finger Stargazer used to point out the stars. Thinking of him, she started to weep, soft tears washing her cheeks as she walked.
“Child, it takes more than the stars. I have a memory of shapes. A mountain shape, the shape of a particular tree, the place of the sun in the sky, the moon at night.” He patiently passed all of his knowledge over to her as they had talked.
I love you Stargazer. I will always treasure your gift. I will always honor the wisdom you have given me, she thought.
Love was an emotion uncommon for the people of the time. They were drawn to some members and repelled by others, but the concept of love and hate had not yet fully evolved. They needed only basic urges to survive. They needed food and sustenance. They needed to clothe themselves, and they needed shelter from the elements. Emotional attachments were a range of dynamics later humankind would experience.
Blaze wondered at the feeling, but finally set it aside and concentrated on her path toward the mountain. She walked until the sun was well past its midday point. All this way, and the mountain still seemed no closer. The only change she could even note was a slight upward slope to the ground beneath her feet.
Small trees now grew around her instead of the scraggly shrubs and bushes she had struggled through before. She came to a stream of water. Instead of finding a trickle of water flowing over small stones and pebbles, this stream had steep banks and when she stepped in, her feet plunged into water that went up to her knees. Water this deep was a new experience for Blaze, and she felt a moment of panic, knowing nothing of swimming, having never needed the skill. Her life had existed entirely in wandering the semi-desert and near-desert grass plains.
She had just enough meat left from a rabbit for one more small meal. She knew she would have to hunt soon. The sun plunged toward the horizon, and she stoically ignored her hunger, deciding she would wait to take her final meal of rabbit meat once she stopped for the night. In this new terrain, she wasn’t sure when she would find her next meal.
Her methodical footsteps carried her higher into the low foothills. She thought the mountain now looked closer, but she wasn’t sure. She felt a sudden chill, the temperature beginning to drop as she entered the hills as night approached.
Stargazer warned her about the changing climate. While there was always a wide range of temperatures on the desert floor, this was decidedly different. Untying her belongings, she draped her animal skin around her shoulders.
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